Monday, August 20, 2018

Sexual Abuse, Sackcloth, and Ashes: Meeting Scandal with Acts of Reparation

We find ourselves again rocked by scandal in the Catholic Church. On Aug. 14, a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on an 18-month investigation into seven decades of clerical sexual abuse allegations in six Pennsylvania dioceses. The details are sickening and devastating.

I’ve been thinking about and praying about it ever since (although I would have much preferred to avoid it). As a mother, as a Catholic, as a person with a platform, how do I respond to . . . this?

I spent time talking with other moms, other writers, other Catholics. We all wanted to stop feeling so helpless. We all wanted to channel our outrage. We all wanted to make this better in some way.

Others, including Bishop Barron, Bishop Morlino, and the USCCB have made concrete suggestions for how the magisterium will address the issue of suxual abuse and cover-up. That is good and necessary. My husband wrote an email to the USCCB, voicing his concerns and offering his assistance, and received a prompt and personal reply. I talked to our children about sexual abuse. But now, we want to suggest something else. Something real and important beyond letter-writing that WE can do.

Based on the words of Daniel 9:3: "I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes," and the longstanding Catholic concept of making Acts of Reparation, my friend Bonnie Engstrom and I have written this statement . . .

"We are Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium and disgusted by the abuse and cover-ups that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. We are heartsick over the 1000+ victims of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania and all the other boys and girls, men and women who have been sexually abused by priests and further victimized by the bishops who covered up these crimes. We pray for justice for the victims and their families and communities. We believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ and sustained by the Eucharist. We are one body in Christ. As such, we invite you to join us in observing a forty day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for these sins. From the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, through the month of September, we will join our sorrow with Our Lady of Sorrows, and make daily sacrifices appropriate to our own circumstances for this intention."

We decided to champion a campaign of Acts of Reparation by the faithful. We decided that we would personally pledge to observe a period of prayer and fasting, and we would invite other Catholics to join us. The response has been humbling and heartening. Catholic bloggers, artists, podcasters, reporters, and social media content creators all immediately wanted in.

We hope you will join us as well. In consultation with a spiritual director if that's possible, you decide on a plan of prayer and penance that works for you, and observe it from August 22 through the month of September. You can publicly pledge to join us by commenting here or on social media, or by sharing this post or any or all of these images on your own blog, social media account, or chain letter. You can print the images and put them on the fridge. Whatever you want. You can share your own words and/or images using the hashtag #sackclothandashes You can also participate privately, if you prefer.

Here are some more details.

What Acts of Reparation are:

By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ's Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

In layman's terms, that means that we believe that God is hurt and offended by sin, and that we can console God and make up for those sins in some way by our prayers and sacrifices.

What they are not:

Just to clarify, because we know this is a struggle for some of us. We make acts of reparation as a gift to God not as a service to particular sinners. If your grandma got attacked by a mugger, you would rush to her side and spend time with her. You’d go out and buy things to replace what was in her purse. You wouldn’t do that for the mugger’s benefit. Doing it wouldn’t lessen his culpability. Hopefully you could also one day bring yourself to pray for him and wish for his conversion. But doing something to lessen the hurt of your grandma is something different than that entirely.

What you can do:

We will be observing this forty day period as a time of increased prayer and penance, like another Lent. Beginning on August 22, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, we will ask Our Lady to bring the gift of our sacrifices to her son. The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. It also includes the fall Ember Days on September 19, 21, and 22. (More on those here.)

Consider adding prayers to your daily routine, like the Morning Offering:

Or the Chaplet of Reparation, recommended by Our Lady to the children at Fatima.

Or another Chaplet of Reparation, known as Offering the Precious Blood for Priests, found in In Sinu Jesu.

Consider fasting, a little or a lot. From meals, from snacks, from sugar or caffeine, from technology. The Catholic Gentleman has some great thoughts on how and why we should fast.

Know that if you are suffering, you are not alone. Know that there are thousands, millions, of Catholics praying for you. Know that your own prayers are important and efficacious. It is my hope that doing this together will console the heart of Jesus and heal our own sore hearts.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Compendium Update, Liturgical Living for June, and Coloring Pages!

