Friday, September 30, 2011

Need Web Marketing Help? {advertisement}

Have a website but not getting any hits?

Looking to increase traffic and sales for your webpage?

Look no further, Net Funnel can help you: 

Be found. Be relevant. Be the best.

SEO ° PPC ° Social Media Strategy ° Development ° Copywriting ° Audits ° Landing Page Optimization ° eCommerce Optimization ° Business Analysis & Planning ° Content Strategy & Development ° Conversion Optimization

contact:  todd.drain {at} netfunnel.org




Have a blessed weekend!
Erika

Saturday, September 24, 2011

MISSION STATEMENT: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED

Had to share this I found this on "My Priceless Fishers" Blog and she heard it on Relevant Radio, it is from Patrick Madrid's blog click on the link from his blog for a printable PDF of this:

Here’s the text of an excellent mission statement I ran across many years ago and which I have read at various seminars I’ve given around the country. I did not write this, though I adapted it slightly, and since so many folks have expressed how much they like it, I post it here for those who would like a copy.
MISSION STATEMENT: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
(Author unknown)

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands.
I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees,
mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough,
my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up,
stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid



There was a comment from a reader on his blog making the following biblical quote to be added:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek (Romans 1:16)”

Friday, September 23, 2011

On Father Pavone and Priests for Life

I just read this over a Catholic Culture, "Father Pavone's last stand".  I think this is the most detailed explanation of the full situation with Father Pavone. What I don't understand is the publicity this has received, why can't we just fix our matters in-house? What do you think? A man who has done so much for the prolife efforts in America...I personally think that things need to be fixed not shut down! :(  Like one of our readers posted, it just might be time for Father Pavone to let go (I know how hard this will be) of his baby to straighten things out.  I don't think it's the end of his work with Priests for Life but a re-structuring and organizing wouldn't hurt...maybe it is time to work on the new order?  Only God knows and we must all trust the Lord is in control of this.  In any case, he and all priests need our prayers.  Here's the article from Catholic Culture:


 Father Pavone's last stand By Phil Lawler | September 21, 2011 8:40 AM

More than three years ago, readers on this site received fair warning that Father Frank Pavone was cruising toward a showdown with officials in the Diocese of Amarillo. Read the comment by Diogenes from August 2008, and you will find the simmering conflict neatly summarized, many months before it boiled over into full public view. Diogenes concluded his analysis this way:
The question isn't whether or not the Church will support pro-life work. The question is whether priests and religious, when they engage in pro-life work, remain subject to ecclesiastical discipline. The answer, by the way, is Yes. You can learn that the easy way or learn it the hard way.
Now Father Pavone is learning the hard way, along with many of his loyal supporters. The controversy that finally hit the headlines last week is a sad one, a damaging one for the pro-life movement, but not a new one. It was all too easy to see it coming.

For years Father Pavone has sought autonomy for his organization, Priests for Life. His quest for independence caused some tension with the Archdiocese of New York, where he originally served. At first it seemed that tension was resolved when he moved to the Amarillo diocese. But it cropped up again with Bishop John Yanta, who had welcomed him to Texas. Finally it came to a head under Bishop Yanta’s successor, Bishop Patrick Zurek.

Bishop Zurek’s decision to recall Father Pavone to Amarillo, and restrict him to ministry there, was not a bolt from the blue, then. Father Pavone has disclosed that he had been discussing the possibility with his bishop for several months. No doubt both, the bishop and the priest, had been seeking advice from canon lawyers and support from friends, trying to influence each other, hoping to resolve the mounting tension without a public ruckus.

Especially in light of those behind-the-scenes negotiations, and the consultations that must have taken place, it is unfortunate that Bishop Zurek sloppily used the word “suspend” in the public announcement of his decision. Father Pavone was not suspended; he remains a priest in good standing. He was summoned to serve the Church in the diocese where he is incardinated. There is no question that the bishop has the authority to restrict a priest’s ministry in this way. Although Father Pavone has announced a canonical appeal, it is difficult to imagine how he could prevail.

In September 9 announcement, Bishop Zurek said that he took action because of “deep concerns regarding [Pavone’s] stewardship of the finances of the Priests for Life (PFL) organization.” But his concerns went deeper, he revealed. He was also worried about Father Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance to my legitimate authority as his Bishop.” Those two concerns, it becomes clear, were very closely intertwined.

Father Pavone says that he has answered every question the bishop asked about the finances of PFL. Bishop Zurek disputes that point, charging that PFL has managed to “rebuff my every attempt at calling for financial transparency.” How can we judge those two contradictory claims? The audited financial reports of PFL, which Father Pavone has now made public, provide a few clues. Last year PFL showed a $1.4 million budget deficit, and the group’s available cash balances dropped by over a half-million dollars. The latest PFL budget figures show an enormous $879,000 loan to Gospel of Life Ministries: another effort with which Father Pavone is personally involved. If those funds are not repaid, PFL faces an immediate financial crisis. Bishop Zurek has good reason to be worried about Father Pavone’s financial stewardship.

But financial reports only record the sums that were raised and spent; they do not necessarily tell how and why they were raised and spent. Therein lies the larger problem.
When he brought PFL to Amarillo, Father Pavone had ambitious plans to build a seminary there, and found a new religious order dedicated to pro-life activism. He raised enormous sums of money from donors who were encouraged to support that religious order and help build that seminary. But the seminary was never built, and within a couple of years the religious order had been disbanded.

