Friday, December 21, 2007

The Immaculate Conception: More Information

On Dec. 8 I posted on this blog about that day's special feast day in the Catholic Church: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (see post below). A wonderful friend of mine posted some comments and based on what she said, I thought a new post was warranted to give this topic the attention it deserves.

Mary is an important figure in Christianity. Catholics especially give her a place of honor that is often misunderstood by other Christians. For example, one misunderstanding is that Catholics pray to Mary. This isn't true, but we do ask for her intersession. After all, if you are seeking help from someone (God) why not ask his mother? Remember the wedding feast at Cana? Jesus wasn't ready to start His public ministry, but at his mother's insistence, He did. This is just one of many things that we could discuss, but moving back to the topic at hand ...

The Bible verses referred to in the comments from the post below are actually addressed in a tract (or article) I found (well, okay, Chris found it) on the Catholic Answers website. So for a much better overview of the Immaculate Conception than I could ever give, I point you to this wonderful page. This article goes into some detail on why we believe what we do about the Immaculate Conception and it also talks about the Assumption, which is another topic.

One thing I really like about this article is the analogy of the two people falling into the pit and being saved. One falls in and is pulled out, thus he is saved from further mudding up himself; the second is, at the very last moment, pulled away from the pit and is saved from even falling in and thus avoids all the mud completely. This is to illustrate Mary's need for a Savior (Luke 1:47). Yes, she needed a Savior, we all do. She was just blessed with his saving grace at the moment of conception. What a wonderful thing to do for your mother!! Also in the article, note the discussion of Luke 1:28 when the angel Gabriel addresses Mary. Very cool!

There is a lot more on the entire Catholic Answers website that may be of interest to anyone wanting to know why Catholics believe certain things. One thing that was also implied, though not explicitly stated, in the comments on the previous post was about Scripture being the only source we have. The Catholic Church teaches Scripture in everything we do and it informs all of our practices and doctrines. But we also rely on tradition and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent out his disciples to teach the world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26 and 16:13). There are articles on this same website under the topic of Scripture and Tradition that may also be of interest to anyone wanting to know why Catholics not only use the Bible, but also have the Catechism and all these doctrines from the Popes, etc.

I'm sure this doesn't answer everything in regard to the topic of the Immaculate Conception, but I hope it's a good start. Another person to check our for more information on all sorts of topics is Scott Hahn. He was a minister of some kind and admits to once being anti-Catholic. He and his entire family converted to Catholicism years ago and now both he and his wife (who also trained in the Protestant seminary with her husband) write and speak about matters of Catholic faith and he teaches theology classes at a Catholic college in Ohio. In his conversion story he talks about how Mary was the last huge stumbling block before he could really accept the Catholic faith. Scott Hahn does such a great job explaining Catholic teachings! I suggest checking out his books for more information on Mary or any other Catholic teaching that seems strange to other Christians.

With that I will conclude this post. This reminds me that I need to start trying to do more of those "Catholic Topics of the Week" that I tried to start some time ago. I'll meditate on that a bit for the New Year. I hope everyone has a wonderful and joyful Christmas! Merry Christmas to all!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

Today in the church calendar we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is the time when we remember Mary as one who was conceived without sin and who would become the Mother of God. Mary has a very important role in our faith and this is one of the many ways in which we remember her.

Chris and I attended the vigil Mass for this feast day. So we met at Church Friday night after work and then went out to eat after Mass. We also managed to do a little Christmas shopping last night too.

Today I had rehearsal for a concert I'm playing in tomorrow. Actually, this is the reason we went to a vigil mass rather than the 8am mass Saturday morning.

This evening after dinner we read part of a book we picked up at Church at the beginning of Advent. The book has readings and commentaries for each day from the First Sunday of Advent through Epiphany. So each night after dinner we read that days page. Today's, of course, talked about the Immaculate Conception. It made us both think a bit and it sparked a little bit of discussion. I suppose that is probably the intent of the book! :)

So the book asked if we thought Mary knew she was sinless. I said no, how could she know that. But Chris said that she probably knew something even if maybe she didn't know exactly what it was. And we were specifically thinking of Mary as a young girl, before the angel came to visit her. So we discussed this more and I think I do have to agree that she probably knew that she was different somehow. Chris pointed out that although she was conceived without sin she still had free will as we all do. Thus she always had to make the decision to not sin whenever she was faced with any kind of decision like that. But he also agrees that she probably wouldn't have been able to vocalize that she was sinless because she also had humility. Humility kind of goes hand in hand with the sinlessness. So, she might never have admitted she was sinless, she had free will, and she had to make decisions to always do right.

It was a really great discussion and I'm glad it made us think. I also feel that my respect for the person of Mary is so much greater now just thinking about what we talked about tonight. She is definitely a role model to always have in front of you.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some thoughts on Advent

First, as I mentioned in my previous post, I added an Advent wreath to the blog in honor of the season. I failed, however, to mention where I got the wreath. Through another Catholic blog I was pointed to The Curt Jester who provided the Advent wreath for any blog. So thanks to the Curt Jester for the wonderful Advent wreath!!

Second, I have noticed a lot of talk this year about the importance of Advent. Along with this there is a lot of talk about how tired people are of the commercialization of Christmas and everyone's amazement of how early it starts. I saw Christmas stuff out along with the Halloween stuff during "Back to School" shopping. It is crazy!! I am hearing on the radio and reading on blogs about how people want to take back Christmas, away from the retailers, and bring it back to what it is really about--the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our King.

Our Christmas stuff went up this past weekend. It still seems too early to me and I am considering some different things for next year. But convincing my husband will be interesting. This was a topic on many blogs who participated in this week's Catholic Carnival. Check it out here: Catholic Carnival 148: For Life.

Two of my favorite postings in this week's Carnival have to do exactly with the idea of recognizing the season of Advent, things to do during Advent, and placing Christmas properly where it belongs. These posts are great!! Go read them. The first is at the blog Catholic Fire called: Ten Tips to a Better Advent Season. The second is from A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars and she presents a beautiful view of the holidays from the end of Thanksgiving all the way to Epiphany in January. Check out her post What Would Celebrating Christmas correctly look like?. Her view is exactly what I have been looking for. So I'm getting ideas for next year and I love it!

Those are just two of my favorites from the Carnival. If you like those, go check out the others as well. I highly recommend them!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy 1st Sunday of Advent

Advent has begun. I have added an advent wreath to my blog. Isn't it cool!!

We also took out all the Christmas decorations this weekend and Chris finished putting all that stuff up. There isn't room for my tree, but we did get al my ornaments on his tree. His tree no longer looks so "designed"! I counted 9 wreathes around the house, inside and out! Quite amazing, I think.

Enjoy the countdown to Christmas!! Happy Advent season!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finally: An Update

There has been so much going on since the wedding and time is just flying by. I will try to make things as brief as possible here.

The Honeymoon: We had so much fun. We went to the Pocono Mountains and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. That was definitely the way to go, no need to pay for your breakfast or dinner every day, it's all included. It rained a lot, but we did manage to go horseback riding one day and while at the resort we had lots of good food, a beautiful view of the lake, very tame deer always around, and we played indoor mini-golf, air hockey, indoor archery, and went ice skating!

The House: We've been very busy with the house. We decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house, so we've been busy trying to find a home for all my stuff and hanging up pictures and so forth. We're slowly making progress. As for the townhouse, it still has some things in it, but we hope to get rid of those things soon. We hope to fix it up some and rent it out by the new year. At this point that seems like an optimistic goal.

Changing my Name: Not a fun activity. Got my new Social Security card, got my new driver's license (but they didn't change the renewal so I need to still go again next year), and we ran a credit report so I can close some credit lines and change my name on the others. We also changed both our bank accounts to make them both joint and put my name on his and change my name on mine. I still have to deal with my credit cards, all the paperwork for the townhouse, my work stuff (benefits, etc.), another bank account, AAA, my Delta Skymiles card (have to do that soon so I can buy a plane ticket for February), and my stocks. There are probably other things as well, but I'll take it all one step at a time. It may be our first anniversary before I get everything squared away.

My Birthday!! My birthday was Sunday (yesterday). Chris took me to dinner Saturday night and while we were at dinner he suprised me with tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for that night! It was a great show. Lots of lights, strobes, and lasers; very loud music; and lots of fun!! As a classical musician I did find parts of the show amusing, but I eventually got into it and just enjoyed it. I've always wanted to see this show, so I'm glad I finally got to.

Go See this movie: Sunday we went to see Bella. It was an excellent movie with a great message. If you can find it playing in a theater near you, please go see it. Hollywood needs to know that we want more movies like this to watch, not the sex and violence most movies rely on to draw in an audience. Also, if you're anything like me, bring a box of kleenex!!

Work: Slowly getting back into the swing of things here. The good news is that my open position was approved and posted and closes today!! I can't believe how fast this was done; last time my position was open it was 9 months before I was able to fill the position, at this point it's only been two! It must be a record for a position in technical services; public services positions usually go this quickly, but not the tech services ones! I'm considering myself very lucky right now!! I hope to start interviewing next week. In the meantime, I continue to do my job and a good part of the other position's job as well. I can't keep up with my student assistants on my own, but I'm doing the best I can.

Thanksgiving: I mentioned above that we're hosting Thanksgiving. Our first holiday as a married couple and we're doing most of the cooking and having everyone to our house. The best part is that we couldn't procrastinate on getting the house in order, so that's almost done! Yeah!! I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing holiday and a chance to visit with family without much stress.

