I hear a lot about “safe spaces” lately. Places where people can go and not get their feelings hurt. When I was growing up, and in fact, up until the past 8 years or so, I never heard about so many people walking around feeling hurt, wounded, offended. Now, I am certain that there were plenty of folks who felt all of those things. I have frequently felt hurt, wounded or offended. But I’ve never thought it was appropriate to express those things publicly. In fact, I was raised to keep my personal feelings to myself. Of course, if you know me, you know that’s been a lifelong struggle for me!

Anyway, I have a theory about this sudden need for “safe spaces”. I believe it is because we have, for all intents and purposes, done away with the concept of etiquette. This was a very important tool when I was growing up, and now it seems that people scoff at the idea. But let’s look at this for a moment.

Etiquette gives everyone their “safe space”. With etiquette, there are things that one simply does not say out loud. There are ways in which one simply does or does not behave. The purpose is not to stifle anyone’s creativity or freedom of speech, but to protect someone from being hurt, wounded or offended. Or from feeling or causing embarrassment.

Within the confines of etiquette, one is required to be polite and pleasant to everyone else, regardless of how they may actually feel or what they may think. While I know that many people believe this is a form of dishonesty or deception, it isn’t. It’s merely keeping thoughts and words to oneself when they might hurt someone else. It’s actually a form of caring.

It seems to me that today everyone feels they have a right to tell anyone and everyone what they think or feel, no matter who it might harm. And usually, a lot of folks are harmed. Personally, I think it started with websites providing comment boxes. People could hide behind their computer screens and say the most horrid things to other people who they’ve never met and likely never will meet. There are rarely any consequences for this sort of thing. I’ve often said that the downfall of our civilization will be the “com box”. And that’s why: because so many people feel that they have every right to insult and bully anyone and everyone.

I myself was recently “bullied” online. They disagreed with an article I posted on Facebook. Instead of reading it and moving on, they felt compelled to start leaving comments about it, and attacked my religious beliefs. I felt very hurt, wounded and offended, and tried to ignore it. But after several more unnecessary and unkind comments, I actually got angry (which is rare for me, these days) and decided to stand up for myself. I stated that I didn’t appreciate anyone attacking me or my religious beliefs, and that there was no reason to do so. I added that nobody is obligated to agree with me (in fact, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me) and that they could just either read the post and move on, or not read it at all. That’s when I was informed that perhaps I should find a specifically Catholic social media outlet, that would be better suited to my “sensibilities”! ūüė≥ Seriously? That’s the height of intolerance, of bullying! And the crazy thing is that this came from one of the most sensitive, caring individuals I know! We disagree on a great many issues, but this person didn’t even recognize when they, themselves, were doing the exact thing they hate to someone else!

Let’s look at what was said. How would they have felt if someone said that to a gay person? Or a Muslim? A Jew? Or a “person of color”? Or just to a woman? What would that sound like?

Perhaps a a GLBTQ Social Media would more suit your sensibilities.

“Perhaps a a Muslim Social Media would more suit your sensibilities.”

“Perhaps a Jewish Social Media would more suit your sensibilities.”

Perhaps a a Black Social Media would more suit your sensibilities.”

Perhaps a a Female Social Media would more suit your sensibilities.”

Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Because it is. And etiquette would have saved the day. Nothing at all needed to be said in response to my post, which was, by-the-way, about assisted suicide, and the fact that I’m against it.¬† Apparently, in the current social media court of law, that makes me a right-wing religious nut job.

So, my point here is that, instead of safe spaces, why don’t we teach people how to behave properly in social situations? Let’s bring back common courtesy! I mean, in your own home, feel free to rant and rave all you want about whatever you want. (I certainly do, from time to time!) That truly is your right, and I have no problem with that. But in public, and yes, social media is very, very public, instead of feeling compelled to comment or criticize anything you disagree with or don’t like, how about saying nothing? Or finding something kind to say? How about actually treating every person you encounter, whether in real life or on the internet, with respect and dignity? That is what etiquette is all about, and it would eliminate the need for safe spaces.

