Tuesday, May 31, 2016

StoryRunners-- Taking the Gospel to All Nations Through Stories!!

The other night my husband and I met with a recent University of Michigan graduate, Allyssa, who is going to spend the next year with StoryRunners, a ministry of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ.) Allyssa is a dear girl who majored in Performing Arts Management, and what an inspiring decision she has made to use her theatre skills to tell others about Christ!!

StoryRunners sends people to remote parts of the world where languages are spoken into which the Bible has not been translated, and the people are largely illiterate.  StoryRunners works with native speakers who act as translators who learn the 42 stories about Jesus that the ministry has prepared. These translators then go out and tell these stories to the people.

I love that this ministry is evangelizing people who would not otherwise have an opportunity to hear about Jesus. What a tremendously blessed ministry.

Cru has no central funds for salary and ministry expenses. Allyssa is raising money for this internship opportunity, in order to be able to go.

Would you like to donate? It might mean someone learning about Jesus who would never otherwise have the chance. We cannot all go out to the remotest parts of the world, but we can all help spread the Gospel to all nations!!

Click HERE to help Allyssa spread the Gospel to people who can only hear it through storytelling!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Saint Philip Neri-- Saint of Joy!

May we all be saints of joy!!

From Magnificat this morning, quoting Blessed John Henry Newman:
Nothing was too high for him, nothing too low. He taught poor begging women to use mental prayers; he took out boys to play, he protected orphans....Cardinals hung about his room, and popes asked for his miraculous aid in disease....It was his mission to save people, not from, but in, the world.
Nothing was too high for him or low. God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34). What a good reminder this holy saint gives us.

How easily we slip into thinking we are better than others. Some think they are better than the poor. (They must not work hard enough. They must not be very "together.") Some look down on the rich. (After all, surely they are attached to their possessions. Surely they are guilty of materialism. Surely they are haughty.)

Does education make a person superior? Nice clothing? Status? Money? Power?

God is no respecter of persons. May we never forget that we are all poor broken children, in need of the Redeemer.

And like Saint Philip Neri, may we never pass up an opportunity to share the joy of Christ with every person we meet.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

And The Winner of the Book Drawing is.....AnneMarie!!!

The winner of a free copy of this book is Anne Marie!!! Congratulations!!

If you were hoping to win, you can enter another drawing by posting a comment after my review at http://www.catholic365.com/article/4328/review-and-book-giveaway-of-learning-to-love-with-the-saints-a-spiritual-memoir-by-jean-heimann.html That drawing will be on the morning of May 25, 2016!!

(Hint: As of this moment no one has commented on the review at that site. You could have a very good chance....)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baptism Photos Part 2.... Had enough yet??

 Blaise with (from left to right) his godmother, his mother, his father, and his godfather

 Blaise with his grandfather, his great grandfather, his grandmother, his godfather, his mother, his godmother, and his father...

 Blaise with his grandfather, his godfather, his parents, his godmother, and me (his grandmother)

This is one of those priceless shots. Blaise with his grandfather and four generations....Blaise, his father, his paternal grandmother, and his great grandfather! (his Grandma Colette's father) I love it! I never knew any of my great grandparents. Blaise has three living great grandparents!!!!!

Blaise with his Uncle Jim!

Little do these two guys know that someday they're going to be good friends.

Blaise with Mom and Dad!
 Blaise's Uncle Mike and Uncle Jim.

 Blaise with Father Ed!

 Blaise with his Uncle Jim and Father Ed. I distinctly remember Father Ed playing with Jim at about the same age!

And Blaise with his Grandpa Bogdan, whom many people think he resembles...at least for now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baptism Photos!!

Here is little Blaise moments before his Baptism. To the right of the priest is his godmother (my daughter Mary), his godfather Ian( Zach's brother) and Zach and Anne (my daughter) who are Blaise's parents. I love how attentively Blaise is listening to the prayers of his Baptism. :-) He did that the entire time.

 The moment of Baptism. How beautiful that the waters of Baptism are reflected on Blaise's parents and godparents, aptly symbolizing the grace on everyone at that moment.

 Mary tending to the needs of her little godson...

And here he is! The new creation, forever marked as belonging to God!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Heirloom Baptismal Gown

Here is Blaise modeling the ninety year old Baptismal gown. His great grandfather wore it. His grandmother (me) and his great aunt and uncle (my brother and sister) were all baptized in it. As were his mother and three uncles and two aunts. Yes, Blaise was the eleventh person to be baptized in this gown.
Above: Blaise with his mother who was also baptized in this gown. Judging by the look on his face, I'd say Blaise likes it. I can almost see my father smiling.

