Thursday, March 31, 2005

Young Pro-Lifers

Some people don't believe me when I tell them that young people are more pro-life than their parents. Just take a look at this Zogby poll from last year for evidence. It found, among other things, that 56 percent of all Americans are pro-life in all or most cases, but 60 percent (that's more!) of 18-to 29-year-old Americans are pro-life in all or most cases. And last year in the blitz of media coverage surrounding the pro-abortion "March for Women's Lives," several stories were about how the older generation of pro-choicers, like Kate Michelman, were getting frustrated that younger women weren't being as activist on abortion as their parents. Call me crazy, but I really think this has something to do with the fact that Michelman and her cohorts her age weren't threatened with legal abortion while they were in their mother's wombs. It really is insulting to know that even if your own mother is pro-life (like mine - thanks, Mom!), society in general thinks you are disposal. Baby boomers never had to face that legal endorsement of abortion. I believe it was the late President Reagan who said something about how ironic it is that all those who support abortion "rights" made it out of their mothers' wombs alive.

This is What Feminist Looks Like

Some more thoughts on the last day of Women's History Month...

Pro-choicers would have us believe that to be pro-woman, we must support abortion. Obviously these people haven't cracked a history book, or they'd know that all of the original American feminists were pro-life . They obviously are not paying attention to the current events, either, or they'd know at least two high profile female Nobel Peace Prize winners, Wangari Maathai (2004 winner) and the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1979 winner) are/were vocal supporters of life.

What these women understood, of course, is that womanhood requires a recognition of the female body's purpose and function and a life lived consistent with those biological truths. We women can't escape our womanhood (as pro-choicers would have us do). Instead, it is in embracing and respecting the female body - and recognizing the biological truth that a fetus is a unique human being - that we become most fully woman.

The physical, psychological and legal oppression of women was a very real fact in U.S. history. The denial of women's rights to vote and own property, among other things, was wrong. But in accepting pro-choice rhetoric, we are doing the same thing to unborn children that women had done to them. We are moving from victim to perpertrator. And when we become the perpertrator, we become the victim all over again because if we allow ourselves to view certain human beings as worthless, it opens the door for others to view us as worthless as well. And if you think today's society and culture doesn't view women as worthless, go to your local mall and see the underwear on sale that passes as clothing, or turn on your TV and see the woman expected to give pre or extra-marital sex to any man she meets, or listen to your radio and hear the horrible depictions of women in music, or read the newspaper and new pills that reduce the number of periods a woman has each year because the normal functions of a woman's body are obviously so horrific.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mane Nobiscum Domine

Have you signed up yet for the ....

Collegiate Eucharistic Congress
to be held at the University of Maryland's Catholic Student Center on Saturday, April 16, 2005?

If not, then you should. Registrations are due today (Wed., March 30).

The Eucharistic Congress has the theme "Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord)" is being planned by students at Maryland and George Washington, Howard and American universities. Students from the U.S. Naval Academy, Catholic, Georgetown and other universities will also be in attendance. Students from any and all colleges/universities are welcome. The day will include:

*A talk by columnist Robert Novak
*Mass celebrated by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
*Adoration, confession, talks, etc.

It is going to be amazing and it a great way to celebrate the Easter season. The Congress will be held at UMD's Catholic Student Center (4141 Guilford Rd. in College Park) and will last from 10 am-6 pm (you can come and go if you need to). The cost is only $5 and includes lunch, dinner and a T-shirt. What a deal!

The Eucharistic Congress is being held in celebration of the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Pope John Paul II. The theme is taken from the apostolic letter of the same name the Holy Father issued at the start of the Year of the Eucharist. The Holy See suggested Eucharistic Congresses be held in honor of the Year, and this particular one is going to be great.

If you are interested in attending, please e-mail Michelle at michelle@catholicterps.org or call her at (301) 864-6223 immediately with your full name, university and T-shirt size (S, M, L, XL).

The T-shirts will feature a pelican. Find out more about why pelicans are used as a depiction of the Eucharist. Also check out the pope's recent encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Thinking of you, JPII

This is so cool: The Vatican website allows you to send notes to the Pope. Just click on "Best wishes for the Holy Father" and the link will give you an e-mail address to send a note to Pope John Paul II. Oh, and tell him Happy Easter.