I think that is about all I have for the moment. I hope to get back to normal postings very soon. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Take the time to think about all you are thankful for and to enjoy this wonderful American holiday. Don't let the way-too-early Christmas rush get to you, just enjoy this holiday. I'll rant more on starting Christmas too early in a later post. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Wedding

Chris and I got married on October 20!! Most of you already knew that and many of you were probably there!! Thanks for coming if you came!!

If you weren't there, it was a wonderful day. We had been having rainy weather in Lexington during the week before the wedding, but the day of it cleared out and was clear and nice, not too hot, not too cold.

The ceremony was beautiful and Fr. Frank's homily was wonderful. It definitely makes a difference when you know the priest and he knows you. I think it is funny that the afternoon of the night Chris proposed he and I had had lunch with Fr. Frank. Then a year later he married us! Anyway, everything was lovely and it was such a joy to stand in front of everyone we love and profess our committment and love to each other for the rest of our lives.

Following the ceremony the guests enjoyed a cocktail hour at the reception site where we had a bluegrass band playing. We were taking pictures during that time, so we missed it, but I've seen some pictures and it looks like everyone was enjoying themselves. The reception itself started after that. The food was great, the company was great, and the music was great. Everything was so much fun. If you're a baseball fan you may know that that night was also game 6 of the Red Sox/Indians series for a trip to the World Series. Two of my aunts showed up late during the partying with Red Sox t-shirts on over their dresses and we had some fun on the dance floor with some favorite Boston songs (not the group, but songs Boston-related). One of the best parts was going around and visiting with everyone. My first chance to really see who was at the wedding was when we went visiting all the tables to say hello to our guests. That was great fun!!

That's all for now. I'll post more about the events of that weekend very soon. Eventually I'll also put up a link or two to some pictures. Check back here again soon!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We're back!!

We're back from the honeymoon!! We had a great time; it was fun and relaxing.

The wedding was wonderful; everything went well and it was so much fun to see so many family and friends together!!

I still have lots of emails to respond to and thank you notes to write. Plus we're still moving things from my old house to Chris' house and trying to find a place for it all. This is all to say that I may be on a bit more of a break from the blog while I accomplish all of that.

I go back to work tomorrow and will start trying to catch up there as well. Now I have to remember to drive to the right part of town when I leave work tomorrow evening!!

I'll be in touch with everyone soon!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Four Days!!

Only four days left until the wedding. Things are starting to get wrapped up and plans finalized. I'm happy to report that I have turned most everything over to my wedding coordinator and the contact person at the hotel and I can now just sit back and wait for things to happen.

Today is my last full day in the office. Tomorrow I'm coming in for a half day, but will be spending it in the main library's administration office reading contract renewal files. After that I'm gone for a while!! Yay!!

At the moment, Saturday is shaping up to be a beautiful day. High of 72, low of 53, mostly sunny, and only a 20% chance of rain. A little warm for this time of year, but it'll be beautiful!!

So far I've also thought of four games that guests at this wedding will be interested in scores for during the day. At least one of those might not happen, but if it does, I know a lot of people who are going to want to know the score. So far I have: Vandy vs. USC at 12:30, Florida vs. UK at 3:30, and UT vs. Alabama at 4:30. Then there is the Red Sox and the Indians. If that game happens, it'll be game 6 of the series and could be a very important one. I don't keep up with baseball so I actually have no idea how that series is currently going.

I think that covers everything for now! Wow, four days!! I can't believe it!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wow--One Week

Only one week left!!!

We met with the wedding coordinator today and squared away a lot of things with her. I also saw my photographer briefly and got my bridal portrait--it looks awesome!!

I have a meeting Tuesday at the Marriott to meet the banquet captain and after that there really isn't much to do.

My family gets to town on Thursday and extended family starts coming in that day and Friday. It's so exciting!

Everything we do these days is "the last time as single people"!! It's been fun!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lots of Stuff--Briefly

It's been a very long time since I posted anything here. Hopefully I haven't lost my readers, however small a group you might be.

Last weekend we moved my furniture to Chris' house. There is now furniture in every room of the house, while my house just has the bare minimum for me for the next two weeks! Wow!! The wedding is sooooo close!!!!

This week I'm wrapping up plans on my end and by Saturday I should be able to turn everything over to the wedding coordinator. Looking forward to that.

Work is busy, nothing new there. I was asked today by our Library Faculty Council to chair a new working group on Faculty Mentoring. I'm a sucker for punishment ... I said yes. Luckily, they anticipate most of the work to be during the spring semester.

I have one last wedding question. For those of you familiar with Christ the King and have seen the church when we have the banners up over the altar (usually at Pentacost, red, or Easter, white I think, or other special occasions): should I call to have the white banners put up for the wedding or not? I was at the church yesterday afternoon and I don't think they necessarily add anything to the look of the church, but they might possibly add to the sense of celebration for the wedding. Any opinions? I probably need to call soon if I'm going to have them done. Chris likes the idea, so I may put him in charge of calling if he really wants them.

What does everyone else think? Post your opinion at the link below. Thanks!

Have a great week and I'll try to put more news up this weekend. After that this blog might be dry for a while. :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our Busy Weekend: Friends and Painting

Good morning to everyone!!

We had a great weekend and I hope you did too. First we drove over to Louisville on Saturday morning and met up with a friend of mine for breakfast. We drove over to an IHOP on the Indiana side of the river. It was so much fun to catch up with her and I can't believe that I get to see her three times in five months!! She was in Louisville for a conference and she'll be back in KY in three weeks for our wedding.

Once we got back to Lexington we started in on our painting project. We managed to paint the whole master bedroom in about 2 hours, 3 if you count prep and cleanup time. I love the color!! And I'm so glad we have some more color in that house!

Sunday we went to Mass, had breakfast at Chris' house, read the paper a bit, and then headed off to multiple stores to run some errands. It was a good productive day. We also heard from Chris' brother who told us that he proposed to his girlfriend on Saturday evening! We're very excited for them and looking forward to another wedding now, possibly next September.

Have a great week!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

And the answer is ...

Not to audition!

I couldn't sleep last night, at all! I think I got two hours of sleep, maybe three. I managed to get to work by 8:30 somehow, I actually have no idea how I managed that.

The presentation/demo I went to at 9 was horrible. The product was actually good, although from what the sales guy said, it won't work on our sound recordings or specialized DVDs. He told me that CDs had ISBN numbers and was very insistant that more and more CDs had ISBNs. I guess he doesn't know what ISBN means: International Standard Book Number!! I definitely made sure to correct him and told him that I spent most of my day looking at CDs and I know they do not have ISBN numbers! Anyway, despite the product actually being pretty decent the presentation itself was pretty awful to sit through. Before a company sends someone out to a group of librarians to sell a product they should make sure the guy knows the lingo, knows what ISBN stands for, and make sure he knows how to use a web browser. Thankfully it lasted only an hour instead of the two hours it was slated for.

I spent the rest of the day trying to get some work done, but I was way too tired. Finally it was 5 and I left. I was afraid to sit for too long once I got home, I thought I might fall asleep and sleep right through rehearsal. So I ate, talked to my dad for a while then talked to my mom and then headed off for rehearsal. By the time we finished the first half of rehearsal and broke for auditions I knew I couldn't stay. So I left and didn't do the audition. I'm not worried. I also haven't told the director that I might not make the February concert.

So since I was out of rehearsal early, I went to Chris' house. Yes, I should have gone home and gone to bed, but I wanted to see my fiance. We talked some, prayed a rosary together, and I finally headed home. Now it's time to head to bed! Good night!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

To audition, or not to audition ... that is the question!

I've had a very busy week. Work is a bit more stressful these days and wedding stuff is a little stressful as well. I'm working through a lot of challenges right now, but I know that I will pull through them all, just like I always have. I managed to almost entirely write a master's thesis in about two months. That was quite a feat!

Anyway, so on top of all that I am also debating on auditioning for my spot in the band I play with. Thursday night is rehearsal, but only a half rehearsal and then the director is doing auditions for only the new members. But on the audition list he listed a part for "solo clarinet consideration," which is my curent position. I'm not worried, but I do like to be sure. Only problem, I haven't really had a chance to practice in months and all my reeds are terrible. I need to order new reeds--none of the music stores here keep the kind I use in stock.

So I played through the excerpt tonight and the scales he wants are easy enough. I just can't determine the tempo of the excerpt and I can't find a recording. I work in a music library and we don't have a recording anywhere of the piece, even through our streaming audio databases. But I think I'm close to the tempo, I hope.

I'm tempted to just go in and play for fun. Someone told me it might actually be a good stress releaver. She might be right! And auditions never hurt. Any other opinions? Will I be making a fool out of myself by auditioning or is it good to do to at least show that I don't want to lose my current spot?

Lots to think about. In the meantime, I have to get to bed so I can get to work by 8, read through several long documents and then sit in meetings from 9-12:30!! Wish me luck, I need it!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Preparing for the Move

Monday night I went to Chris' house to start moving his stuff around. We moved all his furniture from the master bedroom into the guest bedroom, vacuumed the master bedroom, and then started painting one wall. Oh, yeah, we picked out paint on Sunday for that room! I'm so excited!

So now the master is empty and Chris is sleeping in his guest room. This weekend we're painting and then the following weekend we're moving my bedroom furniture and some other pieces of furniture that I'm keeping into his house. Then I'll be sleeping in my guest room.

