Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Time for Thanksgiving: 60 years of priesthood for the Pope

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

[Blogger is back, so here's yesterday's post -- finally!]

Today (June 29) not only marks the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul on the liturgical calendar, but is also the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's ordination to the priesthood. Happy anniversary, Holy Father! Here's a video of his priestly ordination from all those years ago:

And here is the closing of Pope Benedict XVI's homily from today:
Sixty years of priestly ministry – dear friends, perhaps I have spoken for too long about this. But I felt prompted at this moment to look back upon the things that have left their mark on the last six decades. I felt prompted to address to you, to all priests and bishops and to the faithful of the Church, a word of hope and encouragement; a word that has matured in long experience of how good the Lord is. Above all, though, it is a time of thanksgiving: thanks to the Lord for the friendship that he has bestowed upon me and that he wishes to bestow upon us all. Thanks to the people who have formed and accompanied me. And all this includes the prayer that the Lord will one day welcome us in his goodness and invite us to contemplate his joy. Amen.
Peace and all good,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Tweet Heard 'Round the World - BXVI and His iPad

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Pope Benedict XVI launched the new Vatican online news portal,, and announced the launch with a Tweet from his iPad!

Seriously, I was just having doubts about the benefits of Twitter (having just recently joined myself), but being among the first to see BXVI's first Tweet made it all worthwhile: “Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI”.

Here's a fun video of the Tweeting and iPad action. It's interesting even if you don't understand Italian, I promise!

Lastly, in completely unrelated news, there are terrible wild fires raging in Alamos, New Mexico. The fire is of particular concern because of the proximity to a nuclear lab, so let's please pray for the safety of all who are being evacuated, those who are fighting the fire, and that the fire will be extinguished as soon as possible.

Peace and all good,

Monday, June 27, 2011

BXVI's Schedule de Madrid + an AMAZING video trailer!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Since I just spent a completely inordinate amount of time unsuccessfully trying to upload a video to share here, I'll be brief tonight.

But check out Pope Benedict XVI's schedule for his travels to Madrid this August during World Youth Day!

And enjoy at least the small fruit of my almost completely pointless labor, this little trailer to the most amazing video ever made. [By me. And some friends. At my parish. Okay, well, the only video so far, for me, anyway. And I can't even upload it!] Despite my technological ineptitude, you should brace yourselves for this video which, when eventually unveiled, is sure to knock your little Coffee Talk socks right the heck off!

Peace and all good,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jesus and The Monster -- Friends or Foes?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Today, in honor of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we had ten minutes of Eucharistic adoration at the end of Mass for the whole congregation. This means that the Eucharist (the communion bread which, at the time of consecration, became the body of Christ) was placed in a vessel known as a monstrance for a time of prayer.

My girls and I often go to adoration at our parish on Fridays (the girls don't last very long in silence, but I figure a little prayer is better than none!), and so they know about Jesus and the monstrance. One small problem, though -- they think that the monstrance is called "The Monster."

I considered trying to explain the Latin etymology of the word 'monstrance' to them (monstrare means to show or reveal, as in the word 'demonstrate'), but then I realized that pre-schoolers aren't really phased by the idea of Jesus (in the form of bread) sitting inside a gold 'Monster.' To them, I suspect that Jesus and the Monster could easily be friends. He's just as happy hanging out in the Monster as He is when He's living in the Lamb Box (a.k.a. tabernacle).

In my experience, I have found that young children have an easier time of understanding and accepting the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist than adults. Obviously, they don't understand on the same level of depth that adults can reach, but overall, they get it. My girls can tell you all about the Lamb Box and the Monster and Jesus' Body and Blood. And they will! They even play games relating to the Eucharist. Last night, for example, my 3-year-old was holding a tiny toy cup that looked like a chalice, and she said, "I'm just gonna have a little drink of blood before I go to bed." I said, "You mean Jesus' blood, like at Communion?" She said, "Yeah." (Sure, this gives me slight concern that she will play this game in front of others and they will think that we are Vampires instead of Catholics. But more importantly, it dispels the widely held myth that you cannot teach young children about the real presence and so you should fill their classes for First Communion prep with a bunch of fluff and nonsense.)

In honor of today's Solemnity, you can read John 6, where Jesus gives his own most explicit Eucharistic theology. And don't forget to visit Jesus and 'The Monster' at a parish near you!

Peace and all good,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Franciscan Flashmob for Corpus Christi!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Happy Solemnity of Corpus Christi, or the Body and Blood of Christ! Check out the Sunday readings, and then check out these cool Franciscans and their Eucharistic 'flashmob' in the middle of a city!

