This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Christian Elephants

Here is something to ponder. Many thanks to my sister-in-law and her mother for sharing this with us. This article comes from a reasonable source, the web site of the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think of this.

[ Fr. Sunil De Silva - 09.12.2009 ]
In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms.

Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.

Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched.

These strange attacks have spread, and according to a report, the elephants have already destroyed more than 700 houses in 30 villages, and killed five people. Nobody in this area has seen or even imagined the unique appearance of a herd of wild elephants such as this. The elephants are not ordinary elephants; they appear to be on a mission.

Typically, smaller elephants enter a village first, appearing to survey the community. They then rejoin the larger herd, and larger elephant soon follow and get the job done.

The ministry partner in India stated “We think that it might have something to do with the avenging the blood of martyrs. In fact the fear of God has fallen on the local people, who have labeled these elephants “Christian elephants.”

With little help coming from the administration, the villagers have taken to road blockades. “The elephants have destroyed crops and selected houses. But officials too express helplessness. “There is no permanent habitat of elephants in Sundargarh. They come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where their habitats have shrunk. But is not clear how and why these elephants reached Orissa.

Friday, January 29, 2010

If Your Husband Isn't Catholic

by Kathleen Blease

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have the joy of seeing someone you love understand one more piece of the Faith and be amazed by it. Enjoy!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You are called to pray for him—and for his family. In this case, there usually isn’t anyone else to pray to Mary and ask her to intercede for them. And there is no one else who can put the saints in Heaven to work for them. You’re it. Go for it!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have the motive to study your Catechism with the eyes of an adult. Your 8th grade answers need more depth. Find it and love it!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have a babysitter when your two-year-old just can’t sit still in Mass. Enjoy your peaceful time with Christ!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have the opportunity to learn patience, watching Christ fill your husband a little at a time. Grace drizzles in. Pay attention!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have the joy of introducing him to the liturgical year. Fish on Fridays, Advent Wreaths, Holy Days and Feast Days. Make it count!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You hold back the tears when he goes to Christmas Mass with you and the kids, sings out his lungs, prays The Our Father, and kisses you at the Sign of Peace. If you see a mom get mushy at Mass, remember why.

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You get an extra special thrill when he finds you a statue of Our Lady, Queen of Peace for your home’s entrance...or garden. Display her happily.

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You might overhear his friends and family say, “Well, she’s Catholic, you know.” Be glad they notice!

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You get a special view of love and faith and thank God for bringing your sweetheart to you. Don’t take Providence and grace for granted.

If your husband isn’t Catholic: You have to remember that…you are! Rejoice and be glad!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love Letters from Heaven

Here are a few Love Letters from Heaven. God made this glorious world just for us, His Creation, for our awe and wonder. Don't ever doubt you are loved!

All photos below are copyrighted Roger L. Blease.

Enjoy all the precious jewels around you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Kind Of Spouse Are You?

by Kathleen Blease

Why do we worship? Good question. It’s a very good question.

Answer: Because God loves us no matter what.

Someone might argue with you in this way:

“Exactly. So why bother worshipping? Look, if God’s going to love me so deeply, so compassionately no matter what I do, then why can’t I do whatever I want? He'll love me anyway. Why do I have to go to church on Sunday? So God gave us the commandment: Keep Holy the Lord’s Day, right? If I break that commandment, so what? God’s gonna love me no matter what. So why bother?”

Well, that’s right. God will love us even if we don’t go to church on Sunday. God will love us even if we don’t pray or speak to Him. He cares for us because we are His creation. And that alone should spur us to want to please Him. Deep down, we want to please our parents; they brought us into this world.

God, our Creator, is our Father in Heaven and loves us much more than any parent could. If you can visualize the very best parent in the whole wide world, what would be the most perfect parent? Of course, there is no such thing. There are wonderful parents, terrific parents: I have two of them. But there’s no perfect parent. But even if you could visualize that, God is way beyond. Okay, so why do we worship?

Let me give you a little exercise. It won't take long, just use your imagination.