Woman

March is Women's History Month. Yay. In honor of this celebration, I will be posting a few things about women (hopefully before March is over). My first is some links to learn more about the woman, Mary, the Mother of God. If you want to see woman's ideal, look to her. If you want to see the Christian ideal, look to her. If you want to see the human ideal, look to her. Behind the Lord Himself, she is our greatest teacher. As Fr. Gareth said recently, "Those who have a problem with the Mother of God have more problems than they know." Christ came to us through Mary; we should go to Him the same way.

Read about...

What the Catechism teaches about Our Lady.

Our Lady in Scripture and early Church history.

Marian feasts and prayers.

What the Church Fathers say.

History of devotion to the Blessed Mother.

How to pray the Rosary.

Also, the Vatican's website has the text of encyclicals, letters and other writing on Our Lady from throughout Church history.


Md. House Passes Stem Cell Bill

Get the story. Hopefully this will get stopped in the Senate. The moral concerns of this case are, of course, the most important, as Delegate Anne Healey (a Catholic Democrat who I believe goes to St. Jerome's in Hyattsville) rightfully points out. But I also don't understand how this makes sense economically for the state, as it obviously needs these funds for Medicaid and so far the only other state to have passed funding for embryonic stem cell research is California, which is not overwhelming competition. Additionally, embryonic stem cells are a totally unproven research subject which have yielded nothing to help the sick people supporters so desperately argue this research will save.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

He is Risen, Just as He Said

"We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."

-Pope John Paul II

Friday, March 25, 2005

Cause of Death

This was the lead story in today's Times-Picayune (New Orleans' newspaper). I don't know how medically accurate it is, but it nonetheless reinforces the fact that Christ's death was brutally horrible and much worse than other crucifixions the Romans routinely carried out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Season of Modesty?

I was watching TV the other day, when lo! an Old Navy commercial came on advertising women's Bermuda shorts, which fall almost to the knee. Those are very modest, I thought. And for some reason, there is a copy of Seventeen magazine at my house and I was flipping through it today when I was surprised to find a story with the headline "Are sexy clothes out?: The push for less revealing clothing started in religious communities - now it's influencing the world." Now, I certainly don't have any illusions about Seventeen magazine knowing anything about anything, but it's interesting that they have a story about modest clothes, highlighting longer shorts ("Conservative, knee-length shorts are spring's must-have bottoms") and higher necklines ("The banded neck[s] of ruffled shirt[s] covers your collarbone and have a prairie-girl vibe").

Shout out to my mom for being ahead of the times and pushing modesty for me and my sister starting back in 1984.

Pope Still Under the Weather

Though the Vatican says it is unlikely Pope John Paul II will return to the hospital, he still is, apparently, feeling very ill. Since tomorrow is Holy Thursday, the day when Christ instituted the Eucharist and established the priesthood, maybe everyone can offer their Mass/Communion for the Holy Father.

Terri Schiavo

The boys over at Catholicae Testudines have some good posts about the case, as do the Notre Dame kids over at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

And in case you didn't know, our very own Lacy (along with Pat) is down in Florida praying for Terri, so keep them in your prayers.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Knock, knock....Who's there?....Date....Date who?

Women of the world (er...CSC): Here's your opportunity to let men know what we believe constitutes a date. Thomas over at Catholicae Testudines tells us that, apparently, they spend time discussing this. Maybe actual dates will result from this little endeavor. Comments from men are much appreciated.

Here are some of my general criteria (note that these apply to most - but not all - dates):

1) The man asks. Yes, I know, we're living in the 21st century and women can perfectly well ask men on dates. But trust me, women will feel much more secure about a man's interest in her if the man does the asking.
2) Request is made over the phone or in person. Very good, strong, lengthy dating relationships can come out of requests made over e-mail or IM (I know this from personal experience). But it's hard to catch tone and interest through those two mediums. Women love men's voices and really, really want to hear the question from their own lips. Plus, it assures women that men have mustered enough strength to actually speak. In person is always preferred, but over the phone is acceptable.
3) Request includes a specific time and place on a specific date. A generic "Do you wanna go out some time?" is not good enough for most women. We will talk ourselves out of believing that men really want to go on dates if a question is that broad. After all, if you really want to take us out, you'd have thought about specifics, wouldn't you?
4) Request implies that the man's feelings are of a romantic nature. You know, be cute. Most of you guys have this down without knowing it, but you can try extra hard.
5) Double/group dates are great, but at least 1/3 of time must be spent talking with your own date. Sooner or later, if you're actually interested in someone, you're going to need to TALK to them. Sooner is always better than later as it will be easier on you both to know if you want to go on a 2nd or 3rd date and it won't prolong things if they're not meant to work out.
6) Man pays and is generally chivalrous. The general rule is that whoever asks, pays and per criteria #1, this should be obvious. I suggest men do most of the paying until you're officially boyfriend and girlfriend (after that women should pay every once in a while). The men can always be creative on dates so they don't have to spend tons of money (plus women like that you've put so much thought into it). And women should always offer to pay for a part of the date (the movie or dessert, say) and women are always welcome to make dinner, etc.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Facebook Famous

