5 May 2016

A for Avocado: from Dip to Top of the Class!

Enjoy flavorful recipes, such as for a fiesta celebration (like Cinco de Mayo!) or backyard barbeque? … and any time at all! Here you will find recipes for: “Award Winning Guacamole” + “Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Hass Avocado and Cucumber Relish” + “Raspberry Avocado Salad with Honey Raspberry Vinaigrette” + “California Avocado, Fruit and Citrus Bowl” + more… from appetizer through dessert!
a Mango-Guacamole

4 May 2016

Have You Prayed Your Rosary Today? Here are 10 Reasons to Pray the Rosary!

Why should we pray the Rosary? More importantly, why should we pray the Rosary daily?

1) “Pray the rosary frequently. It costs so little, and it’s worth so much!”  Padre Pio

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Common errors of Centering Prayer practitioners

Centering Prayer practitioners are often very sincere people who are seeking a closer relationship with God. For some, a Centering Prayer group at church was their first introduction to the idea of cultivating a deep prayer life. Others have read the saints’ works about prayer, but have not understood them. Both groups are vulnerable to false teachings about prayer.

Unfortunately for them, they are taught a skewed interpretation of the saints, the fathers, and even the Catechism. Theses errors take root. People become emotionally attached to their method of prayer. It is very difficult to convince them that the practice is not in line with Catholic tradition.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

As the Morning Rising: Brief Meditations on Sorrowful Mysteries of the Ro...

As the Morning Rising: Brief Meditations on Sorrowful Mysteries of the Ro...: The Agony in the garden Lord, come to the assistance of those who are in agony, in body, mind or spirit. Send your angels to conso...

Calling On All Angels, That I May Have Dominion Over My Senses… And Persevere!

St.Michael Archangel_GuidoReni.1635

Thanks to the help of Mother Angelica, I’ve been finding myself calling upon all angels of heaven for assistance!  
It was during the weeks leading up to Easter (Lent 2016) that I began to pray on a regular basis the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel, guided by Mother Angelica herself (via EWTN CD), and what a blessing it’s been!  …Thus something I wanted to share with you here, as we journey on, in pursuit of progress, still... body, mind, and soul.



Children are Sponges! Teach Them Well!

When you think about those virtues that you want your children to possess, what comes to mind?
  • Is it gratitude? Do you constantly tell them to say thank you?
  • Is it respect? Do you keep reiterating to them to say please, play nicely; share their toys?
  • Is it patience? Do you tell your children that some things are worth the wait, and in the process teach them how to wait?
By your living example, you teach them all of this, and much more. By your own faith and trust in God, or lack of faith and trust in God, you teach your child what to believe. By your own hope in Christ’s promises, or lack of hope in Christ’s promises, you teach your child about hope/despair. By your demonstration of love for God and family, or lack of love for God and family, you show your child the meaning of love/hatred from your own perspective.


What's Up with the Ascension on Sunday?

We used to celebrate the Ascension exactly forty days after Easter on Thursday. On that day the Paschal, or Easter, Candle was extinguished after the Gospel as a sign that Jesus, the light of the world, had left for heaven. Nowadays we celebrate the Ascension on the Sunday after. Why? The Ascension, the mystery of Jesus returning to the Father in heaven, is of key importance, and so it is a holy day of obligation. For many people who work it is difficult to go to Mass on a weekday. Therefore, our bishops transferred our celebration to Sunday so that this great feast can be given its due and more people can celebrate it. Actually, the accounts of the Ascension in Scripture set this event on different days. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus ascends on Easter Sunday. John too apparently assumes that Jesus goes directly from risen glory to heaven. It is in the Acts of the Apostles that we find that after the resurrection, Jesus continues teaching the apostles for forty days and then returns to heaven. The number forty is symbolic to the Jewish people. It stands for a period of spiritual growth. Recall that the Israelites spent forty years in the desert and Jesus spent forty days in the desert. Click to continue

Singing through the Pain

by Nancy Ward

Last Mother’s Day we went to the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Jude’s in Allen, TX,  with my son Andrew and his family. We arrived early while the choir was practicing and sat in the third row behind their two reserved rows. Andrew prepared his French horn and joined the music practice.

