Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Glorious Season of spring!

The Glorious Season of spring

The basket by the front door, which had previously held the mittens, scarves and hats, now contains knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and bike gloves. It is a glorious time of year—gone are the snow, ice and frigid weather. Here are the fragrances of blossoms, luscious spring breezes and sunshine that warms our once chilled bones.

It is a good thing we can now stretch our legs with our youngsters outdoors, because our wracked brains have run out of indoor activity ideas! It has been a long winter, hasn't it?

New and adventurous activities are in store in this happy season. While sprucing up our yards we can recruit the help of our children, making a game out of raking leaves and gathering the branches that have fallen during the winter storms.

Nothing can quite compare to the fun of parent-child projects like planting pansies and petunias together. And, if you are so inclined and have the space for it, planting a vegetable garden is a great learning experience. It is very rewarding watching the flowers and vegetables you've planted together, mature and bloom. Come summer, how sweet it will be to harvest and gather the vegetables and have them fresh for dinner that very evening.

Walks in the fresh air are therapeutic as well as refreshing. It also gets us away from the never-ending household chores and out under God’s beautiful sky. It can be a time for deep thoughts and prayerful inspiration or just a lot of fun in a lighthearted stroll with our children, collecting rocks and flowers, kicking sand, holding hands and telling jokes.

Being out and about at this time of year, we are more likely to come into contact with neighbors and friends, sharing waves and smiles.
So, as the bright yellow blooms of forsythia brighten our days and the sweet smell of lilacs fill the air; let’s take the time with our little ones, letting things go for awhile, cherishing or children’s smiles as they delight in our time spent together in springtime fun.

(previously published in the Catholic Transcript on March 31, 1995 - interesting...published twelve years ago to the day!)

Divine Mercy Novena: second day

This is a novena you may start now (the first day is in yesterday's post) or nine days before Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter Sunday) or at any time of the year.

Second Day:
Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard—upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What is Divine Mercy?

Divine Mercy Sunday
Divine Mercy Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Easter season. It was named by Pope John Paul II at the canonization of St. Maria Faustina on April 30, 2000, and then officially decreed by the Vatican.

Divine Mercy Sunday can be seen as the convergence of all the mysteries and graces of Holy Week and Easter Week. It is like a multi-exposure photograph of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Week. Or we can think of it as a converging lens that focuses the light of the Risen Christ into a radiant beam of merciful love and grace for the whole world.

In fact, Jesus revealed in various revelations to St. Faustina that it was His desire that we celebrate this special feast. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary, 699)

Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina His desire to literally flood us with His graces on that day. Just consider each of the promises and desires that He expressed about Mercy Sunday, which are recorded in the main passage of the Diary — passage 699 — about Mercy Sunday:

On that day the very depths of My tender Mercy are open.

I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon these souls who approach the Fount of My mercy [the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist].

The soul that will go to Confession [beforehand] and receive Holy Communion [on that day] shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.

On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.

Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.

The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness.

It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.

Forms of Devotion
The Divine Mercy Novena of Chaplets
A novena is typically nine days of prayer in preparation of a celebration of a feast day. At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy Novena is recited perpetually at the Hour of Great Mercy — the three o'clock hour.

The Chaplet can be said anytime, but the Lord specifically asked that it be recited as a novena. He promised, "By this Novena (of Chaplets), I will grant every possible grace to souls."

For each of the nine days, our Lord gave Saint Faustina a different intention:
All mankind, especially sinners; the souls of priests and religious; all devout and faithful souls; those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus; the souls who have separated themselves from the Church; the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children; the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy; the souls detained in purgatory; and souls who have become lukewarm.

"I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they have need of in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death."

First Day:
Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

Roses from Potatoes: A Recipe for Redemption

Do you want to hear about potatoes today? Why potatoes? It has to do with Saint Faustina and we know that Divine Mercy Sunday is right around the corner. We have to start thinking about that and perhaps start a novena today. But for now, I invite you to read this article about Saint Faustina draining the potatoes.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We will not be overcome

"He did not say: You will not be troubled - you will not be tempted - you will not be distressed. But He said: You will not be overcome."
Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Embracing Holy Week

I invite you to visit Fr. Tom at A Friar's Life to read his reflection on Holy Week.