Peace and all good,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do Single Sex Dorms Constitute Gender Discrimination?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Some of you may have seen my recent post about the recent announcement from Catholic University of America that they plan to move to single-sex dorms. Now, it looks like a professor from a nearby law school (who apparently has a lot of free time on his hands) is trying to bring a lawsuit against CUA on the basis of gender discrimination. Read the article here, and tell me what you think. I'd especially like to hear the feedback of my friends with a background in law.

My initial response can be summed up in one word (but with an added syllable): puh-LEASE! It seems to me that Catholic University of America, being a, well, Catholic university in America, can do pretty much whatever they want. Am I wrong? I mean, they're a private university, not a provider of public or government housing. I don't have a deep knowledge of law, but to little old me, this seems absurd at best.

I welcome your thoughts and knowledge on this matter in the comment box!

Peace and all good,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Transforming Grief into Love -- Rachel Muha Wins National Award

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

This week, Rachel Muha of Westerville, Ohio was selected as a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award recipients and designated as an "Unsung Hero" recognized for her extraordinary and selfless volunteer work in the community. I could think of no one more deserving of this honor, and I would like to share a bit more of her story here.

It's now been over a decade since I first met Rachel Muha. I was traveling around the USA with NET Ministries, and my team was going to be hosted by the Muha family for Thanksgiving. One of my teammates was a close friend of Ms. Muha's elder son Chris, and our entire team (11 hungry people!) were graciously hosted by the Muhas for our Thanksgiving holiday and break. We stayed many places with many different people during that year, but this visit is one that I will never forget.

Not only was I moved by the generosity of the Muhas to take their friend and his ten never-before-introduced teammates into their home and family, but I was especially amazed at Rachel and Chris Muha's extraordinary example of mercy and compassion. Just a year before our visit, Ms. Muha's younger son, Brian (along with one of his roommates) was brutally murdered; it was only their second Thanksgiving without Brian when they hosted our team.

It was obvious during our stay that Rachel, Chris, and their extended family (with whom we enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving meal) were still grieving, and they spoke about Brian during our visit. But somehow they transformed that pain and loss into a living witness of mercy unlike anything I've witnessed before.

I remember one story in particular that Ms. Muha shared with us. She said that, two summers before, her son Brian and his friend Aaron were going to be living off campus while they took summer classes at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Brian knew that his mom was concerned for him, as it was his first time living both away from home and not in the campus dorms. So Brian sent his mom some flowers with a little note.
Something wonderful happened on the morning of Brian's death, before we knew that he was even missing. A beautiful bouquet of white roses touched with a hint of pink arrived for Brian's mother, bearing a note from her son in his own handwriting: "Just wanted to say hello even though I'm away. Love, Bri." 
Later, when Brian and Aaron's bodies were found on a Pennsylvania hill, their heads were resting on thorns, but covered by a canopy of roses -- the same color that Brian had sent. One of the roses from that hill took root outside of the Muha's home, where they grow to this day.

Even through my brief encounter with her, I have been profoundly moved by Rachel Muha's example, especially as a merciful mother and person committed to bettering the lives of others, especially young people and children. Read more about Rachel Muha, the good work she has done, and the award she received here, and learn about the Brian Muha Memorial Foundation here.

Peace and all good,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The New Super Duper Popemobile - Video!

Hi Leslie,

I just read your post about the plans for the new “popemobile,” and I thought you would find this video interesting:

It’s really great to see Pope Benedict - one of the most recognizable and influential figures in the world - make a gesture in support of the green movement. I know he’s been called the “green pope” by many people, and it’s awesome to see him using his influence for a greater social good, even if it’s as simple as upgrading to a “super-fly” new ride.

The Newsy video uses multiple sources to give viewers a broad context and diverse commentary from around the globe. I hope you’ll find it useful and consider sharing it in your post.

Please email me if you have any questions, and have a great day!


Hello, Jared! 

Thanks for the link to the video! I found it interesting and informative, and I hope my Coffee Talk readers enjoy it as well. I was going to include the video here in the post, but it didn't work right away, and time is at a premium tonight due to a sick child. I do think that readers will find it worth the extra mouse-click to watch it! No, I don't really have any questions right now, only gratitude that you've provided some blog-worthy material for tonight so I can quickly go to wash off the vomit from my three-year old.

This is my first introduction to Newsy, and I enjoyed the video on the new Popemobile. I have observed that some news sources claim to be 'fair and balanced,' but then are tainted by an obvious anti-Catholic bias; this was not at all the case in this video, so kudos to Newsy!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BXVI Optimizes His Ride - A Hybrid Popemobile on the Horizon

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Have y'all heard about the new plans for the Popemobile? It's gonna be a super-fly hybrid, ready for Papal excursions later this year. But even the current Popemobile is pretty awesome. Check out this bad-boy:

And then read this cool article about the Pope's request to Mercedes Benz for a fuel-efficient hybrid model Popemobile!

(I was hoping that it would be ready in time for World Youth Day this summer in Madrid, but apparently not, so I'll just plan to visit BXVI and his new wheels when they're in Rome. No problem!)

Peace and all good,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Help! Why Do Men Make Up Names?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Alright, something a little different tonight. I want to take an informal poll, to find out if you all have any thoughts on why some men (most often in response to women, it seems) make up fake names (and other falsified information) when introducing themselves. Here's an example:

[Setting - college cafeteria. Leslie and Brendan are both music majors.]

Leslie: Hey, do you wanna sit here?
Brendan: Sure, sounds good. [They sit down at a table. Another young woman walks toward their table.]
Caitlin: Hey, Leslie! How's it going?
Leslie: Good, Caitlin! Come join us!
Caitlin to Brendan: Hi, I'm Caitlin! What's your name?
Brendan: George.
Caitlin: Nice to meet you, George. So, what are you studying?
Brendan: [completely straight-faced] Well, I designed my own major. A combination of women's studies and underwater basket-weaving.
Caitlin: Oh. That's...different. So Leslie, what's new?
Leslie: [sits in dumbfounded silence, pondering what has just transpired.]

Okay, so I have my own theories on why some men do this, but I want your feedback here. Tell me what you think, Coffee Talk friends! Have you ever made up a name or other personal information? If so, are you a man or a woman? If not, have you witnessed others making up names? Why do you think they did it?

Peace and all good,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Blessed Day, Even to the Fatherless

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

It is Trinity Sunday on the liturgical calendar, and also Father's Day to those of us in the USA (and some other places, I imagine). The alignment of these days is not coincidental to me. I consider it a beautiful reminder that we all share the same Father. This can be a special consolation to those among us who are 'fatherless' here on earth due to death, abandonment, abuse, or other sad circumstances. We can take heart, and gain confident hope in the knowledge that none of us are fatherless, spiritually.

Let us pray together in the words that Jesus taught us:

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Peace and all good,

Trinity Sunday, and Franciscan Twins

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Check out these readings for Trinity Sunday -- they're pretty great!

And here's a lovely story of 92-year-old twin Franciscans who were together all their lives, and then died just hours apart. Rest in peace, dear brothers!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers!

Peace and all good,

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Call for Prayer (and Tums) - Fr. John Corapi Leaves the Priesthood, and the Church

Dear Leslie,

Have you heard about Fr. John Corapi? I think you should do a blog about his situation. Just a suggestion which I think your followers would want to read.


Dear Joshua,

My initial thought was that there wasn't much to say, since all I knew was that Fr. Corapi (a priest with a powerful ministry and extraordinary conversion story) had been asked to be on administrative leave while an accusation made against him was under investigation by Church authorities. Then I realized that I had been out all day, and away from all media sources, so perhaps there was some new development that I had missed. I didn't think, though, that the Church would have any final decision yet, since it tends to be a long and painful process to sort through any accusations made against a priest. But it didn't take long before I learned of the shocking, saddening news: John Corapi has left the priesthood and the Church, of his own decision; he was not asked to leave.
On June 17, 2011, Corapi released an audio announcement on his Facebook page, YouTube channel, and his company, Santa Cruz Media’s, website proclaiming his new movement towards “The Black SheepDog.”  Combining the personified characteristics of “a black sheep,” and the “sheep” and role of a “sheepdog,” Corapi claims his newfound mission is the same, delivering messages of ‘hope’ and ‘truth,’ but now to a wider-audience.  He launched a blog-site: to allow his fans to begin establishing a ‘home’ where they can be in touch with him, directly.  A member from his media team shared “this is a very exciting move for John and his fans, as for the first time, in a long time, John will be directly in touch with this fan-base by way of social networks.”
The above quote is taken from his own new website, and I feel that it requires little commentary. Here is a video version of his sad and disturbing announcement:

Really, this whole sad turn of events makes me sick to my stomach. I have many thoughts about this whole matter, but I will refrain from sharing all of them in a public forum. Instead, I encourage all of us to have recourse to intense prayer, fasting, and mortification for Fr. John Corapi (he is still a priest, whether he chooses to live as one or not), for all priests, and for the entire Catholic Church.

Jesus is no stranger to false accusations, injustice, and maltreatment, even unto death. May we all remain close to Him, and to His Church, even until the end of the age.

Let's join our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his general prayer intention for the month of June: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God.

