Priestly Perspectives of a Dynamic Church

Catholic Watershed

Catholic Watershed is an outstanding book that offers personal perspectives of six priests during a pivotal time in our American Catholic history. All ordained in Chicago in 1969, Mike Ahlstrom, Larry Duris, Bob Heidenreich, Tom Libera, Ed Upton, and Bill Zavaski, were born in the midst of World War II, raised pre Vatican II, thrust into the changes of Vatican II during their seminary years, served in communities in racially turbulent times, and now are persevering through the clerical sexual abuse scandals.

Readers who have lived through part or all of the same time period will find the priests’ honest reflections fascinating. We remember how it was for us as laity. Learning how it was from the other side of the Catholic fence is insightful.

How different the men’s lives were in the old seminary when they had little opportunity to bond with fellow seminarians and were heavily controlled by their professors yet later encouraged to work together, think for themselves, and interact with the community of faith. Vatican II’s mission of promoting understanding that all members of the Church are the Church meant that the seminary also had to reverse their approach from authority and submission to community. Every member—clergy, religious women, and lay men, women, and children—must now work towards the ultimate goal of raising each other to a greater relationship with the Lord.

The book follows the priests from their differing childhoods, through their seminary years, and into their priesthoods. The men offer honest reflections on serving under three very different bishops: Cardinals John Cody, Joseph Bernadin, and Francis George, cardinals who were national leaders among US bishops. The priests also share their thoughts on homilies, their ministries, their faith, and relationships between them and other members of the clergy as well as laity, and visions of the future Church.

Catholic Watershed is a big book at 394 pages but don’t be intimidated by its size. It’s well-worth your time. The book is well-written and moves quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of it.

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Saint Theodora Coloring Book

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A slightly shortened version of the book, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God, is now available as a coloring book. The 30 page book is available from the Sisters of Providence shop, Linden Leaf.

Saint Theodora is one of our American saints. She founded schools in the Midwest and was an advocate for children and women. She offers a powerful role model of one who offered her life to serving the Lord. She knew God was with her even in the midst of the worst of times.

The children’s story of Saint Theodora is fast-paced and fun to read as well as inspiring. The hardcover book is also available from Linden Leaf or Amazon.com.

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The Anointing of the Sick

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Since many things typically contribute toward our illness, many things also assist us in healing. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is one means for healing on many levels. This spiritual gift may encourage physical and emotional recovery as well as spiritual.

The Gift of the Anointing of the Sick answers many of our common questions such as who may receive this sacrament and how often and when and where. Through Sister Mary Kathleen Glavich’s clear style of writing, we also come to understand its evolution. Previously known as Extreme Unction, the Anointing of the Sick is now available to all those who are seriously ill rather than just at the point of death as it was prior to Vatican II.

I have a new appreciation for the Anointing of the Sick after reading this book and encourage learning more about it should you or someone you love be in need of this rich and beautiful sacrament.

(See Doyle’s Delights for more book reviews.)

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American Catholic History

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Reading the American Catholic Almanac by Brian Burch & Emily Stimpson I found I knew little of our American Catholic heritage. The book is full of interesting little stories of the perseverance of our forefathers and mothers who defended our faith and put their stamp on our country’s history as well as those we’d rather not have included in our past.

Every day of the year is marked with a story. March 20th tells of the Italian born Father Joseph Rosati who arrived in St Louise in 1817 to restore not only the church and rectory but also the Catholic community.

August 17 highlights Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe, and her association with abortion rights. The story continues with her realization that an embryo is a baby after seeing a poster and how it prompted her change in thinking and conversion to Catholicism.

The American Catholic Almanac. A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People who Changed the United States, can be read through on a daily basis or randomly. The book is very informative. With 365 entries and some fascinating resources in the back, it is well-worth including on your book shelf.

See this book review and others on: Doyle’s Delights

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The Mother Was Standing

Saint Theodora prayed unceasingly. One of her favorite prayers was the Stabat Mater. The language is somewhat archaic, having been written before the 13th century, but vivid in the emotions experienced by Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Stabat Mater literally means the mother was standing, a reference to Mary’s standing beneath her crucified son. Based on the prophecy of Simeon, who told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart (Luke 2:35), the Stabat Mater describes Mary’s sorrows at the crucifixion and is often associated with the Stations of the Cross. Authorship of this great Latin hymn is uncertain but commonly attributed to Pope Innocent III, St. Bonaventure, and Jacopone da Todi.