This is from the introduction to the (forthcoming) Catholic All Year Compendium, that I wrote for the pitch I submitted to the publisher, back in 2015:

"Sometimes all you really need is a little enthusiasm and the willingness to give things a try. The easiest way is to start when your children are young enough to be dazzled by even your less successful endeavors. Case in point: I stood in my kitchen one Friday afternoon, looking at a slightly runny red gelatin heart, decorated with orange segments and pretzel sticks, sitting somewhat off-center on a cake plate. It was supposed to look like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but it had looked better in my head—less oozy. My four-year-old daughter, however, took one look at it and gasped in wonder at its beauty. She called the other kids in to see it. They agreed that it was awesome but could use some whipped cream.

So that’s what we did. We put some whipped cream on it. Over dinner, we talked about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and her visions. We talked about the burning love that Jesus has for each one of us and the pain that he suffers because of the sin and the ingratitude of mankind. Then we ate the weepy heart. And now my kids can’t imagine a feast of the Sacred Heart without one. That’s what living the liturgical year looks like in our home."

I've read through it SO MANY times through the writing and editing process and I finally went back and found my photo of that jello heart.

I still shake my head, NOPE, looking at it. 😝 But the kids are looking forward to having another one next Friday. There's really no accounting for them.

And . . .  <looks around nervously, knocks on wood desk, slowly types> . . . I - think - I'm - done - writing - the - book?

Crazy. It has been nearly three years that I've been writing this book. Which is just preposterous. It's hardly the great American novel or anything. But it does feel like an accomplishment, and a few other things were going on during the process: I was pregnant with baby number eight, packed up to move, accidentally had a baby at home, sold the old house, moved, entered the exciting world of construction supervising and do-it-yourself remodeling and feeding a family of ten from a makeshift kitchen in the garage, found out I was pregnant again, got super morning sickness, got better, fell off a ladder while painting and broke my tailbone, had a kid hospitalized after a freak accident, somehow got the first draft written, it was 600 pages. Had another baby, continued fixing up the house, cut the book down by a couple hundred pages, redid hundreds of quotes and footnotes, went through copy edits, then content/fact-check/heresy-checks, added a few new feasts, and updated others with new stuff we've been doing, and just submitted it (with 113 feast days covered in 360 pages), I think for the last time!

They're telling me it will be out Fall 2018. 😍

So . . . speaking of June, the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let's look at a few of the feast days this month. Including the TWO MEAT FRIDAYS! 

June 3 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ a.k.a. Corpus Christi (Sunday, solemnity, holy day of obligation)
TO DO: read John 6:52–59; make a Eucharistic procession (plenary indulgence); recite the Act of Spiritual Communion, recite the “Tantum Ergo”; begin the practice of making the sign of the cross whenever passing a Catholic church; make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament

June 8: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (solemnity)
TO DO: publicly recite the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (plenary indulgence); 
TO EAT: It's a Meat Friday! And you can make your very own red Jell-O heart. Just think, three years from now you could almost have written a book about it, too!

June 9:The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (memorial)
TO DO: recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto)
TO EAT: Leftover jello?

June 13: St. Anthony of Padua, priest and Doctor (memorial), patron of lost items, lost people, lost souls, the elderly, and mail
TO DO: Start collecting stuff the kids leave around the house in a secret St. Anthony box, when they ask if you've seen it, tell them to ask St. Anthony. Give it back to them on the morning of his feast day, with a note that they should be more careful to not lose their things.
TO EAT: St. Anthony died of ergotism, as a result of long term eating of tainted rye. Since ergotism has been eradicated in the western world, I think we're safe to have a toasted pastrami and provolone on rye.

June 22: SS. John Fisher, bishop, and Thomas More, martyrs (optional memorial), patrons of lawyers and stepparents
TO DO: Refuse to apostatize.
TO EAT: Add some St. John Fisher foil fish packets and St. Thomas s’Mores to your Nativity Eve bonfire.

June 24: The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (solemnity)—patron of builders, tailors, printers, baptism, and against seizures
TO DO: read Luke 1:57–80; have a vigil bonfire
TO EAT: locusts (we like ours in potato chip flavors), wild honey, grasshopper pie .

June 26: St. Josemaría Escrivá, priest (optional memorial), patron of Opus Dei, diabetics, job seekers, and the sanctification of ordinary work
TO DO: consider ways to grow holier in daily life
TO EAT: Spanish tortilla, paella, flan.