By the way, anyone want to come help us move things on October 6? We'll feed you!

I'm leaving work soon to go back to his house and I'll see what the paint looks like once it's dried. I think it is exactly what we're looking for!

Side note: I heard that the bachelor party went well. Chris had the least to drink and ended up being the designated driver; he was kind of the lightweight of the group!! And from the sound of it they all had a great time!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What does the bride do during the bachelor party?

Answer: Shopping, football, and pizza and ice cream!!

Shopping: I went to the mall this morning and bought a new outfit for the rehearsal dinner, plus a few other things. I had several Macy's coupons, plus a lot of there stuff was on sale. I had a good time! Then I went to Hamburg and bought some shoes to go with my new stuff. It was a productive day!!

Football: #12 LSU vs. #12 S. Carolina!! South Carolina scored the first touchdown!! Unfortunately LSU did most of the scoring after that. We finally got a field goal and then in the fourth quarter we manged to get a second touchdown, but they tried for the two point conversion and didn't make it. Oh well!

Pizza and ice cream!! That's my dinner for tonight, or rather it was. Although I am eating the ice cream now. Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, right out of the container!! It's so great!! And who knows when I may ever do this again. So I'm enjoying myself!! :)

Hope you all are having a good night. I'll find out how the bachelor party went tomorrow. I hope the guys are having fun.

What Instrument Should you Play??

You Should Play the Violin

You are highly intelligent, and mastering difficult subjects never intimidates you.
And while you may not be musical yet, you have a good ear - and you're sensitive to subtle differences in music.

You are dedicated and studious. You have a great work ethic.
You study well under a teacher, and you don't mind repeating tasks or following instructions.

Expressive and moody, you are very likely to convey a variety of rich emotions through your music.
You are definitely a passionate person... passionate enough to truly love the violin.

Your dominant personality characteristic: your high intelligence

Your secondary personality characteristic: your sensitivity

I may not play the violin, but I think the desciption is pretty good for me. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catching Up After a Week

It's been a week since I last posted here. Needless to say, I've been pretty busy.

Work, of course, is very busy, but that's no surprise. There's a ton of stuff going on there and it's only going to get busier over the next few weeks or more. But there's no point in writing about the details, that would only be boring.

Last weekend is much more interesting to share. On Saturday my two sisters and my youngest sister's boyfriend drove up from Atlanta for a very brief visit. But first, my friend RM and I went to see my photographer on Saturday morning to view my bridal portraits from the previous Friday. They were very good and it took a while to decide on one. But we finally did and picked out a frame for it as well. We then spent a good portion of the rest of the morning running errands.

My visitors arrived around 2:30 that afternoon. My youngest sister and her boyfriend were heading out to Louisville for a wedding, so we left them keys to the house and then left to find something to do during the afternoon. RM, my sister, and I decided to go out to the Woodford Reserve Distillery, but the last tour had already started. But we enjoyed some free samples and then took the scenic drive back to Lexington.

That night we went off to a Bachelorette Party and Personal Shower that RM organized for me with many of my friends. It was fun to have a girl's night out with a group of friends. It was also the first time that some of my friends had met each other. I think everyone had a great time. I also got some nice little gifts. After dinner we headed over to a nearby restaurant and bar where we got to watch the last five minutes of the Louisville vs. UK football game and had a drink. I had a Mint Chocolate Chip Martini which was VERY good. It smelled like ice cream, and the taste was very good, the alcohol wasn't very strong and the chocolate syrup in it was an awesome touch.

That was basically the weekend. Monday at work was also fun. My co-workers had a shower for me over a potluck lunch. It was so nice of them to arrange something like this for me. Everyone brought a dish to share and we enjoyed lunch together. We got some very nice gifts!

I've been touched by the many showers that people have had for me. It was fun to have one with my bridesmaids in Atlanta, another one with Chris' side of the family in Bardstown, one with co-workers, and the personal shower with my close friends. It's such a special way to celebrate our upcoming marriage.

This coming weekend is the Bachelor party. That means I have a free Saturday night. More later on how I'll be spending my upcoming free weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finished Book on Reconciliation

If you want to learn more about the Sacraments I highly recommend a series of books by Sister Patricia Proctor. I've read 3 of the books so far and I always learn something from them. They are also good to refer to later and they offer a lot of inspiration.

The one I just finished was 101 Inspirational Stories of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Like the other books in the series (I've read the one on the Rosary and the Eucharist, I also have the one on the Priesthood which is on my to-read list), the book is almost entirely stories submitted by various people, both lay and religious. In addition to the stories about people's experiences with the Sacrament of Reconciliation there were also short articles about various aspects of the Sacarment. The back of the book includes appendices on making a good confession, a review of the ten commandments, and more.

The book was good and very inspiring. I always find the stories in these books uplifting and this book was just as uplifting as the others, if not more so. I'm looking forward to reading the book on the Priesthood. I highly recommend any of these books, just type the author's name into Amazon and they should all come up.

My Dress and the Dry Run

I hope everyone had a great weekend!! We did here. My mother came up last Thursday and brought my wedding dress. Friday we had a dry run of the wedding day morning.

The dress is so beautiful!! It was so great to put it on with the right shoes, the jewelry, and the veil. Okay, my excitement is making me get a little ahead of the story here.

Friday I had my bridal portrait done. We went to the hair salon and had my hair and make-up done like it'll be done at the wedding. We got there at 9 and left around 10:30. I'm hoping it won't take that long the day of the wedding; another good reason for doing a dry run. We got to the Marriott at 11 and the photographer was all set up and waiting for us. It was so cool to put my dress on and the shoes and the jewelry that I'll be wearing. I think the pictures came out really well, but I'll know more when I can see actual prints. I have a meeting with the photographer on Friday. We took most of the pics inside the Mansion (the free-standing restaurant at the hotel) but we did take a few outside. it was a gorgeous day, just a little windy. It was fun to take pictures and feel a little like a model. My mother had fun too and it was fun to have her there. She got to play photographer's assistant for a little while.

The rest of the weekend was fun too. We went to a diocesan young adult mass and potluck on Friday night. The Bishop presided and had a wonderful homily, as he usually does. Saturday Mom and I took a drive and ended up checking out some model homes for fun. That night Chris made dinner and made a birthday cake for my mom (see previous post). Sunday mom and I went to Bardstown for a bridal shower. That was a lot of fun!! My future sister-in-law did such a wonderful job setting everything up for an afternoon tea and the company was great. I met a few more friends of the family and I think everyone had a good time. The afternoon was so much fun!!

That was the whole weekend. I'm so excited to have my dress here; it certainly makes the wedding seem so much closer now!! I can't wait to see the pictures on Friday. I have a feeling I'm going to find a nice one and maybe even one or two that I can have put in the wedding album later. But I should wait until I actually see the pictures before making plans. I can't wait for Chris to see the portrait at the wedding; hopefully it'll be a great gift for him!!

Hope everyone else had great weekends!! Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Happy Birthday to my mother today!! She's the best mom in the world. She's also coming to visit me this weekend!! So we'll be doing a celebrating when she's here.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

For Emily and Timothy

Even a short life deserves to be recognized. Yesterday (Saturday) we went to a Memorial Mass for Emily Jane and Timothy Thomas, twins who died while still in the womb.

My future sister-in-law miscarried several weeks ago. The families all came together yesterday to participate in this Mass and then we went to the cemetary where the babies are buried to say a short prayer there as well.

The Mass was simple and solemn, the priest's homily was good, and the short prayer service at the cemetary was moving. It was really wonderful to be able to do this for them and to know that through the baptism of desire the babies are in heaven and their mom and dad will see them one day.

Please take a moment to say a short prayer for the souls of these two babies, Emily Jane and Timothy Thomas. And also for their parents and two older brothers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

CNN's God's Warriors program

Last week, CNN presented a three part documentary called "God's Warriors." I watched all three nights and I learned a lot. But I was also a bit disappointed with aspects of their coverage. Of course, it is difficult to cover centuries of history in six hours, so they had to narrow their focus, but I still found a bit of a disconnect. I'll explain.

The general idea of the entire documentary was to look at the three major religions of the world, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and specifically to look at the "warriors" of those three religions. The first night was "Jewish Warriors" followed by "Muslim Warriors" and finally the last night was "Christian Warriors." Since watching the whole documentary I've had mixed feelings on commenting about them. But I finally decided that I should; it was an interesting documentary overall even if there was an obvious bias and I like history and it had a lot of that. So I did learn something.

The first night I was mostly just curious to see what this whole documentary was about. The focus, as I said above, was on the "Jewish Warriors." The focus was mostly on the Jews in Israel, well almost entirely. They talked about the wars in that area (around the Gaza strip, the West Bank, etc.) during the 20th century. Plus they commented on various other violence in that area between the Jewish people and other peoples of the region. The focus on how religion and politics intermingle was the most fascinating part for me. I was most interested in that based on the articles I read before I even saw the program. In the U.S. we are always trying to create this separation of church and state. Unfortunately we try to take that position in our international relations as well. But for many areas of the world religion and politics are intermingled much more. During this first program it was interesting to listen to the interviews with many people who said that they didn't care what the UN or their government said about which land they could live on and which they couldn't. God gave the Jews specific land and that's the land they want to live on. The state can't change their minds and won't. They also made sure to discuss terrorists among the Jewish people. Now there is something you never hear about in the news. At least not these days. These days if you hear about terrorists we automatically assume a completely different group.

