My Daughter’s Foreign First Communion

Amy received her First Holy Communion in a little chapel in Monterrey Mexico. The plan to celebrate with all of her school friends in St. Louis evaporated as our plan to relocate to Mexico developed. We waited to buy her dress so that she would fit in with the style of all the other girls, but when we arrived we discovered that there wouldn’t be any other girls that day, just Amy and a little boy named Guillermo.

Amy with the candle and the Bible (in English) her Grandpa brought from the states.

What seemed so disappointing at the time turned out to be one of the most beautiful First Communion celebrations I’ve ever witnessed. Fr. Carlos spoke directly to Amy and Guillermo as he handed them a candle and Bible and said,

“See, the candle is beautiful, but incomplete.” He lit it. “Now it is complete because it is on fire. But the fire will consume it, and change it. This is what happens to our hearts when the fire of Christ is in us. We are changed.”

“This Bible is your armor against the enemy. Read it so that you know how to live like Jesus.”

Finally, he turned them toward the congregation and said, “This is God’s greatest gift to you; His people, the church.”

And to us, the church, “It is your responsibility to help these children grow in faith.”

This May 2020 we won’t see the large groups of children in white dresses and suits processing down the aisle and receiving their First Communion. The Covid 19 pandemic took care of that. It’s disappointing, and I feel for every family affected by this. I pray and hope that our disappointment turns to joy each time we receive the Lord in the Eucharist and remember,

“This is what happens to our hearts when the fire of Christ is in us. We are changed.”

Our tiny little church community made the day extra special by hosting a celebration after Mass.
We were happy that day.

In hope,

Peggy

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Happening NOW! Flooding AGAIN!

So. Hmm. It’s hard to know what to think or say about this currently happening flooding incident in Kingwood, TX and the greater Houston area. Some streets and homes are flooded again. It’s not as devastating as Hurricane Harvey two years ago, unless you are an unfortunate soul whose home or business is now flooded.

We tipped a table to divert water away from our back door so that it won”t threaten to flood the kitchen. It works really well. This photo doesn’t begin to reflect the state of my city right now!

In May, St. Martha Catholic School flooded. I was working that day in the detached building across from the PreK hallway. For hours I counted bricks between the flood waters and the bottom edge of the PreK hallway windows to gauge our chance of flooding too. Our hallway survived the May flood, but not so sure about today, because I’m so sad to report that the school is currently flooding again. AGAIN!

St. Martha Catholic School flooded in May, 2019

Please pray for my city as you go about your day. Be thankful when you get in your car and drive on a clear road and when you pick up your cell and don’t worry about power to charge it. Offer a prayer when you relax in your favorite chair which wasn’t ruined from flood water. When you sleep in your own bed, and turn on your TV and every station isn’t covering “Flash Flood Emergency” warnings, think about what you’re doing with your day, because a lot of people here are going to experience heartbreak and stress as they rebuild. And, be happy when your children are able to go to school because it didn’t flood!

I continue to pray for all of this mess. I also wonder what purpose this new devastation holds, I’m not gonna lie. But in the end, I’m going to continue to praise my mighty and loving Lord God. Here is my prayer of praise from parts of Daniel, Chapter 3:

52 Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestors, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages. 57 Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 59 You heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 60 All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 62 Sun and moon, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 64 Every shower and dew, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 68 Dew and rain, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 82 All you mortals, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. 89 Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose mercy endures forever.” Amen [1]

In hope,

Peggy

[1] http://www.usccb.org/bible/daniel/3

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Thinking About Dad

My dad passed away on May 30, 2019. Several years ago I made two hurried trips to Ohio with funeral clothes packed, thinking that the inevitable was imminent. But, in Dad fashion, he’d pull a trick from his sleeve and came through the near death event to tell another joke or play another song.

This time “the call” was different, and once again I packed funeral clothes and flew to see him that very night. His last two days were shared with many who loved him. I was so grateful that he hung with us so many years that I rejected the feeling of deep grief in the week after his passing.

Now that a few weeks have gone, I am thinking deeply about Dad. I’m sad to no longer hear him answer the phone with a happy, “Hey, Peggy, how ya doin’?” Dad loved his family. We lit up his life and he lit up ours. I miss him.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20170222_081215.jpg

Dad was an interesting guy. He loved music, played some instruments, spoke different languages, and had slight of hand “magic” tricks that left kids and grand-kids (and a few great-grands) baffled and amazed.