Spring, O Glorious Spring!

Did you know that the word "Lent" actually comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lengten," meaning “Spring?”

Spring is here and I am happy! I love the changing weather and the warmth of the sun and warmer breezes. I especially love to see the rebirth of flowers and plants around us and to hear the new spring songs of the birds returning home. I am fortunate to live deep in nature in the country of Connecticut. We even have a bear or two, recently out of hibernation who have been visiting our area in search of some scrumptious bird seed. It is always exciting to see them.

Go and see Suzanne's beautiful post today at Blessed Among Men and Jennifer at As Cozy as Spring.

Hopefully I may have a chance later on to post an article I wrote about Spring.
God bless your day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our sinful past

"You must be persuaded that your sinful past is in no way an obstacle to very close union with God. God forgives, and His forgiveness is Divine. With the Angels, God was not merciful because they had no miseries. With us, who are full of miseries, God is infinitely merciful."
Blessed Columba Marmion

O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

The Responsorial psalm today: "O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you." Yes, Lord, please hear all of our prayers this day. Please look down upon us as we journey through Lent, striving to come closer to You. Please help us to transform our lives into a prayer that is pleasing to You. Please help our hearts be attentive to all who surround us who need Your love and attention - which we pray You will allow to come through us, your humble servants. Thank you for this day to serve You and my fellow pilgrims. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to You.

Monday, March 26, 2007

US Bishops issue strong statement against Daniel Maguire

On the news this morning: US Bishops issued a strong statement against Daniel Maguire, a former priest who claims to be an authority, who offers two opposing views to Catholic teaching. He told the New York Times that there are many views in the Church. He says that the Catholic bishops are uninformed. Daniel Maguire's pamphlets are false teachings and should not be believed. The USCCB states that Daniel Maguire's teachings ARE NOT authentic teachings. The US Bishops refer us to the Catholic Catechism for authentic teaching. Teresa Tomeo, radio host on Ave Maria Radio puts her "two cents" in and tells us to just check out the Catholic Catechism whenever in doubt. She says that if one cannot afford the reasonably priced Catechism, one can go online and look up the Catholic Catechism through any search engine. We also have the Vatican website to refer to as well. Though we may feel upset that this man is allowed to teach at a Catholic University or that he calls himself a Catholic yet spreads heresy, we can take heart knowing we can use the media to the Church's advantage and pass this news along to warn others not to get snagged into this man's or any person's false teachings.

An interruption in Lent for a most important Feast

Ecce Ancilla Domini
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

"Again Lent's austerity is interrupted as we solemnly keep a feast in honor of the Annunciation. The Annunciation is a mystery that belongs to the temporal rather than to the sanctoral cycle in the Church's calendar. For the feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God." — The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

CHECK THIS OUT To see more information about this Feast including things to do and recipes go to Catholic Culture

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Feast of the Annunciation Solemnity, March 26th

(Image: The Annunciation by Fra Angelelico)

(Luke 1:26-38)

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.’
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

CHECK THIS OUT Go over and visit Karen Edmisten for her beautiful reflection as well as some great links to check out on this day.

The Authentic Catholic Woman

Servant Books (2006) has put together an invaluable book for Catholic women at a time in our culture when it is most needed.

Author, Genovieve Kineke offers Catholic women the tools to define their true Catholic authenticity in her courageous and honest look at Catholic women throughout the ages. She tells us that the choices made by Catholic women today are “pivotal in the battle over the human heart.” She instructs Catholic women to arm themselves with the wisdom of the Church, become immersed in prayer and respond with love, so that their true feminine genius may be expressed as they carry a burning torch to light the way for others.

Her enlightening and instructive words couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Pick up this book, devour it and apply it to your lives.

(Servant chose part of my review for the back cover of the book)

Visit Catholic Mom.Com for Sunday activities and resources and lots of other great stuff!

