Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Anecdotal Accounts of the Incarnation

Madonna of Port Lligat, Marquette University

During an excellent Christmas Eve homily from a Redemptorist priest, we were challenged to reconsider the miracle of the Incarnation, both from our own vantage points and reflecting on the mystery through great art.

As for a contemporary take on the Nativity, I must commend a Portuguese advertising agency for coming up with an anachronistic retelling of the Greatest Story:

Another approach to better appreciate the miracle of the Word becoming flesh is through depictions in great art.  Hence the Madonna of Port Lligat (1949) by Salvador Dali from the Marquette University Haggerty Museum of Art.  Fr. Jim Wallace, C.Ss.R., also commended a short poem by the American poetess Denice Leterov:  “On the Mystery of the Incarnation”

It's when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

That’s a lot to chew on while savoring some tryptophan inspired shut eye.

A “Happy Christmas” to all and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Immaculate Conception Metanoia

Although both the Eastern and Western Churches have ascribed to the sinless conception of Mary the Mother of God, it dogmatically proclaimed as the Immaculate Conception until the 1854 ex cathedra papal bull  Ineffabilus Deus by Pope Pius IX.

Due to unclear contemporary catechisis, a minimization of Mariology and its place on the liturgical calendar near the start of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception can be mistaken as the sinless conception of Jesus rather than His mother Mary.  As a child of Vatican II, I struggle with mystagogical necessity of the Immaculate Conception--how can our sinless savior be born from a Mother with sin? Nevertheless, I accept it as a mystery of faith which I may not wholly appreciate but that I believe.

Perhaps a better way to understand the Immaculate Conception is through an Eastern approach.  On December 9th, Orthodox Christian Churches celebrate the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokis by St. Anne.  Celebrating St. Anne should have significance to the City of Detroit, which the Vatican named as its patroness in 2011.

 One of the common synonyms for Mary the Mother of God is as Theotokis or god-bearer.  To me, that semantical construction  god-bearer calls to mind the Ark of the Covenant from the Book of Exodus, where God dwelled among His people. This is rich with symbolic significance and points to our Savior.

Typically we think of the Immaculate Conception as Mary, the Mother of God, being born without sin (the unblemished Tabernacle for the Incarnation).  That being said, it seems more useful to consider Mary as being full of the Holy Spirit.  So rather than focusing on herself, she could magnify the Lord through her son Jesus Christ.

So to celebrate the Conception of the Theotokis by St. Anne and its consequence, we can reflect upon portions of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy as scored by Arvo Part.

Rejoice, O virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessedart thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, forthou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some visitors at the door yesterday.

Yes, I had a couple of visitors come calling unsolicited while I was working on a quilt yesterday.  The dog began to bark and the cats all went scattering as the doorbell sounds. I peer out the front room window to find 2 ladies with books in their hands.  Interesting, so I decided to answer the door.  "Hello," the spokesperson of the team says, with a pamphlet in her hand ready for me to accept, and introduces them as wanting to spread the Christmas joy.  They are Jehovah Witness members.  I quickly let her know that we are active and devout Roman Catholics.  Her next question rather shocked me.  "So, do you celebrate Christmas?" Whoa!  Really, I thought to myself.   This needed to be addressed, kindly with civility and Christ-like patience.

Making the decision to step out, both physically and in courage, I come out to the porch.  I smiled and let them know I wanted to enlighten them.  "First off, may I say that with so many different churches and beliefs, if we took the time to learn about each other's faith, if for only to agree to disagree, we would have so much more peace in our world."  The both nodded in agreement, smiling.  Then I went on to explain that the Roman Catholic Church is Christ-centered, the Christ that is the second in the Blessed Trinity.  That God, the amazing being that created us from His imagination, who is bigger than anything we could ever humanly conjure up."  Both women now nodding aggressively and smiling widely.  "In His amazing wisdom," I went on, "God, sent His son Jesus to be among us in flesh and blood in order for us to know Him and know that He knows us.....Isn't that amazing, Ladies?"  "Oh yes!" they both said in unison.  "We believe in this Christ who was born of the virgin Mary, in the summertime, not winter, hahaha!"  They both laughed and agreed, looking at each other smiling.

The spokesperson of the two asked me about the Greek Orthodox as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church.  I explained to her that in the very beginning of the Church, we were Jews or gentiles and that the Christian movement was referred to as "The Way" and all believers in Christ were together building the Church Jesus left the keys for with St. Peter.  It is a human Church, run by a fallen people, but with the Holy Spirit, it has survived throughout these 2000+ years.  It wasn't until until about 1054, when the dispute about Rome and Constantinople divided the two in the "Great Schism" but that both Churches believe in the "Real Presence" in the Eucharist and have seven sacraments.  Then I went on to say that along came a Catholic religious named Martin Luther who took the helm in further dividing the Christian world if not intentionally.  Now we have so many different ways of thinking, it has distorted the truth."  Both agreed sadly...I think.

The spokesperson finally asked, "Then you do celebrate Christmas?" "Absolutely!  We celebrate life and all it's seasons!  We celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, funerals, all that is life!"  "Well," she said, "we won't have to worry about you, then.  May I give you a little gift from us?" getting out that pamphlet again. I took it, "Sure" I said.   "You have a very Merry Christmas, we enjoyed talking with you today." She said.  The other lady introduced them to me and asked my name.  I told her, "Elizabeth, and you both have a very Merry Christmas and beautiful new year, as well."

 Who knows if I planted a seed within these ladies hearts, but one thing I do know, they left my porch smiling from the encounter at the Pillar household.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What are you waiting for?

... in the check out line at the grocery store?  Waiting for the gas to fill your tank?   Are you waiting in line at the movies?  Possibly, waiting on some test results, either medical or academic?  Do you know someone who is waiting on their SAT scores like here at the Pillars household?  Kids are waiting to grown up, teens are waiting to drive cars, graduate out of high school, adults are waiting to retire, possibly travel.

We are always waiting for something, aren't we?  Waiting seems to be just another task to complete each day, so why is waiting any different that any other activity we do daily?  Waiting takes on a very exciting rush of both fear and joy when one is expecting a baby; as the baby grows there is excitement about meeting a new person.  I remember how it felt each time I was pregnant, being excited, but also wondering about this new person; the anticipation of the delivery, the baby, and the health of both.

