Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hearts of Conversion

We are asked during Lent to allow our hearts to receive a conversion to Jesus. We give things up in order to become more like our savior. We add more prayer. We set a goal for ourselves on our road to salvation.

We also celebrate in the Easter Vigil the conversion of many to our Catholic faith. It is with great joy and celebration that we welcome our new brothers and sisters into the church. My father was a convert in the pre-RCIA days when he and I were baptized together and he was also confirmed. Later, he served as an RCIA sponsor when I was growing up as well as being a Godfather to a few children. So, I view new members of the church with a special tenderness based upon my own experience.

Recently, I've noticed a trend among many of my friends who are more recently joined members of the Catholic Church than I am (having been baptized as an infant and been raised in the Church). Over the last few years when I would engage these people in discussions of lent, I would be amazed at the list of things they were giving up or adding for the season. One friend told me that she was going to add daily mass, all the mysteries of the Rosary every day, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3am and 3 pm, daily readings and bible study 3 times a week. That was a VERY impressive list. In addition, she was giving up all meat (including fish) for the entire 46 days (not taking Sundays off), as well as coffee, all sweets and as much fat as possible. WOW! Two weeks into lent, I ran into this friend again who was feeling dejected because she was drinking coffee again, couldn't get up at 3 am to do the Chaplet and found herself falling asleep at Daily Mass.

After witnessing this crash and burn, I began wondering why so many of my non-cradle Catholic friends approached Lent with such zeal and were so eager to don the sackcloth and ashes. I honestly didn't think it was that they wanted to be holier than thou, so what was it?

After asking a few people I started to piece it together. Everyone, in some way, was saying they wanted to make sure they were "getting it right." They had grown up not understanding why Catholics ate fish on Fridays and would deprive themselves of television for six weeks. They didn't want to make a mistake with this whole lent thing. And then there were a few who flat out had told me that they "needed to make up for lost time." As one said, she had 26 years to make up for. I was sad she felt that way. I think back to last Sunday's reading from Isaiah where God advised that past sins were forgiven and there was no longer a need to atone for them once penance was done. I tried to encourage this woman to not focus on the time she didn't have as a Catholic, but to enjoy the time now. I'm not sure if she understood me though.

Last year, at Ash Wednesday mass, our priest said in his homily that it was important we pick things to add or give up that we actually believe ourselves capable of doing and that would not cause ourselves any harm. He said the key to "dooming oneself to failure" during lent was to choose too many things. After all, Lent only lasts six weeks. He encouraged people to adopt good habits or give up a vice that they might consider adding or leaving even after Lent was over. I saw a few RCIA candidates at that mass eating up the priest's words. I smiled, hoping they would understand it isn't about doing it right or making up for lost time, it's about becoming closer to Christ.

From Today's Gospel

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with takx collectors and sinners?" Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call ethe righteous to repentance but sinners."

Lk 5:27-32

God help me to remember that I am a sinner but I am worthy company of your Son. Help me to seek his guidance always and pray that all those in our world will do the same.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Feasting and Fasting

I got one of those little black books for Lent at mass on Wednesday. Today's reflection was especially moving to me. It talked about how on the Sundays of Lent (not official days of Lent) we should find a way to feast in the midst of our fast.

I have always struggled with the idea that Lent is a joyful and not sorrowful time. I mean, it's not hard to fall into that trap what with giving things up, starting it by getting your forehead smudged with a cross made of ashes, and then that little matter of Good Friday right after Lent ends.

This Wednesday, I listened again as our priest described Lent as a time of joy and wondered how I would make Lent a joyful time for me, as well as a time of contemplation and fasting and almsgiving.

So today, when I opened to my little black book's reflection, there it was. Feast on Sundays. Feast amidst the fasting. If you have decided to give something up, allow it to yourself that day. Embrace the day with all the blessings God has given you. Approach the day with love for all around you.