Pretend you have a spouse and you love that spouse beyond anything in the world. Anything. You do anything. Be anything. No matter what that spouse does, you forgive. You’re the one assigned to take care of that spouse, to share your life. You cook. You clean. The home is beautiful. Simple but beautiful. Meals are delicious. All the laundry is done, folded and put away. Beds are made. And everything is dusted and cleaned. Your spouse comes home grumpy and you have a smile. Your spouse wants something to drink and you’re there with it. Whatever your spouse needs you will give. In fact, you would give your life for your spouse. And the words “I love you” you can see because you show it. You don’t just say it. You show it. No doubt that you deeply love your spouse.

Now, that’s you. You’re doing a wonderful job loving! Let’s talk about your spouse.

Your spouse doesn’t talk to you. Doesn’t do anything for you. Doesn’t mention your name, not once, doesn’t call you by name, doesn’t even tell friends about you. They don’t even know you exist! Or even know you two are married. You are simply just...there. It’s a pretty lonely life. It’s a heartbreaking life.

But, no matter what, you continue to pray that someday your spouse’s heart will be open and there will be room for you. And the joy that you have been bringing to your spouse all those years will be noticed and appreciated. Your spouse will show gratitude, and just delight you with delight in that. It would be very pleasing to you. It would lift you. But that day hasn’t come. Your spouse ignores you. You don’t even hear your own name. What a way to live! What marriage would survive that? I know I wouldn't survive!

Yet that’s what happens to God every day. He gave us everything. He gave you you. He knitted you in your mother’s womb. He carefully crafted each and every person on this earth. He gave you your soul, so you will have the opportunity of everlasting life. And He gave you a choice along with a freedom of choice--to be with him or not to be with him--without fear of His anger or rejection. And whatever choice you make, He is still waiting for you!

So are you going to be the spouse who never speaks His name? Who never does anything for Him? You might be wondering, “What can I do for God? He has everything. He’s GOD!! He doesn’t need me.”

Ah, well. That’s why He sent Jesus. The more we can do for God, the more we can understand Him, and the more likely we can spend eternity with Him. You can’t really be with somebody unless you are with that body, as one. And that’s what Jesus does of us. The Lord told us exactly what to do. And showed us exactly what to do. His Passion, His Crucifixion was love in its entirety. It’s the first time that human beings saw love in its completeness. It changed the world. It changed mankind for a reason: Because it was complete.

The Father in Heaven designed all this for us. Jesus was one hundred percent human and one hundred percent divine. And his crucifixion was excruciating, yet he was purely innocent in everything. People might wonder, Why didn’t He just come down from the cross? He would have saved Himself a lot of trouble. (I used to ask the same question when I was a kid, and one of the thieves asked Him that, too.) He didn’t need to come down from the cross, because He had already conquered death, and now He was showing us how to live. By suffering and dying on the cross the way He did, He was showing us how to live. In a complete love.

So....What kind of spouse are you?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Radio and TV Online for Catholic Moms

Today I'd like to share with you two resources I have found very helpful in living the Catholic life. Ave Maria Radio and EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) have been inspirations to me and also great educational resources.

At Ave Maria Radio, I like to visit the archives and listen to The Doctor is In. The show is shared by hosts Dr. Ray Gaurandi and Coleen Kelly Mast. Both provide excellent parenting advice from a Catholic perspective. Dr. Ray is now on a speaking tour as well, so watch your local diocesan newspapers and announcements to learn if he is coming to your area. A father of ten adopted children, who are all homeschooled, he has seen it all and faced it all, and he approaches it with a great sense of humor. Coleen Kelly Mast is also on a mission, a mission of teaching how abstinence is, in her words, sex respect. Her teaching materials, called Love and Life, are directed toward parents and teenagers, to help them face the pressures of today's sexy society.

At EWTN, I enjoy visiting the archives, too. See a theme here? I don't have a schedule that can revolve around television and radio programs, and I wouldn't doubt you don't either. Visit the EWTN archives and scroll down to Archived Videos. My personal favorites are Mother Angelica Live Classics and The Journey Home. Mother Angelica is both witty and to listen to, and she's taught me a lot about the scriptures and the Mass. The Journey Home, hosted by Marcus Grodi, welcomes converts and reverts to tell their stories of coming home to the Catholic Church. Marcus Grodi is himself a convert, once an evangelical minister. It's a very interesting and uplifting show!