The second part of the documentary was called the "Muslim Warriors." Again, there was a lot of focus on the Middle East and a lot of discussion of history throughout the 20th century with some look back to previous centuries. The Islamic religion is probably one of the most misunderstood religions for most of us. The focus on "warriors" was not not just on violence. Yes, that was discussed and it was interesting to hear what the influences were on people like Osama bin Ladin and others. But they also talked about the peaceful warriors, about the head coverings for women, and, of course, all the politics of the region. Again, there was a lot of focus on how their religion is intertwined with their politics.

After watching those first two nights I was very interested in seeing what the focus would be with the "Christian Warriors" part. I ended up being disappointed. After two nights of politics in the Middle East and some look at international politics and the role the U.S. has played in that region I was curious to see how the Christian peoples of the Middle East would be discussed. I should also mention that in both of the previous episodes they also did interview people in the U.S. who were either Jewish or Muslim who had connections with the Middle East, either directly or indirectly. But when it came to the Christian Warriors the focus went entirely to the United States. I was okay with this to a point, but this part of the documentary was so completely different with a seemingly very different focus that it totally threw me off. The "warriors" they focused on in the part of the documentary was almost exclusively on the more evangelical protestants. Not a bad take, but it certainly narrowed the focus. They discussed the pro-life work of many Christians, the young people who are fighting against our Western culture by pushing abstinence before marriage, and there was a lot of attention on Liberty University, founded by the late Jerry Fallwell.

My biggest disappointment was that, as a Christian, I saw a lot of stuff completely left out. I also found the shift in focus a little jolting and was disappointed that the history aspect of the documentary went down from looking at the past century to looking at only the past 30 years. And it made the U.S. look like it was full of people who were either very secular and not religious or evangelical. No mention of some of the larger Christian denominations and the work they are doing to try and improve our society. As a Catholic I was surprised that Catholicism wasn't mentioned at all. When you talk about the three major religions of the world, how can you leave out Catholicism? At one moment they were showing a group of people outside the White House or some important building who were protesting, peacefully, for a reversal of Roe v. Wade and I happened to spot a rosary in someone's hand as they panned the crowd. That was the only bit of Catholicism in the entire two hours.

I was also disappointed that there was nothing about Christians in Jerusalem. All three episodes started in Jerusalem and comments about the three major religions of that holy city. Oh well, anyone watching who didn't know would have thought that no Christians lived in Jerusalem anymore. They could have at least mentioned Rome, but maybe that would have brought them down a road they didn't want to travel. As a result, once they got past the introduction of the third episode they really didn't mention the Holy City again.

After watching all three and being disappointed with the third part it makes me wonder how skewed the first two parts were and I just didn't notice because of my own ignorance.

One more thing. There was a very interesting moment in the middle of the documentary. Christiana Amanpour, the host, was in one of the Middle Eastern countries (Iran I think) and she was wearing a loose head covering at various times during her coverage of the Muslim people depending on where she was. So, she was sitting in a car and was explaining where she was about to go to talk to some very conservative Muslims. She needed to change her head covering to one that completely covered her head and hair only leaving her face exposed. So she took off her regular head covering and as she did she glanced over her shoulder out the car window with one of those fearful expressions on her face, like she was afraid of being caught. It was very quick and may not have even been noticed by everyone. She is such a confident and intelligent woman and she's not afraid to ask the tough questions. It was kind of strange to see her in a moment like that. As it turned out she had difficulty trying to figure out how to put this particular head covering on and had to go into a dress shop to get help from an expert. It was also interesting that the group she was going to interview were so conservative that they would not look at her during the interview. So, women in this particular group had to be almost completely covered and yet the men were still not allowed to make eye contact with them.

Overall, it was a good program. Obviously a documentary like this can't cover everything, so what they did cover was good. I think the Christian aspect could have been completely different, but otherwise I did learn a lot and found the whole thing very fascinating.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fences and Decks

We spent all day Saturday sealing fences and decks. And it did take ALL day!

We started around 9:30AM at Chris' house working on the fence there. After he fed me breakfast, of course. We pretty much worked nonstop until around 1pm. It took us about an hour to clean up and pack everything into the car.

We stopped at Wendy's to get some lunch around 2pm and took it to my house to eat.

It was a little after 3pm when we started working on my fence and back deck. We had a sprayer for the sealer, but we ended up actually painting a major part of the deck. So it was after 6pm when we finished at my house. Chris had everything cleaned and loaded into the car by 7pm. He headed home and I finally got to take a shower.

We were both so exhausted that after getting a shower and relaxing a bit that neither of us had any interest in going anywhere. So we didn't see each other Saturday night, but we certainly saw enough of each other during the day.

Sunday at church one couple told us that doing a big project like that together, and surviving it, is a good test for our future marriage. We did have some arguments at the beginning, but we got past those and worked well together after that.

So after that was all done I suggested that we paint the master bedroom before we move my furniture in. I don't think Chris was very happy about potentially adding something to the pre-wedding to-do list. But I went and picked out colors ... so we'll see how good my power of persuasion is! Haha!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I am NOT a cook!

I do like to cook sometimes, but overall, I'm not a cook, and I'll readily admit it. For the most part I see it as a chore, necessary of course, but still a chore.

On the other hand, Chris likes cooking! He likes to experiment and he enjoys his time in the kitchen. I sometimes wish I liked cooking more, but I get bored with it after a while. We've talked about this, I get bored real fast with a lot of "domestic" type things.

Monday night Chris came to my house for dinner. Dinner was good, he said he liked it. Later that night he finally admitted that it was bland. I must have blander taste than I thought; I don't use enough spices and seasonings. But I don't miss it.

End result: I may stop trying. We're not even married yet and I am guessing that he may prefer that I not do the cooking. Any comments, Chris?

Last night I read an article in a magazine I get. The article was a guide for newlyweds. It was pretty short, but had some interesting things to say. I thought about my cooking attempts Monday night while I read the article. Thankfully I have no delusions about my cooking abilities. I know that Chris is a better cook and that's okay by me. The article mentions that you should not let little things bother you. Cooking may not seem like a little thing to most people, but it is for me. So this is not bothering me at all. Actually, I'll happily give this chore to Chris.

The only down side to this is what chores will I be responsible for instead if he's doing all the cooking?? I guess time will tell! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rock the Collar

If anyone out there watches MTV you may have heard of "Rock the Vote." I don't watch MTV so I actually don't know what Rock the Vote is, but I think it had something to do with getting younger Americans registered to vote and encouraging them to vote for our nation's leaders. But that's not really what this post is about. This is a take off of that concept: Rock the Collar.

Last week several seminarians who are studying to be priests of the Diocese of Lexington took a tour of the diocese before they all headed back to their studies for the fall semester. This tour was the "Rock the Collar" tour. They mostly went to parishes in the rural parts of the diocese, but on the last day (Sunday) they ended at the Cathedral in Lexington where there was an afternoon reception for them.

The tour sounded pretty amazing. Chris and I went to the reception at the Cathedral on Sunday and they showed off pictures they had taken and a video they created from their trip. They visited about 10 parishes, spent the day with the priest, got a tour of the various areas, visited parishioners, stayed with host families, and had some sort of potluck meal or reception or something at each parish they visited. It sounded like such a great thing for these young men to participate in! They got so much out of it:

  1. They got to see more of the parishes then just their home parish and some of the larger parishes in the city of Lexington (as one young man said: he saw the diocese as just Pikeville, where he was from, and Lexington, where the Cathedral is).
  2. They got to meet priests who will one day be their brother priests AND some of those priests have been in the diocese for a very long time and have lots of wisdom to impart
  3. They got to know each other better: our seminarians attend 3-4 different seminaries, so this gives them a chance to bond with each other
  4. They got a chance to talk about their vocations, make themselves more visible, and show parishioners of the diocese that they are regular guys. Hopefully this will help foster more vocations to the priesthood

At the Cathedral on Sunday they each introduced themselves, told how old they were, what their home parish was, and what year in seminary they were and which seminary they attended. One of them gave his vocation story and another told us a bit about what his typical schedule was like in seminary. Then the Bishop also spoke. Oh, and the seminarian who was the driving force behind this whole thing told us how supportive our Bishop is: visiting them at seminary and keeping in touch with all of them, attending their convocations, and so much more. Apparently not every Bishop is that available to his seminarians.

The Bishop, as always, had wonderful things to say. He talked specifically about vocations and he made me think about some discussions I have had with protestant friends over the last year or so about the Catholic Priesthood. Bishop Gainer said one thing in particular that surprised someone sitting near me. It didn't totally surprise me, but I think I had heard it before. He said that he would be very hesitant to ordain any man to the priesthood who didn't think he wanted to be a dad or thought fatherhood was not anything he could see himself doing. This seems surprising at first considering that our priests take a vow of celibacy and are not allowed to marry. But his reason for this is because as a priest you are called to be like a father to all those you serve. He said that the priesthood is not the opposite choice from having a family. If you're not called to marriage that doesn't automatically mean that you're called to the priesthood (or religious life, as the case may be). The two are not opposites. If you think about, it does make sense. Everyone has a vocation. Some are called to marriage, some to the priesthood or religious life, and some are called to a single life. I've heard some debate on the single life vocation, but I'm not going to go into that here.