And then, I also realized a joy I had allowed myself this Lent. Posting daily a reading from the day. It is with joy I share the reading of the day that has touched my heart. It is with joy that I know at least two readers are following this and have told me are so far enjoying it (I will post on Sundays as well, although they are not days of Lent).

So, how will you feast during our time of fasting?

From Today's Readings

Thus says the Lord God: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; Tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; They ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. "Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your would shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Is 58:1-9a

God our father, help us to fast this Lent in a way that is pleasing to you. Help us to remember that the need is great but our efforts are never in vain. Help us to remember it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Amen

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Successes


Okay here goes:

1)For three weeks in a row we have planned out and mostly stuck to lunch and dinner menus! Unlike Rachel, I actually have to plan the meal first and then see if I have the ingredients. I'm not doing more than one week at a time at this point. But these successes are supposed to be small, right?

2)I have successfully taught my daughter that the rosary is not to be swung around. She is two, so this is major. She knows and most of the time remembers to sit quietly next to me while I pray and hold her rosary.

3)I am making a concerted effort to sit down each day with my husband to have an adult conversation.

I know, these are minutely small successes, but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were cathedrals, and it takes a lifetime to get to heaven.

Read more here!

From Today's Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples: "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed on on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life formy sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whoe world yet lose or forfeit himself?"
Lk 9:22-25

Dear Heavenly Father:
Help me to take up my cross today without grumbling or complaint.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have You Got Your Ashes?

From Today's First Reading:
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, Offerings and libations for the Lord, your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congretation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, And say, "Spare, O Lord, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'
Then the Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.
Jl 2:12-18

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi gras heureux ! or Счастливо Shrove вторник

Depending on where you are from, one of those greetings is for you today. If you are in Eastern Europe, primarily Russia, you will probably be looking forward to blini with caviar today as shown above.
If you are of the French or Western European tradition, or just from New Orleans, enjoy your King Cake, and best of luck finding the baby!

Monday, February 23, 2009

You Can't Please All the People All the Time

Our son, the one who is still cooking, has a name. It's William Christopher. It's the "other name" that was in consideration when I was pregnant with Joey. We held onto it and didn't consider any other boy names when we found out we were having another son. He is named for Blessed William Ireland, a British martyr falsely accused and put to death for treason and St Christopher. He is also named for the actor William Christopher who portrayed the priest Father Mulcahy on the popular television series, M*A*S*H. Father Mulcahy was a favorite character of ours and after reading Christopher's memoir, co-written by his wife Barbara, of having an autistic son, he was and is an outstanding father and man as well.

William is also a family name on my husband's side. It's his brother's name and his uncle's christened name.

We chose the name also because of it's meaning, William meaning strong willed and Christopher meaning Christ bearer.

We plan on calling him Will to differentiate from the other Williams in the family (who all go by Bill) and hopefully help him create his own sense of identity while still preserving a family tradition.

So, you would think, with naming him after two saints, and family members, that we had all our bases covered and everyone would be happy, right? Wrong.

One member of my husband's family does not approve. In fact, we received a note indicating that we needed to name our son Wilber after my husband's grandfather (his father's father) and call him Bill because that's what his great-grandfather had been called and what my husband's uncle was called.

My husband, as he does with most of these types of helpful "suggestions" from this family member, rolled his eyes.

One thing I have learned in becoming a parent is that whatever you name you child, someone will not like it. My rule is, if we like it, no one else's opinion matters. I can offer up our reasons for choosing the name, but I don't do so to change someone else's mind. And it's why I NEVER criticize someone else's name choice when they tell it to me. I just say congratulations. Sure there are plenty of names I dislike out there, but it's not my kid and not my business to share that. (Celebrity baby names are different because a) I don't know them and b) they don't read this blog.) If someone asks for suggestions, I try to suggest something I think they are looking for, but I don't get offended if they wrinkle up their noses at a suggestion.