Peace and all good,

P.S. I will share one final personal thought that may be helpful to others -- Fr. Corapi is now making efforts to sell his books and materials at a discounted rate through the end of the month, since they may soon not be available. He is also doing this to 'celebrate' the anniversary of his ordination this Sunday, just after he announces that he is leaving the priesthood. It's likely that the reason that the materials won't be available much longer is that they may no longer be considered Catholic materials (with the approval of an imprimatur or the permission of his society) after he has left the ministerial priesthood. If people want to support Fr. Corapi during this sad and difficult time, I truly recommend that you support him in prayer only (not by purchasing his materials, frequenting his new website, listening to his forthcoming radio shows, or purchasing his soon-to-be-released book), until we understand more of the situation. Please, please pray, and support him in these ways while he is away. Thank you!

UPDATE, 6/19/11: Some have rightly pointed out that Fr. Corapi did not specifically say that he is leaving the Church (or the priesthood, for that matter). I hope that he is not leaving the Church, and I did not mean to mislead. Fr. Corapi did say, "I am not going to be involved in public ministry as a priest any longer. There are certain persons in authority in the Church that want me gone, and I shall be gone." Also, he has expressed his intention of continuing his 'mission' outside of the Church, as 'The Black Sheep Dog.' It seems that his intention to continue writing and speaking on matters of faith without the Church's authority (after voluntarily 'laicizing' himself rather than going through the Church's process of canonical investigation) indicate his move out of the Church, but the situation remains unclear, and I even hope that I have misunderstood. A good read for those interested in knowing a bit more about the canonical process (to which Fr. Corapi refers) can be found here. Most importantly, let us all continue to pray for all involved in this situation. Peace!

UPDATE 2, 6/19/11: Fr. Corapi's superiors from SOLT (his society of apostolic life) have broken silence on certain aspects of the investigation in light of what has happened, and explained that Fr. Corapi's civil suit against the former employee presented serious problems for the canonical investigation taking place. Read more here. Also, the Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi offers some interesting thoughts and insights on the situation here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anglicans, Stem Cells, and One Nation Still Under God

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

There are several interesting stories involving Catholicism and the United States of America which I shall mention briefly tonight - check 'em out!

First, a most interesting address was given yesterday at the spring gathering of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops:
"His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, delivered an historic address - summarizing the current state of the Anglican Ordinariate in American - to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, June 15 at their spring General Assembly in Bellevue, Washington."
So the Anglican Ordinariate will soon be a reality in the USA! And I, for one, am pretty stoked about it. "But Leslie, [I can see the thought bubble over a few heads], what in the USA is an Anglican Ordinariate?" Learn more, my friends, by reading this article, my post on Anglican Ordinariates, and/or watch this 1 minute video explanation!

Next, the Vatican decides to partner with a US company in advancing ethical research for stem cell use, and announces an international conference in November at the Vatican titled "Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture." So who wants to take me?? I will offer remuneration in the form of a lifetime supply of free clarinet lessons, via Skype if necessary.

Lastly, the Supreme Court ruled to keep the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, to the disappointment of an atheist activist...

...and another atheist converts after sarcastically praying for his Catholic mother to win the lotto -- and she did! 

Ah, so much interesting Catholic news in one day!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do You Want Younger Skin?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

A friend shared this commercial with me, saying that it reminded her of my girls. And I cannot deny this allegation! So if you want to know one of the 'secrets' to having baby-soft skin, watch and enjoy!

Peace and all good,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Morality in Daily Life: Fr. Hogan and Catholic U's Dorm Switch

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Today, I join many in mourning the loss of a great American priest, Fr. Richard Hogan.

Fr. Hogan was very active in spreading the moral teachings of the Catholic Church to modern people in an accessible way, particularly in the areas of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body (two of my favorite areas of theology!). Thank you, Fr. Hogan, for your bold proclamation of the Gospel! You will be greatly missed.

May the soul of Fr. Richard Hogan, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

In other news, Catholic University of America has decided to try to put a stop to the rather licentious lifestyle in their dorms by returning to single-sex dorms. Apparently many people consider this a 'backward' move, and university officials have felt the need to back this decision with all sorts of data and statistical evidence showing that single-sex college housing reduces the amount of 'hook-ups' and binge drinking.

Frankly, they could have saved themselves a lot of time and money devoted to such research by asking any honest person who has lived in both environments. As a person who lived in co-ed residence hall (and served as a Resident Advisor) at my undergraduate university, and then subsequently breathed a sigh of tremendous relief as I worked as a Residence Director of an all-women's hall at my grad school alma mater, I can personally attest to the fact that single-sex dormitories are about 3 millions times better then co-ed, especially in terms of a life of integrated learning and formation in character and virtue. Trust me, lots of crazy stuff went down in the women's dorm, too (someday I'll write a book, I'm sure, where names will be changed to protect the less-than-innocent), but it was still immeasurably better than the co-ed housing experience. So kudos to CUA for taking this bold step in the right direction!

