Enduring Pain & Sorrow

10-28-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I appreciate the leadership and father figure that priests of our Diocese have found in Bishop Thomas Olmsted, especially at a time in our Church’s life when our trust and patience in the leadership, even at its highest levels, appears to have waned. The newsreels here and there tell us what we are finding out now is only the beginning of things to come out. Well, thank God for that. The tangled suspense is grotesque and horrific; and for weaker sensibilities, one way to maintain calm is to stay out of the earshot of anyone recounting its painful stories. But you know what? The news is out, and many of us have been drawn to look at the quality of our prayer as a means to get through our doubts.

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National Caregivers Library

10-28-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

If you are a family caregiver who is trying to perform caregiving duties while working and caring for your own family, you may feel overwhelmed by all that you have to do. In such a situation, there is never enough time in the day to be on top of everything. While there are many resources available for family caregivers, many caregivers just do not have the time to spend on the internet searching for websites that have appropriate and practical information that can be readily and easily applied.

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Comments from Friends and Family

10-21-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

As a traveler on the journey through grief, you may have experienced family members and friends who meant well, but actually added to your burden of grief through their comments. They may have assumed they were being sensitive and supportive when they offered thoughts such as: "He's in a better place now. God needed her in heaven. He's no longer suffering. This is better for everyone. Now you can go on with your life. I know how you're feeling; I've been there. You're still young; you have time to re-marry/have more children."

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Parish Family

10-21-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I got to know a little more the youngest members of my Parish Family during the Youth Hike to the Dells in Prescott last June. My discovery: the mind is youthful the body is not. They were frolicking the hilltops like newborn calves, running circles around me, getting acquainted with the rapid and heavy breathing of a 50-year-old.

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Peaceful Surroundings

10-14-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Before taking a few days of rest away from Arizona I noticed that my reading habits were not where they should be. I read things more like one has enough time to read headlines. Comprehension and retention were more difficult. So, I decided to go to an easy and pleasant read to help foster the love for reading I once had. I took with me on vacation Fr. Walter Ciszek's With God in Russia. It is his account of spending 23 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps located in one of the harshest climates on earth— Siberia. This Pennsylvania born Jesuit priest came back to the States in a spy swap in 1962.

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Prepare to Care: Planning Guide for Families

10-14-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

You, like many other people, may have just learned that your loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic, serious and/or terminal health condition. As the significance of this situation sinks in, you may have also realized that you are now becoming a caregiver possibly facing a long journey. You may be asking yourself, "Where do I start?"

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Unity

10-07-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here's another image from Gastown, Vancouver. Bagpipes have been around since the time of the ancient Romans but most Americans are familiar with the Scottish Highland Bagpipes. They were considered in Scottish Culture instruments of war, heard as far as 10 miles away, and there was a time when they were even outlawed. On this day, one downtown pub, the Blarney Stone of Vancouver, touted better food, better music and better beer. And to prove the point Mr. Celt walked down food alley to state it with his blarin' pipes. So goes the battle of the restaurants and the world of business.

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Coping with Grief

10-07-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Some times when a loved one dies, relationships among family members will become stronger as family come together to grieve their loss and support each other. Other times, death can be a very divisive element, breaking families apart. Some family members may approach their grief with denial attempting to move on as quickly as possible and may expect other family members to do the same. Some family members may be experiencing longer periods of shock unable to accept the reality of their loss. Other family members may be so weighed down with their loss that they are unable to move forward to begin the healing process. In addition, they may question how others can move on and act like nothing serious has happened. These different reactions can create a lot of stress for everyone. What has to be remembered is that each family member is grieving in his/her own unique way. Attending a support group can be very helpful. However, if relationships are strained, it is best that mourners attend meetings individually so that they feel free to share their deepest feelings without upsetting other family members. If the relationships continue to be strained, family counseling may be beneficial to all.

Simple Tasks can become a Challenge

09-30-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

As people age and grow weaker, it becomes more difficult to perform “simple” tasks such as sitting down, rising up out of a sitting position to stand and even walking. What was once easily done without thought, now becomes a challenge that must be carefully executed to avoid falling. At the same time, these tasks can become a challenge for caregivers who want to assist their loved ones, but can end up harming the care receiver and themselves if they assist inappropriately. Older people and health-compromised individuals who have been hospitalized will often receive occupational therapy following hospitalization to learn how to safely perform simple daily living tasks. Caregivers can ask to be included in the therapy sessions so they can learn how to assist their care receivers appropriately. Caregivers who do not have access to occupational therapists can acquire the information online.

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Church Bells

09-30-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Years ago, when I lived for a time in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, I had the opportunity to visit little towns of the periphery of the capitol city and, together with a few high school and college students, we offered our spiritual and material assistance to the poor communities. Some of these villages were so remote that the parish priest was lucky to make a pastoral visit once, maybe twice a year. Each little village has its own little church or chapel, and some villages were so poor that there was no bell to summon worshippers. Instead, they lit bottle rockets. Less than ideal but still effective in getting people up to look out their doorways.

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Grief is a Journey

09-23-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

The journey through grief is just that – a journey that goes through and not around grief. The feelings that come with loss can be so intense that people prefer to do anything to get past the pain of grief. This means that mourners will suppress their feelings, burying them deep within and pretend that everything is just fine. Actually, this is the worst way to proceed after a loved one has died. There is no way to get around grief as the grief will stay and fester until the mourner does something about it.

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Spiritual Conversations

09-23-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

In Gastown, British Columbia there’s a famous brewery called SteamWorks. Customers can find their way to the basement for a view of the Bay in one direction and a view of the Distillery in the other. Yes, I tried the local brew, and yes, it was quite delicious, a refreshing stop after a lengthy session of street photography in Gastown.

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Assessing Driving Ability

09-16-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

One of the challenges that many caregivers face is dealing with older loved ones who still want to drive their cars. The good news, according to the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin, is that older drivers (ages 70 and up) today are involved in fewer accidents than their counterparts a generation ago. Yet, as a caregiver, you may wonder if your loved one should continue to drive.

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Footsteps

09-16-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Last May, by the grace of God, I got to attend a five-day spiritual retreat in Boyton Beach, Florida. The humidity was tolerable thanks to cooler than normal temperatures for the areas. It drizzled most days and after a long day of conferences and chapel prayer time I was able to walk the grounds of a very beautiful place in quiet meditation praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. During the same month in Mesa, it's still too warm in the early evening so I choose to pray them early morning.

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Freedom

09-09-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I got the bug to revisit a Fourth of July Fireworks Show, but rather than go to Mill Avenue Bridge Show in Tempe, I ventured to Chandler and got as close to the fireworks as the perimeter would allow. One image captured looked like an electric palm tree. So here you go! My Fourth of July Palm.

The annual celebrations were marked by rock music, an announcement for lost and found and peddlers displaying their colorful trinkets to the children nearby. I felt that the real celebrations took place earlier that morning with Mass celebrated at Holy Cross thanking God for the gifts of our religious freedom and our right to public worship. America is still great because those two elements are still lived out side by side in this great country of ours.

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Grief Myths - Part 2

09-09-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Over the past two months, we have looked at several commonly held myths about grieving. One myth that creates a lot of guilt is the idea that a mourner should not ever be angry at the deceased loved one. This myth is truly impractical and unrealistic. It is not unusual or abnormal to be angry. The anger can stem from many things including the loved one’s decision(s) to not take the situation seriously, to not take care of him/herself, to refuse to seek medical assistance, to not follow the doctor’s orders, and to not let the important people in her/his life know what is happening.

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Observations

09-02-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Now I am back after a long and restful summer to take up again one of my loves—sharing the beauty of God's creation through the lens. The purpose of my photography is to get away from the rectory and rest outdoors where I prefer to be during my times of leisure, and I've had another good summer as far as picture taking goes: This first image comes from our youth hike last June to Watson Lake in Prescott where 56 of our parishioners (most of them minors) took a hike to a gorgeous lake. I had my scouts pictured here go ahead on the lookout for snakes to keep the rest of the group safe.

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Area Agency on Aging

09-02-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

If you are a caregiver caring for your parent, grandparent or an elderly loved one, you may be concerned with what you can do to help your care receiver remain in his/her home for as long as possible. Most care receivers prefer remaining in their homes as opposed to moving to an assisted living arrangement. However, they may not be healthy enough to continue doing so without support from you and other care providers. One valuable resource for helping elders remain independent is the Area Agency on Aging. This organization features a variety of resources for seniors and caregivers.

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