Category Archives: church

Deo Gratias


Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here. This week I’m thankful for:

  • For a winter that’s been milder than usual even though today’s its quite cold.
  • For Lent and Ash Wednesday. It is and should be a hard time, but Christians are in this together, side by side working on their relationship with God and reviewing how they live their lives. I like seeing people around town with the black smudges on their heads.
  • For my library. This winter I’ve used it so much. Not just for books and DVDs, but I tried out the Great Books Club and may have made a new friend there. I also have been going to a great yoga class there and today saw an afternoon movie for free.
  • For the assisted living place my aunt is now in. She’s gotten used to this arrangement and it’s clean and cheerful. She doesn’t do them, but there are activities available. (The only thing I’d grumble about is the horrid food. You don’t need to cook broccoli for half an hour.)
  • For the chance last week to visit my cousin who’s 83 in Florida. Her husband of 60-some years died in 2015 and while Ann is so cheerful and outgoing, it’s been a tough year for her. I missed our visits but got to go there for a few days.

News from Ireland

I’m speechless and saddened.

Yesterday I cringed when I skimmed an article about the bodies of babies and children found in a septic tank in Ireland. The Australian paper, The Age, had the story. It’s heart-breaking and tragic. Now it seems there are just allegations. What happened is there’s been a discovery of a septic tank used as a mass grave near a Catholic run home for children and unwed mothers. Almost 800 little bodies (babies to children estimated to be as old as 8 y.o.).

What happened?

Why? If the women are already in a home because they’re unwed mothers, why would there be a need to do this? Why wouldn’t these children be properly buried?

What made the nuns do this? It’s completely against the faith. It’s a staggering number of children. How many people lived there? How long had this gone on? The Irish government is investigating.

This story was brought up a dinner last night and as the only Catholic (only Christian in fact) at the table, I was at a complete loss as to what to say. So much is unknown. This is certainly not in accord with church teaching. Also we don’t know what did happen. The home for the women and children closed in the 1960s. I hope someone does find concrete evidence about what happened.

By Sandra

A friend posted this on Facebook. Just beautiful.

I went to a Charismatic prayer meeting at my mom’s church tonight — and got to hear a beautiful homily by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the pope’s pastor, who’s visiting from Italy. (One friend stayed with Mom, and another went with me, and that info is for family members who might be wondering… ) He talked about being the Body of Christ, helping the needy and poor, about having “Eucharistic amazement”… He brought up Scriptures that talked about when Jesus’ followers saw Him after the Resurrection, but didn’t realize who He was until He called their names — and how, until we get to know Him personally, we basically just walk around knowing about Him, and not realizing He really is alive and with us forever, and that His image is in every person we meet. He said that when He calls our names, that’s when we truly start to live. I heard another pastor on television this week say that since Scripture says He speaks in a “still small voice,” like a whisper, and since it’s a whisper, the only way you can truly hear Him is to get close…to learn about Him and meet Him personally. Love that… After the meeting, they had prayer teams, and we prayed for my mom, my aunt, and friends who have been ill. Maybe we can’t always be His hands and feet in person, especially for loved ones in other states, but the Holy Spirit transcends time and space and connects us anyway…

Quotations by Two New Saints

Quotes from Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

The sick, the elderly, the handicapped, and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength, and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share His sufferings.

Let us keep the sick and handicapped at the center of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognize with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.

May God bless and comfort all who suffer. And may Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and healer of the sick, make His light shine through human weakness as a beacon for us and for all mankind. Amen.

[Pope John Paul II – L’Osservatore Romano 5-31-82, 3].


Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of illhealth; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

-John XXIII, Pacem In Terris. 1963


O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones
on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a
lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!
May the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of peace bless each of you and all the members of your families!

[Pope John Paul II – Speaks 37/4, 1992, 213]

Art & the Church

Barbara Nicolosi wrote a wonderful piece that we should all mull over on why art matters to Christianity.
Here’s the first part with a link to the full post:

What We Have Lost and Why it Matters
The sad thing is, if you walked on the street and took a spot survey, asking people to name the Patron of the Arts, few people would say, the Christian Church. People would probably say The Sundance Institute or the National Endowment for the Arts or the Bravo Channel. And they would be right! Hollywood does MUCH more to keep alive the arts than does the Church.
In fact, the testimony of the arts at a typical parish on a Sunday morning, can only be that the arts do not matter a whit to the Church today. I would go so far as to say that the arts in many Christian churches have become a scourge to torment the People of God.

We stagger in to the Church on Sunday morning hoping to find a glimpse of heaven, and we receive the worst vestiges of badly performed pseudo-pop music from the largely stoned, self-important, anti-intellectual folk music era, now only kept alive in our churches. In most cases, what we are exposed to musically in our churches is bad compositions badly executed. Sometimes, it attains to bad composition well-executed, but as poor imitations of what is happening in secular music, generally, the stuff we are hearing in Church is inappropriate to the liturgy in style, excellence and lyricism.

Click to read more.

The Pope Tweets

Holy Trinity Church, Chicago

On Sunday I went to a Polish church that I’ve passed every time I’ve driven into the city, but never went in. When a friend visited from Wisconsin, we went to mass there. According to a website my friend found, mass was at 10 am in English. Slight problem was that the mass was at 10:30 in Polish. Oh, well.

On a gray January day, I was blown away to enter this splendid church. How magnificent! I liken it to entering heaven. On the one hand you know it’s going to be fabulous, but when you enter your expectations are smashed and what you experience is beyond anything you might have thought.

The parish had dwindled to 80 members 30 years ago. When it was slated to be closed, the Polish American community went into action. They saved the church which is now classified as a mission for Polish Catholics.

Before mass, they had a benediction and rosary. Many came for that. By the time mass started, the church was full. There was plenty of grandeur. Though I’m generally content with simplicity and probably more at ease with the down to earth, I was swept up by the magnificence. It was Catholic with a capital C. They had about 12 altar boys from age 8 to about 17. The children’s choir sang beautifully and they were all dressed in red robes. The priest actually looked like Jesus. He had shoulder length hair and was in his 30s.

The mass was all in Polish, but I’m used to church in Chinese. I just wish I’d known so I could have printed out the readings. Still I loved this experience. It reminded me of churches in Poland where the decor is ornate (but still works) and the people are very fervent in their expression of faith.

Notre Dame Basilica, Chicago

We went to this beautiful church last Sunday for the feast of the Holy Family.

I Need One of These

missional church

Christian Church Burning

I’m praying for the Christians and the churches burned in Egypt. God is with you. Stay strong.

Many newspapers had neglected the stories of these attacks. Finally, we’re getting more news, such as this NPR piece.