Fr. Leo on Fox and Friends

Fr. Leo Patalinghug, author of  the Grace Before Meals cookbook, appeared on Fox and Friends this morning.  Just a quick post to share a link to the official Fox video of the segment.  Pray for Fr. Leo for the chance to have his own TV cooking show.  It’s more than just cooking…. it is food for the soul.

Also featured in a recent Washington Post article


Mary Follows Me Into 2009

Happy New Year!  My first blogpost of 2009.  I am finally coming out of the fatigue I seem to get the last two weeks of the year.  It is a blur of Christmas, my birthday, and then the New Year arrives.  I seem to celebrate my birthday for an entire week.  I always celebrate New Year’s Eve by attending our Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God.  On New Year’s Day, I join with friends to celebrate the birthday of a friend whose birthday is January 1st.  This year on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I watched the Vespers and Solemnity of Mary Mother of God from St. Peter’s on EWTN. Mostly because my Deacon friend said he was to be in the choir on Wednesday and serving communion on Thursday.  I may have seen him once.  I came closer to recognizing some of the security officers — from when I attended his deacon ordination in October.  I find that I do not make New Year resolutions — my SFO fraternity sort of does that for me.

In January, at our first SFO meeting of the year, we draw a name to pray for, a Franciscan saint to journey with, and a verse from scripture, or the Rule for the year.  The way this works is a person draws a name and that becomes the person to pray for all year.  Then, the person draws the saint and verse for the person whom they will pray for — make sense?  You do not draw your own saint or verse.  We begin this process by praying over the three baskets.  The person who just got their saint and verse then draws the next name. 

If you have been following my previous articles, it should not surprise you that I received this to follow all year–

“The Secular Franciscans should express their ardent love for [the Virgin Mary] by imitating her complete self-giving and by praying earnestly and confidently.” — The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, 9

If there are two things that characterize 2008 for me, it is first a re-commitment to praying the daily office, well, daily; and secondly, a new devotion to the rosary.  The commitment to the liturgy of the hours has been accomplished simply by not turning on the TV when I first wake up and not turning it on when I first walk in the door from work.  I then discovered I could add Night Prayer.   I add my own petitions before praying the Our Father.  I am praying for people now in ways I never did before – and praying for them every day — twice a day.

The rosary — I had only been a random prayer of the rosary.  Various encounters had me rethinking this early last year.  My SFO fraternity decided to add a Franciscan Crown rosary apostolate.  Every Wednesday after our 7PM Mass, a few of us meet in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray the Crown.  We’ve been doing this every week for several months now.  The glorious thing is that it got me back to attending weekly Wednesday night Mass and I’m lectoring again.  [I took a long ministry break while I was finishing my college degree – graduated May 2006 – partly why I got out of the habit of praying the office – all the textbook reading and paper writing]  When I was in Rome in October, I prayed the Crown on Wednesday night — well — because it is what I do now.  While in Rome, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was celebrated.  In the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, I prayed a rosary where they had set up a special place for veneration of a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.


Our Lady of the Rosary - Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

Our Lady of the Rosary - Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva


In December, I really celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  On Fridays, I go to Holy Trinity, a nearby parish that has adoration every Friday and Mass every week night at 7PM.  On that Friday, it was a Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There were some bilingual parts — but certainly weighted toward more Spanish.  This is what I love about the Catholic Mass — it didn’t matter.  I pick up words here and there and celebrate anyway.  I was with a few of my SFO friends.  I followed the procession around their parking lot and stayed for the pageant — the dramatization of Juan Diego and his visit to the bishop regarding Mary.  This was all Spanish — again — it didn’t matter.  I can follow the story.  At my parish on Sunday, it was decided to perform the drama in English at all the English Masses that weekend.  What a treat!   I bought a small Our Lady of Guadalupe statue at the Abbey Store yesterday.

Throughout the year, I also used Praying the Rosary with the Daughters of Paul in my car to pray the rosary every morning in my commute to work. 

What about my saint for the year?  I have St. Angela Merici 1470-1540 — a Third Order Franciscan whose feast day is January 27th.  I’ll post about her later this month. 

Praying that you have a wonderful and blessed 2009.

