All Saints Day All Souls Day church Holy Day of Obligation prayer Soulful Sundays

Not Just Sundays…

Happy Sunday!  I hope you remember to think of today as the start of your week and not the END of your weekend 🙂  Take the time today to think of all the great things that have happened this past week.  Actually do it now.  Close your eyes for 30 seconds and see what’s the first thing to come to mind.  You only need that one thing to jump start an amazing week to come.  Hold on to that feeling of gratitude, you’ll need it for tomorrow 🙂

One of the things I do on Sunday, to start the day off right, is to go to Church.  If you’ve been following on Sundays, you know that we’ve been learning quite a bit.  This week’s lesson is about Holy Days of Obligation. 

When people asked me what I did for my birthday this past July, going to Church was the first thing I named.  The rest of the day is a blur, minus the yummy meal I had with my boyfriend.  Most responses I got were, Why Church?  My birthday fell on a Friday.  While it is true that Mass is celebrated on Sundays and it is the day to keep holy, it is not the only day Mass is held.  Mass, for Catholics, is held every day.  We learned last week in We Find the Defendant … that according to the laws of the Church, one ‘shall attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation and rest from servile labor.’

photo credit: Ted Abbott via photopin cc

This past Thursday was a Holy Day of Obligation.  All Saints Day, which falls on November 1st, is a day to honor the saints known and unknown.  A saint is someone who lives up to the example of Christ, through their holiness or sanctity of the religion.  I have a book of over 200 saints, all became so because of their faith in Christ and died defending their belief. 

All Saints Day is followed by All Souls Day on November 2nd.  This day is a day to pray for the souls that have died.  The way I understand it, it is a day to pray for souls that might be stuck in Purgatory.  It is a way to help them get into Heaven.

Hurricane Sandy took out the power for a lot of people;  Including my church, so Mass was not held on Thursday.  I am not sure how that works out, if its a sin or not, since I didn’t go.  I’ll have to inquire about that of course.  Yesterday, though, I took a moment to think of all the people who gave their lives defending Christ.  What could I do or not do, to live a life closer in His footsteps?

Even if you don’t go to Church or haven’t gone in a while, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your relationship with Him strong.  I encourage you to have a conversation with Him daily, even if its just to say thanks for waking up in the morning.  This can be your one thing of gratitude for today.  I’ll leave you with one of today’s readings.

Heb 7:23-28                           [Jesus the High Priest]

Jesus has a priesthood that will not pass away.  He is a high priest holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and higher than the heavens.  He offered one sacrifice for sin.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and sisters:

The levitical priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away.  Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.  He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself.  For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Let it marinate!

Until then,

american red cross aneurism blood Book of Genesis donate blood prayer Soulful Sundays

Do you often think about doing something for others?

Last Friday I was pumped up and excited for an upcoming blood drive.  After having a conversation with my sister, A, who had been leaving work a little early one night to head over to a blood drive, I thought that despite the fact that I hate seeing blood AND needles, I could suck it up and donate.  It had been something she had wanted to do for a long time but because of her weight they would not allow her to.  Now at an older age she is of weight and donates regularly.  I think that is AWEsome.  I always hear about shortages and not enough people donating.  Last Friday night my phone set off a reminder alarm that at 7:45 am on Saturday, September 30th the blood drive in Bridgeport would commence.  I talked myself out of it.  I mean it IS blood AND needles!

A short time later that night I was told by my other sister, J’s mother-in-law, dropped unconscious in her home and was later rushed to Yale New Haven Hospital.  She had suffered an aneurism.  She had been lucky for if they had waiting any longer to call an ambulance she might have been dead on arrival.  I have only heard of people having aneurism’s on T.V.; That is not to say of course that it does not happen but that I have never known anyone personally to have suffered from one.  On T.V. though, the person seems to always die.  On Saturday I was told she needed blood.  I prayed. 

On Saturday night I got a text to pray for a family friend, I was given no specifics but was told I’d learn more the next day.  Last Sunday morning a beautiful soul still lied in bed with unknown reasons as to why she was losing blood and seizing.  She needed a blood transfusion.  I prayed.

October 1st I received news that my family friend returned home and was doing well.  The blood transfusion helped.  Prayers were heard and answered.  A beautiful soul remains on this earth to do wondrous deeds.

My sister’s mother-in-law is still in the hospital.  After some testing she was found to have another aneurism and would require immediate surgery.  I have heard news this morning that she is responsive.  It has been a scary week for her and her family.

I ask that everyone take a minute to say a prayer to St. Jude for a miraculous recovery.  Who is St. Jude you ask?  St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of hope.  We turn to St. Jude in times of need and for serious or seemingly hopeless causes — including depression, grieving, unemployment, and illness — and ask for his divine intercession.

