St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A' la Carte

I've been so busy lately and not able to blog as often as I'd like. But there is plenty of good blogging going on out there. Here are a few interesting articles I've come across lately:

At Oswald Sobrino's Catholic Analysis there are several worthwhile reads; a recent one on homeschooling being hailed by the Archbishop of Atlanta; Legitimate Diversity is another good one.

Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii always makes me smile :)...when she's not causing me to pause and take spiritual inventory.....(I smile then too!). Her post Lenten Resolution - Spring Cleaning, is a favorite, and you will find many, many posts worth your time.

And also, a Deacon - seminarian friend of ours gave a homily not too long ago that I think is not only a great bridge-builder where disunity within the Church is concerned but certainly a most hopeful message.

Finally, if you are able to download podcasts, our former pastor is podcasting his homilies this new year. You can find them at this LINK.

Let me know if you come across something interesting that you'd like to pass my way.

God bless!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lenten Meme

Ah, my friend Esther has tagged me with the Lenten Meme.

1. What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?
Jesus picks up/ carries his cross.

2. What is your favorite Station of the Cross? Jesus meets the weeping women.

3. Do you fast during Lent?
Yes, moreso than of my voluntary fasting for special reasons throughout the course of the year.

4. What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?
Esther's "less computer time" works for me also :) I am also working on unloading or simplifying my life - even if physically in the home environment. Spiritually, that runs a bit deeper. And "kindness" - I'm working on kindness and recommending it to everyone, my own family, my friends. I really think that kindness is a long forgotten and much needed virtue.

5. Do you use Holy Water during Lent?
We use Holy Water all the time - and yes we continue to use it at home during Lent. It has been a custom that the Holy Water isn't present at our local church during this season.

6. How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?
I am not able to go everyday as I would like due to family dynamics and morning mass times - but I go extra once a week, and try to add an additional Eucharistic Adoration Hour, in addition to my regular weekly Adorer timeslot.

I'd like to tag:

Life is Beauty

Praying for Grace

Johnny Nobody

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Wednesday, Re-visited...

I have a confession to make (no pun intended!) as I re-visit the Ash Wednesday post I just blogged the other day. I say "re-visit", rather than "revise". You'll see why. While my sentiments and spiritual inclinations haven't changed in regard to "going further...." with Lent, and taking to heart the words of St. Augustine, this year my focus is directed differently by the inspiration of God -- yes...the confession: "Ash Wednesday" was a Lenten post from last year....I just couldn't think of a better way to say what I felt needed said, and didn't feel it was necessary to re-write it, so I simply pulled it back out for re-posting. The difference however, are those "few words" that help provide focus and encouragement that God seems to make apparent each year. Somehow, these words, also used quite frequently by St. Josemaria Escriva** (usually in Latin!), seem to be speaking out to me at the onset of this Lenten season:

"In silentio et in spe erit fortitudo vestra — in quietness and in trust shall be your strength"; or as Isaiah 30:15 states, "By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies" .

I'm looking forward to contemplating often this scripture passage throughout Lent and perhaps asking St. Escriva through his intercession to help make it clearer to me; how it is God desires for this to be played out in my life, where and when I can apply it.

As we begin Lent, I hope and pray you will find just the right words, complimented and supported by the right pious actions and sacrifices to help direct you through a profitable Lent.

**The Forge, #799

Image: Madonna del Rosario, by Caravaggio 1571-1610

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is environmentalism the new religion?

By Joseph Brean

In his new book Apollo’s Arrow, ambitiously subtitled The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything, Vancouver-based author and mathematician David Orrell set out to explain why the mathematical models scientists use to predict the weather, the climate and the economy are not getting any better, just more refined in their uncertainty.

(Find out more: follow this LINK to the article)

Ash Wednesday

Each Lent I prepare myself for the forty days ahead beginning with a spiritual pep talk. I know that may sound funny, (as if it might be very difficult to get through Lent!), but God has been good every year in helping me to stumble upon just the right words that I will need to refer to often; only a few words that will help provide focus (and re-focus). This year is no exception as I've found the words of St. Augustine to provide just the right encouragement needed. Taken from Christ is Passing By (St. Escriva), we read:

"Remember what St Augustine said: 'If you say enough, you are lost. Go further, keep going. Don't stay in the same place, don't go back, don't go off the road.' Lent should suggest to us these basic questions: Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues?"

Certainly there are many areas in need of improvement in our lives. Let us reflect seriously on those areas personal to us this Lenten season and go to work on them. Certe bonum certanem! Fight the good fight! If you need a pep talk -- I'll be here.

Here are some additional thoughts from St. Escriva, regarding Lent:

"We are at the beginning of Lent: a time of penance, purification and conversion. It is not an easy program, but then Christianity is not an easy way of life. It is not enough just to be in the Church, letting the years roll by. In our life, in the life of Christians, our first conversion — that unique moment which each of us remembers, when we clearly understood everything the Lord was asking of us — is certainly very significant. But the later conversions are even more important, and they are increasingly demanding. To facilitate the work of grace in these conversions, we need to keep our soul young; we have to call upon our Lord, know how to listen to him and, having found out what has gone wrong, know how to ask his pardon.

"If you call upon me, I will listen to you," we read in this Sunday's liturgy. Isn't it wonderful how God cares for us and is always ready to listen to us — waiting for man to speak? He hears us at all times, but particularly now. Our heart is ready and we have made up our minds to purify ourselves. He hears us and will not disregard the petition of a "humble and contrite heart."

The Lord listens to us. He wants to intervene and enter our lives to free us from evil and fill us with good. "I will rescue him and honour him," he says of man. So we must hope for glory. Here again we have the beginning of the interior movement that makes up our spiritual life. Hope of glory increases our faith and fosters our charity; the three theological virtues, godly virtues which make us like our Father God, have been set in motion.

What better way to begin Lent? Let's renew our faith, hope and love. The spirit of penance and the desire for purification come from these virtues. Lent is not only an opportunity for increasing our external practices of self-denial. If we thought it were only that, we would miss the deep meaning it has in christian living, for these external practices are — as I have said — the result of faith, hope and charity."

(These excerpts taken from St. Josemaria Escriva: Christ Is Passing By, Points 57, 58)

Miracle of the Bread and Fish, by Giovanni Lanfranco courtesy of Web Gallery of Art

God bless you with a profitable Lenten Season.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine Meme

I've been tagged for the Valentine Meme by my friend Esther. (I liked your answers E!:-)

What are your favorite top ten romantic movies?

1. Somewhere in Time
2. Finding Neverland
3. Everafter
4. Return to Me
5. Phantom of the Opera, (The Movie)
6. Hamlet (The Movie, Mel Gibson)
7. My Man Godfrey
8. Forever Young
9. Tuck Everlasting
10.Wuthering Heights

What are your top five favorite romantic books (fiction or non-fiction) ?

1. The Keeper of the Bees - Gene Stratton-Porter
2. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
3. Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte
4. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
5. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

If money were no object, where on earth would you like to spend your Valentine's Day and how would you spend it? In other words, what is your idea of a perfect Valentine's Day date?

That's a tough one for me. I guess right now I'd prefer a warmer climate, so anywhere south of the Equator would work! And as long as there were sand to walk with bare feet across, and the sound of waves, and my husband at my side, and some peace with a capital P, then I would enjoy that as the perfect Valentine's Day date.

I tag any romantic who would like to join the fun!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just Say: Johnny Marzetti

Another favorite and fast winter dish of ours is Johnny Marzetti. Say what?...Who? :) Yes, you can read a bit about Johhny in the Post-Gazette article below and learn a little bit about Ohio history. Ah, Real Learning! Keep in mind there are several variations of this delicious casserole - if you "google" you are apt to find many that differ in some way, but the "basics" to Johnny Marzetti will be there. For instance, we prefer the bigger egg noodles, compared to the elbow macaroni noodle used in some recipes.

This is a nice dish to put together quickly and inexpensively; great for the homeschool dinner melt-down! In our home, the bulk of our home education happens between the hours of 9 am through 2:30/3:00 pm. I love good casseroles that are taking care of themselves in the oven! I start to put the casserole together after school hours while the children help tidy up and prepare for our evening. While the entree is baking we can enjoy some unwinding with free time. Mom needs this time especially, a little refresher after a day's schooling, prior to the arrival of dad and sitting down to dinner. I like to put on some lovely background music and light a candle at this time of day to help transition myself into a less hurried-busy atmosphere while turning my thoughts in thankfulness to God for the blessings of each day of family and the privilege of schooling in the home. A lit candle does easily remind us of the light of Christ always present. And this little ritual does seem to help the children unwind as well. (We also light a candle in the morning - to begin our day with our thoughts turned to Him, with Him and in Him, continually).