In a revealing Amarillo television interview, Father Pavone admitted that much of the money raised for the seminary had been spent on “the things we did”—the operating expenses of PFL. Since the $10 million annual budget of PFL dwarfs the budget of the Amarillo diocese, it is eminently understandable that diocesan officials—who were hoping that a new seminary would provide benefits for their own pastoral work—would ask pointed questions about those “things we did.”
Since being recalled, Father Pavone has assured his supporters that he plans to continue his pro-life activism. He has reminded reporters that he took a vow “in the presence of a Vatican cardinal” to devote himself full-time to the pro-life cause. The presence of a cardinal would not affect the binding force of a vow, of course; Father Pavone is reminding us that he has friends in high places. By insisting on his dedication to the pro-life cause, he is (intentionally?) feeding suspicions that his bishop wants to rein him in because he has been too outspoken in his opposition to abortion—an assertion for which there is no supporting evidence. But there is something even more troubling about Father Pavone’s claim here.

When he made that special vow, in August 2006, Father Pavone was founding a religious order: the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Two years later that order was defunct. Looking back on the order’s history today, Father Pavone is surprisingly unconcerned about its demise. “We knew it was an experiment,” he told the Amarillo television interviewer. It is odd—and not at all healthy—that the founder of a religious order would look upon it as an experiment. In the course of that interview, Father Pavone makes it clear that in his mind, the religious order was always a means to an end; it was intended to act as an arm of PFL. (As Diogenes pointed out when the order was suppressed, that was a major concern for Church officials: that a religious order might be controlled by a secular corporation.) Yet once the order was dissolved, Father Pavone’s special vow lost its force, and he became an ordinary priest of the Amarillo diocese.
Now Father Pavone wants to leave Amarillo, to become a priest in another diocese that will allow him to continue his pro-life work without unwanted supervision. His desire for complete independence is easy to understand: Which one of us doesn’t want to be free from supervision? But in light of his track record—in particular, his insouciant approach to the details of raising, spending, and accounting for money—it is equally easy to understand why his bishop would not think it prudent to grant him that degree of independence. Canon lawyer Edward Peters has written perceptively about this case in general and about Father Pavone’s quest to be free of Amarillo in particular. To state the matter in simple terms, a diocesan priest has a responsibility first and foremost to his bishop and his diocese, and only secondarily to any apostolate with which he is associated. Bishop Zurek spoke of the need for Father Pavone to “readjust his priestly bearing” and recognize that he is a priest first, an activist second. To date there is no sign that the embattled priest is getting that message.

In his quest to be rid of the irksome restrictions that he now faces in Amarillo, Father Pavone says that he will seek incardination to another diocese. That won’t be easy. He has already switched his diocesan affiliation once, and any thoughtful bishop would look askance at a priest who wanted to switch for a second time. To aggravate matters still further, another pro-life group with which Father Pavone is affiliated (as a board member) is now planning to picket Catholic churches in the Amarillo diocese. What bishop would want to take on a priest who has become embroiled in such an openly adversary relationship with his diocesan superiors? What bishop would want a priest who has made it so abundantly clear that he considers his own personal apostolate more important than the work of the diocese—to the point that he is willing to attack the diocese in order to further the apostolate?

For years Father Pavone has run PFL as his own personal fiefdom. He has been answerable only to the PFL board of directors—on which he and his paid subordinates have formed a solid voting majority. That long run of complete autonomy is now coming to an end. This is not a case in which a bishop has set out to squelch pro-life activism. It is a case in which a bishop has realized that a priest and a Catholic apostolate are both in urgent need of supervision.

Recognizing this reality may be a difficult process for Father Pavone. Until now, PFL has been his project: his baby. But he cannot continue running PFL the way he has been running it. If the mission of PFL is to continue and thrive, it will be under some new form of leadership.

Painful though it will be, Father Pavone should realize that the time has come to offer his baby up for adoption. He of all people should realize the most likely alternative: the baby will die.


What are your thoughts about this situation?  I really would hate to see Priests for Life shut down or without Father Pavone.  :(

Blessings,
Erika

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Archbishop Nienstedt on Religious Freedom

I picked this piece up over at Father Z's blog.  Please read carefully as it is an ACTION ITEM:

I also call on bloggers who are reading this to pick it up.
From His Excellency Most Rev. John Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in The Catholic Spirit.  My emphases and comments:
A serious threat to religious freedom
September 15, 2011 8:00 am
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt
[...] [T]here has arisen a very serious threat to the religious freedom of all religious institutions, especially our Catholic health care programs and Catholic social services, a threat posed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Under HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (a Catholic), [I am glad H.E. mentioned this.  She says she is CATHOLIC.] the department is imposing a “preventative services” mandate requiring all private health plans — including ones administered by the church and its agents — to provide coverage for surgical sterilizations, prescription contraceptives approved by the FDA, and “education and counseling” for “all women of reproductive capacity.
Seismic change in approach
Unfortunately, this is the logical result of a seismic change in this administration’s approach to religious groups involved in providing social services to, among others, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the immigrant.
It began when President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton started using the term “freedom of worship” as distinct from what we have always known as “freedom of religion.”  [Qui bene distinguit, bene docet.]

Under the concept of “freedom of worship,” church agencies are restricted to hiring employees only from their own denomination and providing services for clients only from their own denomination
.
Such a concept restricts Christian believers in their charitable outreach to society and, in effect, encloses them within their own sanctuaries[Sounds like the usual, liberal "rawlsian" approach: side-line as obstacles all positions which don't fit in the desired consensus those in power are trying to bring about.]
This is radical secularism at its epitome. It is an affront to the centuries of Christian service offered by churches to clients of all backgrounds, color or creed. And, it is the slippery slope to a completely secularized state wherein people of religious conviction will be required to privatize their beliefs and in doing so, at least for Catholics, render their faith meaningless[Meaningless might be a little strong, but the Christ, the Perfect Communicator, gave the Church a command to communicate in Matthew 28:19: "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." We have a faith we practice ad intra and a faith we must practice ad extra.  Furthermore, this ad intra/extra dynamic was an essential goal of the Second Vatican Council.  What is going on here is a secularist effort to marginalize the Church and drive a Catholic voice from the public square.  This will be easier to do the weaker our Catholic identity becomes.  This is why I am constantly ranting about a "Marshall Plan" for the Church.]
Action steps
I highly recommend two steps.  The first is to write Secretary Sebelius (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20201) or your congressional officers to oppose this mandate and to demand that it be rescinded. These letters need to be received before the end of September. [Get that?  END OF SEPTEMBER.]
Secondly, letters should also be sent to federal congressional representatives to support a bill, [NB] the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act,” (H.R. 1179, S. 1467), that would protect conscience rights in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This legislation is needed even more so in face of HHS’s mandate to require all private institutions to cover contraceptives and sterilizations.
As Cardinal DiNardo, chair of the USCCB Pro-Life Committee, wrote last week:
“Those who sponsor, purchase and issue health plans should not be forced to violate their deeply held moral and religious convictions in order to take part in the health care system or provide for the needs of their families, their employees or those most in need.  To force such an unacceptable choice would be as much a threat to universal access to health care as it is to freedom of conscience.”
(The cardinal’s letter can be found online HERE).
Lesson from history
The “preventive services” mandate is a significant threat to religious freedom that should put all Catholics on notice that there are many in government and in our culture who will sacrifice long-held and cherished liberties on the altar of so-called reproductive autonomy.
I ask you to join with me today in taking action to preserve our religious freedom and conscience protection.  History reminds us that “evil triumphs when good people do nothing.
This is a time for believers to act and let our representatives in government know that this is an unacceptable course of action!
God bless you!
WDTPRS KUDOS to Archbp. Nienstedt.
He did not flinch from using the word “evil”.
He urged people to WRITE.
Perhaps some readers here will have some language and strategy suggestions. 

 Thank you for reading and fellow bloggers, please do share this on your blogs as well.  :)

Blesssings,
Erika

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples {Book Review}

Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples
Author: Dr. Thomas H. Groome

I was asked to read and review this book about educating our children in the Catholic Faith as part of the TLC Book Tour.  As a former Youth Minister, Catholic School teacher and now Catholic Home Educator, I was very excited and looking forward to reading this book.  I was hoping this book would be the answer to my prayers for Catholic Schools and Catechetical Education in our parishes, so I eagerly read this book day and night - every spare moment I had.  {don't laugh, I do get some quiet time here and there, lol}

The first two chapters were the hardest to get by, I must admit.  There was a lot of teacher jargon and theological talk as well, it felt like I was reading a college textbook.  I didn't mind this overall, but now that I am a busy mom of five homeschooled kids, it was hard to go through the pages and with the children around.  The kind of reading that is best done in silent, you know?  So I did have to re-read things plenty of times mainly because I didn't want to just skim through the chapters....I wanted to capture everything he was saying because this topic is very near and dear to my heart.


About Will There Be Faith?• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (August 23, 2011)
A Modern Manual for Sharing a Relevant, Vibrant, Enduring Faith
In the face of mounting obstacles, parents and educators find themselves increasingly challenged by the task of leading people toward lives of faith. Now Thomas Groome, a world-renowned authority on religious education, has created a contemporary, holistic approach to teaching Christian beliefs and values that offers real, effective solutions for today’s parents and teachers. His guide to religious education—which aims to “bring life to Faith and Faith to life”—is a hopeful road map for reenergizing the faith community and family from the bottom up.About Thomas H. Groome
Thomas H. Groome is chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and professor of theology and religious education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry and author of What Makes Us Catholic?Find out more about Thomas Groome here.













What did I love about this book:
His plan of action emphasizes the importance of including and having active parent involvement in the formation of the faith of children, his mantra: "life to faith and faith to life".  This really hit home for me as I recall a larger than I'd like percentage of parents who sent their children to either Youth Group, Faith Formation or even Catholic Schools expecting the teacher to take on this role solo.  Which is impossible!  Parents need to take on an active role in raising their children in the faith, this may not sound like rocket science to most who read this blog but listen I've seen it and saw it for many years...parents not living the faith and expecting the CCD/Faith Formation teachers or youth minister or Catholic School teacher to do this job for them.  NOT AT ALL POSSIBLE...you must life your faith and bring that faith to your everyday life.  A simple, yet very complex, way of life...but it is possible!  I love the call to action that he makes of parents and also how he reveals that it really does take a village to raise a child and raise them to be God fearing, faithful individuals!

Things that were troublesome for me personally in this book:
As a teenager and young adult I was involved in the Charismatic Movement within the Catholic Church.  My husband is a convert, he was raised Southern Baptist.  The last nine years of our lives together we have matured our faith into a more traditional Catholic family.  We believe in the old and basic teachings of the Church...we attend the Tridentine Latin Mass/Mass in the Extraordinary form as much as possible and prefer a more traditional Novus Ordo as our parish.  With this said, I do have issues with the underlying message the author is conveying leaning towards a more Liberation Theology approach.  For example, he mentions that the book of Genesis is mythical in nature, this is not a teaching of the Catholic Church.  Another example is that he tries to be politically correct about God and doesn't want to refer to God as a He...uh, God the Father, God the Son...Father and Son are male.   If you can get past all of these underlying things the message of the book is pretty simple: teach as Jesus taught us.