Waiting, it is what we do as a member of this world, but do we do it well?  Do we do it with the proper frame of mind?  Grouchy, impatient, or patient and good natured, as we stand in line or sit with a phone in our ear?  Can we be comfortable in the waiting mode for however long the waiting takes?

Waiting can be hard, especially when we aren't really sure why we are waiting.  

The season of Advent can be one of those times when we really don't understand what we are waiting for.  On the one hand, the commercial world is telling us "why wait to decorate" put up your Christmas tree the week of Thanksgiving and they hold "Black Friday" retail sales to get us in the gift-giving panic mode even before Advent begins.  All the while the Church is telling us it's not Christmas yet, and there is some waiting to do.  How do we go against the commercial tide that is everywhere around us to abide in the Church's practices and calendar?

Advent also marks the new year in the Catholic liturgical calendar and as we all know new years bring new beginnings; a chance to start over and possibly do better than last year.  A new year brings new adventures, possibilities, and events to ponder and wait for with excitement and some cautious curiosity; if not a tinge of fear.  There may be plans now that will come to fruition this new year that are already being waited for.  But wait, there is more!

More to wait for, something you don't hear about on the nightly news (ugh!), or in the newspaper, and it's not a something, but a someone.  No, it's not the baby Jesus, (or a sleigh full of toys being drawn by reindeer) that we are really waiting for, no.

It is the resurrected Jesus in total fulfillment of His saving glory.  It is the Kingdom of God that we are waiting for, the place of paradise that the thief at the cross spoke of.  It's the Return.  That is what we are truly waiting for.

In our day to day lives, we strive for reachable goals:  meeting a deadline at work, getting the laundry done and finishing papers, jobs, chores, and assignments.  But there is a reachable goal that we hardly ever think of, much less strive for:  Eternal paradise, the Kingdom of God.

Christ came to us as a human child to bring us the Kingdom of God.  He came to fulfill a mission that came to fulfillment at His passion and resurrection.  He said he was preparing a room for us in His Father's house.

In our busy days of waiting, are we preparing ourselves to be invited into these prepared rooms?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Religious Breakdown Among Democrats

This Pew Research Poll highlights several interesting facets of the Democrat coalition.  Less than 6 in 10 Democrats seem to belong to belong to Christian Churches.  When the White Evangelical sliver is factored out, less than half of Democrats self-identify as traditional main-line Protestants and Catholics. Amongst people that Pew surveyed, just 29% thought that Democrats were more friendly towards religion. This reaction may have reflected the  vehement reaction among Democrat delegates against inclusion of the last minute face saving God and Jerusalem plank in the party platform in Charlotte.

Another remarkable feature is the size of the “Nones”.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Vatican II

Pope John XXIII at Vatican II
Fifty years ago today, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  It surprised many that this “caretaker” papacy would launch such a sweeping endeavor as Vatican II.  In fact, Pope Blessed John XIII died on third of the way into the conclave, but he believed that the Roman Catholic Church required aggiornamento or “updating”.

Having been born towards the conclusion on Vatican II, I have no personal recollections of the way the Church was prior to Vatican II.  My cursory knowledge as a child caused me to conclude that Vatican II translated the mass into the local languages (vernacular) and stopped the use of High Altars with priests back to the congregation. I was aware of people who were put off by the Novus Ordo liturgy and longed for the Tridentine  rituals, but that just seemed like an old translation.  It was only when I started to study Vatican II that I had a better appreciation for the fruits of the council and how strongly disappointment from the right and the left remain today.

Bishops meeting in Plenary Session of Vatican II
Over three years, some 2800 bishops from 116 countries met, debated (in Latin) and produced 16 documents.  Instead of automatically taking the preparation work from a cautious curia, the Council regrouped in geographical zones and requested a thorough re-thinking of the Council’s agenda.  But regional politics was serendipitously curtailed by seating, which was by seniority rather than delegations.

Unlike other councils, Vatican II did not define any dogma or pronounce anything anathematic.  The documents used word of persuasion and inclusion, like People of God or “brothers and sisters” rather than top down neo-scholastic theological statements.

 While keeping true to the essence of the Church in scripture, holy tradition and the Magisterium, Vatican II renewed the vision of what it means to be Church.

  READ MORE at DC-LausDeo.US

Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie Review: For Greater Glory

Based on a true event in the Mexican history books in 1926 to June 1929.  It was the struggle of the Mexican Catholics for religious freedom, drastically taken away with force by the Mexican government.  A movement called Cristeros, rose up to defy the anti-religious strictures of the Mexican regime.   "Viva Cristo Rey!"  meaning "Long Live Christ the King" was the battle cry of the members of this movement.

Three years of battle against the heavy-handed government filled with brutality and oppression against the Catholic Church and her members in Mexico.  The violence in this movie depicts this cruelty, including the torture of the 14 year old boy.

Three priests and 10 laymen, including a 14 year old boy, Jose Sanchez del Rio, were beatified in 2005, join a growing list of 20th-century Mexicans recognized by the Church, including the 25 martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II during his trip to Mexico in 2000.

This movie, as violent and intense as it was, should make every American, rather every human being, stop and appreciate the freedoms we have to move about and enter any religious building and worship as we see fit.  It also should make every human being take a step back and ponder how cruel we are to each other beyond reason, beyond human, beyond comprehension!  How horrific we have been to each other throughout our history starting with Cain and Abel.  Is there a way we can stop this madness?  Is there a way we can come to our senses and learn to love, to do to others as we would have them do to us?

My prayer tonight and every night from this day forward will be for peace, agape love for our neighbor.  That we treat each other as we would want to be treated.  That punishments fit the crime, but love tenders the punishment.  I know that there will never be a utopia as long as we are human with a free will, but
basic rights of worship should be one of those things that are called untouchable by anyone, including the governments of countries. Those who are centered around their God are more centered people, that is good for society, good for each other, and possibly leading to being peaceful people.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The New Evangelization, Part IV: Culture of Witness

This part of the USCCB's document, "Disciples Called to be Witness, the new Evangelization, covers how and when we can evangelize without too much effort.    Through conversion and the methodologies of:  discipleship, a commitment to the Christian life, parish life, the liturgical life of the Church: popular devotions and piety, the Christian family, catechist and teachers of the faith, and religious experience we bring the Church to the world by our examples in these areas.  Last time I discussed conversion and promised a discussion on methologies of evangelization which will make it clearer how we all can be new evangelizers.

