Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just For A Moment

Saturday at the Vigil Mass, (or is it the Anticipatory Mass?) my students made their First Holy Communion. I was very anxious for the day. In the middle of it all I got the Creeping Crud. I haven't had a cold in about three years, and so this one hit me on Wednesday. I knew it was coming, my throat was hurting, but I managed to get through Thursday and most of Friday without feeling it too badly. Then Friday, my asthma kicked in and I was miserable all night, which lingered into Saturday. Still, the cold wasn't bad. In fact, I thought it was actually allergies because of the wheezing, which was because of my asthma. But no... by Sunday and Monday I was down for count.

Ok, way TMI you're probably thinking, if you're still reading thus far. The First Communion. You are wanting to know all about that, right?

Saturday was truly a wonderful day. The children looked beautiful, the girls especially. It was fun seeing the little tomboys dressed up in pretty clothes. Two boys wore white tuxes, two others looked really handsome in dark suits. All my girls wore simple dresses, a few wore veils and some went without. (Pardon the aside, I think if I'm blessed with a daughter someday, and she even wants to wear my old dress, I'd like her to wear a mantilla instead of a veil. I never cover my hair in Mass and probably never will but I like mantillas on girls better than veils.)

Ok, pardon the digression, but I was just setting the scene.

There were times that I actually considered quitting teaching Catechism. I really doubted my ability as a teacher. There were some bad, frustrating days, but then some good days. Somehow I manged to connect with the children and they with me. As I posted through the year, I had doubts that I could teach them anything, but now I know that I did. They taught me a whole lot more than I expected. I guess in a way, I fell in love with them. This class was a pretty rambunctious group of children. On Saturdays I had 21 children and on Mondays, I had 16, those were the ones who made their their First Communions.

We checked them in, I made sure all their parents were given the gifts I'd made for them, as the children couldn't carry in anything as they walked into the church. We took pictures, let them blow off some steam, use the bathroom before they had to line up. There were two classes and a few other children (siblings in different grades) receiving, so about thirty children came in together. One little girl arrived at 5:25 as they were all lined up to process into church. I really thought she wasn't going to make it. I was really worried and sad that she'd miss this day. At first she was one of my problem children and I thought I'd never get through to her, but near the end, she was giving me hugs and being really good. Mass was special for them. They all participated in the readings and the intentions.

What made me smile that during his homily, Father asked all the children questions and the children who raised their hands with answers were MINE. My students felt confident enough to answer his questions and they all gave him GOOD answers. That made me smile knowing that they learned. He gave a good homily as well. He was on their level and encouraged their parents to keep bringing them to Mass.

They lead us in a version of the Apostole's Creed, then brought up the gifts. It was wonderful to see them. Father did not do the Eurcharistic Prayer for Children, which I don't like and then they received. It made my heart jump for joy to watch them receive the Body and Blood for the first time. One of my student's mother's is an EOM and I saw tears in her eyes as her son went up to Father for the Body and then the deacon for the Blood.

Anyway, it was wonderful that I got to be part of this special day. I am proud of them and a bit sad that it's over. I have been asked to come back to teach and I will. I'm taking classes with a friend/mentor/other religious teacher and in time will be a certified Catechist. I think this is leading me to work toward teaching regular ed. one day. Now, that I have time I'm going to put together my application for the state's teacher certificate program. It's due mid July, but it seems like I'd need 21 hours to be certified. I hope and pray I'll be accepted without too much trouble.

Honestly, I'd like to teach at our regional Catholic school for a myriad of reasons, many of which, are only known to me, but we'll see if this is truly where God is leading me.

**Image taken from Aquinas and more online store.
I didn't feel comfortable putting up an actual image
of my students on the Internet without getting parental

Overlooked Again.

Whew! This humble blogger is relived to note that I have not been nominated for the Crescat's Cannonball 2009 awards or any blog award ever. If this blog ever got nominated for any kind of blog award I think I'd fall out of my chair in hysterics. I read the Crescat's blog from time to time, I enjoy the religious art and iconography that she posts most of all. She seems to be a popular blogger and well... I've never hung with the cool kids, so I think I like my little quiet space on the blogosphere.

I don't really link this blog much around the blogosphere. I do watch the site feed and those of you who don't block your IP, I am curious to see where you do come from. Often, most are links that come from places where I leave comments in blogs or forums, often you stop by via my LJ profile and some are totally wacky spam bots who just crawl around looking at blogs to spam. My com box is usually pretty quiet, I wish more people would say hello and exchange comments every now and then. It's not a political blog, nor a theological blog. I'm not striving to be a professional Catholic blogger either. I suppose if anyone wanted to pay me for blogging I'd happily blog for money.