I grew up Catholic. It’s almost like being born Catholic. I mean, if you do it right, it’s more than a religion, it’s a way of life. Something that permeates every single thing that you do, every thought you have. (Not usually in that order, come to think of it!) Growing up in the post Vatican II chaos that was the 1970’s Catholic Church, I was lucky to actually have some pretty good catechism. I think I can thank two crusty old nuns, in particular, for that: Sr. Josepha and Sr. Mary Catherine. They were a little scary at times, but always fair, and they definitely had our best eternal interests in mind in every thing they did.

So I learned my prayers properly and in the old formats “. . . blessed art thou amongst women. . .” none of this “blessed are you among women” stuff! And I learned to say the actual sign of the cross, (“In the name OF the Father, and OF the Son, and OF the Holy Spirit”) not the “swatting of the flies” (“fathersonholyspirit”) as Sr. Josepha described the haphazard way 2nd graders are wont to perform this act if they’re not carefully monitored!

I heard Catholic terms like “Fullness of Faith”, “Faithful Departed” and “Apostolic Succession” without ever really giving it much thought. I knew I was Catholic. Everyone I knew was also Catholic. It wasn’t until High School that anybody even challenged my Catholicism. I still remember that day. Keri (Carrie?) somebody-or-other asked me if I was saved. I had no clue what she was talking about, because “saved” is not a term we use. So I said “From what?” She thought I was being sarcastic, gasped, spun around in her desk and Never. Spoke. To me. Again. Years later, I had a Baptist boyfriend who had the same question for me, only he cared enough to explain it to me. Once I understood I assured him that I was, indeed, “saved”. And just for the record, ALL Catholics believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The only difference is that we don’t ever go through the phase where we question this fact and then make a public ‘decision’ or announcement. We are taught from birth that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We never question that. Just like we never question that the sky is blue. Anyway. . . my point here is that growing up Catholic meant I took a lot of things about my faith for granted, and never fully appreciated the depth and meaning in many of our beliefs and practices.

Like All Souls Day. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it is the day on which we commemorate and pray for everyone who has passed on before us. And this is where I realize that we Catholics are a bit different from our fellow Christians. We pray for the dead. Or at least, we should. And we believe that they can pray for us, as well. As a child, this practice didn’t really mean much to me. But now, as the half-century mark looms large in my near future, I find great comfort in these celebrations and traditions. I’ve mentioned before how comforting the familiarity of the Mass is to me when a loved one dies.

This year is the very first time in my life that it has become very real to me how important All Souls Day is. Because my own precious mother is now a member of “The Faithful Departed”. Yes, my grandparents and father all died before she did, but I was so much closer to my mother, and her death has touched me more deeply than anything in my life before. Maybe because there is something so sacred and perfect in the bond between mother and child. Maybe because she lived with us for almost 10 years before she died and was part of my daily life in a way that no other person was before at the time of their death. Maybe because I am really starting to fathom my own mortality. Whatever the reason, attending a special Mass today, dedicated to those who have been interred at Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery where we laid my mother to rest just ten short months ago, hit me deep within my being.

I had planned to attend the Mass. I knew my daughter would go with me, and I hoped Gaylon would be able to take off of work and come, too. I didn’t think Kendall or Alicia would be able to come, and I was pretty sure Alex wouldn’t want to. He does not do death. I sort of saw attendance at the mass as an obligation of sorts, and didn’t really want to go, but at the same time, I didn’t want to miss it. And then, my precious friend, Becky, texted me early this morning to verify what time the mass was. She said she was rearranging her schedule so she could attend. I thought that was really sweet, but as the day wore on, and I pondered why on earth she would want to rearrange her schedule to attend something I had sort of seen as an obligation, it hit me: she understood the depth and meaning of this day better than I. And she wanted to be there to support me, because she knew this would be difficult for me. Unfortunately, I was applying mascara when this realization dawned, and after I managed to stop crying, I had to start over.

This. This is what being part of the Family of God is all about. I am so very grateful for the beautiful and comforting rites and traditions of the Catholic Faith. And for family and precious friends to share it with me. I am blessed beyond all imagining.