The prayer has found its way into numerous musical arrangements. Those by Franz Joseph Haydn are highly regarded.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

 

Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,

Stood the mournful mother weeping,

Close to Jesus to the last.

 

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,

All his bitter anguish bearing,

Now at length the sword had passed.

 

Oh how sad and sore distressed

Was that mother highly blessed

Of the sole-begotten one!

 

Christ above in torment hangs,

She beneath beholds the pangs

Of her dying, glorious son.

 

Is there one who would not weep

Whelmed in miseries so deep

Christ’s dear mother to behold?

 

Can the human heart refrain

From partaking in her pain,

In that mother’s pain untold?

 

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,

She beheld her tender child,

All with bloody scourges rent,

 

For the sins of his own nation

Saw him hang in desolation

Till his spirit forth he sent.

 

O thou mother, fount of love,

Touch my spirit from above.

Make my heart with thine accord:

 

Make me feel as thou hast felt:

Make my soul to glow and melt

With the love of Christ, my Lord.

 

Holy mother pierce me through.

In my heart each wound renew

Of my savior crucified.

 

Let me share with thee his pain,

Who for all our sins was slain,

Who for me in torments died.

 

Let me mingle tears with thee.

Mourning him who mourned for me,

All the days that I may live.

 

By the cross with thee to stay,

There with thee to weep and pray,

Is all I ask of thee to give.

 

Virgin of all virgins best

Listen to my fond request:

Let me share thy grief divine:

 

Let me, to my latest breath,

In my body hear the death

Of that dying son of thine.

 

Wounded with his every wound,

Steep my soul till it hath swooned

In his very blood away;

 

Be to me, O virgin, nigh,

Lest in flames I burn and die,

In his awful judgment day.

 

Christ, when thou shalt call me hence,

Be they mother my defense,

Be thy cross my victory;

 

While my body here decays

May my soul thy goodness praise,

Safe in paradise with thee.

Amen

V. Pray for us, virgin most sorrowful.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, thy mother, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed, may intercede for us before, the throne of thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through thee, Jesus Christ, savior of the world, who livest and reignest, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.

 

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Breastplate of St. Patrick

Saint Theodora counted on the saints to pray her prayers with her. We can too. Following is a powerful prayer of protection attributed to St. Patrick. Why not call on St. Patrick today, the day we honor him. St. Patrick knew that if we hold Christ in and around us, all will be well.

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ in breadth, Christ in length,

Christ in height,

Christ in the mouth of everyone

who speaks to me,

Christ in the heart of everyone

who thinks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength,

the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation. Amen.

©2015, Mary K Doyle

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The Alzheimer’s Journey

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If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not likely you were trained to do so. You dearly love the person you care for and want to provide compassionate care, but you are learning as you go along.

I understand this process because it’s been the path I’ve followed. When my husband, Marshall, received confirmation that his symptoms were indeed representative of Alzheimer’s, I began reading every available resource and seeking guidance from doctors and professional caregivers. Mostly, I learned from personal experience—which the disease offers endless opportunities to do just that—as it necessitates your undivided attention 24 hours a day, day-after-day, often for a decade or more.

My newest book, Navigating Alzheimer’s. 12 Truths about Caring for Your Loved, shares my findings. It discusses the most pressing questions on primary caregiver’s minds including: What is the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s; What happens next; Why does my love one act so differently at different times; How do I affect their behavior; How do I plan for special events with my love one; Why do I feel such deep, ongoing depression; Why can’t I do things better; How do I handle comments from others who know little of what I am dealing with; What is the cost of care; Where can I turn to for help; and What should I consider when looking for an assisted living home for memory care?

Navigating Alzheimer’s is packed with important information for anyone with a love one with Alzheimer’s especially if they are the primary caregiver. It offers an honest picture of the reality of such intensive caregiving as well as a good dose of hope and support. The format clearly lays out each topic with bulleted lists, charts, and final points to consider at the end of each chapter as well as personal experiences and observations. The book is a valuable resource throughout the Alzheimer’s journey.

You can listen to an interview about Navigating Alzheimer’s on WGN Radio.

(Re-posted from Doyle’s Delights. All of my book reviews are posted on this site.)

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