My favorite chapters were definitely the last two "The Foundations" and "The Movements".  The Foundations chapter, he explains and reiterates in plain and simple language his mantra.  The Movement chapter deals with putting his approach to work.  The way he set the book up was also interesting.  He presents new information and stops and reflects with questions, this gets the reader thinking more about the information presented and also makes you reflect on your own life and how it applies to it.  Honestly, I think that he should have started the book and expanded the last two chapters more...and this book would have been an easier and more practical read for busy parents {and avoided all the unnecessary liberation theology}.

If you are interested in purchasing this book:
Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples 
Blessings,
Erika


Catholic Deal Share: The Catholic Company {Save 20% & Win an iPad2}


The Catholic Company - Win an iPad2 + 20% Off for 2 Days Only! 
The Catholic Company - World's Number 1 Catholic StoreJoin Catholic Advantage and Save 10% on All Orders!
Art | Audio/Video | Books | Crucifixes | Clearance | Jewelry | Rosaries | Statues

It's The Catholic Company's Tenth Birthday - Let's Celebrate!
SAVE 20% FOR TWO DAYS ONLY!

Use discount code BIRTHDAY during checkout.

Register Now to Win an iPad2 - Become our Fan on Facebook!

Win an iPad2!

In celebration of our birthday, we are giving away
a FANTASTIC iPad2
to some very lucky customers.
Here's how to enter!
The Catholic Company on FacebookBecome our Fan on Facebook and enter to win a 64GB Wi-Fi iPad2 (retail price $699.00)! The more fans we have, the more iPads we'll give away, up to three winners:
 35,000 Fans=1 iPad2
40,000 Fans=2 iPad2
50,000 Fans=3 iPad2
 Register Now to Win an iPad2 - Become our Fan on Facebook!
SHARE THIS EMAIL ON FACEBOOK
Share This Email on Facebook   Share This Email on Facebook  
spacer
The Catholic Company on TwitterFollow us on Twitter and enter to win a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad2 (retail price $499.00)!
 1) Follow us @CatholicCompany
2) Then send us this tweet:
"@CatholicCompany Pick me to win an iPad2 #catholicipad2"
 Register Now to Win an iPad2 - Become our Fan on Facebook!
SHARE THIS EMAIL ON TWITTER
Share This Email on Twitter
Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Easter Time
on Friday, October 7, 2011.
Visit our contest rules page for more information.

spacer
*Terms and conditions: Customers must type in discount code BIRTHDAY during checkout to receive 20% off the subtotal of the order. No minimum order size is required. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers. Cannot be used on orders already placed or on backorders. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

**Google Checkout cannot be used when placing an order with a discount code.**








Enjoy and hope you win!  :)


Saturday, September 17, 2011

POETRY BREAK: The Bonds of Silence {on Abortion}

The Woodland Realm: The Bonds of Silence:

The Bonds of Silence

The time is now, for broken bonds of silence,
heralds of reason before the trial of persecution.
With a word, for a season, tempted by defiance,
the heavens reel with a quiet sense of injustice.
More than a word, more than stealthy locution,
the walls of hell do slowly advance to greet us.

For a child, for the unborn faces of God inside,
we break against the tide of the world and stone.
Thus, for the innocent, in their future do reside,
countless silent names, by their Creator known.
Give me a man, one who walks after God alone,
to raise his voice before these powers of stone.

And too the world looks on, looking for signs,
and so, the moment remains the Father's secret.
Here the world pales in all its shattered designs,
and life will prevail upon that culture of death.
The die is cast, players before the drama are set,
and the smallest are heard with dearest breath.

Raise your voice unto the heavens, to be heard,
like a man, after the heart of God, so in his heart.
Look into these empty spaces, faces for a word,
faces that might have been, faces that will not be.
In the sun and in the cold, fathers for their part,
walk in his shadow, for a man they will not see.

But the graces that bind will yet renew his eye,
and voices in the distance would yet uphold him.
Prayers for a man of life, with love cannot deny,
risen up, envelop souls like the stars of the night.
Like a song, or the ocean singing a sacred hymn,
they sustain the one who would desire it right.


Brian Francis Hudon, September 14, 2011
My Photo

Visit the Blog: The Woodland Realm
The poems of Brian Francis Hudon





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Have You Prayed for Our Priests Today?


"Having taught priests, lived with priests, laboured for them, loved them, and suffered with them for over 30 years, there are no words that I can use that would be strong enough to state that the Catholic priesthood needs prayer and sacrifice more now since the time when Our Lord died on the Cross at Calvary.

Why do priests need special graces from God? It is because they have extraordinary responsibilities before God. They are to be more than ordinarily holy, more generous, more zealous, and more patient. In a word, those who are responsible for Christ’s presence on earth are to be, of all people, the most Christ-like. They are to be examples of what Christ wants us to be. Look back on all of the grave crises in the Church over the centuries. Every single one of them was due to the fact that priests had failed the people of God.

Why do we need to pray for priests? It is because, through prayer, we gain graces for them which otherwise they would not obtain. If we all need the help of each other and we receive the graces we need, how much more should we pray for priests from whom we have received Jesus Christ in the Eucharist – and by whom we have been so often absolved from our sins. I don’t want to even think of the state of my soul if I had not had the absolution that over the years I have received from priests. As fellow members of the Mystical Body, priests desperately need our help.

I would recommend that all the faithful offer daily at least one prayer for all the priests in the Church and especially for those who have done most for them in their lives. I try to remember every day at Mass the priest who baptized me, the priest who heard my First Confession, who gave me my First Holy Communion, the bishop who ordained me, and the bishop who confirmed me. I recommend, therefore, that all the faithful, in a special way, pray for priests every day. Also, I advise the faithful to offer up some sacrifice for priests each day. I am tempted to say some little sacrifice. NO! I suggest it be the most difficult sacrifice of the day for priests.