Dad and Mom at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Wickliffe, Ohio,
July 2018

Dad had a deep faith. He loved our Lord and the Mass. He believed that Jesus was his savior, and savored each opportunity to attend Mass and receive our Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist. When I was about twenty, Dad, Mom, and I were Eucharistic Ministers at our parish. Dad was in charge of the schedule for the ministers to cover all the Masses, and for a few years we served together on Holy Thursday…the night we celebrate Christ giving us His precious Body and Blood at the Last Supper and saying, “Do this, in remembrance of me.” One year we stood side by side and distributed communion to the congregation. I remember that every year on Holy Thursday.

His love for our Lord and for the Mass really showed itself in his last years, when mobility issues prohibited him from attending church. He was grateful for those who brought him the Eucharist at home.

When Dad was admitted to the hospital this last time, he received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. He had earlier expressed concern to me that he wanted an opportunity to go to confession. In receiving this sacrament he was anointed with holy oil, went to confession, and received Holy Communion. Mom was so happy for him. She sounded relieved. I was too, for that desire of his heart had been granted.

Thank you, Dad, for the laughter that was always part of our lives, for your creativity, and for the seed of faith which you strove to implant in us. You were faithful.

In hope,

Peggy

Read more about Holy Thursday and the Eucharist here:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2864

Read more about the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick here:

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/anointing-of-the-sick/index.cfm

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Flesh and Blood

What a way to start the day! Today’s Gospel reading at Mass is the linchpin of our Catholic faith. It is the passage that unites us, literally, as a church. Ironically, it causes such misunderstanding and division that some leave the church because they can’t bring themselves to believe.  Other religions call Catholics a cult (or worse) because we believe what it says and we do what it commands.  Things haven’t changed much since the time of Christ, have they?

I’m not gonna lie, I was just a bit giddy that I was able to attend Mass this morning and live out this very gospel teaching.  It is an imperative of our Lord Himself.  You probably know the passage:

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is  true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood  remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
                                                                                                         -John 6:52-59

I have friends who believe the Bible should be interpreted literally.  They take their faith seriously and want to live as Christ taught.  But in this circumstance, they don’t believe that they should do what Jesus says in this passage. 

How is it possible that this one passage isn’t taken literally? His words are very clear. He doesn’t say this is a reenactment, and he doesn’t tell us to do it to “remember” him.  He says that “unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you.” Read more about this in https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/body-and-blood/

Photo by Two-Eleven Photography

Jesus is present under the species of bread and wine. It is the same Christ who is offering this sacrifice that acts through the ministry of his priests. Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of our Lord. (CCC 1410, 1411) This was the Tradition and practice of the apostles and their successors from the very beginning.

Definitely check out this website for more on the Eucharist:
https://www.catholicscomehome.org/your-questions/church-teachings/the-eucharist/

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the “official” place to learn more about the Eucharist .

Bishop Robert Barron has a DVD series on it, appropriately titled Eucharist.

In hope,

Peggy

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Thoughts from an Ancient Teacher

I really liked the lesson this morning when I read the Saint of the Day on my Laudate app.  Sometimes a thought hits home, you know?   The “studying” part of our faith is interesting to me, but this reflection reminded me that when I first received my catechist certificate, Cardinal Dinardo told us that “what we learned was not for head knowledge only, but we are to use it to build the Body of Christ.”

Here is the quote from St. Isadore of Seville, born in 560. Don’t forget to read the last paragraph!

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading. If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us. All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned. Reading the Holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.

My Father-in-Law’s library was extensive.
He had as many or more books on faith as he did other subjects combined.

The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study. The more you devote yourself to study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest. The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded, equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth.

Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. But when God’s grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart. – from the Book of Maxims by Saint Isidore

Heresy is from the Greek word meaning ‘choice’…. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not…choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema. – Saint Isidore

http://catholicsaints.info/saint-isidore-of-seville/

In hope,

Peggy

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Confess Simply

Sometimes life is really hard, and sometimes we fail to live up to the expectations of our Christian faith. The Ten Commandments spell out a holy way of life for us, but daily stresses and temptations make it hard to do what we know is right all of the time. Agreed?

