Friday, February 29, 2008

The Way of the Cross


While I was on retreat last weekend, we were able to attend an organ recital in the Abbey Church. Marilyn Mason was the artist who gave the recital and was the first to perform on the organ after it had been newly install in 1963. She had numerous 1st's, but the one that stands out most vividly for me was the fact that she had been Professor of Organ at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor since 1947. She is the longest tenured professor in the university's 190 year history. This gifted, demure lady was still educating others in the art of music!

Fr. Gavin was the narrator for the recital and we all sat in anticipation of the music as well as the narration and pictures that would accompany it. Though Fr. Gavin's voice fairly "sang" as he spoke the words of the stations, the pictures were heartrending. The music itself was the most dissonant and discordant I had ever experienced. Yes, experienced. For in the hour and one-half that I listened to the music, I found I was in pain. There was nothing beautiful about this music. It hurt the ears and the organ fairly cried in pain itself. With each station, though I hoped the next offering would be less harsh, but I knew better. And at the end, I was exhausted!

The stations are never easy, but on reflection, and I did reflect for some time on this, I found it was not about the music. No, this was the screaming of pain our Lord must have experienced each time he was mocked, scourged, spit upon, crowned, and marched under the weight of the cross to his death. And for what? Yes, indeed for what? It was all for the salvation of my soul. All so that one day I might see Him face to face. He did this out of love for me, in Love of me.

Finally, I realized again that this is why the Resurrection is such a joyful reality. We must endure the pain of this life in order to experience the joy of our Resurrection. Hallelujah!!
Amen!
~~~~~~~
For the Love of Jesus I say,
"Thanks be to God."
~~~~~~

Addendum: For those who are interested I found a information about the composer of the Stations of the Cross. It is very good. The essay is at Music at the Chapel of the Cross.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This is REALLY good!!!

A Crust Creations Meal by Pillsbury.

Taco Fiesta Pie

Prep 20 minutes
Ready in 30 minutes

1 (15 0z) pkg Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust

Filling
1 lb. ground beef (ground turkey or ground chicken works, too)
1 (15 oz) can spicy chili beans undrained
1/2 cup salsa
1 small can chopped green chilies (I added)
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar cheese ( or cheese of your choice, I like shredded Colby)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup chopped tomato

Optional: green onion slices, sour cream,
ripe olives, chopped jalapeƱos.

1. Unfold pie crust; place in 9-inch pie pan. Prick bottom and sides wit fork;flute edge. Cut 13 (1-inch) triangle pieces from remaining crust; place around crust edge. Bake at 425 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until light golden-brown.

2. In large skillet, brown ground beef; drain. Add chili beans, salsa and 1 cup cheese; mix will. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

3. Spoon meat mixture into baked shell. Top with remaining ingredients

16 servings


!!!!!~~!!!!!

It was really easy to make!
Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What?

Last night on the NBC Nightly News I stopped to "listen" to the results of one of their polls. It had to do with organized religion. It seems that many are not staying to practice the religion of their families when they were growing up. the poll says they are looking for religion "that fits their needs" [paraphrased]. Imagine!

They don't understand, they don't choose, they've already been chosen (Isaiah 43:1-8) ! They want a religion of "convenience," a religion where nothing of their self need be expended. What has happened to being of service to others. I wonder if they are indeed Christian churches if the only reason one attends is to take and not give, hear the Word, but find no need to apply it to their lives. I don't mean only financial giving. Where is the "time and talent" meant in the service of Our Lord? When He washed the feet of the disciples He said "Do as I do," not, "Do as I do when you feel like it." When will children learn this if they do not see their parents in the act of self- giving. The home is where we find the means to salvation. Jesus is in our midst. The Church is the community of support, that foundation that gives us strength and worship, but the family is the center of education and example.