June 29: SS. Peter and Paul, apostles (solemnity)
TO DO: Pray the “Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, intercede for us” prayer; use an article blessed by the pope or a bishop (plenary indulgence); go camping, fishing, or have a picnic 
TO EAT: It's another MEAT FRIDAY! For dessert, graham cracker tent s'mores for St. Paul, a tent-maker, and Swedish fish candies for St. Peter, a fisherman.

And, now, for this week's giveaway!

Rebecca Górzyńska and I are both members of a group of Catholic women artists, and I just LOVE her work. She sent this awesome St. Joan of Arc print to our conference last year.

Check out her Etsy shop, Dephina Rose Art!

And she also creates really unique and fun and SUPER CATHOLIC coloring pages.

The Saints Bundle includes St. Joan of Arc, and St. Apollonia, to whom Anita has had a devotion ever since she got her front tooth knocked clean out last summer. (It seems to have worked!)

The Marian Bundle features Mary under ten different titles. So great for easy feast day activities for kids. And they're detailed enough to be really appealing to older kids, and even adults!

I get to give a set away (winner's choice) here on the blog. (Stay tuned to the Catholic All Year Facebook Page and my Instagram account for giveaways there sometime during the week.)

To enter the giveaway, tell me what feast day you're looking forward to this month, and why.

And say a prayer for Rebecca, who is about 25 weeks along . . . with TRIPLETS! 👶👶👶

P.S. Speaking of prayers, so many of you have asked what you can do for our family, and my friend Michaela came up with the BEST THING EVER. Check it out.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Memorial Day PSA, a Prohibition Party, St. Philip Neri, and Mugs, Mug, Mugs

1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and support on my last post. I knew you guys were going to be the BEST, but I was still blown away by it. 

2. It's Memorial Day weekend here in the US of A.

This is a FB post the husband shared a couple years back. I think it was an excellent public service announcement, so I thought I'd share it here.

Hey, team. Here are some pro tips as you head into Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is for remembering those members of the armed forces who died in the service of our country, while Veterans' Day (Nov 11) is for "honoring those who served" and for "remembering those who served" (e.g. beloved deceased family members who served honorably in the armed forces but died under circumstances other than the performance of their duties as a military member). So if Uncle Joe landed in the first wave on Tarawa, got wounded and awarded the Silver Star, then came home and worked in the Ford plant till he passed away in '83, we would remember him on Veterans' Day (and hopefully pray daily for the repose of his soul, right?)

While I never expect it, if you are inclined to "honor" me or express gratitude for my service, I'd recommend saving it for a day other than Memorial Day so that our fallen heroes get our full attention on the day we have specially dedicated to their memory. If you were going to formally wish me happiness on one of the two days, I'd probably go with Veterans' Day. Memorial Day is, after all, a day-long memorial which is intended to help us remember those who died while serving in the military. I will almost certainly be happy at points throughout the day, but "Happy" and "Memorial Day" are problematic when uttered or written together. I don't think we need to be somber on Memorial Day, but it is good to be mindful that it can be an emotional day for people who have lost a loved one in the service of the country. I would therefore avoid saying or posting "Happy Memorial Day."

Okay, class dismissed. Go get 'em! #memorialday

We Catholics can be proud of the heroic sacrifice made by many Catholic men and women killed in the line of duty, including Catholic priest chaplains Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun, Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, Father Charles J. Watters, and Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, a daily communicant who dove on a grenade to save two fellow SEALS.

In my own family . . .

When World War II began, my great uncle wanted to serve his country like my grandfather was doing, as a Navy Fighter pilot. When his application was turned down by the US Navy, he ran away to Canada and joined the Canadian Air Force. He was shot down and killed over Holland a few months later, on June 8, 1943. His name was Richard Dose'. He was sixteen years old.

More on Memorial Day later on in the post, but for now, let us transition to other subjects . . .

3. We threw a Prohibition Party!

Spots at the table were up for bid at our school's auction, so the guests were friends, fellow St. Monica Academy parents, and teachers at the school. It was a blast!

So much work, but a blast. And, actually, Jack's confirmation was that morning, so it really was just exactly as much work as a family could fit in between lunch and dinner, and no more.

Gus was the bouncer, Bobby was the chief steward who gave house tours, and Dr. Frankie gave out prescriptions for whiskey. (A real thing during prohibition!)