Through discipleship we serve as witnesses for Christ and His teachings.  Witnessing is a farther reaching act of teaching that traditional teaching.  When someone shares their own personal experiences about life it drives home to those how it looks and feels in real time not just from a book.  This makes total sense, too, as a new mother-to-be some years ago, I had symptoms that weren't in my pregnancy books or from the doctor office, but hearing from other mothers who experienced same or similar symptoms, I was relieved and confident that all was well with my pregnancy.  When we share our understandings and experiences with Christ's teachings and the teachings of the Church in positive light, we are planting seeds in those around us for future witnesses.

In order to do this we must first grasp these teachings personally through a firm commitment to the Christian life and active participation in parish life.   Without being committed to our Christian faith we cannot be active learner and teachers, but we cannot do this alone, "the Holy Spirit within the Christian community forms the person as a disciple of Christ."  The parish must provide formed disciples, catechists and teachers to formally pass down the faith to it's members, especially those who want to return to the Church.  "It is the responsibility of the parish community and it's leadership to ensure that the faith it teaches, preaches, and celebrates is alive and that it is a true sign, for all who come in contact with it, that this truly is the living Body of Christ."

Speaking of the Body of Christ, attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist as often as possible it crucial to a healthy spiritual life.  Praying the rosary, attending adoration, confession, and observing other holy practical acts of piety like meatless Fridays year round all provide a powerful witness to the faith.  They "form the basis of "Catholic Culture."  The coming together in the Liturgical life of the Church as one gives strength and continued faith development for the Church family and those who seek to return.

In the Christian family or the "domestic Church" the sacrament of matrimony models the Trinitarian love of God for His children as parents nurture and care for their children. It is here in the home that faith develops deeper within the children.  Many children that I see today are not taught their faith at home much less experiencing it there.  Parents are so busy with their own jobs and responsibilities that they do not take the time to practice their faith at home.  This is a major problem because children are being basically taught to compartmentalize God at school or at Church only, so during the majority of their lives they are not witnessing God's touch in all that they see and do.

Catechists and teachers of the faith must be teachers and witnesses of the faith!  They must believe and live what they teach or else they are scandalous.  These precious people provide a powerful witness to the Gospel and lay the ground for a culture of witnesses.  "A vibrant Catholic identity and active promotion of gospel values in Catholic schools help foster future generations of disciples and evangelists."

"Discipleship is rooted in human experience.  It is through human experience that one enters into a dialogue with modern culture."  The human experience provides the "sensible signs' that help us come to know ourselves, one another, and God."  These are the concrete signs and works of the Holy Spirit present in the Christian's everyday life. Through retreats, bible studies, prayer groups, ecclesial movements give way to opportunities to grow and blossom in our faith and provide avenues of witnessing to each other.  With constant searching and participation in religious experiences, we can create a culture of witness that will continue to nurture our faith and the life of the Church as we go forward into the future.

Again, I'd like to share Justin Stroh's mini podcast part 4b, he also mentions that catholic schools have been a mainstay in our country that pass on the values to our children.  It is a great gift, but it is declining in many parts of the country, however, we need to pray and support these fine institutions. However, this does not mean that we pay the tuition, send off each day to the Catholic school and not live the faith at home by attending Mass, etc.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dragon Slayers! Awesome book for 8-12 year olds!

Awesome book for 8-12 year olds: teaches about sin and virtue!

Dragon Slayers instructs with humor and diligence how to identify sins and vices in the form of dragons, learn tactics to withstand their attacks through Scripture and the proper use of the Armor of God. He also introduces our ultimate mentors: the Dragon Slayers of Old (the Saints) and the Chief Dragon Slayer Himself (Jesus).

Read more about this book at Equipping Catholic Families and if you decide to purchase the book from Equipping Catholic Families , you can get your very own FREE Dragon Slayers Progress Report download!

Monica is a wife, Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter who thinks it’s cool to be Catholic! Check out the Arma Dei Shoppe for solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith and subscribe to Equipping Catholic Families for family-building and Faith-centred crafts! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Back to Catechism Class with Cathletics Craft Kits! {Giveaway}

This Giveaway is co-hosted by a an awesome group of Catholic Bloggers who have reviewed the Catholic books, quizzing cards and paper craft kits offered by
TEN Cathletics Craft Kits to pick from!
FOUR WINNERS will be selected!
These Catechism, Sacrament and prayer-PACKED paper craft kits
come with permission to photocopy for a WHOLE CLASS or
for all the kids who live in your house!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bible Adventures & Activities Review

I posted a review this morning of the book Bible Adventures & Activities that I received through the Catholic Company reviewer program. I am sharing it here because I think it is a book that many of you, particularly those of you who home-school, will find useful (and enjoyable) in your religious education curriculum.

Here's a peek into the review:

From the Book Description (back cover):
“Puzzle over the wonders of creation, search out the ways God has shown His love for us, and set out on the adventure of following Jesus! Filled with word games, exciting stories, picture puzzles, tricky quizzes and more!”
My thoughts:
Bible Adventures & Activities is my latest book to review for the Catholic Company. I chose this book because I thought it would be a fun book to incorporate into our bible studies. I was right...(Go here to read more...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Review: Catholic Update to Communion

I recently did a review of the book Catholic Update to Communion for the Catholic Company. Here is a little snippet of that review:

"For those of us who are well-versed in Church Teaching, many of the points in “Catholic Update Guide to Communion” are going to be a review of what we all ready know – and that’s a good thing. :) It is good to go back and remind ourselves of the richness of our faith and the Sacraments, especially the gift of the Eucharist.
For those of us who are not well-versed in Church Teaching,..." Go here to read more...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The New Evangelization, part 3: The Focus of the New Evangelization

Here is the 3rd part to the "Disciples Called to Witness, the New Evangelization" document written by the USCCB.  This post is my thoughts on part 3, and I am attaching Justin Stroh's mini-podcasts which are great in that they are short and explains the bishop's intent in easy terms.