I further recommend that when we hear about a priest who has been unfaithful to his high calling, that our first and immediate reaction should be to pray for him. I believe that we should do everything in our power to extend and propagate the apostolate of prayer and sacrifice for priests.

The Church of the future will not only survive, but thrive. However, that will occur only where and insofar as the priests have not only been faithful to their vocation, but have lived their priesthood in a living martyrdom in union with the first martyr, Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, no mere recommendation or exhortation that I make, but an imperative to pray and sacrifice for priests.

Closing Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, you ordained the Apostles priests at the Last Supper to continue your mission of mercy to the end of time. We believe that every Catholic priest traces his ordination to that first ordination on Holy Thursday night. We know how much you expect of your priests and we also know how weak and human they are. Inspire us, dear Jesus, to pray and sacrifice for your priests, who are also ours, that by their faithfulness to you in this life they may bring countless souls to you in the life to come. Mary, Mother of priests, pray for priests that they may love your Divine Son unreservedly as you did, all the days of their lives. Amen."

- Fr. John Hardon

Friday, September 9, 2011

Holy Heroes, Glory Stories: Best Loved Catholic Prayers {JUST $0.02}

Thought I'd pass this along to you, a great deal from Holy Heroes!  $10 for your 2 cents worth



Holy Heroes
Prayer



Announcing the newest Holy Heroes Glory Stories CD: "Best-loved Catholic Prayers and Prayers of the Mass"

(including the new translations effective Advent 2011)!

The final version of this new CD will ship in the fall of 2011 and will also include acompanion full-color booklet with over two dozen classic Catholic Prayers plus a complete children's missalette with the new Mass responses!

But until the final release is ready, we have a special offer for you:

We have a limited number of special pre-release versions of this newest Glory Stories CD available for a very low discounted price (only 2 cents!)

We are asking you and your friends to help us serve you better by ordering this pre-release CD, listening to it, and then telling us how we can make it better before the final release in the fall.

In exchange for your order and your help, we will send you a discount coupon code good for $10 off a future purchase at holyheroes.com.

To get your copy of this special pre-release version of the newest Glory Stories CD for only 2 cents PLUS a coupon for $10, follow the steps below:

Order this CD for only 2 CENTS and listen carefully to it after you receive it.

After you had a chance to listen to the disk, go to the web address we will send to you with the CD to answer a short survey. Your responses will help us improve the final version of the CD.

To thank you for taking the time to answer the survey, we will send you a coupon discount code for $10 which will more than cover the cost of ordering the disk (international orders will cost a bit more due to higher shipping costs). You can use the coupon on a future order from  HolyHeroes.com.


Blessings,
Erika

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Catholic Eye Candy: Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh

Bishop Burbridge made an announcement yesterday in the Diocese of Raleigh, NC.:

"The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge announced Wednesday, September 7, 2011, the planned construction of a new Cathedral Campus for the Diocese of Raleigh. In making the official announcement, Bishop Burbidge said the proposed 2,000-seat Cathedral will be dedicated under the title, Holy Name of Jesus. The theme of the capital campaign is “Our Cathedral: One Faith, One People." The estimated cost of the proposed Cathedral Campus is $75 to $90 million.

Calling it a “monumental and historic moment in the life of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and the state of North Carolina,” Bishop Burbidge noted that the conceptual design includes the Cathedral, a two-story Gathering Hall and a three-story ground level and below-ground parking facility. To date, the planned project has received $10 million in pledges from a small group of donors in a short period of time.

The proposed Cathedral Campus will be located on a 39-acre tract of land adjacent to Western Boulevard and Centennial Parkway that has historical significance for the Catholic Church in North Carolina. The property is what remains of 400 acres purchased in 1897 by Father Thomas F. Price, the “Tar Heel Apostle” and first native North Carolinian to be ordained a Catholic priest. In 1899, Father Price established an orphanage on the site known as the “Nazareth Community.” The site currently houses the Catholic Center administration building and a smaller office building.

In his announcement, Bishop Burbidge explained that the name of the new Cathedral also has historical roots for the property. “It commemorates the name of the chapel established by Father Price at Nazareth and which was known under this same dedication to the holy name of Our Lord.” Bishop Burbidge said. “It is fitting that the name of our new Cathedral is the Holy Name of Jesus.”
For Roman Catholics, the Cathedral stands as the visible unifying presence of the Church. It is the sign of the mission of Christ to be exercised there among the people. All parishes in the Diocese are extensions of the Cathedral, as it holds the chair, the cathedra, of the Diocesan Bishop, from which he gathers the faithful to guide and lead them, as teacher and shepherd.





The need for a new Cathedral is prompted, in large part, by the continuing vibrant growth of the Catholic population throughout the Diocese, which covers the 54 eastern counties of the state. In the 10-year period between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic population in the 54-county Diocese has increased approximately 42 percent from 152,493 to 217,125 registered Catholics, with an estimated 200,000 plus unregistered Catholics, mostly of Hispanic origin. With a seating capacity of 320, Sacred Heart Cathedral, as the “Mother Church” of the Diocese, is unable to accommodate most of the Diocesan liturgical celebrations.

When the current Cathedral, Sacred Heart, was constructed in the early 1920’s, it was built as a parish church to serve the small number of Catholics residing in the capital city. In 1924, when the Vatican established the Diocese of Raleigh, the Holy See designated the small church on Hillsborough Street, two blocks from the State Capitol, as the Cathedral.