Betty and I cooked from my new favorite cookbook: The Original 1931 First Edition of the Joy of Cooking. The meal included bread salad (it's like a salad, but . . . bread instead of lettuce), pineapple aspic (I managed to control my desire to make one of the MANY fish-themed gelatine recipes), poached trout, and flaming cherries jubilee for dessert. And YES, the table DID catch on fire, but only for a minute. It didn't even leave a mark. I REGRET NOTHING.

After dinner, one of the teachers gave us lessons in the foxtrot and the charleston.

It was a great evening with great friends and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, or in a year anyway. But, whew, it makes me realize why this house had servants' quarters in the twenties. Moving furniture around and hand-washing all my grandmother/great-grandmother/great-great-grandmother's china/silver/crystal/cut-glass for thirty is no mean feat.

Of everything we did for the party, I think I'm most chuffed over the invitations. They were super fun.

The paper that guests received in the mail looked like an invitation to the Temperance Crusaders Evening of Nourishing Foods and Sober Conversation.

The wording was amusingly awkward if I do say so myself:

"Your presence is welcome at our gathering in gratitude for prohibition, which is credited for an advent of societal temperance akin to the joyful flight of birds over the lizards in a ditch. There will soon be zero eschewing of this noble ideal, and the hot prick of conscience will put every foot on the path of virtue. Your support on the way to this noble goal is worth more than 1001 rubies, a yacht on the sea, a mansion on an avenue, a good friend at your six, and may lift you up to the 19th degree in the eyes of all who behold what you stand for. To any who are a party to your steadfastness, you'll never be forgotten. Unless we are mistaken, the reading of Fordyce's Sermons will be a hit among the attendees of the evening. As will Mrs. Grundy's bread sauce, too. You will be hard pressed to bring your attentions to a more worthy cause than the eradication of appetites to your basest desires of alcohol and dancing, which steal the very shoes from the feet of suffering children and cause the secret shame of all who pass with nary a word of condemnation, and all who would try to hide behind sparkling necklaces and earbobs your unclean aims. Tomato juice will be served. Please reply promptly with regrets only."

But they also received this:

Which, when applied to the temperance flier, revealed . . . 

"Prohibition is for the birds. Ditch the zeroes and hot foot your way to 1001 Sea Avenue* at six, May 19th, for a party you'll never forget, unless we hit the sauce too hard. Bring your appetite, your dancing shoes, and the secret password: Bob's Your Uncle."

Fortunately, all the guests managed to figure it out!

*because you would all send me worried emails if I didn't, I changed this to be other than my actual address to put it on the blog.

4. It's the Feast of St. Philip Neri!

Speaking of parties, St. Philip Neri was a sixteenth century Italian priest who knew a thing or two about entertaining. He moved to Rome as a layman and spent seventeen years hanging out in the city, striking up conversations with people over coffee and on park benches, and converting them to a deeper understanding of their faith . . . by the hundreds or thousands! Eventually he became a priest, but that didn't stop him from being a guy who knew how to throw a get together. I'm personally most indebted to him for coming up with the Seven Churches Visitation on Holy Thursday, as something to do with friends as the Triduum began. So, strike up a conversation with someone today, it just might change a life!

And, if you'd like to be inspired by the words of St. Philip Neri all year long, there's an email for that.

"St. Philip Neri encouraged his spiritual children to meditate on a spiritual maxim or saying throughout each day. St. Philip Neri had so many of these sayings that, eventually, his followers organized them so there's one for every day of the year. (All 365 are available at our blog here.)

The Sacred Art Series is promoting these excellent spiritual sayings through EmailFacebook, and Twitter."
And if Will Bloomfield and The Sacred Art Series sound familiar, it's because I've featured them before. We use and recommend their the Holy Gospels of St. Luke and St. John for our middle grade kids.

It features 100 beautiful classic works of art alongside a readable Douay-Rheims story-by-story text, in a leatherette cover with a ribbon and everything. See more images of the book here, or just head on over to Amazon where the books are 25% off the retail price for this week only.

And I get to give three of them away! One here on the blog and, later in the week, I'll be giving away one on Facebook and one on Instagram. If you'd like to enter to win a copy of the Holy Gospels of St. Luke and St. John, leave a comment on this blog post that begins with the number 4. and tell me who in your life would benefit from this book. The blog winner will be announced next Saturday.

