The Privilege of Raising a Child with Down Syndrome

“You are a joy for Jesus.” A priest once told this to me in confession, and I was startled and surprised. I am so often aware of my faults and failings. They pile up before my eyes and fill me with self-doubt and discouragement. How could I, a spiritual weakling, one who does not pray enough and falls into the same sins again and again, possibly be a joy for Jesus? 

It took a child with Down Syndrome to show me how.

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St. Paul’s Letter to the Homeschoolers

1 Corinthians 13. It’s probably St. Paul’s most famous letter – the one we often hear at weddings.  Listening to it in church a few weeks ago, I realized that St. Paul could have written it (with a few tweaks) specifically for teachers and homeschoolers. In imitation of St. Paul then, here’s St. Paul’s Letter to the Homeschoolers:

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A Free Confession Prayer Book

In a few weeks, our youngest daughter is going to have her First Confession. Finally, she will get to join the rest of the family when we all go to Confession. More importantly, she will get to experience God’s incredible mercy and the abundance of graces that come through this wonderful sacrament.

To help prepare her for confession, I made a little booklet. I thought it would be beneficial if she had all the prayers she needed and an examination of conscience all in one little booklet — with beautiful art work, of course.

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Screwtape Intercepted: An Angelic Letter for a Homeschool Mom #2

I hope you enjoyed last week’s Screwtape Letter for a Homeschool Mom #2. Screwtape is a nasty one, isn’t he? You’ll be glad to know that Bitterwench never did get the letter because, just like last time,  Martha’s vigilant Guardian Angel intercepted it. Here is Archangel Gabriel’s advice to Angel Fairlight:

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How Catholic Parents Can Reform the Church

It’s been a tough summer for Catholics this year, and I would not be surprised if by now you’re tired of hearing and reading about church scandals, church politics, and maybe even church in general. As we wait for our bishops, cardinals, and the Pope to shed light on how they will address these problems and “clean house”, we lay people can feel rather helpless. Especially as we watch our beloved Church get attacked from the outside and ripped apart from within.

But I have news for you… well not quite news, but an important reminder:

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Church Scandals – What’s a Parent to Do?

How have you been coping with all the recent news of church scandals and clergy abuse of minors? All this news makes me sick to my stomach. Part of me doesn’t want to think about it, much less talk about it. But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? The silence, the covering-up, the pretense that sexual abuse by clergy isn’t really real.

But it is.

And while church officials talk about accountability and processes to protect youth and reform the system, we parents need to take the bull by the horns and talk about it with our kids (at least middle schoolers and older). If we don’t, they will catch wind of it somewhere else and feel confused and scandalized (as they should), and their faith may be seriously compromised. Here are three points to think about and possibly talk about with your kids:

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Church Closings: The Real Tragedy

Here’s a post by my husband:

The cacophony of blaring sirens, honking horns, and loud profanities is the deafening backdrop as you make your way through the sea of intoxication and into your destined oasis.  The Holy of Holies stands before you.  You genuflect and the cloud of sin in the air that you waded through drops at your feet. You now stand before God.  After that brief moment of peace, you feel a strange state of euphoria and desolation as you realize you are surrounded by your friends posing in stain glass windows amidst a dilapidated building in desperate need of repair if only to plug the dripping holes in the vaulted ceiling.  You wonder how long before her doors are padlocked like her friends’ down the street.

It’s a sight only too familiar for those stepping into an inner-city church in the Northeast. The Northeast has seen almost a 19% decline in the number of churches since 1965, and this past September, the diocese of Pittsburgh announced that they may reduce the number of Churches from 188 to 48. (The final decision is expected this month). The reasons cited for these closings are a shortage of priests, lack of attendance, and “money problems.”

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