Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Souls Day, Join Us

Dear all Family and Friends,

This coming Monday is All Souls Day, a day when we remember all departed souls. On that day, many of our churches will be having special masses to remember all those who have passed away during the last year as well as others who we continue to pray for. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what will be happening at our parish this coming All Souls Day and how you can also participate either with us or at your own parish.

On Monday November 2 at 5:30pm, an All Souls Day Mass at Christ the King will include a candle lighting ceremony for all parishioners who died over the last year. Chris and I will be there to light a candle in rememberance of our little boy, Zachary Thomas, who died on January 11, 2009, and was buried from the Catherdal on January 17, 2009. Also, at Christ the King there will be a Book of Remembrance in which we can enter the names of anyone who has passed away during the last year. The Book will be present in the Church throughout the month of November.

For those who live in Lexington, you are more than welcome to join us for the Mass on Monday. We'd love to see you and have you there with us if you are able.

If you live elsewhere or if you can't make the mass at Christ the King, I encourage you to attend an All Souls Day Mass at your home parish or other nearby church. We appreciate knowing that others are taking part in remembering our son and all our loved ones. If your church has a Book of Remembrance for the month of November we would also appreciate you including Zachary's name there. I have already been told by one friend that she will be doing this.

In addition, I just wanted to add how appreciative we have been over the last 10 months of all that everyone has done for us. We received so many flowers, cards from all over, and many, many other expressions of sympathy since Zachary's death. Thanks to everyone for all your caring expressions of sympathies. I have saved every card we received from family, friends, colleagues, and others. Every one is special to me as a remembrance of our son's much too short life. Thank you all.

I hope everyone will have an opportunity to attend an All Souls Day Mass this coming Monday to remember all of our dearly departed loved ones.

Much love to everyone!
K & C

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weekly Reflection on Serving Others

The homily I heard this Sunday at Church has had me thinking the past few days about God's plan for my life versus what I might plan for my life. Are the two the same? Are they not? If not, what needs to change on my part? How do I discern God's plan for my life? The Reflection Question brings a whole different set of thoughts.

Here's a link to Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Question: How do I answer Jesus' call to serve others?

The Christian imperative to serve others is expressed beautifully in one of the great documents of Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuositatem (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity), which urges laypeople to "take up the renewal" of the world "as their own special obligation" (section 7, paragraph 5). In the modern era, "charitable activities and works have become more urgent and universal. These charitable enterprises can and should reach out to all persons and all needs. Wherever there are people in need of food and drink, clothing, housing, medicine, employment, education; wherever men lack the facilities necessary for living a truly human life or are afflicted with serious distress or illness or suffer exile or imprisonment, here Christian charity should seek them out and find them, console them with great solicitude and help them with appropriate relief. This obligation is imposed above all upon every prosperous nation and person" (section 8, paragraph 4).

The question this week is a good one. One thing I have learned over the last few years, and especially over the last few months, is that our prayer life and study of the Word and the faith should lead us toward service, or as it says in James 2:26 "faith without works is dead."

So to answer the question, how do I serve others?? I make an effort to support certain charities financially which I believe have similar values as I do. We give to Catholic Relief Services, the Seminarian fund, and various other Catholic-based charities. Beyond financial giving, I try to be of service to my Church through various ministries or to other groups. One of the most important is volunteering as a regular adorer for the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel.

Lately I have been feeling that I am not doing enough service. This goes back a bit to my pondering on what God's plan for my life is. This has been on my mind a lot this entire year, but it reallly came to the forefront the last two weeks. So what am I doing about it??

I prayed about it. I don't know if I really got a clear "answer" from God, but I am feeling a tug toward a particular ministry. So I turned in my "Time and Talent" survey this Sunday and I checked a new ministry. This is one that I've never done before and never thought I would volunteer for. But I did. Now I am just waiting until the person in charge of that ministry contacts me. In the meantime, I'm going to continue praying and waiting.

And now it's your turn!! How do you answer Jesus' call to serve others? I look forward to everyone's answers!

(For those reading this on Facebook, you can comment here or you can follow the link below this post that says "View Original Post" to see comments others have left on the original post on my blog. Comments can be left in either place.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. I posted this fact on my Facebook page this morning and several people left notes regarding the dates of their own losses. My heart goes out to everyone who has had to go through the loss of a baby from miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.