Part III:  The Focus of the New Evangelization

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”  Mt 11:28

Pope Benedict XVI describes some of the contemporary situation confronting modern man, including secularism, globalization, and social communications, the economy, scientific and technological research, and civic and political life.   Many of these societal realities are positive, but when taken to the extreme, they can lead to disillusionment and weariness.

This is where the New Evangelization comes in.  As fellow Christians, as kindred spirits in the Church, it is our mission to continue to be evangelized, refreshed, and to seek out the hope that is in our heavenly leader, Jesus Christ.  In this way, we can fully share our faith with others, especially those burdened and fallen away from the table of the Lord for one reason or another.  Ask yourself a few questions:  How do I touch people’s lives?  How do I interact with others in a spirit of love?  How do I explain how the faith addresses modern concerns?  Interaction with those who are away from the Lord is part and particle of the New Evangelization, but we must do so with love and respect.  

Again, the 3rd commandment is discussed as part of the key of evangelization.  Secularism has led to a diminishing recognition of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a holy day of prayer and rest.  It is through the full participation of the Mass that those burdened with life’s trials and tribulations can find some solace.  “Our hope is not in a program or philosophy, but in the person of Jesus Christ, who comforts those who are burdened.”

As examples of the New Evangelization, before we begin to talk to others about our faith and desire for their return, we must be examples of what that Christian life is.  How do we spend our Sundays?  How do we dress for Mass?  We certainly need to be refreshed in our own faith journey in order to share it with others.
In my previous post, “What does it mean to be TOO Catholic” I list several things that I practice as a Catholic; some have been labeled as TOO Catholic to me directly.  Several dear readers responded to this post and all were appreciative for the share.  Some wish they could be better, but all sounded passionate about their Catholic faith.  YES! 

So this is where the New Evangelization comes in!

Friday, July 6, 2012

What does it mean to be TOO Catholic??

Are you TOO Catholic if you want to lead a group of mothers (not all are Catholic) at a Catholic parish function in the Hail Mary?

Are you TOO Catholic if you want to attend Mass during the week?

Are you TOO Catholic if you want to pray morning, noon, and night each day?

Are you TOO Catholic if you have a crucifix in every room of your house and one in your office?

Are you TOO Catholic if you believe the teachings of the Catholic Church are to be upheld and not optional?

Are you TOO Catholic if you believe that life at all stages is precious and should be respected and protected?

Are you TOO Catholic if you wear a scapular?

Are you TOO Catholic if you sing liturgical hymns outside of Church?

Are you TOO Catholic if you make decisions on a daily basis based on being a Catholic?

Are you TOO Catholic if you think about God and Jesus every day and being a Catholic?

Are you TOO Catholic if you consider yourself a FAN of the Pope and follow him in the news.

Are you TOO Catholic if you buy Catholic books, read Catholic books, and attend only Catholic studies?

Are you TOO Catholic if you think Catholic hospitals and health care facilities should have a strong identity?

Are you TOO Catholic if you think Catholic schools and universities should have strong Catholic leadership?

Are you TOO Catholic if you think all Catholic schools should teach with materials true to the Magisterium?

Are you TOO Catholic if you buy Catholic t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, and jewelry.....and WEAR THEM??

Are you TOO Catholic if you teach and guide as a parent your children in the ways of the Church daily?

Are YOU too Catholic??

Monday, June 25, 2012

The New Evangelization, Part 2: Historical Context

Justin Stroh's second part of his 6-part series of mini podcasts talks about the three popes who saw and initiated the New Evangelization.

Pope Paul VI:  Ten years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, in 1975 he issued Evangelii Nuntiandi in which the pope stated that the Church "exists in order to evangelize, that is to say in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious Resurrection."  Pope Paul VI explained the process of evangelizing and that there were two groups that needed to be focused on, those of whom haven't have never heard the Gospel (ad gentes) and those faithful who have left or are no longer practicing the faith.

Bl. Pope John Paul II:   "No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples."  Blessed John Paul made evangelization the focus of his pontificate saying,

"Evangelization occurs most effectively when the Church engages the culture of those she evangelizes."  He wrote an encyclical Redemptoris Missio, in which he provided the three circumstances in evangelization:  (1) preaching to those who have never heard the Gospel (ad gentes), (2) preaching to those Christian communities where the Church is present and who have fevor in their faith, and (3) preaching to those Christian communities who have ancient roots but who "have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider htemselves members of hte Church and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel......"

For Bl. John Paul II, One's vocation to holiness is strengthened through the gifts of the Church, namely the grace of hte sacraments, prayer, Scripture, and the Church's teachings and traditions.

Pope Benedict XVI and the future of the New Evangelization:
Secularization has caused a serious crisis for the faithful, not to mention how much harder it will be to evangelize those still waiting to learn of the Gospel.  In 2010, the pontiff established the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization to help promote the unchanged mission of the Church against the cultural secularization confronting man and the Church.  The pope noted that the Church is being challenged by "an abandonment of the faith -- a phenomenon progressively more manifest in societies and cultures which for centuries seemed to be permeated by the Gospel.  The New Evangelization is not a single formula meant for all circumstances; first and foremost, it is a personal "profound experience of God."

Friday, June 22, 2012

The New Evangelization, part 1

Justin Stroh, is an amazing Catholic speaker and podcaster that I listen to on one of my favorite podcasts, Catholic Vitamins.  His ministry is focusing on "The New Evangelization" of the Catholic Church.  Right now he is discussing the recently released document from the USCCB called, "Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization"  In this document, which is only 26 pages, the bishops cover the condition of the Catholic Church today and what we need to do to get her back up to where she should be with her believers.

For starters, in our current situation only 23% of Catholics attend Mass each week, below are the many reasons why the other 77% didn't.  Surprisingly, it's not due to current controversial issues.