O Holy St Jude!
Apostle and Martyr,
great in virtue and rich in miracles,
near kinsman of Jesus Christ,
faithful intercessor for all who invoke you,
special patron in time of need;
to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart,
and humbly beg you,
to whom God has given such great power,
to come to my assistance;
help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition.
I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me
and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you.


St. Jude, pray for us and all who honor thee and invoke thy aid.

I prayed for them as I know you might pray or say a few words for someone you care about who is not well.  Prayer is a powerful thing!  So is donating blood.  The tag line for the American Red Cross says “The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give Blood. ™”  I learned this week how true that is.  My heart also weighed heavy as I had decided my fear was greater than the need to go and donate blood.  I went on the American Red Cross website this morning in search of their next drive.  You can do the same by stopping at their website and searching for upcoming blood drives in your area by simply typing in your zip code.  There is one tomorrow that is not too far from my house, I’m hoping when I call tomorrow morning I am able to get an appointment.  Wish me luck.

Until then,

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PS I did not forget about sending out the Word today, I thought I’d save the best for last!

Gn 2:18-24                                                        [Man’s Companion]

God, knowing that man needs companionship, created animals and birds and finally placed Adam in a deep sleep and took one of his ribs, forming a woman.
A reading from the Book of Genesis
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man.  When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; 
this one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
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And that’s when I knew …

Last July I sat in Mass, studying those around me.  Listening to the scripture was something I found hard to do at first, not because of the words but how I was hearing them.  The words ran into each other.  I struggled to find the answers that I needed and to hear the message I was hoping would appear.  Aren’t we supposed to listen to The Word and find the message you’re meant to hear that day?

The months prior to this had me questioning the actions and choices I’ve made in my life.  To me, some things made perfect sense and well, other situations just seemed unfair.  I try my hardest to not react to situations beyond my control.  Every now and then it is not so easy.

You might recall that week in your life where every waking minute seems to feel like you’ve gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  You ask God, ‘Why me?’ ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ You’re shocked to not get a response, but then the overwhelming feeling passes and you can breath again.

…Until that feeling comes back.  I felt, at the time, the solution was simple, remove all outside influences.  Can you really live out your life alone though?  Is there a way to let others in without them marking you?  I’ve learned that for me, it doesn’t seem possible.  Everyone close to me, who has problems, I feel like they are my problems to.  Even if I can’t do anything about it, it still eats away at me.  Deep breathing helps.  Sitting in the pew, those extra moments after Mass has ended and everyone clears out, also helps.

Photo credit:

On that day, in July, for the first time in my life, I felt at peace. Complete peace. When Mass had ended, I had decided after a long prayer and conversation, that I was going to give God my problems and in return I would do whatever it was He wanted.  I didn’t realize how quickly He would call me on it.  Walking out of the Sanctuary I was approached by the nun in charge, Mother Blessed Sacrament, and she asked me if I would be interested in helping out with the Church’s Youth Group.  I stole a glance down the main aisle of the Sanctuary, down to the large cross that hung over the alter, turned back to her and replied yes.  And that’s when I knew God would keep me at my word, and I at His. 

Since that day, I continue to help out with Youth Group, I read Scripture for Sunday Mass, I help chaperone the Church’s Youth trips, and I might be teaching CCD this fall.  What I didn’t know on that day in July is how much I would love every single minute of it!  I feel at home and that helps with all the little things that come my way.  Today the Word nourishes my soul.  I hold on to that feeling every single day.  And that’s how I know everything will be all right…in due time!

There’s a saying I’ve heard on a number of occasions that I find rings true, “Let go, Let God!”  Today, if you have something that is weighing you down, and you’re not sure how to even begin to approach it, let it go, give it to God and have faith that it will all work out.

