Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another contrast

There's something new everyday, and these days it's often not good.

In Britian, sickly newborns may be placed on the "death pathway."  

In plain English that means they will be left to starve to death, sometimes for 10 days, with no food or drink.

And it's in the name of not wanting them to suffer since their life will be less than "perfect."

Awful, awful!

But, of course, along with the terrible news that is accumulating in a world where we just have to be "God" at every moment, there are moments of goodness too.

A few come to mind right now.  It's not that they're happy stories, but they are beautiful stories of sacrifice, true compassion and authentic love, even in the face of suffering.

There's the story of Baby Vivian.

And Baby Joey.

And Babies Hope and Grace, who shared one heart.   

Even if the hospitals, the doctors and the medical world push egregious things like the "death pathway," there are courageous mothers and fathers who embrace the gift that has been given to them. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quote book

"In the name of liberation from male 'domination,' women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine 'originality.'  There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not 'reach fulfillment,' but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness.  It is indeed an enormous richness.  In the biblical description, the words of the first man at the sight of the woman who had been created are words of admiration and enchantment, words which fill the whole history of man on earth." -- Bl. John Paul II 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"I was so lucky"


I've been involved in the pro-life movement for so many years that I often take for granted the pro-life and post-abortive testimonies I hear. But it's occurred to me that not everyone has heard stories of saved lives, abortion regrets and heroic defense of life. And even if someone has heard dozens of such stories, each story is unique and is good to hear.
So, here is a post-abortion testimony that I highly recommend reading. I came across it today and wanted to share:
In December of 1998, I was 23 years old. I lived with my parents and worked at a non-profit in the DC area. I was dating a DC rock icon, and that was, to me, the most important part of my life. Together, my boyfriend and I drank a LOT. So I was never surprised to wake up feeling hungover. Until the day I felt hungover without having partied the night before. Half way through the day, something clicked. I looked at a calendar. I had missed my period. I took a pregnancy test that night and was not the least bit surprised to see that it was positive. When I called Brian to share the news, he simply said, “Let’s take care of it.” I WAS SO RELIEVED. I felt so lucky to have such a caring boyfriend who wouldn’t make me face this “choice” on my own. He reassured me, “Don’t worry, I’ve done this before.” PHEW. So lucky!
When we arrived at the clinic, I checked in and Brian paid for the procedure with his band’s AMEX. That actually made me laugh. It was a little over seven hundred dollars, because I was lucky enough to be able to afford to be anesthetized for the procedure. So lucky. I remember very little about the procedure. I remember the abortionist introduced himself (though I didn’t feel like I was making the best first impression, there on the table in nothing but a surgical gown) and the nurse inserted my IV. He told me he had a daughter and actually started talking to me about mutual interests that she and I had. In retrospect, I am so disgusted. This father was making a living sucking the life out of women, and had the nerve to mention his own daughter to me. As he performed an ultrasound, he looked over my shoulder—the screen was behind me—and said, “Perfect! You’re just about eight or nine weeks.” Obviously I knew nothing about fetal development, but I felt so lucky that I was “just about eight or nine weeks.” And shortly thereafter, I fell asleep. When I awoke, I was being wheeled to the recovery room. I was helped into a recliner. Then I sat, in a room full of recliners, with girls who obviously couldn’t afford the anesthesia, who were all sobbing. I felt so lucky sitting in that room, thinking I must be the only one with such a wonderful boyfriend who would help me through this. When I had waited long enough, Brian picked me up. He had been at Home Depot to pass the time. Seriously. He was considering home improvements while a child of mine (maybe not his) was being killed. It really was no big deal. I was so lucky.

You can read it all here.  And I highly recommend that you do.  This excerpt is no way to end the story!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The doctor and the teenage girl

I came across two articles today.  The first says that the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new policy statement, encouraging pediatricians to inform their teenage patients about emergency contraception, and to write a prescription for "Plan B" if the patient is sexually active.  

Secondly, I read an article about a teenage girl in Great Britain who suffered seven heart attacks in a matter of minutes, as well as hundreds of blood clots, which doctors now say were caused by one month on the Pill.  