 

 

I was in Hobby Lobby yesterday, lost in my thoughts, trying to figure out which colors of modeling clay I needed to purchase to create a model of a human cell for my Midwifery school, when a woman approached me and said “Excuse me.” ¬†Naturally, I thought I was in her way, so I moved over and mumbled something about being sorry. She looked at me with great big eyes and said “Oh no, you’re not in my way. I want to ask you a question.” I had a feeling she wasn’t interested in modeling clay. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Okay. . . .

Woman: We are going to go to the Phillipines for a mission trip, and I was wondering if you’d like to support us by buying this Sonic gift card for $5? (Magically procures a gift card and holds it up for me to see).

Me: Who is “we”?

Woman: Oh, our church. We’re going to go over there to witness to them. (Smiles sweetly).

Me: What church is that?

Woman: The Church of Jesus of (something I didn’t recognize and can’t remember. . . I just know it was not LDS)

Me: Hmmm. Okay. Well, how do you feel about Catholics?

Woman: (Stunned) Ummmm, . . . well. . . .most of them over there are Catholic. (Smiles, thinking she’s given me the right answer).

Me: And you’re going to try to convert them?

Woman: Well, we’re going to share with them the truth of Jesus Christ!

Me: (Realizing this was not going to come out the way I intended it) Them I’m sorry. I can’t support you.

Woman: Oh! (This is when her eyes got really big and she realized that I wasn’t interested in saving Catholics, but that I am Catholic)

Me: I went to fundamentalist churches for 12 years that sound like they were a lot like your church. But then the Holy Spirit led our family to go back to the Catholic Church, because it does have the way to Jesus.

At this point, I turned to walk away with my cart, but then I stopped and added:

Me: It just feels like to me that you’re trying to convert people who are already Christian, who already know the truth of Jesus Christ, and I don’t think that’s what God wants. It seems like dividing Christians.

Woman: (Seizing upon this wonderful opportunity to save my soul) “Then do you believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light?”

Me: (Turning to face her directly) Of course! I believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God, that He died on the cross for my sins, rose again on the third day, and is seated in Heaven with God the Father. (meaningful pause. . .) ALL Catholics believe that!

Woman: (Obviously not prepared for this response from a Catholic) Oh! Ummm. . . .well, good!

I don’t eat at Sonic, anyway, but that wasn’t really the point. The point is that Catholics ARE Christians, albeit most of us don’t have a clue about what it¬†really means to be Catholic or Christian. I find it incredibly offensive, and yes, sad, that other so-called Christian groups are wasting time and money trying to “save” Catholics. It would be so nice if they would actually learn what we really believe before passing judgment and deciding we’re hell-bound. Satan must be so happy that Christians are so busy attacking¬†their own!

My mom’s cancer is far more widespread than even the oncologist realized at first. When we first got to the hospital, they were telling us we had 12 – 18 months, maybe more with her. Then the biopsy results started rolling in, and we learned that she had cancer in her lungs. Stage IV. And in her adrenals. And lymphs. And esophagus. And her left hip. It seems to be a plague that has invaded her body.

But, she still wanted to try chemo and radiation. So, first they had to drain the fluid off of her lungs, so she could lay down for the procedure to put in the chemo port and then also a feeding tube, because she hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything for WEEKS. So around 11:30 on Tuesday the 23rd, she went into the procedure smiling, and we both were thinking okay, things are going to get better after this! I was told that this procedure would take about 2 hours, so I went to grab some lunch. About an hour and and fifteen minutes later, I got a phone call from a nurse, telling me the surgeon wanted to see me. I threw my lunch in the trash and made it to the Medical Tower in record time. My Uncle Steve and his wife Gretchen were able to get there right after I did, and just before the surgeon came to meet with us in the Consultation Room.

