Life

My Changed Reading Time
Now, I find that my reading time is part of a bigger picture. It involves other people in a way it never did before. Sometimes, those other people live in my house and they want me to be part of their reading time. They turn my reading time into a shared experience. The post My Changed Reading Time appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
The CSF Celebration of Excellence Breakfast
Hello and welcome! Friday morning, I went to the offices of PwC in the seaport to attend the annual Celebration of Excellence Breakfast sponsored by the Catholic Schools Foundation. We are very grateful to Mr. John Farina for hosting us in that spectacular venue. The gathering brought together Catholic Schools Foundation supporters and seniors from 22 Catholic high schools across the archdiocese who are recipients of CSF scholarships. It was very encouraging to see how many fine young people have benefited from those scholarships. I was also very pleased to see that a number of young people there had also been with me in Washington at the March for Life in January or in Panama for World Youth Day. There was a speaking program during which John Farina encouraged the young people to pursue their passion in life as they continue on with their education and careers. We also heard from one of the seniors as well as a graduate who spoke about the difference that attending a Catholic school made in their lives. I also offered some remarks, in which I spoke on the importance of Catholic education, congratulated the students on their achievements and thanked all the benefactors of the Catholic Schools Foundation. Each year around this time we hold a discernment weekend retreat for men considering a vocation to the priesthood. It is an opportunity for them to visit our seminaries and learn more about seminary life. Typically, the retreat is held with two tracks: one for older men, who would be candidates for Pope St. John XXIII Seminary and another for younger men who would be candidates for St. John’s Seminary. So, on Friday afternoon I joined with the older group at Pope St. John Seminary. There were about half a dozen men at that retreat. Then, as they continued their retreat, in the evening I went on to join the other group of about 45 men who were meeting at the Fatima Shrine in Holliston. I remained with them all day Saturday and preached the retreat for them. It was a very full schedule, which also included opportunities for them to hear the witnesses of our seminarians, pray together and meet some of seminarians and priests of the archdiocese. Sunday morning, the retreat concluded with a Mass at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. After the Mass, we posed for this group photo together. I told the retreatants that if any of them had not yet informed their girlfriends that they were coming on this retreat, we could Photoshop mustaches and dark glasses on them! Then, Sunday afternoon I met with Bishop Calogero Peri, OFM Cap., who was here, along with one of his priests and seminarians, to bring the relics of St. Agrippina of Mineo for the festival in the North End. Father Antonio Nardoianni of St. Leonard’s brought them to greet me. There are many people from that part of Sicily who are associated with the feast in the North End, and so it was an opportunity for me to thank them for bringing the relic to Boston. Monday, was the funeral of Father Paul Bailey at St. Mary Parish in Plymouth. Father Roger Landry, who grew up in Lowell when Father Bailey was the pastor at St. Michael’s, preached the homily. It was a wonderful homily in which he stressed the theme of Father Bailey’s great intellectual capacity. He said he was a man who was very much devoted to study and reflection, and he spoke of how that enriched his ability to teach and preach. Father Roger also underscored Father Bailey’s great kindness, particularly toward those who were experiencing economic or social needs. He said he had a great sense of social justice and mercy, which involved him deeply in people’s lives. While I was at St. Mary’s, I took this photo of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida in the church. The Brazilian community there has done a lot to help in the renovations of the church and they have this statue of the Patroness of Brazil there. Monday afternoon, we had a meeting of the board of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Archdiocese of Boston. It was so good to be together with our director, Father Gabe Troy as well as Maureen Heil and all the other members of the board. It is always very encouraging to see their dedication, not to only raising money for the missions, but perhaps even more importantly, to raising missionary awareness. For example, we spent a great deal of time discussing the work of the Missionary Childhood Association, which seeks to engage young people in the missionary work of the Church at a young age and, hopefully, lead them to develop an awareness and care for the missions that will continue throughout their lives. Boston has a very long tradition of supporting the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies, particularly since the time of Cardinal Richard Cushing, who was himself director of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith in the archdiocese and the founder of the St. James Society. I am grateful to the board members and staff of the Pontifical Mission Societies who dedicate themselves to continuing that tradition. Tuesday, I arrived in Rome for a series of meetings regarding the work of the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father, as well as to participate in the meeting of the Holy Father with the presidents of bishops’ conferences from throughout the world on clergy abuse. Wednesday, I