I hope you enjoy these two resources. Please share with us your favorite resources online for Catholic Moms. God bless.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jesus' Compassion: Greater than Greatest Sin

by Kathleen Blease

As Catholics, we receive a great blessing that only Christ can give us: Complete absolution of our sins. He cleanses our souls and He removes the chains that bind us.

God’s love is greater than any sin we can commit. Any. Can you imagine that?

When I think about this, I recall when I was in high school. I was sitting in world history class at the votech where I was enrolled in the engineering program. An administrator popped her head into the door and said to my teacher, Mr. De Beauclaire, “I thought you’d like to know that the Pope has been shot.” I was stunned. And then later, I was stunned by a second image. It was of John Paul II listening to his attacker’s confession. John Paul softly drapped his hand around this man’s neck and pulled him close. No one knows exactly what he said, but their expressions showed compassion and gratitude. It was all over the news. John Paul was gentle and compassionate; he was truly the hands of Christ.

I can’t but wonder what would have happened to Judas Iscariot had he not committed suicide, and then, upon Jesus’ resurrection asked Him for His forgiveness. It is just something to think about. Think about Peter, too, denying our Lord at His crucifixion. Then seeing the Lord after His Resurrection and being elated and filled with the Holy Spirit. About his becoming the Bishop of Rome, our first Pope, then dying for Christ, crucified upside down at his request, as he believed he was not worthy to die in the same way Christ died. How he was moved by Christ’s forgiveness and compassion! How moved would Judas had been had he asked for forgiveness, considering that his sin was far greater than Peter's? How joyful would he have been to see Christ and receive His forgiveness for his heinous act?

As Catholics, we are the recipients of the complete faith, just as Christ handed it to Peter, the same faith into which He ordained His Twelve Apostles. The Catholic Church’s seven sacraments come directly from scripture. None of them are man-made. They are Christ-made and thus divine! Complete and Divine!

We receive Baptism to receive the light of Christ (John 1:29-34). We receive the Eucharist—Christ Himself, spiritually and physically (Matt 26: 26-30). And in receiving Him, we are never alone carrying our daily cross. In Confirmation (Acts 2: 1-13), we are sealed with the Holy Spirit forever and ever, the same Holy Spirit that moved Peter and the Apostles on Pentecost. It is our personal Pentecost. In Reconciliation (also called Confession and Penance), we receive complete absolution of our sins (John 20:19-23). Our souls are cleansed and purified.

In addition, we can also receive the guidance and intercession of Mother Mary, St. Joseph and all the saints of Heaven. We need only ask. Just ask. That’s all. Imagine!

Just what did we do to deserve all this? We did nothing. It’s God who does all this, because He is crazy in love with us. He loves His Creation so much, He has not only given us Christ, He gave us His Church. This is why we say, “Glory to God in the Highest!” And the priest says, “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation!” And it is pleasing to Him that we come to Him as His people.

In John 20: 19-23, Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and ordained them, saying, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” The gospel continues with: And when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Now, Christ didn’t say to His Apostles, our first priests, “Go tell the people that if they pray to God for His forgiveness, then they are forgiven.” No. There is one more requirement He made. An apostle must hear the confession. Jesus specifically instructed, “Whose sins YOU forgive are forgiven…”. And He preceded that instruction with “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He instructed them to sit in His place. This is why we Catholics go to a priest, our modern day Apostles, to confess our sins to God. It is the only way we can receive absolution.

Think about it: In the Eucharist, we receive Christ Himself in a physical form. And in Reconciliation, we receive the love and mercy of Christ Himself…directly!

Let’s also think about what we are doing when we go to Confession. First, we stand in line, right? By this very simple act, we are doing something remarkable and pleasing to God. We are making a public statement that we recognize we are sinners and we need God’s grace and mercy. We also make an examination of conscience and ask ourselves, “What have I done to walk away from God or offend Him?” This is a significant step to building our character. To admit that we have done wrong, and to actively try to improve upon this. Then we confess our sins out loud…well, perhaps in a whisper…which can be very humbling.

We can be cleansed. We need only ask. And then when we receive Holy Communion, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ—the very essence of Christ himself—we are then letting Him reside in vessels (that’s us) that have been cleansed and purified.

If it has been a long time since your last Confession, please don’t worry. Priests today are very happy to help you. Just tell your confessor that it’s been a long while and you would like his help. I’ve been told by a priest that when someone comes to him in this way, it is a joyful time for him. After all, one of Christ’s lambs is finding the way home!