As always, thanks for stopping by! Be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Pope, Gypsies, and Gypsy!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Pope Benedict XVI hosted a very interesting audience today in Vatican City -- 2,000 Gypsies came on a pilgrimage to Rome from various European countries, and the Pope warmly welcomed them. I found his message to the Gypsies to be full of hope and inspiration. Read more about the meeting and see a little bit of what the Holy Father had to say here!

Now, on a note completely unrelated to the Pope's meeting in everything but name, the musical Gypsy is one of my favorites! So I was going to share Rosalind Russell's performance of "Rose's Turn" here. That was, until I learned that YouTube will not allow it, and so the only other options were Rosalind Russell's stage performance with dubbed vocals from Ethel Merman (I will spare you!), or the Bette Midler movie performance. Not quite what I had in mind! So I'll leave you with the the final scene from Gypsy instead, with Natalie Wood and Rosalind Rusell. Enjoy!

Peace and all good,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Living It Up in the Last Few Minutes of Easter!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Well, as Pentecost draws to a close, so does the liturgical season of Easter. And you know what I'm gonna do in honor of the end of Easter? Go to sleep! Because that's what the BIG EASTER'S gonna be like -- eternal rest! Isn't that wonderful?

While I'm sleeping, why don't y'all check out this article about the Pope's homily for Pentecost? Here's a snippet to get you excited:
.- Pentecost shows the Holy Spirit created the Catholic Church for all people, Pope Benedict said in his homily to mark Pentecost Sunday June 12.
“From the first moment, in fact, the Holy Spirit created (the Church) as the Church of all people. It embraces the entire world, transcending the boundaries of race, class, nation - it breaks down all barriers and unites people in the profession of the Triune God. From the beginning, the Church is one, catholic and apostolic,” said the Pope to a packed congregation within St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
And as another little reminder of the universality of the Church, may I welcome today's readers from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Peru, Switzerland, Namibia, Philippines, Australia, Germany, Romania, and Tunisia!

As always, thanks for stopping by Coffee Talk, and be assured of my prayers!

Peace and all good,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Sequence Time -- PENTECOST!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

It's one of those great Catholic days when we have a Sequence included in the Mass just before the proclamation of the Gospel! The Pentecost Sequence, or Veni Sancte Spiritus, is beautiful in it's English poetic translation, but even more glorious when chanted in the original Latin. So listen up, y'all!

And if you want to know more about the meaning of Pentecost, read and enjoy this post!

A blessed Pentecost to all!

Peace and all good,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Notre Dame Trustee Steps Down

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Roxanne Martino has resigned from the Board of Trustees at Notre Dame University, and I found it interesting to compare two articles, first from the Notre Dame newswire, and then from commentator Fr. Robert Barron.

I'm not quite sure why the first article came through the so-called 'newswire' of Notre Dame, without much actual news. It seems a bit strange, to say the least, to include a quote from Martino herself stating her alleged commitment to all teachings of the Catholic Church, saying that she only feels that she cannot stay in light of the current controversy, and then FAILING TO MENTION anything about the controversy.

I think that Fr. Barron sheds considerably more light on the subject in his blogpost. I also think Fr. Barron rightly reorients people in a direction that moves this whole controversy away from an issue of partisan politics, which so many try to make it out to be in a gross oversimplification of matters. The teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church must always transcend transitory matters of partisan politics, or they are not truly Catholic (or universal) at all. This is not to say that we are not to be actively engaged in the political environments in which we live (on the contrary, our faith requires it of us!), but it is to say that the faith, and moreover Christ Himself, plumb far deeper and reach far higher than any political ideology ever could.

Other thoughts? Comments? Grab your coffee, read the articles, and talk amongst yourselves!

Peace and all good,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Evangelizing The Digital Continent: Archbishop Gomez, Me, and Twitter!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

There have been people reading Coffee Talk today in the USA, Philippines, United Kingdom, Japan, Kuwait, South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Austria (welcome, everybody!), and STILL, I haven't a clue about jury duty in other countries! But it's not too late to read last night's post and weigh in on the jury duty discussion, my friends.

In other news, Archbishop Jose Gomez has recently joined Facebook and Twitter!

And after reading his compelling article titled 'Evangelizing the Digital Continent,' I've finally done it. I joined Twitter, too!