The name we choose for our son is for this world only, for as it is written:

"I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it." ~Revelation 2:17

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Someone is ALWAYS watching

A note from Andy's Caringbridge website from my brother who is a Marine:

Semper Fi Kosmala family!
It's PFC Giant Mike speaking. I'm down here at Camp Geiger attending SOI shooting high powered rifles, throwing hand grenades, and blowing stuff up with rocket launchers. It is cold and misserable, we hump for miles at a time with 100lb packs, and they PT us to death. Sometimes you get so broken off you wonder why you ever wanted to do this in the first place. And then I tell myself, "Andy's watching," and then it doesn't seem nearly as bad.
Love Mike

Let us never forget that God is always watching over us as are the angels we knew who have passed on. May we draw strength from their encouragement.

From Today's Readings

"Thus says the Lord: Remember noth the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. The people I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise. Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, for you grew weary of me, O Israel. You burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more."
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25

Heavenly father, help me not to dwell upon the past. Help me to ask your forgiveness for all things and that I may forgive all done to me. Ready my spirit for the trials ahead of lent, your son's passion, death and resurrection. Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Lord of Miracles

Today we received a beautiful rosary for Joey from our friend Jenny in Ontario. Jenny traveled this winter to Lima, Peru and purchased a rosary for The Lord of Miracles and had it been blessed by a priest in the church of The Lord of Miracles.

As I discussed yesterday, saying the rosary during Lent is a major part of the six weeks for me. Shelby has a rosary that belonged to my great-grandmother, but Joey didn't have one. So when Jenny offered to send one free of charge, I jumped. She also sent a saint card for Saint Rose of Lima with it and a St. Rose of Lima chaplet, totally a surprise! Now, my children aren't permitted to "use" or play with these rosaries. I have plastic ones that were free for them to "use" now (they aren't allowed to play with those either).

I had forgotten that although The Lord of Miracles was painted in Lima, it was painted by an anonymous Angolan artist who was a slave in Lima. How appropriate we receive this rosary while I am learning about Our Lady of Kibeho who appeared on the other side of the African continent!

As we approach the lenten season may Our Lady of Kibeho and The Lord of Miracles pray for us!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Inspiration When We Need It Most

Have you heard of Our Lady of Kibeho? No, not Lourdes, or Fatima or Medjugore. This series of apparitions occurred in the early 1980s in Rwanda. In Africa. Still sound unfamiliar, you're not alone.

I had never heard of Our Lady of Kibeho until this past Sunday. My mother was visiting one day after meeting Immaculée Ilibagiza, Roman Catholic native of Rwanda and ethnic Tutsi who survived the 1994 genocide by praying a rosary unceasingly for 91 days while being hidden in a bathroom with seven other women. She had purchased Ilibagiza's book Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa as well as Ilibagiza's haunting memoir of the genocide: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust . She passed along the special rosary of Kibeho and the book to me.

Over the last few days I have been reading the story of Our Lady's appearance to school children in a poor section of Rwanda and the story of the apparitions of the three approved visionaries, Alphonsine, Anathalie and Marie-Claire. There is no doubt in my mind our Lady appeared to these girls and the other, so far, not approved visionaries in the heart of Africa and brought them a message to promote love of all peoples, and to come to her with all problems. Our Lady also told these visionaries of the terrible genocide that would rack their country in 1994.

In this time of crisis in our country and our world, it is easy to fall into despair, even if you are financially stable for the time being. But as Immaculée told my mother, "Go to Our Lady." For as her own personal story confirms, there is nothing that Our Lady cannot do.

As we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent, I have decided to add, in addition to the praying the Sorrowful Mysteries each day to add the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows daily that our country and leaders may be guided by God. That those without hope and suffering loss, will turn to God and hear His voice. That murder of innocents all over the world will cease. And that the love and peace we feel in God's presence be made known to all those in our world.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Over at Faith and Family Live! they are hosting a collection of meatless recipes. (That's the impetus behind my posting the stuffed pepper recipe). There are some yummy ones there that I recommend trying and I think we will try a few new ones this lent.

