Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sometimes The Most Insidious Enemy Lies Within

How false ecumenism hurts everyone

I did a quick web search using this search string, 'protestant, muslim and jewish defend catholic church, hhs mandate'. The result? 186,000 links popped up in my browser. One of the interesting things about the resulting links was that, the top links did not lead to Catholic publications. Reading news stories, watching the secular media, and observing who attended the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies across the nation - and in other countries in solidarity with 'us' - also illustrates that more than a few citizens feel drawn to say 'we are all Catholics now'! From Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, and Jewish and Mormon leaders to the many Protestants who participated as early as the 'I have a say...' campaign of January/February, our non-Catholic brethren have leaped to their feet in defense of the Catholic Church. It appears to be a simple connect-the-dots conclusion to see that, what the HHS Mandate means to Catholics now, affects the rest of the nation in the near future.

Sad then, that there is a faction of Catholics who are so cautiously Catholic that they shrink from those who are judged 'too Catholic' in their actions, words, or thoughts. This Catholic is a Catholic all day - every day. It's not something I can 'take off' and 'put on again' like John F Kennedy did during his infamous speech to the Protestant ministers in his campaign days. I like to think more along the lines of those whose Catholicity is deeply woven into the fabric of who they are - down to their very core. I can extricate my Catholicity no more than I can extricate my German heritage. Both are vital in  making up who I am.

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI said it best:
[T]he Church is Catholic from her first moment, her universality is not the fruit of the successive inclusion of various communities. From the first instant, in fact, the Holy Spirit created her as the Church of all peoples; she embraces the entire world, she transcends all limits of race, class, nation; she breaks down every obstacle and brings all men together in the profession of the One and Triune God. From the beginning, the Church is One, Catholic, and Apostolic: this is her true nature and as such it must be recognized. She is Holy, not thanks to the ability of her members, but because God Himself, with His Spirit, creates, purifies, and sanctifies her always.                                                                                                   
                                                                                              Benedict XVI
                                                                                              Homily (Pentecost)
                                                                                              June 12, 2011
The Rev. Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has also reaffirmed that the issue of Church primacy does not alter the Vatican's commitment to ecumenical dialogue but is aimed at asserting Catholic identity in those talks.

"As you know," he told Vatican Radio, "it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."
As a Catholic, I hold these beliefs as well. I will not diminish my Faith in order to soften the issue for others. While I have never been an 'in your face - you're wrong, I'm right - kind of Catholic, my faith is firm and unmistakable. My Protestant friends understand and even admire this. There are many such friends who regularly comment and agree with what I post. This gives me a healthy dose of reinforcement to continue to live out my faith boldly while knowing I am being a good spokesman for the Church. My mission on this earth is to win heaven for myself - yes - but also to bring the Light to others. I can best do this by being authentically faithful to the Church founded by Christ himself.

So what is it about false ecumenism that propels those suffering from it to such blatantly prejudicial actions? Fairness is a word that is bandied about quite a bit these days. Yet it has become a sadly a misused word. Much like 'judgmental', the connotation is that someone has strayed out of the bounds of 'loving your neighbor as yourself'. But whether the government seeks 'fairness' by taking our hard-earned wages to give to those who do not labor or if sincerely charitable fraternal correction is called judgmental, these definitions are simply false. 'Fair' isn't always 'just'...especially since, by today's standards, 'fair' is in the eye of the beholder.

It has become quite 'politically correct' to attack the Catholic Church. From comedians and 'art' to the government, we Catholics seem to be the victims de jour. When this injustice is being perpetuated by fellow Catholics, the cut is felt even more deeply. Sometimes this is done quite unintentially - yet the result is the same. A manufactured ecumenism will not stand the test of time, for it stifles identity. True ecumenism, then, is something to be admired. It means that there is cooperation between individuals of differing faiths (or no faith at all) for a common good, while each remains true to their authentic identity. There is nothing artificial or contrived in true ecumenism. It thrives exactly because it is the natural outpouring of Grace to each individual as he goes about the business of God. Amen to those who know its value...

But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.                                    Revelation 3:16

'protestant, muslim and jewish defend catholic church, hhs 
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out.

~ Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niem̦ller (1892 Р1984) was a Protestant pastor and social activist.

Here are a few relevant links that I found interesting:
  • The Becket Fund -  At the Becket Fund we like to say we’ve defended the religious rights of people from “A to Z,” from Anglicans to Zoroastrians.
  • The Manila Times -  President Barack Obama has done something that no one has done before in the United States: he has united mainstream religious leaders to act as a force together in opposing his government’s Health and Human Services department’s mandate that infringes on religious freedom and the individual consciences of Americans who are against contraceptives and sterilization.
  • You Tell Me Texas -  I’m not Catholic. With an estimated 70 million Catholics living in the United States out of a population of 310 million, statistically speaking, there’s about a 78 percent chance that you’re not Catholic either. But as a result of the arrogance of an administration that believes that there is no aspect of American life into which it does not have the unlimited right to intrude, we are all Catholics now.
  • Religion Dispatches -  Last week at CPAC, Mike Huckabee, who has previously identified as a "Bapti-costal," spread his religious wings a little further by declaring, "we are all Catholics now." (Translation: this Southern Baptist pastor backs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in opposing the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act as a mortal threat to religious freedom.)
  • The Hill - Huckabee facetiously thanked Obama for stirring the issue. "You have done more than any person in the entire GOP field, any candidate, has done to bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty," he said Friday morning. "Thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now," he said to cheers at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • The Blaze -  Now, Glenn Beck is coming forward with a new movement called “We Are All Catholics Now.” The main goal of the initiative is to ask Americans to reach out to Congressional leaders (at the moment, Senators) to encourage the passage of legislation that would protect religious groups’ conscience rights.
  • Fox News - We are all Catholics now: How long would it take you to change your mind about a core conviction, something you believe in the very fiber of your being? What if it was written into law and you were forced to betray your conviction? For many Catholics and others, it is a reality happening this very moment. It’s a sad day when the resounding cry among Americans is “How dare he?!”
  • Washington Post - I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but today, I call myself a Catholic. Why? Because the state is telling the Catholic Church to violate its principles and teachings. So if you are a person of faith, you must call yourself a Catholic.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Quick n Easy Palm Sunday Prep