One of the most important thing we need to be doing as Catholic parents is spending time with our families, especially and most importantly on Sundays!  You can listen to Justin's mini podcast, part 1/6 here

Friday, June 1, 2012

The New Evangelization Inside the family

A few years ago I was listening to some program or reading a book about evangelizing within the Church and I discovered that it had never occurred to me to tell my kids why I'm Catholic!  Recently, at our usual coffee clutch, I brought this up to the other moms and found that they also didn't realize this and had not shared with their own children their story. 

As parents, it is our responsibility to pass on the faith to our children.  We can send them to Catholic schools, make sure they get to their CCD classes and youth programs,  so they can hear all about the faith, all about Jesus, all about the sacraments, but if we don't live the faith at home these efforts are just base. If they don't understand why their own parents are Catholic, we risk losing them to their peers and outside world. In sharing with them about our own faith journeys parents can help their children better understand their own faith. 

Whether you are a homeschooling family or not, there are programs available to Catholic families that are orthodox, clear, and completely user friendly for any family to follow as a supplements to their other school activities and studies. I hate to use the word supplement here since we are deemed the primary educators of our children by God Himself, but in our society this is just not the way we are conditioned, so supplemental activities for the family to live out their faith is how it works nowadays.  But that's ok, however we can bring home the Catholic Church to our families and children that's how we can evangelize without our domestic churches.

During the next few weeks, I'm going to ask Allison to help me bring resources for the families to use for their internal evangelization for the summer.  I am hoping you will find these resources helpful and fruitful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Share First Communion stories and get into a discussion!!

As many of my readers may know, I am a book reviewer with  Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.   They have asked their blogger friends to share some news about their current promotions.  Here they are:

1) One of our affiliate sites, First Communion Stories ( is running its yearly "First Communion Story" contest.

Readers can submit a story about making their First Holy Communion. The contest started May 1 and is accepting submissions until May 21.

Then from May 22-29, readers can vote on their favorite. The first place winner of our contest will receive a $100 gift certificate to Aquinas and More. 2 Runner-ups will be given a $25 gift certificate.

2) Another of our affiliate sites, Catholic Book Discussion ( is gearing up for its annual Catholic Summer Reading Program.

Catholic Book Discussion is a forum to discuss Catholic books, and one of the threads is currently soliciting suggestions from participants for summer reading. You can join the discussion with your book ideas. We would really like to have more input from readers to help make this year's 2012 Summer Reading Program the best yet.

Being authentically Catholic is important to us at Aquinas and More. We wish to help grow a Catholic culture in our society. Talking about the Eucharist through our First Communion Stories site, and engaging in Catholic reading, learning, and discussion through our Catholic Book Discussion site are two ways we can do that online. 

Check these places out!!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Praying Scripture of our Children ~ 4 Book recommendations

Praying Scripture is praying God's words... God's promises... back to Him.

As we approach the end of our 6th year of homeschooling, I am encouraging my 4 students to finish strong! And I am doing so today using this verse...

Dear Lord, may ___ be strong and courageous and get to work. May ___ not be frightened by the size of the task, for You, Lord God are with ____; You will not forsake ___. You will see that everything is finished correctly. (1 Chronicles 28:20)
There are times when every parent needs to find a quiet prayer spot to bring to the Lord the needs and worries on their hearts in regards to their children. These are 4 of the books I go to for those prompts and to remind myself of His need for trust...

A book like this, beside a bed, is a wonderful reminder each night to pray for our children. What are your favorite prayers or resources for praying for your children? Please share them in the comments.

Also, let the children know. In a one-on-one moment, we should tell them we are praying for them and what scripture we are using .... in hopes that the verse will become meaningful to them.
In +JMJ+, Allison at

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Consuming Fire: A book review for Tiber River

At first glance Consuming Fire is a big book, but of course the Old Testament is a rather large compilation of books, 46 depending on which bible you have. Dr. Duggan has updated and revised this book from its original twenty years ago to include a total reworking of the Pentateuch, the Deuteronimistic history, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles for the history of the texts and further examination as more research and understanding evolved during these twenty years.

What the book lacks in brevity, it is rich in content and details worthy of a class to accompany the reader.  I wouldn't recommend this as an individual study unless the individual is a self-starter.  I found myself taking notes, rereading chapters and certainly gleaning much from Dr. Duggan's opinions and facts. 
This is not a Catholic book, it is what it is, a Christian guide, Duggan pays respect to the Jewish heritage by referring to the  B.C.and A.D.  periods with the recent adaptation of B.C.E. (before common era) and C.E. (common era) of which I was not fond of and if its called a Christian guide, it should recognize Christ in the time eras.  Another revision Dr. Duggan is YHWH the tetragrammation for God or Lord in the Hebrew bible, however the Vatican in 2008 denounced this use in all liturgy and liturgial music citing that:  "such pronounciation violates long-standing Jewish tradition."  So the Jewish community doesn't use this term or title.  Again, this is not a Catholic editon, but if Dr. Duggan is using this terminology in respect to the Jewish, it seems a bit outdated.
Irregardless to the above thoughts, the text is full of historic details and maps for each book that will prove to be a great resource in bible reading.  I do recommend this as a textbook for a class.
I wrote this review of The Consuming Fire for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts.
Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.
I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: Lectio Divina: The Sacraments in Scripture

Lectio Divina has been a desire of my heart for several years now, but with kids and a busy household, I've found it trying to say the least.  Knowing that Stephen J. Binz has written wonderful books about our Catholic faith with endorsements from the likes of newly promoted Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Wuerl of DC, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, also the Chair of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, I found his book "Lectio Divina Bible Study: Sacraments" unavoidable.

Lectio Divina is the form of prayer that consists of reading scripture slowly and meditating upon the Words grasping the meaning personal to the reader. Listening and understanding God's message during a time spent with Him reading the scriptures is a beautiful way of bonding with God.  It takes some dedication and direction for those of us in whirlwind busy households, but under Mr. Binz's guidance, it's easy!  I personally enjoyed and gleaned much from his reflections

The book is broken down into six sections from the Sacramental work of Christ in His Church, the Initiation Sacraments, Eucharist, the sacraments of healing and the sacraments at the Service of Communion.  In each section, Mr. Binz  selects biblical reading pertinent to the topic, then breaks down the scripture into these five sections of contemplation: Listening, Understanding, Reflecting, praying, and acting.  I'm so glad he encourages the reader to mark up the pages as much as we need; going through this book, I used 2 highlighters!