5. A Memorial Day Giveaway

Jen Buckley is the founder of Grace and Grit Design Co., a faith-inspired boutique specializing in home décor, art, gifts, and lifestyle.

She thought we might like her line of mugs . . . and she was right. We DO.

When we were deciding when to do the giveaway, Jen suggested this weekend . . . 

Maybe even Memorial Day weekend since that has such meaning for our family -- my first husband and father to my three oldest was killed in Iraq in 2005. (I have so appreciated your "teaching" people the distinction between Veteran's Day & Memorial Day!) I came back to the Catholic Church after my first husband was killed and it has made all the difference in my life. And it's been on my heart to spread the Good News with faithful products ever since!


The giveaway for the Hands Full Heart Full mug will be here on the blog.

If You Think My Hands Are full . . .

Stay tuned to the Catholic All Year on Facebook, and @kendra_tierney and @graceandgritdesignco on Instagram for a flash giveaway sometime during the week. To enter the blog giveaway, leave a comment here on this blog post, with the number 5. and the name of a member of the armed forces who died in the service of our country. It could be a loved one, or scroll back to point number 2 and get to know one of those guys! Repeats are allowed. Let's all take a moment today to pray for the repose of the soul of Jen's husband, and my Great Uncle Dick, and everyone else in the comments.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

6. Last Week's Winner is . . . Amy D!

Amy, you win the awesome purple rosary from the Catholic Woodworker, you have until Monday at noon Pacific to email me at to claim your prize, otherwise I'll choose another winner. The social media winner will be announced there.

The rest of you still have time to order a rosary for a dad in your life before Father's Day!

And the Chews Life discount code for Catholic All Year readers is still good. Just visit to look around and use the code CAY10 to get 10% off!

7. Because Seven Quick Takes!

Here's a one minute long video of my entire beauty routine. At full speed. And if you're thinking, but SURELY you also . . . wash your face, moisturize, remove makeup, etc? Nope. This is it. 💁😂

And here are all the beauty products I own . . .

Action items: 
Pray, hope, don't worry, have an excellent weekend, hug your loved ones, leave a comment to chat about any or all of the above, leave a comment beginning with number 4 or 5 to enter the giveaways!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Prayer Request for our Family

We're facing a family challenge, and I'd love to have your prayers, and for you to know why I might not be around the blog as much as I had hoped to be. But then again maybe I will, I just don't know.

Please click here to read the explanation.

And thank you for all your love and support!



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Moms of Difficult Toddlers, Rejoice: Catholic Stuff Saturday

It's been a very busy week and is going to be an even busier weekend, but I wanted to pop in here to share some thoughts that really resonated with some of you already, and this week's very excellent Catholic Stuff giveaway.

From a social media post . . .

Mothers of difficult toddlers, rejoice. There is hope. This guy is my oldest, and he was SO HARD. He would make himself throw up if he didn’t like what I made for dinner and thought he could get a popsicle instead. He dropped a full glass of orange juice on the floor of an airport restaurant, splattering everyone around us, because he didn’t like that it felt cold in his hands. He didn’t like taking naps so he did things like eating board books and shoving all of his clothing out of the second story window instead. He was frustrated with his siblings and his responsibilities. He always had a reason and an answer for everything. He always had a better idea for how or if he should do something. He was distracted all the time, to the point of really not being able to follow instructions. It’s funny to look back on, but it was HARD. 

We have spent almost sixteen years losing our tempers and wringing our hands, but also loving him and being consistent and spending time and explaining and following through. He’s had his dad and his grandfathers and a great scout master and a great spiritual director. And you guys, today this young man is such a joy. He’s confident and friendly and responsible. He is sweet to his little sisters and helps old men find things at Home Depot. I like him. I trust him. I enjoy his company. We spent today, just the two of us, at an amusement park. I don’t know what the future will bring, of course, and I’m not saying we are done parenting him. But I can say today that the challenge and the frustration and the effort feels 100% worth it, and gives me hope for my other stinkers.

That's what I wrote last Monday, after Jack and I got home from our outing, and it was amazing to see how it resonated with parents who are in the trenches of parenting a stinker. Wondering if it's your fault, wondering if your parenting methods and failures are destroying his little spirit, wondering if it ever ends, wondering how it could be worth it.