Peppermint, Prayers, & My Papa

Peppermint Candy


I was shopping in a Christian store when I came across the Candy Maker’s Witness bracelet.  I’ve seen the candy cane witness ornaments, but, never the bracelet.  The colors defined: white of Jesus’ purity and the red of Jesus’ suffering.  It was not this witness that prompted me to buy the bracelet — it was my Papa — my grandfather.  A bracelet with little glass peppermints.

A vivid memory of my childhood is the bag of Brach’s Star Brite peppermints that my Papa kept in a Kleenex box in the front seat of his Ford Falcon 1970 1/2 paint wagon.  Papa was a professional commercial and residential painter by trade.  I never knew Papa as a smoker but the peppermints were a result of his quiting the habit.  I remember being small enough to have to stand on tip toes to see if the peppermints were in the wagon — yes, but it was locked.  I’d then find Papa sitting out on the front lawn and tug on his sleeve.  “Papa, can I have a peppermint, please?”  He would give me the keys to unlock the wagon — or come himself.  Papa also gave me my first Bible on December 25, 1973.  I asked for a white leather Bible that “zipped up” around the sides with my name on it.  That is exactly what I got. 

The Summer of 1998, when I began Inquiry into the Catholic Church, my mother gave me a few items that were his.  I have a small crucifix — the sort that appears to have come from the end of a rosary — perhaps the size of rosary worn on a habit.    I have a small Our Lady of Perpetual Help medal that I wear daily.  I have a small pamphlet titled “A Daily Visit to The Blessed Sacrament” with the Imprimatur, William Turner, Bishop of Buffalo.  I have a small prayer card “A Remembrance of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”  My grandfather journaled and wrote songs and poetry.  In his journal, he’s written “In Memory of All Saints Day, 1929” and another titled “Christmas Duty” imploring “Pray for us blessed Virgin Mother.”  I was stunned.  There will be a separate article written on my discoveries so I move along. 

In the Summer of 1998, I had a dream one night.  I dreamed that I was sitting on a pew in the front of a church — the images flashed between the sanctuary of my Baptist Church and that of St. Philip Benizi.  I was sitting next to an uncle who had passed away a few years before — my mom’s oldest brother — my Papa’s oldest son.   I was looking at the floor and I was aware of my spiritual struggles.  While looking at the floor, I saw that I was looking at feet standing in front of me.  As I raised my head up and looked, It was my Papa — happy, smiling, twinkling eyes, almost a joyful laughter — I knew he was pleased with where I was going spiritually.  He didn’t say a word but he was happy — I felt approval and I remembered the dream.  I felt affirmed in continuing my Inquiry — important because the Rite of Acceptance into the Catachumenate was drawing near.

A couple months ago, I was praying Evening Prayer from my Liturgy of the Hours.  I pray aloud.  After the intercessions, I offer my own intentions before praying the Our Father.  I offered up prayers for my family — more recently I’ve asked my Papa to comfort them in some way.  I don’t make a habit of praying for signs but of praying that I can hear God speak to me.  I am half-way through my prayers when a humming noise starts.  I thought the ceiling fan in my sun room might be the cause.  I continued to pray and the noise continued.  I refused to figure out what it was until I had completed the last of my prayer time.  Finally, I got up and walked to the door of my sun room and it was not the fan — the noise was now to my right ear.  I looked at the TV and cable box — they were off.  I looked down at my lead crystal candy jar full of Star Brite peppermints — it is the jar.  It is coming from the jar.  My jar of peppermint candies is making a high pitched humming noise.  I smiled and said out loud, “It’s Papa — Hello, are you here? Papa?”  I listened and smiled for a bit.  Finally, I took my hands and placed them around the jar in a hug — the noise ceased.  I opened the jar and unwrapped a peppermint — “thanks, I love you Papa.”