If you’d like to hear from a very worthy witness of Christ’s compassion, maybe you’d like to watch the conversion story of Fr. Corapi on You Tube. It all began with his confession after twenty years lost. Simply click on the title of this article, above. Or click on this link I hope you enjoy his story as much I. God Bless.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Honey Bun and Friends

 photo copyrighted by Roger L. Blease

After so many long articles, I thought I'd share with you a simple pleasure. This is our Honey Bun. One spring day several years ago, I went outside to shake a tablecloth clean. I spotted a sickly kitten and thought that if she would come to me I would help her.

Honey Bun did not even wait for my invitation. She simply walked into the house, sat on the rug, and looked up at me. My heart broke for this little waif. She was terribly malnourished and ailing from skin and ear infections, a broken toe, and soft bones. Her fur was also falling out and her belly was bloated. At barely six months old, she endured a very cold northeast winter. When I picked up her bony body, she began to lick my hand and purr with a soft yet deep voice.

It took two years of tender loving care and the help of my father-in-law to bring her back to health. My father-in-law is a veteranarian and the founder of a no-kill shelter called Common Sense for Animals (visit them at Today she is obviously enjoying life and she is...well...fat. She is our resident Garfield. And she is well loved.

This adorable photo was snapped by my husband, a talented photographer. Honey Bun's name suits her: she is very round and very sweet. God bless.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Holy Communion: Jesus' Amazing Love Story

by Kathleen Blease

It has taken me years to understand how the Mass is a sacrifice, not just a remembrance of the Last Supper. And, you know, it is all very simple and very reasonable and real. It took me a while to understand, but I’m glad I finally do!

To be direct, let me put it this way: I know me. And you know you. And since I know me and you know you, then we have to admit that it is indeed a sacrifice for Jesus Christ to leave His Kingdom in Heaven to endure you and me. Would you want to leave the perfect beauty of Heaven to live with you? Would I to live with me?

Let’s review what happens at the Mass itself, and then maybe I can be more clear.

The Mass is well arranged to help us prepare to receive Christ. First, we approach the Lord calling to mind our sins and asking for His mercy. Then we say, “Glory to God in the Highest,” to remind us just how merciful God is to us sinners. As the Mass progresses, we hear from the Old Testament, including the Psalms traditionally attributed to King David, the Acts of the Apostles, and then the Gospel of the Lord itself. (I’d like to add here that the Old Testament is just as Christian as the New Testament. It explains how God prepared a nation into which his Only Son was born. And for this we are to be grateful to the Hebrew nation.)

These first parts of the Mass bring us into the Light of Christ in a humble way and with the best mindset.

Then, in the Creed, we also address that Christ is one hundred percent divine and one hundred percent human. You know, in the Gospel, Christ uses the words “Son of Man.” His is very humble. I can’t help but be moved by the image of Christ, Son of God, standing before the people and saying that He is one of us! How remarkable is it that the perfect form of God chooses to be one of us and love us with all His might! Don’t forget that God has every power to come to this earth in any form, yet He chooses to be human, beginning as we do, as a tiny and helpless babe.

Well, now, this is not the whole story. Christ did something that was never done before, something brand new to humankind. He died for us, he an innocent lamb, to show us exactly what perfect love looks like. He gave His very last drop of blood so we could see and believe.

This love story begins so beautifully. And there is no ending! It is the everlasting covenant.

There is yet one more facet to this amazing story we should all bear in mind. It did not take place in history. It is taking place today. Jesus still exists. His love still exists. His sacrifice is still taking place. He shouldn’t be spoken of in the past tense. He still walks this earth. How so?

Let’s return to the Mass. The altar is prepared for Holy Communion. As the gifts are brought up to the altar, we bring what is in our hearts. We are to give to Jesus our hearts as He is about to give Himself to us. He calls us to be in Him and He is in us.

And then the beauty of Heaven begins. At the Consecration, Christ is now the priest of the Mass and Heaven touches Earth. Did you ever notice how clergy, such as a bishop or the Pope, remove their skull caps while preparing the altar? They are subjugating themselves to Christ. And they now become Christ’s hands. Yes! Heaven is now touching Earth right there before your very eyes through the hands of the priest! Christ tells us in the Gospel that the bread now becomes His Body. And the wine now becomes His Blood. All through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the Eucharist. The Invisible Christ.

Jesus is sacrificing Himself all over again for us, as He first did on Calvary. Christ reigns in Heaven, with all the glory of the angels and His Heavenly Father. He reigns in complete love and peace, and yet He chooses to come down from Heaven and be with, crazy mixed up people He will forever love…us, living in this human world. He is here through the priest’s hands. And then He is in us through Holy Communion, the Eucharist.

And so Christ is giving himself to us again and again and again. Every day at every Mass. Think about how many Masses there are each day in the world. Perhaps every hour? Every quarter hour? Every minute? Each and every time the Consecration takes place, Heaven is with us, because its King, Jesus Christ, is with us in the Eucharist.

Make no mistake about it. Do not become confused by what others tell you. When you are receiving the Eucharist at Holy Communion, you are receiving Christ himself. Yes, it is a remembrance, but not just a remembrance. Jesus didn’t say, “Think of this bread as my body.” Or, “This bread is a symbol of my body.” No. Christ said, This IS my body. This IS my blood. The blood of the new and everlasting covenant. The fulfillment of the covenant God the Father made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses and Joshua. And you are receiving that fulfillment from Heaven itself.

Jesus himself instituted the Eucharist. People didn’t just make this up to honor him. The Eucharist is so perfect and reasonable that only God could have come up with this. And it is complete, Christ in His entirety. It is truly divine!

I would doubt that the Twelve Apostles understood what the Lord was saying at the Last Supper. It took quite a while for it all to make sense to them, I should think. It certainly would take a while for me to understand. But their hearts were in the right place. Theirs were with Christ. They came to Him with their hearts…and HE DID THE REST!

Of course, Peter’s denial of Christ certainly didn’t appear as though his heart was in the right place. His fear overwhelmed him, but when Christ appeared to the Apostles after His crucifixion, Peter was elated and began to understand all that Jesus placed in his heart. Jesus then ordained His Apostles during His forty days with them after His Resurrection, Easter Sunday. He instructed them in all they needed to do. I can only imagine how fear must have struck them again when Christ ascended into Heaven, and the Apostles felt they were alone. But, alas, Christ did send the Advocate He promised, and Peter’s heart was moved into action at Pentecost. He and all the apostles knew what to do next.

They didn’t give up their lives for a symbol made with bread and wine. Today, our priests don’t give up careers, family, and the opportunity to give their parents grandchildren for a symbol of bread and wine. Just like the Twelve Apostles, our priests, our modern day Apostles, give their lives to Christ, a deep abiding love. The Twelve Apostles didn’t leave the comforts of their home and family to travel to strange, foreign lands and suffer persecution for a symbol. They loved the Eucharist, because the Eucharist is Christ Himself, whom they love with complete devotion. He is for all generations to receive. And today our priests are living this amazing love story. When they give up marriage, they do not live without love of another. They live in love; love is their life.

At every Mass, at every Holy Communion, you receive the same Christ who touches Peter and calls him the rock upon which He builds His church. You receive the same Christ who heals the lame, who makes the blind see, who raises Lazarus from the dead! This is the same Christ who dies on the cross for you, who is resurrected, who is ascended into Heaven, where he reigns as its King.

Imagine, this all-loving and perfect Christ longs to be with you each and every day, and in a physical way. Not through a symbol, not through just a prayer, but through a physical host that resides in you. IN YOU!! When Jesus hung on the cross, He said, "I thirst." Mother Teresa, now Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, had a calling from Christ, during which He placed in her heart the meaning of these two endearing words. He thirsts not for a drink but for us to come to Him. To love as deeply and as abidingly as He loves us. Near His last breath, He is calling us, aching for us. These are the words that sustained Mother Teresa in her work and made her the living saint we all loved. And He gives us Holy Communion so we, too, can physically live with Him and hear His call.

There is no doubt that the Mass is indeed a sacrifice. Without the true presence of Christ, it is a prayer service. Prayer services are good, and prayer will bring you closer to Christ by putting your mind and heart with Our Lord. But a prayer service is not a Mass. A Mass is receiving the physical Christ in His body, blood, soul and divinity. Yes, you are also receiving his soul and divinity, which are the essence of Christ.