I live with a husband who is not Catholic and therefore does not abstain but is more than willing to do more vegetarian meals and fish meals (did I ever mention he is a chef too!). Danielle pointed out that whether you go meatless the whole 40 days and 40 nights, or if you just abstain on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays in between, it's great to try out some new recipes. I got almost giddy reading some of the recipes and the comments and then I saw this comment:

These recipes all sound great. It did make me think though, (not picking on you Danielle) but these meatless meals are supposed to be something of a sacrifice right? Around here, something like Salmon would be an expensive gourmet meal. Our kids are in heaven when we serve any seafood, we have it so rarely. So I guess my question is… Is just meatless enough? Should there be an element of sacrifice to really make it a sacrifice? Am I making any sense? Just musing...not trying to be critical. musing when I should be cleaning or caring for these kids!!

Which begs the question, what is sacrifice? Is it something we can define for all people equally?

Sacrifice is going to be defined differently by all of us, especially where dietary concerns come up.
For the commenter, clearly cooking any kind of fish is a luxury above beef so, for her and her family, they should go completely meatless including fish. But does that mean everyone should?
I live near the coast where seafood is fresh and often inexpensive depending on what you are getting. And local grocers sell seafood at a deep discount during lent. Sure, they are capitalizing on our religion, but in these times when prices are going up, up, up, it does make sense to save a few pennies that can go to Operation Rice Bowl or another Catholic charity. Even wild-raised Pacific salmon is less expensive than beef or even chicken sometimes around lent.

To say that there should be an element of sacrifice is true, but we cannot decide for others what is or is not a sacrifice for them and their family. For a well-off family that eats steak 3 nights a week, giving that up for a couple of seafood meals does contain an element of sacrifice. It may not be evident to someone who lives far from the coast in an area where seafood is the most expensive meat and is making ends meet with a large family and one income; but that does not mean that one family is more pious or sacrificing more than the other. If we really want to demand sacrifice than why doesn't the Vatican decree that all Catholic families consume only brown rice and pinto beans with no seasonings for all meals for all of lent. Does that make us all now equally sacrificing and pious?

While the writer of the above comment says she does not wish to be critical and is only "thinking out loud" she is also not necessarily thinking outside the realms of her own situation. Yes, our country is in a recession right now, but that is not hitting all people equally and so all people's sacrifices may not be equal to some degree. Just as the decision to send kids to public school vs Catholic school vs home school is a decision best left to each individual family, it is no one's business to know if eating salmon in your house is a luxury or a sacrifice.

Crock Pot Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is from a Crock Pot collection...I adjust the seasonings to taste (being pregnant, there is only so much spice I can handle!) but this is the basic recipe:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
6 tall green bell peppers, tops removed, seeded and cored
1 cup (4 oz) shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup tomato salsa
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
Chopped fresh chives

1) Spray medium skillet with cooking spray. Saute onions until golden. Add cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder. Remove from heat.

2) Mash half black beans with cooked onion in medium mixing bowl. Stir in remaining beans. Place bell peppers in slow cooker; spoon black bean mixture into bell peppers. Sprinkle cheese over peppers. Pour salsa over cheese. Cover. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.

3) Serve each pepper wuth dollop of sour cream and chopped chives, if desired.

Makes six servings and can be frozen!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

San felice Valentine' giorno di s!

Valentine' felice; giorno di s a tutti gli miei amori!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Always Feel Like...Somebody's Watching Me

This is a blog addressing two issues today.

Issue 1: Why do we blog?
For me, I like to keep my creative juices flowing and writing capabilities up to par. And I delude myself occasionally into thinking that the world around me cares what I think. href="">Lerin's blog where she had to address some hurt feelings regarding her no longer following some blogs. She explained that she felt over-obligated with the following, so she was cutting back. And she was still visiting and reading many blogs, it just didn't feel like sooo much of a priority. It made me think back to a post Danielle had addressing many women's questions about blogging. She made the very valid point that if you were only blogging to get on someone's blogroll or if it was for the validation of seeing comments on your posts, it probably wasn't for the right reasons. I took this to heart. I kept blogging and it was nice to see comments appear, and great to have a proud follower, but it was more important to me to send my thoughts and opinions out into the void so that maybe they would touch someone else. The public nature of comments and following brings with it too the sad realization that your thoughts, no matter how clearly they are articulated can ALWAYS be misinterpreted. Which is why I don't offer any email on this blog and also why I do not always leave comments open and they are always moderated.

Issue 2: There are always people watching me, little people.
Yesterday I lost my temper and swore at the dog. It was embarrassing and regrettable, but then there was the little matter of my one-year-old. Who repeated what I had said. I wasn't prepared for that happening yet. So, the self-censorship begins. As Bill Cosby says, parents have to censor themselves and sometimes when they are angry, it leaves the impression that they are unable to
complete a sentence.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Growing Up

This May, Joseph will become a big brother when his little brother is born.

Shelby was a mere 14 months old when Joey came home and she had her moments. She would hit him, take his paci, and try to put the newborn baby doll my in-laws gave her on top of her brother whenever she could (it makes sense, put her baby where they put their baby...). But she very quickly grew out of it. Once her brother could sit up and wasn't constantly nursing or sleeping, she decided it was more interesting to play outside with Daddy and jump on her bed.

For his part, once Joseph became mobile, he became a mobile terror. He terrorized dogs and his sister alike. We had anticipated some jealousy on Shelby's part, but we had no idea the younger one could be jealous of the older one. We have had Shelby hug one of us only for Joey to turn it into a competition, "I can give mommy or daddy better or more hugs." We cannot change a diaper on Shelby without Joseph trying to pry our hands away.

And since he has started walking and talking and imitating, Joey has decided he is in charge. He bosses the dogs around constantly and if he sees or hears us admonish Shelby, he wags his fingers and extols his jibberish punishment. I can't tell you how many times I have to remind Joey he is the boss of no one and not the Mommy or Daddy.

But there has been a very sweet side to this maturity. Joey knows, for example, that after the dogs eat, we pick their bowls up off the floor. He rushes to bring us a dog bowl once the dog is done eating. He "helps" unload the dishwasher and when Shelby was crying inconsolably on my lap, he removed my hand from her back where I was rubbing and started rubbing in my place.

I just hope his goodwill lasts when the new baby shows up.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Protection...the debate rages on...

As a mom, of course, like all moms I want to protect my kids. But recently it has come to my attention that protecting our children means different things to different moms.

I have two friends who are on polar opposites of this spectrum, I myself fall somewhere in between the two. When I speak to either one and they go on a rant about how they are protecting their child or how we protect our children too much, I just stay quiet. I can agree with some points of both, disagree with others. Let me illustrate (all names have been changed).

Leslie is a single mom of one. She is good friends with her ex-husband who left while she was pregnant with their son. Her son is in kindergarten in public school. Leslie attends mass weekly, sends Bryson (her son) to CCD. They say grace before every meal and they talk in a way I know many parents envy. Leslie is nothing short of a devoted mom. Her stand is that she is giving Bryson the foundation but, even in these young years, she believes he should be exposed to people outside the faith and their value system so that she can use this to teach him why Catholics do the things they do. Why he believes the way he does, in other words. She also believes that she can accomplish more good in the world by being a strong Catholic example for those outside the faith. And her belief is Bryson should be this way too. And Bryson has already testified, even at age six, to his faith. When children in school were contemplating stealing a toy from a classroom, Bryson stood strong and told them it was wrong. He was the first kindergartener in the school's history to win the "Quiet Strength award." Leslie asked him why he told the other children it was wrong and his answer was striking for it's simplicity, "I knew in my heart that Jesus did not want us to steal that toy. I knew that maybe they didn't know about Jesus and didn't hear Him say no, so I knew I had to tell them for Jesus." Leslie maintains that as long as she is teaching the morals at home and talking with Bryson daily to make sure he understands his faith and what he is learning at home, she does not need to shelter him from the world and worldly views. As she says, "It's very easy not to stray when you don't know there is a life outside of the flock."

