The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Friday, November 25, 2005

There's nothing like working retail on Black Friday (or "The Day We Do Not Speak Of," according to my manager). The experience was greatly enhanced by the fact that we all had to wear felt elf-hats adorned with bells. I guess we're lucky, though, that everyone was pretty patient and civilized, and we didn't see anything like this. The worst thing I saw all day was a mom who left had son (who was about 10) in line with her cart full of stuff while she went to the bank. She was gone for almost an hour while he stood in line by himself, looking very...abandoned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Because this has to get published somewhere...

...Just not in any newspaper that I'm editor of. I don't want people to assume that I edited it when, in fact, I took its pulse and called it as soon as I read it. But as I said, it deserves to be read by someone. May it bring you as much joy as it did me.

Many people were upset earlier this year when it was discovered that the women’s basketball season would be cancelled for the fall. Certainly I was distraught to say the least, but what is the cause behind this horrible mishap, I wondered. What sort of gastronomical dilemma might have been responsible for such a tragedy. So I went to talk to the dean of administrative services, a Ms. Karen Kraft, who told me simply, “It’s kind of difficult to play basketball with four players.”

Perhaps, I thought, but what’s the real reason that we won’t be enjoying our beloved women’s basketball this season? There must be more to the story.

Well, it just so happens that last spring marked the end of coach Kieth Lindahl’s stay at ARCC, as well as most of last year’s basketball team. It seems that this is a reoccurring problem for two year colleges, trying to recycle players every two years instead of every four.

So even after putting up a strong recruitment effort, there simply were not enough players for the fall season. Besides the minor setback this semester, I am told to be prepared for an even more intense recruiting effort in the spring. With new coach David DeWitt, and a new batch of players, everyone has high hopes of a strong next season, and some great women’s basketball.

Friday, November 04, 2005

They Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

As I've posted before, I'm the editor of the campus newspaper, which is in need of serious help, mainly because no one ever shows up for our meetings. Our faculty advisor is notorious for having as little as possible to do with the newspaper, so he hasn't exactly been tough on people who don't show. On Monday during our meeting, as we sat by ourselves in the office, he told me that for people to show up, I'm going to have to be willing to kick *butt*. Well, I wish he hadn't waited half the semester to give me permission! I could have been harrassing people with endless phone calls and e-mails for weeks now! Since I have so much ground to make up, I immediately sent out the an e-mail which I believe makes my position clear:
Hey everyone-This is just a reminder that the final drafts of your articles are due on Monday, at or before our 1:00 editorial meeting.  Also, I expect everyone to be there, except those of you with previous permission or greatly extenuating circumstances (i.e., being the victim of a house fire, car bomb, or death).  Very few people (0-2, in addition to myself) have been regularily attending our meetings this semester, which is unacceptable if we are going to maintain a well-done publication.Though it wasn't explicitly stated, I'm going to assume that my authority extends to dealing with plagarism issues.  I am considerably less forgiving of plagarists than our advisor (i.e., I will actually do something about it and treat it like a serious problem), so if I come across any more problems with this issue, ohhh... heads will roll.
I’ve got to go now and send another reminder; it’s been 7 minutes since the last one.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This week's Catholic Spirit features a letter to the editor by Senator Norm Coleman, congratulating Archbishop Flynn on the tenth anniversary of his installation as Archbishop. For the first 2 paragraphs. And then the letter veers off:
"As a pro-life U.S. Senator, I am proud to be able to work side-by-side with Archbishop Flynn to protect the rights of the unborn, work to uphold the sanctity of human life for all, and continue to advocate for the least of those among us."
Isn't that nice? Aren't we lucky to have such a wonderful defendant of human life representing our state in Washington? Sure, except that actions speak louder than words.

And Senator Coleman's actions have been decidedly not pro-life. Is this the same man who said in The Minnesota Daily's 2002 Elections Guide:
"I support a ban on all forms of embryonic cloning, and I support the president’s policy on stem cell research, which balances the moral significance of human embryos with the potential for medical advancement."
Is he trying to win back the Catholic base he alienated with his recent decsions (after all, 1 in 5 Minnesotans is Catholic) by showing his support of the Archbishop, while at the same time reinforcing his supposed pro-life stance? 'Cuz I have to say, it didn't work on me.

Unashamedly Ignorant

I'm guessing that anyone who is or was homeschooled can identify with this phenomenon: You meet a stranger. It doesn't matter where - work, church, wherever. Within about 10 minutes or so, they say, "So, where do you go to school?" You reply, "I'm homeschooled," and then comes the part that gets me every time. Because every time, without fail, their response follows the same, very basic formula: " you, like, _______ (sleep until noon/wear your pajamas all day/have any friends/know what marajuana is)?" There's a whole host of things I've heard inserted into the blank there, but those are the most popular ones. Really, though, every time I hear the question, it's virtually always the example above, word for word. It's kind of sad, kind of amusing to me. And it doesn't, apparently, apply only to questions about homeschooling. Yesterday, upon finding out that I'm rather Conservative, someone asked me, " you, like, watch Fox News all the time?" He actually seemed rather shocked to find out that we don't even subscribe to Fox. So, it would seem, that question form is used universally by teenagers when asking about something they totally don't understand. Next time the subject comes up, I might have to follow suit: "You go to Andover High School? you, like, do drugs?" or "You're a liberal? you, like, listen to Air America all the time?" Of course, I wouldn't stoop to asking such a stupid question. No one listens to Air America.