Until then,

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40 Days For Life

This lenten season, the Bridgeport Diocese has launched its second, 40 Days of Life campaign. Each church from the diocese has rotated days of hosting a prayer vigil in front of an abortion clinic in Bridgeport. Yesterday was my church’s turn to host. For weeks I pondered the idea of going, not having experienced it ever myself, I felt a slight disconnect. We tend to feel passionately about the things that hit home to us. It is not to say that the rest of what pains the earth is not important, but it is unfamiliar to those who do not experience them. The announcement stayed in the back of my mind though. I unconsciously made the appointment on my calendar, well before committing to it.
It was a warm 50 degrees, the sun was coming in and out, causing me to shed my long wool coat. I came upon the scene around 10am. The Rosary in English was well on its way. I am familiar with the Rosary, but only in Spanish. Thinking back now I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it aloud in English. I stepped quietly behind the group and chimed in at the appropriate parts. I silently watched the woman praying the rosary with a curiosity. What was SHE thinking? Upon completion SHE had let those who had just arrived know that people had already begun to arrive at the clinic. One person who had heard the prayers and read the signs, had left as quickly as they had come. Others who had entered, had yet to come out. SHE went on to explain that the purpose of our presence was to let God’s voice be heard. If someone had come with the intent to follow through with an abortion, their heart and soul might be persuaded to choose, perhaps the harder path. If the harder path was to still follow through, then we were there for them to.  We were there solely to pray. We were not there to voice our opinions, regardless of what they were. We were told that if someone were to get angry and come at us, that we were to remain silent and not provoke a fight. I was a little frightened then at the thought that someone might attack us.
It suddenly dawned on me then, upon hearing her last words, that I found the hesitancy on my part to come to pray that day was that I had always believed I was Pro-Choice. Women have had so many rights stripped of them for the longest of time, that I think sometimes today we take it for granted. Liberties that are available today were not so 100 years ago. These thoughts began going through my mind, when SHE asked me if I would do the Rosary in English. Sure, I had said, ‘but just to let you know I’ve never done it before’. SHE looked at me and told me to take my time, the words were written out for me to follow. SHE went on to explain to the crowd, that we would be alternating the Rosary in English and then in Spanish until 6pm. We were to understand that we were not in a hurry. Prayer should be from the heart, a place of meditation, to truly feel the words that are spoken allowed and to reflect on the situation at hand.
Another young woman from my parish started off the Rosary in Spanish, again I chimed in at the appropriate moments. My mind continued to think about why we were there and what effect it might have on those that came to the clinic that day. There were many honks from passerby cars and a few yells of encouragement. One pair of females, who walked on the sidewalk between us, nodded their heads to us and said “God Bless You.” As we continued to recite the prayer I realized that I was taking part in something much larger than myself. I listened intently, trying to follow along, knowing that my turn was coming up. It ended and there was a five minute break to reiterate to the new comers of the rules and our reasons for being there.
Then it was showtime. SHE squeezed my arm and let me know that it was OK, to take my time; ‘We are not in a rush’ SHE reminded me. I mentally prepared myself with a prayer, for God to give me the strength and allow me to do a good job. I started off strong. I read the words loud and clear; slow and steady. Somewhere after announcing the third Joyful Mystery, an Our Father, and the second Haily Mary, I felt myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion. I felt a deep and sudden sadness for the souls I would not meet; past, present and future. The tears began to flow and I lost my voice. Tears ran for the ones I had known to have gone through with abortion, the ones who might have but didn’t and the ones that would have never thought to. In the back of my head I was thinking, WHAT IS GOING ON? My tears ran in gratitude for the opportunity to know my nieces and nephew, who were bought into the world when my sister’s were young. Tears ran for those who still remember the exact details of when it happened to them. Tears ran for the ghost of children skipping rope and playing hopscotch. What I also didn’t expect was to feel the woman to my left and to my right, strangers before then, step into me on both sides like warriors and take over where I had left off. I didn’t expect the hands that wrapped tightly around my shoulders to offer me comfort. I remember feeling the gentle, firm squeeze in a silent speech, that told me it was OK.
The reason I went to pray yesterday had nothing to do with me. My subconscious knew it all along. My tears continued to flow but I had found my voice again. I picked up on the Fourth Joyful Mystery and each word I spoke aloud took on a different shape, a new meaning, than the words I had spit out earlier. I prayed loudly, in hopes that our Holy Mother, Mary Most Holy, would hear me; would hear us. I prayed with an open heart, so that those who went through with their decision might feel Jesus and be comforted, if only for a moment.
Prayer has always been a part of my life. I look to God everyday for guidance. But, I also remember that has not always been the case. As I’ve gotten older I have learned how powerful prayer can be. May anyone reading this today know personally, or for the first time, the power of prayer. May we take a moment everyday to pray for each other. I ask that you do this now on this Soulful Sunday.
Dear Lord,
My brothers, sisters and I, would like to take this moment to ask that you look over the unborn souls, taken from this earth, by your will or no. We ask that you keep them forever strong in our memory, until we come to be with them again. We ask that you find ways to comfort us, to let us know that everything will be OK. Remind us Lord that anything is possible through you. May you hear all of our petitions today. Peace be with us all.
Until then,
 PS. The rosary is such a powerful prayer I’ve included this link that translates it into many languages, The Rosary Prayer.

For more information about the Bridgeport 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign,
visit: or contact Christine Murphy at / 203 438-4866
Learn more about the national 40 Days for Life campaign.