Dr. H. looked really worried as he sat down to tell us that they had had to “abort the procedure”, because to do it, they would have to lay Mom flat on her back, and as soon as they started reclining her, her oxygen level would drop to 30% in 40 seconds. He said for reference, most of us could hold our breath for a couple of minutes, and still have 100% oxygen. My heart sank. He said that the only way they’d be able to get the port and the feeding tube in would be to put her on a ventilator, but he was very afraid that she’d be on it for the rest of her life. ūüôĀ He asked us what the oncologist had told us, and I said “Twelve to eighteen months.” He said that he was concerned about the next 24 to 48 hours. I think I quit breathing at that point. I knew she would not want to be on a ventilator.

After talking to the surgeon, we went back to her room to wait. It took a really long time, and my Uncle and I began to really worry. I called all my kids and asked them to come immediately, and they did. (Alex ran out the door of the automotive shop so fast that he forgot to leave a customer’s car keys behind, and we had to send someone to return them!) When they finally brought Mom back to her room, her whole family was waiting for her. She looked so weak and disoriented! I mean, she hadn’t looked fantastic when she left for surgery, but she’d been in great spirits, smiling and alert. This was so different and disheartening. We called Hospice, and started trying to reconcile ourselves to the fact that Mom is not going home.

But we tried make¬†the best of it. After all, it’s Christmas, right?¬†My lovely and amazing daughter-in-law sang Christmas Carols to Mom. The hospital staff came in to listen to her angelic voice. Mom was delighted, even through her weakness.

I stayed with her all night, as did her friend Janet, and Gaylon. It was a super rough night. She choked and gagged for much of it. She was so weak, and having so much trouble breathing! I cried. A lot. We all cried a lot. When morning came, the oncologist came to see us, I guess for the last time. She said that the cancer is just so widespread and invasive, that there is nothing anyone could do. She said it might have been a blessing that we didn’t find it sooner, because we might have been able to try to ‘fight’ it and it would have prolonged her suffering. She recommended we watch “Christmas Vacation” and try to get some rest. (I knew I liked her. . .) Mom had a much more peaceful day, and seemed to rally a bit.

I went home for a shower. Alex texted to say that he thought we should all get together and watch the Muppet Christmas Carol in the hospital room with Nana. So we all gathered in the hospital room to watch a movie. That never came to pass, because we just got distracted, but our sweet friends, Michael and Margaret brought Holy Communion to Mom. She lit right up!  I spent the night with her, alone, and she slept most of the night, fairly peacefully. It was good.

Later that¬†night, Abby spent the night with Kendall and Lishi. Alex went over there most of the night, as well. My children, without any direction from us, got together and nurtured each other. They loved each other and clung to one another in this difficult time. Yes, a true Christmas Miracle. My silver lining in this dark and terrifying cloud. Abby set up all the Christmas stockings before she went to Kendall’s. He helped a bit. They kept some small piece of Christmas alive for all of us.

Christmas Day, I got to be alone with my mother, for what is very likely the last fully alone-time, lucid conversation I will ever have with her here on this earth. She told me she felt like she was just laying around, waiting on God. I agreed. She said she’s peaceful, and ready to go, just not ready to leave all of us. I gave her permission to leave. We talked about funeral arrangements and where she wants to be buried. We talked about how there will NOT be a viewing or an open casket. And she wants flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. Caveat: No Easter Lilies. . . Mom has always hated them. They remind her of death! No donations to the Cancer Society or anything like that. If someone is just determined to donate some money in her name, then she wants them to give money to the Capital Campaign at our church, St. William Catholic Church, in Round Rock, Texas. So. Flowers or donate to our church. No Easter Lilies. Pretty simple. We discussed how our angel, Lishi, would never make it through the Ave Maria, so we asked our friend, Tiffany, if she could come and do it. She said she’d be honored to do it.

And then I told Mom that she needed to talk to all of the kids and give them her final blessing. She thought maybe she could divid that out over two days. I told her I thought she needed to do it all yesterday. I had a feeling. She agreed, and she did it. All the kids came, and they each got private, one-on-one time with Nana. She blessed them all. It was sacred and precious.