had a Mass with some of the staff of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. We are very grateful for the generous service of the people working in the office and for all they do to promote safeguarding throughout the world. In anticipation of the meeting of the Holy Father with the presidents of bishops conferences from throughout the world, the bishops of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have issued a statement and a call for prayer that will be distributed at all parishes this weekend. I would also like to share this letter with you here: We write as your pastors; we write also at a critical moment for the Catholic Church in Massachusetts, in the nation and throughout the world. The issue which confronts us all, but especially confronts us as bishops, is the sexual abuse crisis that has again enveloped the life of the Church. Catholics throughout the United States and the world have struggled with the deepest questions of reason and faith as the multiple issues of sexual abuse by priests and bishops have become public over the last sixteen years. The past year has been especially traumatic, and we again apologize to survivors and their families for all they have endured. We also apologize to the Catholic community for the seemingly unending nature of this scandal and the many questions it raises regarding Church leadership. The attention of the Church and the wider society will be focused in an extraordinary way on the upcoming Summit Meeting in Rome, convoked by Pope Francis to address the crisis globally. Our purpose in this message is to provide perspective on the meeting considering what has occurred in the Church in the United States and throughout the world. The Past: The clergy abuse crisis exploded in the United States early in 2002 when the unprecedented dimensions of the crisis became clear, leading the U.S. Bishops Conference to adopt “The Dallas Charter” later that year. The Charter promised a policy of zero-tolerance of sexual abuse of minors, meaning that accused priests determined to have abused a minor would be removed from ministry; all cases would be referred to appropriate civil authorities and each case would then be investigated within the Church. Beyond the provisions in the Charter, individual dioceses have adopted policies to provide care and counseling for survivors and education and prevention training in our parishes, schools and religious education programs. Reviewing the past, we acknowledge the record includes gaps and failures as well as successful implementation of these policies. At the same time, the Church in the rest of the world has experienced the abuse crisis in different ways at different times. The Present: In 2018, the primary attention of responsibility for the abuse crisis shifted from priests to bishops. It became clear that the Dallas Charter, focused on priests, needed to be amended to include accountability for bishops and cardinals. In order to broaden the policy in this way, the U.S. Bishops have proposed that a publicly announced method of reporting cardinals and bishops implicated in occurrences of sexual abuse be established. We also have advocated for the establishment of an oversight review committee that includes appropriately credentialed professional lay leadership. However, the Holy See asked the U.S. Bishops Conference to postpone action on this proposal until after the meeting in Rome. The Summit Meeting, convoked by Pope Francis, will involve the Presidents of over 180 Episcopal Conferences from throughout the world; along with Cardinal O’Malley, participating in his role as President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children. The goal of the Summit Meeting, as stated by the Holy Father, is “catechesis” of the episcopal conferences. A way to interpret this phrase is that the meeting will seek to create a strong consensus throughout the universal Church of zero tolerance of sexual abuse, to develop the programs which will implement this mandate and to put in place the programs of education and prevention needed to keep children safe throughout the world, even and perhaps most especially in countries where government and law enforcement may not be reliable partners in protecting children. This meeting will be very complex in its composition, cultural and geographical diversity and the political and legal context that is necessarily present in these matters. We ask your prayers for all involved in the Summit Meeting and your appreciation that a three-day meeting will not produce a finished and final plan for a global Church of 1.2 billion people. Demanding but also realistic expectations will be helpful for us all as we think not only about what the Church in the United States needs to accomplish but also the steps necessary to achieve global solutions, particularly in circumstances where cultural sensitivities must be considered. The Future: As always, first and foremost in our thoughts are the survivors of abuse for whom we continue to pledge our vigilance. We use this occasion to pledge our continued commitment to the policies we have adopted and to all those measures of care, counseling, education, and healing needed to abolish the scourge of sexual abuse throughout the Church. Thank you. Until next week, Cardinal Seán
It's the little things that count
Horizons - When I take stock of the multitude of ways that kindnesses are demonstrated, I find myself humbled by the blessings that are showered upon me every day — by so very, very many "regular" people.
Can memorized prayers turn you into a prayer robot?
From A Nun's Life podcasts - Why do Catholics use the same memorized prayers all the time? This Random Nun Clip considers the spiritual value of rote prayers.
UNYOKED: Where is your Spouse?
