Saturday, November 28, 2015

Christmas Novena Begins November 30th

It is time once again for the Christmas Novena which begins on the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30th) and goes through Christmas Eve. Some say to pray the following prayer 15 times a day each day; others have it once a day. However you decide to pray, humbly ask God for whatever your heart desires most this Christmas.

It seems like this year what we all need most for Christmas is peace in the world. If you don't have something pressing to pray for, I invite you to pray for that.

The Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold.
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires.
(Mention your request here.)
Through Jesus Christ and his most Blessed Mother. Amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. This prayer came in the mail to me on behalf of the Bishop of Springfield, MA.

Thanksgiving Prayer 

Lord of ages past and to come, bless our home. 

Help us to see You in one another and in all who enter through our door. 
Help is to forgive one another, to affirm and nurture one another, to celebrate our lives together.

We come to our table to celebrate this Thanksgiving day with joy and gratitude for the good food with which we are blessed today, for the people who helped prepare it and for all of God's gifts to us.

Jesus is our light and our salvation. We give thanks for all the many gifts that we have received. Let us also remember those who today are lonely, hungry or homeless.

We gratefully remember too, our family members and loved ones who are not here with us physically and celebrate the gift which they have been and continue to be for us.

We make our prayer as we do all things through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spend Advent with Dorothy Day

Reflections during Advent: Dorothy Day on Prayer, Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

In his September 2015 speech to Congress, Pope Francis credited American journalist Dorothy Day (1897−1980), cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement, for her deep faith and social activism.

During Advent of 1966, Day wrote a series of four reflections in The Ave Maria magazine that emphasized her devotion to her Catholic faith and its deep traditions. These reflections, available for the first time as an eBook collection with a new reader’s guide and an excerpt from On Pilgrimage, are as important today as they were fifty years ago. Written a year after the close of the Second Vatican Council, the collection address a Catholic Church in a time of tremendous upheaval. Catholic devotions fell out of practice and American affluence and materialism seemed to know no bounds. It was a time in the Church not unlike the world today. Each of the four reflections on prayer, poverty, chasity, and obedience are presented in Day’s unique voice and way of storytelling and includes personal stories about her childhood, conversion to Catholicism, work with Peter Maurin, Catholic Worker Communities, and much more.

Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897–1980) was a pacifist, social commentator, journalist, convert to
Catholicism, and cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she was baptized in the Episcopal Church. Day lived her young adult
life as a political radical and socialist, sympathizing with anarchists and communists. She was increasingly drawn to Catholicism because she saw it as the Church of immigrants and the poor. After giving birth to her daughter,Tamar, in 1926, Day converted to Catholicism. Day cofounded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933 with Peter Maurin to live and spread the vision of Catholic
social teaching.

Day was honored by the University of Notre Dame with the Laetare Medal in 1972. She died in 1980 in New York and her cause for canonization was launched by Cardinal John J. O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, in 1997 on what would have been her one-hundredth birthday

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cheryl Harness History - George Washington Carver

As part of their botany curriculum this year, my teen boys had to read The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science and Invention in America . This is one of a series of books by written and illustrated by Cheryl Harness and published by the National Geographic Society. While I haven't read the others, I can tell you I was extremely impressed by this installment.

The book, as one might expect, tells the story of George Washington Carver's life, but it goes beyond that, placing Carver in historical context with the world around him. At the bottom of the text throughout the entire book is an illustrated timeline of other events / inventions / people which were significant at that time. It made for fascinating reading all by itself, providing an interesting snapshot of the world in which Carver lived and worked.

Harness is a talented writer and illustrator. The text is easy to read and understand while offering a great deal of information and will keep both young people and adults engaged. The illustrations are rendered in black and white and are a cross between a cartoon and a realistic style. They both break up and add to the text, helping to make the book appealing to a wide spectrum of readers.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Free Resources for Those Discerning the Priesthood

Interested in the Priesthood? Wondering if God is calling you? would like to send you the most comprehensive and inspiring books ever written for men considering the priesthood.  Choose either English or Spanish editions, completely free of charge:
  • To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood
    by Fr. Brett Brannen
  • Is Jesus Calling You to Be a Catholic Priest?
    by Msgr. Thomas Richter
Please note: You do need to live in a participating diocese - please check the list on the website - there are many listed. Please visit:

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Sacred Reading for Advent and Christmas 2015-2016

It's hard to believe, but Advent is right around the corner. Are you searching for a way to focus on the all-important religious aspect of this season in the midst of all the busyness? Sacred Reading for Advent and Christmas from the Apostleship of Prayer may be just what you are looking for.

As the introduction states, "Advent is all about waiting for Jesus Christ. The Gospel readings of Advent make us mindful of three ways we await Jesus - past, present, and future." This book invites you to "prayerfully encounter Jesus in the daily Gospel."

Excerpted from Sacred Reading: The 2016 Guide to Daily Prayer, this book offers a brief intro to lectio divina, the act of sacred reading. For each day of Advent through the Feast of Epiphany, there is a Gospel passage as well as questions to inspire deeper interaction with the text and with Jesus.

This book would be ideal for an at-home personal Advent retreat. It is guaranteed to help keep the focus of Advent and Christmas where it belongs - on the birth of our Savior.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Shot for Postpartum Depression?

I was perusing Facebook the other day and came across a post in one of the Catholic homeschool groups I belong to. A woman had given birth over the summer and was having a hard time with postpartum depression. She mentioned having made an appointment with her NaPro doctor to get a progesterone shot. Several other women commented that they, too, had taken this route and had their symptoms alleviated.

This was the first I had ever heard of such a thing - a shot for postpartum depression. That is truly awesome. As someone who has faced that darkness, I wish I had been aware of this. Of course, I don't have a NaPro doctor near me, which is a whole other issue, but still the wider medical community should be made aware of it. Maybe someone suffering from postpartum could bring in the following article to show her doctor: NaPro Technology and Postpartum Depression and be able to get the help she desperately needs.