There’s a fix for this. It’s called Confession, aka the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Before you click away, let me just say, “I get it.” Who of us wants to tell our worst behavior to an unfamiliar priest, or worse, to a priest we know ?  That’s just, I don’t know….embarrassing.  So much for having it all together, making  good choices, being kind, peaceful, or generous.  We all blow it, but if no one else knows, we can quietly make our peace with God, right?

No.  Well, not exactly.

I’m going to make a bold statement.  We make way too much out of going to Confession.  No, I’m not downplaying or making light of the sacrament, but if the embarrassment or fear of going into a confessional keeps you from the sacrament, then you’re overthinking this.

Photo credit My Lovely Faith

Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy says that when we go to confession, we should “confess simply.”  In other words, tell what you did and how many times you did it.  There’s no need to go into great detail. The priest doesn’t need to know the details and your simple confession protects him from the scandal of imagining the sin.  You don’t need to dwell on the details either, so the guilt of it doesn’t paralyze you or make you feel unworthy of the mercy of God.   The only exception to this is if there is an extenuating circumstance which makes your sin more serious.  Here is his example:  “Father, I lost my temper one time and hit a man. He was hospitalized.  And Father, the man was my brother- in- law.”   The extenuating circumstance is that the man he hit was his brother-in-law.  Any violence against a family member is a more serious offense and should also be confessed.

Photo credit My Lovely Faith

You will find mercy in the sacrament of Confession.  Do not stay away because of fear or embarrassment.  Let the priest guide you through the process. If you want spiritual direction along with your confession, you can ask the priest for an appointment so you aren’t rushed.  I’ve done this and it was easy to do.  Call the parish office and ask for an appointment for confession.

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” St. Isidore of Seville

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sin may be wiped away.” Acts 3:19 (NABRE)

So to that I say, “Go!”

In hope, Peggy

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Fast and Be Happy

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I don’t know about you, but during Lent I really like to “fast.”  Just kidding.  I don’t like to fast at all.  It takes a lot of effort for me to look pleasant and not wimpy when I don’t eat.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are hard, and I hope every year I won’t get a headache.  I DO recognize the importance of the practice though,  and  I WANT to like it for the spiritual benefit, but… you know… I like to eat.

Last year I heard about a very practical way to “fast” during the 40 Days of Lent.  It’s a simple practice called “The 5 Minute Fast.”

  • Give up something you want for 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, if you still want it, give it up again.  Another 5 minutes goes by and so you give it again….or maybe now you don’t.  Either way, you have offered something up for Lent.
  • Each time you give something up, pray for something or someone.  Fasting is, after all,  a discipline to benefit your spirit and to remind you of your dependence on God.
  • Remember to be grateful.

Over the years I’ve practiced a form of frequent (not every day) fasting.  Usually I decide to fast from a snack, or more likely from a Starbuck’s stop.  These are little longings that I want but can really do without.  The “letting go” of little things helps keep me aware and grateful of the blessings I have.  I like this.

So here’s to Happy Fasting and a Happy, Blessed Lent.  For another lenten post, visit  Happy Lent.

For more reading on the meaning of fasting, visit the USCCB website  here.

In hope,                                                                                                                                            Peggy

Note:  I searched for the 5 Minute Fast online and found one site: ToJesusSincerely.com     Have you heard of this practice? If so, please leave a comment on its origin. Thanks!

 

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Three Reasons Catholics Are Bible People

 

The Catholic Church is a  Bible Church. Does that sound weird to you? Okay, so it isn’t how we normally talk about the Catholic faith, and I wonder why not?  Here are just three reasons why I think this is true.

Reason # 3:  Bible Studies.  For years I attended a very well known non-denominational Bible study. I was intimidated at first with the women who could recite chapter and verse of key faith issues. But after a while I realized that most of them knew less than I thought, and what we learned, we learned together. What’s more, as the study progressed I became more confident in what I already knew, because I knew our faith stories and learned of our salvation history long ago through the Catholic Church . I’m grateful for my experience with that particular study, but the one I attended within my own parish community caused my knowledge and faith to grow too.  Catholic churches do offer studies and  I’m very grateful for  The Cornerstone Scripture Study. It is educational and also builds community within your local church. Visit http://www.thecornerstonescripturestudy.org.   The Little Rock Scripture Study is another option. https://www.littlerockscripture.org/P1020369

Reason #2:  Scripture is proclaimed at each and every Mass.  Passages from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospel are read and “broken open” for us in the homily. Maybe we take for granted what we hear so often, but really, what we have is priceless.   Scott Hahn is now an author and professor of theology and scripture, but when he was a Protestant minister  he experienced his first Mass. By his own admission, he believed that the Mass was the “ultimate sacrilege” and he attended as an observer only. In The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, Hahn describes his life changing experience.