To commemorate this day and to remember our little baby saints in heaven, Deanna Roy, the founder of Facts about Miscarriage, also sent the following note out regarding things you can do along with some details on a book she put together that allows you to record memories of that pregnancy. Here's the text:

Don't forget to light your candles at 7 p.m. your time!

I have put together a list of songs that are perfectly suited to play during the candlelighting. You can see this list and hear clips at:

If you've never really told your angel's story, taken time to write down every single memory of his or her little life, I encourage you to do it. I've made a video that will help you think of things to write about:
Watch the video in HQ and maximize it so you can read the words.

I did publish a baby memorial book this year, which are the pages you see in that video. Printing is happening right now, and the books will be here in a few weeks. If you have no place to paste your sonograms or dried flowers, or to write down your baby's statistics, even if you were only a few weeks along, this is why I made the book. You can get them at the publisher web site (it's $18.99 and shipping is $3.99 in the US and includes cards to paste inside if you have no sonograms):

I know this is one of the hardest things you've ever endured. It was for me too, and years later, it still is. I will think of all of you at 7 p.m. when I light my candle. If you want to post a picture of your candlelighting so we can see how you celebrated the date, feel free to add them right here on our Facebook page.

I'd love to see them.

Take care.

Deanna Roy
Founder, Facts about Miscarriage

In her letter she mentions lighting a candle at 7pm your time. The idea is that throughout the day candles are lit for one hour in each time zone from 7pm to 8pm. So as you extinguish your candle someone in the next timezone is lighting one. Unfortunately I can't be home tonight during that hour, but I have two candles at home, one for each of my babies, and I may light them while we say our Rosary tonight.

God's blessings to all of you moms and dads out there who have gone through such a loss.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reflecting on Materialism

We are now up to the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our Gospel reading this week is from Mark. Complete texts of the Gospel as well as all the other readings from Sunday's Mass are available here: October 11 readings.

Question: In what ways am I too attached to material things?

"Detachment from riches is necessary for entering the Kingdom of heaven" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2556). Hence "the Lord grieves over the rich because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods (CCC 2547). In contrast, "Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone," to enter into what the Catechism describes as "poverty of heart" (CCC 2544). "All Christ's faithful are to direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty" (CCC 2545).

This is one of those Gospel readings that really makes you think. I know everytime I hear it I wonder if I am doing what is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God. And then I wonder, does Jesus mean that rich people cannot enter the Kingdom because they are rich??

I believe the answer to that last question is no. All people can enter the Kingdom of God. I think having wealth gives you a greater responsibility toward your fellow man and many people who have wealth or somehow acquire wealth during their life lose sight of that. Not all, but many do.

But this reflection isn't supposed to be on wealth only, more specifically let's focus on materialism.

For me, I try to not get too attached to material things. I think the "things" in my life that I treasure the most, besides the people I love, are the sentimental things. Pictures, old cards and letters, yearbooks, all the things that remind you of the past and the people who have touched your life. But if all those things disappeared, I still have them in my memory. Maybe not as detailed, but they'll be there.

Here's how I thought about this: if my house was burning down what would I want to grab on the way out?

Well ... nothing material, really. Me and my husband for sure. Otherwise, everything else is replaceable. The only thing that might be worth grabbing are some particular files and maybe the computer. Not because we value those "things" exactly, but because there is information on them we might need. But if it came down to it, we could probably live without that information. I wouldn't be grabbing anything just because of some stupid material worth of the item itself.

But to be honest, I am attached to material things just like everyone else. It's the reason I still hold onto my stuffed animals from my childhood. They are boxed up in the attic, but I still have them. I can't get rid of books or notes and handouts from classes or lectures I have found particularly meaningful. I like the nice things we have and I enjoy our comfortable lifestyle. But I know I could live without it.

But is that what Jesus is telling the rich man in the Gospel? That he is too comfortable and needs to rid himself of everything. Well, yes, I guess he is. But how does that translate to our time? In much the same way. We still need to have shelter and food; God provides is with an intellect and skills to be able to work hard to provide those necessities for ourselves and our families. Beyond that, we are to use what we have to help the people around us as well.

