Thursday, July 5, 2007

It was about family, fun and food

Well, the 4th has come and gone. I can't believe that the 4th was on a Wednesday, who's poor planning was that? We made the most of it. Lots of food, fun, sun, family and friends. Isn't that what the 4th is all about? Celebrating our freedom to celebrate our freedom and remembering all those that have fought and are fighting to give us the right to celebrate. My Dad always loved the 4th of July, he was retired military and knew what the rest of us did not grasp about just how important this day was. He always made homemade ice cream. Dad and the ice cream were missing this year, both were remembered with fond thoughts and laughter. I lost court of the number of kids in the pool and the of hot dogs that were eaten. The line to make you own banana split seemed endless. The dogs running around thought they were in heaven - food just kept falling from the sky. Keep in mind this was mostly family with a few friends sprinkled in here and there. My Grandson was happy, his cousins and his Buddy were there to join in the party. Not to mention that YA YA stayed in the pool with him for 3 hours. Night time came fireworks were shot into the starry sky - it was picture perfect - until the kids started crying and the dogs joined in right on que. It had been a wonderful day, one I hope the kids hold in their hearts and mind until they have children of their own - and they can sit and talk about "how it was when they were kids". God, I give you thanks and praise for a Country that is free and a family that still understands the meaning of "celebrating" together. God bless us each and everyone. Amen

Monday, July 2, 2007

Just why does a Baptist Minister become a Catholic Deacon?

In a word the EUCHARIST.
First off it takes a long time, a life time I guess you could say. I am never sure where to start when I am asked to tell this story. There are several starting points and picking one can make it a short funny story or a long journey. I will try to give you the short version. Tom went into a Baptist seminary right out of high school, he felt God was calling him and he answered the phone. From the very start Tom had problems with what he was being taught. For example – the teacher stated that Baptist could trace their roots back to Jesus time. After some investigation Tom was unable to substantiate this claim. Baptist did not show up by name until the 1600’s. He discussed it with his roommate and his roommate said “there is no way these teachers can be wrong, they have been teaching for years. Maybe Baptist was called something else to being with”. “Yes”, Tom answered” we were called Catholic”. It was much like that for 4 years. Why did he stay you ask – what else was he to do? God had called him and when he got out of seminary he would have his own church and could do things HIS way. Tom was not familiar with just how big of a part the Southern Baptist Conference played in how he would RUN his church. For 14 years Tom was the pastor of 3 churches and a missionary for 2 years. He often tried to change things – liking asking the congregation to come down to the front of the church to receive communion. Needless to say that was not a success. There were many different attempts to “change” how his congregation perceived communion. After a long and heartbreaking time in his life Tom made the decision to leave the only profession he knew and a calling he felt deep within his soul. His words – “I can no longer run a church like it is J.C. Penny’s (after all it was a business) and I am tired of feeling like Johnny Carson (he was expected to entertain them for an hour a week)”.
What does an unemployed Baptist Minister do? He could teach school but having tried that before he knew that was not the answer. He was either over qualified or under qualified; finally he landed a job as a dispatcher for a Heating and Air company. He worked his way up and became a project manager. Tom remains in that position to this day.
Going to church was a hassle – if they found out Tom was a former pastor the current pastor was sure he was there to take his job. If they were secure enough in their position they worked him to death – hey free labor is what every church is looking for. Years were spent drifting from one church to another. Tom held fast to his Baptist roots. Not me I had been ready to chop those suckers loose for a very long time. I was raised a Baptist, my Dad was a deacon and we were at church every time the doors opened. I had not been buying what they were selling for years. For the most part I had kept my feelings to myself. What was I to say – My Dad was a deacon and my husband was a pastor. So, for the first time in my life I felt free to EPLORE. I think I went to every denomination know and some that were not on the map yet. After a short foray into the Unity Church, I came home one day and Tom announced that we were going to become “Catholic”. Catholic, well now that was one I had not tried – so what the heck!
Tom had read the entire Catechism and made questions. He made an appointment with a Priest at a nearby parish. We spent almost 3 hours with Fr. John and he was able to satisfy most of Tom’s question. Fr. John suggested that we attend a RCIA class. We did – and the rest as they say is history. We went to class for almost a year. The priest tried to get Tom to skip the process as they felt 6 years of seminary had prepared him. Tom declined and I was so very happy that he did. For the first time in my life I was able to embrace belief’s that were mine – NOT my Dad’s or my husband’s. We came into the church at Easter; Tom waited 3 years before he started the 5 year training process to become a Deacon. He was ordained Feb. 22, 2007.
Tom has always believed that John Chapter 6 is a true statement - that Christ is present in communion (Eucharist). Now every time he receives the Eucharist he is able to live out a lifelong belief.
I will throw in a little tidbit here – Tom was baptized Catholic the day he was born. You see his Mom was a lapsed Catholic marrying a previously married Baptist. Tom was born with cerebral palsy and was not expected to live, his Mom had them call in a priest and Tom was indeed baptized. Tom did not know about this until he started his journey into the Catholic faith. Tom’s Mom died many years ago, her younger sister filled in all the details.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

When I get old I will smoke cigars and wear purple

Have you ever spent the night trying to remember something? Well, I had one of those nights! Before I fell asleep I was trying to remember the bible readings for the day. It had only been a few hours since we attended Mass but for the life of me I could not remember the Gospel reading. We had a visiting Priest – our Priest is on vacation for a couple of weeks – he is retired and spends his weekends filling in for priest. I really enjoyed his Homily and could remember most of the sage wisdom he passed on. BUT for the life of me the gospel reading that he was talking about escaped me. Guess it was my part-timers kicking in. So, every time I woke up my feeble mind was still trying to reach in to space and come up with the verse. I woke up with a headache, and wouldn’t you know it as soon as I got up this morning and had a cup of coffee I remembered. It would have been no problem to go to the daily readings on line and look it up but OH NO that would be too simple. I have this great fear of “loosing” what little mind I have so I try and give it a work out whenever possible – why it wants to work at night while I am trying to sleep is beyond me. I have to stay as alert as possible for as long as possible. My kids are lurking in the background just waiting to pick out my nursing home and pay back for all the “wonderful” entertaining things I did to them will be HELL. No, I was not a clothes hanger beating Mom – I have always loved life and laughter – sometimes my laughs came at their expense. When they were teenagers they bought me a dog to play with on Saturday mornings so I would not wake them up so early to play with me. I woke my son up early one morning to see the rabbit in the backyard, his comment “Mom we live in the country we always have rabbits in the yard – DAD come and get Mom and play with her.” I now have a grandson and I can tell you playing with him is the most fun I have had any many a years. Laughter comes easy for a 2 year old, rolling in the grass or spraying Ya Ya with the water hose can bring on fits of uncontrollable giggles. There is no sweeter sound that my grandsons laughter and no better site than the smile on his face when he sees me. Yes, I may have part-timers and recalling the lady across the roads name is a stretch for me some days but none of this matters to my grandson. Maybe I will let him pick out my nursing home!