Lectio Divina Bible Study: The Sacraments in Scripture" is a great addition to one's library and it is geared toward individual AND group study, so you can bring this to your parish and study it as a group!  I fully endorse and encourage my readers to get this book and use it, it will be a treasure for your spiritual life.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Lectio Divina Bible Study: Sacraments. They are also a great source for a baptism gifts or first communion gifts.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Triduum and some Stations of the Cross thoughts

Stations of the Cross meditation
It’s Good Friday, we read the Stations of the Cross together as a family, except our middle child whom I discovered asleep.  I was disappointed, but didn’t disturb her.  We read from the Lent 2012 edition from The Magnificat, what a beautiful interpretation, with Genesis references.   We read it at 3:00pm this afternoon with everything off and we traded off reading each station.  Then my knight read the Passion account from John and we discussed how the gospels differ.  I still like Luke’s version for the story of the two thieves and the forgiveness at the last minute.  Forgiveness at the last possible moment of life on this side of eternity is mercy to an amazingly inconceivable degree; only divinely instituted, taught, and expected from us.  It touches me completely and gives me, this lowly sinner, hope. 

As Jesus sets out on His Passion, He is not alone; he is together with His Father.  Christ prays constantly, looking to His father throughout His short life, never alone.   As he meets His mother, Mary, He sees the complete sorrow and helpless she is.  Our sins may have been done in the darkness of our hearts, but they are revealed in the light and effects other all around us.  Christ is the sacrificial lamb, pure and without sin, but for us we are not, we are as black as night and stand guilty for sins we cannot even recognize at times.  When will that knowledge be widespread?  When will we realize that our sins are relational, that they may be done in secret, but they hurt so many…some we do not even know?  We are never alone, never.

Simon, walking along the road in the city, minding his own business, gets caught up in the passion scene for a cameo role.  He accepts Christ’s cross and helps Him along his treatous journey to Golgotha.  We don’t hear how long he carries Christ’s cross, but we know that he does.  Who is Simon?  Why was he chosen to do this task that goes down in salvation history?  An interesting spin on this is that Simon doesn’t carry a basket of fruit for an old lady across the street, he isn’t asked to run a message to another, it’s not too plain a thing at all.  Simon is asked to help Christ…..THE Christ.  Does he know this and still he says yes.  He stops his own daily life for another, for Christ!  So this small effort, this small deed put upon his becomes a forever incident. Not to ever be an insignificant moment.

Oh Veronica!  I have longed to write about her!  Her moment in salvation history touches me to the core!  Where did she come from? She knew him and she loved him and wanted to care for him.  I feel for her and feel the energy of her story.  I don’t know if she really existed or whether this instance really happened, but if I were there, it would have happened!  I would have been so overwhelmed that I would push through the crowds and shove soldiers aside to tend to Him. There are injustices everywhere, many that cannot be prevented, and some we dare not approach, we have a complacent nature, don’t we?  Only a precious few dare take a stand and be noticed.  This is the story of Veronica, she dared.   She dared to love, show faith, and allegiance in the name of truth and justice!  

Speaking of love, what kind of emotion are we talking about here?  Love, God’s gift to man apart from all other creation, is not conditional, and here is the perfect and inconceivable example of it.  There is no other way to explain or demonstrate perfect unconditional love that sacrificing the God-man, son of God the creator.  If it is conditional, it isn’t really love.  Love knows no set of conditions, no set of rules, no set of demands of another, does it?  Did God make Jesus become human, suffer and die, to make us Love Him?  Everything He did, he did out of perfect love for His children.  Love for us and mercy towards us.  As the creator of the universe, I find it tremendously difficult to think God needs us…he doesn’t.  But he wants us, that is the difference.  Praise God, He WANTS us and not needs us.  Think about this for a moment, we are wanted!

When I think of this, I can’t help but think about those that have turned their backs to Him.  Knowing Him and all that he has done for us throughout the history of the world, backs are turned away for Him.  I find this so hard to believe.  Yes, I have felt His presence in my life, heard His answers as plain as day to questions I have asked.  But still, I pine for Him and His reassurance that I’m ok in His book.  I truly believe in God, I believe in Christ’s passion and death, and resurrection.  I firmly believe in what He did for us and why.
God WANTS us; no He doesn’t need us at all.  He loves us and wants us to be with him forever.  He has proven that by sending Jesus, his only begotten son, to become one of us, be persecuted by us and die. Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught lessons so perfectly, knew how to speak to us that we would have to study His words and understand them on our own terms.  Only a perfection, a creator larger and out of our conception would demonstrate these things.  I am in awe when I read the Bible, when I see the correlation between the old and the new testaments. It’s amazing that we have a God that loves us so much as to demonstrate it in such a way that brings us to our knees.

Tonight, I am on my knees, in prayer, in awe, in complete useless, sinful me.   Thank you dear amazing Jesus, thank you God for wanting us!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week 2012, how are you going to die to self?

This is Holy Week; the last lap of the Lenten marathon in our effort to go deeper in our faith,  grow stronger in our spirituality, and to get closer to God; now Christ’s passion is upon us.  We have been talking about death, an aspect of our lives that we tend to avoid at all costs for the most part.  If you have been attending the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during these weeks, you relive the passion of Christ and if you have gone more than once, you relive it over and over.  Does it get any better, easier to hear?  Do you picture this event as a bystander in the crowd?  Have you ever tried to put yourself in the place of Mary, watching her son in the midst of His passion?  Could you bare it any better than she?  How about Veronica, have you ever thought about her role?  I totally admire her!  Here on the road to Christ’s crucifixion, she fights through the angry crowd, probably shoves a guard or two getting to Jesus to wipe His face.  Her love and devotion, mourning and terror overwhelm her to the point of action!  How many of us have had a surge of emotion overwhelm us to the point of action?  In the middle of Wal-Mart 17 years ago, my knight, son and I were shopping; I left them with our infant daughter to go across the store for diapers.  From a good distance as I was returning to them, I saw our infant in her carrier in the middle of the aisle with no one guarding her, instantly I began running towards her.  I know I bumped several people and moved a few carts (shoved??) aside to get to my helpless, unguarded infant.  When I got there, both my knight and son were down the other end of the aisle immersed in a toy or something and totally not watching (guarding) the baby!!  I was not to be argued with at that moment and they knew it.  I took control of the situation immediately and from that point on, believe me!

Not so for our beloved Mary, she had no control over this situation; she had to let it happen…”Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me (or for this instance Jesus) according to thy word.”  She was given the heads up long ago about this day by Simone in the temple, but could this day be given to someone else?  Could she have another day with him?  God’s plan must be carried out and Jesus knew that and would have fought her about it anyhow.  The Incarnate knew His purpose, knew His role, and knew that this day was coming and was preparing for it.  Mary was totally helpless at that moment of time as she basically was her entire life; her faith was strong enough to carry out the plans of God for her.  As a human, though, it could not have been any easier, however.  Oh no!  Jesus was her life; He was her child for 33 years, which is a very long time to be so bonded to have it taken away.  Yes, he was in ministry for three years and she probably didn’t see Him much, but she knew He was still her son near or far away.  I am the mother of a son who lives over two hours away, I don’t get to see him but a few times a year now, but I know he is there and still my son.

During this week, we will be talking more and more about the Passion of Christ, how he died so cruelly at the hands of an angry, zealous crowd.  There will be no happy talk, just death which is way too hard to talk about much less contemplate it for an entire week, don’t you think?  But let’s put another spin on it for a moment.  When we talk about fasting, almsgiving, and prayer; basically we are talking about dying to ourselves.  Giving up things that we take for granted and enjoy like giving up chocolate, TV, or the computer.  Fasting from meat on Fridays, abstaining from eating an hour before and after Mass each day we attend Mass, donating to the poor, giving to the rice bowl, or just making an extra offering to the basket each week during Lent, praying more, finding a devotional to follow during Lent; which is a popular activity here at the Pillar household.  All these activities are about dying to self.  Dying to our own selfish desires may take some thought, but we can do it.  Just think about some of the favorite things that you enjoy; a hot shower, that beloved morning cup of coffee, dessert after a good meal, going to the mall, spending an hour or more on Facebook, playing games on your smartphone or online; how about letting others in line first, not taking the last cookie in the jar, saving the last swig of milk in the frig for the next person , purchasing something new for someone else instead of yourself are all small things, but enough to make a difference for this week.

Take the challenge to die to selfish things this week, think before you do something and see if possibly this could be done for someone else instead.  Possibly attend Mass for someone else, offering the needs and concerns of another for that hour before our Lord?  There is a beauty in giving, giving it up, and offering an activity for others.  Mary gave her entire life to God and His plan.  In studying the lives of the saints, they too gave so much of their lives to the service of others and especially to God.  They returned their sufferings and trials to God knowing that in this dying to themselves they were blessing God and others around them.  In our dying to ourselves, we are not working solely or in a solitary moment, but with and for those around us.  Nothing we do is a solitary act, we are never alone, we affect others in one way or another…always.

Some say it’s too late to get it right since they failed to accomplish what they planned to do during these 40 days; but they are wrong!   Many families will make this week as quiet and solemn as possible to allow contemplation and prayer.  We can all make a difference one day at a time, one act at a time, one moment at a time.   

This is my prayer for my family and for you as well.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Lent, Are you tending the garden?

During Lent, something is happening that most garden-variety Catholics wouldn't even have on their radar-screen. A small budding seed that grew somewhere quietly is being fed, nurtured, and mentored right in their own backyard. As with most Catholics attending Mass on Sundays, they only see this garden's growth with the calling of the names during Lent, the special blessings and sending forth prior to communion. Maybe even then, it is just an added attraction that extends the Mass as does an occasional baptism. But, there is more to this and each and every Catholic sitting in the pews has a part in this process.
The RCIA program is not just for newcomers, it is meant for all Catholics. Like planting a garden, the selection of the seeds, their needs of sunlight, water, good soil are important for a successful harvest. Careful planning of what, when, and how to plant the seeds; even preserving the new seeds for the next season are considered. Preparation is key to this process and without help from family members, friends, it would be a lonely and even daunting job.
As with a spring garden, those in the RCIA programs in your parish are experiencing new growth, too. They are studying, being nurtured, taking classes, and they need our prayers. During Lent, they are coming to the end of their journey into the Catholic Church. The goal, in sight, is a celebration that takes preparation. How they got here, what brought them to this place and who will help them during and after they arrive is Catholic-based. The seed has come to the surface, desiring more sunlight, water, and fertile soil to continue to grow and blossom.
Get out your watering cans, put your garden gloves on, and see where you can be a part of this for someone. Yes, pray for them, smile at them, and speak to them encouraging words. Be a welcoming face in the new community that they so desire to be a part of.
This is what Lent is all about, yes get rid of the candy for 40 days, stop snacking for a few weeks, pray the rosary and stations of the Cross, most definitely! But, remember the newcomers, remember them spiritually, physically, and be a support for them during your Lenten journey this year. This is a level far deeper than giving up candy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And, always have a way out that is different from the way in.

Anthony Horton, 43 didn't make a lot of money, drive a fancy car, own an amazingly huge home with a beach cottage in the next state.  He didn't have a loving wife and family and he didn't have a desire to achieve greatness in terms believable only to those having more than he.  Anthony was a simple and kind man with a heart, a mind, and a soul.......and something to share.  Too bad he perished in a subway fire on Sunday.

Mr. Horton lived in the subway tunnels of NYC where he found his solace and peace.  He had a reputation of being a gentle kind man, a prolific artist, and loved music.  He shared his story with a lady who eventually helped him write a book, "Pitch Black."  In it he shared what he learned living in the tunnels, where he found his creativity and some rules of thumb that we can all take a lesson from, including:
  • Always carry a light.
  • Anything you need can be found in the garbage.
  • Always have more than one spot.
  • And, always have a way out that is different from the way in.
The Church teaches and I believe that God is in everyone; He was truly in Anthony as well.  Yes, he had problems, don't we all in one degree or another.  But in these few rules of thumb in his book, I see God's presence and love in this man's life.

