Saturday, May 30, 2015
  Pregnancy and Childbirth  
Waiting for Baby
Have you ever stopped and thought about the parallels between birth and death?

These were my thoughts of late, as I approached the birth of my second child. If you haven't found yourself pondering this lately it's probably because you're a normal non-pregnant person. For me, nothing puts thoughts like birth and death into clearer focus than the prospect of labor and delivery. ()

Latest in Church & Community

  Lent in the East, Part II  
Sing “Alleluia”! Byzantine Lent & the Bright Sadness
Byzantine Lent is different.

For one thing, in the Eastern churches, you will hear “Alleluia” over and over again on Sunday and during the weekday services. The goal of Lent is to bring us closer to Him who is worthy of all praise, so why should we stop praising Him during the time of Bright Sadness? ()

The Bright Sadness Has Begun
The ancient church has wisdom different from what most American Catholics know.

The West views Lent as a time of penance, but in the East, it has always been the “Bright Sadness."


Slow Release Medicine for the Heart
A recent convert to Catholicism asked me a question about Marian devotions the other day.

“How is it,” she asked, “that someone can have a devotion to a particular apparition or icon, like Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Guadalupe? Aren’t they all the same person?”


  Kids at Mass  
For Mothers, Young And Old, All Are Welcome Here
This is a picture of ‘What I Wore Sunday’ circa. 2007. Me in my twenties, Addie, 4, Byron, 3, Edie, 1.

Why the trip down memory lane? I wanted to reflect back this Mother’s Day on my time as a younger mom, overwhelmed by young children at Mass, and offer some support to other moms who feel like this will be them for the rest of their lives. Believe it or not, you don’t need to do anything differently. The real work belongs to the rest of us. See that squirmy kid in a tie? He screamed for the first two-years of his life every time we stepped foot into a church. ()

Peace on Earth
Every year I feel a bit sad, as I recall what Christmas used to feel like as a child, remembering the anticipation, the excitement. I loved rituals that led up to the big day: putting our shoes out for St. Nicholas, marking off days on the Advent calendar, decorating the house. Twinkling lights and carolers. Snow that glittered in the moonlight. I could feel the angels all around me. Christmas meant warmth, comfort, and home: It meant peace. To feel peace was a little taste of heaven. Now sometimes it seems like the most Christmas has to offer is a little bit nostalgia. ()

Just Say No to the Ho, Ho, Ho.
With the arrival of our first child two years ago, my husband and I found ourselves having to explain to our families that we were not going to “do” Santa Claus with our children. Although our families have put up with our quirky Christian choices and opinions for years now, this decision was so unexpected—so radical—that it seemed incomprehensible to them. ()

  Female Saints  
Lady Saints
This piece originally appeared at Zocolo Public Square, a web magazine and non-profit ideas exchange. Ashley was asked to respond to the question, "If you could pick a patron saint, who would it be?" November is the month that Catholics honor the dead and remember the saints with special reverence.


  Women in the Church  
Pope Francis is Right: It’s Time for a Theology of Women
While everyone was freaking out yesterday about the pope’s actually un-novel and uninteresting re-assertion of longstanding church teaching that homosexuals should not be marginalized, they missed what he said about women, which was in fact, totally fresh.

Specifically, he said:


Time to Pass on Peace?
One of the products of the Novus Ordo, the “sign of peace,” has always been optional for the celebrant . . . and I would be grateful to see that option cease to be exercised. The “sign of peace” is superfluous, and ultimately distracting, from the sacred Mass.


  Religious Vocations  
Dear Discerner: A Nun’s Take
“I can do what you are doing, so why should I consider becoming a sister?” You asked a very good question, and you’re right. Well, sort of. Let me explain.

Let me start with the idea of jobs. Even with our rocky economy, I know you have many options in terms of a career that can lead to success and achievement.


When It’s Just Venting
Women talk. It’s the way we’re wired—to process through words the stewing cauldron of emotions, hormones, ailments, worries, experiences, and thoughts that makes up who we are as women. There’s the type of woman who talks all the time to anyone who is close enough to listen, and there’s the type who talks just sometimes to one or two trusted confidantes; but we’re all born with the innate need to get things off our chest through words. ()

  Jewish Guest Voices  
Roadtripping with Children and Other Modern Plagues
Editor’s Note: Altcatholicah is commited to interfaith dialogue and fostering fruitful conversation about faith and gender. Here, Melissa Langsam Braunstein describes her Jewish perspective on a universal challenge for new moms.

The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in circles in the Sinai. Strong youngsters walked ahead, while the elderly, infirm, children, and their parents followed. After this year’s Passover family road trip, winding through the wilds of New Jersey’s back roads, I understand why. Everything simply takes longer with children, including travel. ()

  Good Friday  
Post Tenebrae Spero Lucem
It is the morning of Good Friday and I am walking in the sprawling, forested cemetery that surrounds San Miniato al Monte, the spectacular basilica dating back to 1018, which overlooks the city of Florence, Italy. Surrounds is the right word, because at San Miniato, the dead are everywhere. Tombs, headstones, private chapels, and funeral statuary, begin on the grounds in front of the Church and continue well into the landscape of cypress around the back. Graves are set out as something of an Italian garden, with formal walking paths and careful design. ()

  Habemus Papam  
Fumata Bianca

The first Jesuit pope, the first non-European in thirteen-hundred years, and first Pope Francis ... the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like Pope John Paul II, has made history just by being elected.


  Conclave; Lent  

There’s a nice little meme that’s been playing Facebook, something along the lines of “Check out the weather, watch the sequestration go, notice how the pope resigned—YIKES! Who’s been playing with the TARDIS?” (No pun on “Who” intended, I’m sure.) The meme plays off the natural human tendency to go into panic mode when events of a certain rare kind coincide. At times like these we’re wired to suspect—or at a minimum, in this ironic age, to jest about—conspiracies as if they were real.


  Pope Benedict XVI  
The Papal Resignation

On February 13, 2013, the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. co-hosted with Catholic Voices USA a panel to discuss Pope Benedict XVI’s recent announcement to resign on February 28, 2013. Watch the full footage here.


40 Days and 40 Nights
It probably isn’t entirely accurate to say that one looks forward to Lent, but I do anticipate its arrival, knowing both that I need it, and that it will be hard. Lent imposes what St. John the Baptist taught: I must decrease, He must increase. Whatever weather this particular February 13th will bring, the spiritual climate is already forecast. Ash Wednesday is a uniformly gray day of cold and quiet. A day of sombre reality, of gloom over the impending crucifixion and death of Jesus. A day of turning down the volume on outer distractions. This is the day that initiates our 40 days in the spiritual desert with the reminder that we are dust. ()

  Where Have We Gone?  
On Holiday
Wishing our readers a merry Christmas (all twelve days of it), a happy new year, and a blessed Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

We will resume regular posting after Epiphany.


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