Monday, February 27, 2006

St. John Vianney, pray for them...

Easy for us to forget, in our complaining about our parish priests, that theirs is the toughest vocation in the world. You try being a father to, say, 3000 people in a parish. Or two parishes. Or more.

Go and read Rocco's post from last week. Then go say a prayer for all of the priests we have and for all of those men who are discerning a call to the priesthood that they may answer it with a firm "yes."

Is fundamentalism really a dirty word?

Mark Mossa, SJ has posted something very interesting on his blog, and I though I'd take up space on my own page rather than in his comment box to ruminate (there I go-big word. you're in trouble now ;) ). It's in response to a blog post by Alan Creech, whom I was reading for the first time. Alan was talking about fundamentalism.

Mark invites us to: Read Alan's words and ask the question: Where do we see there the opportunity to invite, to celebrate and to build up in a way that will bring us closer to the unity that Christ prayed for? Mark was responding in his post to what he sees as what many Generation Xers feel as alienation from the Church.

Well, like Mark and Alan, I am a Generation X member, though on the late end of the generation, so maybe I'm a little out of touch with the whole stereotpyical angst of the generation. Truth is, I've never felt that the characterizations of my generation ever really applied to my friends and me, even when I was in high school and the whole "generation X" thing started to happen. Couldn't relate to "Reality Bites" or "Singles." Maybe it passed me by. On a personal level, I don't think I have ever really felt alienated from the Church. If anything, I have felt that it was I who needed to change, not the Church. I look at it this way, Holy Mother Church has been doing quite well for 2000 years. If she were not of God, she would have sunk 1800 years ago. If it ain't broke...

But to answer Mark's question, what are the things we need to emphasize to draw us closer to the untiy that Christ desires for those who follow Him? Well, let me take it in a Generation X perspective. There is a chapter of a nationwide (maybe worldwide) movement called Spirit and Truth which meets at our parish. It is a small Christian Community of young adult Catholics (ages 21-35) which meets every week for Eucharistic Adoration, teaching, and fellowship every Friday night. In the last year, the group at our parish has outgrown the small meeting room they started out in and moved to the school gym. They'll meet from 8 PM till Midnight (meeting is supposed to be over at 10).

The primary reason why this group is successful is because it holds the Eucharist at its core. The Eucharist is the "source and summit" of our faith. It is the foundation. It is fundamental. I think that for us as Church to achieve unity, we need to return to the fundmentals, to a simplicity of truth. I think our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, can lead us to that. It seems to be his style. Did you read his first encyclical? It draws us back to the basic: God is Love, Deus Caritas Est.

I also think that Catholics in general need to realize that being "on fire for God" is a good thing, not something to be suspicious of. Can we please go back and read the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles? Remember Pentecost? 5000 people do not get baptized in one day if the Apostles are not "on Fire for God." I know a couple who are coming back to the Church after spending a few years in an evangelical protestant community. They were drawn to it because of the fire that the evangelicals had. The husband was being trained to lead other Catholics away from the faith. Praise God, as he was reading the ancient fathers, he became more convicted that the Catholic Church was the True Church. He told me that when he tried to share what he had learned with his pastor, the man didn't want to hear it. I said, "Well, he didn't want to be converted." When confronted with the truth, one must either embrace the truth or continue to live a lie knowing that it is a lie.

It all comes back to the fundamentals. The Eucharist. The constant call to conversion of self, and the bringing of others with us. This is how we achieve unity.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Down, but not out

The stomach virus which has been making its way through Primo's school finally made it to Casa Giglio this weekend. We were all well enough to make it to Mass this morning. Bubba came down with it on Wedensday night, Primo got it Friday afternoon, Mom and I got it Friday night, and my DH started it last night, but seems to have slept through it. I didn't even get out of bed yesterday and managed to only keep down about 1 cup of food and 1 cup of ginger ale all day. I ate today and *hooray* my morning sickness is back this evening!

I'd like to take this time to thank my friend Chris, who lent me her steam cleaner before thanksgiving. I only see her twice a week and haven't been able to return it to her. This enabled me to clean up the soiled living room couch this evening.

Friday, February 24, 2006

More news on Renee

Renee and mom came home from CHOP yesterday. She's resting and doing well. She had her first chemo treatment on Wednesday which made her pretty sick and tired. She'll be getting her treatments at a local hospital. The chemo and radiation combo will last for 27 weeks. She will go for chemo once a week for 10 weeks and then go every three weeks. She'll have to go every day for radiation treatments, but they haven't scheduled that yet. It will be soon though. I just got off the phone with her mom and Renee has got lots ofenergy right now, she's just a little bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of love she's been getting, as well as the surgery. She's trying to take it easy, as much as a four and a half year old girl can. She's also very concerned about her hair falling out. She looks like Dora the Explorer right now (see above). She's worried about the other kids making fun of her bald head. I think she'll look like a rock star.

She'll be joining her preschool classmates for a tour of the local Shoprite store (It's letter S week) on Monday as long as she's feeling well and she'll be back in school as often as she can be. Thanks for your prayers for her. Please keep praying.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Update on Renee

Her mom says she's doing pretty good. She's making the nurses crazy, which is a good sign. She's up and moving around and playing. I think she's going to come home on Friday. Don't know when the raditaion/chemo combo will start. I think she's going to get it done up here rather than staying at CHOP to have it done. This way, she can sleep in her own bed and be at home.

Thanks for your prayers, everyone. Please keep it up.