What is it about heirlooms that warm our heart. Only my father, the original owner of the gown, is gone. The nine other people are still with us and eight of them were even at the Baptism.

And yet everyone smiles at the knowledge that this is a family Baptismal gown.

We are physical beings. I look at this gown and it's very tiny, beautiful lace edging and I wonder how many mothers have fingered it and who made it. Was it my father's grandmother? I don't remember his mother ever sewing, so could it have been the even earlier generation? Is it possible that someone wore it even before my father?

Somehow this gown binds us generationally. Somehow it connects us to people who have gone before. Somehow it unites us spiritually and even with a mystical physicalness in the very gown itself. It is not ours. It belongs to the family. As do we.

Tomorrow-- pictures of the Baptism!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Pentecost!! Come Holy Spirit.

From In Conversation With God Volume Two: Lent and Eastertide,  by Father Francis Fernandez...
When we realize that our sanctification and the apostolic effectiveness of our lives depend upon our correspondence with the motions of the Holy Spirit, we feel the need to ask Him often to wash what is stained, water our dryness, heal our infirmity, enkindle our tepidity, and direct our straying steps, (Sequence for the Mass of Pentecost) since we know that within us there are many defects-- lukewarmness, stains, areas which do not give the fruit they should because they have dried up, elements which are diseased, as well as little deviations which must be corrected....
     If we want to have a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, nothing is so effective as a close friendship with Mary....

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jean Heimann's "Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir"

Jean Heimann's latest book, Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir was published by Mercy Press on May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 2016. (If you would like to win a free copy of this book, enter the drawing by leaving your name in the Comments section of this post. Winner will be drawn May 21. If your comment does not link to a way to contact you, please leave your email as well.)

When hearing the name Jean Heimann, those who traffic the Catholic blogosphere will think first of the award-winning blog Catholic Fire. Visually lovely and evangelistic in tone, Jean's blog is chockfull of biographies of saints of the day, prayers, novenas, informative posts on Catholic feasts, video reflections, and lovely photos. It is a gem of a Catholic blog. If you've ever wondered who this creative and very Catholic blogger is, Jean's new book will tell you.

Jean Heimann is a free lance writer, wife, an Oblate with the Community of Saint John, an evangelist, psychologist, speaker, and the author of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues (Servant Books 2014).

Her new book, Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir  details the events of her life and how saints have drawn her to the truth and to a deeper relationship with the Creator. The reader will learn about Jean herself and also the lives of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, Pope St. John Paul II, St. John the Evangelist, Blessed John Henry Newman, and St. Sharbel.

Each chapter begins with one or more quotes of the saint whose message deepened Jean's love for God, some during the events of the chapter and some retrospectively.

Jean Heimann's life began in a loving, devout Catholic family, complete with a statue of Mary on the console TV, family rosaries, and singing of hymns during car rides. It was Jean's mother who introduced her to Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way.

Those who grew up in the 60s and 70s will recognize the push/pull of a culture coming unhinged. Confusion, spiritual and otherwise, was rampant. Licentiousness was celebrated over authentic freedom. And I do mean celebrated. Cultural mores were not only abandoned; they were held in contempt. To Jean's credit she never stopped attending church during that period, but wishes she could have read then Pope Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body. How his wisdom would have changed things and what insight it gave her later as she contemplated those years. Jean unknowingly married an abusive and addicted man who filled her life with turmoil and fear for two years. A victim of the often inadequate catechesis of that time, Jean thought a divorce would require that she abandon her Catholic faith. Finally, her own safety required divorce, and she sadly stopped going to church.

Jean then immersed herself in her education and later in her work, excelling in both. After a number of years, she did return to her faith after learning that she was indeed still welcome, and after seeing her parents' touching veneration of the cross on Good Friday. She writes,
On Good Friday that year, I watched my dad fall to his knees and hug the large cross, tenderly kissing the feet of Jesus. Then, in an instant, my mom was reaching out, bending low, nearly falling off her wheelchair to her knees, to embrace and reverently kiss the feet of the life-sized corpus. It was at that moment that I recognized where the void was in my life. Jesus had been missing! Only His love could fill that hole.
Jean's parents had always presented a model of love for her, as did Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. Before her father died he told Jean's mother "that he would come back for her and take her to heaven with him." What a touching example of authentic love.

St. Teresa of Avila was Jean's inspiration as she faced many more years of suffering. She quotes the great saint:
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing; God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices. 
There were her own health problems and illnesses afflicting her loved ones. Still, she remained faithful to the Lord, joining the Charismatic Renewal and becoming an Oblate with the Community of St. John. Of St. Teresa, Jean writes, "St. Teresa of Avila helped me to focus more on God and less on myself and my pain. Like her, I developed a love of prayer, contemplation, and a strong devotion to St. Joseph."