The concept of building a new Cathedral to address the growing needs of the Diocese began in late 2009. Following consultation with the major Diocesan collegial bodies, composed of the clergy, Consecrated Religious and laity, Bishop Burbidge accepted their recommendation to commission a feasibility study to explore interest and support for the proposed project. The study, conducted by a professional consulting firm, was undertaken in early 2010.

In July 2010, results of the feasibility study indicated a high level of support for the project from clergy, religious and laity. After reviewing results of the study, the Diocesan collegial bodies, in separate votes, recommended to Bishop Burbidge that the Diocese proceed to the next step of the project. Bishop Burbidge accepted the recommendations of these bodies and established a Cathedral Campus Steering Committee.

In July 2011, after careful review of the work of the Steering Committee and following consultation with local civic and business leaders about possible sites in downtown Raleigh where the proposed Cathedral Campus could be located, Bishop Burbidge accepted the recommendation of the Steering Committee to proceed with the planned construction on the Nazareth site, already owned by the Diocese of Raleigh. The Diocese has contracted with Washington, D.C., architect Mr. James McCrery to develop the Cathedral design and to propose the most effective utilization of the land for the Gathering Hall, parking facilities and possible additional development of the site. Groundbreaking for the new Cathedral Campus is anticipated to take place in mid-2013.

Upon dedication of the new Cathedral, Sacred Heart Church will be retained and honored as the first church designated to be the Cathedral for the Diocese of Raleigh. Sacred Heart will continue to serve as a vibrant part of the sacramental life of the Diocese, with a regular Mass schedule, small weddings, funerals, and other liturgical and private prayer."

Read more or hear the Bishop's announcement about the new Cathedral.

Congratulations to the Diocese of Raleigh!  Our prayers are with you.

Blessings,
Erika

September 8th: Happy Birthday Mother Mary

"Thy Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, 
Hath brought joy to the whole world!"

Today, September 8 we celebrate the birth of Mary,
Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth.

In Domenico Ghirlandaio's 1490 fresco Birth of the Virgin (detail above) in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy, St. Anne rests in bed while an attendant holds the newborn St. Mary and the donor's daughter looks on. The inscription on the wall above is from the antiphon for this feast: "Nativitas tua, Dei Genitrix Virgo, / Gaudium annuntiavit universo mundo" (Thy Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, / Hath brought joy to the whole world).

Here is a short video about the Celebration of the Nativity of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth:




A prayer, from the Divine Office:




I leave you with a beautiful Meditation on the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary {The History of the Liturgical Celebration of Mary's Birth}.


Happy Birthday, blessed Mother!  We love you!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homeschoolers Need Socialization - SHAH!!


Recently, in my local newspaper, there was a nice article about a homeschooling family with five children. They quoted the home schooled children and the author spoke statistics...when I saw it laying on my kitchen table, I thought wow how exciting and went on, with much enthusiasm, to read the article. Later on I checked my e-mail and saw lots of messages from local home schoolers who were outraged by the comments being left on-line regarding the article. I skimmed through those messages (a bunch had already been blocked by the paper) and noticed the one prevailing topic: socialization (what a shocker, huh ladies?). People who don't have a clue and have made generalizations about home schoolers think that we keep our kids in a closet (without windows) and don't allow them to go out and be "socialized". Which lead me to think about this a little further.


What you might not know is that I've been in the "formal" education world for the past 15 years, either as a teacher's aide, student teacher, substitute teacher, a teacher trainer, and a regular teacher in the classroom. I've been in the Catholic schools (two of them), charter schools, and regular public schools (three of them) and I've had my share of what it's like to teach and be in these settings. I've worked in pre-schools, elementary schools, K-8 centers, Middle Schools and even had my bouts with high school. So, let's just say...I've been there and seen it from a teacher as well as a parent's perspective (my eldest attended two different parochial schools from pre-k until 5th grade).

So what does the "socialized child" have over our supposed "unsocialized" home schooled children? Nothing if you ask me. From a teacher's perspective, the home schooled child is taught to live and work with people of all ages (in their family) For starters, they are exposed to BAD habits from other children. Children from homes that the parents aren't around most of the time because they are busy working. Children who see their parents about one hour in the morning and maybe both parents about three hours in the evening (that's if they are on schedule and putting them in bed on time). Children whose parents are sometimes hard to reach to set up conferences for because of grades declining or behavior. Now don't assume that I'm referring to the times I worked in the public or charter sectors, I haven't even touched that category yet. Now lets talk about teachers...I've had the privileged of working for a Federal Program training teachers to teach Reading and Writing. It was like pulling teeth...they didn't want to learn, I'd say about 15% of the teachers I worked with in those last nine years were open to learning something new, a better way to teach our children. A very sad number, if you ask me.

Next I looked up "socialization" in the dictionary, know what it says?  Here is the online version:


so·cial·i·za·tion    [soh-shuh-luh-zey-shuhn]
noun
1.  a continuing process whereby an individual acquires apersonal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
2.  the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry.

"A continuing process where by an individual acquires a personal identity"?  Really, well if anyone is going to help a child do this who best than his/her mother and father?  Next, "learn the norms, values, behavior, and social skills"...again mother and father, siblings, grandparents are the best teachers of this.

Let me be honest, I thought when I joined the home school community, I was coming with TONS of ideas and things to do...I was going to teach some moms some new things! Oh how wrong I was...lol!   I've only learned from these moms with high school degrees, some with college degrees, only some with teaching degrees...here's what I've learned:

1. Children need to be taught to love learning and how they learn best (something very difficult to teach to 35 children in a 55 minute period, in only nine months of the year).