I really thought I'd make some grand posts about Catholicism in the 21st Century, but really, it's just about my reflections as a Catholic finding her own place within the Church. I'm not great at articulating my spiritual and inspirational thoughts. Quite honestly, I've always been very guarded about talking about the God, religious and spiritual stuff. I've never been able to voice those thoughts well. I am truly in awe of those people who can write about how the Holy Spirit works within their lives, or how they can relate to something Jesus said in his teachings or how an Old Testament psalm can express exactly what they're feeling. I'm sure deep within myself I can find and do all these things, but I'm not ready yet to share these feelings in my blog.

The most I can do right now is read, study, learn and grow. I hope in time, the ability to share my own reflections and thoughts will come. In time, I'll just muddle through it the best I can in this blog.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guess what? Tonight, I got a promotion, went from Catechist to Priest in the span of a day. This evening we had rehearsal for First Communion and the religious ed director made me Father Maria. See, who needs Holy Orders?!

I'm only kidding about all this. Sad to say, much to the dismay of my little feminist heart, I'm ok with a male only priesthood in the Catholic Church, but still it was fun playing pretend for a while.

The children are ready and it's going to be a lovely day on Saturday. But I seem to be getting the cold from hell! Grr.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Bead at a Time

I have lots to say but not in this post. Meanwhile, check out this great, new site to help learn the rosary or just to say it before winding down from a long night on LJ. 59 Beads. It's not quite up and running and only the joyful mysteries are up but it's really neat and it has gorgeous graphics.

Gacked from Fr. Austin at Jesus Goes to Disney World.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How Time Flies

Tonight was my last class for the year. I really loved this whole year of teaching. I had good days and bad days as you all know but as a whole, I feel very blessed and very fortunate for having this experience. I learned and I know they learned. I know in the years to come, I can only grow as a religious ed teacher and hopefully a regular ed teacher. I hope that I shared with the students my love of God, the Church, and just how wonderful it is to be able to receive the Eucharist. I hope I helped them grow in their faith and understand the Church just a little bit more than they did. There is a lot to learn and at that age, it's just the start. I hope their parents continue to keep them in catechism classes and that they always keep wanting to learn.

They are ready. They understand. I'm so proud of them.

I also developed a new-found admiration and respect for the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The children practiced receiving the Body and Blood for the first time. Of course we used unconsecrated hosts and wine and they processed through the line, just as they will on Saturday and Sunday. I stood in the front giving them the host. They were all so good. We'll go over it again on Thursday to make sure they do it right. It truly is an amazing thing to be able to share this experience with them, and I imagine for the ministers who do this ministry it is a humbling experience. What's funny, was I tasted one of the hosts tonight and I commented that the consecrated hosts tasted better. ;-) They didn't like the taste of the wine. At their age, when I received for the first time, I didn't like it either. However, I do think that the sacramental wine my parish uses is actually pretty good. I've tasted much worse, but you know when I go up to receive Communion, I don't really think about how either species actually tastes.

I guess it's all in the way we think about things.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Simply Beautiful

Jumping in late on the Susan Boyle excitement. I had no idea just how lovely her voice was.

Article here at America by Fr. Jim Martin. It links to the video at You Tube, which can't be embedded for some reason. And then here at the Daily Record UK is a nice story about her and a link to the first song she ever recorded.

Thanks to Michael for the heads up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Colber Report

I don't know that the Catholic blogosphere will make of this. As we know, Doug Kemic took a lot of heat last year for endorsing Obama. It seems like Kemic has been disowned by his political party, but he seems to be a very inteligent, pragmatic man and I think he makes sense in this video clip. Anyway, I'm posting here. I posted at the LJ too, unlocked, just to see if I even get any interest.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alleluia! Alleluia!

I have a feeling I know what Heaven just might be like. Give or take. I went to the Easter Vigil tonight (uh, last night as I started this post yesterday) at my parish and it was the most beautiful Mass I've ever been to. The Novena Masses in the Summer may actually be a close second. This Mass blew me away. It was three and a half hours but the most amazing three and a half hours I've ever witnessed.

I thought I was early and was a bit surprised to find myself fumbling around the dark church looking for a seat. There were ministers of hospitality standing with flashlights guiding the way. I ended up sitting not in my usual spot but by a woman whom I'd met at Mass on Tuesday. She is a friend of my friend so I took the last seat in the pew.

