From Mission to Mission

This weekend at Masses our Deacons preached. I always love when they preach because they do a wonderful job of it.

We were also treated to an informative talk by Julie Lupien, the Executive Director of From Mission to Mission.
mission to mission
One of the main outreaches of From Mission to Mission is their work with Missionaries returning from active duty and dealing with ensuing culture shock, and issues of cultural transition.

Living at a slower, more simple pace, and/or living with violence and upheaval and trauma, living a much simpler way of life in general leaves it’s mark in the soul of missionaries the world over. When they return they often face a difficult time of things because of our fast paced culture, and our high tech society.

I look forward to learning more about them myself. Prayers for a blessed day, for all.

iScrabble

Hi, my name is Kenneth, and I’m a Scrabblaholic.

scrabble stats

About a year ago I got an iPhone. Then, I discovered the Scrabble ap.

And I’ve played the computer 718 times since then. It’s been very enjoyable.

scrabble

This is a typical game. It always called to me and beckoned before sleep arrived. I would force it away and stick to my prayers.

Ridiculously, I kept Norm1 set to ‘Moderate’ skill level, so I would be assured of a win while I practiced.

Isn’t that ridiculous? I also headed over to wineverygame.com where I learned lots of new words. That’s completely not ridiculous.

Scrabble

Here is another one. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a seven letter word and no place to play it!

Scrabble

Except maybe when you cleverly play an actual two letter word like ‘oe’, and quickly learn that you’re play is completely invalid. (Zito.) Complete deflation.

Scrabble

Still, there had to be more of a challenge aside from bumping Norm1’s skill level to difficult. (And when he’s difficult, he’s very difficult.)

So a week or so ago I took the plunge and started playing actual people. Norm1 took it very well. I’ve blocked out the other player’s name here; anonymity is key for Scrabblaholics.

Although to be fair, the person I was playing is hardly a Scrabblaholic.

Scrabble

Here you get actual sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat type action at the drop of a hat. This game was a tie down to the last two letters. I had a measly ‘i’ and was concerned. I was totally caught up in the rush of it all and was completely not counting letters, so had no clue what my opponent had. Though obviously he didn’t have the ‘z’ or the ‘q’. Or the ‘x’.

Teacher is grinning from ear to ear over the word ‘in’, which I had made with my second to last letter, also an ‘i’. Things are bad when that’s enough to elicit such a reaction from Teacher.

Scrabble

He passed! Couldn’t play at all.

So I played my ‘i’ in the lower left hand corner and squeaked in to the victor’s circle.

Scrabble

Poor sap had the ‘k’. And I got gold stars and twinkles.

Loser!

I mean… excuse me, I mean… winning or losing isn’t everything, it’s how you play the game.

Isn’t it? Every word’s a winner?

I’m bumping up Norm1’s skill level to difficult, just in case. And resetting the game stats. My recent games have been unbelievably fortunate when it comes to letter picks. The other player there is brilliant.

All in all, the brightness of the interface is a bit too bright for me late at night, so I’ve calmed down and taken to reading again before sleep arrives. Although, surely just one game before bed wouldn’t hurt…

Liesure, a spiritual need, is always enhanced by a good game of Scrabble. But not by too many.

First Communion, Friday Nights, Tea

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”

That has nothing to do with First Communion, but it’s a great quote from St. Thomas Aquinas…

A Picture of My First Communion Picture

Going through some boxes of files today, I came across my First Communion picture. Wasn’t I a handsome kid? Lord knows what happened along the way. I snapped a shot of it on my cell phone with Instagram, which I love. I’ll have to scan it soon for my much anticipated and long awaited Biography section.

I actually remember posing for this photo. The photography studio was over on Airline Highway near Causeway, and I had to get dressed up out of the blue and kneel down and pray with my pre-Vatican II (it had just ended) prayer book and my First Communion Rosary. I still have those also.

When I think about my First Communion, it must have been in the extraordinary form, or the Latin Mass. Back then it was just the Mass of course and we didn’t worry about reforms or reforms of reforms, or whether or not we would understand it or whether the music would be good. And no one worried if us kids got bored, we just had to go.

And we all liked it.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I loved Mass. To be honest after the drastic changes that took place around 1970 or so I found the Mass confusing, loud and somewhat banal.

It’s not that I was a snob, I was only a kid. But some other people from my old school have mentioned the same thing and we all ended up as music majors, so the music was probably influential for us.

Speaking of changes in the liturgical life of the Church, I consider the new translation coming in Advent an extremely simple switch in comparison. Almost like a hiccup after having gotten over a case of influenza.

On a separate note, there’s this:

Hilarious!

I’ve learned not to talk a lot about politics on my blog… for better or for worse. Issues but not politics. Lord knows what will come of that but it’s fine with me for the time being.

Go and have a looksee at the whole post.

A Happy Feast of Martha it was today. Cheers, and Prayers that all may find a Blessed Weekend ahead.

Neurotic

The Fabulous Judith McNuttI attended a talk once by Judith McNutt; she described a disturbed client and then added that he was truly disturbed, ‘he wasn’t just neurotic, like most of us.’ I love listening to her talks, by the way.

That of course got me to thinking about the word neurotic. People use it jokingly, to describe themselves from time to time. And I have too.