Humanity is still in dire need of Salvation. We are "Looking for love in all the wrong places..." The love of God is not easy "love", not necessarily a feel-good love. Christ loved till it hurt and He died for love of us so we might enjoy His everlasting love. That is only to be experienced by our death to this life, and yet we just don't get it, do we? It can't be found in a church that fits my needs, only God knows my needs. How does a church become a "Fits Your Needs Church"?

~~~~~
For the example of my family!!

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Return From "Narnia"

One never knows what really awaits when you venture out on retreat. Again, this week we had an ice storm. It was not nearly as bad as the one last week, but it was an ice storm none-the-less. As we entered the grounds of the monastery at St. Meinrad I was reminded of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was all so surreal. Ice glistened on the branches of all the trees. Everything was white and pure. It was Holy!

And so it was for all of us as we began our "journey" at St. Meinrad Archabbey.

The icicles hung from the Celtic cross. The lawn was glazed as if with powdered sugar icing.
And then you enter the "kingdom."
All guests who arrive should be received as Christ,
for he himself will say,
I was a stranger and you took me in.
(The Gift of Saint Benedict by Verna a Holy Head SGS and Lynne Muir)

It was a time of peace and community. Women, gathering in the Abbey Church for vespers and morning prayer, sharing their love of God. The chanting of the monks and the beauty of the Word of God proclaimed in the midst of these men of God, and the Mass seeming to bring us to the Gates of Heaven. The retreat is not silent, but it is reflective. It was joyful, yet had its time for introspection. We laughed, cried, hugged and were affirmed. We were in the presence of God!

~~~~~

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Time for R & R...



Yes, Retreat and Reflection. Tomorrow is the day I begin retreat at St. Meinrad Archabbey. It's been a year and time again!!! But before I go, I want to leave you with a couple of my "treasures." First, as I was going through one of my books, I found this card. Wondered what had happened to it because it gives me such a boost at the end of the day. (Perhaps mislaying it is so I don't lose my appreciation for it.)

The prayer on the back goes like this:

Thank you, God, for love's unfolding this day through the people and events that touched my life. I entrust my night's sleep to your renewing care. Copyright, Abbey Press, 1994


The other thing I would like to leave with you is the name of a book. It's called Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life by Mike Aquilina. It is wonderfully tender book about Christ in the midst of family from Mike's own reflections.

And so it is that I venture off.

~~~~~~~
Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Bit of Catholic Trivia


I thought this was interesting wanted to pass it along. It was written in the The Black Book.

The "Anchor Cross"

The anchor is a symbol of safety. Early Christians began to use it as a symbol of hope, especially at the time of death. Placing it on the funeral monument was an expression of trust that the departed had arrive safely at the port of eternal peace.

In the catacombs in Rome, this symbol appears as early as the second century. Since the shape of the anchor resembles a cross it was often depicted in the way that combined the anchor as a sign of safety and the cross as a sign of salvation.
~~~+~~~

This symbol aslo has its roots in Hebrews 6:19: "This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil..."

~~~~~~~
Thanks be to God!


Monday, February 18, 2008

"Joanna, a Generous Follower"

This woman strikes me as most courageous. Living in Herod's house and following Jesus! What courage! All of the women who helped support Jesus and his ministry were bold, loyal, and brave.

Joanna, a Generous Follower
Luke 8: 1-3; 24:10

Oh look, there's Joanna, Cuzar's wife! Cuzar, you know, the one who got that great job managing King Herod's household. Oh, I know they say the queen really runs the palace and the king can be a dreadful bear sometimes. But imagine living in a palace! I've heard some strange stories about Joanna lately, though. They say she doesn't even live at the palace, that she follows that strange rabbi around wherever he preaches. Not only that, but I guess she even gives money and food to support him and his followers. She sleeps out on the ground sometimes when she could be sleeping in a palace! Do you think she's lost her mind?

And then there's Sydney. Someone said she just life a $100,000 a year job as a trial attorney to join the deaconess program. Fran Taylor serves meals at the homeless shelter every Wednesday night after work. and Greta Guzmann agreed to raise her daughters' three kids. (They say her daughter's on drugs.) Have they all lost their minds?

Jesus, were you out of your mind when you agreed to suffer and die for the sins of the entire world? When we come face to face with you, we must be prepared to follow where you lead us--even to the cross. Give us that strength and dedication.
Lois Sheer
Face to Face, Daily Lenten Devotions for Women


~~~~~~~
With all these wonderful examples of courage, how is it that I feel so inadequate and timid in my own life? I'm afraid to step outside my comfort zone...perhaps because I fear failure, or disappointment. If I use these women as examples perhaps there's hope for me...

Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Gift of Community

This morning I found this picture to be a most delightful reminder of who we are and how we are to behave as a loving family of God. Kids have a way of letting us know how to love and share the love. I "love" the child in the pew in front of me, who dares me to smile at her and then when I do I am rewarded with that gorgeous grin! A distraction, maybe, but God's love is personified non-the-less. The picture accompanies a very good reflection and so it is that I share it with you.

~~~~~~~

Consider Yourself At Home

A big part of Sunday is going to a building without a second floor. There may be a balcony or a choir loft, but basically the ground floor of the church is the only floor. The altar and pulpit are elevated so people can see, but other than that it is a prairie.

This has ramifications for community. The shopping-bag lady and the real estate man and the cop in uniform and the blind guy who everybody helps to Communion and you...all stand and kneel and sit next to each other--as if we had something in common. On Sunday you know you belong. You might not be happy with those to whom you belong, but you are not in the Lost and Found department. An entire group of motley people has arrived with a claim check.

The first Easter brought back the disbanded. They of the fast footed fear were overtaken by the Hurrying One. And everyone was welcomed, a boundless hospitality with bread and wine for all. Sunday is solidarity even after we have been lost or have run away or just have been gone too long for reasons we can no longer remember. Sunday is the day we know there is nothing between us but the walls we build.
John Shae

~~~~~~~
Sunday, that Holy Event!!!
Thanks be to God!!!!!

***

Aside: Word of the Day (sent to me by a friend): "Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck." -- George Carlin (1937- )

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jesus and The Children

Jesus with children of the world


This reflection is taken from Face To Face, Daily Lenten Devotions for Women.


Her Child Was Blessed by Jesus


"Let the Children come to me."
Matthew 19:13-15


She sat quietly on a cool rock some distance from the crowd. her daughter on her lap gnawed on the crsut of bread. Jesus, the teacher, was speaking, but she could hear only a few words now and then. Suddenly a woman shouted, "Master, bless our children," and there was confusion and shoving as parents began to thrust their children into Jesus' arms. His helper pushed them back, trying to protect Jesus. The your mother on the rock watched with a mixture of fear and longing. Then she heard Jesus' voice so clearly, "Bring the children to me. Heaven is full of children." Slowly she made her way to Jesus' side and thrust her wide-eyed child into his arms. Jesus lifted her high in the air and broke into laughter as the baby tried to share her bread with him.

Yes, Jesus loves the little children, but does he love the terrible twos, feisty fours, silly sixes, troublesome adolescents, rebellious teens? Do we love the little children, every day, all the time--all their lives?

Lord, help us keep our children face to face with you always. Even when we can't face them, help to remember you called them to you, you died for them, you made them your children in their baptisms--forever. (Lois Scheer)

~~~~~~~
Thanks be to God!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coffee Art!!!...one more time.

This is not meant to cause those who gave up coffee for Lent any extra penance, but to perhaps appreciate even more the beauty in "that cup" each day. It is sent to be my a friend and I just had to share it...Here is hoping that this time I will be able to do so.

There is a restaurant in Vancouver...actually three...where they dress up the lattes....you get to watch them create the pictures. Just see what can be done with coffee, cream, milk and imagination...Too good to drink?











~~~~~~~

For the talent and gifts to create these works of art

Thanks be to God!!!

And TWO for Good Measure...


It has been called to my attention that I may have overlooked a site that deserves this award as well as all the others!!! I agree and so it is with pleasure that I offer this award to Oh, And. . This and yet another A Catholic Warrior. To you both I say thank you for your contributions and God Bless!!!

I am always open to suggestion and I think with the assistance I received this is GOOD!

~~~~~~~
To all I say, "Thank you and thanks be to God!!!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Again, I have been remiss...


Both Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii and Lisa at
Are We There Yet have honored be in different ways. First Esther bestowed on me the honor of The Bloggers of the World award some days ago. This new and coveted award! I have been asked to bestow this on 10 others. And so I will do my best.

1. This I Do. Mike in England
2. Sailing by Starlight. Though she will be not be posting until after Easter.
3. Beyond Horizons3. Pia in Italy.
4. What I Choose Today... From Colorado
5. Are We There Yet. Another Colorado site I love to visit
6. Budapest Daily Photo. Brings beauty into my life.
7. Norwich Daily Photo. Brought me my first crocus of the year.
8. Prayer Poetry and Praise. Brings me serenity and oft times inner peace.
9. Contemplative Haven, asylum for a refugee soul. Brings me to reflection.
10. A crocus in the valley. Though she too will be on sabbatical until after Easter as well.

Now Lisa from Are We There Yet tagged me for The Saint MEME. I have enjoyed this one because it caused me to contemplate more deeply the lives of those saints I do admire. Thank you, Lisa.

1. First saints you met. Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Therese of Liseux .

2. Favorite saints. St. Therese, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Theresa of Avila.

3. Patron saint for the year. St. Stanislaus Kostka

4. Favorite book by a saint. Interior Castle by St. Theresa of Avila

5. Saint book you are reading now. The Kings Good Servant, But God's First (St. Thomas More)

6. Favorite movie about a saint. Thomas A Beckett

7. Favorite autobiography/biography of a saint. The Story of A Soul by St. Therese

8. Favorite novel/book of a Saint. Mother Theodore Guerin, A Woman For Our Time

9. Saint (besides your favorites) you'd want to meet. St. Padre Pio, St. Thomas More, St. Maximilian Kolb.

10. Saints you look to for help. St. Anthony, St. Padre Pio, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

11. Favorite saint quotes. ""Love is a debt you owe to everyone." St. Catherine of Siena; "We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed firmly on God." St Francis de Sales

12. Favorite holy card(s).


13. Favorite story about a saint. About St. Patrick as he drove the snakes out of Ireland.

14. If you could go anywhere on pilgrimage to what saints homeland, where would it be. Ireland and all it's saints.

15. any Blessed or Venerable you would like to become canonized. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I will tag:
1. Ukok's Place
2. Mommy of Four
3. Grandma's Musings
4. And anyone in my Group on Tuesday night.

My thanks to all who have challenged me to grow and improve who I am, as Matthew Kelly would say, "A better-version-of-myself."

~~~~~~~

Again I say, "Thanks be to God!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It finally happened...

Yesterday, it snowed! Yep! It did. It was such a beautiful sight. Wow!! It started about 3:30 p.m. The kids were already home from school because of concern about the storm.



And then it turned to freezing rain! In all His glory God can change his palate and turn the same scene into a different texture.





And so it is with the Master Artisan! He exchanges beauty for beauty.

~~~~~~"
~Be still and know I am God~
Psalm 46:10
~~~~

And now I must get ready to venture out into His handiwork! I wish you all a Grand Day!!
***
And for this day
Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a weekend!!!


Astronomers in training, Ainsely, Neil, and Lindsey


"I can't see it, Grandpa."


"Where, Grandpa?"
~~~~~~~

We had a grand time!!! Ron was safely delivered home from his trip to Arizona for the Rock and Mineral Show by Wes, Annie and the girls. Annie and Wes went to her 10th reunion at USI (University of Southern Indiana, across town) and the Girls and I got to play.

While Ron was gone to the Source and Summit High School Retreat as part of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus honor guard, we were joined by Roy and Neil for a visit. Laura called while they were here to tell Roy that the Memorial High School Decathlon Academic team came in 2nd in the state with an opportunity to go to Nationals...in Hawaii! And even though Kellie (my granddaughter had only been on the team for two rehearsals due to a team injury) the Memorial girls dance team came in 6 out of 7 teams (just the first of the competitions).


Well, the topic of looking through Grandpa's telescope apparently came up during the trip home yesterday, so about 7:30 last noc Roy and Ron took the telescope outside (1st time the sky had been clear in some time) so the girls could see the stars...No moon, it was too early. Neil quickly pointed out the constellation Orion (he's almost 8) and the task of positioning the telescope started. But woe, it was not to be. The girls, 5 and 3 years old respectively, could not see the star. Ainsley and Lindsey, did not know how to view through the eye piece. One doesn't consider that as a skill to be learned, but indeed if you are that age I guess there should be some lessons in "Looking Through a Telescope Eyepiece." At any rate they gave it a try and the girls were happy no matter the outcome.

And as in all families there are those moments when laughter is so healing...We could not find Lindsey's other shoe before Mass this morning. Try as we might, and pray as we did, we could not find her shoe. So, Lindsey was carried into church. No one seemed to notice this shoeless child, so she was no worse for wear. And the shoe was found almost immediately after we returned home...where else but in the closet!! Don't ya love it?!

~~~~~~~

For all the hugs and "I love you, Grandma"s I experienced this weekend, I say,
"Thanks be to God!!"
***+***

An Aside: If anyone has visited the site in the last two days, you have seen me experiment with the picture for my profile...Looked high and low for one that would be appropriate, but wasn't quite happy with them. Sure enough I sat down here just now and there it was all along. These three little guys have been on my computer for sooo long that I had overlooked them...So I introduce to you, Pat, Ian and Sean! Good day to you all!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Jehovah"


pcd0249_IMG0003
Originally uploaded by public.resource.org
I was reading The Little Black Book today and sneaked a peak at tomorrows entry. The snippet is about "Jehovah" It was really interesting and so I'd like to share it with you if I may.

