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Showing posts with the label Loyola Press

"Dear Pope Francis" Will Delight You!

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I'm an excitable person, I realize that--I did a victory dance this morning when I managed to peel my orange in one satisfying strip. Even so, THIS IS BIG: Children drew pictures and sent letters to Pope Francis! And he answered them!

The children ask such beautifully genuine questions, and Pope Francis responds thoughtfully, tenderly. Some people worry that our Pope is a controversial figure, I know, but this book simply confirms that Pope Francis is someone we all would like to spend time with personally. Dear Pope Francis invites us to feel like we've spent an afternoon in the Pope's sitting room. Truly a pastor--a shepherd--Pope Francis gathers us around his chair, listening to us and speaking with us sincerely about God, love, life's troubles, death. That's the feeling I get from Dear Pope Francis, with its homemade drawings and heartfelt exchanges.

Join me at Praying with Grace for all the details!

Get Yout Advent On!

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Today's post features Advent ideas from lots of great places: Catholic Mom, USCCB, Our Sunday Visitor, Holy Heroes, Loyola Press, and much more. If you've ever wanted an easily-accessible collection of great family resources, this is it!

Please join me at Praying with Grace today!

I Was Going to Be the Perfect Mom

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Did you get a load of this New York Post article? A New Yorker named Wednesday Martin just wrote a memoir called Primates of Park Avenue, due out June 2. The book chronicles her experience with Upper-East-Side women who wear motherhood like an assault rifle. According to Maureen Callahan's article about the book, these moms pay $400 an hour for play-date tutors, enroll 3-month-old infants in music classes, and time pregnancies so their children will be the oldest ones in class.

Loyola Press offers a rosary kit for children ages four and up. They sent me a kit and asked me to share my thoughts. So, I turned right around and shared the kit with some families (including one family with a son who has developmental delays), and asked what they thought.

Finding God in Special Needs

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The man in the purple wheelchair is my brother Mark. The happy little girl with him is my daughter, who dearly loved her Uncle Mark. Mark passed away in 2007 at the age of 39, but I think about him every single day.
Mark had a unique personality, as well as severe mental and physical disabilities. Mark was blind, but he trained me to see; without him as my brother, I might never have paid much attention to people with special needs. As it is, I am always on the lookout for folks who respect people with special needs, and who learn at least as much as they teach.

I met just such a person a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Joellyn Cicciarelli, the director of curricula development at Loyola Press. I sat down with Joellyn one fine morning at her offices in Chicago to learn more about her and her unique work.

Read all about it at Praying with Grace!

Things That Make Me Happy

God was lavish with me on Sunday, drawing me close to him through church, music, family, community, and nature. Why would I sabotage his invitation to intimacy, his consolation? I must continue to pray and discern how to help others who suffer, certainly, but the panicky guilt I suddenly felt constricting my heart was a dirty trick. The movement I had noticed all day was joyful consolation; only an enemy would be interested in sucking the gratitude out of me. Once I got that straight, I decided to accept God's gift, gratefully, and to store up the peace for more difficult times that might lie ahead.

Brimming with joy, then, I made this little list of 5 things that make me happy. Maybe they will make you happy too, or remind you of other happy things you've been meaning to thank God for. And now, Things That Make Me Happy:

Find out at Praying with Grace!

A Special Reason To Be Grateful

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Not long ago, a wonderful woman came to visit me at the Apostleship of Prayer. She is helping her son prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation, and she wanted to show me the materials she was using. Here they are:
Beautiful. The vibrant colors, the simple text, the attractive art--everything draws me in to these materials. They are part of Loyola Press's offerings for students with special needs.

Loyola Press's adaptive kits have been on my mind a great deal this month, because September is the month Pope Francis asks us to pray for people with mental disabilities. My reflection this month is about my own brother, Mark, who enriched many lives through his challenges. And each September morning, as I rise and pray my Morning Offering, I remember Pope Francis' prayer intention, keeping his prayer close to my heart throughout the day. Today I give thanks to Loyola Press for their excellent materials for children with special needs.
Read on at Praying with Grace!