Guest Post by Mom (or: The Secrets of a Pro)

In a comment box on this blog, Robert asked, “As a father to a young Catholic girl, 12 years old, I am wondering what it is your parents have/had done that most inspired you to love your faith and Holy Mother Church as much as you obviously do?” I’m not sure what Holly’s answer would be, but mine (in no particular order, and probably incomplete) is as follows:

· Grace and prayer.

·Mass and the celebration of the sacraments is a given. Even the most pious teenager will be tempted to sleep in on Sunday if given the chance. Never get to the point where you need to make a conscious decision on Saturday about whether or not you will be going to Mass the next day.

·There is very little in our culture that will support you as a Catholic parent, so build your own little oasis of Catholic culture. Develop friendships with other Catholics (invite families to brunch at your house after Mass, make sure your kids have at least one solid Catholic friend, etc.) When people come in your home, will they see any indication that you are a Catholic family? Do you set Sunday aside to honor the Lord in some way?

·Develop a missionary spirit. Teens will always rally behind a cause that they feel is worth living and dying for. Pro-life causes, chastity, the New Springtime of Evangelization – all good stuff in this category. We need our Catholic oasis, but must never use it as a hiding place. Think of it as more of a place to recharge.

· Yes, our culture seems to be spiraling downward fast, but make sure your daughter knows that before the beginning of time, God has planned for her to be alive right now. She has unique gifts that He wants to use to transform the culture. It’s an awesome thought!

· You are your children’s first and best teachers (John Paul the Great said so!). When our kids were younger, we passed on the Faith using Family Formation ( as the vehicle. What we didn’t know, we got to learn along with our kids. It’s a great family-based catechesis program.

· Don’t trust youth groups to evangelize your older kids. We’ve been involved with great ones and heretical ones. Don’t get me wrong, I do recommend involvement (in most cases), because there are obvious benefits from the great ones, and the heretical ones served as a good apologetics tool. But I have found that quite often when I think my children are learning doctrine, their small group has instead gotten bogged down with talking about someone’s boyfriend problems. One of the biggest danger with youth groups, however, is that you as the parent will be handing your job over for someone else to do. No one has the grace to parent your child as you do. Don’t give that gift away! You will be their primary educator in the faith until they are mature enough to take on that role for themselves.

· Fall in love with Christ and His bride, the Church. Never get tired of learning more about them.

· If your daughter is 12, she is old enough to see some of the great things the Church has to offer to adults. Are there any good Catholic speakers coming to your area? Go hear them. They will probably have an expertise and enthusiasm that will be of interest to you both.

·Serve your local parish and the greater Church. Parishes ALWAYS need volunteers. Can your family be greeters? Can you and your daughter teach a religious ed. class together? Can you organize an All Saints’ Day party or Epiphany pageant for little kids in your parish? Can you help the office staff stuff envelopes? Can you organize games for a vacation Bible school? Do something and remember that doing more than something will be better. Your kids need to know that the Church needs them and that Christ wants to use their gifts to help more firmly establish His kingdom on earth.

· Guard your time together as a family. We love to be busy, but find it best to be busy together with the kind of things listed in #10. Make some time in your life for quiet. It’s more important in the long term to have time to develop a prayer life or go to weekly Adoration than to become a soccer star.

· Subscribe to good Catholic periodicals. When an Envoy magazine comes to our house, I am always 3rd or 4th in line to read it. They are funny and solid at the same time. Buy books by Mary Beth Bonacci, Amy Welborn, Jason Evert, Matt Pinto, etc. written for teens. Read them separately, read them together, talk about the content.

· Evaluate what influences you are allowing into your home. TV, Radio, Music, DVDs, even catalogs can be good or bad. Make conscious choices to reject the bad and hold yourself to the same standards you are holding your children to.

· Don’t worry too much about fitting in. In this world, if you’re not being countercultural, you’re probably doing something wrong.

·Talk about EVERYTHING. Why won’t your family be watching (insert TV show title here)? Why did you vote for one candidate over another? Why did you choose one purchase over another (or saving over purchasing anything)? Why are we celebrating the fact that Mrs. ____ from church is pregnant with her 6th child? Kids need to know your thought processes so they will be prepared to make good adult choices on their own someday. Your children may be obedient enough that they will do things just “because I say so,” but making adult choices involves knowing why.

· Develop a personal life of genuine holiness. Your kids will see right through you if it is an act.

· Pray and ask for the grace to start again when you fail.

All Saints' Day

There were just so many cute and creative costumes at the All Saints' Party that I had to borrow the Youth Group camera (mine is still being repaired) and take pictures of them. Some of the best shots are below (I tried to incorporate them all into 1 post, but that didn't work out so well).

A friend of mine had a creative costume idea, and spent the evening making people guess who he was. In case you can't read the writing on the box, it says "This Rock." He also wore a sword and carried keys as hints to those who didn't immediately get it.

Me as Catherine of Alexandria. My comments are broken right now, so I can't go back and see who suggested her, but many thanks to whoever it was. As you can see, I have a bird on my shoulder - representing the dove that fed her while she was in prison - as well as my own version of the spiked wheel, and finally, beheading.

When the saints go marching in...

Start 'em early, I always say...

Dominic's costume involved the most sacrifice, as he actually shaved his head to be St. Francis.

David went as, well, King David. Easily the cutest one there.

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