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!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Handmade Clay Rosaries

I thought you might enjoy this blog by Sarah, a stay-at-home mom who makes gorgeous clay rosaries. To visit The Clay Rosary Girl, click here. I've also listed Sarah's blog on my page Catholic Links for the Family, where you can find lots of resources about living the Catholic life, including homeschooling curriculum, Catholic radio, and even adult catechism on video by Fr. Barron.

Lamb of God beads from The Clay Rosary Girl

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!" The Culture of Life Right Before Your Eyes.

This is a must see for your entire family!

This amazing video left me speechless, not easy to do. To learn more about Nick and to hear more about his message of the culture of life, visit his blog Attitude is Altitude. To purchase his DVD, which includes a second disk for youth, click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Your Kids are Stuck in the House All Day." Really? Socialization is Homeschooling's High Point!

by Kathleen Blease 

We had just finished dinner and the dishes were in the dishwasher when there was a knock at the front door. It was our neighbor from down the street, chaperoning his daughter who was selling cookies. As usual, the little girl handed me the order form in a shy manner, looking down at the floor. A sweet and quiet girl. Dad did all the talking. As I filled out the form, I heard him blurt out, "Your kids are stuck in the house all day." It was truly out of context, and I could only guess that it was something very much on his mind. Perhaps he really intended to ask me if my children were confined to the house, or if they were involved in various programs, for which I would have gladly explained. But in his embarrassment, he quickly took our order and left.

This Fall, we will begin our seventh year of home schooling. As the years have gone by, to tell you the truth, I've found that this dad is not unusual in his concerns. Here are a few questions and comments I've volleyed, with my responses in parentheses:

"I don't know how you do it. I would kill my kid after the first day."
(Homeschoolers get frustrated, too. But wouldn't you like to give your child the best? Why do you want to work with a third party? You can solve problems on a one-to-one basis., and there is no question as to whom your child views as the authority in his life.)

"You spend only a few hours on lessons? How can you get away with that?"
(If you would spend three hours one-on-one with your child everyday, wouldn't you get a lot done? Most parents nod their heads in agreement, with a wry smile. Add time for independent work and homework, and you have a very full school day--one that is productive at that. Imagine having productive school days each and every day. Some more so than others, but productive in any case. There's quite a bit of learning going on!)

"I can barely get through homework, much less homeschooling."
(Homeschooling is nothing like homework. You plan the lesson, so you know exactly what your child needs to do. When your child brings an assignment home from school, you have to guess at what objective the teacher is aiming, and this is frustrating for both child and parent. When my boys were in school, I found that very little instruction for the parent (from the teacher) came home with the work. Even a first grader was expected to remember the objective. Good luck.)

"Your kids are stuck in the house all day."
(Really? When my kids were little, I took them to the Y to swim. While I swam laps, the retired folks who paddled about in the shallow end enjoyed chatting with my boys. How many grade-schoolers are comfortable talking with the elderly? Today, they belong to Scouts and have earned umpteen advancements. And they belong to a homeschooling group where they take core classes every week with more than one hundred children of all ages. No friends? When we hosted a pool party last year, twenty-five children attended and they had a great time. I'd say they have friends.)

"But what about socialization? Do your kids see other kids? How do they learn to get along?"
(See above...and add this: Those twenty-five kids were the best behaved and happiest youngsters I ever met. Older children were very attentive to younger children. In addition, at the end of the party, each one personally approached me and thanked me for the wonderful day. They didn't leave the thank-yous for mom and dad to deliver.)

"They have to get out into the real world sometime."
(When's the last time a 25-year-old man worked with only 25-year-old men? When was the last time you worked with only people your own age? Schools, out of necessity and common sense, need to create an artificial environment by grouping children by their ages. Homeschooling does not require this in order for learning to take place. The real world is much better represented in the homeschooling environment.)

Well now, if you don't mind, and if you can stick with me, I'd like to address more accurately socialization, the one area of concern that seems to strike the heart of parents most.. It does indeed seem to the biggest stumbling block, the one that keeps parents from considering homeschooling. (Interestingly, few parents ask me about academics, or address the sad state of the public (and even private and parochial) schools and the experimental and modern methods of education.  And if one is Catholic, one would think our faith would be of greatest concern to parents. Yet, I don't hear these expressed very often.)

There is a fear among parents that a child who spends all or most of his day with his folks will become ill suited and backwardly prepared for the real world, which apparently rears its ugly head only after one's education has ended. Parents need to keep in mind that the real world is not something that mystically appears upon one's graduation. The truth is, the real world is here and now, and we must educate our children to live in it without being of it. As a homeschooler, a parent can make apparent  the difference between the two and keep at bay the materialism and relativism kids receive in heavy doses at school. In fact, this is job #1 for all parents, according to Pope John Paul II, who made it clear that the parents are the primary educators. In the end, parents really cannot blame peer pressure or school environment for problems in rearing their children. It is a responsibility they must personal grasp themselves.

When I'm asked about the social opportunity in homeschooling, I say, "I like it!" and begin to outline the various activities (which have led to friendships) available to my sons.  Their scope is much broader, since they don't sit in a classroom with the same teachers and the same children everyday, and they approach opportunities with a different outlook. This summer my sons will be attending Boy Scout Camp. One scout's father is dead-set against homeschooling because of the "socialization issue."  Ironically, his little boy approached my younger son and asked if he already earned a certain merit badge he was interested in. When my son told him he already earned the badge, the boy asked him to consider repeating the program so there would be someone in the class who he knew.  My son assured him, "At first you won't know anyone, but you will get to know the kids. You'll do fine!" My children are accustomed to meeting strangers and working in a group of children they do not know. They are not forward nor do they walk into a new situation and try to take charge. They are quiet and observant, and my younger son has been described as "living in a shell" by non-homeschoolers. Yet, he has learned how to assess a situation before jumping in, and (surprise!) he is the youngest member of the leadership corpse in our scout troop, a troop of an unbelievable 105 boys.

Maybe it would do us some good right now to define exactly what "socialization"  is. To get to the crux of the matter, perhaps it would be easier to first state what it is not:

Socialization is NOT compiling a list of friends on Facebook. It is NOT spending all day, every day in a classroom with the same teachers and the same children who are the same age. Just when will this ever happen again in your child's lifetime?  Socialization is NOT having girlfriends at the age of 12, and a long list of buds to chat with on the cell phone. It is NOT video games, the latest movies, the hippest jeans, or the right color shirt. When children limit themselves by thinking that this is what socialization IS, their world shrinks significantly. This indeed is a shallow and lonely existence, yet peer pressures in school can raise these litmus tests to the top of a child's priority list, even for the kindest and most gentle child. In the end, a child who appears to be socialized in school just might grow into an adult who will testify that his greatest time in life was high school; from there, it was all down hill for him. Go to a high school reunion and you'll meet many of these "kids."

Now let's give a broad brush to what socialization IS. Socialization IS the ability and willingness to work with others, regardless of gender, age, creed, or social standing. Importantly, this does not overshadow one's personality. If a child is more outgoing and enjoys being the center of attention, this can be to his advantage, if he learns to temper it well. If a child is more introverted and carefully assesses each situation before jumping in, this can be an advantage, too, and a parent can spend time in coaching and ensuring her child one-on-one. A well socialized child uses his own nature and uses it well.

Socialization IS also the use of proper manners and conduct at all times under all circumstances. When a child spends six hours a day with other children, it only comes to reason that his instruction in this area would come from other children. Peer pressure surely is the most significant tool youngsters apply throughout the day. And parents desperately try to combat these "lessons" in the few hours their youngster spends at home. If your child is in school, I'm sure you know what I mean. When my boys attended school, correcting what had been taught to them all day by other boys was a very difficult task indeed.

Still, above all these concerns is the very essence of socialization.

To be truly socialized IS to have the ability to live and work among  family and friends as God created you! If a child is socialized, then he will know the value of his soul, his talents, and his treasures, and he will recognize this value in others. Parents often struggle to shovel away all the un-Godly debris a child brings home from school. In homeschooling, socialization is provided by parents who have life experience, guidance from prayer and contemplation, and their number one adviser and coach is Christ himself.

Is it an easy road to pave in homeschooling? I can tell you hands-down it certainly is not. It is rough and curvy, but it is also directly  in the hands of the parents, not the peers, or the educators who struggle to manage so many children on a daily basis. Socialization is a challenging job under all circumstances, but homeschooling parents have hope and opportunity in living out their role as the singular loving authority. Unfortunately, the parent of a school-attending child will most likely be fighting to be merely heard and respected as the authority in the home.

This morning, I had a long conversation with my son about attending Boy Scout camp, just two weeks away. He is counting the days. Last year, he enjoyed repelling and rock climbing. This year, he has decided to try something brand new--small boat sailing. He also outlined for me how he would like to spend his summers in years ahead. My builder, inventor, mechanic, pilot, talker, reader,  introvert of a son has a mission in mind, and I can see his excitement in planning new adventures that will bring out his natural talents. No one ever told him he couldn't, or that he was geeky, or that he wasn't cool. In a word, he's socialized!