When the practice was over, just before Mass started, I observed this young man come from the row of choir microphones and around the pews with an armful of pillows. He headed toward the pew in front of us where an elderly woman and a couple of young people were sitting. He motioned that he wanted to sit in that pew and they moved toward the aisle to allow him to move past them. He hesitated, said something to them and after a short conversation, they moved to another pew. He arranged his pillows in the pew and lay down on his back. 
I turned to my daughter-in-law inquisitively and she told me about the man’s back problems and recent back surgery. His name was Patrick Underwood. He lay there until time to sing the processional, then painstakingly pulled himself to his feet by grasping the back of the pew in front of him and forcing his body erect. He had a booming voice and played the bongo drums during the Alleluia with a passion I had never seen—at least not at mass!
Read more of this Mother's Day Story on JoyAlive.net

3 May 2016

Whispers in the Pew: Get Going!

This is the last of six articles for families on celebrating the Sunday Mass.
My washing machine broke. A tiny plastic piece in the detergent compartment disappeared. Don’t ask me how—it’s one of life’s mysteries related to the Final Resting Place of socks that vanish from the dryer. Whatever. I ordered the part, tracked the package’s progress online, and ripping open the envelope, discovered my simple piece of plastic. Predictable enough, I suppose. Even so, I still felt a little thrill when I saw a package waiting for me in the mailbox.
I can’t be the only one who hasn’t quite outgrown the charm of receiving a special delivery. Sending and receiving packages connects us to one another. And knowing a package is meant just for me—regardless of its contents—lifts my spirits.
As our “Whispers in the Pew” series draws to a close, we consider the very end of Mass.

Read all about it at Praying with Grace!

2 May 2016

Life Can Get Messy, but Right Now, It's Good!

Of course, I’ve had supper and a glass of wine with supper, so life feels very good right now. The truth of the matter is that, no matter what we say or do, life will become complicated again and again or over and over. No matter what we do, life will get messy.

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Do You Struggle Being Christ-LIke? God Comes to the Rescue!

Jesus is the epitome of virtue; the exemplar of how we are to live. We are all good at some virtues but, unlike Jesus, we are unable to master all of them. It seems that no matter how hard we try, we seem to continue to struggle mastering some of them.

With what virtues do you excel? With what virtues do you struggle? In the areas where you excel, do you find the virtues come easy to you? In the areas where you struggle, do you have any idea why you experience such difficulty in mastering said virtues?

Let’s do a very quick analysis: On a scale of one to ten, with ten being outstanding, how virtuous do you think you are in each of the following categories? Read more...

As the Morning Rising: I'll Not Let Mary Go

As the Morning Rising: I'll Not Let Mary Go: I'll not let Mary go Should rain and snow Blind my eyes And cover every path I know Should sickness come And weaken ...

1 May 2016

It's May! Where's Your Rosary?

Really. Where is your Rosary? It’s May, and May is dedicated to the Mother of God, Mary, our Mother, too, and the practice of prayer called the Rosary.
I have to admit, I am a Rosary Hoarder. I think I own about 20 rosaries, and I look to collect more. I also carry rosaries with me to give away. It is a weird thing to do, but when the Holy Spirit prompts, I have found, even though I feel silly giving away Rosaries to people I don’t know, and sometimes to people I do know, that in the gesture are many blessings. I am both blessed and bless in the gift of the Rosary.
Read More at Prayerfully Yours.

In My Deepest Wound

When Life Isn't Ideal: "Amoris Laetitia"

Something I found on page 59 of "Amoris Laetitia"1 is an example of why I love being Catholic — common sense, drawing on the Church's experience and wisdom, developed by dealing with people for two millennia.

Some folks have been having conniptions over the encyclical: some because the Pope won't redefine marriage to suit their preferences; others, I suspect, for his failure to heap abuse on couples in " 'irregular' situations."