Today she’s been very non-responsive. She can barely wake up, and can no longer talk, or even write on her notepad. I’m glad she blessed everyone yesterday, and I know she is too. Tonight, Gaylon, Kendall, Alicia, Emily and I gathered around her bed and prayed the rosary. My sister, who is not a Christian, joined us with respectful and understanding silence. Lishi sang the Magnificat in Latin, and a couple of other lovely songs before they went home. (Alex came to visit earlier in the day, so he missed the rosary).

I don’t know how many more moments I have left with my precious mother. This has all been so horrifyingly rapid, and I’m barely able to keep up with it all. I know when it’s over, I’m going to go home and sleep. For a week. And then maybe I’ll have the energy to cry. I really did think I’d have her for at least ten to fifteen more years. She thought so, too. It’s inconceivable that she’s almost gone. Yes, I believe in miracles, but it just really seems like God wants her to go home to Heaven, not to our little house in Round Rock. I don’t know why, and I’m sure it doesn’t matter. I will miss her until the day I draw my last breath, and every day I will be surrounded by the myriad things and memories that weave their way through and permeate my life, making me who I am. And yes, my world will be so empty. It already is. I understand that this crushing grief will eventually pass, but nothing will ever replace the space my mother has filled in my life, in my being. I am grateful that she¬†showed me how to be a Christian, how to love Jesus. Her faith, her steadfastness and child-like trust in Our Lord is the glue in our family, and it will be forever. We are all who we are, because of her, because of her tireless and selfless love to all of us.

I do not know when I’ll have the chance to blog again about all of this, but I will make it a point to post funeral information, when the time comes. I cannot express how much we all appreciate all of your love, prayers, texts, phone calls. We are feeling those prayers, and that is what is sustaining all of us. Thank you. <3

 

The elections are coming, the elections are coming! (Redcoats, elections, it’s starting to seem the same to me. . .) Yes, I’m a values voter, and yes, I’m very concerned about things like abortion. And religious freedom. The following ad sums it up pretty well for me:

Here in our diocese, the Bishop offers a Blessing Mass for Homeschoolers at the beginning of each new school year. We are all very appreciative¬†that our Bishop takes time to do this for us, especially since this has not always been the case. A lot of prayers and hard work have gone into working with¬†the Bishop to offer these annual blessings. He (or his office) chooses the parish where the Mass will be held, and we all do our best to show up, ‘with bells on’.

It was especially important for me this year, because this is our last year of homeschooling. Our daughter is in her “Senior” year, and after a quarter of a century, our journey is coming to its end. And I am suffering terribly from “short-timer’s disease”! I keep fantasizing about all the non-school things I can do, (quilting, writing a book, getting that midwifery license. . .) and thinking that I don’t need to volunteer for anything, because I’ve already done my time in the trenches and paid my dues, so-to-speak. But then, on the flip side of that, I don’t want to miss a moment, and want to be involved in every single thing that happens this year. Either way, I know I’m going to need a full dose of God’s grace to make it.¬†What better way to embark on our final year of homeschooling than with a blessing from the Bishop?

Last year, the Blessing Mass was held at our own parish. My daughter was one of the lectors. I, myself, did the opening announcements and greeting. We had a huge turnout, and took lots of pictures of everyone afterward, gathered under one of the massive Live Oak trees that grace our parish campus. It was wonderful!

This year, the Blessing Mass was held at a small parish in one of the small towns that border the Austin/Round Rock metroplex. My first clue that I wasn’t going to feel comfortable was when we drove up to the building and it reminded me more of a small elementary school than of any sort of church, let alone a Catholic church. When we entered the building, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and they all seemed to be sort of prepared to welcome our homeschooling community to their tiny parish. I felt encouraged, until we walked into the sanctuary. There were no kneelers! So, it was nigh impossible to kneel and pray before the mass began, to try to quiet my heart and mind and prepare myself for the Sacred Mysteries. But I tried. I really did try. Until the young lady got up to the podium to do the opening announcements and greeting.

She was wearing a chapel veil, so I felt hopeful¬†that perhaps the parish was in some sort of transition, and when they were finished, there would be kneelers and a proper tabernacle on the altar. So I was dismayed, but not shocked, when she informed us that there was a sound system in the Cry Room “for our listening pleasure”! It seems to be far too common these days for Catholics to adopt the Protestant mindset that the music played during the service (or more appropriately, Liturgy) is for our personal enjoyment, and not a vehicle for¬†transporting us to the Throne Room in Heaven, where we can participate with all the angels and saints celebrating the Supper of the Lamb.

Next, she suggested that we all turn and greet all of our ‘neighbors’ seated around us, in “friendly, St. XXXX fashion”. I gasped. Loudly. Yeah. . . not the best thing to do when visiting a parish, but I didn’t actually mean to gasp out loud. And I don’t suppose it would’ve mattered if I had¬†managed to stifle it, because I’ve never been good at hiding¬†my my emotions. I know that my horror was reflected on my countenance. The nice lady in front of us turned around to give us a good ol’ (Protestant) greeting, and I just gaped at her. She asked if I was okay. I mumbled something about never talking to others before mass, and she asked if it was okay with me, and I don’t think I even managed to answer. I think Gaylon shook her hand. Abby sat beside me in the same horrified stupor¬†I was experiencing.

Honest: I did not mean to be rude! But as Catholics, we¬†don’t “meet ‘n’ greet” before mass!! I was taught that one enters the sanctuary silently, with reverence. Before entering the pew, one¬†genuflects before the tabernacle, because it contains the Host. The Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior. We are supposed to be gathering our thoughts and praying, asking God to help us prepare our hearts, minds and souls to receive this precious gift of¬†Holy Communion. This is sacred ground!

Which brings me to the next issue. . . there was no tabernacle! I genuflected out of habit when I entered our row of seats, but when I started looking around the altar for the purpose of our being there, I couldn’t find it. I took a deep (silent!) breath, and kept trying to make myself focus on the fact that the Bishop would soon be offering the Mass, and that the point of my being there was to worship Jesus. And to receive that blessing for our homeschool.

But, somehow, I am never quite able to conquer my thoughts and heart when I am in a Catholic Church where the tabernacle is missing. The fact that we have the Real Presence of Jesus in our churches and in our masses is. . . well. . . the point! That’s what makes us different, special! We have something that nobody else has, and to not put that tabernacle front-and-center is, in my opinion, akin to heresy. But, I’ve seen it before. So, I tried very hard to focus on the Mass. Bishop’s homily was wonderful, and I did my best to take it to heart. (FWIW: I have been to several masses with this Bishop, and I always enjoy his homilies very much.)

But then, when it came time for the Consecration, I realized I had to make a choice. I have very bad, arthritic knees. I tore the meniscus in my right knee a couple of years ago, and it’s not been quite right since. Kneeling in the best of circumstances is difficult for me.¬†From past experiences, I knew that most of the congregation would simply remain standing during the Consecration. Suddenly, I heard that small, still voice deep inside me that I’ve come to identify as belonging to God. And He¬†asked me: “Do you believe this is real, or not?” And I had to answer, with all of my heart and soul, “Yes!” And so I took a hard look at the crucifix, and knelt on the concrete floor. I glanced around and realized that pretty much all of my homeschooling friends¬†had made the same decision. Almost all of us knelt for the consecration. The regular members of the parish, for the most part, remained standing. Except for the young lady in the chapel veil who’d made the welcoming announcements. She also knelt, beside her parents who remained standing.

I did not receive communion. My heart wasn’t right, I couldn’t get past¬†the missing tabernacle, and I didn’t want to receive unworthily. (“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” 1 Cor. 11:27) While I sat in our row, waiting for everyone else to receive communion, I prayed for our Church, as a whole. And I felt tears welling up in my eyes, because, for whatever reason, I have started to become very aware of what a precious and sacred thing the mass is, and it breaks my heart to see the ancient liturgy watered down. Isn’t that what Satan would want? To water our liturgy and our faith down to the point that it becomes completely impotent? A joke, even?