“As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn’t just beside me. It was before me-in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, “Hey, can I explain what’s happening from Scripture? This is great!” Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: “This is My body…This is the cup of my blood.”

“In less than a minute the phrase ‘Lamb of God’ had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times.”

As a result of his knowledge of the Bible and his experience that day, Scott Hahn became a Catholic Theologian.  Can you imagine turning your life and career upside down like that? His story reminds me NOT to take our amazing Catholic faith for granted.

Reason # 1:  The Bible was inspired, written, compiled and defended in the earliest days of the church.  This was when the church was one body, before the Reformation and the divisions of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the countless factions that separate us today.  This early church was the catholic, or universal, church. The Catholic Church of today is this same historic church and for the gift of the Bible it gave us I am ultimately grateful.

In hope,                                                                                                                                                           Peggy

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Gone No Longer: Returning to Mass After Covid-19

Today, after too many weeks of closed churches, I returned to Mass. In my last post I said this:

I anticipate that first Holy Communion when this siege is ended and we can return to our respective church families. I hope with all the hope that I can muster that I will long for it. I know this longing can only be satisfied by the One who loves me the most – the same One who saved me by his cross and gives himself to me in Holy Communion.

As I drove to Mass this morning, mask in hand, I wondered why I was so eager to be there. I can’t say honestly that I had an emotional reaction to going. (I thought I might.)

I drove to the church one day last month just to look at it.

The answer is, I went to show the Lord my devotion to him and conviction to my Catholic faith. I will not be kept away. I will not take Him for granted. I will not place some other necessity or desire above the opportunity to worship and receive Him in Holy Communion. I will not grow weary or lazy or whatever.

I love you Lord.                                      You know that I love you.  -John 21

I took a stand, and it felt really good. And receiving Holy Communion felt like home.

Photo by my friend Claudia.

Mass is back! (Restrictions apply.) For now, only 25% capacity in the church and everyone else outside, and if you are outside you will also receive Holy Communion. If you are sick, compromised, or afraid, stay home and continue watching live streams. I can live with that. For now.

In hope,

Peggy

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Living Without the Eucharist: Still Gone

When my parents stopped going to Mass because of old age and immobility, I was frustrated. I knew they wanted to go, but it was just too much for them. It made me sad. Occasionally they received the Eucharist at home, when they admitted that they really couldn’t get to Mass. Dad watched Mass online at EWTN.

My priest-son visiting with my parents at their home.
They were so happy to celebrate Mass with their grandson presiding.

Today, several weeks into the COVID-19 shutdown, our churches are still closed. I watched a live streamed Mass again, celebrated by my priest-son. (Now how many moms can enjoy that unusual circumstance?)

Second Monday of Easter

When the time comes and we can physically return to Mass, will I long for it? I mean, I can flip my computer on at 8:28 am in time for Mass at 8:30 am. It’s so easy. I’m kind of satisfied, to be honest, but intellectually, I know there is more waiting for me.

I have two memories of receiving the Eucharist that keep playing in my mind. For ten years I sang with the LIFETEEN band at my parish. One week I was leading the band in the absence of our director. At the last minute a key member of our team cancelled, for legit reasons, I should add. I was not equipped with the ability to do his job, and in my anxiety about what to do I was beyond annoyed and disappointed. I didn’t know how I would respond to him when I saw him. Soon after that I went to Mass and he was an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. (He distributed Communion.) As I approached him to receive the Body of Christ we smiled at each other, and I realized that I had no desire to harbor a grudge. All was well.

The second memory involves a young woman who worked in the church for a long time. Every time I receive the Eucharist from her I get choked up. There’s a connection that happens between us in those moments, sprung from years of connections through children and faith. What we share is the love of our Lord and the knowledge that He is present, body, soul, and divinity, in the consecrated host that she places in my hand.

In the moments above, I longed to receive the Eucharist, and after receiving I felt a reverence for the mystery that just happened.

Fr. David’s First Mass. Photo by Two Eleven Photography

I anticipate that first Holy Communion when this siege is ended and we can return to our respective church families. I hope with all the hope that I can muster that I will long for it. I know this longing can only be satisfied by the One who loves me the most – the same One who saved me by His cross and gives himself to me in Holy Communion.

I anticipated this First Communion, too.

In the meantime, here is a prayer of spiritual communion. (1) With it, “…we unite ourselves to God through prayer. It is a beautiful way to express to God our desire to be united with him when we are unable to complete that union in the reception of Holy Communion.” (2)

My Jesus, 
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. 
I embrace You as if You were already there 
and unite myself wholly to You. 
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Happy, blessed Easter!

In hope, Peggy

(1) https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/act-of-spiritual-communion-339

(2) https://aleteia.org/2018/09/20/cant-receive-the-eucharist-heres-how-to-make-a-spiritual-communion/

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Good Friday 2020

For my family, Lent means attending the Stations of the Cross, especially on Good Friday. Sometimes, we watch The Passion of the Christ. Always though, there is some family commemoration of the day our Lord was crucified.

As we pray through the Stations, I always wonder what I would have thought or done had I been present at Jesus’ crucifixion. Would I watch from a distance, or be one of the women weeping, or would I be like Veronica? Always, I hope that I would have been like Veronica. (1)

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

I wonder several things about Veronica and her act of mercy.

  • I imagine a very rough and impatient band of soldiers hurrying Jesus along, trying to get him to the top of Golgatha before he collapsed right there in the street.
  • I imagine Veronica straining to see who was approaching. Did she know of Jesus, or was he one of many men and women who routinely passed before her on their own death march?
  • When she saw him, was his body so devastated (we know it was) that she was moved to great pity?
  • Did she have to overcome fear to approach him?
  • Did she push her way through the crowd to get to him?
  • Did the soldiers push her away, as they did in The Passion of the Christ?

As I pray the Stations this Good Friday, I pray for courage to always show mercy, especially when it’s hard to do.

In hope,

Peggy

(1) The Sixth Station, Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus, is found in the Traditional Way of the Cross, and is based on Matthew 25:40,

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Find the Scriptural Way of the Cross, The Way of the Cross for Victims of Human trafficking, and other Ways at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/stations-of-the-cross/index.cfm

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Still Gone: Veiled and Hidden

What is ordinary is sometimes taken for granted, don’t you think? Do we miss it when it’s taken away? I’m anticipating a Holy Week at home, and I’m feeling let down.

St. Theresa, Sugarland, TX

The photo above is of our priest-son celebrating Mass this past Sunday. He climbed up on a ladder himself and covered the crucifix and statues of his church, because his staff is at home waiting out the COVID19 pandemic.

Fr. David and one of our seminarians veiling the crucifix at St Theresa, Sugarland, TX

The veils are purple – the color of penitence and Lent. The visible reminders of our faith and salvation are hidden to us until we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection at the Easter Vigil Mass. How ironic that what is meant to be symbolic has become a reality of sorts. Just as the veils cover our images as if they are gone from us, so this pandemic has caused us to lose our access to our places of worship, and they are gone from us for now.

Holy Week won’t be the same this year. I’m starting to feel the loss. Are you? It’s going to take a great effort to be aware and tuned in to the worship services and celebrations to which we are accustomed. I’m so very grateful for live streamed Masses, Rosaries and other opportunities to be united in prayer and hope.

A great big THANK YOU to our faithful and passionate priests, who are stepping up to meet every spiritual need of their people. Bless you.

In hope, Peggy

Check out Mass info for a couple of churches here:

https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/when-it-is-gone/

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When it is Gone

When I took this photo during Adoration last week, I took it to remember. Already weary of the COVID 19 virus, we spread out and were cautious with our interactions. Gatherings were not yet banned, but the writing was on the wall.

I often wonder what life would be like if we had no church and no worship. Hitler banned worship for Jews, and the Mexican government closed and confiscated Catholic churches in the 1920’s. What we have here in the states is a precious privilege, one to be grateful for and never taken for granted. I like to go to weekday Mass when I’m not working. I look forward to starting my morning that way. I value the community and the chance to receive the Lord in Holy Communion. Lord knows there’s more than enough to pray for when I go.

Not a week after this photo was taken, the churches stopped celebrating public Masses.