Pinterest has become almost as much of a problem for many of us addictive souls as Facebook! In an effort to justify the time one spends there (on Pinterest) it is therefore necessary to 'prove' how helpful the site can be. Below you will find a photo of what the kids and I did in preparation of Palm Sunday and links to the wonderful blogs who supplied those ideas!

ENJOY!


Simon just turned four
Rachel is two


















A word of warning, however. Working with a four year old and poster paints does not strain one's patience nearly as much as working with a two year old - just sayin'. We did have a good time and the outcome was great! What a wonderful, hands-on way to teach little ones about Jesus' entry into Jerusalem!

HOSANNA!



Catholic Icing gives a step by step tutorial, as well as many cute examples, of the foot print donkey.
Impress Your Kids posted the hand cutout palm craft that made such a cute accompaniment to our donkeys.

NOTE to bloggers out there...this post also proves that posting your blog posts on Pinterest can drive traffic your way! See! Another 'proof' of the usefulness of Pinterest!. Ha, ha...happy Palm Sunday to you and yours!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Obamacare 101 - the Roe vs. Wade Moment of this generation

It's easy to get confused about Obamacare and the HHS mandate and what exactly they mean to you and me. This is my attempt to clarify the timeline that got us here - the Roe vs. Wade Moment of this generation:
  • Our country was founded on Freedom and we've been given the right to freedom from the beginning. It is a freedom granted by God (our creator) not by the government - thus states the Constitution.
  • Exercise of religion - not just within the walls of our churches, but in our daily lives - is guaranteed.
  • Thirty-nine years ago a flawed piece of legislation created a false right to privacy that allows murder in the womb - for all nine months of gestation - thus Roe vs. Wade was 'born'.
  • Two years ago another flawed piece of legislation was rammed down the throats of Americans under the guise of helping all Americans have access to healthcare - Obamacare.
  • This piece of legislation was passed without anyone knowing what was contained in it. We were told that we had to pass it, in order to find out what was in it!
  • Insidious additions have been made to Obamacare - specifically the HHS Mandate - by the stroke of our president's pen. This is tyranny!
  • The HHS Mandate forces ALL employers - specifically Catholics - to provide abortifacients,  contraception, and sterilization to their employees (through insurance plans). There are VERY narrow exceptions but there has been NO COMPROMISE.
  • The 'exemption' only covers those entities who serve exclusively Catholics and who employ exclusively Catholics. Since the Catholic Church lives the mission of serving ALL people and hires non-Catholics, all of her hospitals, schools, and charities do not qualify.
  • The so-called 'compromise' simply places the burden of providing these 'services' onto the the shoulders of the insurance company rather than directly on the employer - this is simply an accounting trick because the outcome is the same...Catholic entities, forced to pay for something that they find morally reprehensible.
  • Other faiths are exempt - the Amish for example.
  • Abortion will also be covered - by some insurance companies - in the 'pool'. Yet the consumer will not know if a specific policy includes this coverage because they will not be told until AFTER they have signed up! Once you are signed up for your policy, you will not have the right to change companies.
  • Refusing to have a health insurance policy will make the citizen subject to heavy fines. There is simply no way out!
  • This immoral piece of legislation tramples our freedom of religion and our right to live our daily lives according to our consciences.
  • The Catholic Church is not trying to outlaw contraceptives or sterilization or to force others to live according to 'her rules'. We simply want the freedom to refrain from paying for what we know to be immoral acts.
This week, the Supreme Court has been hearing arguments concerning the constitutionality of Obamacare. We must fervently pray that the Justices come to the morally right decision and send this illegal affront on religious freedom packing.This is the defining moment for the current generation - may they be more successful than the one who allowed Roe vs. Wade to become the law of the land!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easy, 'Homemade' Cupcakes

Click IMAGE to enlarge
 Sarah turned four yesterday so when she and Lukas came for their usual Monday visit, I decided to do something special with her. Who doesn't like extending their birthday by a day or two?

I really like the convenience of cupcakes but have never been crazy about cake mix or store-bought frosting, so...




We decided to compromise and produce some pretty, easy and yet very tasty cupcakes.

Ingredients:
2 packages of muffin mix (we used chocolate, chocolate chip)
1 cup milk (per directions)




Combine these two ingredients and stir until evenly moist.