We can’t know what was taking place in someone else’s marriage that ultimately made it end in divorce, and really it’s not our business to ask. But what is our business is to be compassionate to them as a person worthy of dignity. Scripture tells us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for their needs. The post UNYOKED: Where is your Spouse? appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
A Faithful Catholic’s Guide to Social Media Interactions
I’m going to get a bit preachy here, so please bear with me, but I think it might be good to re-evaluate our own behavior on social media. We need to ask ourselves how we might best represent our faith and how we might best respond to volatile online exchanges in a Christ-like manner.  WWJD, y’all? The post A Faithful Catholic’s Guide to Social Media Interactions appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
2 things I believed about the Catholic Church that were totally wrong (and why anyone would stay Catholic)
How about a little remedial ecclesiology today? (Trigger warning: if you don’t like going past 1200 words, this piece might stretch you 5 uncomfortable minutes past your limit. I know, I know. Same! I tried my best to rein it in.) The summer of shame is well in the rearview now, and we’re underway into a whole new calendar year. As 2018 waned, the days shortening and the nights darkening, it seemed that there would be no end in sight for the rage and pain felt by faithful and lapsed Catholics alike; how could this vile evil be seeping forth from the Church we knew and loved? For survivors of abuse – men and women who knew all too well the evil that often lay hiding in plain sight – this pain was compounded by perceived silence and cowardice from high. Where were our pastors and shepherds back at the height of the summer’s scandalous and widely-splashed headlights? Little by little we began to grapple with the ramifications of too few pastors speaking out due to, perhaps, their own lack of credibility. It’s awfully hard to condemn the log in your brother’s eye when you’ve got a telephone pole sticking out of your own retina. Others held back out of fear, perhaps at the advice of legal counsel. Still others felt – rightfully – personally horrified and enraged by the failures of their brothers when they had themselves been struggling heroically, often with little support, to walk the walk. Many Catholics left. Some had distanced themselves eons ago, but made their separation a public affair after ingesting the wretched evil laid bare in the Pennsylvania report.   Others quietly stopped trusting, stopped believing, and stopped attending. For those who stayed, each of us have had to answer, if only for ourselves, why we did. Peter, do you love me? God knew that each of us who profess a faith in Jesus Christ and the Church He founded would need to dig deep in these days “to give an explanation for the hope we possess.” It’s not like this was a curveball to the Almighty. He tells us plain, “Whatever is done in the dark will be brought into light.” In other words, truly private sin is a human fantasy. Maybe it’s one of the oldest fantasies – I wonder if Eve thought, somehow, that the same God who had fashioned her from nothing, breathed life into her lungs, would somehow fail to notice her small act of rebellion? Like He was super busy checking on the mountains and fish and stuff. Anyway, I’ve had numerous conversations with Catholics and non-Catholics alike over the past 8 months. Answered hard questions from strangers about why we’ll stay, about why we’ll never, ever leave. But I can’t say I haven’t considered it. Back in July when revelations were coming to light seemingly faster than the Internet could link to them, I was daily overcome with rage and sorrow. And confusion. What I knew about the Church, the papacy, and the gates of hell all seemed, well…wrong. And I felt adrift. I am a JPII Generation Catholic, as they say. I fell in love with the mystery and the history of Catholicism during the early years of Benedict’s papacy, called home by a mysterious grace seemingly wrought just for me in the final hours of St. John Paul II’s life. My conversion solidified and matured at Franciscan University of Steubenville where I encountered the word “theology” for the very first time. I probably know more about Catholicism than the average Sunday Mass-going Catholic, if only because of the Aquinas and Kreeft and Hahn and DeLubac I was assigned to read. And I still considered leaving. It turns out you can’t reason your way into continued belief. Faith is, at the end of the day, a gift. And an act of the will. I am becoming increasingly aware that faith is both gift and choice. And that, having been handed the gift, I will be asked over and over throughout my lifetime to reaffirm my choice, and to continue to grow both in love and in knowledge of the Faith with a capital F. Catholicism isn’t mine to interpret or define as I see fit. A radical notion for a postmodern mind, but one that we all fall prey to from time to time. My impoverished philosophical foundation led me to believe some fairly common fallacies about the Church which greatly intensified my pain and confusion this past year. Here are two of the errors I didn’t even realize I was carrying around in my brain; consider this a sort of “Ecclesiology 101” (ecclesia = church, ology = study of). Myth 1: The Holy Spirit picks the Pope. I don’t know that I literally thought this was what happened, but I certainly behaved as if I did. Standing in a sodden St. Peter’s Square and breaking into wild jubilation with a hundred thousand strangers while watching that white smoke billow out of the Sistine Chapel chimney on the night of Pope Francis’ election didn’t do much to help dispel this myth. The papacy has always felt big and kind of magical to me. Probably because of the circumstances of