I also liked that the Bishop talked about encouraging our children to consider the priesthood or religious life. It was something that was once worn as a badge of honor if one of your children chose that life but doesn't seem to be the case any longer. But he is encouraged by the growing number of seminarians everywhere. We have 12 this fall and may have 14 by January. We are ordaining 2 next summer and hopefully we'll have more entering seminary next year. Those numbers are great, especially for a diocese that is so young (we'll be 20 years old in 2008). Having our seminarians touring the diocese and making themselves visible will help foster vocations; or at least make more people think about it.

Sunday was a fun event. We met several of the seminarians, talked to plenty of other people, and had a bit of cake and other treats. The movie they put together was cool to see as well, set to a song by U2.

I also encourage everyone to check out THIS WEBSITE. This website was put together by our diocese to be an information center for any vocation in life. It has resources for marriage, priesthood, religious vocations, and more. If anything is posted about the "Rock the Collar" tour, it'll be put on this website. Check it out!!

UPDATE: For a first person account from one of our new seminarians (starting his seminary formation this fall) see Alan's post at his blog which he titles "Wow".

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two Months!!

I'm getting married in 2 MONTHS!! Oh wow!! That's just amazing!!

It's hard to believe that we've been together 18 months now and engaged for 10!! In some ways it seems we've been together a lot longer than that. And in two more months we'll be husband and wife!! Wow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Catholic Topic of the Week 5: The Assumption

Today is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Church. Today we celebrate the Assumption of Mary. I posted about this last year as well and for those interested in knowing more about what the feast day is you can check out the same website that I referred to last year HERE.

The Catholic Church celebrates Mary in a variety of ways throughout the year. She is the Saint of all saints and a great person from whom to ask for intercessions. Several weeks ago the Bishop of Lexington spoke at the Theology on Tap series about the Second Vatican Council. He mentioned at one point (maybe during the Q&A at the end) that many people thought Mary was downplayed by the Council. He explained very clearly how the Council did not change anything about the Church's teaching on Mary and that she is still very much a big part of our Catholic faith. I wish I could remember everything he said on this topic, but I can't. Suffice it to say, he was very eloquent!

I looked up the readings for mass today and thought I should share them with everyone here. They are available through the USCCB website here:

The first reading is from Revelations; a description of the woman giving birth to a child who is the Anointed One. Catholics take the woman in Revelation to be a Marian figure; she comes up several times. The Psalm speaks of a queen at the Lord's right hand. The second reading describes Christ as the ruler of the Kingdom until all enemies have been put down and he can hand it over to His God and Father. This is the reading that many people would look at and say "But what does that have to do with Mary?" That's easy to answer: she was assumed into heaven to sit at Christ's right hand (thus the Psalm passage) AND, most importantly, she leads us to Christ. Pray for Mary's intercession and she takes your prayers directly to Him.

Finally the Gospel is about Mary directly. We see Mary going to visit her cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth says what today we say as part of the "Hail Mary." Mary's response is what we call today the Magnificat. The whole Magnificat is there in the reading. Here's the entire Hail Mary prayer:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
Blessed are you amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thine womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

It's a beautiful prayer taken first from the angel's word to Mary, then Elizabeth's, and then an additional sentence at the end.

Anyway, go to Mass today, it's a Holy Day of Obligation! Chris and I will be attending the 5:30 Mass right after work today. Maybe we'll see you there!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lasts: Harry Potter and Singlehood

I finished reading the last Harry Potter book on Sunday. It was a great book. Only problem was that I forgot some of the details from book 6. I think when I have time again (maybe after the wedding) I'll have to sit down and read all 7 books in a row.

So Harry is now done and I'm starting to see a lot of things finishing up. Plus I read something the other day about "lasts" and it got me thinking about my many lasts coming up. Read on for the further explanation and bare with me as I ramble a bit:

Several seminarians from our diocese just started a tour of the diocese this week. They are visiting a variety of churches, visiting with the priest, and meeting the parishioners on a tour they are calling "Rock the Collar." One of the seminarians is starting seminary this fall, he's a member of my parish, and I discovered that he has a blog. I read through his blog and found it interesting to read about his many "lasts" as he prepares to leave for seminary. He spoke about the thrill of his vocation and also the sadness of leaving everything he's always known. I can totally relate!

Okay, so yes I finished Harry Potter. Now we know the end of the story. But of course, that's fiction. In the real world, I'm starting to de-clutter my house, get rid of things I don't need, and start packing things to take to Chris' house. I have a student who is interested in taking my stereo, a co-worker wants my DVD player, I have managed to set aside a lot of books to get rid of one way or another, and a former student stopped by to say hi today and she might be interested in my kitchen table and chairs.

What are my "lasts?" Well, I've had my last Christmas as a single person, this was my last summer as a single person, and I'm sure there are many others. I'm packing up my house to move into his house, which will be our house, but it still seems like "his house." It's weird to think of my name as being different. I never thought I would change my name, but I made the decision several months ago that I would, so now I'm realizing just how many things have to change: credit cards, Social security card, all my health and retirement benefits, drivers licence, passport, bank accounts, stocks, the house paperwork, and who knows what else. Its almost too much to comprehend. But at the same time, it's exciting and amazing. We're so excited about the many "firsts" we'll be having together as husband and wife.

There are certainly lots of lasts coming up, but there will be many, many firsts. We have less than 10 weeks left now! It's getting very exciting as my last lasts finish up and our first firsts begin.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Finally ... Harry

I'm finally reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Actually, I'm already half way through the book.

So I'm a bit sleep deprived these days. It's just so hard to put it down at night!!

I've been up until 1 or 2 AM every night this week before I finally make myself put down the book and go to bed.

So far, it's just as suspenseful as all the others and just as good. I just can't wait to see what's going to happen next!!!

Okay, it's 5:00! I'm heading home and maybe I'll read a little over dinner! :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Baby Congrats!!

Some friends of mine had a baby in the early hours of the morning this morning. I ran over around 1:30am to be at the house with the two boys (ages 4 and 2) while mom and dad ran to the hospital. Actually, mom had left for the hospital before I got there. Dad ran off the moment I arrived; apparently the baby came right as I got to the house. Amazingly fast!!

I don't know the exact time of birth, but I'm guessing it was around 1:35am or so. They had a baby girl: Kayla Marie, 7 lbs., 11 oz.

All are doing well!! Congrats to the whole family!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Full Weekend Once Again

We had a very full weekend and I'm totally exhausted from it now.

Friday after work we met with Fr. Frank for another marriage prep discussion. We always have great talks with him and I keep getting him off topic because I ask questions about something he's said and we go down a whole different path. I feel kind of bad about this, especially since his time is limited, but he said he doesn't mind too much.

The rest of Friday was just dinner and then sitting around watching TV. Nice and relaxing; just wish I had appreciated that more then.

A friend of mine was staying at my place this weekend, so her and I went for an hour-long walk Saturday morning. Chris and I attended a baby shower that afternoon and then went to a movie that night. We saw Ratatouille, which was very cute.

Sunday after Mass we went to Chris' house for breakfast and then left a few hours later to drive to Cincinnati. We went to see the opera Aida by Verdi. I've always wanted to see Aida and it was really good. The sets were amazing!! After the opera we crossed back over the river to Newport and had dinner at a very nice seafood restaurant there. We walked around the Newport area for a few minutes before finally deciding that we needed to head home. I got back to my house around 10:15 and pretty much went straight to bed.

Definitely a full and exhausting weekend! But we had a great time! I leave for Atlanta (again!) in a few days, in the meantime I guess I need to get back to work! Hope everyone out there has a wonderful week!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Catholic Topic of the Week 4

Finally, the Catholic Topic I've been promising (and it's a long one) ...

On July 10, 2007, the Vatican released a document written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. After releasing the document the press started misreporting on it, almost immediately. A friend of mine asked for my opinion on this matter. I have been reading and hearing a lot about it and I want to take this opportunity to reflect on it as well as point out other people’s thoughts or interpretations of the document. By talking about this document I feel that this Catholic Topic of the Week basically is a way of explaining what the Catholic Church believes about itself.

The document itself is actually pretty short. It is entitled “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church.” Once the Vatican released the document it came to the attention of many news agencies which immediately began misinterpreting the purpose of the document. News reports I heard reported that the Catholic Church was making claims that salvation could be found only through the Catholic Church, that the Catholic Church thought only Catholics were Christians, and so forth. This is NOT what the document said and is NOT what the Church teaches.

I have become acutely aware lately of how horrible the media is about reporting on a lot of things. So much so that I now question everything I hear coming from the news. However, the Internet is an amazing thing. You can locate the documents and read the texts yourself, you can do your own research, and there are plenty of bloggers in the blogosphere doing much better research than many reporters these days. In regard to reporting on the Catholic Church, the media has a field day misinterpreting things from the Church and just never bothers to do their research. Two incidents of late: the Pope’s speech at Regensburg many months ago (maybe last summer even) in which one sentence from a very long speech was taken completely out of context and, more recently, the previously mentioned document. Speaking of which, here is what I have to say on that.

The document speaks honestly about what the Catholic Church teaches about what it believes in itself. So think about this: if you went to a church that said to its members, “We can only teach you part of the Truth, but we don’t have the fullness of Truth we’re just here for community building” would you continue going to that church? Regardless of your current faith, would you really want to go to a church (or synagogue or mosque) that didn’t believe that it had the fullness of truth? One of the headlines I saw that I did like after this document was released was: “The Pope is Catholic” or something like that. (He’s Catholic? Who knew!!) Basically, the Church is saying that it believes that it has the fullness of truth. As a Catholic, I’m very glad to hear that my Church thinks this way of itself. Otherwise, why would I bother going? I do like the community and all that, but the important part is the faith itself.