Instead of denouncing them as loathsome sinners who should be cast into the outer darkness, Pope Francis actually talks about "...offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God's plan for them...." ("Amoris Laetitia," page 227)

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: I have loved you

We are chosen for love. We are sent out into the world to love one another. Sometimes we live as if we were sent into the world to compete with one another, or to dispute with one another, or even to quarrel with one another.

But the Christian is to live in such a way that he shows what is meant by loving. It is here that Jesus makes another of his great claims. Read on: 10 Minute Daily Retreat

I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. John 15:23-24

30 Apr 2016

Stand Inside the Fire

We have a choice to let go of fear and trust in the fire of the Holy Spirit. However, as we mature, we are conditioned by society to resist the latent firepower within. The saints show us how to let go of control and allow God to do His job within our souls because the truth is only the fire of God can purify, refine and changes us into the Image of Jesus Christ so Love shines through us into the world.
God will use anything to help use let go. "Standing Outside the Fire", by Garth Brooksalways brings me to tears because it triggers my own yearning for the fire of God hidden deep in my soul. It is easy to lose touch with this longing, focusing on the business of each day as I function efficiently, approved of by society. On the other hand, whenever someone surrenders to the power of the fire, the ensuing process of transformation usually looks messy and foolish.

29 Apr 2016

'We will come to them and make our home with them.' Sunday Reflections, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Trinity, El Greco, 1577, Madrid 
Gospel John 14:23-29 (NRSV,Catholic Ed, Can)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

The late Bishop Bienvenido 'Benny' S. Tudtud of Marawi, Philippines, visited my Dad (below) in Dublin some time in the early 1980s. As it happened, Dad was about to leave for the wedding of a cousin of mine but he was able to entertain his unexpected guest for a while. Later on he told my brother, 'The bishop made me feel at home'. My brother laughed and said to him, 'You were the one supposed to make him feel at home!'

Full post here.

Some Days...

There are days you can do it, and days that you can’t. I personally think I should become a hermit, perhaps, then, I could lead a life of holiness and good example for the secular world because when I fall, I don’t just fall, I implode and explode at the same time. At times like these, I am thankful that to become a saint, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to love God above all else; love yourself as God loves you; and love your neighbor as yourself. 

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Debt Reduction: A Very SLOW Learning Process

My biggest issue.  I want everything to be a PIECE OF CAKE - or a yummy gluten-free cupcake as my case may be. When I first opened the Navigating Your Finances God's Way small group study back on February 21st, my subconscious expectation was to have all my financial woes FIXED by time I reached Lesson 10!  Well, we are only on Lesson 8, and I can attest that many of our fiscal problems still exist.  

We still live paycheck to paycheck, we still occasionally need a boost from our lone credit card to make our ends meet, I still do not have a steady stream of income, and our cars are still both on their last leg.  

I paint such a pretty picture every week don't I!  Well, that comes from some years in marketing and others in human resources - you always give the negative 'strokes' before launching into the positive.
IT will not be the quick fix ... READ MORE of how we are pulling ourselves out of debt
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Cryonics, Smallpox, and Pope Pius VII

I remember when heart transplants were front-page international news, not local human interest stories: and when polio vaccinations were new. I really do not miss the 'good old days.' I remember them, and they weren't.

I also remember when cryonics was 'science fiction stuff,' not a highly-experimental and controversial medical procedure. I probably won't live long enough to see whether it works. But if you're young enough: you might....

...Since I'll be talking about life, death, and medical practices, I'd better start by saying that I'm a Christian: a Catholic.

Like it says in the Apostles Creed, "I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." I'll be explaining why I don't see a conflict between that belief and trying to save lives....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 Apr 2016

Praying about Memories

Last week my nephew Andy videotaped my sister and me recalling our experiences growing up in our house on Donald Avenue and the people who made up our family, immediate and extended. This trip down memory lane was a lovely experience. It unearthed events that I had long forgotten about. My sister and I remembered different things. By coincidence, in a homily last week, Pope Francis spoke of the value of treasuring memories. They can be a great source of prayer. So how do we let our memories inspire prayer? We replay them in our minds, aware of the presence of God as we do so. click to continue

Faith Alone Won't Save You: The Command to Love in Marriage & Divorce

Faith Alone Save, Call Love Marriage & Divorce - 2 Skeletons
The Christian woman beamed when I told her I'd accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior but had never heard of the Salvation Prayer. After receiving permission, she put her hands on me and prayed the Salvation Prayer over me. When it was completed, she practically squealed with delight at having "saved" me and ran off to tell others.

It was overly simple. I'd accepted Christ as Savior, said The Salvation Prayer,  and  - BOOM! -  she said I was now going to Heaven. In those few moments, I'd received a golden ticket to paradise.

It was an experience I was happy to have, but it was also one that made me think more deeply about what it means to be Catholic-Christian. The more cynical part of me wondered if I could be saved simply because of my faith and saying the Salvation Prayer as many Christians profess.

I'd accepted Jesus, but I had before I'd known the Salvation Prayer existed.
I'd sought out faith in Jesus and the Holy Trinity, but the fact that I was still alive and kicking had already proven they exist.
I'd held tight to Faith, Hope, and Love. They'd already lit my darkness and given me reason to live another day.

Was professing the Salvation Prayer's truths enough?

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As the Morning Rising: Going Places

As the Morning Rising: Going Places: Going Places Bedraggled Unwashed untended Toe-peeping shoes past needing mended Clothed in a carnival coloured shawl and wrap-ro...

27 Apr 2016

Finding God on a Cold, Windy Day at the end of April When we all feel it should be much warmer outside!

Today is April 27, 2016, and it’s cold. The wind is blowing making it feel colder. Yes, we have a wind chill. The actual air temperature is 47 degrees. That’s cold! My joints ache. I’m tired. I’m cranky. I need a nap, but, because it’s cold, my dog is hogging the couch where I should be taking a well deserved morning nap, right now. Then there’s the politics. I’m more discouraged than I have ever been in my adult life about the state of our candidates. I’m wondering which candidate is the one for whom I will vote. Should I simply vote for me? I don’t know. Right now, I don’t care. I feel disconnected, not only from God, but from everyone I know. 

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Spending April God's Way; Not Necessarily My Way!

April is a time of renewal; new beginnings!

I spent most of this past month of April caring for a friend, who underwent her second hip replacement. Throughout the month, I was repeatedly reminded of God’s presence in the midst of all that went on; from the day of her surgery, until she departed to return to her own home, with her brand, spanking, new hip.

It started with the day of her surgery (March 30th). While walking down the hall to my friend’s hospital room, I noticed that each room had signs under the room numbers with unique quotes . For my friend’s room we had a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas (my virtues mentor!). It read: “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

As I read this quote I realized...

25 Apr 2016

Remember, One Day, with Luck, You Will be a Soul in Purgatory

Not only were we made to live, we were made to die. I think back to the people who lived and walked with Jesus, and I am reminded of my mortality. The Obituary Section of the paper is never empty. There are always names and stories there. I had one ancestor who fought in the Civil War. He’s dead now, along with his wife who outlived him and claimed the benefits due to her after he died. She died 20 years later. My grandparents are dead. My parents are deceased. We were made to live, but, one day, we have to die. There’s no getting out of that. We cannot stay in this world forever. Our real home is in eternity.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours:  

As the Morning Rising: Prayer, Power, and the Universal Church

As the Morning Rising: Prayer, Power, and the Universal Church: I spent some time today in the Adoration Chapel in my local parish. There were others there too. The fact that our personal or communal pra...

Gospel According to Saint Mark: Time of Fulfillment (Mark 1:15)

Mark’s Gospel

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark, author of the Gospel According to Saint Mark. In Mark’s Gospel, we read succinct passages central to the life of Christ. Mark was not loquacious, but, rather to the point! His gospel was termed, urgent, brief and direct. For example, the evangelist’s entire message can be considered summed up within one verse: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Mark wrote his gospel for the Roman Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote it in Greek, sometime around 67-70 A.D. It is considered to be the first of the four Gospels to be documented in writing. Saint Mark portrayed Jesus as... Read more... 