Most emergency contraception is an incredibly strong dose of the Pill.

A teenage girl nearly died from one month on the Pill.  (And she's not the only one.)

Our pediatricians think teenage girls should have immediate access to emergency contraception.  

Is this caring, insightful, good medicine for the true good of the patient?  

I think not.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

"The Mass of the Very Old Men"


I really enjoy Elizabeth Scalia's writing. She's honest, eloquent, observant ...
In her recent piece for First Things, she captures the beauty of masculine spirituality ... at 7 am Mass at her home parish. 
You'll read descriptions like this:
6:40 AM: Across from him, on the left, a stiff-kneed gardener brings his weekly gift to Mary–clippings from his own yard. Throughout the year he matches his seasonal snippings with the liturgical calendar and creates a cohesive narrative of shape and color. In the depths of winter, he brings promise with witch hazel and hellebore, and spring delivers the deep purple crocuses and irises so eloquent of repentance and sorrow; they are followed by graceful branches of deep yellow forsythias and then comes a riotous profusion of roses, day lilies, and coneflowers throughout the summer, before he quiets things down with the simple Montauk Daisies of September. Now, he is bringing the last of his storm-battered, rust-colored mums, intermingled with the few remaining pretty leaves and some acorns kept back from the squirrels. Soon he will bring the spear-sharp-tipped holly, marking Advent with a prophecy of Lent; the gifts continue.
6:42 AM: Behind me comes the rhythmic rattle of a rosary against wood, and I know that into the pew has slipped a cheerful small man who rarely does more than smile and nod because he does not like to admit his hearing loss, which reveals itself in his booming responses to the Mass.

And then hear the thoughts meandering through her head on an early Sunday morning.
Sit down with a cup of coffee and maybe leftover pie from yesterday and read, "The Mass of the Very Old Men."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)
As you enjoy your turkey today, don't forget about the gift of giving thanks.  It's a gift we have because we are human -- creatures with free will, intellect, the ability to love, and the means to express our thoughts, feelings and experiences.  

So give thanks!

And if you are looking for a little something to read while you wait for the potatoes to boil, or the dishwater to be full of suds, or the guests to arrive, then check out Cardinal Dolan's piece in the New York Post.  It's about giving thanks, yes, but it's also about the importance of not forgetting what it means to be human, what it means to be present.

The stores, we hear, will open on Thanksgiving. Isn’t that a sign of progress and liberation? Sorry, but no — it’s a sign of a further descent into a highly privatized, impersonal, keep-people-at-a-distance culture, one that values having stuff and doing things over just being with people whom we love, cherish and appreciate.

You can read the rest here.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An 80th wedding anniversary

Here's some good news for this day before Thanksgiving -- John and Ann Betar will celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary on Sunday.  John is 101 and his wife is 97 years old.  They shared their story and their advice with ABC News.  

I think one of the things I enjoy about these big anniversary stories is the way the reporters appear to ask the question, "What's your secret?"  There's a bit of shock that in such a divorce-heavy culture that two people would remain married for 60, 70, 80 years.  And I love that the response of the couples always seems to be one of great simplicity.  It's almost as if you can see the husband and wife shrugging their shoulders and saying, "I said I'd love my spouse and I do, and my spouse loves me."  

These couples don't have a formula or a secret ingredient to life-long love.  They have commitment.  They have faith.  They seem to have an understanding that they don't magically create marriage, but that they participate in it by accepting the call to marriage and living it fully, even during the inevitable hardships.