my awakening to the Faith, and because of the big moments we’ve shared as a family with different Holy Fathers. Nevermind that the Church, in 2,000 years of Petrine ministry had numbered in her ranks countless ineffective popes, weak popes, mediocre popes and outright evil popes. Because my Church history was an inch deep and my love for the modern popes was a mile wide, I was primed to be deflated by any shortcomings in a Roman Pontiff, either perceived or actual. Reality: The Holy Spirit inspires the actions and deliberations of the College of Cardinals, assuming they are actively seeking His Will and living lives of virtue. (If I could double bold that last line, I would.) And then the Holy Spirit guarantees that whomever is elected can’t make a fatal mess of things. As best as this armchair theologian can figure, the Holy Spirit really does this heavy lifting when it comes to preserving and protecting the Deposit of Faith: The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.” CCC 84 …And in preventing heretical or erroneous teaching being promulgated “ex cathedra” or “from the chair” of Peter. Translation: The Pope cannot err when proclaiming, with the full weight of the Magisterium and in keeping with the revealed Tradition of the Church, the truth of something pertaining to faith and morals. Can the pope have a mistress? Father illegitimate children? Be a heretic, privately? Give dumb answers to questions journalists ask? Believe wrongly that the superior flavor of gelato is crema? All yes. Which is so freaking hard to believe. But bear with me. Because myth number two which I believed was: Myth 2: the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church I mean, we do have a hierarchy, do we not? As an American who lives in a society of rules and laws and order, familiar with the organizational structure of human institutions, this is another one which I, frankly, sort of took for granted. Hence the outraged tweeting for the Holy Father to DO SOMETHING. FIRE SOMEONE. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING??? last summer. But, um, guys…the Church is not just a human institution. Protects, defends, and transmits? Occasionally, when it suits, and sooner or later. He is the leader of the Church on earth. The head of the Church’s hierarchy, the shepherd of the Universal Church on earth. But it isn’t Pope Francis’ Church, any more than it was Pope Benedict’s, or Pope Innocent’s, or Pope Gregory’s, or Pope John Paul II’s.  Reality: Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. “Christ is the Head of this Body:” Christ “is the head of the body, the Church.”225 He is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father’s glory, “in everything he (is) preeminent,”226 especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things. CCC 792 Jesus died for us, for His Church. Jesus had to forfeit His life in exchange for ours, hot mess that we were/are. And in an interesting throwback to myth number one, Jesus only personally chose the first pope: Peter. So why have a pope? Why have a Church? Why have a Bible? Why not start from scratch every generation and do archeological and anthropological research to try to piece together anew what the OG Christians of Corinth circa 67 AD must have practiced and believed? Is that what Jesus willed for us? To have to start from zero every time the saving water trickles over the brow of a new Christian, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son…” The Trinitarian formula for baptism, by the way: how are we sure that’s a thing? Should we each be researching and verifying and making sure for ourselves way out here in 2019 that we’re practicing Christianity as Jesus Christ intended? If that’s the case, thank God for Google, rising adult literacy rates, and the printing press, right? But the Church is for all people, for all times. The Church is not only for moderns with internet access and small group Bible studies. The Church is not only for white people with comfortable sanctuaries and good youth programming. The Church is not only for prisoners in need of mercy, for orphans in need of fatherhood, for prostitutes in need of conversion and redemption. The Church is for all of us, for all of humanity, past, present, and future. The God who promised “I will not leave you orphans” has not abandoned us to our own devices. We do not have to rely on our own wisdom, our own clever understandings of theology – or our not-so-clever understanding, for that matter – or even on the goodness of one particular person who holds a position of power at a given time in history. St. Jerome says “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” The words of the Old and New Testaments wash over me every time I go to Mass, whether I’m sitting in recollected silence or wrangling an nasty toddler. I am steeped in Scripture when I sit in the church, which is mysteriously both a building and the Body of Christ, of which I am mysteriously a member and an essential physical component. I am brought into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the ministry of His Church and the encounter of His Word. The Church is both guardian and guarantor of the written, living Word of God. I cannot turn away in solitude from the Body of Christ while clutching the Word of Christ to my heart. What I read in Scripture casts new light in what I practice on Sundays. The liturgy is rooted in – not added on to – the Bible. Without the Church, we’d have no Bible. Without the Church, we’d have no Sacraments. Without the Church, we wouldn’t know what to believe- we need the Church’s authority to teach, lead us, and sanctify us. Because we can’t live without Jesus. No matter how badly we humans behave. Perhaps because of how badly we humans behave; we need Him all the more. Come hell or high water – and perhaps the water will come right up to the gates…we need Him.