24 Apr 2016

Arise, North Wind!

Flat Earth, Psalms 150:1 — and Joy

(From N. F. Gier, University of Idaho; adapted from an illustration in the New American Bible: St. Joseph Edition; used w/o permission.)
(A Mesopotamian cosmology, about two dozen centuries back.)

'The Bible says Earth is flat.'

If you live in America, and haven't heard that as a reason for rejecting Christianity: you're not paying attention.

Word seems to be getting around, though that the "dark" ages were anything but. I've discussed post-Roman Europe, science, and autopsies, before. (January 22, 2016; August 28, 2015; August 15, 2014)

About Earth being flat — I've yet to run into a Christian who says that; although I did meet one who informed me that our sun goes around Earth, not the other way around.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Minute Daily Retreat: 'He will wipe away every tear...' Rev 21:3-4

Have you ever shed tears over the experience of utter rejection? The devastation in relationship breakdown runs about as deep as it gets. Or perhaps the rejection is the loss of a dream, a goal we worked so desperately to achieve? 

Writers are encouraged to re-enter those experiences, examine them and from the depths, produce a story written from the heart.

Yet, it's not the pain readers want to experience. That's only part of the story. Whether Fact or Fiction, the power of a story is in victory over adversity. It's the power of love, the promise of hope, the moment when tears are wiped away.

No one can escape episodes of grief and pain. Today's reading tells us that God is with us in those moments, and that He promises to wipe away our tears.  

This is a sampler of the heavenly promise that one day there will be no more tears at all.

As the Morning Rising: Music

As the Morning Rising: Music: Music We lift up our hearts. The buried song resounds Once more. From ocean depths To highest heaven There soars In silenc...

23 Apr 2016



'By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C

Frs Owen McPolin, John Blowick, Edward Galvin China 1920
Gospel John 13:31-33a, 34-35 (NRSV, Catholic Ed)

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

On the evening of 29 January 1918 an extraordinary event took place in Dalgan Park, Shrule, a remote village on the borders of County Mayo and County Galway in the west of Ireland. At the time Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which was engaged in the Great War. Thousands of Irishmen were fighting in the trenches in France and Belgium. Many, including my great-uncle Corporal Lawrence Dowd, never came home. There was a movement for independence in Ireland that led to the outbreak of guerrilla warfare in Ireland later in 1918. There was widespread poverty in the country, particularly acute in the cities.

Despite all of that, on 10 October 1916 the Irish bishops gave permission to two young diocesan priests, Fr Edward J. Galvin and Fr John Blowick to have a national collection so that they could open a seminary that would prepare young Irish priests to go to China. The effort was called the Maynooth Mission to China, because Maynooth, west of Dublin, is where St Patrick's National Seminary is, where Fr Galvin had been ordained in 1909 and Fr Blowick in 1913.
The seminary opened that late winter's evening with 19 students and seven priests. Many of the students were at different stages of their formation in Maynooth but transferred. The seven priests belonged to different dioceses but threw in their lot with this new venture which, on 29 June 1918, would become the Society of St Columban.

This Sunday's gospel was part of what the new group reflected on as they gathered in the makeshift chapel in Dalgan Park, the name of the 'Big House' and the land on which it was built.
Full post here.

22 Apr 2016

God Smiles When He Teaches Me Patience

Going to the doctor can be a trial if you are not feeling well and you have to wait to be seen in the waiting room filled with other sick people. When you’ve waited for a long time, it’s difficult to be pleasant and kind to the people who will serve you, once you get into the examining room. God uses so many ways to teach us what we need to know, and one of the things I need to learn is patience. Today, when I visited our local Urgent Care Center, I could almost feel God smiling as He directed my lesson in the Virtue of Patience. 

Read More At Prayerfully Yours

As the Morning Rising: Earth Day

As the Morning Rising: Earth Day: Earth earth is the song of songs the grass at dawn dew-laden earth is clay and wattle ocean and wind fish in an opal...