2. Children need to be taught how to learn on their own. "WHAT?" This was one of the hardest for me to understand...but I get it and it makes perfect sense....when you are in college and in life, you need the life skills to be motivated to learn something new each day.

3. Children need to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. Home schooled children are the most polite and social kids I've ever been around. They say hello when you bump into them at the store. They offer to help without you having to bribe them, as it is often done in the classrooms.

4. Homeschooling is a lifestyle which, for the most part, teaches about time management, how to deal with situations you didn't plan for, how to be ready for new things, how to lead a more stable life, how to follow a schedule (and have the responsibility of staying on that schedule).

So, this lead to the idea of having a week-long discussion on the socialization of our Catholic home schooled children. In speaking with my friends who have more experience than I, the topic was more about creating community and in turn you will socialize your children. In analyzing this, it was very clear to me that our children are part of all sorts of communities in which they have ample and healthy opportunities to be socialized. Some examples of communities which your children might be involved in are: at church, play groups, neighborhoods, Co-Ops, teams, scouts, sports, music classes, etc. My children have involved in more activities since being home schooled than ever before. They are happier as well, and they are definitely social beings.

Not convinced? Just ask my next door neighbor, who is an avid gardener, about my six year old son who has NEVER been formal school setting! My little guy has long conversations with her about her gardening, asking her tons of questions about what she is doing, why she is doing it, and what will be the future out come of her actions. Bless her heart, she is so patient with him. We think he might even have pushed her in her faith a little as he told her the other day that he prays for her and her garden to grow beautiful flowers...she, in turn, was spotted at daily Mass a couple of days later (our first reaction, "she's Catholic?"). So yes, my six year old will not be "formally socialized" and miss the likes of knowing who Sponge Bob Square Pants, or High School Musical, or anything like that is from other kids his age. Instead, he is learning about Horticulture from my next door neighbor and walking around practicing words like "Gladiolas and Daffodils" instead of singing the obnoxious tune to some of the "supposed children's cartoons or movies".

So tell us, what do your children do to create community (AKA, be socialized little beings)???

 I'd love to hear from you regarding this topic...and go ahead share this with all people that question you about homeschooling and "worry" about your children's socialization!  ;)  I dare you, lol!

Blessings,
Erika

Monday, September 5, 2011

Catholic Curriculum Options

If you are a first time homeschooler, you will have to make several choices when it comes to curriculum. There are so many choices that it might become overwhelming. To avoid this, do your research first! This isn't the end-all list as there might be more publishers/schools available of which I may not be aware of.

Catholic Curriculums (that you can enroll your children in OR use as a book store):

Catholic Heritage Curricula
P.O. Box 125, Twain Harte, CA 95383 1-800-490-7713
It is Catholic Heritage Curricula's belief that, when solid academics are offered in a gentle, flexible manner, the vast majority of children will blossom spiritually, emotionally, and academically. CHC’s educational approach lays a joyful foundation, resulting in children who achieve at and above grade level, do not ‘burn out,’ and instead ‘learn how to learn’. freebies


Mother of Divine Grace School
P.O. Box 1810, Ojai, CA 93024 1-805-646-5818 
Mother of Divine Grace School is a distance education program which helps parents implement a Catholic classical education in their home. It is designed in the light of the classical principle that the goal of education is to teach children how to think; to help them learn the art of learning. If children learn how to learn, they will be equipped for life, able to master any subject when it becomes necessary or desirable. Further, the curriculum is faithful to the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church, which enlightens and informs all the areas of the curriculum.

Our Lady of the Rosary School, Inc.
1010 Withrow Court, Bardstown, KY 40004 502.348.1338
This company uses the book Jesus Comes which is the foundation book for St. Anne's Audio Catechism and Copybook for First Communion. This site offers beautiful encouraging wor ds to parents about the sacrament of Matrimony giving them the graces necessary to educate their children. They offer many Catholic homeschool curriculum. Here is what they say:
"Full service home education provider. Full enrollment, independent study enrollment, single courses, and on-line catalog available."



Our Lady of Victory School
421 South Lochsa Street, Post Falls, ID 83854 208-773-7265
This company has been noted for using the old Baltimore Catechism and old Catholic textbooks as well as many other Catholic homeschool curriculum. See their republication of many Catholic books at Lepanto Press. They, too, have started creating copybooks with theme based content. It is an accredited Catholic home schooling apostolate. Here is what they say:

"Since 1977, OLVS homeschooling has been providing Roman Catholic curriculum and Roman Catholic textbooks. The curriculum and textbooks used in our ..."




Seton Home Study School
1350 Progress Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630 540-636-9990

This company has totally rewritten many old Catholic textbooks into a more homeschool user-friendly format with illustrated workbooks. A real plus is that it has edited out some of the bad themes from the old books. We really appreciate this discernment. Seton, too, has started creating copybooks with theme based content such as history and offers other Catholic homeschool curriculum. Here is what they say:
"Seton Home Study School is an accredited Catholic home schooling apostolate under the Roman ... Get a sneak peek at Seton’s outstanding K-12 curriculum. ..."

REQUEST A CATALOG!





Like a More Eclectic Approach (piecing things together on your own)?

Catholicity
CatholiCity, PO Box 26101, Fairview Park, OH 44126
This company has a variety of services that can be a great service to Catholic homeschoolers like the Catholic Encyclopedia (1914) where you can "search or browse 11,000+ articles on Catholic teaching and history".
They have the "Best Catholic Links" an "Exclusive database. Hundreds of carefully screened links." See St. Anne's Helper listed there under Education and Homeschool! Here's what they say:
Catholicity "offers free Catholic CDs and novels, Catholic news and commentary, and the best Catholic links on the web."