St. Martha, Kingwood TX

When I heard that news, I expected to feel longing and sadness. But you know what? The church is strong, generous, and resilient. Pastors and staff are working like crazy to accommodate the needs of their parishioners. I’m seeing it first hand, from live streamed Masses to drive through confessions. This morning I “attended” Mass through live streaming set up in the chapel at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugarland, TX. Yesterday I viewed a live streamed Mass from my own parish of St. Martha. Tomorrow? There are lots of possibilities.

Live streamed Mass from St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugarland, TX

I certainly don’t want this shut down to last a long time. I’m praying for a treatment that will give promise of restoration to health for the sick. In the meantime, I’m grateful for my church. Can I make a suggestion to those of you who haven’t been to Mass in a while? Find one online and check it out.

  • St. Martha live-streamed Masses are weekdays at 8:30 am, and Sunday (English) at 11:00am and (Spanish) at 1 pm.
  • St. Theresa live-streamed Masses are Monday-Saturday at 8:30 am, and Sunday (Spanish) at 8 am and (English) at 10 am.

https://www.youtube.com/user/LoveBeingAPriest (St. Martha, Kingwood, TX)

https://venue.streamspot.com/7596b517 (St. Theresa, Sugarland, TX)

https://www.ewtn.com/tv

In hope, Peggy

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Learning to Love the Spirit

I came across this song a while back and rediscovered it just in time to share it with some teens preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. You know the saying that says you learn something best when you teach it? I get that.

Since teaching the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, I find myself thinking about them every day. What gift do I need to tackle this problem? What gift needs to be strengthened? And all too frequently I ask, “What gift do I wish that person would use?” Please don’t judge me.

I wonder what the world would look like if every baptized and confirmed Christian would use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There would be more Wonder and Awe of the Lord, more Piety/Reverence, more Knowledge, more Fortitude/Strength, more Counsel/Right Judgement, more Understanding, and more Wisdom.

Wouldn’t that be grand!

Read my short post on the Seven Gifts We All Need and start asking for more awareness of the gifts in your life. Maybe it will fill your Lent with joy.

https://peggyangelino.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/seven-gifts-we-all-need/

In hope,

Peggy

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When a Preschooler Teaches You

I have a sweet job, because I get to interact with preschoolers. I get to teach them, talk with them, watch their beautiful, funny faces, and learn from them. This is an encounter I had recently with a child I’ll call “Roman.”

MeRoman, it’s time to rest.

Roman: Lays down. Starts to whimper. Cries. Disturbs all the other children who were trying to settle down.

Me:  Do you want me to rock you?

Roman: No answer. Cries louder.

Me: What do you want to do? Lay on your mat or rock?

Roman: Arms up. I pick him up and sit to rock him.  He continues to cry, call for his mama, and finally wails in frustration, punctuated by a few piercing screams. I guess he didn’t think I was getting his message.

Our little “Roman” with a very patient uncle.

Me, softly pleading: Roman, Stop! You are okay. You are safe. Mama will come after rest time. Put your head on my shoulder and rest.      

Exhausted from crying, Roman finally complied and fell asleep.     

The next morning at Mass, this whole scenario came back to me with an interpretive twist.  How many times do we wail in protest to God at our real or perceived misfortunes and trials?  We cry, sometimes rage, and exhaust ourselves with worry or fear. I have done this at times in my life.  I remember once hearing in my heart, “Peggy, stop! You are okay. Your worry is unnecessary. I’m right here.” I remember that when I heard “Peggy, stop!” it got my attention.  I mean it literally stopped me, like the proverbial slap in the face, but it also stopped my negative thoughts. When I took a step back and thought of the goodness of God and his goodness to me, I calmed down and thankfully returned to my more rational self.

To continue my story, a short while later Roman woke up to his adorable little buddies hovering over his mat, inches from his face, saying, “Roman, wake up. C’mon, it’s time to play!”  Roman got up and joined his little friends. There were no tears, no cries for mama, and thankfully, no piercing screams.  Amazing, isn’t it, how the kindness of friends can ease a worry.

Just a little fun lesson from a preschooler today.

In hope, Peggy

1But now, thus says the LORD,

who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name: you are mine.

2When you pass through waters, I will be with you;

through rivers, you shall not be swept away.

When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,

nor will flames consume you.

-Isaiah 43:1,2 New American Bible, Revised Edition

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Thoughts on Roe v Wade

I will speak out against abortion any day and at any time. But today, I’m taking a moment to think about the men who decided in 1973 that it was legal to end the life of a child.

