Friday, March 19, 2004

Pope John Paul II's letter to Artists

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Although I haven't signed up to perform the service, I did quite a bit of work toward making a web site for my church last night. One thing that's quite different about my current Catholic Parish and my old Methodist Parish is the number of parishoners. I attend Saturday evening mass and the church is nearly always full. The church is also almost nearly full twice on Sunday. There are about 850 or 900 members of my Catholic Church. There are less than 200 members of the Methodist Church where I used to go, and the number is falling. In fact, every year the Methodist Church works hard to go through the membership and get people to cancel themselves because the church has to pay for members even if they don't come to church.

Another thing I learned at my first class was that Catholics allow Saturday mass because in the Jewish faith, the Sabboth is Sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday... we just shifted a day forward, is all.

I've been reading about prayer in my Catechism book. We're to cut out a slice of time for prayer every day. That's similar to exercise, isn't it. The book also says that we can pray when we're doing anything... so it did cross my mind that it would be good for my physical and spiritual self to set aside an hour for exercise and prayer each day.

Currently, I pray at the end of the day, when I lay me down to sleep. I pray like this: "Dear God, send the white light of the Holy Spirit to fill up my soul and give me a clean heart to study and understand your word." And then I ask for the Holy Spirit to fill up each of my family members and for God and Jesus to send angels to protect them and guide them and my grandparents to watch over and guide my children.

I generally had two prayers as a child, one at dinner:

Come, Lord Jesus,
Be our guest,
And let Thy gifts to us
Be blest. Amen.

and one at bedtime:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should wake within the night,
Guide me safe to morning light.

We have not done a good job of teaching or working with our children on prayer. I think, when that times comes when I have to confess, this will be one of the things I'll have to ask forgiveness on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I've been looking for the Latin/English of the "Angus Dei" since our congregation recites it in Latin during service: Finally found it.

Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.


I attended my first RCIA informal, pre-catechumenate meeting last night. (See the table down below for what lies ahead. There's a large white gap for some reason, but scroll on down). Catechesis means "instruction." The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and was very informal. They were expecting 10 or so people, but only three of us showed up. Myself and a young husband and wife. The wife is already Catholic, the husband is a mix of Baptist, Pentacostal and Catholic. The wife was married before, has two kids from that marriage, and her ex had the marriage annulled in the Catholic church. The woman and her husband are both the product of broken homes themselves. The wife was baptized Catholic and had her 1st communion, but was not confirmed. The husband was never baptized, but wants to be. This is the husband's only marriage. They have traveled a lot with his job.

The same three women have been running this Pre-Catechumenate class for 15 years. One woman is nearing her Doctorate in Theology (which is impressive). One woman is a widow who joined the Catholic Church when she married her husband. And the last woman is a friendly Catholic mother of four. They were very nice.

We all shared our faith journey and talked about the past and about Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

Some of the questions and answers I remember:

Q: What's the position of the church? Do the unbaptized end up in hell?
A: We don't presume to know who ends up in hell and who doesn't. We believe that when you die, you are given a choice to accept God or reject Him. Who is the worst person you can think of, say Hitler, we don't presume to know if even Hitler went to hell. Many people never had the opportunity to be baptized, but God knows their hearts and it is their hearts that matters.

Q: Do we have to go to confession or is it voluntary?
A: You have to go if you have sinned in a way that comes between you and God. Confession has changed a lot, no longer does the Father just give you three Hail Mary's and three Lord's Prayers to say. If you have wronged someone, the Father will tell you to set it right. It's a great load off, it's wonderful therapy. It's not as hard as it sounds, it's a wonderful thing to have another human being touch you and say you are forgiven.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
(Scroll Down to See the Table)

Description Rites Aim Name Content Time
1st Period Pre-Catechumenate None Awakening of Faith Inquirers or Candidates (Baptized or
Time to build trust, share personal stories
and questions of meaning. Time to proclaim message of salvation and
foster initial conversation. Introduction to parish.
1st Stage Celebration of the Rite of
Acceptance into the Order of the Catechumens and of the Rite of Welcoming
Baptized but Uncatechized Adults who seek to complete their Christian
2nd Period Catechumenate

and Catechetical

Celebrations of Word; Minor exorcisms and
blessings, (optional: Presentation of Creed and Lord's Prayer)
Deepening initial conversion and passing on
Church Tradition
Catechumens (Unbaptized)

Candidates (Baptized)
Time to deepen faith/conversion within the
living community through:

- Catechesis

- Fellowship

- Prayer/Worship

- Introduction of Apostolic life.
One to a few years
2nd Stage Celebration of the Rite of
Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of
Candidates who seek to complete their Christian Initiation.
3rd Period Purification and

Scrutinies (Elect) and Sacrament of
Reconciliation (Candidates). Presentation of Creed & Lord's Prayer.
Eliminate what is weak and sinful. Affirm
what is holy.


Candidates (Baptized)
Preparation for Easter Sacraments. Time of
recollection. Lenten Retreat.
3rd Stage Celebration at the Easter Vigil
of the Sacraments of Initiation (Unbaptized) and of the Reception into
Full Communion of the Catholic Church, Confirmation and First Eucharist
4th Period Mystagogia Sunday Eucharist

Anniversary celebration.
Celebration of faith and sharing of faith in
Neophytes Deepening of sacramental life with emphasis
on Gospel, Eucharist and mission.
Paschal Time plus one year

Monday, March 15, 2004

I'll be attending my first, informal group meeting to learn more about the Catholic faith. It's supposed to be for those who haven't decided yet, but I decided to attend so I can meet more people in the church. I was a member at my Methodist church for most of my life and my oldest child will be graduating from college next year, so that's a long time. I knew the members there FOREVER. It's rather sad to start over, but also exciting because my reading in this faith seems so much more real and engaging than anything Methodist ever did.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I worked six hours this morning before running errands and baking four dozen cookies. I cleared a virus off one of our computers, too, which was tedious... my own dumb mistake opening something I shouldn't have. So forgive an ill thought out blog.

The Socialist Party took over in Spain in the election after the bombing. From what I understand, we can't expect them to help the USA in Iraq or elsewhere. I'm sure the terrorists are pleased. So, what's so wrong with communists? The disciples, after all, were rather communistic, weren't they? Just read Acts 2:44, where everyone was pooling their money and goods for the welfare of all. And families are communistic for the most part, we pool our money and goods for the welfare of all. But somewhere along the line, bad seeds get involved in any communist venture and we can't just strike them dead, now, can we, even if God might smile on that course of action.

Perhaps there's just something human nature that doesn't fit with true communistic behavior. Adam and Eve had everything they could want, after all, until they wanted more. God sent them out to earn their keep by the sweat of their brow after they fell in the Garden. If everything is given freely, there will always be those who want to either keep too much or give too little or take too much -- perhaps even some who want to give too much for their own good. We don't live in the Garden anymore and things aren't right, won't be right, perhaps can't be right until the ending comes.

My boss was in the first Gulf War, stationed in Saudi Arabia. He told me once that the Garden of Eden was in Saudi Arabia... and that you can see how pissed God was because he turned it into a God-forsaken dust bin.

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