Last May, the Incorruptible heart of St. John Vianney was brought to our biennial priestly convocation for the Diocese of Phoenix. It was a beautiful gift to have the patron saint of priests with us for an evening. I brought holy cards to place against the reliquary to have those same cards become 3 class relics.
The incorruptibility of very holy people is more common than you think. And God means to tell us something by it. The 'Incorruptibles', as they are sometimes called, serve to remind us of the incorruptible state that Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother now enjoy. The state of incorruptibility defies the laws of nature and, at some point, the belief in the miraculous has to account for it. But incorruptibility is a secondary proof of the saint's holiness. Just search 'list of incorruptibles'.READ MORE
Do you see family/friend caregiving as a possibility in the near future? Are you just starting the caregiving journey? Have you been a caregiver for some time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be wondering what resources are available to help you with your caregiving duties. Family/friend caregiving is a world unto itself. Those new to the caregiving world often don’t know where to start with locating resources. Those who are in the midst of 24/7 or near 24/7 caregiving rarely have the time it takes to do the necessary research to locate available resources.
Age caught up with me. Over last summer I joined parish youth for an excursion to the doorway to the Land of the Lost, aka, Natural Bridge State Park. We had been here before three years earlier on a similar excursion. To my surprise, the same obstacles I encounter back then were, no doubt, harder to overcome this time. Apparently, the cave formations didn't grow as much as I did. Biblical wisdom is there to remind me of these things: Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day (2 Cor. 4:16). St. John Paul II was always refreshed by the company of younger souls and who were able to express themselves more freely in his company whereas, it was harder to do so by the sacred surroundings of parish life. I have also found that to be true. By the way, I've never known Carl to be grumpy. So I guess, he just likes the hat.
Over the summer I revisited Sequoia National Park because of the impression it left on me during a prior visit. These monsters have stood for several thousand years. They're older than the Church itself and they speak to me of God's persistent providence throughout the ages. The park ranger noted that they are the only trees on earth that are impervious to forest fires—just like the Church as a whole will be impervious to the fires of Hell. On a humorous note, I don't think the Tree of Good and Evil at the Center of the Eden was a Sequoia. Our first parents would have had to invent the ladder.
Este verano volví a visitar el Parque Nacional Sequoia por la impresión que me dejó en mi primera visita. Esos monstruos han estado allí por varios miles de años. Son más antiguos que la misma Iglesia y me hablan a mí de la providencia persistente de Dios a través de los tiempos. El guardaparque mencionó que esos son los únicos árboles en la tierra que no son afectados por los incendios forestales--igual que la Iglesia como un todo que es inmune a los fuegos del Infierno. Para agregar un poco de humor, no creo que el Árbol del Bien y el Mal al centro del Paraíso era una sequoia. De lo contrario, nuestros primeros padres hubierantenido que inventar la escalera.
You are a caregiver, and you know that you are a caregiver. However, does anyone else know it? What would happen if you were hospitalized for a serious situation and could not communicate? Who would be there to look after your care receiver? Who would know? While this may be a hypothetical situation, it can easily become reality. Your loved one could be left stranded without any caregiving support if something were to happen to you. This unfortunate situation can be avoided with a simple, quick solution. Create a caregiver alert notice to place on your refrigerator and a small version to place in your wallet. State that you are a caregiver and include the name, address and phone number of your care receiver. Another simple solution is to purchase a medical alert bracelet engraved with the same information for you to wear whenever you leave your home. Such bracelets are available online; conduct a search by typing “medical ID bracelets for caregivers” in the search engine.
Over the summer I received an invitation to join Dominic Pinti, Pastor of St. George in Apache Junction, for a simple ceremony of his appointment as Monsignor. The honorific title 'Monsignor' denotes a papal recognition for faithful service to the Church, always imparted by the reigning pontiff, usually through the recommendation of the local bishop. Msgr. Pinti confided to me that he neither looked for this honor and was surprised to even receive it. Pope Francis at the outset of his Pontificate discouraged these recognitions to priests under the age of 65.READ MORE
Today we celebrate three of God's Archangels, angelic persons who exist to support and defend God's people. We depict them in human form. Good angels come with bird wings. The bad ones sport bat wings. Medieval Christian art depicted the angelic being with wings to convey the presence of natural perfections above our own as humans--namely their purely spiritual existence. Our depictions of them in winged flight speak of our need for some sort of artful embodiment to help us grasp better their excellence. The last local Renaissance Festival provided me the opportunity where popular culture tried to capture something of this.READ MORE
If you've ever traveled the plains of Nevada, there are plenty of burros on the loose, descendants of the beasts of burden that were once upon a time owned by conquistadors and settlers. And the rather obvious traditional image came to mind: Our Blessed Mother carried God's Child on one of these.
These animals were grazing on the outskirts of Beatty, NV. Just a few miles from the place of this photo shoot is the now infamous nuclear test site that saw over 900 detonations above and below ground. As I understand it, Beatty won't have to worry for another 9000 years when, at that time, the toxic remnants of the testing finally seep their way into the aquafers of the local population.READ MORE
Today is the Feast day of our Lady of Sorrows which holds another opportunity for families of Holy Cross to consecrate their home and family life to the maternal protection of our Lady through this wonderful devotion, 33 days to Morning Glory. Remember that this push for consecration among our families came at the invitation of our Bishop, Thomas Olmsted, who has led our diocese to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
Consecrate means to set apart, set apart from all that is worldly, mundane. To that point, we all have our experiences of living among those who are not of a religious mindset, who do not speak of God in a respectful way or address him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the Steubenville Youth Conference I visited over the summer, I met a priest from Oregon who share this statistic: sixty percent of the population in his state is unchurched, uncatechized, or has fallen into some form of religiosity other than Christian. Sixty percent!READ MORE
It is not unusual for caregivers to feel that no one understands what they, as caregivers, face physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually every day. If you, as a new or even a veteran caregiver, feel that you are all alone on your journey, then you may want to visit the web site for the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) at www.caregiveraction.org. This web site features a variety of information, resources and useful tips to help family caregivers who work with older loved ones and young and adult children with disabilities. You can read the personal stories of caregivers facing a variety of challenges and what they have learned from their experience. You can view videos that pertain to caregiving for specific diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. You can join the family caregiver forum and share with other caregivers. You can sign up to receiver CAN's free monthly newsletter of practical tips and advice. You will discover that there are many others in similar situations like yours who understand you and that you are not alone on the caregiving journey.
Here's another image from the Steubenville Youth Conference mentioned in last week's bulletin. Laser shows with thumping bass rhythms have their place as a way to captivate youth, but then comes the time to deliver. Youth want to be challenged with the truth. They know, just as Jesus' followers knew, that the Truth will set you free. Jesus did not shy away from the hard truth of letting go of all possessions in order to follow Him closely. This was not a poetic saying. It's all or nothing with Jesus.
The religious life of the Church has been set up to help those live out the radical teaching of Christ to forsake the world and its ways. Professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience help ensure fidelity to the radical option. That's fine and dandy for a professed religious, but for the rest of us who are neither nun or hermit, how are we to take Jesus' saying about giving up possessions? We do well to live by the virtue (not the vow) of poverty. That is, we are to avoid, as best we can, ostentation and consumer culture. Live more simply. Chastity, guarding our eyes and ears from the hedonistic lifestyle, especially as it comes by way our on-line entertainment industry. Obedience, observing the commandments and precepts of the Church, conceding in things non-essential to our supernatural survival.READ MORE
I was able to make the schedule work out so that I could attend the Steubenville, San Diego, CA, Youth Conference this past July where about 20 of our youthful parishioners decided to attend. My desire to hear the presentations was rooted in seeing what relevance the themes had on our youth, and secondarily, to understand a little more, what is it, according to the mindset of Steubenville Conference Ministry, that youth should know. And yes, from what I could witness, this Conference seemed to accomplish the work of sowing good seed in these young minds and hearts.
Fr. Mike Schmitz, the keynote speaker, connected very well with the youth. He has that gift. You, as a parent, who trusted Holy Cross and the Steubenville Conferences with the formation of your children, are entitle to hear Fr. Mike's message, and you can get a feel for those gifts by visiting his YouTube Channel "Ascension Presents".READ MORE
One of the greatest concerns for older/ill people and their caregivers is the issue of falling down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four adults 65 and over falls each year and more than 300,000 seniors are treated for hip fractures. Half of all falls occur in the home. The most common type of fall is falling sideways. One way to help prevent falls is to make sure the home environment is safe. This can be done by installing grab bars inside and outside the shower and/or tub and by the toilet and by adding guard rails on both sides of stairs. It is also important to get rid of things that can cause tripping and to make sure there is plenty of light in the home by adding more and/or brighter lights. For more information, check out the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.
The caregiving journey is often one of ups and downs. It is not abnormal for caregivers to experience frustration with their caregiving situation and/or their care receivers. When frustration builds and hangs on for longer periods of time, the caregiver is probably experiencing caregiver fatigue or burnout and could benefit from a break. It is not always possible for caregivers to break away from their duties especially in 24/7 care situations. However, it is possible to “get away” from caregiving in small ways. One of these is to take a few moments to breathe deeply to increase the intake and flow of oxygen. Breathing in while counting to 4, holding for 8 counts and then breathing out for 4 counts repeated several times will be very beneficial. Another way caregivers can take a virtual break is to spend a few moments with their eyes closed visualizing a favorite place they have visited or would like to visit. Sound machines that generate the sound of falling rain or crashing ocean waves can be very calming and relaxing. Finally, sitting down with a cup of favorite beverage while listening to favorite music can seem like a vacation. The important point for caregivers to remember is that even a little self-care can make the caregiving journey more manageable.
When we talk about the importance of taking care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one, fall prevention comes to mind. As a caregiver, you need to safeguard yourself, as well as your loved one, against falling.
Did you know falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths for Americans sixty-five years and older?
Falls are preventable and there are many things you can do to reduce the risk. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has information on healthy aging with an entire section devoted to fall prevention. Visit www.azdhs.gov to your Google search bar. Click on Falls & Injuries on the left sidebar. Select Falls Prevention Information & Resources from the drop down. Prevent Falls at Home contains tips on how to avoid falls. Included is a list of low-cost items, such as wheelchair seat belts and slip resistant socks, that can drastically reduce the chance of a fall.