Thursday, May 21, 2015

Catolica Springfield - New Spanish Catholic Radio Station in Springfield, MA Area

Catolica Springfield hit the airways on Easter Sunday, broadcasting at 102.5 FM. There is a 24 hour line-up of programming including a 1000 song playlist of Catholic music along with some teaching and talk programs. It is licensed through Our Lady of Sacred Heart Parish in Springfield and streams live at http://www.catolicaspringfield.com/


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Children's Rosary

The Rosary is such a beautiful prayer and one that the Blessed Mother herself has asked us to pray.

The Children's Rosary® is a prayer group movement that was begun out of love for Our Lady and Her Son. Jesus tells us "Truly, I say to you unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3). The Children's Rosary is an effort to begin in parishes rosary prayer groups composed of children and led by children. Through prayer of the Rosary Our Lady will guide our young people while at the same time sanctify families and Parishes. 



To find out more, to find a Children's Rosary group near you, or to learn how to start a Children's Rosary group, please visit: http://childrensrosary.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Two Takes on Chastity



Ave Maria Press recently published two books on chastity. While the books come to the same conclusions, the authors do so from very different viewpoints. The first, Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, by Arleen Spenceley, is by a twenty-nine year old woman who is still looking for Mr. Right. She has high standards, refuses to lower them, believes that God has a plan for her (which may or may not include marriage), understands that true love is hard and involves sacrifice, and says that she is not “saving herself for marriage,” because “only Christ can save us.” Rather, she believes that she is “saving sex” by “redeeming it. By God’s grace, I have chosen to resist the damaging cultural trends that trivialize the purpose of human sexuality. I refuse to use or regard the human body in any way that doesn’t revere its dignity or sanctity. In marriage, sex is a gift of the totality of oneself to another person.”

Spenceley is an idealist. She has a healthy dose of self-confidence and is happy with her life, while acknowledging that it is sometimes difficult to still be single. She is not judgmental and is very clear that those who have had premarital sex should not be condemned or considered less worthy than those who have waited, instead encouraging the use of the sacraments to provide individuals with the opportunity to be forgiven and start over. She should be given a great deal of credit for being willing to go public with such a counter-cultural lifestyle. That in itself takes a great deal of courage.  Her book would be great for reading and discussing in a teen youth group. It is probably best for those who are still virgins to encourage them to continue on that route.

For those who have a different background, have experienced abuse of any type, or have struggled with chastity, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On by Dawn Eden is the book to read and recommend. This new edition is a rewrite of a book she originally penned in 2006. She was then in her mid-thirties, a Jewish convert to Protestant Christianity, taking RCIA classes to become Catholic. Today, she is Catholic, finishing up a pontifical doctorate in theology, and has made a personal consecration of celibacy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

Eden was sexually abused as a child. She was raised in a liberal household by divorced parents. She had no desire to wait until marriage for sex, but did want to wait to be “’in love’ – whatever that meant.” Yet, over time she learned to disassociate sex from love and bought into the casual sex mentality.

Once she made the decision to convert to Christianity, she determined to start living a chaste life. It definitely wasn’t easy. She shares her struggles, and goes on to explain why the struggles are worth it. Once she became Catholic and experienced the sacrament of Reconciliation, she began to discover that lust wasn’t necessarily her root sin. “The real problem might not be lust so much as envy (‘the woman who has him doesn’t deserve him’), pride (‘I deserve him’), or resentment (‘how dare he not notice me’). It could even be a sin against the Love Commandment: failing to love God enough to trust that he has a plan for me.”

Eden is a wise guide who can speak from experience on how the road of sin brings no fulfillment. She knows that most people who seek solace in sex are actually seeking love. She knows sex should not be separated from married love. “In a truly loving relationship, both the man and the woman love God, and so they become God’s love to each other.”  But even married love will never be perfect. “We are not meant to be fully satisfied on this earth.” She encourages readers to “make friends with that sense of longing.” 

“The Thrill of the Chaste” is ideal for those who are currently finding their sexual way of life unfulfilling, for those who want to be chaste, and for those who are chaste, but struggle with lust and temptation. Those who struggle with their self-worth and attempt to find love and a sense of value in sex may also find the road to healing in these pages. 




Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Sunsets

Chasing Sunsets: A Novel (Angels Walking)

by Karen Kingsbury
New York: Howard Books, 2015

"Chasing Sunsets" is the second book in the "Angels Walking" series by best-selling author Karen Kingsbury. The Angels Walking team is once again on the job, this time trying to protect baseball player Marcus Dillinger from being killed by a gang hit and working to help a young girl named Lexy escape from a life that leads to nowhere. Meanwhile, Mary Catherine is a young woman who knows her days are limited and is trying to squeeze all the life out of them that she can. She does not want to fall in love, knowing that she has no future, yet Marcus has a pull on her she can't understand. Tyler and Sami are back from the first book, this time in a supporting role.

This is a sequel that is actually better than the original (which was pretty good in itself). If you are a fan of Kingsbury or Christian fiction, you will enjoy this book. It tackles some tough issues, offering a look inside gang life and the prison system, but Kingsbury handles them with great skill. I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Consecration and Mary Our Mother

I posted back in April about preparing to make a Total Consecration to Mary using Fr. Michael Gaitley's book, 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. I enjoyed the preparation "retreat" featuring a couple of pages of reading each day.



Week One was on St. Louis de Montfort. Week Two featured St. Maximilian Kolbe. Week Three centered on Blessed Mother Teresa and Week Four focused on St. John Paul II. The final week was a review. Yesterday, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, was my consecration day. I wanted to post about it yesterday, but I ran out of time in my day! I wrote out the prayer of consecration, dated it, and placed it in my journal. No, I don't feel any different. I didn't really expect to. As I said, this wasn't some radical new direction I was taking in my life, but I am here if Mary wants to use me for good. In the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope I'm on the right track.

I did especially like one quote in the book by St. John Paul II. "Even when the same woman is the mother of many children, her personal relationship with each one of them is the very essence of motherhood." Fr. Gaitley goes on to say, "Mary is uniquely, particularly, personally your mother and my mother, and she doesn't lose us in the crowd."

I've been teaching my little girl about Mary and how she is her mother up in heaven, always watching over her and loving her. Four-year-old Amy gets so excited about that fact. She already has two mothers who love her and two families of siblings and struggles to wrap her mind around how that works, that her "other mother" gave birth to her, but she is growing up with us. I love her in the same way that I love my biological children. She is as much a part of me as they are, but we share no biological connection. But in Mary, both she and I have the same mother! We are sisters in the Lord - one considerably older than the other! I tell her that she can always ask Mary for help and that someday Mary will welcome her to heaven with open arms.

It's so good to have a heavenly Mother who will never fail us, will always love us, and always wants what is good for us. She will always lead us to her Son. That's what the Total Consecration to Mary is all about. I highly recommend it.


Monday, May 11, 2015

FrancisCorps Volunteer Experience

Do you know a young Catholic eager to be of service, but not quite sure what to do with his or her life? FrancisCorps is a volunteer organization designed to "share the dream, the passion, and the vision of St. Francis of Assisi with the next generation of Catholics."

According to their website,

FrancisCorps is a 50/50 experience. It’s 50% about the wonderful service you will do to serve the poor. But it’s also 50% about the experience of community that you will share with the other volunteers in your house.
Saint Francis and Saint Clare both believed that it is necessary to have a solid experience of community where you share your day, your prayer, your life with one another. It’s here that you will grow and stretch.  It’s this natural human “give-and-take” where you meet Christ. It’s this experience that gives you what it takes to serve others.
In order to do this FrancisCorps volunteers commit themselves to:
  1. Eat at least one meal together, daily,
  2. Pray together some form of prayer, daily,
  3. Love one another by sharing their day’s journey, daily,
  4. Celebrate community night with a co-minister, weekly,
  5. Share in a community meeting, weekly.
FrancisCorps provides our volunteers with both men and women Franciscans (there’s that 50/50 again!) who we call the “Co-Ministers”. These religious and lay Franciscans are volunteers who come for dinner once a week and offer their support to the volunteers. FrancisCorps are also available for one-on-one meetings with the volunteers in Syracuse and through Skype for the volunteers in Costa Rica or in person during the retreats.
FrancisCorps volunteers participate in 6 retreat experiences:
  1. August: Orientation – Introduction to FrancisCorps and the persons of Francis and Clare of Assisi
  2. October: Fall Retreat – theme: community dynamics
  3. January: Re-Orientation – Review of Goals and Objectives, further learning about St. Francis
  4. March/April: Lent Retreat – Personal Growth and Spirituality
  5. June: Summer Retreat – Franciscan Values for life
  6. July: Transition Retreat – Reviewing the year and saying Good-bye
The FrancisCorps experience is offered by Friars, Sisters and Lay Franciscans working together.  But the really exceptional difference is the prayerful support of the Poor Clare Nuns of Chesterfield, NJ. These contemplative women whose Order was founded by Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi  begin the journey with our volunteers from the time they are discerning to join, after being accepted and by meeting them during their orientation in August. The sisters hold our volunteers in prayer throughout the year of FrancisCorps.

To find out more, please visit: http://www.franciscorps.org

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Book Review: Talkers, Watchers, and Doers

Talkers, Watchers, and Doers: Unlocking Your Child's Unique Learning Style (School Savvy Kids)
by Cheri Fuller
Colorado: Pinon Press, 2004

As an educator, whether in a classroom or in your own home, it can be a challenge to understand children who learn differently from you. "Talkers, Watchers, and Doers: Unlocking Your Child's Unique Learning Style" by Cheri Fuller helps explain the different ways individuals learn and then how to help educate or advocate for these children.

Most people have one main area of strength - either auditory (talkers), visual (watchers), or kinesthetic (doers), with another area being a secondary way of learning. Fuller offers ways of identifying how someone learns as well as concrete ways of helping that person learn.

Fuller also discusses how to best develop your child's talents and gifts and how to handle weaknesses so that they don't block strengths. The last chapter on learning-different people who achieved great things is inspirational and worth having a child who is struggling read (or reading it to them).

This is a slim volume packed with quality information. I heartily recommend it to anyone having a hard time trying to figure out how a child learns or how best to educate a struggling child.