In any event, it's definitely worth a few moments to ponder the simple witness of John and Ann Betar

(Incidentally, their wedding anniversary is the feast day of the first married couple who were beatified together!  Their feast was also their wedding anniversary.  The Betars and the Quattrocchis would have actually been alive and celebrating their wedding anniversaries on the same day for nearly two decades.) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"The boys and girls don't hold hands"


Anthony Esolen has an excellent piece in Crisis Magazine that begins with the observation that "boys and girls don't hold hands." They used to, of course, but walk onto a college campus today, and there's a striking absence of it. 
Read the column to learn why this is a problem and what Catholics can do about it. 
It is irresponsible in us, then, to let our youth muddle and meander; to suppose that marriage will eventually “happen.” For my whole life, the ecclesially minded have asked, “What can we do to keep our youth in the Church?” And their attempts haven’t worked, because they have viewed young people as consumers of a churchly product, rather than as boys and girls, young men and young women, with obvious natures and needs.
So then—I call upon every parish in the United States to do the sweet and simple and ordinary things. Not everybody can speak learnedly about church architecture. Not everybody wants to hear about that. Not everybody can speak learnedly about grace and free will. Not everybody wants to hear about that. But everybody can learn to sing, everybody can learn to dance, everybody can watch a good movie, everybody likes a picnic, or a hike, or a trip to the beach, or a goofy time at the bowling alley, or a softball game, or an ice cream social, or coffee and tea and doughnuts. It is not good for the man to be alone—or the woman!

You can find the article here

Monday, November 19, 2012

The court room -- perhaps an unlikely place to save a life

Perhaps you have followed the story of Elisa Bauer, a 32-year old woman in Nevada who was nearly ordered by the court to have an abortion.  If you aren't familiar with Elisa's story, or if you are interested in an excellent overview of the last few weeks, be sure to read Joan Frawley Desmond's report in the National Catholic Register. It's a story we should be acquainted with as we experience new hurdles in the task of building a culture of life.  


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quote book

"The new evangelization is not simply a reaction or a means of being relevant, but it is a relationship that communicates Christ to others through our living in communion with Christ." -- Msgr. Brian Bransfield in "The Human Person According to John Paul II" 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"A Little Girl Called M.C."


Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has a gift of articulating the reasons for marriage to remain marriage -- a lifelong institution that one man and one woman may freely enter together. She has an excellent explanation of one effect of same-sex "marriage" on children, and, in her column, in particular on a little girl known in the court as M.C.
A little girl known only to the public as M.C. is a public victim of the redefinition of marriage in California. If lukewarm Christians are tempted to sit out the marriage battle because they find it too contentious and emotional, they might give a moment’s thought to the situation of M.C.

Little M.C. was born in March 2009, to a woman named Melissa. Melissa had contracted a marriage with a woman named Irene in October 2008, during the window of time that same-sex marriage was permitted in California. Melissa had become pregnant with M.C. by a man named Jesus in the summer of 2008, prior to the state-sanctioned “marriage” ceremony.

Melissa and M.C. lived with Irene for 3 or 4 weeks after M.C.’s birth. When Melissa moved out, Irene attempted to obtain joint legal and physical custody of M.C. Melissa got in touch with Jesus, the child’s father, who had since moved to Oklahoma. He sent her money, and stayed in contact with her.

Melissa was not happy with Irene’s continuing attempts to be involved with her and M.C. In September 2009, Melissa’s new boyfriend, JosĂ©, attacked Irene, stabbing her so severely that she had to be hospitalized. Melissa was imprisoned, charged with accessory to attempted murder.

M.C. was taken into foster care. At that point, the urgent question arose: Who are her parents? Who can and should care for M.C. while her mother, Melissa, serves her prison sentence?

Dr. Morse outlines the case and its implications for the country here. It's definitely worth reading and sharing.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stuff Christian singles hear ... over and over and over again

I found this on Sr. Miriam Heidland's blog and found it quite true.  It's both amusing and sad.    



What's the answer to living singleness well?  I think it's to surrender all to Christ, continually trying over and over again to do so, to place one's trust and one's whole self in the Lord's hands, and to admit that awaiting a vocation is a kind of suffering.  Certainly, good things can come from the waiting and the discerning and the trust and the patience, but it's also true that awaiting an opportunity to give one's self in a vocation for a life of love (whether through marriage or the consecrated life) is difficult and a suffering.  The question then becomes, what do we do with this suffering?  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Witnessing Life-Long Love"


Several weeks ago, I mentioned the Love and Fidelity Network's essay contest. The winners have been selected, and the first and second place essays are now available on the Network's blog. The first place piece is written by Courtney Skipton Long and begins:
In September of 1977, a young, twenty-three-year-old man promised himself to his twenty-year-old bride. Forever. She wore white. He wore a tux. The flowers were the shades of autumn. It rained on their wedding day.

Their story is perhaps not all that different from most other early-stage Baby- Boom marriages of the 1970s and 80s. They met in high school, she went to college, he worked, they moved around, settled down, and then started a family.
As a child I understood the significance of a wedding. I understood that you found one special person and promised yourself to them. Forever. But, I never thought about what it actually meant to be married. For me, it was just some far-off day. I will wear white. He will wear a tux. The flowers will be the colors of spring. It will be sunny.

My mother always says that she married her best friend. My father is of fewer words, but you can tell that he married the girl of his dreams by the sparkle that is always in his eyes. As my parents celebrate their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary this year, I found myself wondering, “how am I going to emulate my parents’ marriage?” For a single girl this might seem like an odd question. But, like any want-to-be-married person out there, I am still looking for my version of my mother’s best friend.

You can read all of the essay here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another home run by Cardinal Dolan


The United States bishops are meeting in Baltimore this week, as they do every November. This morning, USCCB president Cardinal Timothy Dolan addressed them. His choice topic surprised many: Penance.
To be sure, the sacraments of initiation - - Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist - - charge, challenge, and equip the agents of evangelization. Without those sacraments, we remain isolated, unredeemed, timid and unfed.

​But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance -- a repentance from within that can then transform the world without.

​What an irony that despite the call of the Second Vatican Council for a renewal of the Sacrament of Penance, what we got instead was its near disappearance.

​We became very good in the years following the Council in calling for the reform of structures, systems, institutions, and people other than ourselves.That, too, is important; it can transform our society and world. But did we fail along the way to realize that in no way can the New Evangelization be reduced to a program, a process, or a call to structural reform; that it is first and foremost a deeply personal conversion within? "The Kingdom of God is within," as Jesus taught.

Read it all here. If you have time for nothing else, take a good look at section II, which has some insightful, beautiful and challenging lines.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quote book

"Must all women become religious*** in order to fulfill their vocation as women?  Certainly not.  But it certainly does mean that the fallen perverted feminine nature can be restored to its purity and led to the heights of the vocational ethos which this pure nature indicates only if it is completely surrendered to God.  Whether she is a mother in the home, or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind quiet cloistered walls, she must be a handmaid of the Lord everywhere." -- St. Edith Stein 

*** Note: Religious here refers to the consecrated vocation of nun or sister.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

What does the legal "redefinition" of marriage mean for us?


... In part, that we have to live the reality of authentic marriage even better.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said in a statement, "I especially call on all people to pray and to build a renewed culture of marriage and the family. This is a fundamental task on which the future good and stability of our society, and particularly that of our children, rest."
He also explained that the legal "redefinition" of marriage does not change the reality of the institution of marriage, which will always be unchangeable.  

You can read his statement here.

Reaffirming authentic marriage is going to be an incredible challenge in our culture, but since marriage is the ultimate expression God has chosen to reveal His love to His people since the beginning of creation, it's incredibly important to protect, defend, affirm and celebrate the gift of authentic marriage in our culture.  

The USCCB has for years asked the question, "What have you done for your marriage today?"  It's time to start asking us all, "What have you done for marriage today?" 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Beauty will save the world

Originally on Catholic Exchange's TOB "channel" and probably once upon a time on this blog as well ...  But I think it's something to consider anew, especially during our current times ...


In reading George Weigel’s concluding volume on John Paul II’s life, The End and the Beginning, I was struck yet again by the beauty of Polish culture.  It strikes me whenever I read tales of Catholic Poles secretly and even dangerously protecting their identity through various cultural expressions.  They would share poetry, act out Polish plays, enjoy a clandestine concert.  And through their culture – poetry, music, plays, art – they were able to preserve a sense of their dignity and of their identity as Poles.  In the face of horribly demeaning, dehumanizing behaviors surrounding them, they looked at the beauty of art and true culture and were raised to something higher.