CHECK THIS OUT Don't forget about the great resources available at Catholic Mom.Com.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My article at Catholic Exchange today

Here is my article at Catholic Exchange today. You may have seen this article at another website already but I'm posting it here since I find it interesting to see the many and varied comments posted after the article. I also love the image that Mary at Catholic Exchange chose for the article!
God bless your Saturday!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wow, thank you, Ellie over at "Coffee and Diapers"!

Wow! Thank you so very much, Ellie for your beautiful and kind words about my books. I pray that these books will help to elevate a mother's role in our society and bring peace to all Catholic and Christian Moms, helping them to realize the great sublimity of their vocation.

Thank you and God bless you, Ellie!

Ellie's reviews follow:

(You can see the entire review here at Coffee and Diapers )

Friday, March 23, 2007
Friday Coffeehouse: Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle

One author Catholic moms might (or should) know about is Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle who has two books out and another being released next month. As a Lay Missionary of Charity and award winning writer, Donna Marie knew Blessed Mother Teresa and received her encouragement and blessings on her work:

The Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers is a small, sturdy bestseller that is ideal for tucking into your purse or diaper bag. It's composed of both traditional and original prayers. The thing I like about this book is that it's design allows for it to be an understated and effective tool for evangelization... not a self-righteous fishing line for the admiration of others. There's something lovely about the idea of just pulling a prayer book out in the doctor's waiting room rather than reaching for People magazine. This book would be great to tuck into a baby shower gift as well.

The Heart of Motherhood is her second release and don't be fooled by it's soft, pretty cover; this book at times packs a powerful punch! One of my favorite lines in the book is so quirky that one might easily miss out on the depth of the statement. I wonder if the author meant for it to sound as simple as planning for a weekend sightseeing itinerary. She's referring to the need for a mother's consistent love and presence in a child's life: "This presence is crucial, so do try to plan your life accordingly." Throughout the book, which reads like a long but notable and worthy sermon, there are parts which seem kind of basic to the conscientious readers of this blog-- such as the need for physical affection for example. But this only serves to widen the base of appeal for this book. It would be perfect in the hands of those like us, who need the encouragement like our Blessed Mother who "helps us to run from the temptation of mediocrity and compromises," as well as those new moms or mothers who've not been exposed to the positive message about the great dignity of our vocation. Donna Marie discusses the world's very real need for model families. How true is that! Our society desperately needs the example of courageous women who show that they find JOY in their vocation... even the nitty gritty of it. And the example of women who don't just tolerate kids as part of their life but who truly delight in their blessings from God.

Lastly, I can't wait to see her newest book "Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be." There are a hundred and one "What to expect when you're expecting" type books out there; how refreshing to see one focused on the spiritual aspect of pregnancy! Instead of dwelling on the aches and cravings of your body, women can focus on using this special time as a living prayer to unite themselves to Christ. While I can't comment yet on this book's content, I suspect that is the exact direction it plans on taking its readers.

All of Donna Marie's books can be purchased from any major bookseller or directly from her website where they'll come to you signed!


(You can see the entire review here at Coffee and Diapers )

Saint Augustine and the Third Beatitude

"Note the third saying: 'Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.' The labor consists in mourning; consolation is the reward. But, what kind of consolations do they have who mourn according to the flesh? They have troublesome and frightening consolations, for the mourner is consoled by the very thing which he fears may cause him to morn again. For instance, the death of a son brings grief to the father, and the birth of another son brings him joy; he has borne one son to the grave, and he has received another into the world; he is in sorrow for the one, and in fear for the other. Therefore, he has consolation in neither one nor the other. The true consolation will be that which gives what will never be lost. Consequently, those who mourn their present pilgrimage may rejoice in the fact that they shall have consolation hereafter."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Going to Confession: A Laetare Experience

The following homily was given by Bishop Paul S. Loverde on March 18, 2007, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington.

