28 February 2013

Still Saying Goodbye

Well, today's the day. Surprisingly, I'm feeling pretty okay.

I started the day off (really with lots of 6.30 AM snooze buttons, but not really the main focus) with Eucharistic Adoration and Morning Prayer. I've never been to Adoration except catching the tail end before Latin Mass. There were small booklets with highlights of Pope Benedict (excerpts of different addresses), hymns and scripture. About half through, one of the Salesian sisters gave a testimony on her experiences with Bl. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Basically, I was four seconds from crying for the majority of the hour.

Since I don't have orange fanta, orange juice.

27 February 2013

Missing You Already

I will simply miss him.

That is the selfish thought that circulates in my head. But it is so much bigger than that. This is a bigger deal for the cardinals, for the next Pope-to-be, for priests and bishops ordained under him, for the Mass ["with ____ our Pope"], for all Catholics, for the entire Church. Even for history, though the last thing I want is for this to turn into an obscure trivia card item.

Even with the big picture in mind, I still selfishly think, "I'll not even be Confirmed while he's Pope. Will I be Confirmed with any Pope at all?" (Signs point to "yes, quite possibly," since Benedict released a Motu Proprio, allowing for an earlier start of the conclave if all Cardinal Electors are present; this would cut down the 15-day delay that is usually had between losing and voting on Popes, since there have already been two weeks to prepare for the loss of Pope Benedict.) There is a great feeling of loss, but I can't figure out quite what to compare it to. It isn't as if he's died, it is not that severe. It's almost like he's been lost, as ridiculous as that sounds. It's like we can't find him, but it doesn't seem real, because wasn't he just playing in the back yard a moment ago?

26 February 2013

My Favorite Pope Benedict XVI Moments

My parish is celebrating the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI and in its own way saying thank you to the faithful leader the Church has so admired. To join in on the fun (though I really will be joining in on the fun at my parish, where things like Eucharistic Adoration and Mass are considered fun. You think I'm joking? I'm not. Mass is my idea of a good time. If anyone is unsure about joining me, can I convince you with food following Mass? Thought so.), I thought it would be entertaining and commemorative to list my favorite Pope Benedict moments.

1. That one time Pope Benedict XVI became Pope Benedict XVI.

Okay so let's be real. On 19 April 2005 I wasn't waiting with baited breath for white smoke, jumping up and down when he emerged or crying tears of happiness with the hope that comes when the next successor of Peter is finally announced. In real life, I was finishing my seventh grade year, probably laughing at my friend throwing her science book across the room with a scream because there was a picture of a spider in it. Or lamenting over the fact that my current crush didn't know I existed. I was not shouting myself for joy or being filled with love and admiration for an old man I never met and possibly never would (at least here on this earth, right?). Though I didn't know it at the time, a small bit of history was taking place, which I would one day nearly eight years in the future wonder about. This small bit of history would welcome as Pope a man who would make me laugh and smile, who would promote Christian unity, who would reach out to the younger generations, who would show great humility in his life as an example to the Church.

25 February 2013

The Once and Future Pope

An interview with Pope Benedict in English? Whaaat? Yes. Well, yes, an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger, if we're getting real specific. The video was sent to me early this morning.

What a way to wake up, huh? The use of English was kind of a shocker at first, since usually I hear him in Italian. He does revert to it at one point to be more precise with a Bible passage and to explain something, at which point an translator is provided, so no worries.

Some notable parts and my thoughts (though the entirety is worth watching/listening to):

A Great Love Affair

Monsignor had a really good homily this Sunday. It began by referencing and quoting the post The Catholic Church Young People Actually Want, which I mentioned in this post. I really love how that sort of thing works out, honestly. He highlighted our desire for the good, the true and the beautiful and reflected on how our parish seeks to address these desires in the hearts of our college students.

Monsignor went on the quote G. K. Chesterton, which I have found is never a bad thing. His chosen quotation I had never heard before but find it fascinating for several reasons...

"It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair." – G. K. Chesterton
First: The first sentence confused me when I heard it. How is it impossible to be just to the Catholic Church? I certainly am aware that many are highly critical (which often stems from great ignorance) of the Church, but surely there's some good, objective sort of view one can take, right? I am still not entirely certain how to interpret this part, but I can understand it as saying that one cannot be unbiased toward the Catholic Church: one either hates it or loves it. (But then justice also implies holding to the truth, which is certainly in the Church, so I'm still working through this bit.)

24 February 2013

Week in Review IV

Week In Review: Week IV

The Blogosphere

The Catholic Church Young People Actually Want. This post is a really good read, and reminded me a bit of mine here. Young Catholics do not want gimmicks or puns or Jesus wearing sunglasses. In fact, neither do young Protestants, with which I have more direct experience. We want Truth. We want beauty. We want to be on fire for something worth living and dying for.

Did you guys know Steel Magnolias is on Netflix? Whaaat? My mom and I watched that movie a lot when I was a kid. I watched it last night and laughed over all the lines I didn't understand or remember when I was younger. It's witty and sassy and has Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton and Sally Field in it. What's not to like?

I'm still a bit in shock over Pope Benedict's resignation. He now has less than a week remaining and it makes me sad that we will have to say goodbye (for now?) to our dear, cute old man (I say this with all the respect in the world; His Holiness happens to fall into the category of "cute old men I would like to just hug for days," but he's busy, so...). Continue to pray for this man who has led and loved the Church wonderfully. Here he is, melting my heart:

Other than that, I've been trying to buckle down on school work, but it has been hard trying to stay motivated. Any advice from fellow students? Maybe I should spend less time reading blogs. Blasphemy!

22 days until Paris, 34 days until Easter Vigil, 77 days until graduation. Where does the time go??

19 February 2013

On Complacency, or Why "Whatever" Will Land You in Hell

College is great. Why? Because you come across things like this and then have a blog post to write.

This is the this I was talking about up there when I said, "[T]his."

I saw this sign posted outside of a Lutheran church on my way to class a couple of weeks ago. It was stuck in the grass along with other signs that had similar "I go to church because..." messages: because I learn, because God loves me, and so on.  But this one caught my attention most, for several reasons.

18 February 2013

Rites and More Than Alright

Today I went to Peoria (my city falls within the diocese of Peoria) for the Rite of Election. At this rite, catechumens (unbaptized) become the elect and candidates (baptized) are called to continued conversion. The bishop, in this case Bishop Jenky, acknowledges our desire to join the Church and encourages us to continue in our path throughout Lent leading to Easter. All the catechumens and candidates in the diocese go and affirm their intentions and are introduced to the Bishop.

1. Top and front of the cathedral. 2. Thought this guy was cute. Gabriel? 3. The balcony where we sat. 4. Outside corner of the cathedral. 

17 February 2013

Week in Review III

Week in Review: Week III

Every once in a while, the sky makes itself visible among the clouds in Winter.

The Blogosphere
If fluids weren't pouring out of my face for sinus reasons this week, they were for the news of Pope Benedict's resignation, which I talked about a little here. The Pope explained his reasons for resigning, celebrated his last public Mass on Ash Wednesday and made my cry like a baby in this recessional (his look at 3:14 makes me laugh every time. It is like for one moment he looks at me and says, "I see you there, cryin' like a fool. It's all good.").  Of course I trust his judgment entirely, but the news still surprises me a little each day. It crosses my mind every so often that this is history happening before me: I should pay attention and take this as a learning opportunity (What title should the Pope have once he resigns? How do the Cardinals handle this? What are the requirements for electing a new Pope?).

We also should now, if not more than ever before, pray for His Holiness. A lot of negative commentary has come from people, even people claiming to be Catholics, and the Pope could really use the strength of our prayers this Lenten season. The Cardinals also need strength to cast their vote(s), as well as the perseverance through mourning and their travels to Rome. After all of this, I am just so proud of the Church I am joining: aside from the aforementioned exceptions, there is so much love and respect going around for our Holy Father. The Catholic Church is strong and has endured over the last 2,000 years.

At RCIA this week, someone asked the director if there would be a final ceremony on the 28th for the Pope's last day. He answered, "Yes, I do know. Pope Benedict will be coming here to St. John's, there's going to be a special 9 PM Mass that day..." ("Coffee and doughnuts after in the social hall," I muttered to my sponsor.) Really, though, how amazing would that be for the Pope to come to your parish?!

13 February 2013

Ash Wednesday 2013

Hello, Ash Wednesday! Was that too excited? It is a day of fasting and the beginning of a season of lots of penance after all. I'll tone it down.

Celebrating properly with pumpkin, banana and red velvet pancakes.

Shrove Tuesday

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and I celebrated it quite properly with abundant pancakes. Actually, only three pancakes because that's all I could handle. When did pancakes become so filling? Why pancakes? I mentioned in this post some special Lent observation including the old practice of abstaining from eggs. Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote to St. Augustine of Canterbury in the 6th century: "We abstain from flesh meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs." It turned out to be a fun way to share some "Yeah, Catholics actually do x, which influences this thing you still do today" facts with some of my friends, and later I wanted something savory to eat after so much sugar so I got some cheese sticks. Ultimate dairy/egg win, really.

I've been thinking about making this for a while. Now I have good reason!

11 February 2013

Viva il Papa!

Here I am, nearly fifteen hours later, eating a chocolate chip cookie after work and writing this post. I have been near tears multiple times today from how sudden this information has seemed. It still is a too-sad surprise to me and will likely remain so for several days.

News of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was one of the first things I read today. It was the second or third time I woke up this morning near 8.00 AM in text message form. My first response was sadness, followed closely by confusion. Could Popes resign? Now my chances of ever meeting him seemed drastically decreased.

"And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff." His Holiness leaving the meeting of Cardinals.

10 February 2013

Week in Review II

I should really just say I'll post these on Sundays for how late (early hours of the morning) these posts end up being... We will see if that becomes a habit and I'll just aim for Sundays if so. Let's go!

Week in Review: Week II


I am really falling behind here! Still reading the same things mentioned in my review Week I in addition to the many blogs I enjoy frequenting (which I probably enjoy frequenting too much, otherwise I would have finished a book by now!). Next, I really want to get into writings by early writers and those by various Popes (Humanae Vitae, Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth series...). That may be biting off more than I can chew right now, but it is good to have plans.

The Blogosphere

1. I recently discovered the blog Like Mother, Like Daughter and absolutely love it. I have already bookmarked some posts (like this one) for future reference. The writing is done by mothers and daughters who offer their input on household activities, child-rearing, wedding preparation, Lent, education (and on and on) in very personable and straightforward voices. I feel like I am sitting down with a close friend or wise matriarch when I read the posts. It is such rich and valuable stuff to read if you're like me and totally into all of the things aforementioned.

04 February 2013

Commentary on College and Modernity's Judgment of Motherhood

I started college out having a pretty solid plan: do well, get some research under my belt and go to graduate school for clinical psychology. At the beginning of college I was very excited about this plan. I was determined to make myself look as qualified as possible to graduate schools when I applied. I was warned by professors, counselors and other collegiates that my plan would change, that many students don't keep the major they begin with and that many people do not even decide on a major until Junior year. This all sounded like preposterous nonsense to me at the time. I was not going to change my mind. I had been planning to go to college since I was eight and I had planned my major and plan of study out. Maybe my minor would change or I would add another major, but I knew what I mainly wanted. I would show all of them that I could stick to something and excel.

So when my second semester of sophomore year began and I started to feel unhappy, I also got a little nervous. My psychology classes the year and a half before had been great and I was a decent student. I had been doing research and investigating universities in Seattle, Minnesota and on the East Coast. But something felt off. I figured I wasn't being challenged enough or was missing something. A look at my credits showed my that I could graduate a year early if I continued to take overloads (over eighteen hours of classes) each semester. This seemed like the solution to me. I would finish my college career quickly and move on to the next big step. That was probably impressive to application reviewers and would get me out of the icy box that is January in the Midwest.

03 February 2013

Week in Review I

Hello! Hope everyone had a great Saturday. I'm starting something new here on Home to Catholicism. Every Saturday (hopefully), I'll be making a Week in Review post. It will include links to some of my favorite Catholic articles/videos/events from the week, reading recommendations, features on the present liturgical season, information on saints in the week and notable Catholic-related events in my life.

The Week in Review feature will serve three purposes. It will: 1) have me posting more frequently to give a more intent look into my life, 2) spread the interesting ideas shared by others to give more of a community feel to this blog, and 3) teach readers about issues or concepts within the Church which they may not understand, or even know about. This last one is most important to me. I don't know the faith demographics of people who read this blog. I would think many people who are not Catholic visit it, because many non-Catholics are able to access my blog from my social media links. When I started this blog, my two reasons for doing so were to document my experience and to teach others. I hope I can do the latter just as well as the former.

Of course, I am not infallible, so readers (that's you!): if something does not make sense or if I have misrepresenting something, please do let me know in the comments. I want to be most accurate and thorough on tricky subjects. You should also leave a comment so I can meet you and get to know you. If you have requests about what you would like to see on this blog, you can let me know in the comments as well. :)

That said, without further ado: