Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Musings of an Italian-American Catholic wife, mother, and writer

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts on the Priesthood

*this post was originally published a couple of years ago.

A fellow blogger recently left a comment wanting to know how I would feel if one of my sons were to become a priest. Here is part of my response...

A few months ago I attended a luncheon when the subject of the priesthood came up. During a momentary lull in the conversation, I happened to mention that nothing would thrill me more than if one of my sons decided to become a priest.

To my surprise, most of the women present looked at me as if I were crazy; in fact, many were truly horrified. It’s a lonely job, it’s too demanding, there won't be grandchildren, and he will be sent to a parish far away, they said.

Now, some of the women weren’t Catholic, so I understood their objections. But what really puzzled me were the reactions from the Catholics present.

Some of the women came from large families, so for them marriage and children were of the utmost importance. But John Paul II pointed out that we are called to serve God in different ways: some of us serve through the vocation of marriage; some serve as dedicated single persons; and some serve through a religious life.

The point is that all of these ways of serving are vocations, each noble in their own right.

Then, because our church is run by man, there have been mistakes, and some of the women couldn’t get past the negativity and scandal of recent years.

But there have been some incredible changes. For a young man to go through the lengthy process of screenings, psychological tests, and interviews shows that the priesthood is something they really, really want; in fact, all the young men I know who have been recently ordained are remarkably confident, intelligent, and spiritual. They bring with them a blend of spiritualism and exuberance that really connects with people of all ages.

Recently our friend Pablo celebrated his first Mass as a new priest, and during the Mass we sang a hymn called The Summons. The first verse of the song begins with Jesus asking us what we would do if He called us by name to serve Him:

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown?
Will you let my name be known, will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?


These words bring me to my point. As parents, my husband and I strive to give our sons the gift of our faith, but if God should call any of them to serve Him further, how could we deny the strength, purity, and love of such a calling? How could we deny the good that could come from our son serving another in Christ's name?

When a newly ordained priest celebrates his first Mass, two special gifts are traditionally presented to the parents: to his mother, he gives the maniturgium, or the cloth that was used to wipe the holy oil from his hands during ordination; to his father, he gives the stole that he wore when he heard his first confession. These items will be placed in their hands when they die, making it known that they are the parents of a priest.

So, how would I feel if one of our sons should answer God's call to the priesthood?

Truthfully, when I look at my sons I don't think how such a thing could even be possible ... they are about as un-priestly as you can get.

But, if one day God should call any of them ... what an incredible blessing that would be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Post Prom Thoughts

"Are you crazy?!"

The question was asked repeatedly over the last several weeks by everyone who heard that Joe and I had volunteered to host the post prom party for the Junior class.

After a while, we started asking it of ourselves.

Were we crazy?

42 students? Here? In our house? On prom night?

As it turned out, we weren't crazy at all because here's what we learned:  if teens are given high expectations to rise to the occasion, they will.

And while I don't pretend to know everything, here is what worked for us:
  1. The party had a beginning and an end.
  2. There were chaperones.
  3. We provided different areas for the kids to wander: rec room (music and dancing), dining room (food), back deck (drinks ... canned sodas and bottled water), and the outdoor brick patio with a roaring fire in the fire pit. By providing movement throughout the house there was no loitering in the driveway or front yard ... something Joe and I, in consideration of our neighbors, wanted to prevent. The different areas also provided places to go for those who didn't want to dance.
  4. Because state law forbids teens to drive past midnight, parents made arrangements to pick up their teen or have another parent bring him/her home. Everyone got home safely.
  5. We let the teens be part of the planning. My son and his friends were in charge of the music. On Friday they moved furniture (including a pool table) out of our rec room, and set up the stereo sound system. They did sound checks, and had me walk around outside to see if the music could be heard from the street. On Sunday they returned to reverse the entire process.
Everything went perfectly and we didn't have a single problem ... not one.

On Sunday evening Joe and I brought a plate of cookies to five of our immediate neighbors as a thank you for being patient. They all said the same thing: they couldn't believe that, with 42 high school students next door, how mannerly and considerate (and quiet!) everyone was. This, more than anything, made us very proud of of them. They represented their school very well.


the sound system ... you can't see the lights in the other three corners of the room!

getting ready to go pick up his date


Nicholas and his prom date


the guys


prom guys and gals


Friday, April 20, 2012

See-through Shirts, the Prom, and Sibling Revenge ... in 7 Quick Takes

~1~ Today is Mass day at our sons' high school, which means a Mass uniform of long pants, long sleeve shirt, and a tie.