Years ago, this particular Sunday in Lent was called "Laetare Sunday." The word "laetare" in Latin means "be glad" or "rejoice." On this particular Sunday in Lent, there was a brief break in the Lenten season, a moment of refreshment amidst the rigors of the Lenten penance and fasting. The change in the color of vestments, from purple to rose, indicated that this Sunday was somewhat the same yet somewhat different from the other Sundays of Lent.

This invitation to "be glad" or "rejoice" causes us to reflect on the real reason for rejoicing even in Lent. Our true joy is anchored in Christ Our Lord and Savior, because by His Dying and Rising, He has freed us, saved us, redeemed us, from sin and eternal death. As Saint Paul reminds us in today's second reading, we have become new creations in Christ because God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ.

To be reconciled implies that previously we were estranged or separated; to be reconciled implies that we have rejoined the circle, we have come back home. So, what separates us from God? What causes us to be outside the circle, to leave home? Is it not sin? Yes, when we refuse to love God and one another as He commands us to do, when we disobey, preferring our will and not His, when we misuse the good things He has given us, we break away from the family of God, we walk out of the circle, we leave home. Later, when we come to our senses and desire to return, we take part in the process of reconciliation, coming back home.

In today's gospel account, Jesus describes this process of reconciliation so beautifully and so (see continuation of this article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lenten Strategies: Listening Not Looking

We are constantly searching for signs and wonders, never satisfied, always looking, seldom quiet or still enough to listen. Pope Benedict once said, “As long as we live in the world, our relationship with God consists more in listening than in seeing; and even contemplation comes about, so to say, with eyes closed and thanks to the inner light lit within us by the Word of God.”

He said, “Human life is, in fact, a journey of faith and as such, progresses more in the shadows than in full light, and is not without moments of obscurity or even complete blackness.”

Each day we get up to face a new day. We may feel we have our lives figured out to a certain extent, but in actuality, we are always venturing into the unknown, walking in faith. Our Holy Father also told us that the Blessed Virgin “advanced in her own pilgrimage of faith day after day.” We should remember that although she was the mother of Jesus, she was human like us and needed to be steadfast in prayer to walk in faith.

Humbly listening to the voice of the Lord, Mary meditated on the Word of God through Scripture and through events in the life of her Son in which she knew and accepted as the voice of God.

(See remainder of this article here.)

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring (a day late)!

Ave Maria Radio

For those who have not yet discovered this wonderful wealth of Catholicism and discussion on issues of our day. I encourage you to check out
Ave Maria Radio where you can listen right from your computer!

My Lenten article on Catholic Outpost

You can check out my Lenten article at Catholic Outpost here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Exciting news!

I have exciting news about my new book due out soon for expectant Moms. But...I can't tell what it is yet!

Jesus in the poor

"We begin our day by trying to see Christ through the Eucharistic bread. Throughout the day we keep in touch with him under the appearances of the shattered bodies of our poor. In this way our work becomes a prayer, as we accomplish it with Jesus, for Jesus, and toward Jesus.
The poor are our prayer. They carry God in themselves. Prayer is in all things, in all gestures."--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Where are the poor around us? Do the "poor" live within our own homes, perhaps someone needing a little extra love? Are the "poor" in our communities? Are the "poor" our elderly relatives wishing a visit from us? Are the "poor" our unhappy co-workers in need of Christ's love through our time we can give them and our listening ears? Where are our poor? Are we seeking to console them this day? Let's remember that Blessed Teresa told us the there is "Calcutta all over the world for those who have eyes to see."

Monday, March 19, 2007

St. Joseph coloring pages

Here are some great St. Joseph coloring pages at The Virtual Saint Joseph Altar.

Happy Saint Joseph's Feast Day!

Memorare to Saint Joseph

Remember, O most illustrious Patriarch St. Joseph, on the testimony of St. Teresa, Thy devoted servant, that never has it been heard that anyone who invoked thy protection or sought Thy assistance has not obtained relief. In this confidence, I come to Thee, my loving protector, chaste spouse of Mary, foster father of the Savior of men and dispenser of the treasures of His Most Sacred Heart. Despise not my prayer, but graciously hear and answer my petition (mention your request).