We do that in our household. We budget a certain percentage of our earnings every year to assist pre-designated charities, our Church, and other ways of giving to assist others. We make it a priority in our budget. We struggle a little with this, not because we want to skrimp at all on our giving, but because I start wanting to give to more than we can really afford. My husband sometimes has to reel me back in.

I think I'm starting to digress from the subject at hand. Sorry for the rambling ...

I think we are all attached to material things in more ways than one. It is something we all struggle with. But I like to remind myself that if everything did go up in flames, how much would I really care about? As long as my family was safe and healthy, that's really all that matters.

What are your thoughts on this questions: In what ways are you too attached to material things?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Today I Learned

Today I got up extremely early, got ready, and left my house at 6:20am to spend half the day in the car driving to a conference. What then can I have learned today? Well ...

Today I learned that there are a lot of police cars along all the roads in Indiana! (No, I did not get pulled over, it was an observation.)

Today I learned that Mark Shultz (I think I got his name right), a Christian singer, lives in Chapel Hill, NC because his wife is doing her OB/GYN residency there. (Yes, I know it's random.)

Today I learned that when traffic starts getting heavier the closer you get to Louisville while on 64 West and it's just after 7am, you should move to the left lane as soon as you can. Don't do what I did and sit in it thinking that it's better than jumping lanes. If you don't need to get off at the Waterson, don't sit with the rest of the people who are.

Today I learned that corn season is over. (I was in Indiana!)

Today I learned that it is possible to watch the sun rise in your rear view mirror (and not get into an accident).

Today I learned that I don't like driving on state "highways" for over 100 miles. (Lights, varying speed limits, etc.)

Today I learned that Indiana drivers aren't just slow when you get stuck behind them in other parts of the country, they're slow here too!!!

Today I learned that music librarians are not as eager to do Karaoke as I thought they would have been. (But I did leave the party early, so who knows.)

Today I learned that Notre Dame has a beautiful campus with lots of different shrines all around, and that the Basilica here is gorgeous!!

Today I also learned some library things that I found interesting but that I'm sure no one else will ... so I'll keep that to myself.

Today I learned why I love coming to these conferences!!

Hope everyone had a great day today, too!

Monday, October 05, 2009

So Many Books ...

... so little time. I'm always buying books, so many things I want to read! But I never seem to have the time to read much. Plus, there are all the magazines, newsletters, and other things that come in the mail that I feel compelled to read.

It's really a never-ending, vicious cycle! One I constantly convince myself I can conquer.

I'm still working on it (maybe I need therapy?). And will probably be working on it for years and years to come! So what is it I'm actually reading these days?

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I'm enjoying this book so far. Have always wanted to read something by Lewis (besides the Narnia Chronicles). I happened to find this book in a used book store and the cheaper price convinced me to go ahead and purchase it (as well as another, who just buys one book). I'm about three quarters of the way through. I'm finding it interesting, it's a good general overview of Christianity, but definitely doesn't get into any big issues. At least not so far. At the moment this is my Monday morning book to bring to adoration with me. More when I actually finish.

101 Inspirational Stories of the Priesthood
This is a book I bought several years ago and I'm finally getting around to reading it. I actually suggested this book to my small Cursillo group and so we're all reading it at the same time. This book, and several others like it, are compiled by a Poor Clare Sister in Washington State. They are a series of stories submitted by people all over the world, though most of them are in the U.S. It's great because the stories are anywhere from half a page to 3-4 pages. Nothing too long, all just interesting stories from regular people about priests who have made an impact in their lives. My husband and I have started reading a story or two each night before bed.

Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Doctor, Mother by Pietro Molla, Elio Guerriero
I picked up this book recently after an encounter I had with a relic of St. Gianna. I wanted to know more about her and this book seemed like a great way to start. I have only read the Forward, Preface, and Introduction so far. I've already learned that she is the first married Catholic woman to be canonized. There have been women who were widows, but not one who was married when she died. Her husband is still alive and he and her children were at her canonization in 2004. I'm looking forward to reading more about this incredible woman.

At the moment my other reading consists of all newspapers, newsletters, and magazines we get in the mail regularly. But I have a stack of things I am waiting to read, not to mention the unread items on my bookshelves. Up next will be:

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn
The Return to the Prodigal Son: a Story of Homecoming by Henri Nouwen
Saved in Hope (Spe Salvi), encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI
Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate), encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI

Like I said: So many books, so little time!!