Kidica
Kidica, Moxy Media, 503 Imperial Road North, Units 5 - 9 Guelph, Ontario Canada N1H6T9 Tel: 1-866-669-9320
This website is an independent information guide that is written, edited and maintained Moxy Media, a leading publisher of online consumer information guides. Our goal is to provide factual, up-to-date information and shopping advice to online consumers. This site does not sell products directly and is not affiliated with any individual manufacturer. Search for "Catholic" to find their Catholic resources.  Information for Parents on Kids Entertainment including Family Travel Editor

St. Anne's Audio Catechism and Copybook

St. Anne's Audio Helper, P.O.B. 7, Belvue, KS 66407-0007  785-456-1711

This company has put together the best Catholic answers to the Baltimore Catechism for First Communion and Confirmation. This is a God-send for certitude later on when parents are trying to decide which books are truly Catholic. Having the basic Catholic beliefs correct makes discernment much easier. The student is well fortified with these Catholic answers! Here is what they say:
"Audio catechism CDs reduce the effort necessary to memorize the Baltimore Catechism answers and Catholic prayers. Copybooks help with the memorization and beautiful handwriting..."

Catholic Book Providers (buy your books from them):
AdoremusBooks
The Heldridge Family, Frederick Square Shopping Center, 2992 S. 84th St., Omaha, NE 68124 Call us at 402-502-3162, or toll-free at 888-392-1973
This company offers a great variety of the best books, art, and games for Catholic Homeschooling! Be sure to visit to see their many Catholic gifts as well. Here is what they say: Adoremus Books (Latin for "Let Us Adore!") carries a broad selection of top quality books and resources designed to enrich your Catholic home from the Fathers of the Church to the great writers of today, Adoremus Books has something for everyone.

CatholicMax
Catholic Gifts Fulfillment, P.O. Box 291, Coppell, Texas 75019
This company offers over 7000 Religious products including Bibles, vestments, church goods, statues, and over 2000 rosaries. Here is what they say: "Our mission is to provide: The largest selection of Catholic products, Exceptional service, Outstanding value! CatholicMax.com is Catholic owned and operated. We don't just sell to make a profit, we sell out of genuine devotion to the Catholic Faith. We are a Catholic Business Enterprise.


El Camino Real
El Camino Real, PO Box 84, Thompsons, TX 77481
This company offer The De La Salle Readers crown their book selection! We did not know that these were in print. These seem to be excellent old Catholic books, a rare find! We love the pedagogy in the front of the books. They have many other good Catholic homeschool books as well. Here is what they say:
"El Camino Real is a Catholic book store dedicated to spreading and publishing classic traditional Catholic books for individuals, families, and home school families who want to learn more about the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Church doctrine, scripture, bible study, theology, apologetics, devotions, the saints, Catholic literature and the spiritual life."
Lepanto Press
421 S. Lochsa Street, Post Falls, ID 83854 208-773-7265
This company has been noted for using the old Baltimore Catechism and old Catholic textbooks. See their Catholic homeschool curriculum, also. They, too, have started creating copybooks with theme based content. Here is what they say:
"From the beginning, OLVS stressed Religion as the common thread throughout the curriculum, with an accent on the history of the Church. We have also emphasized the importance of good Catholic literature, and we are revising our Music program to teach young children the appreciation of Folk, Classical, and Sacred Music, including polyphony and chant."
Neumann Press
The Neumann Press, 21892 County 11, Long Prairie, MN 56347 1-800-746-2521

This company has excellent Catholic homeschool books especially if you are using Laura Berquist's method or are unschooling. They have a two book set for Homeschool advice in particular. Some of the most precious books for children are at this site. They have republished Jesus Comes which is the back bone of St. Anne's Audio Catechism and Catechism Copybook. It is an excellent book with modest and delightful pictures to go along with some bible stories and the Baltimore Catechism. Here is what they say:
 "The Neumann Press is named after Saint John Neumann, bishop of Philadelphia (1851 to 1860), the first man from the United States of America canonized by the Church. Our goal and primary purpose is to republish orthodox, traditional and classic Catholic books that have gone out of print."

Tan Books
TAN Books & Publishers, PO Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105-0424 1-800-437-5876

This company has made a phenomenal effort to republish truly excellent Catholic homeschool books, again, especially if you are using Laura Berquist's method or are unschooling. They also publish excellent editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and the Catholic Missal. We have been grateful to use the Catechism of the Council of Trent with our highschool children, it is plain spoken and easy to read! Read what they say:
"TAN Books and Publishers was founded by Thomas A. Nelson in 1967, when the problems developing in the Church were clear and becoming more severe. Many Catholic publishers such as Benziger and Bruce were getting out of Catholic publishing. Mr. Nelson recalls that at age 30, after studying politics and world events, he concluded that the only way to turn around the political situation in the U.S. and the world was through spiritual means. He believed that if enough people were living in the state of grace and striving to do God's will, then, “for the sake of the elect,” God would “run interference” for the just in the social and political arena, according to Proverbs 21:1: “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever he will he shall turn it.”


Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery
142 Joseph Blane Road, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061-9799
575-388-9279 www.ourladyofguadalupemonastery.com
This monastery offers an excellent supply of unusual Catholic homeschool books highlighting Benedictine spirituality. They have excellent selections for the study of Latin and caligraphy that we have not seen anywhere else. Their website has a pdf of their 48 page catalog that is well worth the manual request. They are happy to take your order by phone.  Their book list is well focused and has rare finds.