The response to this, though, has been: but what about the other Christian faiths? Well, within this document the Church does not deny that the Protestant communities also contain elements of the Truth within their teachings. The news reports overlooked this detail, or just didn’t bother reporting on it. Salvation is attainable through other faiths, the Church doesn’t deny that. And never has. Much of this was in the Vatican II documents, and even then it was just a reaffirmation of what the Church had always taught. Basically this is nothing new. But the Church would not be the Church if it said that the fullness of Truth is with us and it is with all the other churches that separated from us from the 16th century on through to today. Otherwise we’d all still be one united church like we were over 500 years ago. But we’re not and the Church knows this and continuously prays for unity again one day among all Christians. It comes down to this: the Church would be denying its own teachings to say that all churches are the same as it is.

I’m not sure if that makes a lot of sense. But there are other people talking about this same issue who are much better at writing about it than I am. Here are two of the many I read. The second blog ( is a great blog overall. I highly recommend it. Both of these links are more on this same topic:

On a related note: Monday evening, I went to a session of Theology on Tap. This is a national young adult ministry that began in Chicago over 20-25 years ago. In Lexington it is held twice a year for six weeks each time. Monday was the third of the current series; this series is called Rome to Home: A Catholic History Timeline. Monday Fr. Frank spoke on the Reformation (yes, the priest that’s also doing our wedding in October). At the beginning of his talk he mentioned that there are currently over 33,000 Christian denominations in the United States alone. And that number is growing every day. From the time of Christ and the Apostles until sometime around 1500 there was only one Christian Church in the world (well, there was the split in 1054 when the Eastern Orthodox disagreed with Rome on some issues, but that was a different kind of split than what happened in the Reformation). In 500 years the Church has splintered to tens of thousands of Christian denominations world-wide.

That’s absolutely amazing!! Christ established one church on Earth and for 1500 years (roughly) that was the Catholic Church. But now Christians are divided, into many, many, many segments. For this reason the Church can not in good conscience call Protestant communities “churches” because we see them as divided from the one Church of Christ, the one He established on Earth. Yes, many people have taken offence to this, but I refer you to my earlier statement: Would you be a part of a church that didn’t claim some kind of fullness of truth in its teachings? Then why shouldn’t the Catholic Church think that way of itself?

There is so much more that could be said about this and so many interrelated issues. But it’s too much to go into here. This is why this document was written for theologians and not for the lay person. This is also part of the reason I started doing these Catholic Topics of the Week: to explore the many beliefs of the Catholic faith.

In closing, please pray for the unity of all Christians into the one true Church. Pray that one day the Church may be “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” once again.

Feast day of Sts. Joachim and Anne

Today is the Feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary. This reminds me of something Fr. Frank was telling Chris and I on Sunday morning.

After Mass on Sunday we went wondering around the Church grounds to see where some nice picture spots would be. I wanted to find a little side garden that one of my co-workers had mentioned to me. We found it and there was a statue there of what I thought was the Virgin Mary. Only it didn't look like her ... well, it didn't look like a typical portrayal of her. But there were no markings on it either. As we left the garden we ran into Fr. Frank.

We talked with him a bit and then I asked if he knew anything about the statue. He had also assumed it was Mary but had never really taken a good look at it. Chris said she was holding a lily, so we wondered what saints were typically pictured with a lily.

He mentioned St. Therese since she is usually pictured with a flower, but not a lily. Then he said that the lily does figure into the story of Saint Joseph and Mary.

The story is (and it is just a story, there is no way to verify it) that Saint Anne was trying to pick out a husband for her daughter Mary and there were several men there. Saint Joseph was among them and suddenly a lily grew out of the top of his staff. Taking that as a sign from God (honestly, who wouldn't!) she chose Joseph to be Mary's husband.

Even if it is just a story, it's a nice one.

Potter is in the house!

I'm so excited!! My copy of the seventh Harry Potter book arrived in the mail today!! I'm dying to start it but I promised myself I would first finish the library book I currently have out.

Darn my busy life, I want to READ!!

Thankfully I only have about 3-4 more chapters left in the library book and then I'm moving on to the final Harry Potter book.

All the other books waiting to be read will just have to keep waiting. Potter automatically gets moved to the top of the stack.

Robin: you can't borrow it when you come see me this weekend; you'll have to come visit another time to get your hands on it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick Note

I'm in Lexington again, been here since Saturday. The trip to Atlanta was nice, here's a quick update on that:

My brother cooked a wonderful meal the first night I was home which was absolutely spectacular!! Thursday I drove into Atlanta for a one day workshop that was actually very interesting and informative. It made me think about the future of my profession in a way I hadn't considered before and for me it emphasized the importance of what I do (and people like me) and how undervalued our work is not only in the outside world but even within our own library profession.

Friday I went with my sister and niece to have her 18 months pictures made (she's so cute!). The my mom and I ran some errands and I just hung out at home that evening. Nice to relax and have nothing to do for once. Saturday I came back to Lexington.

Since then I've been busy at work and with a few other little [wedding] things. I want to post something for a Catholic Topic of the Week very soon. You might see something tonight or tomorrow night (I hope!!). I haven't forgotten, I just want to make sure I do a good job with this one so I'm taking my time.

Okay, back to work for me!! Until next time ... K

Monday, July 16, 2007

In Lexington ... for now

Good Monday to everyone!!

I got back to Lexington Sunday afternoon around 3pm. I had to travel through a couple pretty bad storms on my way home, but I made it safely and still got back much earlier than Chris expected me.

The trip was good. We had dinner on Friday night at a little Italian place in Columbus and then went and got ice cream. I got two small scoops of two different flavors: Belgian milk chocolate and some kind of vanilla and raspberry thing. It was very good! Saturday we had breakfast at the B&B and then went off to our meeting. We met from 10am until just after 5:30pm, with breaks of course. I think the meeting was shorter this year than last. Several reasons for that: we seemed more prepared, the budget was easier, and there were very few items on the agenda that were controversial. So it went well. That evening we went to a very nice Spanish restaurant. The chef sent out a small dish with just a spoonful of octopus for each of us as a pre-meal item. I also got a baby spinach salad and then my main meal was a grilled beef fillet with potatoes and asparagus. Oh and the dessert!! I shared a serving of the Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake with a colleague. It was really awesome. Several of us also had a glass of some kind of Merlot that was supposed to have a hint of chocolate in it. Can you tell I like chocolate? Not sure that I tasted it in the wine, but it was a nice description.

So that was it. I am in meetings most of today while I'm at work and they are all over at the main library. The first one is over, I went and had lunch, and now I'm doing this before I go to the second meeting. Just one more day of work and then I'm off to Atlanta on Wednesday. This trip is both work and a little vacation.

Hope everyone has a great week!! I promise to post something soon for the Catholic Topic of the Week. I've been promising for a while now and I hope to get to it soon. Maybe while I'm in Atlanta.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Before I leave town ...

Before I leave town for the weekend I wanted to post about a few things.

First, I was hoping to post a Catholic Topic of the Week before I left, but I just haven't had time. My friend Tara made an excellent suggestion and I want to look at the issue she brought up. So when I get back from my next two trips (this weekend and then next week) I hope to post on that. In the meantime, you might have seen something about this in the news on Monday or Tuesday of this week. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican released a document on Monday (dated June 29) that caused a bit of a stir. Basically the document just answers five questions, rather briefly, and is only reaffirming already held Catholic doctrines, not stating anything new. It's actually a very short document that you can find by clicking on this Vatican website. Take a look and when I next get a chance I'll post some comments about the document and I look forward to engaging in some dialogue with all of you.

Second, I had a somewhat busy week. I have had meetings at work almost every day and I finally got all my reports done (end of the year reports, reports for the meeting this Saturday, and others). I've also been busy gathering all the things I needed for my trip this weekend. I hope I have everything!!

Speaking of my trip: I head to Columbus tomorrow. This excursion is for a Board meeting of one of my professional organizations. (See the Music OCLC Users Group link to the left for more info.) There are six of us for this meeting and although it is a lot of work, we are pretty casual and we have a good time. One person lives in Columbus and the other five of us stay at a B&B around the corner from his house. Last year I was the only female on the Board. This year two positions were opened and were both filled by females. I like the guys (four of my closest college friends are guys), but it'll be nice to socialize with some women friends over the weekend too!! Last year I was able to connect online at the B&B, hopefully I'll be able to do that this time as well so I can keep in touch via this blog.

Tonight, I went to meet with the wedding coordinator again. The head of the company emailed me this week to say that her assistant who was supposed to handle my wedding found a different job, but she had hired someone new and she wanted us to meet. So I went down there today to meet her and she's very nice. The cool thing was that she just did a wedding at the Marriott Griffin Gate and she met my photographer at that wedding. I saw pictures of that wedding when I last met with my photographer and it was a gorgeous wedding. Meeting with her and going over everything made me feel better about where we are. I've basically done everything I could have done by now and more. So that was good to hear.

That's about it from the Bluegrass State!! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Old theaters, old movies

The organist at my church emailed me on Monday and asked if Chris and I would be interested in joining him and his wife to go see a movie on Wednesday night. So we agreed and tonight I headed downtown to the Kentucky Theater where I met up with the organist and his wife and Chris. All four of us had to come separately.

I've been to the Kentucky Theater twice before. Both times I saw recent films and both times there was between 15-20 people there. That wouldn't be too bad, only this theater seats about 300 or more. Chris had never been to the theater, so this was a new experience for him.

Brian (the church organist) thought that maybe it was built around 1923 or 24. He wasn't sure exactly. But he did know that the original Wurlitzer organ was put in around 1926. Cathy (his wife, who is also an organist and sang alto with me in the Italy choir several years ago) was telling me how there is a campaign to bring the original Wurlitzer back. They are currently raising money to do that. I think I've seen the original organ over at UK's campus, in the large concert hall. It's not being used, just on display. I think; it could be a reproduction or maybe just a small exhibit about it (I haven't been over there in a long time).

Anyway, when we walked into the theater there was organ music being played. The organ down near the stage is an electronic reproduction of the original and the organist was a doctoral student I recognized from the library. Following the organ recital, he talked a little about the restoration of the organ, asked for donations, then had everyone stand to sing "My Old Kentucky Home." Okay, I've lived in the state for 7 years now, but I still don't know the words. Then someone else got up, talked a bit about the movie and the actors, and some of the filming and then we began.

But first there was a short. The lights went out, the curtain went up and on the screen was a short Three Stooges film. Once that was over it went straight to the movie: Key Largo. This movie has Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall starring in it. It was pretty good and had some very funny moments in it. It's fun to see these old, black and white movies and see how archaic the special effects are and how silly some of the acting is.

I love going to see old movies. And until Brian reminded me of this series, I totally forgot that the Kentucky did this on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Oh, and the place sells out! I don't know if it sold out tonight, but it was quite packed so it might have. I had a lot of fun!! I picked up the schedule on my way out so I could see what else is planned for the summer. In August they have Harvey with James Stewart, which I definitely want to see!

Friday, July 06, 2007

In Lieu of the Catholic Topic of the Week

Time has gotten away from me this week, so there will not be a Catholic Topic of the Week from me this week. Except for quick updates, I'm not sure when I'll be able to do another Catholic Topic. I'll be going out of town next weekend but might have time one night next week to work on something before I leave (in between packing and gathing all the papers and reports I need to bring on the trip with me). If not, I know I won't have time the following week, I'll be out of town again. More on those trips later.

Anyway, I do have something in mind. A friend was recently asking me about patron saints, so I might do something on saints, patron saints in particular, or just simply "what is the communion of saints?" We'll see. If you have ideas or suggestions, or websites or books you think I might be interested in looking at, please let me know: just leave a comment at the comments link at the end of this post.

In the meantime, I learn a lot from reading the weekly Catholic Carnival. This is a collection of blog entries that one blogger compiles and summarizes for everyone. It's always someone different that hosts the Carnival week after week and I learn a lot about how different people live their faith, plus I discover lots of other cool Catholic blogs. So in lieu of my Catholic Topic of the Week, here is a link to this week's Carnival:
Catholic Carnival 126.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 4th Celebrations

The best part of July 4th was having a day off in the middle of the week!! How nice to work two days, have a day off and then work two more days before the weekend. I think we need to revise the work week.

I ended up sleeping in on July 4th, later than planned so I didn't go walking. But I did some errands and one load of laundry. Chris and I also had our first major miscommunication. Well, maybe not major, but I was not very happy at the time. He called me while I was out and we decided that I'd meet him at Lowe's to buy some things for our two houses. Well, I finished my errands and headed over to Lowes and couldn't find him. I was surprised that I beat him there since I was still running errands when we made those plans. So I went outside and sat in one of the swings in front of the store while I waited for him. 20 minutes later I was getting a little perturbed that he hadn't shown up yet and I couldn't call him because he doesn't have a cell phone. (By the way, he's getting one now, I'm buying it for him!) Suddenly I realized that he must have gone to a different Lowe's. When he said he'd meet me at the Lowe's near me I thought okay, not Nicholasville Rd. but Richmond Rd. I forgot that there was a NEW Lowe's on Winchester Rd.!! I hadn't been to the new one yet and I just hadn't thought about it at all, obviously. So partly my fault, but also his. If he had a cell phone I would have known much sooner where he was instead of hanging out in front of the wrong Lowe's for 20 minutes.

He has promised to be more specific the next time.

I also had to go to Georgetown for a concert last night. It started pouring in Lexington right before I left, and we looked up the radar map and saw that Georgetown was also getting storms. It was pretty awful driving there. At 7:30 they decided that yes, we would still play. The rain had stopped and we were in a barn and there were a handful of people there. So we set up, warmed up, and started the concert at 8:05pm. Twice during our performance the skies opened up and I swear the rain and thunder was much louder than the band. I got out of there as soon after the concert was over as I could. But driving home in the rain, the dark, with lightening flashing in the sky (some of it quite scary), and fireworks going off was exhausting.

Last concert is Saturday evening and the weather is supposed to be good. I hope that doesn't change. Hope everyone else had a fun 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A New Baby!!

Chris' sister had her baby Monday evening in Louisville. She had a little girl named Abigail Michelle. She came into the world on July 2 at 7:33pm at 7 lbs., 7 oz., and 19 inches long.

Congratulations to the parents and big brother Shawn!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Long Anticipated Update

It's been a while since I really updated anyone on what's been happening around here. Not sure if you would say this is a "long anticipated" update, but I've been meaning to do it for a while, so it is for me.

Of course, I went to Atlanta again for a weekend (two weekends ago now). It was lots of fun. I had my first dress fitting and discovered that I actually need taller heels than I had planned on. Fortunately, they won't be too tall! I was anticipating needing 1" heels (which I had even bought already) but now it looks like I need 2-2 1/2" heels. Anyone need a pair of ivory 1" heels? Never been worn, size 7. Just let me know.

I also spent the weekend at my sister's house and got to play with my niece and visit with them those few days. On the Sunday I was there, my bridesmaids had a shower for me. It was so much fun!! They did such an incredible job! Plus I got to see so many people that I hadn't seen in so long!! It was such a good time and so much fun to see friends again that I don't get to see very often at all. I really had a great time!!

Since I've been back in town I've been busy with a variety of things. I've done a few small wedding things and I had another concert Sunday (two more to go!). Saturday night Chris and I went to Cincinnati for the opera. He had never been to an opera before but remembered quite a bit about opera from his music appreciation classes in high school and college. We saw Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. They set it with a 1940s Hollywood theme. It was very cute! Long though, we didn't get back to Lexington until 12:30 or so and it was 1am before I got home and got to bed. I was exhausted. As a result we skipped the early mass on Sunday we normally go to and instead went to the 11am mass.

Actually the 11am mass was nice to go to. The Bishop said that mass and during the mass he officially installed our new Rector at the cathedral. Fr. Mark, the new Rector, seems like a nice guy and he made a few comments at the end of mass about his vision for the cathedral. I especially liked how he emphasized the cathedral parish as the example for the rest of the diocese. The diocese of Lexington is still pretty young and it has been a slow process for the Cathedral to start seeing itself as a Cathedral and not just another parish. Father Paul certainly started us on the right path and I believe Fr. Mark will continue us in that direction.

Also this weekend we had another meeting with Fr. Frank. We finally got to discuss the FOCCUS survey that we had taken a while back. He was very pleased that we got 100% in three categories. He said that is rare and that we got them in what he considers the three most important areas. I forget now what those were. However, he was pleased with all of our scores and we discussed a few issues, but overall we have obviously discussed everything that is important to discuss before getting married. We have another meeting set up for later in July to discuss the theology of marriage.

July is shaping up to be a busy month for me. There will probably be plenty of wedding stuff to think about and I have two trips to take this month, both work related, but one is to Atlanta so I'm combining it with a day of vacation. I still have two concerts this week, plus I hope we'll be going out to Bardstown again very soon to see the newest member of Chris' family!! I also realized recently that I probably need to start trying to get rid of things in my house and maybe even start packing. Time is starting to move faster and October is probably going to be here before I know it!

That's it for now! Hope everyone has a great week!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Catholic Topic of the Week 3

In my last post I alluded to an anniversary as part of this week's Catholic Topic. Monday June 25 was the 26th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Blessed Virgin actually appeared first on June 24, 1981 (the feast of the birth of John the Baptist), but the six children who saw her didn't actually see her close up or receive any messages from her until the next day June 25, 1981.

Marian apparitions are fascinating. All Marian apparitions have to be investigated by the Church which tries to determine the authenticity of the apparition. There is a whole process and it gets very confusing. I am not going to get into that aspect here. But I do know that the apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje have not had any official church approval yet, though they are still under investigation.

Regardless, it is a powerful place and one I would love to go visit one day. There are several Marian apparition sites I want to see and this is one of them (the others are Fatima, Portugal; Knock, Ireland; and Lourdes, France).

Back to Medjugorje: the six children saw Mary, who was known to them as the Queen of Peace, every day for a long time. One by one, she revealed six secrets to them after which she stopped appearing to them daily. However, she stills appears to each of them on some kind of regular basis, yearly or monthly or something. I also think a few of them may still see her daily as they have not yet received all 10 secrets. I'm not totally familiar with the entire story, so see the resources at the end of this post for more details.

The first time I heard about Medjugorje was about 5 years ago. I knew someone who went there and I ran into him one night when I was out at a bar with some friends. He had just gotten back from his trip and was telling me all about it. We had each arrived at this bar with a different group of friends and then spent the evening talking with each other (and he drove me back to my car, which worried the guys I was originally with). Anyway, I honestly didn't know what he was talking about when he was explaining his trip and I had never heard of the place he had been to. Before I left him he gave me a little card (not exactly a prayer card, but close) that had a picture of Mary, a prayer, and a little silver medal in it. Now, 5 years later, this friend of mine was recently ordained a priest (see my post from May 19, 2007) and I bet his trip to Medjugorje helped in his discernment of his vocation. And I still have the little card from Medjugorje that he gave me.

I highly recommend reading about Marian apparitions. Reading about them is one of the things that made my faith stronger when I was rediscovering Catholicism and the many riches and wonders it holds. I recommend starting with this book:

Those Who Saw Her by Catherine M. Odell. I have the revised edition from 1995, but there could be a more up to date edition out now. It is published by Our Sunday Visitor Books. It has an entire chapter on Medjugorje as well as ones on many other Marian apparitions.

For lots of information about Medjugorje, including monthly messages from Mary, an overview, information on pilgramages and travel, reflections on the monthly messages, and much, much more, visit this site:

The site also has information on how to pray the Rosary and about Eucharistic Adoration.

Definitely check this information out. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back in town ... again

Hi all!!

I just got back in town again from being in Atlanta over the weekend. I don't have time now to do a lengthy post but wanted to at least put up something quick.

The trip was good and I got to see a lot of people at the bridal shower. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of so many, especially my four wonderful bridesmaids!!! I'll post more later.

I have a Catholic topic of the week in mind, but probably won't get around to posting anything until Wednesday. So look for it then. I'll give a hint though: the 26th anniversary of this event was Monday. Put on your research caps and figure it out if you can. Otherwise, just wait for my post.

Have a great day!! --K

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Catholic Topic of the Week 2

A friend of mine recommended looking at the Sacrament of Baptism for this second installmend of the Catholic Topic of the Week. So I thought about this and tried to think of the various questions a non-Catholic would ask about Baptism. I came up with the following questions:

1. Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants?
2. What makes a baptism valid? And does a Protestant convert have to be baptized?
3. Who can baptize?

There are probably many other questions. I don't have a lot of time, but I want to offer some brief answers to the three questions above, offer a personal reflection on the sacrament, and then provide some web links for more information.

1. Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants?
This is a question I have been asked many times and it's not an easy one. Often the question is asked because in many of the Protestant faiths it is believed that it is up to the individual to decide if they are going to be a part of the church or not. Well, the Catholic Church believes that first it is up to the parents to educate their child and to set an example of Christian living. In many other things, parents make the choices for their children because the children are too young. They decide where they will send their kids to school, where they will go to Church, how long they can stay outside to play, and so on and so forth. Therefore, the Church believes that as part of educating our children and making many other decisions for them we should also baptize them into the Church. There is a second part to this. The child does make a decision later in life to continue to fulfill the promises made by their parents on their baptism. This is the Sacrament of Confirmation. At this point the child/young adult re-dedicates their life to the faith. There is a lot more about this in some of the links I will provide below.

(As an aside: I will also say that the order of Confirmation and Baptism has actually varied in some parts of the world and has been experimented with some in the US. From what I have learned about what is called "Restored Order," many of the US Bishops have reverted back to Baptism for infants and Confirmation for older children after trying Restored Order in their dioceses.)

2. What makes a baptism valid? And does a Protestant convert have to be baptized?
A valid Baptism is one in which the words are "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." That's it. For this reason, to answer the second question, a Protestant who is converting to Catholicism and who was baptized in their original church with those words is not "re-baptized" in the Catholic Church. They will however receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation, and first Eucharist. The Church does recognize valid baptism from other faith communities.

3. Who can baptize?
I threw this question in because it was refered to in my last Catholic Topic posting. I mentioned in there that Deacons can also baptize. There are actually three groups of people who can baptize a baby (or an adult) in the Catholic Church. The first two groups are obvious: priests and deacons. The third group is less obvious and usually happens in an emergency sitution and almost always involving a baby. The third group is the laity. Most people don't know that, but in the case of an emergency an unbaptized baby can be baptized with water by a lay person. This would have to be a special case; for example, a baby is born and something is wrong, there is the fear of death, so someone there can baptize the child.

Personal Reflection
I love baptisms. I always find myself crying at them, even when I just happen to view one from across the church. Occasionally there have been baptisms on Sunday mornings between the Masses (there is about an hour break between 2 of the 3 Sunday morning masses at my church). When I was in the choir, we'd be setting up during that time and if a baptism was going on, we had to set up fast and get out of the way. On occasion I've been able to watch some of the ceremony and it always brings tears to my eyes. To me it is such a special occasion for the parents, the godparents, all the other members of the family, and especially the child. The stain of original sin is being wiped away and the child is welcomed into the church by all those family members gathered around. I especially like the personal baptisms, where one family presents a child to be baptized into the Church, rather than the large gatherings of 5-10 babies at one time.

I'm not sure I can totally explain the overwhelming feeling I have when I watch or have actually been in attendance at a baptism. It is such an awesome mystery and such a beautiful Sacrament.

Additional Information
Here are some links for more info:

This first one is a list of links to articles on baptism as well as some Q&As.

This second link comes from the Catholic Answers website and is specifically about infant baptism:

Finally, if you really want to read something scholarly, here is the part of the Cathechism regarding Baptism or the Christian Rite of Initation, from the USCCB website:

Hope this was interesting and that the links above will be even more informative.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great Book!!!

I finally finished reading Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel. It was a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone.

We read it with our Young Adult group at Church. I thought it was very good and I really learned a lot. He writes this book like a series of letters and, as the title suggests, he addresses all the letters to the younger generations, specifically those in their 20s and possibly 30s. He also kind of takes you on a "tour" of the Catholic world, visiting different churches, holy sites, and monasteries. It was really very interesting. Along the way he uses the places he visits and his discussions to get into specific Catholic teachings; that's where I learned a lot more about things that maybe I had a small understanding of previously, or possibly no understanding of at all.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic Church. I found it full of interesting stories and he very much takes a mentorship role as he speaks to his readers. I liked that approach a lot. This is definitely a book worth taking the time to read.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Catholic Topic of the Week 1

You may remember my post from about a week ago, Just thinking, in which I mused about the possibility of doing a Catholic Topic of the Week. Well, I got one response with a question to consider. So because of that and just because I like the idea myself, here is the first Catholic Topic of the Week.

The question I received had to do with marriage and had multiple layers. I will take each apart one at a time. Also, don't forget that I don't necessarily know what I am talking about. I will provide references where I find them and I welcome further comments if you have more information to add than what I could find. So here goes ...

First, I was asked about deacons being able to perform a marriage. Actually the deacon is the first witness of the marriage, as would be the priest if the priest were the person presiding. The couple actually marries each other. The bride and groom are receiving the sacrament of matrimony and therefore "perform" the marriage together. Remember also that the marriage, to be valid, has two parts. First they give their consent to marry and express their vows to each other in the Church and, second, they consummate the marriage act together. Therefore, whoever presides is there as the first witness. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) at 1623 and 1630, plus the paragraphs around those all deal with marriage as well.

But the real answer to the question was about the deacon presiding at the celebration. The simple answer is yes. Deacons are ordained clergy. I think we sometimes forget this and only think of them as men who are their to help the priest in our parish church. But they are ordained clergy who profess obedience to the Bishop during their ordination just like a priest does when he is ordained. Deacons have roles in the church that also include sacramental roles. CCC1630 refers to both Priests and Deacons as ministers of the sacrament of marriage. Deacons can also baptize and preside at funerals. Deacons also preside at a Liturgy of the Word service if a priest is not around. Each year the priests in our diocese take a retreat together for a few days. During those days the deacons will preside at a Liturgy of the Word/Communion Service during the times when daily Mass is usually held. Communion is distributed if there is some already blessed in the Tabernacle, since the priest (or bishop) is the only person that can do the Eucharistic celebration. The one Catholic wedding that I have attended at which a deacon presided, there was no distribution of communion. So they had the Liturgy of the Word and the marriage ceremony and then the final blessings. There are a multitude of reasons why a couple may choose to get married without a Mass, but that can be a whole other topic. For more about deacons, I found an FAQ on the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops website. Check it our here.

The second part of the question was where a couple can get married according to the Catholic Church. Does it have to be in the Catholic Church? Can it be outside, on the beach maybe, or even in another church? First about outside weddings. The Catholic Church teaches us that marriage is a sacrament that should typically be held as part of the Mass. CCC1621 has a great way of describing this (definitely go read that if you have a chance). A Mass is almost always held in the holy space of the Church. Therefore it stands to reason that you would get married in the Church as well. I happened to come across a short article on this very issue recently, which can explain things much better than I can and I highly recommend reading it. It can be found here: "Catholics Don't Get Married at the Beach!".

The issue of getting married in a church that's not a Catholic Church is a little more difficult to answer. Essentially the answer is yes, you can, but there is a but. My understanding is that a couple getting married in which one person is Catholic and the other is not, can get married in a non-Catholic Church with the consent of the bishop. Ah, I just found the answer!! Thanks to the book Fr. Frank gave Chris and I as a wedding gift, I have found that according to Canon Law 1118: "It [the marriage] can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor." That's about all I know on this topic.

I think that about exhausts all my knowledge and I believe I managed an answer to all parts of the question that was posed. I would love to hear more comments or additional information anyone has to add on any of my statements. And if I got something totally wrong, please let me know that too.

Oh, and other topics for next week?? Let me know!!