Recently in Catechesis Category

Catechesis for the Autistic

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"Let the little ones come to me":

In order to teach the sacraments to [their autistic daughter] Danielle, Dave and Mercedes turned to a resource that worked for them in the past: the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Children begin by exchanging a picture for a desired item, usually a preferred food. Through this positive reinforcement, they gradually build up a visual vocabulary that allows them to distinguish among different objects and concepts and create complex sentences, such as “I see red candy.” Once the concepts take hold, the reinforcement is slowly withdrawn.

....The key part of first Communion preparation was teaching Danielle to distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary food and to receive it in a reverential way. “It’s a very hard concept to explain,” said Dave. “Even a 7-year-old neurotypical kid is going to have trouble with transubstantiation. What’s important is the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The bishops want them to understand that this piece of bread is special and different and recognize that fact with a reverential sign or a moment of silence.”

....They also taught her about confession. Although the church said Danielle didn’t need to make her first reconciliation due to her cognitive level, the Rizzos felt she could understand it. “We wanted her to have the grace of the sacrament,” said Dave. Added Mercedes, “She knows when she does something wrong....”

And, so, on the same day as her first Communion, Danielle sat down with their pastor, Father Phillip Pfleger, and her parents on either side of her. She handed Father Pfleger an “I’m sorry” icon, and then her parents recited the Act of Contrition.

It sounds like everything came together for this young lady, starting with parents who are well-formed in their own faith.

Goosebumps (or God-bumps) alert:

Later that day, Danielle received Communion for the first time during an evening Mass. Danielle received reverently, returned to her pew, knelt, and folded her hands. “Just the way she carried herself that night,” recalled Mercedes, “we knew she understood. She was very reverent. She got it. I think it was just divine intervention.”

The materials Danielle's parents used were the seed of a curriculum for special-needs children now available from Loyola - details in the article.

A few weeks ago, Jennifer Fulwiler had a great article at the Register about the spiritual attacks converts may face. I promptly forwarded it to one of my favorite catechists; she commented that she'd also received it from two other people, and she would be SURE to tell her catechumens about it.

Dear Monsignor Pope, who contributes to the Archdiocese of Washington's blog, also saw that article::

I must say, this article caused me to pause and repent. For I, who know better, have not made it a practice to speak to my Neophytes and Newly Received about this. That has to change. And I also need to extend longer care to those who have newly entered the Church.

I once read a book on the spiritual life in which the author warned that any attempt to grow in love of God could lead to spiritual attack. (Maybe someday I'll remember which book it was.) So whether we're new converts or old-timers who are trying to step it up a little -- we need to be ready.

Now, have I experienced this myself? I truly don't know -- I'd have to think about it. What about you?

Another great article by Monsignor Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington:

Scripture does give some answers as to God’s delay and to his “No.” And while these explanations may not always emotionally satisfy us, they do provide a teaching which can ultimately assist us in not allowing our sorrow, anger or disappointment to interact with our pride and lead us away from faith....

When God Says No

A short article by Deborah Molinari on the special opportunities that mothers enjoy to assist in the renewal of the liturgy:

Rooting the family in the liturgical year helps to produce lives which are God-centred and continues the formation and sanctification of the Catholic family that flows from the sacred liturgy. This in turn can then be more readily carried into one's adult life, whether as a priest, religious or as a layman, to be fostered yet further in ourselves and in others. Evidently, everyone has an important part to play in the new liturgical movement, but as it relates to the "domestic church," to bringing the liturgical life into the home, it seems to be the case that in most homes it is the mother who plans and organizes the special celebrations, foods, crafts, songs, stories and prayers, along with appropriate catechesis, for her family in accordance with the Church's liturgical calendar. This is why the Catholic mother's role can be understood as so important and vital for the new liturgical movement, for it is in the home that the formative seeds of the liturgical life can be planted and nurtured.

cross-posted to that other place I blog

HT: a Facebook friend

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Blah blah Internets blah blah easily distracted changing the way we think ooo linky to Amazon blah blah hold on let's read this more carefully (emphasis added):

The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.

...In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.”

Cf. Leisure: The Basis of Culture acedia, any one of the swarms of ignorant pundits out there.

Just lovely:

Joseph in his very self, being a man, was a gift to Blessed Virgin. Against the rougher background of his manliness, the delicate, shimmering beauty of her holy femininity glowed with more luster. His was the hand that steadied her step over rocky ground. His the powerful arms that wrestled loads from their beasts and heavy furniture into place in their home. His the deep and reassuring voice that bid her a good night and his the protective gaze under which she slept.

Did Jesus need Joseph? Not in an absolute sense, for perfectly complete in both his humanity and divinity, with a Mother who is the Seat of Wisdom, Jesus could have grown into a psychologically healthy man without Joseph. But what an inestimable gift this man, this foster father, was to Jesus. To Jesus, infant, laid to sleep upon Joseph’s broad, muscular chest. To Jesus at one, tossed giggling into the air. To Jesus at three, playing with wood scraps. To Jesus, 6, prospecting the countryside for likely trees. To Jesus, 9, bent over the plane, while Joseph, smelling of sweat and sawdust, trains his movement. To Jesus, 12, at the other end of the saw, sinews straining to match Joseph lunge for lunge and pull for pull.