A good friend of mine from high school, Jeff, remarked once that high school graduation was "the end of popularity as we know it." I think in many ways he's right. Popularity doesn't really exist in college. Some people may be "cooler" than others, but no one (especially on a campus as big as Maryland's) is really more popular than others. But I think that, in some ways, popularity is making a come back through The Facebook. This website allows students at universities across the country to connect with each other through an online yearbook. You gain friends, join clubs, etc., etc. It's a great procrastination tool, but some people take it waaaayy too seriously. For example, there are some people with more than a thousand friends. It's really ridiculous. No one has that many friends. Why else would you claim to have that many friends except that you want to become popular? That's in addition to the fact that you can "reject" people as friends and also make groups/clubs you form exclusive, with the ability to choose who gets in and who doesn't. In effect, The Facebook pushes college students back to high school.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Good Ole St. Joe

Celebrate! Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin and foster father of Christ. St. Joseph is one of the coolest saints around. Check out more about him. Since he is so important to the Church, today you can break your Lenten fast in celebration of this great saint. He is a great role model for all men - young or old, married or single - and his faithfulness and devotion in heading the Holy Family is a witness to the whole Church and all families.

St. Joseph is the patron of Italy (in addition to many other things). One of the traditions that came out of this patronage is the St. Joseph's Altar. I grew up seeing and participating in these altars and when I came to Maryland, I was shocked to find out that in the United States, the only place they're really held is in the New Orleans area.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A New Face

We got complaints from some men (my dad and a few others) that a blog named "Catholic Girl Talk" that was also all pink was just waaaaaay too girly. I liked this template design, so I just changed it to blue. I might post the actual text in purple, though. And if anyone says blue is not feminine enough for a blog named "Catholic Girl Talk," look at depictions of the Blessed Mother (the epitome of femininity) in art and all the blue she wears. Anyway, this is the new template. Comments? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

So, today being St. Patrick's Day, I was thinking of the late Fr. Thomas ("Mossy") Gallagher. Fr. Mossy was a priest in my parish all through my childhood and truly one of the most beautiful souls I've ever encountered. Fr. Mossy (so-called because his older sister, when he was a baby, could not pronouce "Thomas" and so said "Mossy," which stuck) was born in 1923 in Geevagh, Sligo, Ireland. He was actually not a diocesan priest, but a member of the St. Patrick's Missionary Society, an order of priests who are missionaries in Africa. Fr. Mossy spent a number of years in Africa and had great stories about trying to learn Swahili and traveling across African planes on a motorbike. I'm actually not sure how he ended up in Slidell, La., but he did contract malaria during his mission work in Africa at least once.

And what a blessing he was for us. For those who never knew him, he's hard to describe. But for you CSCers, think Fr. Gareth 40 years from now (and Irish, not Welsh). Fr. Mossy had a quick wit, biting humor and a love for joy. His faith was also so inspiring. He was a gentle, honest, heartful preacher and a priest who would remember the name of everyone he met. He spent at least an hour a day (and very often 2, 3, 4, or 5 hours) in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He was a great confessor (even singing a song to me once to make me feel comfortable) and was sure to be honest about the damage sin does, but never let people forget the great mercy of God. Being a missionary at heart, he went to the hospital and nursing home every day to visit parishioners there (and was sure to list them one by one in the prayers of the faithful when he was offering Mass). After his eyesight got too bad from him to drive, he got up every morning and walked the mile to the hospital to check in with the sick.

His humor is something everyone will remember about him. He very often asked random questions (one of his most famous was: "Do you ever get cramps in your toes?") and was never afraid to poke fun at himself - or others, for that matter. He loved alcohol, lime Jell0 and often pronounced things incorrectly. He was stubborn and, when he started to shuffle when walking, shooed off altar serves who tried to help him up the altar's steps. As he aged, he also needed his rest and was even caught a few times falling asleep during the first reading and Psalm during 8:30 a.m. Mass.