What could be easier?


Use cupcake papers (or not). We only had about a dozen left so we made some both ways.

Pour batter into mini muffin pan and bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

Place on cooling rack and go outside to play and eat a peanut butter lunch. ;-)
 Frosting:
1 stick butter
12 oz. cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and, using a mixer on low, gradually blend in the confectioners sugar until desired consistency is  reached. This frosting is not as stiff as the store bought but is oh so much better.


Frost cooled cupcakes using either a knife or spatula - the easy way. Or use a pastry bag with a broad star tip - makes a more 'professional' looking cupcake - and isn't difficult at all.

Your helpers will, no doubt, want to lick the beaters clean - they're helpful that way!
 Allow the birthday girl to sprinkle her favorite color (pink of course)...and voila, lovely birthday cupcakes with very little mess and yet a scrumptious home-made taste.

ENJOY!


Note: this is the perfect frosting for carrot cake or red velvet cake, too!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, March 25, 2012

BULLETIN INSERT:

Wisdom of the Ages…

Tertullian, a Christian writer who died in the third century, wrote the following: ‘Thus, you read the word of God, spoken to Jeremias: "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee." If God forms us in the womb, He also breathes on us as He did in the beginning: "And God formed man and breathed into him the breath of life." Nor could God have known man in the womb unless he were a whole man. "And before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee." Was it, then, a dead body at that stage? Surely it was not, for "God is the God of the living and not the dead."’- De Anima 26.5 

General Intercessions

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:  
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - March 25, 2012

Celebrant: With the hope that comes from the death and resurrection of Jesus, we offer our prayers to our heavenly Father.

Deacon/Lector:
That the members of the Church may grow in faith and live more fully in God’s love, we pray to the Lord…

That our government leaders may be blessed with the strength and wisdom they need to carry out their public service, we pray to the Lord…

That as Jesus laid down His life for us, so we may find strength to sacrifice ourselves for others, especially the poor, the weak, the unborn, and the unwanted, we pray to the Lord...

That those who suffer from the effects of war and natural disasters may be relieved of their suffering, we pray to the Lord…

That all those preparing for baptism may experience the joyful welcome of the Christian community this Easter, we pray to the Lord…

That all who have died may rest from their labors in God’s loving care, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant:
Almighty God, answer our prayers, and grant that we may live more fully in your love each day.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
Jer 31:31-34
Heb 5:7-9
Jn 12:20-33

The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of Life, precisely because when the “grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it produces much fruit.” The paradox of the Gospel of Life is that life is poured out on the world precisely when life is given away for the good of others. In Evangelium Vitae we read:

“He who had come "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45), attains on the Cross the heights of love: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). And he died for us while we were yet sinners (cf. Rom 5:8). "In this way Jesus proclaims that life finds its centre, its meaning and its fulfillment when it is given up. "At this point our meditation becomes praise and thanksgiving, and at the same time urges us to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps (cf. 1 Pt 2:21). "We too are called to give our lives for our brothers and sisters, and thus to realize in the fullness of truth the meaning and destiny of our existence” (EV #51).

Christ is the grain of wheat that falls to the earth, but is also “lifted up from the earth” – both on the cross and in the Resurrection and Ascension. And the fruit is that he “draws all people to himself.”

We have here the powerful themes of life-giving fruitfulness and unity. The Culture of Death denies both. It embraces, through “pro-choice” rhetoric, the “loving of one’s own life” that Christ rejects in this Gospel teaching. The words “This is my body” are used with opposite meanings: “I control my life” or “I give my life.”

As we approach Holy Week and meditate on the Passion, it is a perfect time to call our people to a renewed commitment to give themselves away to defend the vulnerable, particularly the most oppressed, who are the unborn.

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - March 25, 2012 ~Priests for Life


Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. This is my Sunday effort to help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.
.
PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stand Up for Religious Freedom - OWENSBORO

Defending the Catholic Church from the HHS Mandate

Oh my goodness! How do I begin? Last Friday night - yes, SEVEN days ago - one of my acquaintances sent an inbox message to me via Facebook. She asked if there would be a Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in our town, Owensboro, KY (population 56,000). Since I have a decades-long reputation of being a pro-life 'fanatic' and have had similar short-notice brainstorms myself, I suppose I was a logical choice as a recruit for co-captain. I must have been asleep at the wheel because I had not really considered being involved in planning a Rally; I was simply planning to grab a few friends and cross the river into Indiana to attend the rally being held in nearby Evansville.

The Holy Spirit and Rachel, however, had other plans! So with a night to 'sleep on it' we agreed to check out our prospects the next day. In the bright sunshine of morning, the 'PLAN' emerged and our creative juices really started flowing. Rachel is a young mother of six children and in her thirties. I, on the other hand, am a 50-something Nana who is a stay-at-home 'mom' for the second time around - with my grandchildren. Both of us, with children literally at our feet, began the planning process. The national coordinators of the Rally had a tremendous amount of resources available - everything from press releases, fact sheets, signs, poster ideas, and liaison suggestions - so we had a place to go for covering all of our bases.