Newest photo of the new Giglio child. S/He's getting lots bigger now and everything seems to be going great!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Please double up your prayers

for my friend's daughter. Renee (not the 5 year old's real name) underwent surgery yesterday at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to remove the tumor from her kidney (see "prayer request for a friend" below). The tumor was malignant (cancer's back) and had tripled in size over the last 3 weeks. The tumor ruptured when the doctors were removing it yesterday and now they are going to start radiation and chemotherapy since the cancer cells may be traveling throughout her little body. Renee was doing well this morning. She's in her own room after the 9+ hour surgery and she's asking for her big sister (age 7), who is on her way to Philly now. Renee was supposed to be back in Primo's class Tuesday, but now no one is sure when she'll be back to school. The parents will talk to the oncologist Monday. Remember Renee and her family when you attend Mass or other church services this weekend. I'll post updates as I get them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Funny because he's totally faithful

9:10 p.m. I dial the phone, calling what I think is my DH's cell phone.

Woman: Hello?
Me: Oh, I'm so sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number.
W: Who are you trying to call?
M: My husband's cell phone. And there had better not be a lady picking it up.
W: I don't know your husband.
M: Oh, I know. I just dialed the wrong number.
W: OK.
M: I'm sorry to have disturbed you so late. Have a good night.
W: Thanks. You too. Good night.

Nothing to say

Been feeling kinda blah, busy, discombobulated, pregnant. Not much positive or interesting to say. I could use this as a forum to vent my whining, but it would just send my two readers away. And it wouldn't really solve anything anyway.

It has been fun to watch Bubba try to play in 2 feet of snow. It's hard when you're 3 feet tall. The poor kid just kind of sits there. Primo built him a "snow chair" in which the younger boy sat, kinglike, observing his brother build stuff. In fairness, Bubba is not lazy. He tears around the house, constantly running the loop between the dining room, kitchen and living room. He is rather like Ralphie's kid brother ("I can't put my arms down!") when bundled up for the snow. And at 35 lbs (that's just 5 lbs less than his older-by-nearly-3-years brother), he's got a lot of extra chunk he's carrying around. Oh and a head like St. Thomas Aquinas.

I guess i did have something to say after all. huh.

Say goodnight, Gracie.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

...nor dark of night shall keep him from his appointed rounds

Overheard at dinner:

"Hey dad! Did you know that the mailman brings the mail through snore and sleep?"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Update on Primo

Well, we went to the pediatric Neurologist last Friday. The diagnosis: the boy's fine motor skills are slightly underdeveloped (I knew that. His teacher caught that a few months ago.) and he has mild ADD. No medication needed, but he does need all of the individual attention he can get in school and a seat in the front of the classroom, close to the teacher. He is not diruptive at all. He just can't concentrate. The doctor recommended a child study team evaluation (in the works-paperwork is done and the state has to reply within 60 days of receiving the application) and occupation therapy for the fine motor skills.

I did fully expect to be told he had ADD. What the neurologist told us about the condition and how it fits Primo's behavior in school made a lot of sense. And I'm glad he said no meds. The boy doesn't need them. He wasn't going to get them anyway. I think people are just way to quick to put their kids on drugs to control their behavior.

My DH and I have both done some research on ADD and diet and we both found info on supplements, but I found some other interesting info. A doctor in Germany did some research on the high levels of Phosphates in food (especially processed foods) and how people with sensitivity to those phosphates exhibit ADD symptoms when they are exposed to those chemicals. So I bought the book. I'm waiting for it to get here from Australia and I'll see what it says. I think we'll try the low-phosphate diet for a week and see how he does. The site says there is improvement within 3-4 days, as the body purges itself of the chemicals. It's funny because when I read the high phosphate food list, it was EVERYTHING my kids eat on a daily basis. And when I read the case studies, the kids who were positively effected by the diet exhibited the same symptoms (to a more extreme degree) as Primo. The funniest thing I read was one mom (a pediatrician) described her son as having logarrhrea (constant talking). That is my son to a T. The boy never shuts up. He even talks in his sleep! It's OK because he usually has something interesting to say. It's just exhausting to listen to him sometimes!

So that's where we are with him.

In a slightly related note, we are seriously considering a major lifestyle change and we need all the prayers you can spare as we try to discern God's will for us. I hope to have more to say on that by the end of the month. You all are the best. God bless!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Peanut

Rather looks like a Gummi Bear right now, though. BTW, this is probably the only way a photo of one of my kids will make it online. I'll probably post a new ultrasound photo when the next one is done.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Yesterday was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. It is also called Candlemas. The ancient traditon of Candlemas is to bring in all of the candles the church would use for the year and bless them. I have heard that churches used to distribute blessed candles or bless candles that parishioners brought in to church that day. The candles blessed on Candlemas would not only be used to light the church, but to bless throats on the Feast of St. Blase (today).

In our parish, we have a Candle Mass for our First Communicants. The way we had done it prior to last year was to choose a weekend in March and let the families choose one of three Masses where the kids could receive a blesssed First Holy Communion rememberance candle. It was kind of like: "Hey, come to Mass, get a candle."

When I read about Candlemas for the first time last spring, I thought to myself: Gosh, it would be so much nicer to have this Candle Mass on Candlemas. Then it's tied to the liturgy and it actually MEANS something. It's not random that way.

So that's what we did last night at the 7 pm Mass. The First Communicants (ages 7 and 8) gathered in the Library and after receiving instructions on how to hold the candle (Matthew, it is not a sword.) the children processed in with the lighted candles. Father said a blessing in the darkened church while the children stood in the center aisle with the lighted candles. They processed in after the crucifer and as soon as they got to the front, the children turned to find their parents and I had them extinguish the candles right away. Immediately.

It was a beautiful Mass. Father's homily was great and the kids did a terrific job of not setting each other on fire. We had almost 50 of the 120 students who are scheduled to receive the Eucharist for the first time in our parish at the Mass. And they were so good.

Our organist came to play the music with a fever and a sinus infection. What a trouper! HIs daughter sang. It was great. I'm all aglow.