Now, as I said: I know me. And you know you. And since I know me and you know you, then we both know that this indeed is a complete sacrifice…to leave Heaven and endure me and you! All out of love and compassion. He is truly crazy about us and devoted to us, His Father’s creation! If you are to be the only person on earth, He will still die for you, so you will understand His deep devotion and seek His Heaven.

Go to Mass. Love Mass. Sit in the front pew so you see only your Christ. Sit in front of the tabernacle. Visit the tabernacle as often as you can. Visit with Christ. You do not need your church to hold Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to do this. Many churches welcome visitors anytime. Also take a few moments after Mass to pray in front of the tabernacle. Don’t just leave after the recessional hymn. You can visit your friends anytime; they will understand. When you are before the tabernacle, give Christ your heart. You don’t need to say anything. He will say it all to you by filling your heart with an understanding and peace that can only reside in love. This is indeed Jesus Christ, Our Lord and King, who reigns with love and compassion. And as Catholics, we receive Him at each and every celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass. God bless.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jewish Holiday Baking

I’d like to tell you about a wonderful baking book I just discovered. By the time I caught up with it, the title was already printed as a 10th anniversary collection. Tells you how up-to-date I am!!

I first picked up A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman at the library. Someone displayed a collection of Jewish holiday books on top of a cabinet, I would guess for the Chanukah ahead.

When our boys first saw me reading it at the kitchen table, they teased me about picking up a Jewish baking book. But I reminded them that we share the same heritage as the Jews, and so I was very much interested. Well, the proof is in the pudding.

Wow! What awesome recipes! The first two I made were a huge hit with my family. The Blitz Cherry Cake is as easy as pie and tastes like a pound cake, yet it has no butter (well, it does use a lot of sugar and eggs, but it makes a big cake). Now, I do not like fussy recipes. From the mixing bowl to the oven is what I look for! This one is a cinch and will make you look like a professional baker. It also works well with blueberry pie filling. Delicious!

The other recipe was a knock-out. Okay, I want to get the name right for you. It’s called Chanukah Gelt Double Fudge Chocolate Layer Cake—None Better! While it sounds decadent and gooey, it really isn’t and it’s just right. Lots of cocoa flavor is round in your mouth and well balanced. Perhaps the bit of cinnamon required has something to do with that, as well as the warm cola or coffee added to the mix. And this cake requires nothing unusual; all the ingredients can be found in a humble pantry. For a professional look, take Mrs. Goldman’s advice and cover the sides with chocolate sprinkles. To make the icing nice and smooth, just use a metal icing spatula that was dipped in warm water; be sure to shake off the excess water. I made this for our son’s birthday, which is on The Epiphany. Maybe next year, I’ll decorate it with gold coins for the Three Kings.

Mrs. Goldman, a terrific writer, includes more than just recipes. She also takes the time to educate her readers of her Jewish heritage and baking prowess. You’ll enjoy her articles on the Jewish holidays and festivals, something we Catholics really should know more about as God’s people. I find them to be very instructive and thoughtful for those of us who just don’t know the details. I also enjoy her baking basics on things such as honey cakes, babkas, and homemade matzoh. Never knew, or even heard, about these things! The new 10th anniversary edition has more baking recipes than the original edition I checked out from the library, and it features a new bonus chapter of 30 cooking recipes, including instructions on how to make an awesome chicken soup.

After making two of her terrific cakes, I couldn’t wait to order my own copy. If you’d like to see A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking: The 10th Anniversary Edition by Marcy Goldman, click here. Let me know what you think. And share with me what are your favorite recipes. I think I’ll try Almost-Nettie’s Cinnamon Meringue-Walnut Babka next.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Catholic Heritage Curricula and SOAP

Need a little advice on the mothering front? I like to visit the support page at Catholic Heritage Curricula. As a Catholic mom in this modern world, I can understand how difficult it is to make decisions others might think are too “old-fashioned.” Some might even tell you that your choices are inconsiderate of others; however, you know that you need to draw a line that others might not understand. (We need to practice doing this gently but firmly. I need practice in this!) Motherhood, unfortunately, is not a popularity contest, but sometimes we do need some affirmation and down-right assistance. You might want to visit to help you with any type of mothering situation you can think of!

