hand up

The Unforgiveable Sin

“Would you ever stop loving me?” the little girl asked.

“Oh course not,” said her mother.

“But what if I did something naughty? Something really naughty? Would you stop loving me then?” the girl persisted.

“I would never stop loving you, honey. No matter what, I will always love you,” said Mother.

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Bloomfield New Jersey

Are You a DeFacto Catholic Like Me?

Growing up as what you’d call a cradle Catholic, I lived in an area of the country where Catholic churches demarcated the boundaries within every town. In my hometown, there were three. Sacred Heart on the south-side, St. Thomas on the north-side and St. Valentine’s smack-dab in between. Each boasted a grammar school and your parish (as well as your allegiance) was dictated by your address.

Coming of age in that setting, I considered my faith a de facto component of who I was. Just like my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before me, in the line of my great-uncle the priest and eldest aunt the Sister, I was a Catholic.

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saucy language

When I Quit Cussin’ Like a Sailor

On a Monday, my coworker pulled me aside. The company Christmas party was two days prior. My guess is that she’d spent those two days crafting the discussion we were about to have.

Though I’ve forgotten whether she opened the conversation with small talk or whether she went straight to her point, what she said has convicted me ever since.

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toy

What a Black Baby Doll Taught Me About Prejudice

Standing there in the aisle of Toys ‘R Us, my eyes darted left then right. It was such a hard decision; choosing how to spend my birthday money.

I can’t recall how many aisles we’d visited, but I do remember settling myself among the baby dolls. There were babies that cried and those that wet. There were molded-haired dolls and ones with blonde locks ready for brushing.

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holy innocents

14 Pro-Life Resolutions to Make This Year

The feast of The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28th, really pricks my heart. Therefore, I find it rather disappointing that it seems to pass by each year without much attention. Certainly the Church calendar is dotted with the memorials of so many great martyrs, but the Holy Innocents offer us a particular model for our current culture.

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body christ

Why I Kneel For Jesus

Receiving on the hand had long been part of my routine, before it finally came to my attention that there was another, more preferable way. I suppose I just hadn’t given it all that much thought, sadly. In grade school we’d been taught the proper hand positioning, but my generation missed out on the altar rails and their purpose.

Yes, intellectually, I knew that the Body and Blood of Jesus is truly made manifest in the Eucharist, but I’d adopted a “casual” reverence. Hands crossed I quietly waited my turn in the communion line, until reaching the Extraordinary Minister at which point I accepted the Blessed Sacrament in my palm.

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12 Strategies for the 12 Days of Christmas

This Advent season has been full: full of planning, full of preparing, full of hoping. However, I’ve made a concerted effort to keep “Christmas” at bay. It’s not that I’m a grinch, no, quite the contrary. Our annual Christmas letter was sent out, we’ve been faithfully praying the Christmas novena, and I’ve been wishing all those helpful store cashiers a “Merry Christmas,” but the focus in our house has been on the anticipation. My plan is to celebrate Christmas and to celebrate it to the fullest (all 12 days of it) when it actually arrives on December 25th.

Here are our 12 strategies for making the most of the 12 Days of Christmas:

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bag of presents

Even Naughty Kids Get Gifts on Christmas

After a busy morning of wrangling my children followed by an afternoon manning a craft table at a children’s Christmas Craft Fair, I decided to appease the requests of my younger crew members (aka sons and daughter under 12yo) who’d been begging to visit Santa at the mall.

I had a few errands to run beforehand (think clothes shopping with 4 less-than-interested companions), so I figured that the promise of a stop-over to see St. Nick would be ample incentive to keep the whining at bay. Continue reading

hands-on advent craft

Make an Advent Wreath for Little Hands

With a wide range of ages in my household, I’m always looking for novel ways to include all of my children in the beautiful traditions of our Catholic faith.

During the season of Advent we try to keep the focus on anticipation and preparation. But it’s not always easy to keep those sugar-plum dreams of Christmas at bay for four weeks.
We’ve found that having a traditional Advent wreath can be a great help.

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kids playing soccer

Scoring for the Right Side

Like a swarm of bumblebees that buzz one way and then the other, their little bodies bump and rub as they move in unison after the rolling target. The air is booming with commands, but the rush of adrenaline has rendered the players deaf.

Just as some tense on-lookers bound from their seats, arms waving wildly, the pint-sized leader boldly takes the perfect shot straight into the goal.

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