The Holy Spirit had already been working on this without my knowledge anyway. In a horrible op-ed piece in our local newspaper, a female lawyer opined that the terrible, old, white men in our state legislature were forcing women to remain 'second class citizens' with their pro-life bills. She even used the term 'barefoot and pregnant' - yes, she went there! This had spurred an undeniable urge for a response in me. Since our diocesan Gospel of Life meeting just 'happened' to be the next night, I had decided to ask their permission to submit an op-ed response, using their name in my signature. I had some doubts about 1) that they would agree to allow me to 'speak' for them and 2) that the newspaper would give me the space. To my surprise, I received enthusiastic permission for both!

As this spur of the moment miracle began to take shape, not only was my op-ed piece published the following Monday, the newspaper also published a front page news article about the upcoming Rally - on the same day. The pressure was on! All I can say about the following week is that I'm very happy that I have unlimited texting, mobile minutes, email, and Facebook. Rachel and I burned up the atmosphere with our flurry of communication. By some miracle, we each worked without any face to face contact and 20+ miles apart. We balanced the duties, each using our particular skill set and things fell into place with very little conflict from anyone we contacted and no setbacks. The slate of participants she came up with - on short notice - was phenomenal!

This is it! SHOWTIME!

Morning broke with a 60% chance of rain! As I gathered my cache of handmade posters, umbrellas, and other necessities I shrugged and decided that the Holy Spirit would handle this too. Right on schedule I headed into town and, as the black clouds began to gather, I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Out loud I said, 'Jesus, we're doing this for you! Please hold off the rain, not for us but for your glory'. I made a quick call to my husband, who is in New York for business, and arrived a few minutes early. As our faithful helpers arrived, the clouds parted and the sun began to shine!


Soon the stage was up, balloons were tied, flags were waving and the people began flocking in. The noon siren sounded and it was time to begin. We had a nice variety of participants from various churches, schools and organizations:
  • A letter from our Bishop William Francis Medley and a prayer from the USCCB
  • Star Spangled Banner - Jenny Beth Willis, Owensboro Catholic HS sophomore
  • The Pledge of Allegiance led by students from Maximilian Montessori Academy
  • A wonderful message given by Fr. Gerald Baker, St. Ann Parish, Morganfield, KY
  • Proud to be an American - Christianne Bueler, Bellevue Baptist Church, Owensboro
  • An inspiring message - Pam Hemmersback, River City Church, Owensboro
  • My Country 'Tis of Thee - Lydia Mills, Catholic Middle School and Lauren St. Clair, homeschooled 
  • A message from an area pro-life physician, Dr. Eddie Prunty from Greenville, KY
  • A letter from our US Congressman Brett Guthrie
  • God Bless America - Fr. Baker
  • A message and call to action - Dana Goodlet,executive director Right to Life of Owensboro
  • Closing prayer - Jamus Edwards, pastor of Pleasant Valley Community Church

Nana (that's me) and two of my kiddies*
Our rally ended right on time - 1:00 PM and many of the participants stayed for quite some time afterward to discuss the HHS Mandate and where to go from here. Our attendance count was at least 300 citizens, eager to preserve our religious liberty! We were blessed to have Channel 14 News - a local television station, there as well as iSurfKY - an internet news outlet, and a reporter for the Western KY Catholic - our diocesan newspaper. 

I am pleased beyond words and so grateful to have been a part of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally. Thank you, Rachel, for thinking of asking me to be your cohort! Thank you, Holy Spirit, for allowing us to do this and for making the puzzle pieces fall into place. All for the glory of God!                                
                  In His Name for Life, Birgit J

Links to coverage (I will add to this as I find more):
  • Messenger-Inquirer - article about our plans to hold a SURF Rally (Sorry, this is the text version. They require a paid subscription to read their publication online)
  • Messenger-Inquirer - my 'In My View' op-ed piece (They require a subscription so here's the entire text published in my blog.)
  • Diocese of Owensboro - information about the rally on official diocesan website news feed.
  • Ch. 14 News - local television station - includes video
  • iSurfKY - online news source (their article is really great!). I think we've got a friend in them!
  • Gospel of Life - Facebook fan page
  • Gospel of Life photo album - Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally
  • EWTN - we've been tweeted!!! Wow! Over 500 'likes' and 27 'shares' so far! 
  • YouTube - video will be available as soon as it can be updated - the link will go live then.

An entire photo album is available here. More will be added as they come in.

This Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally was just the beginning. Now that we have helped to inform citizens across the nation, the real work begins. Use your knowledge to continue to fight for our First Amendment rights - if we don't stand up now, Religious Freedom will be lost forever!

Stand Up for Religious Freedom also reported on the Catholic Sistas blog!


*Photo by Luke Short, iSurfKY News Group

Friday, March 23, 2012

Contraceptive mandate violates civil, religious rights


A few days ago our local newspaper published an op-ed, written by a female attorney. In this 'In My View' piece she referred to the attempt, by 'old white men' in our KY legislature, to force women into a 'second class citizen' status. She went on to claim that the pro-life bills held up in committee by the Senate  were an attempt to keep women 'barefoot and pregnant'. Our diocesan Gospel of Life Committee meeting happened to be the next night and I was given permission to officially counter her with an  op-ed, 'In My View' rebuttal.Our newspaper requires a paid subscription for online viewing so I have simply rewritten it below:

Contraceptive mandate violates civil, religious rights

The recent debate, over what has mistakenly come to be known as the ‘Contraception Controversy’, is an underhanded attempt to enslave women (as well as all people of faith) instead of freeing them. In reality, the HHS Mandate creates a third class of citizens – men and women who are allowed no conscience protection.  This violation of personal civil rights flies in the face of every Catholic man and woman.  By coercing them to be a party to providing ‘services’ contrary to their beliefs, they are being enslaved by a culture that disagrees with how the Church teaches them to live their daily lives. Despite the sleight of hand arguments, the question isn’t about how many Catholics obey every teaching set forth by the Church; nor is it about the Church forcing her beliefs upon others. It is about the right of the Catholic Church to maintain the identity of her institutions and schools while operating in a secular world. This coercion via government mandate attempts to force Catholic employers to provide abortifacients, sterilization, and contraceptives to their employees. Whether this is through the payment of premiums or as insurers themselves, cooperation by Catholic employers would be tantamount to sponsoring an intrinsic evil.

The stakes are very high. The First Amendment and the promise of Religious Freedom provide US citizens with protection against such coercion but that has not stopped the Administration from pushing the point. The Catholic Bishops have done their level best to work out a ‘compromise’ but have been thwarted at every turn. In fact, they were never consulted about the supposed ‘compromise’ at all! They will, however, continue to fight this unconstitutional intrusion into the rights of all people of faith. This is no longer a Catholic issue – it is an American justice issue. Religious rights and the right to live by our belief systems belong to all citizens!

Some, such as Ms. Forrest Roberts in her recent ‘In My View’, express their resentment of being told what to do, as women. This mistaken impression of what truly constitutes justice and respect has been amplified by those who would have you believe that concern for the health and well-being of women is an intrusion rather than a safeguard to be afforded all citizens. 

As SB102 (Face to Face Informed Consent bill) and SB103 (Ultrasound Informed Consent Bill) attest, these are not measures to prevent action by the woman. What these bills do propose to do, is to arm all women with the power of knowledge.

  • ·         Just as is the case with all expectant mothers, a woman considering abortion already has an ultrasound, as a tool to date the gestational age of her child. SB103 simply affords the woman the opportunity to view her pre-born baby. The lack of opportunity to view her child is lamented time and time again by those who would have opted for life had they seen the truth! Rachel’s Vineyard and other post-abortion resources are filled with traumatized women who feel betrayed by this lack of information.
  • ·         SB102 has also been maligned as an invasion of a woman’s right. What this bill actually does is no more than the opportunity afforded to any patient who is planning a surgical procedure.  A face-to-face discussion about abortion and the ability to dialogue with a doctor is a standard of care that is expected – that is, outside the realm of abortion for profit.


Contrary to forcing women into a subservient role in society, measures such as SB102 and SB103 provide a standard of care that is sadly lacking in today’s abortion culture. If the true agenda is the freedom of choice, why oppose steps to bring the regulations for abortion clinics up to the standards required of every other medical facility in the land? Fear of a woman armed with knowledge and the ability to ask questions, drives those who push the abortion agenda to misstatements and fallacies in an effort to subdue women. After all, knowledge is power! Let’s give the power back to the women. We are intelligent enough to employ the facts and make an informed decision. Let’s give the power back to our churches. They deserve the protection afforded to them by the Constitution of the United States!

Follow up post found here --> Stand Up for Religious Freedom – OWENSBORO and
                                 here --> Defending the Catholic Church from the HHS Mandate

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Frugal Sewing - Clearance Re-fitting

 Seeing children's clothing - little girlie stuff in particular - is a grave temptation for me. I'd be afraid to total up some of my eBay sprees when Nana's Kiddies started coming along. With 7 little 'kids' - all 7 and under - I have quite the stable of little lambs for whom to buy.

As has been said, "necessity is the mother of invention", so I have found some solutions to my short on cash conundrum.
Buy off season clearance 
and do alterations!
I found this cute little number on sale for $5.00 and decided to alter it for warmer weather. This eliminates buying ahead and taking a chance on not gauging sizes correctly.

ALTERATION:
Then I simply folded the long sleeve over (using a short-sleeved top as a guide for the proper length) and cut off the extra. I then cut off the cuff from the bottom and pinned it to my shortened sleeve. Since the upper sleeve is wider than the bottom cuff, I created a little 'tuck' to allow for the difference. Now it was ready to sew and I wound up with a cute, cuffed short sleeve.



                                                                                FUN STUFF:
So I admit it, I'm one of those non-girly girls who doesn't wear makeup and wanders around my domicile in bare feet and a jersey dress most of the time - but when it comes to my granddaughters, there isn't a ruffle or a tutu that I can resist.

It all started when our first little granddaughter, Abby, turned two and I bought her two little dance leotards with tutus attached. I just fell in love with that waddley little butt and the spontaneous attempts at leaps she regaled us with!
Warning for the future - Abby, Nana has video!

I just 'happened' to have some left over tulle, so I measured out 5" x 6 times the width of the skirt. Yes, it takes a LOT of tulle to have the desired effect! Next, I stitched two rows of stitches to create the ruffled effect (you will pull on the thread to create the gathers). Due to the width of my tulle - about 42" - it took 6 separate pieces to get the necessary fullness. I didn't stitch them together, but simply used them separately - end to end (note: tulle is a pain in widths wider than 42" or so).