Finally it was time to start and so we began to proceed outside to light the bonfire. It was a chilly night so the heat of the fire felt good. As the priest blessed the fire, I found myself overjoyed to be there, in the moment. Finally the Easter candles were lit, then we processed inside again in darkness. Starting with that Easter candle, that light in the darkness began to grow. Although, the church wasn't packed to the seams, it was crowded. I'm guessing maybe 900 people were there and slowly our church was bathed in the soft, flickering light of the candles. It was the most beautiful sight I'd seen Our church is sloped and kind of in the round, so you can see everyone and everything. That's why I can't believe that people have the audacity to show up late on Sundays. Father and the deacon can see everything from their spot.

So, the church was lit up in candlelight. I hated to blow out mine but for the readings we sat there in darkness. I'd never felt the church so still and quiet before. It was amazing. As the Word was proclaimed, I really listened to what was being said. The readings from the Beginning of the World through the Exodus to the Resurrection captivated me. It was like a whole history of our faith was given to us, the psalms were arranged beautifully and the music, it was gorgeous. None of the sappy, happy stuff, that the choir seems to sing week after week. Speaking of singing beautifully, our priest sang most of the Mass. There was also a lot of incense.

Once the lights came on, the gospel proclaimed, Father moved to the baptismal font, he blessed the pascal candle, we renewed our Baptismal vows and he prepared to baptize four adults and about 7 children probably between 5-13. One of the children cried and screamed. It tugged at my heartstrings. I hope he or she isn't too traumatized. For the baptisms there was a video camera projecting what was going on in the font so we could see from our pews. Our baptismal font is beneath ground near the entrance of the church, so it's hard to see in places. For the Vigil it's open and left open till the end of the season. It was really neat to watch all these new people joining the church, though I'm glad that I was baptized as a baby. We welcomed 3 maybe 4 new people into the church and there were about 20 young adults receiving confirmation. I think this shows we have a thriving and growing parish.

While they were getting changed into dry clothes, including Father, one of our two deacons gave a rather passionate and wonderful homily. He started with talking about a broken heart and unrequited love, then segued into God's love and how immense it is for all of us. That we can be certain of that love, that we can trust Him. He talked about this season and how He shows his love. It was a good homily, but I can't do it justice in my retelling. I was just really impressed by him. Our deacons rarely have the opportunity to give a homily.

Then the newly baptized returned looking all shiny and new. Father came in dressed and it was time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The preface to the Roman Canon was beautiful. I should look it up but ugh. I don't have time right now. The newly baptized, confirmed and members of the church were given First Communion, as well as the others who had yet to receive. Then, it was over.

Those are my thoughts at the moment. they're not really reflections, but a play by play of the event. It truly was gorgeous.

And go read this piece by Father Martin at America. Apparently, he hadn't heard of the Easter Vigil till he was 28 and a novice with the Jesuits. Suddenly, I don't feel so bad myself.

Cross posted to my LJ earlier.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Local Good Friday New Stories and More

First off, weather here on Good Friday is always weird. Yesterday, a little before noon it got really nasty and continued to be nasty most of the afternoon. It calmed down a bit later in the day but when my Mom and I went to church for services it was windy and cold. Everything was incredibly moving and poignant. The Passion was presented by the Confirmation students. We had the Veneration of the Cross and Communion, followed by an opportunity for personal veneration of the cross.

I really don't have much by way of personal reflections right now, but I might revisit this post later, if I think of something to add. But Father Martin, SJ, posted a nice piece at America about Holy Thursday. Go read it. It's worth it. While you're there, read his Good Friday reflection too.

This weather today is absolutely dreadful, which I suppose is apropos for "Holy Thursday". I think a gloomy day on Holy Saturday is truly appropriate, after all Jesus isn't really with us on this day. It's rained, snowed, the wind has blown like crazy. I have a sinus headache and a bloody nose. I took a nap hoping I'd feel better but of course I feel worse. If I miss the Easter Vigil tonight, I don't think anyone will miss me. I've never been to the Vigil so, I'd like to go and experience it once, especially after reading all about it earlier today.

In other news, the governor and the archbishop are going to Rome, so that the governor can be honored for his signing the repeal to of the death penalty. The comments in the comments section are full of win. Guh... people on the Internet! Imagine that?

The annual coverage of the pilgrimage to Chimayo in the local papers.

The Santa Fe New Mexican here.

The Journal North Chimayo story here and the Archbishop visited the prison yesterday to lead a Good Friday service.

It Doesn't Look a Day Older Than 2000.

This isn't overly new, news, but apparently the Shroud of Turin could be legit.

Links and Only Links

It's officially Holy Saturday. I wasn't planning on posting on Good Friday.

I only have links tonight. Tomorrow thoughts about the Triduum.

Neat photo essay from Time Magazine with St. Joseph pictured in fine art. It's true we know very little about the man who married the Blessed Mother and raised her son, Our Lord, Jesus. Tradition fills in the details about his life.

Movies about Jesus? Here's a list of the top ten. I haven't seen as many movies about Jesus as I thought.

Lastly, also from Time Online, this Drive Thru Church photo essay. It even looks liturgical. Guh, can I get Communion to go? Give me a break. Are we that lazy we can't come into a Church for an hour to hear the Word proclaimed and share in the Eucharist (or whatever the ritual and routine is at other churches) ?

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Easter is in Trouble. It's Under Attack. The Word. Stephen is at it again.

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The Holiest Time of the Year For Catholics

This is pretty good article on the Triduum at CNA. A lot of what was said in the article the priest at my parish talked about on Sunday.

I'm looking forward to Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I'm really striving to attend the Easter Vigil this year. I've never attended before. I'm thinking tomorrow this blog and LJ will go dark for a few days. It's time for another blogging break. Besides, the combox has been quiet around here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meanwhile, In Spain

One of these days I want to spend Holy Week and Easter in Spain. I'd love to watch a religious procession and just soak in the Catholic Culture, while you can see it, as Spain has become very secularized these days.

While surfing the Catholic Blogosphere last night, I saw a post on Fr. Longenecker's blog "Standing on My Head" to pictures of the Spanish Penitent Brotherhoods and thought I'd make a post of my own, also linking to the pictures. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to embed this slide show but start here and soak in the culture. The Penitentes are wearing their hoods and are all very different because they come from different brotherhoods.

Relatedly, the Penitente Brotherhood in Northern New Mexico almost certainly, traces its origins come from these brotherhoods in Spain. Though, here, women have never been allowed to join as we see in some pictures from Spain. The Penitentes also were crucial in keeping the faith alive in the area when there were very few priests in the area. Hee, New Advent has an article about them and here's a brief history about them on a New Mexico touristy website.

I've been too lazy to write up a real blog post about them. Add it to the list of ever growing things I want to blog about.

(posted at the lj first.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Piecing Guernica Together

Still awake. Still restless. Avoiding going to bed, though I really should. Nothing on TV. The muses are ignoring me completely. I've turned off the special: "Jesus the Man" on the National Geographic channel. I also missed the repeat of the PBS special "Jerusalem" and what I caught of that the other night was interesting.

However, I have decided that I"m going (to try) to avoid all things having to do with religion and Catholicism for a while, except for the day to day things I do offline. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this week. I'm not sure which Good Friday service I'll attend. I might flip a coin between my parish where the Confirmation students will present the Passion of Our Lord, or the Schola Cantorum of Santa Fe will perform it at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Both will be quite moving I'm sure.

Anyway, this post is actually supposed to be about Guernica, the famous painting by Pablo Picasso. I've always been fascinated by the painting. I could probably write a story based upon the images and characters in the story. Someday, I will write something set in that era.

The BBC posted an interesting article online about Picasso's famous anti-war painting. It speculates the hidden meanings in the painting. I wonder if the writer has been reading Dan Brown or maybe he, himself, will find a scandalous plot and write it about this painting.

What else? I did go to Mass today. It would be really nice to go more often during the week, but it's often hard for me to make it to daily Mass. I really should go to bed as last night was a bad one. I couldn't sleep and I'm extra sleepy tonight. I'll try to do some spiritual reading before I go to bed. Tomorrow, it's the dogs to the vet, catch up at the office and the gym. Really. Just watch... I'll make a whiny post about it all tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So, I stumbled upon this audio clip of Fr. James Martin, responding to questions about The Da Vinci code. It's an older clip, I guess he was interviewed just before the movie came out. As I said on the LJ, I've never heard him sound snarky before. I loved it. And sadly, he's right about how people have embraced the insanity of the notion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married but not real church history about the era.

Ugh, when does "Angel and Demons" come out so I can go see something else that night? Surely, there will be some empty seats in other movies. Maybe the Hannah Montana movie will still be playing. I noticed it's coming out and I will take my little sister to see it when it does.

In other news, we're approaching Holy Week. It's going to be cold and windy on Saturday, so I've decided not to make the pilgrimage. I'll see if the parents want to go to Mass at the chapel though. I'm planning on doing the Stations of the Cross tomorrow and spend some time in Adoration afterward.

I took more pictures for my Crucifix series. I think I'm going to try to visit other churches in town during Holy Week to finish my project. Mom says growing up they'd visit churches either on Holy Thursday or Good Friday. I think it was Good Friday, so I guess in some way, that's what I'll be doing.