"Give Up Yer Aul Sins"

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This is too cute: Little Irish children telling Bible Stories. HT Mary's Aggies via Mark Shea

Faith isn't a feeling

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Wish I'd understood this in my twenties.

Faith is not some state of feeling we get ourselves into. It is much simpler than that. It is simply believing in God and therefore believing everything he has revealed – no matter how we feel. “God said it, so I believe it, and that settles it.”

Feelings are influenced by external things, like fashions and fads, wind and weather, diet and digestion. But when God gives us the gift of faith, he gives it from within, from within our own free will.

The devil can influence our feelings, but he has no control over our faith.

We are not responsible for our (unfree) feelings, but we are responsible for our (free) faith.

Yet, though faith is not a feeling, it often produces feelings: of trust, peace, gratitude, and confidence, for instance. And faith can also be aided by feelings: for instance, when we feel trustful or grateful to someone, God or man, it is much easier for us to believe him than when we feel mistrustful or ungrateful.;

But even when we do not feel trustful or peaceful, we can still believe. Faith is not dependent on feelings. It is dependent on facts: divinely revealed facts.

- Peter Kreeft, Catholic Christianity

HT: Zach at The American Catholic

Colbert takes one of those "the Christians-made-it-up" "scholars" to school.


Bart Ehrman
Colbert Report Full Episodes

People much smarter than me have word it better than I ever could.

In is letter regarding Barak Obama at Notre Dame (posted on American Papist), Charles F. Lennon Jr. Executive Director, Notre Dame Alumni Association writes:

Rather, the University has invited the President to campus for what he’s done for racial equality, and for his stands on poverty, health care, immigration, education, infectious disease, and seeking peace. These are causes dear to the heart of Notre Dame, and he has elevated these causes and made them his own.

Sigh. As stated on Jill Stanek:

African-Americans comprise 12% of the US population but disproportionately 32% of all abortions, according to Guttmacher. PP's founder, Margaret Sanger, was an anti-black eugenicist. Most abortion mills are located where the majority of blacks live, in metropolitan areas (87.5% - see Cenus Figure 2). According to Guttmacher, 95% of all mills are located in metropolitan areas.

Oddly, pro-life black Catholics don't seem to agree with Mr. Lennon. On Twitter, Alan Keyes tweets:

Obama's moral stature comes from exploiting race, yet his pro-abortion stance repudiates the black American heritage.

Yesterday, Matt C. Abbott of RenewAmerica has a letter from Fr. John J. Raphael, SSJ:

'I have spent eighteen years working with blacks and whites, Protestants and Catholics, to bring more African Americans into the pro-life movement. During the last two months the Obama administration has already begun to aggressively roll back the gains made in defense of life over the course of the last fifteen years.

'I have written two articles which attempt to show how the historical significance of the first African American president is emptied of its meaning if this same president refuses to embrace the rights of the unborn. I share them with you if you are interested in considering the devastating impact of these pro-abortion policies on the African American community in light of this historic election:

'As an African American and a priest, as a principal of a Catholic high school and a member of the Admissions Advisory Board of the university, I cannot adequately express in words how deeply this action offends those who are committed to carrying out the task of Catholic education and witnessing to the Gospel of Life in the context of a Catholic school. Even if the university chooses to cooperate with certain policies of the president that are not contrary to the teaching of the faith, the conferral of this type of public honor is wholly gratuitous and incongruous with the mission of any Catholic institution...


If we really want to address the race issue, let's address it in it's fullness. If not, then you are just using the fact that Obama's blackness as an excuse to pat yourself on the back for appearing so hip-which is pretty racist.

HT:Jill Stanek

It has been years now since pop culture has been embraced by Harry Potter madness and people seem to have long ago decided if they are for or against HP. Why keep beating a dead horse? I wonder why these books are the source of so much consternation...

I'm sorry, I just can't seem to be moved to any kind of emotion on this topic. I think that is because I don't really care for Harry Potter. I hate saying that in public because people draw the conclusion that a religious, Christian, conservative, homeschooling mother such as myself takes issue with the morality or the witchcraft or whatever. Or at least I do not like to voice out loud I don't care much for Harry because I do not want that assumption made of me. But I don't like HP because I find it boring. There, I said it. I actually do not hate it either. I just could not get into the books despite many attempts, and I fell asleep watching the last two movies.The movies are monotonous to me. I find the little details of living in a wizardry world fun, but beyond that, there is little attraction for me.

Rosey Posey (who despite being my child, is a totally seperate person with very different opinions) enjoys the books a great deal and desperately tried to make the last book stretch as long as possible. However, she has told me that she finds not well written. She said there are other book series she finds much better that do not get nearly as much publicity such as The Artemis Fowl Series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Ender Saga.

I would just love to here a discussion about what people enjoy or do not enjoy about the series without all the "Aren't these books fantastic because now even inner-city minority children are reading because of them!" or "they are instruments of the devil", or whatever other cliches we are used to hearing about them.

The First Real Thanksgiving

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Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
(Disclaimer: We aren't being compensated to like this stuff.
Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies