will all voices be heard at the synod on the family?


Despite questionnaires and invited auditors, the upcoming synod on the family is still a synod of bishops. Is there any hope that the voices of families will be heard? Is there any hope that the voices of women will be heard when only a handful of handpicked women will be present?  READ MORE…

After a (too) long absence, here’s an article that I wrote for this week’s issue of the Prairie Messenger.

the gift of traditions – a guest post

image provided by microsoft

The following is written by my friend, Christine Suriano. She and her husband Tony are inspirational models of faith-filled marriage and joy-filled family life. Thank you, Chris! 🙂

Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm, and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught. (2 Thess. 2)

I think there are times we do not hold on to tradition; be it home, family, community, church. It may appear “old-fashioned”, maybe even worthless to some. And, we certainly don’t have time anymore. Do you hear what I hear?

I love the times when we are together and talk starts about what we did when the children were young, or the habits and lifestyles of grandparents and relatives. We laugh heartily, and that seems to bring on yet another story that is even funnier.

Much of what we talk about is how we enjoyed the simple things. Not having a lot of money, we made do. We couldn’t afford hotels and resorts, so we tent camped.  Sue and Chris shared a pair of clogs. The size was in the middle; a bit small for Sue and a bit large for Chris.  Recently, we recounted memories of those who lived with us on a temporary basis. I had forgotten who they were, but we laughed our heads off.

We had the Lent and Advent traditions; both what we did at home and how we recognized the needs of others outside our home. How and why did we keep certain Christmas traditions, especially the tree and the food preparations?

The church was one of the most important places within our family. We shared and cared and were supported by genuine, faith-filled people and clergy.  Taking on any responsibility was expected. Many shared and many gained from these experiences. It was a kind of Kumbaya-time in our lives.

Yes, things have changed over the generations. Change is a challenge, right?  Times are different and there are some traditions we won’t give up.  No matter where our families live, everyone gathers with other family members or neighbors and friends and has the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner.  Our Christmas gifting remains the same. Even though someone might not agree with the chosen charity, it is their choice when it is their time up at bat.

It’s the memories, the traditions that may or may no longer exist, that have brought all of us to where we are as a family. Right here. In this moment in time.  They have helped build relationships that have held true for 30, 40 and 50 years.

For all the above thoughts, emotions and memories, I thank you, God.  You are forever awesome.

May you continue to enjoy your traditions!

advent with wee ones

provided by Microsoft

Yesterday I wrote about Advent in a monastery. I had one of those. But, hubby and I have had many more advents with a houseful of wee ones. The memories make us smile now. At the time we questioned our efforts at being a model, Catholic family. It was a struggle, as it is today, to compete with the early onslaught of Christmas.

But, all our friends have their Christmas trees up! Why do we have to wait? Moan, groan. Being a Catholic sucks!

We usually tried to hold out until the 4th Sunday of Advent; or the third, depending on the calendar.

Our evening meals began with an Advent prayer and lighting the Advent candles. Catholics love the earthiness of hands-on signs and symbols, and the Advent wreath is one of my favorites. The rich greenness. The circle of eternity. The three purple candles with a pink one for Gaudete Sunday,signifying joy. The white candle in the center for Christmas. It was a perfect teachable moment for family prayer time.

The children were eager to participate. Everyone wanted to light the candles. And, everyone wanted to blow them out. And that`s where the fun began…

Our peacefully watching and waiting dinner table turned into a chaotic struggle. Our mini pyromaniacs reached for matches and leaned over the lit wreath. Wax flew as candles were blown out by a helpful sib as soon as they were lit. Of course we had a schedule, but it did not guarantee a smooth process.

But, why does he get to light two candles when I only got to light one? It`s not fairrrrrr!!! 

But, I WANT to light the pink one now! 

Shush and sit down. We`re trying to pray!

Ah, those were the days. Hubby and I still have wishful moments of going back to the chaos of raising five children. Happily, this year we are blessed with the first of many (we hope!) grand-children to join us at our table. Here`s to keeping traditions alive!