When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, Moses asked God's name. God replied, 'This is what you shal tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.' Thus the phrase 'I AM' was given the divine name.

In Hebrew, 'I AM' was rendered 'Jahweh.' The word 'Jahweh' was so sacred that it was never uttered aloud. Those who proclaimed the Scriptures were taught to substitute the word 'Adonai' which meant 'Lord.' Originally, the written form of the Hebrew language did not have vowels, and so the Hebrew word 'Jahweh' would appear as JHWH (readers were supposed to know what vowels were to be supplied). Later on, written vowel signs were developed and put in the text.

Whenever the work JHWH appeared, copyists would insert the vowel sings for 'Adonai.' This would remind the reader to substitute that word. As time went by, some readers didn't realize this and simply pronounced what was in front of them--the consonants of JHWH with the vowels of 'Adonai.' This resulted in the word 'Jehovah,' a word that never existed.

It is a misreading that continues in some translations of the Bible still today.


~~~~~~~

As an aside, it was also mentioned that "Ash Wednesday through Saturday has been called 'The Porch of Lent'-an entryway to help us get the feel of this '40 day' season." It is suggested that at this time we reflect on our Lenten goals as we step over the threshold.
~~~+~~~

For all the blessing that have been bestowed on me this week, I say,
"Thanks be to God"

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Distractions


Oak Tree Forest
Originally uploaded by sonykus
Amy Welborn reminded of how hard it is for me to pray "peacefully" sometimes. It seems like my mind wanders to every "corner of the room. So I offer this for your reflection.

"O Lord, you have searched me and know me"
~Psalm 139:1~

Distractions during prayer can be hard to deal with. Our instinct is to push them away because they're interfering.

Sometimes distractions truly can be idle, but other times they're not. We forget that God knows us completely and wants us completely. If concerns about a child, a relationship, or another personal issue insists on entering our thoughts during prayer, perhaps that is not a distraction at all

Perhaps that is what we're supposed to e praying about.
~~~
Lord, I present my whole life to you today in my prayer.

From A Catholic Woman's Book of Days
***+***

And so it is that I must learn to listen to the clues He offers me, for He knows how "clueless" I can be.

~~~~~~~

THANKS BE TO GOD!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday, 2008,

On this first day of Lent I offer you this reflection taken from John Shea's Daybreaks, Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter.

Now Is the Time

Many Ash Wednesdays ago, my mother and I received ashes in the afternoon and headed directly to the mall to shop--real American religion. as we passed the permanent convention of teenagers gathered at the center of the mall, one of them saw the smudged foreheads and announced in a megaphone voice. "Hey! The Catholics are giving our ashes. Let's go."

There is something universal about Ash Wednesday. Although it is primarily a Catholic ritual, it appeals to many people. Even the unchurched may find themselves in line waiting to have someone's thumb blacken their forehead.

There are many reasons for this attraction, but I favor the explanation that ashes are a gentle reminder of our death and we welcome that gentle reminder. Although death is a constant companion, we do not have to think about it every day--but neither can we totally deny it. In the brief ritual of Ash Wednesday, we acknowledge our mortality in a way that does not debilitate us. Harsh reminders we push aside; gentle reminders we accept.

In fact, this ritual can embolden us. We are jolted out of drift, realizing our present life does not go on forever. It will end; and so we must make the most of it now. Time is the opportunity to love and we must seize it.

And so let us begin this holy season of fasting and prayer in JOY!!! We live because we have been saved. We can walk these Forty Days with family and friends knowing that our goal is the same, the continued celebration of our Salvation!

~+~+~+~+~

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

There are a couple of things I want to do...


before Lent arrives. I think I have been blessed since I started blogging with many who have given me such positive reinforcement and, I think, genuine and considerate responses to my posts. I am really grateful for this as it encourages me to continue.

And so it is that I have been given this lovely gift by Suzy at Sailing by Starlight ( though I must add that during Lent her site will be unplugged) and so I want to send it on. I have been asked to offer this to 5 others and link to Ukok's Place.
Here are my nominees:

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
A Daily Grotto
Therese's Roses
View from the Pews
~A Truckers Wife~

~~~~~
For these and all who have visited me here,
Thanks be to God!


AND


Because I had been tagged days ago I thought it would be best to respond to this.


1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages)

.2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

Book: Radical Grace by Richard Rohr

So revelation and faith are correlative: There cannot be faith without revelation. We cannot believe in a person who has not shared himself or herself with us. To the degree that person has shared with us, we can believe in that person. ("Self-revelation of God")


I then invite those who visit this site to accept this as an opportunity to share where you are in literature.

~~~~~
And again, Thanks be to God.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I changed my mind...

I was going to do something playful and funny tonight but after I opened the mail when I got home I changed my mind. I mentioned Shannon in one of my earlier posts but tonight I think I will let her speak to you. I give you Miss Shannon Walsh.

January, 2008

Peace In Christ!

At the end of 2006, I took over the running of a small organization called China Little Flower. It has been exciting (and terribly challenging) to try to develop this small organization into a beacon of light for Christ in china.

On February 1, 2007, we (China Little Flower) opened Loving Heart Hospice, a home to care for dying orphans. We have had 23 children pass through the doors this year, 10 have gone home to Our Heavenly Father, and 2 have "graduated" form our home after becoming healthy enough to survive. Each of them is so special, it's hard toshare about one without feeling I am doing the others an injustice by not mentioning them. But, I will, for the sake of brevity, share about our first little saint to go Home...

Chun Xin was the first baby we received and the first one to die inour home. She was just two weeks away from her first birthday. I was with her, holding her hand as she took her last breath. Chun Xin had sever hydrocephalus, her head was 20 cm around. It took two people to lift her up-one holding her head, another holding her body. To feed her we had to life her out of bed and place her head on a large pillow resting on a stool while someone sat on a low chair to hold her body. The first time people would see Chun Xin they would stop and gasp. Her head was so large, it was hard for people to take in. But those who took the time to be with her fell in love with her. IT didn't take long for Chun Xin to soften hearts and help people to see that she was a beautiful little girl in need of lofe and affecteion. We all really missed her presence in the home after she passed away. She had a way of speaking to hearts and drawing people in that was truly inspiring.

This year we had also worked with several women in crisis pregnancies. These women have been incredible witnesses to me of strength, courage, and faith. Three women have stayed with us and we have offed counsel and financial assistance to several others. One of these your women has become a very dear friend. She is single. When she found out that she was pregnant, she was pressured by her family to abort. She was so fiercely pressured, that she found herself in the hospital preparing for an abortion. She did not want to abort, but her mother threatened suicide if she wouldn't go through with it. She was to stay overnight in the hospital and in the morning the abortion would be performed. Her mother stayed with her to make sure she didn't run away. But she waited and waited for her mom to drift off to sleep, and as soon as she saw her chance she walked out the door, to the elevator, and out of the hospital. She came to stay with us for the remainder of her pregnancy and her baby girl was born in June. This beautiful daughter fills her mother with great joy. The ourn woman is now working with us to help promote the beauty and dignity of life and help other women in similar circumstances to choose. life.

We recently started a program to educate your people on life issues. This work is quite new, and much needed her. Our pro-life apostle recently spoke at a pre-marital conference about chastity and abortion. Many of the unmarried women had already had abortion and were touched deeply by what they heard. May priests, religious and lay people want to learn more about life issuers and we are hoping to gain more opportunities to go out and teach.

Lastly we are preparing to take a group of about 20 young adults to World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, this summer. This will be such a great blessing for each of them to see so many faith-filled young people from around the world gathered together in one place to praise God. Many of them in our group are in the infancy stage of their faith. This trip will give that budding faith the boost it needs for them to continue to work to bring their friends and families to Christ also. The joy and zeal they bring back from Australia will bee a blessing for the Church in china. We are working on getting visas processed and raising the funds for the flights. There are many road blocks that the government of China could place on this trip. Please pray that our preparation process continues to go smoothly and everyone who wants to go will be able o go.

Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and financial support. Please continue to pray for us as we work to bring about a Culture of Life rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in China.

May the Christ Child fill you with His joy and peace throught out this year. God Bless you!

In Christ,

Shannon

~~~~~~~
And so it is that I thank God daily for Shannon and all those Spirit filled people who daily risk their lives in the name of Jesus Christ and his Holy Gospel. We are truly blessed by those Holy Saints in our midst!!!
~+~+~+~+~+~

Thanks be to God

Urgent prayer request...

I would ask you all to visit Kathleen at The Daily Grotto for the entire story but needless to say this young lady, Melissa, is in need of our prayers. If you believe at all in the power of intercessory prayer I would ask you to pray heartily for her. What a privilege it is to be called on to share in the life of Melissa this way.

~~~~~~~
Thank you and Thanks Be to God!