Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


June 2007

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Acts 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
“Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Mt 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Left Behind…

By the way…the girls did get popsicles, and a walk with Granddad!

Laus Deo!!

From Rorate Caeli:


“A meeting took place yesterday afternoon at the Vatican, presided by the Cardinal Secretary of State, in which the content and the spirit of the expected “Motu proprio” of the Holy Father on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 were explained to the representatives of several episcopal conferences. The Holy Father came to salute those who were present and maintained a deep discussion with them for about one hour. The publication of the document – which will be accompanied by a thorough personal letter of the Holy Father to the singular Bishops – is predicted for within a few days, when the document itself will be sent to all Bishops with the indication of its successive coming into effect.”

Let us praise God!

Te Deum

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.

V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.

V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

Motu Proprio!!

The motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone

Vatican (
Die Welt report that the motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.

The bishops had been invited to Rome for that purpose. At the end of the meeting, in which the motu proprio was introduced together with a letter of explanation by Pope Benedict XVI., Pope Benedict met with the bishops. The document is about three pages long, the accompanying letter about four. From Germany, Cardinal Lehmann had been invited. The circumstances of the procedure make clear that the Pope was very interested to personally inform the bishops, in collegial manner, of the content rather than from the media. The publication of both documents will take place on July 7th. It emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite which will consist of an ordinary and an extraordinary form which are supposed to inspire each other. The ordinary/regular form will continue to be the new rite of 1969. The extraordinary form will be the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. of 1962.

Carnival of Homeschooling

There is a new carnival in town…the Carnival of Homeschooling – Surgery Edition! For those of you who are unfamiliar with blog “carnivals” – a blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule. This latest Carnival of Homeschooling contains many topics of interest for home educators of every style.

Catholic Family Vignettes is one of the participants…so please join us this week for the Carnival of Homeschooling – Surgery Edition.

Blessed interruptions

Today I purchased eight clear, plastic bins, looked at paint chips and proceeded home to begin a major renovation of my younger daughters’ room. I had planned to eliminate the stuffed animal menagerie that had taken over the shelves in the corner of their room, condense their toy box into smaller clear bins for easier organization and scale down their summer wardrobes. Having accomplished that, I would proceed to scraping and painting their room. Those were my plans…but they were not God’s!

Instead of slaving away in a very hot, poorly ventilated upstairs bedroom for several hours, I was given the privilege of hosting three adorable young children, while their mother tended to needs of their infant sister who is currently hospitalized.

My five youngest children were delighted at the prospect of new playmates, and my oldest son became the devoted slave of the three visitors. Arthur fixed drinks, prepared sandwiches, and even let one of the little girls press the “launch” button on his Estes rocket.

The children were accompanied by my dear friend, Krislynne, and her daughter, Erin. They were tired, a little stressed out and a bit withdrawn–understandably so, considering what they had just experienced.

But children are amazingly resilient. Within an hour, they were chattering away, playing in the sandbox, swinging, climbing, riding bikes…a joy to behold.

Thank heavens for these “blessed interruptions”–I wouldn’t have traded this afternoon for a roomful of organized, clear plastic bins!

The culprit

Things that go “bump” in the night…overturned trash cans…an injured cat. These are the mysteries that are a daily/nightly part of life in the country. The mystery has been solved thanks to a “catch’em alive” trap provided by a dear family friend (thanks Tom!). Meet Rocky Raccoon, cat mangler and garbage eating marauder extraordinaire!

As inconvenient and annoying as the trash issue has been, our greater concern has been for our sweet kitty, Cookie. Cookie has nearly been “eaten” several times…and bears the scars from each attack. This sweet kitty showed up about two weeks after we moved in, apparently a victim of “drive-by donation” – you know, when some nice person from the city decides that every farm needs another stray cat…

Happily for us, Cookie is a great mouser and does all he can to rid the property of other pesky garden pests. We are grateful.

Unfortunately for Cookie, outdoor life in the country can be hazardous to a feline’s health, particularly if the predator is considerably larger than you are!

Well, there’s one less raccoon on the rampage tonight…and probably fifty more waiting in the woods!

Vigilante obstetrics…

Beware Cytotec! What is Cytotec?

Misoprostol or Prostaglandin E1 used to ripen a woman’s cervix and induce labor. Cytotec is a small pill that can be taken orally or broken in pieces and inserted vaginally.

This article, provides additional information on this potentially life-threatening means of labor induction

Homeschool and the toddler

Sometime ago, I received a letter from a young mother outlining her concern that she was not providing adequate learning opportunities for her young daughter.

Like many young mothers, she was already contemplating home education for her child and wished to provide as firm a foundation as possible.

I’m so encouraged by the dedication and desire of these young women, to create an environment of creativity and exploration. At the same time, it is a good idea to establish a “mission statement” – a concise statement that outlines the ultimate goal of your homeschooling endeavor…and to remember that “play” is education, too.

Here is the letter and my response follows:


My name is Margaret and I have a 22 month old child. I am a new mom and am thinking about home schooling. I see a lot of material for pre K for home schooling, but I don’t see a lot for toddlers.

Presently, we spend most of our time reading and talking. She’s like a sponge. At this point, my daughter can recognize her numbers and alphabet. She knows her left foot from her right foot and knows her colors. She loves to read and when I say we read, I mean we can read non stop for a hour. She loves it. But I want to make sure I’m living up to my potential as her mom and want to do everything possible to help her. It’s like she’s craving for more. Do you have any suggestions?

I have a friend who was excited when she heard her say her first sentence, I didn’t have the heart to tell her she’s been it saying for weeks. I need to know, too, if possible, is she developing at the same rate as other children in her age group?

Any help would be greatly appreciated; sometimes I’m not sure if I’m doing enough.

Margaret (last name withheld)

Dear Margaret:

Your letter was forwarded to me by CCHE Director, (name withheld). Allow me to introduce myself…my name is Kimberly, Assistant Director of CCHE. I am the mother of nine children and have been homeschooling for an aggregate of seven years. My children range in age from 23 to 20 months. I hope that my experience will bless and encourage you as you seek to provide the best possible environment for your little one.

“Precocious learning” is most common among, though not exclusive to, first children. Your little girl is blessed to have nearly all of her socialization and intellectual stimulation provided by an adult. The fact that you are also attentive to her natural desire and proclivity to learning, will accelerate her latent abilities as well as make evident areas of giftedness. I will give you an example, by using one of my own children! My oldest daughter, Jane, sounds very much like your little one. Jane was walking by 8 months, potty trained by 12 months, talking in complete sentences at 18 months and reading by 3 years of age. Yes…this is somewhat unusual. Jane does have a genius level intellect and is extremely articulate, as well. I must admit, that as a first time mom, I spent an incredible amount of time doing many of the things that you are currently doing – reading, shape, number and letter recognition. For a very long time, I believed that my efforts were the most important part of helping Jane “be all she could be.”

Then I had another child. And another. And another. Amazingly, as my time became more and more compromised, I felt that my other children would suffer as a result (not having the same concentrated effort that
Jane did). This has been proven, for the most part, wrong. All of the children have a variety of gifts and talents, some more than others. I’ll contrast one of my children, for example. My oldest son, Jane, was incredibly different from Jane. Arthur never spoke a word until he was two years old…and then he spoke in complete sentences, no baby talk! He was not potty trained until he was nearly three, but by 26 months he could name all of the planets in the solar system, recognize simple words in print and completely disassembled the carburetor on his father’s roto-tiller. There were times when Arthur was very young, that I worried about his abilities…I did not read to him nearly as often as his three older sisters (he didn’t like to sit still for very long), by four he was no longer interested in learning to read and I began to doubt that he would ever read well, despite his early “prodigy like tendencies”. Needless to say, those fears were all unfounded and Arthur has a mind like a steel trap! He is now 11 years old, reads at an 8th grade level, is an inventor of sorts, and can take apart and put back together nearly anything he puts his hands on. He has taken the lead in his own development, from a “giftedness” standpoint. His father and I simply provide the necessary tools to encourage him in whatever is his current interest and let him go!

Children are DEFINITELY like sponges!! They soak up everything, good and bad! Jane’s learning continued to remain accelerated throughout her life…and it is certainly a challenge keeping up with a young person whose intellect eventually exceeds yours! I would caution you, however, in your endeavors. Do make sure that your daughter has plenty of time to PLAY!! This is critical…she is more than a computer to be programmed…she must develop in stages, and sometimes the acceleration of the natural learning abilities of the gifted child can lead to difficulties in relationships…the child spends so much time “learning” that she is not “living” and interacting as a child. God created all of His children with a body, mind and soul. It is necessary to balance all of these aspects to meet our full potential. The gifted child will excel and succeed in spite of efforts to restrain her. Just take it one day at a time and remember to love her, hold her, tickle her and enjoy playing with her! It is just as easy for you to burn out as it is for her.

Homeschooling is, without doubt, the best option available for the gifted child and dedicated parent. The child is able to progress at his or her own pace and can even branch off into new interests at the drop of a hat! These options are simply not available to public school children, nor are they available within the various gifted programs offered. There are many programs available to encourage your precocious toddler and will also provide a fun learning environment. Before Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert, is an excellent literature based thematic learning program for your 2 to 4 year old. This program is available through Amazon books, Rainbow Resources and nearly every other homeschooling company. The web address is and has a lot of additional information regarding this program. Since you are currently doing a lot of reading with your daughter, this program would reinforce what you are already doing as well as show you how to implement literature to provide information on a variety of subjects.

Remember to seek fellowship with other moms! They can offer a variety of ideas, support and encouragement. And lest I forget…academic excellence is just one of the “perks” of homeschooling, and is only a small part of why I homeschool. It is an awesome task and tremendous blessing to be able to provide your child with a faith-based education, wholesome fellowship and socialization and build family relationships at the same time. I thank God everyday that I’m able to do this great thing! Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist you! I know this is a much longer response than you were probably looking for, but when inspiration strikes…you just go with it ;-D

In Christ,


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