Carlie is a stay-at-home mom of five, soon to be six. She homeschools. Her children attend daily mass as well as Sunday. She does not join groups outside of Catholic homeschooling ones that she is sure are using the same curriculum she is and hold identical views to hers. I knew her before kids, so that is why she keeps me around. She has even refused some Catholic groups like Little Flowers because she did not believe her children should hear about martyrdom of saints until they were adults. Carlie states that if her children have no contact with non-Catholic values (they do not allow any discussion among adults of current events and have no internet, television or radio in home) they will grow up to be faithful members of the Church and will have no reason to stray. She even fought her priest and DRE to keep her kids out of CCD and away from any children in public school. I wish I had a specific example of Carlie's kids' testimony, but since they very rarely come into contact with anyone outside the church, I can't think of one. She maintains that as a mother, she must protect her children from all that is not of God by not letting them know that there are things in this world not of God.

I am exhausted just writing this. It makes my head spin. I know it would not be for me to not expose my children to anything outside the church, but at the same time, I admire Carlie's gusto. I find myself often leaning more toward Leslie probably because that is more to how I grew up. Don't get me wrong, my parents said no, a lot. At the same time, I always attended public school and was able to defend my positions a bit more clearly because I was not in a vaccuum.

I cannot say for sure what the future holds for my little ones in this respect. I am hoping God will show me a way to a happy medium.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Memorium

I had a blog post all ready today about how it has been ten years since I first met my husband. And then I saw this. Lord please hold the Welborn-Dubriel family in the palm of your hand. And may Michael Dubriel's soul be commended to heaven.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yet another new baby in need of prayers.

Arwen at Faith and Family Live's little two-week-old is in the hospital with RSV. Arwen's son is named for St Blaise whose feast day is tomorrow, please lift little Blaise in prayer and ask for the intercession of his patron.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Just In Time

Want to know more about Troy Polamalu's faith? Try this story published today.

HT: Jen!

What's in a name?

I read a lot about division in the Eastern and Western church. I live in an area with a very large Greek population who are a very prominent presence in the community including having the sitting mayor as part of the group.

I'm the type of person who would rather focus on our similarities vs our differences. But not everyone does this.

I recently encountered an acquaintance I had not seen since we were in college. This woman is Greek and very active in her community. She had moved from the area but recently returned to help care for her father. When I saw her, she seemed a bit frazzled so I inquired was there anything I could do to help.

"Yes," she replied, "please tell other Catholics to not tell people that Troy Polamalu is Catholic. He's Orthodox."

Excuse me? Did I hear her right? I know Polamalu is a member of the Eastern Church not the Roman, but could this really be something that could make her life easier. I mean, Troy gave an interview to Faith and Family magazine, so I'm assuming he doesn't care a whole lot if people think one way or another. He also doesn't pontificate about his beliefs. If Troy were truly defensive about religion (I mean, as defensive as he is on the field) then I'm sure he would set the record straight himself.

After getting more information, it turns out her father, who is ill with a heart condition, became very agitated and upset when he began googling the Steeler's defensemen and found many Roman Catholic blogs claiming Polamalu as their own. Moreover, on some of these sites, there were very negative postings about the Eastern church. I haven't bothered to google this because, well, frankly, I don't have the time or patience right now.

But I do think I understand where my friends father is coming from. He is from the old country and loves his religion. He is proud when a member of his church is elected to congress or wins a Super Bowl ring. And he probably would look the other way if a few Catholics decided to also claim one of these people, but when the same Catholics claiming them also denounced the church he loved, it would cause his blood to boil.

I go through the same thing when someone says they love Catholic actor, writer, sports star X and claim that person has a character flaw in being Catholic.

So, for the record, Troy Polamalu is a member of the Eastern not Roman church and that does not detract from him as a football player or human being.