Catholic Family Vignettes

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


December 2007

This looks interesting…

An intriguing new movie is set for release in February 2008, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Watch this trailer:

For those of us who reject the “doctrine” of Darwin and his many cohorts, the film raises a very interesting question: Why is mainstream science supressing the teaching of Intelligent Design? Ben Stein attempts to answer this question in a thought provoking manner, demonstrating instances in which top Intelligent Design scientists and educators have been persecuted for their beliefs and teachings.

As someone who believes in the TDC (the Traditional Doctrine of Creation) as taught by the Church, the struggle to present this body of teaching is increasingly difficult. The majority of library books, text books, science programs, etc., which deal with creation, espouse evolutionary science as a fact–not a theory.

Don’t get me wrong…my children are being taught exactly what Darwin/Evolutionary science teaches about creation. And then they are taught the truth.

Here are a couple of excellent resources for your perusal:

The Kolbe Center For The Study Of Creation

Evolution And Other Fairy Tales by Dr. Larry Azar (I’m still reading this one!)
A Neo-Patristic Approach To Creation-Science

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The boots are dry. So are the coats, hats, snowpants, etc.

Dad used the plow blade to create a “snow mountain” after he came in around 8:00 p.m. — that’s 16 hours of plowing. He left this morning at 3:00 a.m. to salt. The forecast tonight? Another 2 to 3 inches. You’d think the children would all be clamoring to go out right now. You’d think they would be anxious to convert that “mountain” into a “mansion”…

So—where are the children? Not outside! The current temperature:


Good St. Nick left them a couple projects to distract them…at least until the temperature goes up:

May 16th, 2008 — Prince Caspian

This looks absolutely stunning!

The Eve of St. Nicholas

It is nearly that time again…time to set our shoes upon the hearth in hopes that St. Nicholas will bring a few little gifts for those of us who have been very, very good.

Well…perhaps mostly good will suffice! This evening we will read about the life of our good Saint, light the Advent wreath and share a little snack before setting out the shoes. The children are usually so excited about the coming of St. Nicholas–today they are just a little distracted by all the snow.

They have been in and out all day long. Coats on, hats on, gloves on, snowpants on, boots on. Coats off, hats off, gloves off, snowpants off, boots off. At least four times. Thank heavens for the “mud room”…which is truly living up to its name–perhaps “slush room” would be appropriate, as well.

Soon the sun will set and the temperature will plummet into the low teens. Normally, the hubby and I would enjoy a midnight walk in the winter wonderland, but that is not happening tonight. No…it’s not the cold. The dear man is still plowing…since 2:00 a.m. Say a little prayer for him, if you would. I know he is so very tired.

We’ll walk tomorrow night!

Open season…

The Holy Roman Catholic Church remains in Hollywood’s “crosshairs”. While it is no surprise that a “Christian” (read Protestant) production company has spun yet another anti-Catholic yarn, it came as a surprise to many people (Catholics and non-Catholics alike) when a USCCB film reviewer gave a “thumbs up” review for The Golden Compass. Several Bishops have issued statements condemning The Golden Compass and not a few Catholics are urging the firing of Harry Forbes, the Director of the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting.

Read John-Henry Westen’s article here.

Here is an excerpt from an article by CNA regarding the letter sent by Wisconsin Bishop, Jerome Listecki:

In the letter Bishop Jerome Listecki explained his duty as bishop was to inform priests and laity about entertainment that is harmful to Christian belief. He noted the self-proclaimed atheist and anti-Christian aims of Philip Pullman, the author of the trilogy on which the movie is based.

He described how the books were problematic, saying “instead of using fantasy to lead people to truth and to God, this trilogy tries to lead them away from God.”

Bishop Listecki said that, despite the movie’s qualities, “it is clear that this movie is the first part of a trilogy that expresses hatred of Christianity and that portrays God, the Church and religion as evil and oppressive and urges children to join fallen angels in a rebellion against God.”

He urged his priests to warn the faithful, especially parents, about the series’ attack on the Christian faith and the innocence of children.

The Diocese of La Cross website has published a question and answer sheet about the movie for parents. It warns parents about desensitizing children to evil, and suggests telling their children the movie is “definitely poison for the soul.”

The Catholic League has called for a boycott of the film due to the blatant attack upon the Church and Christianity in general.

And the movie Noelle? This is not a children’s movie nor is it marketed as one. It is absurd, at best. Bill Donahue of The Catholic League provides an apt summary:

Donohue summarized the Catholic League’s objections: “Throughout the film, confession is trivialized, celibacy is ridiculed, the Virgin Mary is disrespected, nuns are belittled, last rites are mocked, and priestly vocations are caricatured. In short, that which is uniquely Catholic is trashed.”

But he also minimized the importance of Noëlle: “the plot and the acting are so deliriously absurd that it is impossible for us to get too worked up about this flick.”

Looks like it’s time to put some popcorn in the microwave and pick up a few classics at the video store…

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Breakfast for my dear husband at 2:00 a.m. Lunch packed, as well.

Time to plow! God bless him, and the many men like him, venturing into the dark to improve the roads for those brave enough to venture out at dawn’s first light.

It is the eve of the Feast Of St. Nicholas, and I got my gift early. The first significant snowfall of the season is upon us, and I’m giddy!
As I sit typing, my children are sprinting down the stairs, voices raised in joyful chorus: It’s snowing! How beautiful! Oh, it’s lovely! Can we go outside now?

I’ll be right there, with them! There were no “snow days” when I was a child. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. I remember many Christmas days spent in short sleeves, riding my bike in the 70 degree weather. For this big kid…YUCK! I’ll take the blustery cold, the blowing snow, yes…even sleet.