Our Children are Leaving the Church. Here’s What We Can Do About It
Don’t most Catholic children live in Catholic homes with Catholic parents? Shouldn’t that be enough? If we want our kids to remain strong in their faith... The post Our Children are Leaving the Church. Here’s What We Can Do About It appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
What is Your Plan for Lent?
While it may seem a little early to be thinking about Lent, this important season in the Church will be here before we know it.  The Valentine's Day displays adorning the stores, even before Christmas had officially ended, provided a heart-filled reminder of the swift movement of time between holidays. The post What is Your Plan for Lent? appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Blessing parish renovations in Carver
Hello and welcome, The winter months are often a time of year when many people are called home to God, and in recent days we have lost three fine priests of the Archdiocese of Boston — Father Paul Bailey and Father Vincent Maffei and Bishop Walter Edyvean. Father Maffei Father Maffei served for several years in the Metropolitan Tribunal and for 20 years before his retirement in 2008 was pastor at St. Mary in Randolph, where he was much beloved. He died last week, and his funeral was Thursday. Father Bailey Father Bailey had a graduate degree in social work, so he spent the early years of his priesthood working in Catholic Family Counseling Services and at Catholic Charities, where he was the director of different regional offices. In the 1980s, he went on to be pastor at St. Michael Parish in Lowell and in the 1990s he became pastor at St. Peter’s in Plymouth. I know he had a great impact on both parishes. He died on Wednesday, and his funeral is next week in Plymouth. Bishop Edyvean Bishop Edyvean touched the lives of so many priests during his many years as a seminary professor and running Villa Stritch in Rome, and of course, during his time as Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese. His death last Saturday was very sudden, and I was privileged to be with him when he died. His funeral was this morning. The dozens of priests and bishops who were with us was a great testimony to the impact he had. Father Stephen Linehan delivered a very touching homily, in which he recalled many fond memories of Bishop Edyvean. I also offered some remarks before the final commendation. I think the word most often used to describe Bishop Edyvean was “gentleman” — and he certainly was. We know that he will be sorely missed. Now on to the events of my week: Friday, I traveled to Washington to take part in a summit in response to the abuse crisis sponsored by the Catholic Leadership Roundtable. It was a gathering of about 200 lay and Church leaders from throughout the country to identify best practices and come up with concrete recommendations to address the current crises. During the summit, there was a dinner at which the Leadership Roundtable presented Peter Lynch with their J. Donald Monan, SJ Distinguished Catholic Philanthropy Medal for his support of many philanthropic causes, particularly the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. With Peter Lynch and Leadership Roundtable Chairman Geoffrey Boisi I was very happy to be there and be able to congratulate Peter on this honor. Saturday, I returned to Boston and, that evening, went to St. Paul’s Parish in Cambridge, where I met with FOCUS missionaries and other local college students who were involved in FOCUS’s nationwide gathering, the SEEK conference in Indianapolis. We gathered for evening prayer and a time of dialogue followed by a pizza dinner with the young people. The SEEK conference was held in early January, and I would have liked to have been able to go with them. However, it coincided with the U.S. bishops’ retreat at Mundelein Seminary. So, this was an opportunity to catch up with them after the fact, as it were. Based on what they told me, it was certainly a wonderful experience for all of them. Sunday, I went to Our Lady of Lourdes in Carver to bless their new parish renovations. The church there is very interesting because it is in a former shopping center, and they have really created a very beautiful worship space bringing in new stations of the cross, statues, pews and other ecclesiastical refurbishments that they did not have before. It really is quite stunning. They have completely transformed the space into a very beautiful worship site. Afterwards, there was a luncheon reception with the parishioners, and many of them told me how pleased they are with the wonderful transformation