God bless.

(photo source:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cool Off with Love Letters from Heaven

Summer is here and the heat is on! And my family and I are feeling it without air conditioning. Pool, here we come!

I thought you might enjoy revisiting some Love Letters from Heaven that could help you cool off, too. Don't forget, if you ever doubt that you are loved, just take a look around you. Evidence that Your Creator is crazy about you is every where. And it's all for you to take in with awe and wonder.


(All photos copyrighted by Roger L. Blease. Please do not use without permission.)

river frost, along the delaware

cold waters

just a few months ago?

 Assateaque Island

this just looks too good right now

 view to a snowball

bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (I couldn't resist)

God bless.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Birch Beer and Fawns

(photo source:

I just wrote a new entry today in Kathleen's Bird and Nature Journal, called A Birch Beer Mist and Fawns in the Brambles. Scroll down to the June 23 entry.

After reading it, you might be interested in my homemade ice cream recipe. Easy as pie. It's irresistible piled high with fresh wild raspberries!

(photo source:
Enjoy! God bless.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"I Believe" from CD "Beyond the Veil"

  Gloria TV: The More Catholic The Better! has other terrific videos. Many thanks to Catholic speaker and writer Vinny Flynn for sharing this, from his son.

God bless!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Padre Pio: For the Love of Corpus Christi

St. Padre Pio: Born Francis Forgione in the south-central Italian town of Pietrelcina, he was a simple Capuchin monk who spent his entire life celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.

He did not travel the world, collect rare artifacts, scale walls or suffer in dungeons. He was not a soldier or a millionaire. Yet, he was a great warrior who fended off Satan himself and saved countless souls, literally. He built a hospital with his compassion and drew thousands upon thousands of Catholic and non-Catholics alike to his tiny confessional, where many waited as long as thirty days to be heard and absolved of their sins by this simple man who bore the wounds of Christ, the stigmata.

Just as The Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux, spent her life in one monastery and changed the world through the living sermon of her little ways, St. Padre Pio defeated evil and cast out darkness to make present Christ among us, never traveling but a few miles from home. His daily Mass took ninety minutes. This was not due to additional prayers but to his love for the ultimate prayer itself and his need to contemplate the great mystery of The Eucharist, often times bringing him to tears of joy and gratitude. Padre Pio could read hearts and souls, much to the surprise of many sinners, and his rare gift of bi-location was well spent as he brought comfort to the dying.

Here is a wonderful book my pastor,  Fr. Deo, lent to me. It's a compilation of essays about Padre Pio from people who knew him best, covering topics such as his childhood, early priesthood, how the stigmata came to be, his work in the confessional, and his love for the Mass. A true delight to read all at once or bit-by-bit.

God bless!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just What IS a Woman's Role if She Cannot Be Ordained?

 One day, I came across a post on Facebook from a man who, for the life of him, couldn't reason why women aren't ordained priests. Still quite young, he reminded me very much of myself at that age, and he was quick to argue that the Church is sexist in its methods. Many years ago, I too had the argument that since the Church was in dire need of priests, then women should be ordained and given all the privileges of men.

How naive could I have been? Now, many years later, I see the wisdom of the Church, and I'm grateful youngsters such as I was had no authority in the matter.

So what is the role of woman in the Church if she cannot be ordained? Indeed, women hold the highest role! Yes, you read that correctly--the highest role. This is not my opinion. It is the teaching of the Church herself, one which has been underscored by Pope John Paul II.

If you don't believe this, consider:

Mary, Mother of God, is the highest of all saints--including all the men--and the Queen of Heaven, crowned solely for her singular and perfect role as a mother. In all her perfection, her own Son did not choose her to be a priest. She remained his mother, who raised and nurtured Him, who prayed for Him during His ministry and while He was absent from her. It was Mary who also gave comfort to the Apostles, who suffered at the foot of the cross, and whose divine agony became divine mercy, making God's grace evident on Earth.

It was a mother--a woman--through which God made Himself present among His Creation. Remember, God could have manifested Himself in any form and under any circumstance. If He so desired, He could have come to us from the sky a mighty warrior and claimed Israel in one strike. Yet, He came to us through the womb of a lowly and simple, yet perfect, woman. If this does not clearly define the power of motherhood and God's elevation of the woman, then nothing will convince you.

Well, let's try this, too...

Among the saints are Doctors of the Church. These are saints who are considered the most edified among the holy, and they are named such by the Pope himself. Two of my favorites are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila. Their gender has nothing to do with their ultimate status!

Now how can anyone call the Catholic Church sexist? But, no, the young man on Facebook wouldn't give up. His final question: "Just where does it say in Scripture that only men can be priests?" Margie Prox Sindelar, a wonderful lady on my friends list, wanted to help him out. Here's what she had to say, reprinted with her permission. Make yourself comfortable, this is a long list that will make you think...and think...and think.

Just because women and men have different roles, does not make us unequal in dignity.... men can not bear children.... So was God sexist when he created us that way? and Yes, there are many places in Scripture that support a male only priesthood, so the church has no authority to change what God has commanded:

Gen. 3:15; Luke 1:26-55-- Mary is God's greatest creation, was the closest person to Jesus, and yet Jesus did not choose her to become a priest. God chose only men to be priests to reflect the complimentarity of the sexes. Just as the man (the royal priest) gives natural life to the woman in the marital covenant, the ministerial priest gives supernatural life in the New Covenant sacraments.

Judges 17:10; 18:19 – fatherhood and priesthood are synonymous terms. Micah says, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest.” Fathers/priests give life, and mothers receive and nurture life. This reflects God our Father who gives the life of grace through the Priesthood of His Divine Son, and Mother Church who receives the life of grace and nourishes her children. In summary, women cannot be priests because women cannot be fathers.

Mark 16:9; Luke 7: 37-50; John 8:3-11 - Jesus allowed women to uniquely join in His mission, exalting them above cultural norms. His decision not to ordain women had nothing to do with culture. The Gospel writers are also clear that women participated in Jesus' ministry and, unlike men, never betrayed Jesus. Women have always been held with the highest regard in the Church (e.g., the Church's greatest saint and model of faith is a woman; the Church's constant teaching on the dignity of motherhood; the Church's understanding of humanity as being the Bride united to Christ, etc.).

Mark 14:17,20; Luke 22:14 - the language "the twelve" and "apostles" shows Jesus commissioned the Eucharistic priesthood by giving holy orders only to men.

Gen. 14:10; Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:15,17 - Jesus, the Son of God, is both priest and King after the priest-king Melchizedek. Jesus' priesthood embodies both Kingship and Sonship.

Gen. 22:9-13 - as foreshadowed, God chose our redemption to be secured by the sacrificial love that the Son gives to the Father.

Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19 - because the priest acts in persona Christi in the offering to the Father, the priest cannot be a woman.

Mark 3:13 - Jesus selected the apostles "as He desired," according to His will, and not according to the demands of His culture. Because Jesus acted according to His will which was perfectly united to that of the Father, one cannot criticize Jesus' selection of men to be His priests without criticizing God.

John 20:22 - Jesus only breathed on the male apostles, the first bishops, giving them the authority to forgive and retain sins. In fact, the male priesthood of Christianity was a distinction from the priestesses of paganism that existed during these times. A female priesthood would be a reversion to non-Christian practices. The sacred tradition of a male priesthood has existed uncompromised in the Church for 2,000 years.

1 Cor. 14:34-35 - Paul says a woman is not permitted to preach the word of God in the Church. It has always been the tradition of the Church for the priest or deacon alone (an ordained male) to read and preach the Gospel.

1 Tim. 2:12 - Paul also says that a woman is not permitted to hold teaching authority in the Church. Can you imagine how much Mary, the Mother of God, would have been able to teach Christians about Jesus her Son in the Church? Yet, she was not permitted to hold such teaching authority in the Church.
(A note from Kathleen: Note that this is not referring to CCD teachers and mothers. This is referring to the teaching authority we now call The Vatican, The Pope, who provides us with the infallible teachings of The Church, which is protected by Our God from error.)

Rom. 16:1-2 - while many Protestants point to this verse denounce the Church's tradition of a male priesthood, deaconesses, like Phoebe, were helpers to the priests (for example, preparing women for naked baptism so as to prevent scandal). But these helpers were never ordained.

Luke 2:36-37 - prophetesses, like Anna, were women who consecrated themselves to religious life, but were not ordained.

Isaiah 3:12 – Isaiah complains that the priests of ancient Israel were having their authority usurped by women, and this was at the height of Israel’s covenant apostasy.

I'll bet you never thought there was this much available in Scripture. To all Catholic women, I'd like to say: if you are a mother, you know that your tasks are endless and can seem overwhelming. Indeed, we have a habit of using the word "mundane." But the truth is, motherhood can seem to be too much not because it is mundane but because it is so huge! Embrace the task Our Lord has granted you. You are the moral gate keeper of your home, and it is your most urgent task to raise the next generation in a way Moses instructed his people. That is, teach your children while you are at home and away, at work and at rest. Teach your children so they can teach their children and all the generations will know Him.

God bless!
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