One son comes downstairs (I am not telling which son) dressed properly. Pants? check. Belt? check. Unwrinkled shirt? check. Tie? check.

EXCEPT, he has on a Penn State undershirt and you can see all the words right through his dress shirt.

Guess who had to go back upstairs, remove his tie and shirt, and start all over again?

~2~ Yesterday I am sitting in carpool lane, reading quietly, when I notice that students were coming out wearing jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.

Guess who forgot it was out of uniform day?

~3~ We're hosting a little thing called an after prom party at our house this Saturday. Our son's friend is in charge of the music, has been compiling a playlist for weeks, and will be setting up his stereo in our rec room.

EXCEPT, they are not calling it a stereo ... it's a sound system.

Should I be worried?

No? Well listen to this: today they are all coming over to set everything up, and they cannot ride together because the speakers will not fit in my son's car.

Can I be worried NOW?

~4~ I know, you're probably thinking one thing: what about the neighbors? Well, yesterday Joe and I went door-to-door to forewarn everyone in our cul-de-sac. Everyone was supportive, and as luck would have it, our immediate neighbors will be out of town.

I am smiling here.

~5~ One more prom thing: I have everything organized. Tables beautifully decorated with tons of candles, twinkling lights everywhere, indoor and outdoor seating areas, a fire in the fireplace and in the fire pit outside, and luminaries lining our driveway.

The only thing we cannot control is the weather ... and right now it's iffy, at best.

~6~ Actually, I lied. Here's another prom thing: last night my brother called Nicholas to get the scoop on the prom. At one point he asked Nicholas, "You know your Mom is totally going to embarrass you, right?"

What? Whatever could he mean?

That does it. Somewhere I have a photo of my brother at his prom ... oh, this is going to be good. Stay tuned.

~7~ For your enjoyment, a 30 second video on what an elderly father does with his ipad. The video is in German, but you'll totally get it. I couldn't stop laughing.

http://www.wimp.com/dadipad/
Dear Tizi, click on the link :-))

*now, go visit Jen at Conversion Diary. She is writing from the EWTN studios.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Angry Birds, Skeletoes, and a Prayer ... in 7 Quick Takes

~1~ Angry Birds. Evidently it's a craze, but I've never played. Not once. But over Spring Break the boys got an Angry Birds board game, and we spent many evenings building structures and launching an angry Giant Red Bird to knock down some cute little Green Pigs.

It turns out I am pretty good at launching the Giant Red Bird.

It also turns out I am pretty good at knocking over the cute little Green Pigs.

Which was making everyone else quite ... angry.

Go figure.



~2~ Skeletoes. I understand the concept but (and this is just my personal opinion) I think they look ridiculous.

During a recent visit to some outlet stores, I was wandering around a shoe store and picked up a pair to get a closer look.

And I discovered something I never, ever knew.

Skeletoes only have FOUR toe spaces; evidently, the fourth and pinkie toes share a space.

For some reason I found this incredibly funny.



~3~ Jonathan is concerned for my health. This afternoon he came up to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and said I was looking tired and that I probably needed a break.

Right.

He was really wanting me to cave in and let my fingers do the dialing for the nearest pizza take-out joint.

But I've got his number ... my son's that is, not Papa John's.

~4~ Today someone asked me if I've lost weight. It's ridiculous how such a simple question can make me insanely happy ... how it can make my day ... heck, how it can even make my entire week.

I was so happy I celebrated by having dessert.

~5~ I don't know why, but somehow this looks like it would be a fun place to have a glass of red wine.



~6~ When we were on vacation I got tired of everyone complaining and/or rolling their eyes when I wanted to take a picture.

So I started taking pictures of trees.

Trees are much more cooperative.

And they pose very nicely.


Joe


Nicholas


Jonathan


Timothy

~7~ Finally (and this should have been #1) pray for us. A week from this Saturday we are hosting at our house a post prom party for the entire junior class.

Gulp.

**now go visit Jen for some more Quick Takes.