of their parish. Sunday evening was, needless to say, the Super Bowl in which the New England Patriots took on the Los Angeles Rams, and I joined the friars at San Lorenzo Friary in Jamaica Plain to watch the game. We began the evening with a holy hour and Vespers and then shared dinner together before the Super Bowl. As those who watched the game know, the teams were very evenly matched, and it was quite a struggle, but the important thing is that the Patriots came through to win in the end (as we always knew they would!) On Tuesday, I went to the Campion Center in Weston where our recently ordained priests were holding an overnight retreat. I joined them during the retreat for Mass, a meal and a time of dialogue. During our conversation, I shared with them my recent experiences at the March for Life and World Youth Day in Panama, and then we had a discussion about various aspects of priestly life and ministry. Wednesday, we had one of our regular meetings of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference at Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston. These meetings are an opportunity for the bishops of the four dioceses of Massachusetts to come together to discuss common challenges and issues, particularly social issues that face us as a state conference. One of the topics of particular concern during this meeting was the recent pro-abortion legislative initiatives in Maryland, Virginia and New York. Along those lines, I was very disappointed to read the opinion piece by Governor Cuomo of New York published in Wednesday’s New York Times regarding the law recently enacted in that state. I have penned a few thoughts on the issue, which I would like to share with you here: This week, the New York Times published an editorial by the Governor of New York who makes the outrageous claim that pro-life Catholics are trying to impose our religion on the country. Opposition to abortion is not a “Catholic issue.” We have no right to make Friday abstinence or the reception of Ashes on Ash Wednesday a legal obligation for all citizens. Abortion, like racism, anti-Semitism, and human trafficking are violations of human rights. Innocent human life should be protected by civil laws. Dr. Martin Luther King was certainly motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he never saw racism as a “Baptist issue.” And people have not claimed that he was trying to impose the Baptist religion on the country. By the same token, pro-life Catholics can be deeply motivated by our desire to be faithful members of the Church, but we do not see abortion as a “Catholic issue.” It is a matter of defending innocent human life, and that is the obligation of all governments and all people whatever their religious affiliation might be or not be. The move afoot to allow young girls to have an abortion without parental consent and justifying late-term abortion is tragic. The eroding of the sacredness of human life is a slippery slope that begins with abortion, moves to euthanasia and then the elimination of the weak, feeble, and the “undesirable” whose lives are not as important and are inconvenient. Cheapening human life is to devaluate all life. When the abortion debate began, the pro-abortion advocates said it was impossible to know when human life begins. That has become a moot question. While science makes viability possible sooner and sooner in the pregnancy, abortion advocates want to keep moving the goalpost in the other direction. It no longer matters when human life begins. The Pro-Life movement is the largest grassroots human rights movement in the U.S. We must also continue to expand our effort to help women to be able to choose life in the midst of economic and social pressures to take the life of their child. Indeed, I wish to be clear that I recognize the difficult situations women often face in pregnancy. To stand for unborn life morally is not to stand against women in these tragic circumstances. Both the woman and the child deserve our support. Being at the March for Life is so reassuring. Young people, often the least religious segment of the population, are nevertheless the more pro-life generation. Despite the ugliness of the present effort of some to promote abortion, hope for the future is bright because more and more young people realize that abortion is not a religious issue. It is a matter of public morality and the defense of human rights. The day is coming when the abortion movement will find itself on the wrong side of history as the new generation embraces the protection of life. Until next week, Cardinal Seán
Coffee clicks: What the Friday?
This week was one for the record books in terms of watching news come across the wires and wondering not once, not twice, but, well…a lot more times than that if we are, in fact, all still living in reality. The Virginia governor who suggested keeping resuscitated hypothetical newborns comfortable until “doctors and parents” decide whether or not to….what, kill it? Literally we’re discussing after birth abortion now. Aka murder.But massage that language enough and you’ll get fascinating mind benders like “post-birth abortion” and “4th trimester abortion” and “newborn fetus.” Anyway, seems like he was a great guy in high school, too. But wait, that’s not all! During President Trump’s SOTU address he made a few impassioned pleas for unity around the idea of not killing babies who accidentally survive abortions. Unsurprisingly, by this point in the week, these were not pleas that enjoyed bipartisan support. But you know, it’s not all bad news. This episode of CNA Newsroom was one of the more beautiful things I’ve listened to in a long time. The comment towards the end of the second segment where the mother speaks about “emotional closure” is a profoundly edifying concept to meditate on, particularly in light of our culture’s desperate, clawing fear of suffering. We’ll do anything to avoid it, crush whatever innocent thing stands in our way, and yet the true path to serenity and long term emotional wellbeing is often found cutting directly down the middle of that suffering. This is the real poverty of nihilism and atheism: To be alone, to be made to suffer alone and without meaning. For this reason I can think of almost nothing more devastating than abortion, separating mother from child, severing a most fundamental human relationship, and leaving a child to suffer terribly, and alone. Abortion is never the answer. Yes, even when it’s “medically necessary.” Ashley’s ode to her oldest on his 9th birthday had me thinking how crazy fast things are starting to go. Especially as I did the math and realized I’m half a year away from having my own 9 year old. That’s wild to me. I must be getting older, because those “blink and you’ll miss it” statements used to make my eyes roll. Now they make them water: “With a blink, it will be gone and ghosts of Lego messes and dance parties past will haunt me with such longing—uncaring that I spent every waking moment with them. It won’t ever be enough..” Should Catholic politicians who publicly endorse – even clamor for – abortion be excommunicated? Perhaps. But I think it’s unlikely to happen, and even less likely to accomplish anything meaningful in the life of the excommunicated, as per the intention of the censure. Better to withhold and restrict reception of the Holy Eucharist which is the public affirmation we make as Catholics that we are united in practice and in belief with the Catholic Church and all that She professes. Possible alternate headline: “Millennial takes socialism to its (il)logical conclusion”. Tearing through this book, “Cozy Minimalist Home” – Myquillen Smith’s follow up to her runaway bestseller “The Nesting Place” – and guys, I AM HERE FOR IT. I rearranged my entire main floor this morning and it looks like I spent a grand at Home Goods. (Husband: I did not. I spent nothing.) Before:  After: p.s. My entire “what I read in 2018” book list is here if you’ve got a case of the Februarys. Have a great weekend wherever you are!
The sacred tension of solitude
Horizons - Although walls of selfishness can block me from being my best self, solitude is an important element in my path to communion with God.
Love One Another
Love one another. This phrase popped into my head more than once as I sat in Adoration...this straight forward command that Jesus gave us over... The post Love One Another appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Rezo del Niño
Hoy en día cuesta mucho encontrar familias que quieran preservar estas tradiciones pero para nosotros es parte fundamental de nuestras vidas acompañar nuestra experiencia de fe con momentos de oración en familia. The post Rezo del Niño appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Developing our best selves through education
From A Nun's Life podcasts - In this Random Nun Clip, we talk about the power of education to liberate and heal. 
The despair of comparison and letting God in
Do you ever take your eyes off your own paper just for a minute, maybe not every day, but every so often? What do you see when you look around? I don’t necessarily mean on social media, but let’s start there. Maybe you sit down for a few moments of peace in between meetings or mountains of laundry. You tap the screen and lose yourself for a few minutes – maybe more than a few – in those perfect little squares. (Yes, I know I pick on Instagram a lot. No, I’m not sorry.) In the span of a few moments you’ve maybe seen amazing vacation pictures, a victory shot of a new number on the scale or a new pair of jeans. A lucrative new opportunity someone else has been handed, a pregnancy announcement, the money shot to a set of keys to a new home being handed over. A gap-toothed kid smiling with a solid gold report card. A kitchen reno. A mission trip overseas. A road trip over state lines. Whatever it is that you’re seeing, when it causes your heart to contract, tightening with pain instead of expanding in gratitude and wonder, what is happening there? Original sin, sure. A touch of envy. A dusting of avarice. A smidge of self righteous resentment. Quite possibly, yes. But what if the pain is also a sign of something more foundational than plain, boring old sin? What if God is examining an old hurt, probing an imperfectly-healed wound with His finger, showing where it’s still tender, infected, impacted? I was on the treadmill last month in a fit of mid-January despair, multitasking between (I kid you not) a motivational podcast with a self-help book pulled up on my Kindle while maintaining a vigorous pace. Of the two entire times I exercised during the month of January, this was by far the more strenuous. My mind wandered from the podcast as my brain strained to toggle between audio and visual input. Frustrated, I switched off the Kindle and stared into space. What was the use, anyway? I can intake all the self help advice on the planet and still only show up at the gym twice a month during this season of life. I just don’t have the hustle. I just don’t have the grit. God gently quietly inserted Himself into my negative stream of consciousness and this thought popped up: “But do you spend time with Me?” Not lately. My conscience was seared on the spot, but with the gentle precision that only the Divine Physician can wield. During the tumult of the holidays and a very sick month for our family, time with God – along with my amazing diet and great sleep hygiene and New Year’s Resolutions to slay all day – had fallen along the wayside. I saw myself in that moment on the treadmill in a crowded gym at 10 pm on a January night and I laughed at how perfectly, perfectly I embodied my perpetual desire to save myself. God constantly has to remind me to stop fighting Him for control of my own life. Basically from the time when I first gained self awareness right up to present day, I’m in a constant cycle of forgetting Him, forging ahead, enjoying moderate success under my own formidable head of steam, having some kind of stress or effort or circumstance-induced breakdown, crashing and burning, and then calling out to Him in despair. And repeat. He always picks me up again. Consols me with an intimacy that doesn’t seem possible outside of a retreat setting. For about a week or two – however long I manage to maintain my newfound enthusiasm for a good prayer routine, however long I can perceive Him metaphorically rubbing my belly – I lap up His closeness like a good-natured dog who is so, so happy the master came home from work again. Inevitably, life creeps back in and the intimacy fades. As I’ve come to understand in my slightly more mature walk of faith, it is almost always me withdrawing from the Lord, not vice versa.The morning after my little treadmill epiphany I came to God with some pretty specific questions, asking Him why so-and-so had already achieved such and such, wondering what was wrong with me, my work, my commitment, my ability, etc. He was really clear and, again, really gentle: “What I have given to her would not have been good for you.” Unfortunately that sentence wasn’t followed immediately by “but I’m going to give it to you soon!” Happily, neither did He finish with “And I’m never, ever going to give it to you.” I guess He’s leaving the more nuanced work of discernment up to me. It did get me thinking that some of my specific struggles with jealousy are tied to specific wounds or weaknesses of mine: the fear of not being chosen, of not being enough, of bringing my best to the table and still being rejected – this specific fear usually manifests for me as paralysis and procrastination. Because they can’t reject what you’ve never offered in the first place, am I right? I’m the guy who buries his single talent in the ground and then obsesses about why everyone else is having so much success with their talents, while simultaneously trembling in fear of being called out for it one day. Where is this going? I guess my point is twofold. First, that God uses specific weaknesses and wounds to speak to us about His vision for our lives and to remind us that we need Him. When something hurts, it’s an invitation to turn towards Him and ask for help. He wants to heal us, He longs to…but He won’t force His way into our lives. If we turn away and refuse to show Him the cut, He can’t bandage it up. I’m sure it pains Him to watch us dripping blood all over the place like crazed toddlers, clutching at the injury in agony, wondering why He won’t help us but refusing to come near enough to let Him do so. Second, He will continue to bring our pain to the surface, offering us opportunities to address it with Him. The woman from today’s Gospel who grabbed at Jesus’ robe in the crowd, had she tried everything in her own power already, was she desperate to be healed and finally reaching out to Him as a last resort? Or had she been crying out for years, unable to articulate what it was exactly that she needed until the moment she laid eyes on Him: the source and summit of her healing? His mercy is new every morning, but so is our freedom to turn away. It’s a constant sacrifice of the will to turn towards Him, confiding our hurts and insecurities, our jealousies big and small. He wants all of them, begging us to lay down our burdens, longing to draw all the poison to the surface and make us well, make us whole. As for me, I can wash my face and not quit my daydream and hustle like I mean it all day every day, but unless I hand my dreams, my heartbreaks, and all my brokenness over to Him, I’ll never reach the potential that He has in mind for me.
Fostering Unity: The Lessons Begin At Home
Satan loves division. In fact, Satan thrives on division. As I’ve explained to my six year old before, Satan does a little happy dance any time we argue and fight with each other, and any time there are bad things occurring in the world. Satan would like nothing more than to have us throw our hands up in the air in exasperation with each other, sling mud and intolerance back and forth, and level our communities with hatred. The post Fostering Unity: The Lessons Begin At Home appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
The Worst Best Advice I Got as a New Mom
Time - it does go by fast. In my head, I’m still the young mom, even though the mirror tells a cruel contradictory story. But you know what? The post The Worst Best Advice I Got as a New Mom appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
My Sofa and My Life
The post My Sofa and My Life appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Finding light to resist Dementors
Horizons - As I've been praying my way through the figurative fog, I've been asking myself — how can I project hope, happiness and goodness, rather than succumb to negative thoughts, gloom and despair?