These are the names of the seven Supreme Court Justices that voted to allow abortion as a legal right through Roe v Wade. They are Chief Justice Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, William O. Douglas, William Brennan, Jr., Potter Stewart, Thurgood Marshall, and Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

Today I looked up all of their pictures. I studied their faces. I suppose (and hope) they really didn’t understand at that time the terrible injustice they were about to unleash on us. I mean, there were no ultrasounds then. What we visibly see of the tiny human child in the womb was not visible in 1973.

My well worn copy of LIFE, dated August 1990.

My action today, in remembrance of this day, is to pray for the souls of the seven judges who decided Roe v Wade. May God have mercy on them. And I pray that all of us look with eyes that see the unique and sacred beauty of each new life.

May we all have the audacity and courage to defend life in the most difficult times.

In hope, Peggy

  • If you are pregnant and need help, contact a Pregnancy Help Center in your area. Another option is https://loveline.com/?fbclid=IwAR1GRwmRFlgGTw8zOM23jGPOC1R5jMrGuWsT2ApQe9YC49zO4HoPOwGMl3o ***DO NOT contact Planned Parenthood. There are other organizations that will love you more.***
  • If you are suffering from a past abortion, there is help and hope for you. Google ” post abortion” to find services in your area, contact Project Rachel (confidential) through the Catholic Church, or, leave me a message for your area and I’ll investigate with you. Again, Planned Parenthood will pop up in a search, but there are other organizations better suited to help you with post abortion problems. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should go to an Emergency Room.
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Seven Gifts We All Need

One of the benefits of having a priest-son is receiving very interesting and theologically correct books. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Every Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to God’s Invincible Gifts by Kevin Vost, inspired me.  As you can see, I tabbed pages and took notes.

Recently, what I learned in that book led to a speaking engagement.  I’m part of a team that prepares high school students for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our director asked if anyone wanted to teach the lesson on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  For the next several days, I found myself “writing” the lesson in my head. So I volunteered to teach two hundred students plus sponsors. Yes, it was somewhat intimidating, but with the Holy Spirit’s gift of courage, I managed with no jitters. 🙂

Were you baptized a Christian? If so, you already carry the Gifts of the Holy Spirit within you.  Did you know that? During your baptism, the Holy Spirit gave these gifts to you, and they settled into you like a kindling fire, waiting for the time when age and maturity would make you capable of using them for the good of the church. During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit ignited that kindling fire into flame. Those flaming gifts fill us with power and energy so that we can do God’s work in the world.  That’s why we are here – to do God’s work in the world.  It’s an amazing and rewarding responsibility.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here are one or two lines on each gift, as taken from Kevin Vost’s book. I hope you are inspired to learn more about the Seven Gifts.

Fear of the Lord isn’t a fear of punishment. Imagine someone in your life that you couldn’t bear to hurt, and it would make you sad if you did. The gift of Fear of the Lord places a desire in us to please God and not disappoint him.

Reverence/Piety gives us a desire to pray, which leads us to a deeper love of our Lord.  We give God glory and honor when we are open and dependent upon him.

Knowledge helps us to know what to believe and not to believe. Do you know your faith?  Can you talk about it, convince others, and defend the truth of your faith? Build up your gift of knowledge by learning the Ten Commandments and the teachings of your faith, so that when you are challenged, you can respond.

Fortitude/Courage   Who doesn’t need the gift of courage to live a faithful and devout life in today’s culture?

Counsel/Right Judgment  One of my favorite quotes from the book is “We will not be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s gift of counsel if we are too busy listening to the bad counselors of the world or to our own voices, for that matter.” (p 130) Seek good counsel from scripture, the examples of saints, the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, and pray.

Understanding  “The gift of understanding is like a powerful light that illuminates our capacity to know God through faith and reason.” (p 152) With the gift of Understanding, we can comprehend the truths and mysteries of our faith.

Wisdom enables us to know God, and to rejoice in his love. With wisdom we can judge matters with a “divine perspective.”

Why were we given these gifts?  Because as God’s beloved children, we are worthy of them. So be encouraged. Unwrap your gifts and use them for the good of the world. They will help you to live a holy and happy life.

In hope,

Peggy

Note: If you have not been baptized or confirmed, the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) program is available at most Catholic churches to help you. Contact your local church for more information.

(1) Vost, Kevin. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Every Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to God’s Invincible Gifts. Sophia Institute Press, 2016.

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