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.