27th Sunday Reflection

Sunday was Respect Life Sunday in the Catholic Church, the opening of Respect Life Month. How appropriate that the Gospel reading from Mark should be about marriage and children! Check it out on the USCCB website and then continue reading below for this week's Following the Message Question.

Question: What steps might I take to strengthen my family life?

"God himself is the author of marriage ... Since God created (the human race) man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1603-04). Sadly, when sin came into the world, "as a break with God, (it) had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman" (CCC 1607). "To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help" of God's grace. "Without his help, man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them in the beginning" (CCC, 1608). "By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, (Jesus) himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God ... This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life" (CCC, 1615). For more information, please visit For Your Marriage, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

All life begins in the family. Thus the church is one of the biggest supporters of marriage. Marriages within the church are so special. The priest doesn't marry us, we marry each other, the priest is only there as the official witness of the Church. That's pretty powerful when you think about it, a husband and wife are the ones performing the sacrament upon each other. I believe it is the only sacrament in the Church where this happens. In every other case, for the other six sacraments, the priest, bishop, or deacon is the one confirming the sacrament on the individual. That says a lot about marriage!!

Within our marriage we represent the Church. As husband and wife we are responsible for each other's souls. And if children become a part of that marriage we are responsible for their intellectual, spiritual, and physical well-being. We are, therefore, the Domestic Church.

I love that phrase!! The Domestic Church! Really evokes a powerful image of the family.

So as a Domestic Church we need to constantly work on our family. This week's question is asking us how we can strengthen our family. But why is this important?

Well, because it is up to us to ensure that our loved ones get to heaven. Yes, we're all responsible for ourselves, but if the family is the Domestic Church, than just as the priest's job is to lead us to Jesus and ultimately heaven, it is our job, as a priestly people, to lead our spouse and children to heaven as well.

That's a big job! And an important one.

Prayer is essential. I pray during my Holy Hour on Monday mornings. And I always try to pray for my husband and the souls of my two children. I also ask our children, who I believe are already in heaven, to pray for us as well. My husband and I also pray before each meal we have together. I like that we do that, but we always use the same prayer. I'm itching to add some free-form prayers at the end.

One day I'll get to that.

But that leads me to meals together. My husband and I always eat breakfast and dinner together when we're both home. That means dinner every night and breakfast on the five days a week when we're both there (two mornings one of us is at our Holy Hour). Some people have expressed surprise that we actually sit down at the table together for EVERY meal.

It would be so easy for us to not do this. We could use the TV trays and sit in the family room for meals. But I bet we'd get too comfortable with that. Also, we probably wouldn't talk as much. Often the TV is on, in the other room, but it's more background noise than anything else. And there are plenty of times that it is not on.

If we got overly comfortable not sitting down at the table together, how easy would it be to just continue the habit as children came along? We can make promises that we'll sit together as a family once we have children, but then ...

"Well, the baby doesn't know, we'll wait till he's older."

Well, we know where that's going! Habits are hard to break.

So we eat together. In the long run, our family will benefit from it. And we, as a family of two, benefit from it now.

How else can we strengthen our family life? Again I go back to prayer.

I want to pray as a family together more. We used to try and say a Rosary together daily, but have seriously fallen short of that goal. Just like the "potential" family meal, we want to make a daily Rosary part of our children's lives, but we're not in the habit now. It's a habit we need to get into now, so it comes easily later.

And why should we wait! We're still a family. Children do not make a family, two people coming together in marriage make a family. So we should be doing this more.

Now is a great time to start! Not only is it Respect Life Month, it's also the Month of the Rosary. I love how those two things coincide!!

Attending Mass together is also important as a family. I love sitting with my husband during Mass. I love that the liturgy is happening around us physically and around us spiritually as all the angels and saints in heaven celebrate the same liturgy. Heaven touches Earth and we're a part of that, as a family. It's such a beautiful coming together of the Church on Earth, the Kingdom of God, and the Domestic Church, all at the same time. And I feel closest to my children in heaven during those moments too, because I know they are a part of this with us.

Prayer, Mass, meals together where we share our days: these are the things that I think strengthen a family. I'm sure when the day comes that we have children for whom we are responsible for in this life I could add much more to this list. But for now, those are the things I need to continue building upon or working on.

Now I want to hear from you! What steps might you take to strengthen your family life?

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