Okay then! Happily and coincidently, our seven year old is making his First Reconciliation this next Sunday, the 18th (yea Michael!) Afterward, our parish hosts a dinner for the families, and the main entree this year by our resident Chef is none other than: ala' Johnny Marzetti. Served with a salad and rolls, and a small dish of ice cream with wafer-cookie, this will be a delightful ending to a beautiful sacrament and day.

Johnny Marzetti
immortalized as casserole
Thursday, November 04, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

What's Johnny Marzetti? Johnny Marzetti is a casserole created in the 1920s by the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Who was Johnny Marzetti? According to the "American Century Cookbook" by Jean Anderson, Johnny Marzetti was the brother of the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant.

Casseroles steamrolled into the kitchen in the 1940s and have remained popular staples to this day. The Johnny Marzetti casserole was popular in the mid '50s and early '60s. It consists of meat, pasta and either tomato sauce, soup or juice.


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 lb. egg noodles
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1/4 c. chopped onion
16 oz Colby long horn cheese

Brown ground beef, green peppers, celery seed and onion and drain. Add, tomato sauce, stewed tomatos and noodles. Bring to boil then simmer med heat until noodles done. Pour into buttered casserole dish and layer with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese bubbles or looks done to you.

Image Test, Swords

Friday, February 09, 2007

Women of the Third Millennium

"Women of the Third Millennium (WTTM) is a lay organization that promotes the dignity, vocation, and mission of women and men through retreats, talks, articles, and books. WTTM was co-founded in 1996 by Katrina Zeno and Zoƫ Romanowsky in response to Pope John Paul II's call to develop a new feminism. Since that time, WTTM has expanded its vision to reach out to both single and married people."


A friend has just loaned me the book Every Woman's Journey by Katrina Zeno and I'm finding it very insightful. Go to the link for more information.

Every Woman's Journey, Katrina Zeno

Poetry Friday

A Winter Dawn

Banana-cream and apricot
arose in the eastern sky;
Softly blending with shaded-greys,
it quietly caught the eye.

Dawn is magic along the horizon
before the sun climbs aloft;
Winter mornings are specially-embellished
with colours more muted and soft.

Snowflakes mirror the pastel tones,
adding their touch for the day;
Beauty spilled from nature's palette
and meant to come our way.

Joan Adams Burchell

Thursday, February 08, 2007

FREE Catholic Homeschooling Convention Bags

Great Stuff Convention Bags, inc.
Formerly: Tim's Great Stuff, inc.

February 8, 2007

For those of you who have ordered bags from us before, it was great working with you. We are now taking orders for FREE handout bags for your Catholic home school support group. We look forward to once again serving you in 2007.

If you have never ordered bags from us before, let me explain how our service works. Great Stuff Convention Bags, inc. provides curriculum bags, free of charge, to Catholic home school groups all over the United States. There are no hidden costs. We contact vendors directly to solicit them to include their advertising material, brochures, catalogs, coupons or magazines in bags for you to distribute to home school parents at your support group meetings. We also ship them to you at our expense. All we ask is that you conscientiously distribute all the material you request.

If you would like to receive free handout bags for your Catholic home school support group, please submit the following information via e-mail to us as soon as possible. This will ensure you have the highest response possible from interested vendors. Please highlight, copy, and paste the information between the dotted lines below into a new e-mail, fill in the information and e-mail it back to us right away at Or, just give us a call at (302) 737-3673 to order your bags. The minimum order of free handout bags is 25. If you want to order more than 25, your order must be in increments of 25 (ie: 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 225, 250, 275 etc.) Thanks! We look forward to serving you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bag Order Information for 2007

Name of Catholic Organization:
Date of event (No earlier than 4/2/07):
# of bags needed:
Date to deliver bags:

Contact Person Information:
Name of contact person:
Address of contact person:
Phone #:
E-mail address:

Shipping Label Information (if different than above):
Contact person:
Shipping address:
Phone #:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* (If you know of another Catholic homeschool organization that can benefit from this offer, please feel free to forward this information to them.)
At your service,

Tim von Duyke
Great Stuff Convention Bags, inc.

phone & fax: 302-737-3673

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pope Bl. Pius IX (1792-1878)

The son of Italian nobles, Pius may be best known for defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. He also presided over the First Vatican Council, which defined the dogma of papal infallibility. He had a reputation for being a patriotic reformer. Next to St. Peter, his papacy was the longest in history

"Great indeed is our trust in Mary. The resplendent glory of her merits, far exceeding all the choirs of angels, elevates her to the very steps of the throne of God."
– Pope Bl. Pius IX

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scenes from Candlemas

My friend Alice at Cottage Blessings has shared her wonderful ideas regarding her family's Candlemas celebration. Follow the title-link to: Scenes from the Feast of Candlemas--and a Few More Seeds Scattered.
In my neck of the woods of northeastern Ohio, it's -4 degrees today. Looks like this chill is to continue for a few days here. Burrrr....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Second Carnival of Menu Planning Saturday!

My friend Meredith over at Sweetness and Light is continuing to host the menu planning carnival. Here's what she says:

"We're kicking off the Second Carnival of Menu Planning Saturday, and it's a good one! Lots of new recipes to check out and maybe add to your list for next week!! We're also sharing the Five Most Important Pantry Items, you know, those things you just can't live without, like the Chocolate Chips, :) Thanks to all the wonderful Meals and Ideas, Enjoy the Carnival!!"

To join in the great ideas, follow this post by way of this LINK: Second Carnvial of Menu Planning Saturday.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Love, Purification and Doves

“You and I surely do need purification!”
Cor Mariae perdolentis, miserere nobis! Invoke the Heart of Holy Mary, with the purpose and determination of uniting yourself to her sorrow, in reparation for your sins and the sins of men of all times. And pray to her - for every soul - that her sorrow may increase in us our aversion from sin, and that we may be able to love the physical or moral contradictions of each day as a means of expiation. (Furrow, 258)

When the days of the Mother’s purification are accomplished, according to the Law of Moses, the Child must be taken to Jerusalem, to be presented to the Lord (Luke 2:22).

And this time it will be you, my friend, who will carry the cage with the doves (Luke 2:24). —Just think: She —the Immaculate!— submits herself to the Law as if she were defiled.

Through this example, foolish child, will you learn to obey the Holy Law of God, regardless of any per­sonal sacrifice?

Purification! You and I surely do need purification! —Atonement, and more than atonement, Love. —Love as a searing iron to cauterize our souls’ uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretched tinder of our hearts.

A just and God‑fearing man has come to the temple led by the Holy Ghost —it had been revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Christ. —He takes the Messiah in his arms and says to Him: Now, My Lord, Thou canst take Thy servant out of this world in peace, according to Thy promise... because my eyes have seen the Saviour (Luke 2:25‑30). (Holy Rosary, Fourth Joyful Mystery)

Daily Meditation courtesy of Opus Dei

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reflections on Esther

In today's reading, Esther and her handmaids lay prostrate on the ground morning until evening....calling to God for assistance. Further on in the book of Esther, my Ignatius RSV bible, chapter 4, verses 16, 17, state..."and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day...."..."I and my maids will also fast as you do"; even further along we read how Esther puts on the "garments of distress and mourning", covered herself with ashes and dung and prayed, prayed, prayed, fasting and mortifying herself for the next three days..... Quite seriously, she was preparing for a mission, that which Esther is well known for - overcoming her fear and approaching the king in order to save her people. And the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob answers this intensely sincere request.

While, I don't expect to see many people in ashes and dung these days -- nor fasting for up through three days, I do think there is much to learn from such examples. While the "missions" in my life aren't anywhere near as challenging as that of Esther, still, they are uniquely my own that God has given me and have oftentimes required getting over a fear, asking the Holy Spirit for "just the right words" and asking for a special grace to fulfill what is necessary. There are missions in my life that I will fast, mortify and pray in earnest for; I'm sure I'm not alone.

Here are some thoughts from Fr. Francis Fernandez (In Conversation with God, Lenten volume) with more scriptural references in regard to fasting:

"....Fasting more sign of the spirit of penance that God asks of man. In the Old Testament we can find gradually developing with ever increasing richness, the religious sense of penance, as a personal religious act, which has as its end love for and abandoment in God. [Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution, Paenitemini, 17 Feb, 1966] When it is accompanied by prayer it can be used to manifest humility before God. [Lev 16:29-31) The man who fasts turns toward God in an attitude of total dependence and abandonment. In Holy Scripture we see how fasting and other works of penance were performed before the commencement of any difficult task [Jude 20:26, Esther 4:16], to implore forgiveness for sin [1 Kings21:27], to obtain the cessation of a calamity [Jude 4:9-13], to gain the grace needed for the fulfillment of a mission [Acts 13:2], and to prepare oneself to come face to face with God [Ex 34:38, Dan 9:3]."

Lord on the day I called for help, you answered me....(Psalm 138)
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