Now simply stitch the gathered tulle in place and your tutu skirt will be complete!















Now, find a willing model and check out your frilly-thrilly tutu outfit that will elicit giggles all around!







The finished product is suitable for playtime and at just $5 is quite the deal. Plus it fulfills the need for frills and giggles and dancing little lambs!


Such fun! I love being a Nana (and a stay at home Mom for the second time around!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, March 18, 2012

Cooper - born at 32 weeks, 4 lb. 10 oz.

BULLETIN INSERT:

The Most Basic Right

“The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” -- Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici (1988), n. 38.


GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:  
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Celebrant: Seeking to love God and our neighbor with all our heart, we pray for our needs and those of the world.

Deacon/Lector:
That the Church will lead us on our Lenten journey with hearts and minds renewed, so we may enter more fully into the mysteries of our redemption, we pray to the Lord…

That all Church leaders will be sources of grace and inspiration for the people of God, we pray to the Lord...

That national and world leaders will have the wisdom to discern what is best for their people, we pray to the Lord…

That God, who sent His Son to save and not to condemn, will touch the hearts of all who have had abortions, and bring them the gift of repentance, forgiveness, and healing, we pray to the Lord...

For those who are preparing for baptism and reception into the Church this Easter, we pray to the Lord…

That that sick may be healed and that those who have died may be granted a home in heaven, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant:
Loving Father, as you hear our prayers, 
grant that we may follow the life-giving words 
of your Son Jesus Christ, for He is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

HOMILY SUGGESTIONS:  
2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23
Eph 2:4-10
Jn 3:14-21

The Gospel assigned for today brings us to the most well-known verse of the Bible, John 3:16 -- “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As Lent draws closer to its culmination in the Easter Triduum, it becomes clearer in the readings and prayers of the liturgy that this season is a great preparation for receiving the gift of eternal life obtained for us through the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. The Catechumens of the Church prepare to receive this gift in baptism; the rest of us prepare for the renewal of our baptismal vows at Easter Mass; for all of us, it is the fulfillment of John 3:16.

The homilist might reflect that the purpose of Christ’s coming is that we “might not perish…but have life.” As The Gospel of Life makes clear, this promise of eternal life implies the sacrosanct character of natural life, which provides the foundation and context in which we accept this gift of everlasting life. His will is that human beings not perish – neither by losing their salvation, nor by being deprived of the opportunity to grasp it by being born and eventually hearing God’s word and living the faith. God always shows himself to be on the side of human life.

Yet the acceptance of life, natural and supernatural, and the defense of that life, creates division. “The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light.” This explains why we have to fight against the forces in our world that would destroy human life. He who would destroy it “does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.” Injustice in the world always flourishes when it is hidden. Those who support the culture of death in all its forms want to keep their actions hidden. Sr. Helen Prejean, who is a renowned advocate for abolishing the death penalty, writes, “I am convinced that if executions were made public, the torture and violence would be unmasked, and we would be shamed into abolishing executions” (Dead Man Walking, p.197). Those responsible for killing Terri Schiavo in 2005 likewise kept people out of her room – including volunteers in the very facility where she was staying. Armed police officers manned the door at all times. As I revealed to the news media, her death was far more horrific than the euthanasia advocates wanted the public to believe. And, of course, the reality of abortion continues to lie hidden. People never see the procedure on television or in print. People who do see it are often converted on the spot.

The application for us is that our Lenten journey, and our acceptance of light and life (baptismal symbols) empower us to abandon denial and face both good and evil head-on with honesty, and with confidence in the ultimate triumph of grace over sin, truth over falsehood, and life over death.

Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - March 18, 2012
~Priests for Life


Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. This is my Sunday effort to help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.
.
PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meatless Fridays: Quick 3 Ingredient Meal

Hmmmm...it's Friday and the troops are hungry, but I've simply been too busy to worry about that...

...that is until the rumbling bellies distracted me from other matters!

I need a quick solution and have three ingredients:
  • Frozen ravioli - generic from Walmart
  • Pasta sauce - large from Sam's
  • Parmesan cheese - yep, the green shaker type - the hard block for grating is waiting for a more glamorous meal.


This is going to be quick and simple:

Pour enough sauce to cover the bottom of an 8 x 13 pan.
Layer in the ravioli and pour on remaining sauce.
Evenly sprinkle any spices you usually use to 'enhance' jar sauce. (OK, I know that's more than three items but I'm not counting optional ingredients.) No need to mix...I said it was simple!
I used: 
  • Pepper
  • Minced garlic (Tones)
  • Italian Spices (Tones)
  • A bit of brown sugar (it reduces acidity from the tomatoes)





A quick taste, to make sure it's 'top chef' fixin's. Cover with aluminum foil and it's off to a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. And me, I'll just lay down on the living room floor for a quick nap with Molly the Frog!



I'll let you know how it turned out...but if it's like last time, it was DELICIOUS!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, March 11, 2012


BULLETIN INSERT:

Pope Benedict XVI on Life

“In the light of my recent Encyclical Letter on Christian love, I would like to underline the importance of the service of love for the support and promotion of human life. In this regard, even before active initiatives, it is fundamental to foster a correct attitude towards the other: the culture of life is in fact based on attention to others without any forms of exclusion or discrimination. Every human life, as such, deserves and demands always to be defended and promoted.” – Address on February 5, 2006


GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
.
Celebrant: 
We are called to be a holy people. Turning to the one true God, we offer our prayers in faith and trust.

Deacon/Lector:
That the Church may continue to courageously proclaim the Gospel message in response to the needs of the world, we pray to the Lord…

That the pope, bishops, and all Church leaders may continue to remind us of the needs of the poor and of the ways in which we can serve, we pray to the Lord…

For all those who are preparing for baptism on Easter night, we pray to the Lord…

That in obedience to the command "Thou shall not kill," all nations will abolish the practice of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, we pray to the Lord...

That our parish family may be a faith-filled community where all are welcome and strive to imitate Christ in word and action, we pray to the Lord…

That those who have died may rest in the peace of the Messiah, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant:
Heavenly Father,
we ask your blessings on this community as we journey through Lent.
Give us grace and strength to follow you more closely.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17
1 Cor 1:22-25
Jn 2:13-25


The reading from Exodus of the giving of the commandments puts into context the absolute prohibition of killing human beings. Before he says, “Thou shalt not kill,” God says “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

In other words, his commands are given in the context of his relationship with us. He rescues us, he frees us, he makes a covenant with us, he shares his life with us. From these realities flow the commandments. He is not simply imposing something on us from the outside; rather, he is showing us what the new way of life entails. We obey the commandments because we’re God’s children. We respect life not just because “God said so,” but because God is life. We are to be truthful because God is truth. We are to be just because God is justice, and if we share in his life, we will act like him.

This is the positive context in which our people can understand the absolute command to respect, promote, and defend life. It is not a burdensome command; rather, as today’s psalm tells us, it “refreshes the soul,” because it shows the soul the way to happiness and fulfillment.

Our Lord’s promise to raise up the temple of his body (today’s Gospel passage) completes this whole context, because it is only through his resurrection that the life of God can be given to us. That risen life, of course, is what the catechumens are preparing all during Lent to receive. Moreover, each of us is preparing, through Lenten penance, to renew the promises of our baptism at Easter – the promises to follow the new way of life which the commandments reflect.

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - March 11, 2012
~Priests for Life


Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. This is my Sunday effort to help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.

PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Addictions and REHAB PROMISES - Lenten Update

I've been blessed. Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol are not addictions to which I have a propensity. My prayers and empathy go to those who do struggle with these vices. However, I have not gotten away unscathed. My addictions are of this world as well - specifically creature comforts and electronic gizmos of every type. As I made my Lenten REHAB PROMISES, I was struck by how easily I am drawn in...to comfort foods, Facebook, Pinterest, blogging, and any other thing that strikes my fancy. Like a true addict, I experience peaks and valleys.

In looking at my addictions, I see that I am not that much different from my addict brethren. We all aspire to change, find inspiration and resolve, and make promises to ourselves and others: and yet we fall. If you read my initial post, you saw that I was inspired and champing at the bit to begin my newly minted resolutions. As I experienced the first week, however, things settled in and it became a bit more tedious to adhere to all of my promises. I have faced temptations in many ways, one of which I will speak of in this post.

Whenever you try to limit something that cannot be altogether avoided, you are running an uphill race. Like the dieter who still has to eat in order to nourish her body, an electronic media addict faces her temptation daily, while pursuing worthwhile uses of same. As one of the fortunate few who are able to remain home, my self-appointed vocation is as a pro-life advocate. This is something I have done since I was in high school and Roe vs. Wade first became law. I have personal reasons - as detailed in When 'Pro-life Except Really Happens - and am also driven by the teachings of my Church. In this capacity, many most days will find me perusing news articles, blogs and posts by pro-life groups. I then take what I have found and redistribute it to those with whom I am in contact.

Having majored in Art, with an emphasis on advertising, it is quite natural for me to network and broadcast information about the things about which I am passionate. It's amazing how many really great contacts this housewife in rural Kentucky can make, simply by sitting in front of a monitor! In my pro-life rebel days, I could conjure up a pro-life protest of 60+ people within a couple of hours with just a few well-placed phone calls. At one such event, we were protesting the use of a Catholic Parish Center for a pro-choice political candidate's fundraiser...the priest for that parish actually joined us! So this type of sharing, if you will, is just like breathing to me. The trouble with this, however, is that like with many good things, electronic communication carries its share of temptations. I have good intentions but - you know what they say about good intentions paving the road...
So here I am, in the midst of Lent and working on my resolutions and W H A M ! - there's a project that I just can't say 'no' to. You see it has it all:

  • Pro-life angle - check 
  • Church angle - check 
  • My Catholic Sistas  - check 
  • All of my valuable, like-minded contacts -check. 

So just like that ::snap:: I'm immersed to the point of obsession. My poor husband - who knows the drill - just looks at me longingly as I make phone calls, snap photos of unsuspecting visitors, and obsess in general. Of course the outcome was great, my friends really stepped up, and I did my small part in helping a fellow Sista with her awesome 'I have a say'...here comes the Catholic Church video.

Now you might ask, 'so what's wrong with what you have described? Your effort went to a worthy cause, right?'