So the other day I decided to look it up the word ‘neurotic’ before I go about using it randomly to describe myself, while it was on my mind. It causes strange looks from people at times.

FROM: Dictionary dot com

on “neurotic”

1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of neurosis.

~~~

and on “neurosis”

2. a relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

FROM Wikipedia

The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has eliminated the category of “Neurosis”, reflecting a decision by the editors to provide descriptions of behavior as opposed to hidden psychological mechanisms as diagnostic criteria.,[3] and, according to The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it is “no longer used in psychiatric diagnosis”.[4] These changes to the DSM have been controversial.[5]

So yes, I’m occasionally mildly neurotic. Continue on, please.

My $.02 — On Thomas Jefferson and Illinois

letter to the UrsulinesSpeaking of the French Revolution, not that anyone was, but … we’re about to.

We all know about the Illinois / Catholic Charities Debacle which came to pass recently, and which violates the right of the Catholic Church to operate within its core of belief while it’s placing orphans into homes.

If the Church’s agencies do not permit placing orphans into homes of homosexual couples, then, the Church cannot operate said agency.

It’s a sad development in the life of a great nation.

Also, and I realize I am just one of a chorus pointing out the obvious, this flies in the face of promises made to the Church ages ago. And, it violates the precedent started by then President Thomas Jefferson.

To whit, the The Jefferson Letter to the Ursulines.

Jefferson was responding of course to the letter of Sr. Marie Therese Farjon of St. Xavier, a copy of which can be seen here.

One has to admire her writing, which reads:

Dear Sir,

The Ursuline Religious of New Orleans, encouraged by the honorable mention which you so kindly made of their order, take the liberty of having recourse to you in regard to some business which is of great concern to their Institute.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Although no express mention has been made of it, they think that the Treaty of Cession and still more the spirit of justice which characterizes the United States of America, will certainly guarantee to those seeking your help the continued enjoyment of their present property. But, keeping in mind that this same property is a sacred trust which has been confided to them, they believe that they would certainly fail in one of their principal obligations were they to neglect to see to it that this right to their property be put officially in writing, confirming their rights to this property not only for themselves but also for those of their Sisters who will succeed them; and, for this reason, to beg you, dear Sir, to present our petition to the Congress in the manner and form which you will judge the most suitable.

This request of the Ursulines of New Orleans is not dictated by personal interest nor ambitious aims. Separated from the world and its pomps and vanities, and, in a word, from all that is called its advantages, they have scarcely any ambition for earthly goods; but, bound by a solemn vow to use their time in the formation of youth, they cannot help but be anxious to know if they will be able with certainty to count on the continued enjoyment of their revenues which will enable them to fulfill their obligations. It is, then, less their own interests which they plead than it is that of the public good. In reality, it is the cause of the orphan and the abandoned child, of unfortunates brought up in the midst of horrors of vice and infamy who come to be reared by us in the ways of Religion and virtue, and be given a formation which will enable them one day to become happy and useful citizens. Finally, it is in the interest of this country which can but reap for itself honor and glory in encouraging and protecting an establishment as useful, and, we might even say, as necessary as ours. Dear Sir, we who seek your help dare to belive that these considerations will make an impression on you. Even more, we dare to count in advance on your protection.
Ursuline Convent
We end by begging Heaven most fervently for your personal prosperity and for the happiness of the country whose great interests have been confided to you.

With the most profound respect, “Monsieur le President”, we have the honor of being

Your very humble and very obedient servants
The Ursulines of New Orleans
Sr. Marie Therese Farjon of St. Xavier
Superior
March 21, 1804

Indulging my penchant for blockquoting huge swaths of text once again, voici the reply of Jefferson:

“To the Souer Therese de Ste. Xavier Farjon Superior, and the Nuns of the order of St. Ursula at New Orleans.

I have recieved, holy sisters, the letter you have written me wherein you express anxiety for the property vested in your institution by the former governments of Louisiana. The principles of the constitution and the government of the United States are a sure gaurantee to you that it will be preserved to you sacred and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to your own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil authority. Whatever diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your instituion cannot be indifferent to any; and it’s furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by training up it’s [sic] younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure it the patronage of the government it is under. Be assured it will meet all the protection which my office can give it.

I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship and respect.

Th. Jefferson

Note that the good Sister asks about the continued ownership of their property so that they can continue the necessary work they do, which includes working with orphans.

And the good President ensures her that they will continue to enjoy their property and, that it may continue to be committed to governing itself according to its own voluntary rules. And it ensures them of the right to continue their work regardless of what religious differences may arise amongst others. Atheists, agnostics and protestants existed then. And the good Sisters certainly remembered the atheistic disembowelment of the Church in France which followed the French Revolution scarcely more than a decade prior to her writing.
Th. Jefferson

While the letter of Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists is used by atheists and secularists to continually bash over the heads of Christians a separation of Church and State, the letter to the Ursulines ensures that the separation of Church and State is not to the detriment of religious life. Particularly not to a Catholic institute engaged in taking care of orphans.

The case of Illinois vs the Catholic Charities orphanage agencies in Illinois is a sad development for Catholic liberty if allowed to stand. And a it’s a rueful day for the USA.