I really thought I'd never do it. To be honest, I just don't get the point of Twitter. Friends have assured me that it is wonderful, but at this point it seems like just a bunch of status updates, links, and hash marks. (Now, if there were hashbrowns involved, I'd be a little more excited!) But if Archbishop Gomez joined up for such noble reasons, I considered, then bygolly, so can I! Hashbrowns or no, I too, shall enter into evangelizing the digital continent in the world of Twitter!

So all you tweeting people, find me at @CoffeeTalkLDawg. So far, I'm only following Archbishop Gomez. And I've yet to do my first Tweet. Maybe I'll do one that includes a hash mark AND hashbrowns! We'll see how this all plays out.

Peace and all good,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Well, for my 15 jury-eligible years of life thus far, I had always been semi-automatically excused from jury duty service because I was a student for a million years, or I was temporarily living out of state but still had permanent residency in my home state, or I was leading the lifestyle of a musical gypsy/evangelist/theological ponderer, or I was a full-time stay-at-home-mom. But recently, it happened...

I got the summons:

I read the reasons on the back of the summons that might excuse one from attendance. I realized that now that I'm not a student or gypsy or out-of-state or full-time stay-at-home-mom, none of the excuses applied to me. Apparently, there's a guy who got out of serving on a jury because he had a poker tournament to play in, but I don't have that going for me, either. So I consulted friends on what I might wear:

But then I called the number they listed this evening, and the automated attendant informed me that I don't need to appear tomorrow, after all! But to rest assured that they will summon me again sometime. Likely, at the least convenient possible time. (Well, that last part was sort of implied by the automaton's tone, more than directly stated.)

So, have any of you ever served on a jury? Was it interesting? Do they have jury trials in places outside of the USA? I mean, I'm sure they do in some places, but where? I've never really thought about this before. Fill in little ignorant American me, my international Coffee Talkers! And Americans, tell me about your jury duty experiences, so I can brace myself for the day they finally call me in!

Peace and all good,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catholic Road Rules: Looking for a Few Good Men!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

I've mentioned NET Ministries (National Evangelization Teams) in this blog before, and look, I just did it again!

In a time long ago and far away, I spent nine months traveling with NET and serving in the Church's evangelistic mission by putting on retreats at Catholic parishes and high schools. We did travel in a luxurious fifteen passenger van (stocked with 12 team members and lots of 'van food' accumulated along the way) and pulling a trailer (packed with a sleeping bag and suitcase for each of us, and an amazing bin of drama props including many a ridiculous wig and, always, a rubber chicken).

If they made a Catholic Road Rules reality TV show with NET Ministries, I'd totally tune in -- it would have been way better than the MTV version!

In any case, NET needs some good men and women to join their ranks, and NET USA is still looking for a few good men to serve with them starting in late August. Well, a bunch of good men, to be honest. So here's a shout out to all Catholic young men between 18 and 28 years old. Watch this video:

Go to these websites:

And then APPLY! And if you end up serving on NET thanks to this blogpost, let me know, and I'll sponsor you to go on the road!

Peace and all good,

Monday, June 6, 2011

So, What Does Pentecost Mean to Catholics Today?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

A great question came in today from a friend of mine:
Another Catholic question, Leslie. Pentecost??? What does it mean to me today?? I swear I'm going to do this to you all year and in that you will make me a better Catholic.
Well, as you know, I love Catholic questions, and I am honored to be a little part of your spiritual journey, my friend! You make yourself a better Catholic for asking good questions and wanting to grow in your faith! Alright. Pentecost. Here's the scoop:

So, Jesus had died on the Cross, a bloody and horrific death, and the Disciples and Blessed Mother were really bummed, to say the least. But then Jesus rose from the dead and remained with them for forty days, which was a most unexpected and excellent surprise! Then Jesus told them that He had to go, but not to worry because not only would he be back at a day and hour unknown to all except the Father alone -- He was also going to send someone to remain with us until He got back. And that someone was known as the Advocate or Consoler -- a.k.a. the Holy Spirit!

So the Disciples and the Blessed Mother gathered together in prayer (for nine days - the first 'novena'!), and they waited for whatever it was that Jesus had promised. And then after the nine days of prayer, there they were, gathered in the Upper Room, and guess what happened?
Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, 2 and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, 3 which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, 4 as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2: 2-4).

BAM! PENTECOST happened! The Holy Spirit was out-poured, and the Church was officially born!

Have you read the book of the Acts of The Apostles? It comes right after the four Gospels in the New Testament, and it is a real action adventure! The deeds the Apostles could do with the power of the Holy Spirit are truly awe-inspiring.

Now, all of this finally brings me to your question -- what does Pentecost mean to me today?