I have never claimed to be a parenting expert, but I really hope my perspective from almost sixteen years in CAN give you hope. It gives me hope, as I am very much still in the thick of things with babies and toddlers as well as teenagers!

To answer some questions some folks had . . .

Jack started spiritual direction in eighth grade. We use mentoring and leadership development programs sponsored by Opus Dei. We've found them to be a really excellent resource for spiritual direction and retreats for teenagers and adults. I highly recommend them.

You can find out more about Opus Dei locations and contact them here.

And an old post about it:


My general parenting philosophy, inspired by and practiced on this guy, can be found in this post:

And some thoughts on difficult kids, here:
We have found that obedience in small children in small things becomes the ability to make good decisions for oneself as an older child. Trust gained as a young kid who can do as he's told, means being allowed independence as an older child and teenager.

There was a assertion by a commenter, on a recent parenting post of mine, that to require obedience of children is dangerous and wrong and will result in damaged children and damaged relationships. All I can say is that in my experience, so far, it has resulted in manageable toddlers and small children, and in at least one confident, independent young adult. The jury's still out on the rest of them. 😉

But mostly, I'd say, DO NOT parent by fear. If the parenting method you're reading about tells you that studies and statistics say that your children will be horribly scarred by doing anything other than what this one guy says, just put it down and back away. Choose the parenting method that fits your family circumstances, and temperament, and the temperament of your children. Trust your gut, and don't listen to fearmongering. Know that even once you have a general method that's working for you, it will change in the details as your circumstances change. Believe in the resiliency your children. Know that you will make mistakes and that your family can survive them.

For me, it all boils down to three little things . . . 

LOVE them.

LIKE them.

SACRIFICE for them.

I am confident that you can't go too far wrong with this parenting thing if you love your children with a human and an eternal love, and that they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are loved. My stinkers know that they are stinkers, because I TELL them. But I also tell them that I love them so much anyway, no matter what.

I also think it's important to parent them in such a way that I can enjoy being in their company. I'm pretty sure my kids could tell if I didn't like being around them.

And finally, we make sure our kids know and understand them sacrifices we make for them. So that they can be grateful, yes, but even more importantly, so they can know that they are worthy of being sacrificed for. 

Jack is being confirmed today. I'd be grateful for your prayers for him, and for our family. You and your intentions will be in our prayers as well.

And now . . . 

I'm really excited to introduce you today to two amazing Catholic artisans and small business owners.

The first is Shannon Wendt of Chews Life. You've probably heard of them already. I've had her chewy baby rosaries for many years, but she just keeps making them better and better.

The latest models come in beautiful colors with fun chewy crosses and miraculous medals. 

Purple Rainbow Chews Life Soft Rosary
She's also got beautiful gemstone rosary bracelets for moms, soft bracelets for kids, and stylishly unbreakable necklaces for moms who are in that *my baby breaks all my necklaces* phase. (Me right now.)

Mariana Mom Necklace

Shannon is offering a special discount for all Catholic All Year readers, just visit to look around and use the code CAY10 to get 10% off!

The second is Jonathan Conrad, aka Catholic Woodworker. He makes really awesome manly rosaries, perfect for confirmation, new converts, graduates, and fathers. 

Olive Wood Rosary
This is the one we are giving Jack as a confirmation gift. (His favorite color is purple.)

And you can win one too! Jonathan has offered to give two away: one here on the blog, and another on social media later in the week.

To enter, just leave a comment here on the blog post telling me who you'd like to give this rosary to. Bonus points if he's a recovering stinker! 

But also feel free to just comment on the content of the post. We're all here to advise or commiserate as needed!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

I'm Not Mad About the Met Gala, Except That I Wasn't Invited: Catholic Stuff Saturday

Happy Saturday folks, the winner of last week's giveaway is at the bottom!

If you are a fashionable celebrity who reads this blog, you're probably aware of last Monday's Met Gala. For the rest of us, the Met Gala is a yearly red carpet/costume party thing where famous people get dressed up by famous fashion designers, in over the top outfits based on the theme of a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year's gala was especially noteworthy for Catholics as the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination.