Well, it's not just that I spent the better part of three days collaborating and gathering photos - I also took the time to chat, post, and literally stalk Facebook and my email account. Every ding, every chirp, every notification sound was like the tantalizing smell of a juicy steak on Good Friday! And I totally caved for those days. Friday (a day of Facebook fasting) was an all out computer day...even Saturday and Sunday found me perched in my chair far more than necessary. And so, here I am, like any repentant addict - making excuses and plotting the success of 'one more chance'. So I take in a deep breath, straighten my shoulders, and make a mental resolution to start anew.
Dear Jesus, accept my flawed efforts, allow good to come from my keyboard, and help me to temper my flawed human passions.
AMEN!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's here, it's HERE!!! 'I have a say' VIDEO is live!

On Friday I posted about the 'I Have a Say - Don't Speak for Me Ms. Richards!' photo drive. Several of us collectively began to solicit photos in opposition to the HHS Mandate and its unjust imposition of imoral requirements on Catholic institutions. The attempt is to force Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities, and other Catholic employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees through insurance policies - something that has always been considered an intrinsic evil of the highest level according to Church teaching.

The photos rolled in from all over the country and, with the help of the Gospel of Life Committee - Diocese of Owensboro, were gathered for a common cause - a video decrying this defiance of the First Amendment (Freedom of Religion) and the Conscience Rights it gives all US citizens. The resulting video montage is very inspiring indeed...

It's here, it's HERE!!!!
The 'I have a say...here comes the Catholic Church' video has gone live over at Catholic Sistas. What a wonderful testament to our Catholic Faith! A big THANK YOU for all who submitted photos. You can keep them coming, by the way, as our campaign is just beginning...



Our bishops have united, like never before, to fight this travesty to the end!


In His Name for Life,
Birgit J

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pro-Life Corner: SUNDAY, March 4, 2012

As provided by Priests for Life
BULLETIN INSERT:

A Pro-life Lent

The traditional practice of “giving something up for Lent” is a practice of self-denial; our Lord said that to follow him, we must deny our very selves. It means we say No to ourselves and Yes to God and others. This reverses the pattern of sin, which says Yes to ourselves and No to God and others. In our culture, the most violent No to God and others is abortion. Four thousand times every day in our nation, people say No to a little child so that they may say Yes to their fears or their plans. This Lent, as we practice self-denial, let’s think of these children. Let’s offer our sacrifices for them. May all say Yes to God and Yes to the unborn. For more ideas about how to foster respect for the unborn this Lent, visit www.priestsforlife.org.




GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
.
Celebrant: 
St. Paul reminds us that God is present to us in our needs. Let us now bring those needs before our generous and compassionate Lord.

Deacon/Lector:
That during this Lenten season, the Church throughout the world will seek renewal in mind and spirit, we pray to the Lord…

That Church leaders will inspire the people by their authentic example of Christian living and service to the Gospel, we pray to the Lord…

That civil leaders will always be mindful of protecting the rights of the people they have been chosen to serve, we pray to the Lord…

That as the apostles saw the glory of God in Jesus, we too may see that every human life, even when frail and feeble, is a reflection of God's glory, we pray to the Lord...

That the sick may unite their suffering with the suffering of Christ who carries our burdens with us, we pray to the Lord…

That those who have died and are awaiting the day of perfection may share in the triumph of Christ, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant:
Father, we trust in your great mercy and love.
We ask you to grant these prayers and all things through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.




HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Rom 8:31b-34
Mk 9:2-10


It was already a miracle that Abraham and Sarah even had a son, Isaac. The name itself means “laughter,” because when God promised them that they would have a son, Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90, and they both laughed. Yet it came to pass. Abraham used to be named “Abram” (“exalted father”), but God changed his name to “Abraham” (“father of many”). Isaac, then, was the beginning of the fulfillment of this marvelous promise that Abraham would have descendants as countless as the stars of the sky.

What a test, then, when God said he was going to take the only son to himself. How would God’s promise be fulfilled, and why would God do this in the light of his promise? Yet despite unanswerable questions, Abraham trusted and obeyed. He is truly “our father in faith.”

God gave Abraham this test as a foreshadowing of Christ. The eternal Father would give his own Son for the life of the world. But again, how could he do this? The question of Isaac still echoes centuries later at Calvary. If the Father loves the Son, how could he sacrifice him on the wood of the cross?

The answer, as Thomas Aquinas expressed it, lies in the fact that God filled his Son with such love, that he was able to sacrifice himself for us. There is no enmity between the Father and the Son. There is only love, impelling the Son to give himself away. Christ said of his own life, “I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again.” He was speaking about the power of love.

That’s the power at the heart of the Culture of Life. It is a love by which we sacrifice ourselves for others. It is a love which, like the love God showed Abraham, brings life out of death. It is a love that sees and understands that in every circumstance, God is for us (2nd reading) and that nobody can be against us, that is, nobody can prevail in doing us ultimate harm. We always have the power to do what is right, to avoid injustice, and to welcome life. Lent is the opportunity to exercise the faith, the trust, the love we need to do precisely that. And yet this is no mere exercise of the will. It is the response to the gift of God in Christ Jesus, the only Beloved Son, to whom we listen and whom alone we obey.

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle B - March 4, 2012 
~Priests for Life


So did you hear a pro-life homily today? How about the petitions? The bulletin? If you did, please share! If not, please consider letting your priest know about these valuable pro-life resources!


Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. This is my Sunday effort to help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.
.
PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.