Fr. Mossy was also a sweetheart. When the archbishop of New Orleans transferred Fr. Joe Benson, a fellow Irishman and associate pastor of our parish with whom he often spoke in Gaellic, Fr. Mossy said he knew it was the right thing for the archbishop to do - and then he tried to hide the tears in his eyes. Fr. Mossy broke his hip a couple of years before he died and his religious superiors brought him back to Ireland to care for him. It was there he died in August 2003. About a week after his death, Fr. Joe celebrated a memorial Mass for him at our church. Needless to say, it was packed.

At that Mass, Fr. Joe told the following story: The St. Patrick's Fathers had given Fr. Mossy a trip to the Holy Land as a gift for the 50th anniversary of his ordination (in 1949). Fr. Joe accompanied him there. One afternoon, they took a boat out onto the Sea of Galilee and Fr. Joe proceeded to read allow Fr. Mossy's favorite Gospel - the Calming of the Storm at Sea (Luke 8:22-25). The wind was actually tossing their boat around that afternoon, but when Fr. Joe got to the verse where Christ rebuked the waters and there was great calm, the winds on the Sea of Galilee stopped blowing their own boat. Fr. Mossy cried.

I noticed when I went home for Christmas that the parish had mounted a plaque outside our Perpetual Adoration chapel in his honor. The priest who had spent so much time in front of the Blessed Sacrament in his life was now "forever in His Presence," the plaque said. That's pretty cool.

Top O' the Morning to You


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saints' feast days are indeed times to celebrate (though do recall for your general disposition that we are still in the season of Lent). In fact, my family has a tradition that if it's your saint's feast day (for your first, middle and Confirmation name) you get to pick your favorite dinner that night or what restaurant you want to eat out to celebrate. Of course, there are many Marian feasts and my brothers and sister insist I pick only one, but I gently remind them that the Mother of God is the Queen of All Saints and thus it is fitting we celebrate her more by taking me out to dinner.

But I digress. Below is a portion of, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful prayers ever written. It's called the Breastplate of St. Patrick (also known as the Lorica or Deer's Cry). Tradition holds that St. Patrick composed it about the year 433. He was travelling to meet the king when he learned druids were in hiding along the path waiting to ambush and kill him and his men. Patrick and his followers prayed this prayer, and when they passed the druids in hiding, the druids did not see them, but instead saw a doe followed by fawns. Here's part of the prayer:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us. Amen.

Here's a link to the whole prayer. I suggest it as part of your morning prayer routine.

P.S. - Happy feast day to my wonderful big brother, Patrick.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Lord of all creation

UMD's Catholic Student Center had a retreat this weekend and it was awesome (except for the bad weather). Planning had taken place for 6 weeks beforehand and lots of work was put in to it. But one of the most profound things I took away from the retreat was one or two sentences someone spoke almost under their breath in between sessions.

Fr. Gareth was exposing the Blessed Sacrament and Fr. Bill's dogs, Maggie and Cleo, were walking around as usual. Everyone was kneeling. Fr. Bill called Maggie over to him gently and told her, "Maggie, get down, it's Our Lord. It's Our Lord, Maggie."

Wow, I thought, that's pretty cool. And it is. Sometimes we're so concerned with ourselves that we fail to recognize the blessings God has placed all around us. The Blessed Sacrament doesn't deserve our adoration because of some archaic tradition of piety, but instead because it is Christ - the Lord Himself - truly present. All creation - not just human beings (though they do so most fully) - attest to its creator as God. The Blessed Sacrament didn't deserve just our reverence in kneeling in front of it, but the reverence of Maggie and Cleo, two black labs, too. The Lord may not have endowed the dogs with the reason and intellect to recognize His lordship, but their very existence is evidence of the fact that God is God.

The retreat center we use, at Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., is very conducive to this recognition. Nestled in the mountains, it lifts one's soul to God almost immediately. Creation is an awesome thing, and I think Catholics sometime fail to recognize this. All of creation has, in some form, the imprint of its Creator and is a great assistant in turning one's mind to contemplation. It is, in short, awe-inspiring. I think this unity of creation is one reason why so many non-Catholics find St. Francis of Assisi and his spirituality so appealing. I don't know Franciscan spiritually well by any means, but its emphasis on simplicity and recognition of all creation as the work of God must, I think, appeal to those who are searching for meaning.

So, a suggestion for spring and the upcoming Easter season: Take the time to take a walk by yourself, away from the business of your daily routine, and allow the beauty of creation itself to direct your mind and heart toward your Creator.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

March Madness

The 2005 NCAA Tournament will not only go down in history as the first time the Terps haven't been invited to the Big Dance in 11 years, but it also marks my first bracket entry. That's right, I've joined a pool at work and filled out my bracket today with almost no knowledge of what I was doing. Of course, I gave preference to schools in and around my home state of Louisiana, guessed from the Sweet 16 on and chose the National Champion based on which team's colors I like more. I can see my victory on the horizon.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Opinionated Women

NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd laments the lack of women on newspaper op-ed pages . From my experience (and it is very limited), women are, in fact, sorely missing in the opinion sections of newspapers. The Diamondback, for example, has only 3 female columnists out of 16 total this semester. A couple of reasons why women are underrepresented:

1) Women care about different things than men do. Yes, women enjoy politics, but it's cutthroat environment turns many women off. Political opinion, however, is what most newspapers are looking for in columnists. They're never going to find the number of women interested in writing about politics as they are men. Women would, I believe, want focus more on children and family issues and most editors simply aren't interested in that.
2) Women simply have too much other stuff to do than write columns. It is very hard work and leaves one open to great scrutiny. Dowd herself is single and not a mother, which might be the reason why she has time to write columns twice a week.

As for Dowd herself, I expect she gets lots of angry responses (as she says she does in the column) because she is an angry person. She is an amazingly talented writer, but she hardly ever offers productive solutions to problems and her columns always have an air of bitterness and arrogance about them - and that has nothing to do with her being a woman, that's simply her style and one which turns many people off.


How the Irish Saved Civilization, Part II

In three words: Father Bill Byrne.

How the Irish Saved Civilization

I must say, the potato is one of the most versatile and fruitful (pardon the pun) vegetables (or any food product, for that matter) in the world. Sure, rice is up there near the top. But all kinds of rice (white, fried, dirty, brown, etc) all essentially manifest themselves in the same way. But potatoes? They can be mashed, hashed, baked, sweet, french fried, totted (is that a word?), etc. The possibilities really are endless.

Healthy, wealthy and wise

When I was in elementary and high school, waking up at 6 or 6:30 a.m. wasn't a big deal. But in college, 8 a.m. classes are considered torture. I thought that once too, but after several semesters I realized that getting classes out of the way in the morning and having the afternoon to yourself is really nice. Students are much more productive if they have class in the morning, do homework in the afternoon and can relax/have a job in the evenings. Sleeping until 11 a.m. or noon just wastes half of the day.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, I'm looking at the course schedule for next semester and I can't find any TuTh 8 a.m. classes in the liberal arts! I was offered an internship for the fall provided I can spend at least two full days a week there, meaning I'd have to have class either TuTh or MWF. I've worked out 12 credits of history on TuTh and can complete a full 15 credits if I have an 8 a.m. class (as the first history courses doesn't start until 9:30 a.m.). I only have 6 credits of journalism left to take, but neither of the courses I need meets in the morning (though there is one from 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, but I'd like to be able to go to CSC Holy Hour and CDA meetings!) I also looked up courses in literature, French, Spanish, Latin, American studies, classics and art history and none are offered TuTh 8 a.m.

I think the university should require departments to have more morning classes. Professors should realize people outside the world of academia must report to work at 8 or 9 a.m. five days a week, not at 11 a.m. two or three days a week. Students should also start learning that if they want a stable job after college, it's very likely it will require them to be at work no later than 9 a.m. I realize people say students won't go to early classes and anyway that they need their sleep. To that I say: whatever. College students need more sleep, but they aren't losing it because of early classes. They're losing sleep because of poor time management coupled with society's (and parents' and professors') nearly impossible level of college performance that focuses only on the acquisition of good grades and flashy internships and not on the development of the whole person mind, body and soul. But, nevertheless, college is supposed to be challenging. If you can't deal with one 8 a.m. class a semester, then you have problems bigger than a lack of sleep.

Rebirth

So, I kind of messed up on our first blog creation. This is the new one. Enjoy