I agree with St. Teresa of Avila. St. Joseph is a good friend and helper. I believe that he has aided my family tremendously in many instances.

Dear St. Joseph, thank you for your wonderful guidance and protection. Please intercede for us all and especially at the hour of our death, Amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saint Joseph

(This image is Georges de La Tour's "Christ in the Carpenter's Shop", 1645)

St. Joseph
Feastday: March 19, May 1
Patron of the Universal Church
(from Catholic Online)

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph -- where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

In His Footsteps:
Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent.

Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen

Turn off the TV

I read an article in the Liguorian magazine by Paige Byrne Shortal and loved her line, "If you turn off the TV for a little while, perhaps for Lent, you'll begin to see a less distorted view of the world." She also offers a prayer:

A Prayer for Courage

Good and loving God,
give us the courage to be quiet,
to be still,
even to be bored
so that we might hear your voice
and come to know our purpose
in this life,
our identity as your child,
your unique face to be revealed
in this world.
And please, dear God,
give us the courage
to turn off the TV!

Ms. Shortal ends her article with, "Human beings do not long for amusement. We long for meaning, purpose, a sense that our lives matter, that we were created for a reason and in the image and likeness of God. We are here to reveal, indeed to be, a face of God otherwise never known to this world. And it is when we are engaged, completely immersed in what we do, that we sense this reason for our lives."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Did you know that the reason a shamrock is associated with St. Patrick is because he used it to help explain the Trinity? Since then it has been associated with the Irish and St. Patrick.

Here is a bit more on St. Patrick at Catholic Exchange today.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Irish soda bread

Getting ready for Saint Patrick's day tomorrow, my son, Joseph and I made some Irish soda bread tonight. I'm telling you, it was delicious! It really tasted too good for a Lenten Friday. We used my friend, Mary Maguire's old time recipe. We doubled this recipe to make two loaves; one for tonight (just to make sure it tasted good!) and one for tomorrow!

Here is the recipe:

3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup raisins

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and caraway seeds in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly; stir in raisins and sugar. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to mixture; stir until dough clings together. On lightly floured surface, knead gently and shape into ball. Grease and flour cake pan lightly; pat to fit pan. Brush top with beaten egg and cut a deep cross in top of bread with sharp knife. Bake in about 350 degrees oven for about an hour or until a cake pick, inserted in center, comes out clean. Place on wire rack and brush top with butter.

We substituted soy butter for the butter and we shaped our loaves into rounds and baked them on cookie sheets rather than in cake pans, both ways work well. We didn't put an egg wash on top this time. Sometimes I use half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour to make the bread a bit more nutritious. Also, I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't usually have buttermilk on hand, so instead, I use regular milk with a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar mixed in to curdle it. Don't worry, this is safe and some recipes give this option.

Every time we make Irish soda bread we ask ourselves why we only make this bread at St. Patrick's day when it tastes so delicious!

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick
Feastday: March 17
Patron Ireland
b. 387 d.461
(from Catholic Online)

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

A prayer in honor of Saint Patrick

This day I call to me:
God's strength to direct me,
God's power to sustain me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's vision to light me,
God's ear to my hearing,
God's word to my speaking,
God's hand to uphold me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's legions to save me.

A good day for it

We are having a snow storm today. After reading the post at Coffee and Diapers I decided to go out to the kitchen and make a cup of hot water with cinnamon and honey! Read the post to see why.

By the way, it's actually very yummy. I used two teaspoons of dry cinnamon, about one teaspoon of honey, boiling water, stirred well and topped it off with rice milk. You can also use soy, goat or cow's milk, as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Is our Lord speaking to our hearts?

Today's responsorial Psalm tells us, "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts," and the last two lines of our Gospel (Luke 11: 14 - 23) today, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” How do these words speak to our hearts?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI issues Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict yesterday issued a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS to Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church's life and mission.

Thank you, Lord for this new day!