Catholic Heritage Curricula is also an excellent resource of Catholic materials for you and your children. Homeschooling or not, you can might find it useful. Visit

It provides excellent curriculum that focuses on the Catholic faith throughout all subjects. If you aren’t home schooling, you might enjoy the Catholic materials for you and your children--from prayers and Catholic stories to religious instruction. Before I homeschooled our boys, I wondered where I could find such materials for everyday enjoyment, and here they are! I can say from personal experience that CHC’s materials are very helpful, well thought out, and very doable for all families, of all ages.

But what you can’t miss is Rita Munn’s family journal at You’ll enjoy reading about her little mission called SOAP (Send Out A Prayer). Rita explains that a bar of soap quietly does it work cleansing and renewing, all the while giving of itself. This reminds me of a candle; how the candle feeds the flame, getting smaller and smaller, while it provides light. I think you’ll find Rita’s tone to be loving and compassionate and so reasonable! She is a mom of 10 children, so Rita’s seen and heard it all, I’m sure!

If you get a chance to visit the site, please share which are your favorite pages and products. God bless! And I SOAP to all of you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Jesus Prayer

Two days until my birthday! I think I am now officially old enough to stop counting. I am what I am! Who needs a number?

The Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This was printed on a lovely card that was tucked into a book called The Young Man’s Guide: Counsels, Reflections, and Prayers For Catholic Young Men by Rev. F. X. Lasance (Benziger Brothers, Inc). My father gave the little tome to my 13-year-old on the occasion of his Confirmation, for which my dad stood as his sponsor. Dad told us that he received the same book when he was confirmed some 60 years ago. I’m so glad publishers are bringing back these wonderful books to educate our children—and us parents, who need them badly! My boys usually find that dear old Mom digs into books that are given to them before they even get a chance to crack the spine.

But let me get back to The Jesus Prayer. I have heard it before, as I’m sure many of you have, too. And one day, a convert who appeared on The Journey Home on EWTN explained how he used the prayer throughout the day. As he breathes in, he says to himself, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.” And as he breathes out, "Have mercy on me, a sinner.” I think I am going to try to do this more often. Pray without ceasing. I usually simply forget. The day gets so busy, and then I find that instead of the prayers coming out of me there are actions and reactions that I wouldn’t be pleased to mention. Are you like this? Do your reactions pop out of you before you can think? How many times do I tell our children to think before they act, and yet I struggle with the same and I wonder what has happened to my sense of temperance. The Jesus Prayer. Try it and let me know how it helps you. And if you have any other prayers, please share!

I quickly visited the website noted on the little prayer card, It explained under “Who?” why we should pray without ceasing and how it has significant effect on our habits and ways. This is a little way we can become closer to Our Lord.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How Grace Drizzles In

by Kathleen Blease

Welcome to Kathleen’s Catholic: How Grace Drizzles In. This is a blog of a Catholic homeschooling mom in the modern world.

I’m Kathleen, and I welcome you to join me on my journey as the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, drizzles into my life. Are you surrounded by nonbelievers and nonCatholics? Me, too. And I love them all. I hope this blog will help you and me to be the hands of Christ, His voice and His feet, and recognize, if little by little, how Grace manages to affect our lives and through us affects the lives of those around us. Let’s support one another, encourage one another, and pray for one another. Please do join in and feel free to comment.

Last night, I attended Mass celebrated by our newly ordained Bishop. He called the Catholic Faith "counter-cultural." Isn’t that true! It is a struggle to live in this modern world as a devout Catholic. But it is the good struggle, and in it we find peace. And it's a struggle that is not new; it has been this way since our Christ walked this earth Himself!

Let’s discuss marriage (to Catholics or nonCatholics alike), children, education, cooking, cleaning, great books, great movies, great prayers, and great ideas that will help us bring the tradition, scripture, and history of our Faith into our Domestic Church. In the teachings of one of the doctors of the church, St. Therese of Liseux, The Little Flower, let's put our little ways to work for Christ. In these little ways we can glorify Him and bring Him into our homes. And bit by bit, Grace will drizzle into our lives.

Here we go! May the Lord bless our efforts and guide us. Your words, Lord, not mine!
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