Protect Us From All Anxiety

Anxiety – 1. a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concern about a possible future event 2 Psychiatry an abnormal state like this, characterized by a feeling of being powerless and unable to cope with threatening events, typically imaginary, and by physical tension, as shown by sweating, trembling, etc 3 an eager but often uneasy desire – Webster’s

Webster’s Dictionary indicates anxiety can be a result of an over active imagination. I have no idea why I am such an anxious person.  While I consider myself a positive person, I do tend to think of everything that could go wrong.  I am definitely an introvert and can feel some mild social anxiety in a large group of people I do not know.  I worry when I know I will have to speak to a group of people. I worry about family members who are struggling with health, or financial problems.  I worry about the day when both my parents are gone. 

Hand in hand with this anxiety is a strong streak of perfectionism.  Perhaps perfectionism and an introvert personality are the roots of my anxiety.  I strive to please and don’t like to disappoint.  Sometimes I tire of being dependable.   I worry that my anxiety reveals that I do not trust God enough with my life.  I do feel that I am getting better at trusting God.  The daily praying of the Psalms from the Liturgy of the Hours serves as a way to bookend my day in prayer.  While it is simply impossible to pick one Psalm that speaks the most to my anxious nature, I can share one that is an essence of comfort to me.

Psalm 121

1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?

2 My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

3 God will not allow your foot to slip, your guardian does not sleep.

4 Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.

5 The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

6 By day the  sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life.

8 The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever. – NAB

At Mass, one of my favorite parts are the priest’s words at the end of the Our Father.  I pray them interiorly as he speaks —

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day.  In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. – Liturgy of the Eucharist

 In the Admonitions of St. Francis, # 28 reads as thus

XXVII:  Virtue Puts Vice to Flight

1 Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.

2 Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor disturbance.

3 Where there is poverty with joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.

4 Where there is rest and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor restlessness.

5 Where there is fear of the Lord to guard an entrance, there the enemy cannot have a place to enter.

6 Where there is a heart full of mercy and discernment, there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.

(Francis of Assisi: The Saint – Early Documents p. 136-7)

I don’t think it is any coincidence that the lessening of my anxieties over the last few months is a result of a renewed commitment to praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  I had let this practice slide more than a couple of years — blaming my full-time college + full-time employee schedule.  I knew I was out of step when I see the priest wearing red vestments and don’t know whose feast we are celebrating.  During Lent of this year, I renewed my commitment and now it comes first on rising, first when I get home from work, and before I turn out my lights at night.  My spiritual calendar is once again in harmony with The Church. 

For further consideration, check the links below.  You can listen on your computer – an iPod is not necessary.  I highly recommend Fr. Jay — the iPadre.

Fr. Jay Finelli – The iPadre podcast episode #115 – Office Hours

Catholic Answers Live – Is Anxiety Ruining Your Peace?

The Plumber Doesn’t Call, Intercession, Praying Out Loud

Well, the plumber’s web site had a 10% discount for submitting the service request on-line.  That was last Thursday night and no follow up call.  I’m still praying over the deal but am mostly distracted by family issues. 

I’m single and generally things are going well in my life.  Lately I’ve found that I’ve spent a lot of time in intercessory prayer for family members.  I am the only Catholic in my family.  I’ve shared the rosary with them.  In fact, I gave them the rosaries from the extra CNMC gift bags.  As a Secular Franciscan (SFO), we promise to pray Morning & Evening Prayer.  I insert my personal intercessions right before the Our Father (we also do this at my monthly fraternity meeting).  I’m also praying the Pope John Paul II intercessory prayer

In recent SFO fraternity meetings, we had teachings on how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  We were encouraged to pray out loud, if appropriate to the location so as not to disturb.  Since I live alone, I do on occasion talk to myself – not in a nutty way – I don’t answer myself often. 🙂  For some reason, I initially found it hard to pray out loud.  I had similar issues in college regarding practice for oral presentations.  Somehow, I’ve gotten over that awkwardness.  Now, I don’t feel I’ve prayed unless I’ve heard my own voice proclaiming the words.  Somehow, in the speaking, I can make my words come to life and it becomes a real conversation between me and God.  

In my intercessions, I am specific and call people by name and proclaim the need.  I’ve already seen some positive results.  We look all over for our mission field — lately I’m feeling my most important mission field is my own family.  If my only mission in life is to be an instrument of peace to my family — to be Jesus to them — then that should be sufficient.  A pebble in the pond — a ripple.  Peace.