God is truly in all of us, so during Lent many of us make great plans to be closer to Him.  In the process, we  test the body's will power, decision making, and discipline of time management.  All in all, we want to be different, more of something and less of something else.  So we make plans each Lenten season reading books and finding inspiration for our journey.  Making plans for myself, I've been inspired by Mr. Horton and his rules of thumb:

- "Always carry a light." Carrying the light of Christ with me through the tunnels of life, finding the good in everyone and every situation that come into my path.  I'm not the nicest person at times and this needs to change. 

-"Anything you need can be found in the garbage".  Knowing that there are adversities everywhere, that I do make mistakes, but through Christ's love for me I can make a garbage moment or attitude better through prayer and faith in Him; I'll make that my mission of change.

-"Always have more than one spot."  There are more places to be than just in the present, remembering where we have come from and knowing how we got here, being humbled by the hard lessons of life, can continue to change our hearts and minds.  The pain of a situation is the strengthening of the character for the future.  The martyrs gave us that lesson through the ages. I'm not just in the here and now, I'm a compilation of where I have been and where I am headed.  We are not promised tomorrow, nor a rose garden, but we are promised the hope of something far better before us.  Christ is our hope, and I must keep my eyes on Him in whatever or where ever I am.

-"And, always have a way out that is different from the way in."  At the end of this season of Lent, will I have a different outlook than I did when I entered?  Will I come out a better person, a changed person?  That is my goal, just like the paralyzed man who wanted to see Jesus so bad that his friends made a hole in the roof for him to be lowered.  Through his faith and determination, he was cured and instead of leaving the same way he came in, he went out the front door, forever changed.

Changed forever, ending up much different, closer to God, a better person, than when I came into Lent.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Some thoughts about Lent

Driving along in town to pick up our daughter in the new Catholic high school I got to thinking about Ash Wednesday and what it means to be repentant.  The ancients would put on sack cloths, roll around in ashes and walk through town to prove that they are a sorry sinner.  Since doing that in modern times would cause more serious result, what can I do this year that would be different and more in keeping with my personal relationship with God.  I surprised myself one afternoon while driving home with carpool students in the car. I always ask them 2 questions after they're settled in and we are on the road home, "What was the best thing that happened and what was the worse thing that happened to you today."  I give them the choice of which question they want first, but they have to have an answer for both.  One day I asked the kids what they were doing for Lent?  They all said what they were giving up, candy, chocolate, soda, etc, then I said, "OK that's your physical sacrifice, what about your spiritual sacrifice?  What are you going to do to help get closer to Jesus?  I don't remember the specifics, but they were not surprised or taken back by my question, they knew what I was talking about and knew they needed to do something spiritually during Lent as well.  Nice.

In the past, I dreaded Lent, especially right after Christmas thinking about this dark season of sin and  penance, it certainly was not a fun time to look forward to. During advent we are waiting, preparing a place in our lives for Jesus, appreciating the amazing gift of the incarnation to redeem the world.  It's a miracle, a gift, the promised answer to prayers of old!  During Lent, the time is spent as a time of examination, reevaluation, and sin.  Pain, sorrow, torture and death consume the readings and the Friday stations of the cross are times of great sadness and remorse.  Definitely, Christmas is more fun and pleasurable to live through!

OK, so here we are again with Lent upon us and there is no getting away from it.  Absolutely, anyone can get through it without fasting, surely there are those who do not pay any attention to this solemn time of year, but what do they gain? Without a time of looking inward into our deepest of deep selves and working out some problem areas that we don't think we need to change any other time of the year, we would not make any progress with our relationship with God!  If we didn't stop to ask that question that made Mayor Koch, of NYC famous: "How am I doing?" we wouldn't have to look inward for an answer.

So in recent years, I have come to welcome this season as a good time, as I stop to roll up my sleeves in the face of my sinful ways. Each year is a new opportunity; I may still be working on the same issues, though, but still taking time to chisel away a small part of the ways that hurt our Lord and stain my soul.  Each year a smaller part of what makes me build walls melts away in prayer and mortification.  Each year, I get a chance to tell God I am so sorry and I want to change.  Each year, I get a chance to do this all over again, but each year I am that much closer to God. 

What am I going to do different this year?  Meditation seems to be the buzz word along with the Divine Mercy chaplet and the Jesus prayer.  Making time for Jesus in these prayers and quiet time along with the mantra, "Eat to live, not live to eat." No snacking and drinking nothing but on cup of coffee in the morning only. Physical and spiritual fasting, check!

How about you?  Care to share??  I'm interested!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome! Part II

Welcome to the Contibutor Pages!

 If you would like to be a regular contributor to these pages, please respond with comments on this post mentioning your Catholic blog address and your email address.

For the time being, we have decided not to create a schedule for posting. 
To give everyone a chance to post, here are a few guidelines:

1. Be brief!  We are happy to help you increase traffic on your site!  Please post only 1-2 photos and a brief summary of your post,  with a link to your complete blog post. 
You can include the following: "Read the entire story at {hyperlinked blogname}" 
(The hyperlink should be the address of the full post on your blog, not the general blog address that links to your home page.)
With shorter entries, readers can skim through many more posts on the one Contributor page and will refer to individual blogs for more information...increasing traffic to your site!

2. Please post only ONCE a week in your category* to give others a chance! We plan to have special link-ups on specific Feastdays, so that everyone can share their Feastday posts, particularly on the  Homeschooling, Crafts, Traditions and the Liturgical Calendar contributor page. 
*If your category is Catechism/Apologetics or Scripture, Sunday Readings and Homilies, you can probably link more often, as there are fewer contributors in these categories.

3.  Please have at least one clearly visible Catholic Bloggers Network button on the home page of your blog.  If you'd like to include a link at the end of the post on your blog, we'd appreciate that too!

4. Try to include a signature biography with a photo (or blog button). 
Until we figure out how to make a template for these, this is mine. 

I'm Monica and I am a wife, a Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter and I think it’s cool to be Catholic!  My husband and I founded a Catholic apostolate called Arma Dei (Armor of God; Ephesians 6:13-17) creating solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith. I like to post about these family-building and Faith-centred crafts on ! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012


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