Reflecting on what Pentecost means in my own life, I think that I primarily experience Pentecost in these three ways:
  1. A celebration of the Church's birthday (can you say 'cake and ice cream'???)
  2. A renewal of the promises I made at baptism and confirmation, and a request for all of those gifts of the Holy Spirit that I was given through those sacraments to be stirred up in my life and in my heart, so that I may more fully live the faith and be a witness for Christ. (Because that same Holy Spirit who came to the Apostles came to each of us when we were baptized and confirmed, so we have full access to the same level of gifts, powers, and graces!)
  3. An opportunity for renewal and grace for the entire Church, which is in great need of the Holy Spirit's power and gifts.
Oh, and to help with the birthday party aspect, check it out -- I just found this link to make your own Tongues of Fire Stick Cookies!

Now, some people only associate Pentecost with those Christians who call themselves 'Pentecostals' or certain types of prayer that are known as 'charismatic' -- praying in tongues, praying over others, being 'slain in the Spirit,' etc. As a point of clarification, 'charismatic' is anything that relates to a 'charism,' or a gift of the Holy Spirit. So in that sense, we are all called to be charismatic, to be open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God has given us these gifts, and we'll be judged on whether we hid them or used them for His glory and the good of the community. Not everyone is given the same gifts, but we are all given some gifts for the benefit of the whole body:

1 Corinthians
Chapter 12

1 Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware.
3 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
4 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.
So no, not everyone has to speak in tongues, but yes, some will be given that gift. I know a lot of people who have shared with me that they are actually a bit afraid of being open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because they don't want to have to speak in tongues or do other 'weird' things. I always find this a little funny, though an honest fear, and my advice is to be not afraid! God is not going to give you a gift you don't want, but being open to whatever gifts He has in mind for you is not going to make you weird. Let's just be honest here -- we're probably all at least a little bit weird anyway, so we might as well be weird with God. That's my motto!

In conclusion, I think that Pentecost is a great opportunity to celebrate the Church's birth, and to ask God to pour out His gifts and graces for ourselves personally, for our families, for our communities, and ultimately for the whole world!

Thanks so much for your question, my friend, and I hope this has been helpful.

A blessed Pentecost preparation to all, and to all a goodnight!

Peace and all good,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ascension Sunday, and the Last Week of Easter 2011!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

To those in the USA and other places where the Solemnity was transferred from Thursday, a happy Ascension Sunday evening to you! I hope it was a day filled with special graces and blessings.

Even if you already heard them, why not check out today's Mass readings again? They're pretty action packed!

And then get ready to live it up during this last week of the Easter Season as we prepare for Pentecost Sunday! I don't know about you, but I totally love Pentecost Sunday. Mmm. Driving wind, tongues of fire, and the mighty acts of God make for an exciting day, to say the least!

Then we'll be back to Ordinary Time after that. Not 'Ordinary' because it's plain or boring, but because it's weeks are numbered, or 'ordinal.' (The more you know!)

Whew, what a weekend! Time for some zzzs.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your last week of Easter 2011!

Peace and all good,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Catholic Beatbox and the Eucharist - Paul J. Kim

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Tonight, I had the good pleasure of hearing a concert given by a friend I knew a bit while I was in grad school at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I was so happy to be able to invite him to share his music and message at my home parish! Paul J. Kim's performance art is a great example of bringing faith into all areas of our lives, and offering our talents and gifts entirely for the good of the community and the glory of God. He also gave a moving reflection on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, and on the great gift that Catholic Christians have in the Eucharist. Some of our youth are very much looking forward to hearing him again at the Steubenville San Diego Conference, and the families present really enjoyed the event, as well!

I was especially happy that he closed with my favorite song of his. It's titled "Run/ Fly/ Fall." Listen to it here - it's all Paul Jisung Kim! No instruments, no other vocalists, nothin' but all Paul, all the time. Enjoy!

Peace and all good,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Today's Secret Meeting: Benedict, Biden, A Fly, & Gelato!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

The most interesting piece of info I picked up on the Catholic news front today was of the meeting this morning between Pope Benedict XVI and Vice-President of the United States of America Joseph Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

Well, I think I can say that I would have even preferred to be a fly on the wall at that meeting over the recent Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue meeting, but it's hard to decide. In either case, I have not yet figured out how to become a fly to attend these meetings, and if I couldn't turn back into a woman when the meetings were over, I doubt that I could blog about it for you all, anyway, so that wouldn't be any good. Imagine a little fly, trying to push the keyboard buttons on my laptop. It would take forever, not to mention that, in my experience, flies are atrocious spellers.