I don’t want to become Pharisaical about it, but it really matters deeply to me. I left the Catholic Church for about 12 years, and I came back for a reason! Well, for many reasons, actually. I crave the deep Christian symbolism and mysticism that only the Catholic Church can offer me. I love sacred music and beautiful, old churches with high, ornate altars. Kendall once said that you can tell how a people views God by the way they build their churches. I think he’s onto something with that!

I don’t want to minimize how precious it is to me (and to all of our homeschooling community, I think) that the Bishop offered a mass for us. I wonder what his thoughts are about the lack of kneelers and the missing tabernacle? I don’t know about the tabernacle, but I know for sure what Cardinal Arinze thinks about the absence of kneelers, and I will leave you with this video:

OLOGSince I decided to start attending births again as a Doula, I’ve been looking for a Doula Certification Program. There are actually quite a few of them, which sort of surprised me. Two of the more well-known ones are DONA (Doulas of North America) and¬†CBI¬†(Childbirth International).¬†Both looked great, in their own right. But, for some reason, I didn’t just rush right out and sign up for either of them.

I think I know why. I am a member of a Catholic Mom’s Sewing Room. It’s an online group, and I love it. I get fantastic sewing advice and ideas there.¬†It’s run by Michelle Quigley, who is well-known in Catholic Homeschooling circles for the wonderful Catholic Daily Planner that she publishes. ¬†What I never expected was for someone to post information about a brand new Catholic Doula Certification Program in my virtual sewing room! The minute I read the post, I knew it was the right program for me! I dropped everything and checked out their website. It was everything I’d been hoping for! And, top put the icing on the cake, they even offer a Teen Program! So Abby, who has discerned that she wants to attend college to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, can start getting her feet wet now!

The program has 7 Modules, based on the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even though I know quite a bit about birth, being a Doula is a new experience for me, as is attending births in the hospital. I am so pleased that this program centers itself around the teachings of my Faith, and focuses on our Blessed Mother. Who better to turn to and look toward for comfort during pregnancy and birth than the mother of Jesus?

We have both enrolled and are looking forward to getting started with our studies. I am so grateful that we homeschool, so that when either of us gets to attend a birth, we won’t have to worry about “school”. This is school! We are counting it as an elective, and I can’t think of a better way for Abby to get started on her journey.

 

I may have mentioned (a time or two!) how amazing my daughter, Abby is. Well, today I want to brag on her once more. ūüėÄ Last night, she was commissioned to become an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister in our parish!

Now, I am well aware that there is quite a debate raging among Catholics as to whether or not lEucharistay persons should ever distribute Holy Communion. I have a dear friend who will go out of her way to make sure she only receives communion from a priest or deacon, and I respect that. However, there are extraordinary circumstances in which lay persons may, indeed, legitimately serve in that capacity.

Like in our parish. We have over 6,000 families. Nope. Not a typo. We really do have over 6,000¬†families. Which translates to over 20,000¬†members. As one of our priests puts it, if he were the only one distributing communion, he’d be dead before he was finished! (For a rather thorough discussion on the validity of this practice, please read the article “EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST”, by: Peter A. Kwasniewski on EWTN’s website.)

So, back to Abby. She made the decision that this was a ministry she wanted to become involved in, and came to us to ask permission. Like becoming a lector, this was 100% her choice. And she knows that I am one of those old-school Catholics who thinks there shouldn’t be any altar girls, and that nobody should receive communion in the hand. But I know that my daughter is very prayerful and dedicated to serving God. So Gaylon and I gave her our blessing, and she spent most of a Saturday in training for this. And finally, yesterday at the 5:00 p.m. Mass, she was commissioned!

She is so excited, and so happy to be able to do this. When I asked her what it was that attracted her to this, she said “Because! I get to give my friends Jesus!” Wow. I am, again, humbled by her pure, childlike love of our Lord and our Church. When I was her age, I the last thing on my mind was giving Jesus to anyone. In fact, if memory serves (and I’m afraid it does) the main thing on my mind was ME.

So congratulations to my sweet little girl! What an amazing ¬†young woman she’s becoming.

Graphics Credit:¬†Image credit:¬†Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_9643382_hands-holding-eucharist-in-a-church-interior.html’>marcovarro / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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