But what do we have?  I wonder if we were underground Catholics attempting to reinvigorate our sense of dignity and our American identity, what would we share?  Would we reminisce over Shel Silverstein poetry, risk our heads over some Lady Gaga tunes, and illegally perform SNL skits?  What “culture” have we cultivated in the last fifty or so years, and would it be worth risking our lives over?  Is it even culture? 

In his, “Letter to Artists,” John Paul II wrote about the importance of true art, even going so far as to say that “the Church needs art” (#12).   Artists have a calling to represent the beautiful, and beauty has a key role in our lives.  The late Holy Father wrote,
“Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.  It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future.  That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy.  It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like Saint Augustine could express in incomparable terms: ‘Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!’” (#16).

Do we surround ourselves with beauty?  Our dear Polish brothers and sisters of yesteryear were willing to risk their lives for beauty.  We have all legal freedom to visit the art museum, listen to Mozart or watch a Shakespearian play, but how often do we enjoy these things?  Are we more likely to flip on reality TV, bob our heads to rap on the radio or spend our time reading chain e-mails?  When do we have the opportunity to walk into breathtaking churches that truly raise our gaze heavenward?  How often do we encounter true beauty? 

I think true beauty is so foreign to us that many times we can’t appreciate it.  True beauty requires the patience of taking time to appreciate it.  For me, John Paul II’s poetic language is deeply beautiful, causing me to highlight, underline and asterisk much of his masterful imagery.  Yet time and time again I hear people complain that John Paul’s writing style is too much for them.  I hear variations of, “I mean, come on, John Paul, just get to the point!”  But maybe the beauty and the poetry and the necessity of patience to receive it is part of the point.  And we are missing it. 

On that note, let me quote the Holy Father in his aforementioned “Letter to Artists” when he challenged, “Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy” (#16).   

While these words are directed to artists, those of us on the receiving end of art and beauty can certainly pray to be led “to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.”  And in our pursuit of true beauty and authentic culture, may we be led to a deeper encounter with the Author of beauty.

Let’s make this a time of seeking true beauty, for as Dostoyevsky once wrote, “Beauty will save the world.”  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Today


I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings,and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

-- 2 Timothy 1-8

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An election prayer


O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most critical time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care.

Most Holy Mother, we beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son. Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins of our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection.

Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people. Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.

Free us from the falsehoods that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life. Grant our country the wisdom to proclaim that God’s law is the foundation on which this nation was founded, and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life.
Source

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's at stake when you enter the voting booth

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  In some ways it has felt like it will never come, and in other ways it's shocking that it's tomorrow.  But by tomorrow evening half of America will be huddled around the television or the laptop, waiting for each vote to be counted, waiting to hear the fate of the next four years.  

If you are 18 and haven't "early voted" or absentee voted yet, then when you walk into the polls tomorrow, here are a few things to remember:

- Does my Catholic faith surround, penetrate and deeply affect my civic life?  Is my faith first, ordering my civic duties in a way that reflects my priorities?  Or is my faith compartmentalized, checked in the car when I enter the polling place?  Which is more important?  Which orders and structures the other?

- What will my vote say about the dignity of the human person?  

- What will my vote say about the nature of marriage?

- What will my vote say about my desire to have religious freedom?  Does my vote cast gratitude, apathy, defense or nonchalance about religion in the public square?

There are some major issues at stake tomorrow.  We'll elect a president and vice president.  We'll elect our congressman.  Some of us will elect senators or governors.

Massachusetts will decide whether or not to enact doctor-prescribed suicide.

California will determine whether or not to abolish the death penalty.

Montana will vote on a parental notification law regarding abortion for minors.

Florida will choose whether or not their state right to privacy should include a right to abortion.

Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington will vote on their state's definition of marriage.  

Yes, tomorrow is going to be a big day.  

We know that the Church stands for the dignity of all human persons, for the God-given gift of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, for the right to religious freedom (not just a right to worship).

No matter what happens tomorrow, the Church's stance will not change.

