Crazy mixed up sound bites meet pastoral reality

RealitycheckaheadThe headline on Google news woke me up… “Church Changes Stance on Gays.” Then there was this one, “The Church Says It’s OK To Be Gay, Sort Of.”  With no news outlet willing to to be outdone, this doozy read: “Vatican stuns Catholic world with greater openness towards gays and lesbians.

The sound bites are driving me insane. Earlier today I regretted not having time to write something about the topic, now I am glad that I didn’t. So much noise!

Without a doubt, the “relatio,” which is a working document that has caused a stir. That is almost too bad, because it feels like things which need to be slowly read and understood, but are instead gulped down and regurgitated as this news.

Reactions from all sides of the spectrum are revealing. Apparently some of my more traditional sisters and brothers felt “betrayed.” More than one cardinal or bishop felt like things were not well represented by the relatio document. Then of course the news media with its “Hay hay, yay yay, to be Catholic and gay is suddenly okay!

Personally, I liked Continue reading

Unpacking. A guest post by Sue Karpovich

Man covered in cardboard boxes - moving conceptUnpacking.

It’s been a chaotic and challenging few weeks since our relocation to our new home. We lived in NY for 20+ years. That’s a lot of friendships, familiarity, and family to leave behind. Now, it’s just the two of us for the first time in nearly 34 years of marriage. We no longer have five children and all their activities to lead us into new friendships. We’re on our own…in more ways than one.

if-you-dont-feel-like-unpacking-on-your-own-a-local-moving-and-stora_16001126_33773_1_7045639_500-320x200We’ve managed to get the living room functional and the kitchen, too. Our office spaces, now separate in this new house, are up and running and our master bedroom is pretty organized. We can sleep, dress, work, cook, eat, and even relax (when we’re not unpacking boxes!!). We have a roof over our head, food on our table, and each other. We are doing better than many and for that we are grateful.

We’ve unpacked our necessities and are now moving toward those things that make this house feel like home. Pictures of our kids and grandkids. Scrapbooks. Familiar, favorite artwork. We’re building shelves and getting organized. But we’re missing Continue reading

The Forced Gift – a guest post by Linda Berkery

MumsAlong with common autumn tasks — dragging out warm clothes, cleaning windows, planting mums — is my personal fall ritual. Every October, I review the year through photos and journals. Then, in the spirit of St. Therese, whose feast day starts my birthday month, I pray for one simple word to focus the days ahead. “Gracious”, “delight”, and “patience” once served.

The word “downsize” rises in my mind. It doesn’t take long to gaze through that lens.

I notice two long bathrobes hanging behind my bedroom door. Both are mine. One is a faded cobalt blue, threadbare on the cuffs and neck, but comfortable. I bought that robe many years ago to wear after giving birth. Memories fill the torn pockets, along with tissues that dried tears, a penny from the stairs, and ink stains.

The second robe, a lovely cranberry shade with satin braids at the collar, looks perfect. But it remains a stunning symbol of selfishness — a reminder of a motherhood tantrum.

160518-M46644LOne October when my children were young, my birthday fell on a Sunday. I anticipated homemade cards, sweets, and a gift — something small, but wrapped with love. I imagined a family party and chocolate cake after a nice Sunday brunch. But as the morning progressed and nothing was prepared, I reluctantly began cooking.

After lunch I pulled out a bit of ice-cream left at the bottom of a container, and jammed a candle in it. The children sang. I pouted. There should be cake. Why did I have to plan a celebration for myself?

I smiled at the gluey card from my little ones, the effort organized by my nine year old. There was nothing from my husband — he simply forgot. This was a new experience for me — my Continue reading

The Rosary

91M-xFSA0KL._SX466_October is designated as the month of the Rosary. Does this idea make you want to roll your eyes? With images of a kind of quaint piety tumbling through your imagination. Perhaps you are reminded of times when old grandmothers and other elderly women were seen in church, clutching their beads.

As for me, I am very sentimental about the Rosary, but not in a way that is pious or saccharine. It was 25 years ago, in late September/early October, that I, as a young woman, clutched a rosary in my hand and made my way back to Church. Anyway, that is a story that I told before, and I won’t retell it today.

As this month begins this year, it is impossible for me Continue reading

Figuring what out? A book review.

Box-of-Paper-Facial-Tissues-with-Pile-of-Used-Tissues-190Snot. Prodigious amounts of snot, buckets of it, really. Honestly, I can’t ever remember needing to purchase an accessory for reading, but this book was different, and boxes of tissue – boxes, not one box, were de rigueur. Members of my family could tell where I had been reading. No matter the location, bed, chair, or sofa, living room or family room, many telltale piles of used, crumpled up tissues would start springing up, like little mountains of white fluffy muck. It was unprecedented. All from reading a book – all from reading this particular book.

At this point you are confused, aren’t you? You look down and to the right, and you see an image of a book with the word, well, an approximation of the word sh!t in it. Then the opening paragraph is all about snot. What the h-e-double hockey sticks is going on?! This is a faith inspired blog, isn’t it? Well, the Catholic faith is deeply incarnational, meaning things like sh!t and snot are unavoidable. Sorry. Tune out if you wish, but take note – you will be missing out if you do. And who wants to miss out on sh!t like this?

Figureshitout-book-kindleFiguring Sh!t Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival, by Amy Biancolli (Behler Publications, 245 pp, $15.95, also available on Kindle) is a highly unusual Continue reading

Where I am today…

Today I am over at Margaret Felice’s blog, talking about the influence of one particular hymn on my life… I was not always the #churchnerd you see today. Of course I believed in and loved God, but I was terrified of God, and totally turned off to organized religion. But…

Anyway, what a privilege to be amongst those who are guest blogging as part of Margaret’s “How Can I Keep From Singing” series.

Rejoice, arise, and persevere – a Marian reflection

Boundless Love - Janet McKenzie©

Boundless Love – Janet McKenzie©

Today on September 8, many of us celebrate the Nativity of Mary – or more simply put, Mary’s birthday.

Now there are those who scoff at Mary, or who at least scoff at the devotion that many of us show to her as Mother of God. Once a long time ago, the woman who did my dry cleaning, and with whom I had exchanged many a God bless you, freaked out upon hearing that I was Catholic. She predicted hell and damnation for me because in her mind, I worshiped Mary, and not God – which is not true. Mary is many things, but she is not God.

While many Christians have a devotion to Mary, there are Catholics who also have their own Mary issues, even if they may be more quiet about them. As you can tell, I am not one of them!

I always hold up the thought that we should not always Continue reading