Thank you, Lord for this brand new day! A new day full of challenges and opportunities. A new day in which to serve you, a new day to spread your love and do your will. A new day to be sorry for my sins, a new day to offer forgiveness to those that have harmed me, a new day to care for those around me. A new day to offer up to You all of my aches and pains or inconveniences, praying that they can be united to Your suffering and become redemptive for myself and others. Help me today, Lord to see You in others who surround me - the very people I am to minister to with love. Thank you, Lord for this new day to try to slow down for a moment and really listen to You whispering to my soul. Thank you, dear Lord for my life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Catholic Mom.Com, an amazing place to visit!

Do you have any idea about the wealth of information available to us at Catholic Mom.Com? There are Lenten resources, prayers, books, book reviews, coloring pages for kids, Lisa Hendey's blog, and lots of columnists. Go check it out!

"Lent - The Road to Easter"

Our Sunday Vistor's Lent - The Road to Easter is available here.

Diocesan Part of Pope John Paul II's Sainthood to Close April 2

Our Sunday Visitor offers an article, by the Catholic News Service from Rome 'Diocesan part of Pope John Paul II's sainthood cause to close April 2',which explains that the investigation into the life and holiness of Pope John Paul II will close officially April 2, the second anniversary of his death.

Remember to visit "These Forty Days"

Remember to mosey on over to These Forty Days for some Lenten inspiration.

Did we forget to laugh?

Did you ever get so serious about life and living that you forget to laugh? I know it's Lent and we need to be serious and prayerful during this penetential time. However, our good Lord wants us to have deep joy of heart. He wants us to experience it fully in our lives. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta used to say, "Joy is a net to catch souls." So, just how many souls do you think we're going to "catch" with our seriousness or grumpiness? Even throughout our earthly trials we are called to joy. We can have joy when we pray to Jesus asking that He unite our small sufferings to His. We are called to share our joy with others in our smiles, in our extending our hand to someone, in our care to our family members, our associations in the workplace, in our help to the needy, the lonely, the poor, the forgotten. Love and joy can convert hearts! Is there someone we are forgetting to show love and joy to?

How many times should we forgive?

Today's Gospel tells us,"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times..."

Forgiveness is perhaps the most valuable penance we can do during Lent or at any time. We must remember our Lord's mercy for us and bestow that same mercy on others. We can pray for the graces to be a forgiving person...always. We must know that most times it will not be easy. However, amazing things happen when a soul chooses to forgive and forget.

Saint Augustine and the second Beatitude

"Give heed to the following: 'Blessed are the meek,' says He, 'for by inheritance they shall possess the earth.' You wish to possess the earth now; then see to it that you are not possessed by the earth. If you are meek, you will possess it; if you are not meek, it will possess you. So, when you hear that possessing the earth is the profferred reward, do not spread the cloak of avarice by wishing to possess it now, to the very exclusion of your neighbor. Let no such notion deceive you, for you will truly possess the earth when you cleave to Him who has made both heaven and earth. To be humble means to be so submissive to God that you seek to please Him--not yourself--in all your good works, and that you are displeased with yourself--and not with Him--in whatever ills you suffer. It is no small matter to please God while displeasing yourself, but you will displease Him if you please yourself."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Do we underestimate the Blessed Mother's power?

I wonder if we underestimate the Blessed Mother's power? Recently, a friend called upon me in need of prayer and advice. She was enduring heartache due to family dynamics. She was facing a very problematic situation. I offered prayer and a listening ear. I also suggested a Memorare novena. This is nine Memorares prayed to the Blessed Mother when in an immediate or dire need. In other words, for lack of better terms, when you want the Blessed Mother to move fast! I learned this from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who taught her sisters to pray this novena often. Another saintly person I knew, Fr. John Hardon S.J., a great theologian and author, now deceased, used this form of prayer, as well. So, we are in good company when we decide to beseech our dear Mother in this way. To be clear about this, one would pray nine Memorares in a row, no need to wait for nine days to pass! You can do this as often as you would like. By the way, my friend in need of a miracle, after praying this novena received her miracle!


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored your help and sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Saint John Vianney (Cure d'Ars, 1786 - 1859) said, "If you invoke the Blessed Virgin when you are tempted, she will come at once to your help, and Satan will leave you."

Saint Augustine, On the Beatitudes

"Surely, we can find no one who does not wish to be blessed. Would that men were as willing to fulfill the condition as they are eager to obtain the reward! Is there anyone who would not run with alacrity when it is said to him: 'You shall be blessed'? Then, let everyone lend a willing ear when the condition is announced: 'If you do this.' If one loves the reward, let reward enkindle the mind to alacrity in the labor. What we wish for, what we desire, what we are seeking--all that is here and now. So begin to reflect on the divine sayings--both the precepts and the rewards of the Gospel: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Be poor in spirit now, and the kingdom of heaven will be yours afterwards. Do you wish the kingdom of heaven to be yours hereafter? See to what kingdom you belong now. But, you may ask me: 'What does it mean to be poor in spirit?' Whoever is puffed up is not poor in spirit. Therefore, the poor in spirit is the humble man. The kingdom of heaven is on high, but 'he that humbles himself shall be exalted.'"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Lenten "Grumpies" article on Catholic Online

Check out my article about the Lenten "Grumpies" on Catholic Online today. I'm sure you can relate!

Start a nine day novena to Saint Joseph today

St. Joseph's feast day is coming up on March 19th. Today is the day to start a nine day novena to St. Joseph so the ninth day will fall on his feast day. A novena, of course is a series of nine prayers beseeching a particular saint for help. It can be prayed at any time, but an ideal time is nine days before the Saint's feast day.

A prayer I like to say to St. Joseph is this one:
Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the Loving of Fathers. Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St.Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

This prayer is said to be over 1900 years old and has been seldom known to fail.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Mother Teresa's words on praying with absolute trust in God

"How do we learn to pray?

By praying.
It is very hard to pray if one does not know how.
We must help ourselves to learn.

Pray with absolute trust in God's loving care for you and let Him fill you with joy that you may preach without preaching."

Good Saint Joseph

We have to start getting ready for good Saint Joseph. His feast day is March 19th. We have a couple of days to get our novena prayers together so we can start our nine day novena to him on March 11th. I will post a couple of prayers later. I have found that St. Joseph, being the head of the Holy Family, is very attentive to our pleas. Saint Teresa of Avila beseeched him often and said he never refused her requests. He has come to my aid often!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Live (yikes!), National Radio Tomorrow!

I will be interviewed tomorrow morning, Friday, March 9th, from 9:30 to 10:00 AM by Teresa Tomeo on the Catholic Connection show on Ave Maria Radio. You can tune in on the Internet on this Ave Maria Radio link.

Saints Felicity and Saint Perpetua

I'm sending you to A Friar's Life this morning to learn about Saints Felicity and Perpetua, whom we just celebrated yesterday. It's not old news! It's enlightening!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, What a wise man he was!

"To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

What amazing words to ponder today. Let us women elevate that "level of womanhood" within our sublime roles as wife and mother which will in turn aspire our men, all the while also be a light to the world!

God bless your day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

New Look

I'm changing over to a new look for my blog which will now be called, "Daily Donna-Marie." I hope you come back to visit often!

God bless,

Pope John Paul the Great!

I found this wonderful information on A Friar's Life about our beloved Pope John Paul the Great! "A Friar's Life" is actually the blog of the Associate Pastor of my parish! I have added his blog to the column of sites I like! Check it out, it has a link to an official website for the cause of his canonization.

O Blessed Trinity We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holinessis the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.
With ecclesiastical approval. CARDINAL CAMILLO RUINI, the Holy Father’s Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The warmth of a smile

Yesterday when I was walking down town, I was passing a homeless man whom I recognized from seeing him around town. He was walking up the sidewalk, I was walking down. I stopped to say, "Hello." I figure that generally people don't give the homeless very much attention and I wanted to give him some. I said, "It's pretty cold out here today" (the temperature was below freezing). He replied, "Well, if the wind doesn't blow, it's not too bad, and if I keep my hands in my pockets, it helps." He was continuing to walk up the sidewalk to wherever his destination was, most likely the post office to stay warm for a while or the library. I smiled and told him to "keep warm." He smiled back and kept walking.

What are we doing to help the homeless?

Jesus Himself

Mother Teresa said, "It is very possible that you will find human beings, surely very near you, needing affection and love. Do not deny them these. Show them, above all, that you sincerely recognize that they are human beings, that they are important to you. Who is that someone? That person is Jesus Himself: Jesus who is hidden under the guise of suffering."

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Loveliness of Lent Fair

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Loveliness of Lent Fair


Visit Nissa at Simple Gifts for the Loveliness of Lent Fair today.
Also, check in on her new blog, she created, These Forty Days, for Lent as a meeting place for prayers, thoughts, and inspiration.

My Lenten article, "A Mother's Lenten Srategies" on Catholic Exchange

Here is one of my Lenten articles for all of you Moms out there. It appears on Catholic Exchange.

The Lenten "Grumpies"

I think I detect a few cases of the "grumpies" around here. It must be Lent. People must be craving their candy and desserts that they have given up. Maybe they are in withdrawal. While I was out doing my errands, a driver motioned his hand at me and I'm not talking about a friendly "hello!" I guess I didn't leave the drive up window of the bank quickly enough for him. Well, that hand motion and his mouth flapping got him a prayer, by the grace of God. Today sure seemed like a FRIDAY in Lent. It was a very good penitential day in so many ways. The rude person on the other end of the phone helped to set the tone. The long wait in line at the Post Office gave an opportunity to pray another decade of the Rosary for the impatient people around me who may have been experiencing the "grumpies." Yet another opportunity for prayer was when a woman came speeding towards me, almost hitting me. I guess she had to be somewhere awfully fast! A person could get grumpy dealing with all of this! Are you experiencing the "grumpies" or live with someone who is? Does it feel like everything you are doing or attempting to do is going wrong? Don't worry, it's just Friday in Lent. Good material for penance, I think.

Lenten Meme

Lenten Meme, March 4, 2007

I learned about "Memes" through
Karen Edmisten and was invited to participate.

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?
I don't have a "favorite" Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, but since you ask, I think it would have to be the "Crowning of Thorns" that I most relate to. I suffer from migraine head aches and pray to unite my sufferings to Jesus, hoping that they can become redemptive.

What is your favorite Station of the Cross?
All of the Stations are very sublime, but I think the one my heart really relates to is the Sixth Station when Veronica wipes Jesus' blood streaked face. She braves the crowd to go out to Him. She reaches Him and wipes His Sacred face with her tender love, trying to make up for some of the blows to His mistreated face. She doesn't care what happens to her, what the angry crowd might do, her mission is to console Jesus. I pray that I can console Jesus, too, with little works of love, with consoling Him in others. I am so drawn to Veronica and her loving action to console Jesus that I started an association called "Friends of Veronica" in October 2003 in honor of Pope John Paul II's twenty-fifth year to the Papacy and the Beatification of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. The aim of this association is to live out the Gospel message in Matthew 25: 31-46 of knowing that what we do to others we are doing to Jesus. "Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink..." We bring cheer to the lonely and forgotten. We visit the elderly in nursing homes and organize socials for them. We also send "Cheer" cards to the sick and lonely.

Do you fast during Lent?
Yes, in different ways with different things.

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?
I think Lenten resolutions are near and dear to the heart, personal and different for everyone. We sometimes agree upon something to do as a family and we all make our own individual resolutions as well. Prayer and reflection before Lent begins helps us to formulate the intentions and resolutions.

Do you use Holy Water during Lent?
Yes, and all throughout the year, daily for blessings.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?
My goal is to go every day as well as go to the Stations of the Cross on Fridays. So far, we had two snow days during this Lent and it was too dangerous to go out. I am also cognizant of other situations that may come about, for instance illness with a family member that would prevent us or me from going to daily Mass. It is then, when I have to be content to pray in my "Domestic Church."

I invite anyone to participate in this Lenten Meme. God bless you!