The question that we decide tomorrow is ... Do our country and our Church stand together for the true good of the human person?  Or does the Church stand alone?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Catholic Look at Obamacare

Fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP has a remarkable talent for articulating the faith.  Here he examines the major objections involved in the Church's response to "Obamacare."  It's an excellent video, that is well worth the few minutes it takes to watch.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Saving an Endangered Species"


My latest post is up at "Being Catholic" --
In today’s world, I am nearly a statistical non-entity. 
It’s not that I’ve done anything all that extraordinary or impossible. I haven’t set a world record, achieved the highest SAT score, or discovered a life-changing cure.
Rather, when I married this summer, I had not cohabited with my fiancé, had enjoyed a chaste dating and engagement time, and now, in marriage, am not using contraception.
The three C’s – chastity, cohabitation, contraception. The first we assume is a dinosaur of age’s past, and the second two we assume are the proud actions of everyone.

I know that I’m not the only woman in the world – or even in the United States, Ohio, or Cincinnati – who has evaded the statistics of living with a boyfriend, popping the Pill, or jumpstarting a sexual relationship before vows are said. But to hear the world tell it, we’re an extinct breed. And to hear the political landscape today, these are the only things women want.

Read the rest here.

Happy birthday ... to Unshakeable Hope

It's been two years since "Unshakeable Hope" first appeared on the web.  Now, 784 posts later, it's a busy blog!  Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A new wave of priests


I just came across this article from Boston Magazine that does a remarkable job of portraying the hope of today's Church. From scandal-ridden Boston in 2002 to a fuller seminary today -- the article profiles one particular seminarian's wrestling with his call, amidst the historical backdrop of Cardinal O'Malley's transformation of the Archdiocese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_the_Holy_Cross_(Boston)
On a beautiful August day in 2004, Eric Cadin pulled his battered Ford Taurus up to the soaring stone towers of St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. After spending the morning surfing in Rhode Island, Cadin arrived to find that he’d barely made it in time for move-in. Fortunately, he didn’t have much in the way of possessions. Having spent the past year living in a tent in Hawaii, he had only a few bags of clothes, some books, and a bed-in-a-sack he’d recently purchased. Cadin was wearing a necklace made of shells and his short brown hair was still crunchy with ocean salt, but he had managed to change out of his surfing gear and into a pair of khaki shorts and a polo shirt. He was about to begin the years-long journey to become a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Boston.

The 23-year-old Harvard graduate brought his things up to his room, a standard college dorm with a twin bed, a dresser, and a desk. As he unpacked, an older student, a former member of the military who seemed like a good guy, dropped by to say hello. Still, Cadin was struck by the silence in the seminary. There were only eight students in his class of future priests, and just 30 total students living in the entire building, a third of capacity. The clergy sex abuse scandal had broken two years earlier, and its fallout was continuing to plague the church. The line to become a priest in Boston had become very, very short.
After Cadin finished unpacking, he sat down on his bed, a little in shock. He’d been thinking about becoming a priest for more than three years, but now it was suddenly real. What, he wondered, have I gotten myself into?

It's a long article, but I couldn't stop reading it. It's a wonderful narrative, but more than that, it's a story that today's "John Paul II Generation" can easily agree with. As the late Holy Father said at this final World Youth Day, "We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures. We are the sum of our Father's love for us."

The Church, in that light, isn't a dusty collection of depressing history. It's the Bride of Christ ... and she's worth sacrificing for. 
Read the article here

Happy All Saints' Day!

"Praise and thanksgiving to God for having raised up in the Church a great multitude of saints, whom no one could count (cf. Rv 7: 9). A great multitude: not only the saints and blesseds we honour during the liturgical year, but also the anonymous saints known only to him. Mothers and fathers of families, who in their daily devotion to their children made an effective contribution to the Church's growth and to the building of society; priests, sisters and lay people who, like candles lit before the altar of the Lord, were consumed in offering material and spiritual aid to their neighbour in need; men and women missionaries, who left everything to bring the Gospel message to every part of the world. And the list could go on." -- Bl. John Paul II