The exhibit features art, design, and even architecture on loan from the Vatican, and paired by the Met curator with notable works of fashion design. It sounds really amazing. If I didn't live very far away from New York City, I'd go see it.

I enjoyed this article on how the exhibit came to be:

The Costume Institute Takes On Catholicism

and especially this quote from the Catholic exhibit curator: “Beauty has often been a bridge between believers and unbelievers.” Truth.

But the exhibit at the museum always seems to get less press than the red carpet in front of it, and this year was no exception. I started hearing buzz about the theme a few weeks back, and I was immediately SUPER excited. I appreciate fashion, particularly Catholic fashion. I own and wear and love Annunciation Stained Glass Leggings, that aren't everyone's cup of tea, but are totally my cup of tea. I was pretty confident that I was going to enjoy the spectacle. I was a little disappointed when my invitation never arrived in the mail.

I had to be content to just enjoy perusing photos of the red carpet looks from the comfort of my home. Anyway, it lived up to my expectations. I thought some of the dresses were beautiful and creative and I would TOTALLY wear them.

The Marys! The beading! I swoon. If we could put some cap sleeves on there I'd wear it every day. Or maybe Joan of Arc for every day, and Marys for Sunday?

The Joan of Arc dress is a beautiful interpretation, and she's even got the hair!

Some, I appreciated the effort, but they just didn't QUITE work for me.

The sorrowful heart on this dress is WAY cool and I would totally rock it at next year's All Saint's Day Pageant. I also am totally there for her St. Lucy's eyes on a stick.

I'm just not getting them together, and with a winged halo. Apparently Sarah Jessica Parker's hat on the right features a miniature nativity scene. A for effort!

Some were predictably tacky, and tackily predictable. Sigh.

Despite rumors to the contrary, that is definitely not a mitre lent to Rihanna by Archbishop Dolan. He was joking. All the Catholic imagery and imagination of the last two thousand years and all you can come up with is a sexy cardinal costume? It looks like she got it off the rack at the Halloween Store.

I'm disappointed. But I'm not mad. 

Art is always going to be hit or miss. That's what this gala is, and always has been. It's a chance for fashion designers to take inspiration from a theme and go wild with it, and create clothing that wouldn't usually get to exist. Some art is going to be to my taste and some isn't. I'll even be so bold as to say some art will be good and some will be bad. But I want art to exist in the world, and, for the good art, I'm willing to suffer the bad to exist as well.

I am happy that Catholic art and history was recognized as it should be. Our art is the BEST ART. I'm glad to see it honored and appreciated by a new generation.

And cultural appropriation is not a term that should be applied to Catholic culture. Our culture is for everyone. It's for every country and people and time. If you like it, please have some. That's how we roll.

This was one of the most interesting takes I read after the event. 

Make Catholicism Weird Again

It's an opinion piece on the fascination with Catholic culture on display at the Met Gala, and why Catholics might want to take note, and embrace our own culture more loudly . . .

"Thus the only plausible approach for Catholicism is to offer itself, not as a chaplaincy within modern liberalism, but as a full alternative culture in its own right — one that reclaims the inheritance on display at the Met, glories in its own weirdness and supernaturalism, and spurns both accommodations and entangling alliances . . . "
I think it would be a mistake to assume that the attendees of the gala, even the sexy clergy types, were out to degrade and offend. I don't doubt they are looking for attention, as starlets are wont to do. Some of them could have used some better advice. But the red carpet interviews, again and again, showcased a thoughtful interest in Catholic art and culture that went into the planning and wearing of this clothing. 

I loved how many reminisced about their Catholic upbringing. I hope it brings some of them back to a practicing faith. But mostly, I just thought it was fun and cool and there were a lot of pretty dresses.

And now for Catholic Stuff Saturday!

The winner of last week's giveaway of The Rosary in Art for Children by Mary Cooney, and The Stations of the Cross for Children by Carolyn Cooney is . . .

Comment #6: Amanda! Amanda, congratulations! Your profile is hooked up to an email address, so I've emailed you!

Stay tuned for next week when I'll have another great giveaway. If you are a Catholic artist, author, or small business owner who would like to be featured on Catholic Stuff Saturday, and offer a giveaway, email me at

I wish you a very happy feast of the Ascension on Sunday (or on Thursday, if it was on Thursday for you), and a very happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and daughters out there, especially mine.