There were more crosses and yet also joy for Jean Heimann. Her marriage had been annulled, and she met a wonderful man at a Catholic Charismatic Conference. He was on the music team, and how beautifully the Holy Spirit worked to bring about their meeting and subsequent marriage.

Later, Jean experienced financial and other challenges, all of which she describes with humility and transparency. Through these struggles, she learned to keep her eyes on Jesus, and to grow more and more in love. She writes, "Suffering has a way of perfecting us. It humbles us and heals us of our pride. It releases us from self-reliance and independence and forces us to rely on God.." Indeed.

Pity the people whose lives are so easy they never feel the desperate need to rely on God. The rest of us will find Jean Heimann's spiritual memoir an encouragement to reach out to the Communion of Saints for wisdom and inspiration, as we carry the inevitable crosses of life, in our quest to fall more and more deeply in love with our God, and to rest in his peace.

If you'd like to purchase either the kindle edition ($2.99) or the paperback edition($13.99), you can do so HERE.

If you'd like more information about Jean's wonderful book, check out the reviews at the following excellent blogs, as part of the blog tour.

Friday, May 13 -- Ellen Gable Hrkach, Review, Plot, Line, and Sinker

Sunday, May 15 -- Carolyn Astfalk, Review, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog

Monday, May 16 -- Lisa Mladinich, Interview, Patheos http://www.patheos.com/About-Patheos/Lisa-Mladinich

Tuesday, May 17—Nancy HC Ward, Review, Joy Alive in our Hearts http://joyalive.net/

Wednesday, May 18 -- Esther Gefroh, Review, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Thursday, May 19 -- Barb Szyskiewvicz, Review, Franciscan Mom http://franciscanmom.com/
and Catholic Mom http://catholicmom.com/

Friday, May 20-- Jeannie Ewing, Interview, Love Alone Creates http://lovealonecreates.com/

Saturday, May 21-- Patrice Faganant McArthur, Review, Spiritual Woman

Sunday, May 22 -- Melanie Jean Juneau, Review, Association of Catholic Women Bloggers
http://associationofcatholicwomenbloggers.blogspot.com/ and Joy of Nine

Monday, May 23-- Virginia Lieto Review, Virginia Lieto http://virginialieto.com/

Tuesday, May 24 -- Tony Agnesi, Review, Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life

Friday, May 13, 2016

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. In today's readings in Magnificat we find a short summary of the Fatima apparitions and Mary's message. (And if you don't have a paper or online subscription to Magnificat, I highly recommend it.)
This feast commemorates the first of six appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three Portuguese shepherd children in 1917. Mary exhorted them to "Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice." On her third appearance, she showed the children a vision of hell as a state of eternal pain and despair. She asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph," she reassured the children. On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated "the whole world torn by bitter strife" to the Immaculate Heart.
It was during the Fatima apparitions that the renowned Miracle of the Sun occurred. Some 30,000-40,000 people witnessed this miracle.

For those of you who will only accept testimony of a miracle from non-believers, I offer a news account written by a secular journalist at the time. Read the article HERE. (Although I might point out that witnesses of a miracle do not stay non-believers for long. :-)

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!!!!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Built a Log Cabin For A Visiting Relative?!

This little log cabin is located right by the historic Parker Grist Mill on Geddes Rd. (for those of you who live around here.)

I love to ride my bike here along a path that originates in Gallup Park. (my favorite biking destination.) And, yes, that is my bike, complete with convenient basket which often holds my camera and, yes, that is my helmet and my coke on the the little porch. I consider it quite a treat to ride my bike to this spot and then indulge in a coke as a reward.

I always find myself reading this marker and wondering about what it says. The cabin is over 130 years old. But it was built "to house a visiting relative from England." Really??

I looked up how long it would take settlers to build a log cabin.  One man working alone could build one in a few weeks. I assume a few men could build one faster than that. Imagine how strong these people were. Most men today would probably have trouble even lifting one end of a single log.

They built it for a visiting relative? Maybe their own cabin was too small. Or maybe this relative was not well liked and they couldn't stomach sharing close quarters with them? Or maybe the relatives were very well liked, and the Parker family wanted to honor them with their own private quarters.

In any event, it seems pretty impressive to build a log cabin with your bare hands for a visiting relative. Those who came before us were very hardy people.

Learn more about Parker Mill County Park from the above video. (And you can also see the inside of the cabin.)