In any case, why did we not hear about this meeting? I first thought that maybe it was just overshadowed by all of yesterday's Vatican business on the 'Today' show, but as it turns out, Italian reports were describing the meeting as a "strictly private" encounter. It wasn't even on the Pope's public schedule of meetings, because it was 'unofficial.' So there really hasn't been much actual news of it on the Catholic or secular media street, and no communications from the meeting will be released. Hmmm, I wonder what went on? Who said what? Did they enjoy gelato together? I considered making a dramatic dialogue of what my fly-self might have overheard at such a meeting, but to be frank (I know, my name is Leslie!), I'm just not that clever and I'm feeling a bit tired, anyway.

So instead, why don't you all join me in thinking up your own scenario, and more importantly, in praying for our world leaders and for the Holy Father's prayer intentions for the month of June?
Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of June is: "That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God."
His missionary intention is: "That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God."
As always, thanks for stopping by! Be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

'Today' Show Went to the Vatican!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Happy Ascension Thursday, y'all! (Here in the United States, most dioceses transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension to Sunday, so don't worry if you thought you missed out on the festivities of the day!)

Many of you may have already heard that the 'Today' show went to the Vatican! The hosts of the show were given a guided tour of Rome and Vatican City by Archbishop Timothy Dolan (President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops), and they also featured a 3-minute 'day-in-the-life' video montage for Pope Benedict XVI! Pretty cool.

There are a bunch of neat video clips on the msnbc website, and I'll share the link to the one that shows a little bit of a day in the life of the Pope. [And a note for all concerned parties: Matt Lauer mistakenly says in the clip that the Pope's name used to be John Ratzinger, but it was, indeed, JOSEPH Ratzinger. I'm sure that, by now, Lauer has been corrected for the error at least 3 million times, and will not forget the name in the future.] After you watch the first video, you can see the others by staying on the site. Enjoy!

Peace and all good,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So you work for the Catholic Church, huh?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

I've noticed something interesting. Something that happens when I tell people what kind of work I do. Namely, what happens when I tell people that I work for the Catholic Church.

Sure, there are many varied responses, but the one that seems the most common, slightly comedic, and puzzling goes something like this:

Leslie: Oh, it's great to see you after so long!
Old friend/acquaintance who I have never known to be Catholic (a.k.a. OFAWIHNKTBC): Thanks, Leslie. You, too! What are you up to these days? Where do you work?
Leslie: Well, I work at my home parish coordinating the youth confirmation program, and I teach classes for adults in my diocese.
OFAWIHNKTBC: Oh, you work for the Catholic Church! That's so great that you work for our Church. I, for one, am happy to know that people like you are bringing about the needed changes in all of the following areas in need of reform...

Or this:

Leslie: Hi, I'm Leslie. Good to meet you, second-cousin of my friend's sister!
Second-cousin of my friend's sister (a.k.a. SCOMFS): Hi, Leslie. Where are you from?
Leslie: Oh, a place that's dry and hot and exciting. And you?
SCOMFS: Oh, a place that's temperate and tropical and lovely. What kind of work do you do, Leslie?
Leslie: Well, I mostly am involved in catechesis and a little bit of music.
SCOMFS: Music. Cool. Uh...Cate-WHAT?
Leslie: Oh, I coordinate and teach classes for youth and adults in the Catholic Church.
SCOMFS: Oh, that's really great! Because I have noticed that the Vatican does not take us women very seriously in the Church, and some changes definitely need to happen. Blah, blah, blah...
Leslie: Oh, that's great that you share the faith! Blah, blah, blah....
[Later, now talking to my friend....]
Leslie: Hey, that was cool talking with your second cousin's sister. I didn't know she was Catholic!
Friend: That's because she's not Catholic. Well, not for a while, anyway. She stopped going to church after she was, oh, about 6 months old. You know, after she was baptized.

Why do people who have not been Catholic for many years suddenly identify as Catholics when I tell them that I work for the Church? And then commend me for working for the Church? And then pour out their litany of complaints about what needs to change about the Church which they never attend? Maybe they feel badly telling me that they actually hate the Catholic Church, and secretly think that I am a backward and pathetic woman for being brought down by such a discriminatory and hierarchical institution? Or maybe they just want to complain, and feel that they have more right to do so as a Catholic? Or maybe they do still feel Catholic in their hearts in some way, but feel guilty for having been away so long and don't know if they can come back.

I don't know, but I do know this: if you want to see positive change in the Catholic Church, consider going to the Catholic Church. True renewal begins in ourselves, and to the extent that we are converted and transformed by love, we will draw with us all those we hold in our hearts. And we will transform the Church! And yes, you can always come back!

Peace and all good,