This afternoon, a very tired Dad will return home and park the plow…but not before he plows the circular drive and creates the most enormous snow mountain ever!

Pictures of the snow “mansion” to follow…meanwhile, enjoy this:

Wild Cherry Pepsi, anyone?

Curiouser and curiouser…from Zenit:

Coke’s Compass

I saw that Coca-Cola is promoting the movie [What Every Parent Should Know About “The Golden Compass”], and I wrote to them to express my feelings about it — including mentioning that the villains are called “The Magisterium” in the movie.

Here is the response I got:

“We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

“The Golden Compass movie is a story about friendship, love, loyalty, tolerance, courage and responsibility. This movie also provides an opportunity for Coca-Cola to help raise awareness about climate change and the perilous state of the polar bear.

“We do not believe that this fantasy movie is an attack on any religion. We would never support a film that intentionally antagonized or condemned any faith.”

If they receive more letters about this, it’s possible it may accomplish something.

Rick Kephart

(You just can’t make this stuff up…it is way too bizarre!)

Further Advent-ures…

The mantle is a work in progress…

The Advent wreath was completed on Saturday…

The remaining Advent preparations are going well, although I believe the Jesse Tree may fall by the wayside…after coloring all of our ornaments, we still haven’t managed to attached them to their frames nor have we set up the actual tree itself. I think we’ll just stick to reading about the symbols and follow our traditions of the past.

With so many lovely feast days to celebrate (Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas, St. Lucy) it is sometimes hard to remember that the season of Advent is penitential. A time to “make straight the way of the Lord”. A time to prepare our hearts for the coming of our infant King.

May the Lord, our God, grant me the grace to prepare interiorly so that I may experience to the fullest the loveliness of this Holy Season.

May you all be blessed!

A Nativity Advent-ure

The slips have been drawn, and this year’s cast of characters have been assembled.

Every year, for the past several years, our family has endeavored to emulate the virtues displayed by the various “characters” of the Nativity of our Lord. Slips of paper containing the names and virtues of each are folded and placed in a hat.

The toughest role? Definitely the Blessed Virgin Mary. My son, Gawain, was most anxious to be Mary because he says “it’s easier to be good.” Ouch. I’ve often dreaded drawing that particular slip because of the high standards expected of Our Lady!

Emily, on the other hand would only be satisfied if she could be the Christmas Star, because she “wants to be the leader…(sniff, sniff)

I, on the other hand, have managed to draw every single year without fail the “donkey.” Docile, humble beast of burden…bearing all things patiently. sigh….

Nonetheless, these are the slips as they were drawn:

The Christmas Star
: Mom
Virtues: Provide a steady light to guide the weary pilgrims. A source of guidance and illumination

The Angel
: Gareth
Virtues: Proclaims the “tidings of great joy”. A source of inspiration. Obedient to the will of God.

Blessed Virgin
: Gawain
Virtues: Meek, humble, modest and pure. Full and complete obedience to God. Holiness.

St. Joseph
: Galahad
Virtues: Humility, leadership and humble trust in God. Chastity and patience

The Shepherd
: Arthur
Virtues: Leadership. Listens to God. Kindness to the “lambs.” Goodness.

The Lambs (2): Emily and Clementine
Virtues: Docility, innocence, obedience and trust.

The Ox: Dad
Virtues: Hardwork and diligence. Patience and sacrifice.

The Donkey: Charlotte
Virtues: Humility and docility. Patiently bears the burdens of others

I’ll keep you posted on our progress…this is one of our favorite Advent-ures!

The little things…

A surprise visit from my dear daughter, Caitlin, has necessitated a bit of a “blog fast.” Who has time for the computer when a beloved daughter visits from another state?!

The visit was much too short, though Christmas is just around the corner and we will see her then.

During her brief stay, we paid a visit to our priest at the rectory. As Caitlin and Father were talking, I was privileged to overhear another unrelated conversation that I would like to share (no deep dark secrets, I promise!):

The door bell rang, quite loudly, and a parish volunteer (a dear friend and incredible woman) quickly answered the door. Though I could see neither my friend nor the visitor (a homeless man), the conversation was completely audible.

“Yes, may I help you?”

(a kind voice, full of respect, humility and good cheer): “Yes mam, someone on the street mentioned that you might have candles here…I sure could use one, if you have any left.”

(in the sweetest, most charitable tone imaginable): “Oh, yes, indeed! Let me get you one…is there anything else you need?”

“They mentioned you might have a blanket…it sure is cold tonight, and with the sleet and all, it would sure help me to stay dry.”

“I’ll be right back with a candle and a blanket! (brief exit) Here you go…is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Oh, mam…you have no idea how much this helps! God bless you for this…it makes all the difference!”

“God bless you, sir…keep warm!”

“I will now…”

Such little things…an old blanket and a partially used candle. And yet they make all the difference.

Father has been providing used blankets and candles to the homeless for quite sometime. A little light and a little warmth…barriers against the cold, dark nights experienced by the homeless poor.

A few moments after the gentleman (and he was a gentleman) left, another volunteer answered the door for a young woman in search of a sandwich.

The same charity offered with such dignity and kindness. The same good cheer and grateful reception by the hungry young woman who may or may not have had a place to lay her head…

How often we hear the words: “I wish I were rich…oh how much I could help the poor!” Such noble sentiments…but wealth is not necessary! Old blankets, candles, sandwiches…used gloves, mittens, hats and scarves! The cold months are so hard.

Well…off to the garage. I have a few old blankets and candles to get together. I’ve meant to do it so many times. Those sweet voices are ringing in my ears:

“Oh, mam…you have no idea how much this helps! God bless you for this…it makes all the difference!”

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