Wednesday, August 31, 2011

World Youth Day Recap -- Day 1, Apple Valley to Toledo!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Finally, my World Youth Day 2011 blogging shall commence! I did take my little old journal and pen, which is a good thing, since many of the details of the year of life that was packed into two weeks somehow elude me now. So, using my journal as a starting point, I'll devote the coming days to recounting the events of World Youth Day, and my reflections on the places, people, and journey of faith. Let us begin!

Wednesday, August 10/ Thursday, August 11 --
After a lovely Mass celebrated Fr. Jim Gibson, CR and Fr. Alex Gamino (the two priests traveling with our 27-member parish group), family and friends saw us off as we departed via charter bus from Our Lady of the Desert Church, Apple Valley to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). Herman, the kind and humorous bus driver from H&L Charter, provided us with a comfortable and relaxing ride to LAX, where we checked in, and grabbed a bite to eat before passing through the security checkpoint, after which you could not purchase any food. (Is this something new? And only for international flights? It seemed rather strange to me to have to buy our food before getting near our gate.) At the food area, we ran into Fr. Tim Keppel, CR (the pastor of our parish) and Fr. Marcello (the vocation director from Fr. Tim's community); then at our gate, I saw Mr. and Mrs. Santos, the parents of a friend of mine from Franciscan University of Steubenville. It seems that Day 1 was already the first installment of the Catholic version of "It's a Small World" that is World Youth Day! 
We enjoyed a direct flight from LAX to Madrid, which included breakfast (at 3:45 am PST), which featured a mini-Milky Way candy bar -- nice! The zipper on my money belt of questionable quality broke before we landed in Madrid, but Lupita (one of the young adults in my group, who clearly has taken some lessons from MacGyver) was able to fix it. After landing in Madrid, we retrieved our luggage (which, in a miraculous turn of events, was all there!), and traveled via charter bus to Toledo, where our driver dropped us off at Parroquia de San Julian, or Saint Julian's Parish, who would be serving as our host for Days in the Diocese, a week long experience of living in family homes and participating in events put on by a local parish community.
We spoke with the coordinators from the parish to learn our housing assignments, which was an adventure since my Spanish is rather limited. By the end of the trip, it was much better, since I had to use the little I did know out of necessity, and learned a lot along the way! Host families came to pick up all of our group members, and so our adventure officially begins!
 More to come! As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Monday, August 29, 2011

World Youth Day Website -- WOW!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Well, as it turns out, my 5-year-old's first day of kindergarten has tired me out as much as it did for her! So while you're waiting so patiently for my World Youth Day blog-fest to commence, how 'bout you check out the official World Youth Day 2011 website? It now has pictures, videos, homilies, and other exciting information from each day in Madrid.

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

Peace and all good,

P.S. There is already a list on my office door of people who want to attend World Youth Day 2013 in Rio -- PARTY TIME! :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It Becomes Like A Fire Burning In My Heart

Well, Coffee Talkers, in case you were dozing off during today's Mass readings, here's the first reading from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah. It is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.

Reading 1 - Jeremiah 20:7-9

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
 Too much I could say for one evening, so instead I leave you to your own contemplation of this rich passage.

World Youth Day blogging shall commence soon, so stay tuned!

Have a blessed week, and as always, thanks for stopping by. Be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coffee Talk is Back in Business!!!


Ahhh, it was glorious to be away, but it is also wonderful to be back! World Youth Day was an amazing experience, to say the least, and I feel as though a year of life was packed into those two awe-inspiring weeks in Toledo, Madrid, and Avila, Spain!

I have so much to share with everyone on the beautiful journey of World Youth Day, but I have been readjusting to life back at home with my girls, catching up on sleep and stories and general wellness. Be assured that, in the days to come, I will recount some of the highlights of our pilgrimage and share what can be shared through pictures and written word.

For now, more sleep! Thanks for your patience, and for your prayers for us as we traveled abroad with millions of others in an amazing journey of international solidarity and fellowship.

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

Peace and all good,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Daily Press Fame, and Off to World Youth Day!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

For the few of you in the world who haven't already seen the amazing press coverage, check out the story on my parish's World Youth Day group and our upcoming pilgrimage to Spain! That's right, the at-least-regionally-renowned newspaper publication, The Daily Press, ran a lovely front page article and photograph of our group! Thanks, guys!

Now, those of you who received your paper copy may feel free to save it until you next see us, and we will gladly give autographs!

In all seriousness, I am very impressed with the staff at the Daily Press, who so graciously and patiently interviewed several members of our group and came to our Send Off Mass to take photos. I realize that Catholicism can be confusing and strange at times to those who are unfamiliar with our terms, customs, and general 'Catholic culture,' so I would especially like to thank staff writer Brooke Edwards and photographer Eldon Kingston who, between the two of them, took the time to understand more about such things as dioceses, papal pilgrimages, and even to sit through an entire Mass! I don't think that either of these fine people are Catholics themselves, so I thank them especially for allowing us to share this experience with the community and for bearing with our terminology, culture, and customs. Good press given to the Catholic Church is always appreciated, and front page, no less! Be assured of our gratitude.

We leave on Wednesday, and so this will likely be my last post until we return from Madrid. I'm not lugging around my laptop, that's for sure, and I imagine that the internet cafes might be a bit busy, what with the millions of people there. Instead of blogging, I'm going to take [gasp!] a journal and a pen. Some of us may have distant memories of a time before the internet, and I'm looking to being computer-free for a couple weeks! I'll fill y'all in upon my return.

So in the meantime, here are a few things to keep yourself busy while I'm away (in case you're having Coffee Talk withdrawals):

  1. Pray for us! We'll be traveling from August 10 - August 24, and would be most appreciative of your prayers for the safety and well-being of our group, and all the pilgrims from around the world.
  2. Check out the rocking World Youth Day website -- I bet they'll have updates!
  3. Check out the Vatican website -- remember, they've got that cool 3-D Sistine Chapel business, and!
  4. Scroll down and check out the Coffee Talk archives on the right sidebar, or use the search feature to find a post related to your pressing Catholic questions! (Or go talk to your parish priest. They can answer your Catholic questions, too!)
As always, thanks for stopping by. Be assured of my prayers for all of you in the holy sites of Toledo and Madrid!

Peace and all good,

P.S. I almost forgot! If you have any special prayer intentions you'd like us to take to World Youth Day, feel free to add them in the comment box, or via e-mail at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

To Contemplate, and To Share with Others the Fruits of Our Contemplation: Feast of St. Dominic!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

The Feast of St. Dominic is fast upon us, my friends, and I, for one, am quite excited about it!

St. Dominic was one of those saints that I didn't know much about during my life, but once I learned about his life, it left a lasting impression on me and helped me in the direction my own life has gone.

As some of you know, in a long ago time and a far away land called Nashville, I spent 9 lovely months living as a postulant (one who is discerning a call to religious life while living with a community) with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I was actually reminded of this myself when, the other evening, I was dancing the night away at a friend's wedding reception. The mother of my bride-friend came over to say hello, and added, "Girl, you can dance! I was just saying to the other people at my table, 'Hey, do you know that she used to be a NUN? And they almost spit out their drinks!'" Ha!

Anyway, back to St. Dominic. He was a contemporary of St. Francis who founded the Order of Preachers, now known as the Dominicans, and a hallmark of the order is prayer and study. The order strives to contemplate, and to share with others the fruits of our contemplation. I love that!

Happy Feast Day, y'all! St. Dominic, pray for us!

Peace and all good,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Requiem for Those Shot Down

Hello, Coffee Talkers,

There is not much I can say about the tragic death of the 30 American troops and 8 Afghans, shot down in a US military helicopter, and I am not posting about these men to invite political commentary. I am issuing a call to prayer. Please join me in praying for those fallen, for their families and friends, and for those still engaged in military activity.

Peace and all good,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

These Are a Few of My Creepiest Things

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

On a trip today, I saw some wind turbines. Well, not just 'some.' LOTS and LOTS of wind turbines. Also, I saw some of the blades up close on the back of a big truck! My friend figured out what the blades were. Up close, they are HUGE.

I'm not sure why, but wind turbines are a little bit creepy to me.

And so are sunflowers -- not regular sunflowers, but those giant ones.

Weird, right?

Hope you all are having a wonderful week, leading to a lovely weekend! As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For the Beauty of the Earth

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

This lovely song has been in my head this evening, so I thought I'd share it with you all. Enjoy!

Peace and all good,

Knights of Columbus Purchase JP II Cultural Center

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

During their recent annual convention, the Knights of Columbus announced their purchase of the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. Read more about it here!

Peace and all good,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Get Your World Youth Day Gum HERE!

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Have y'all seen this fun little online store for World Youth Day Madrid?

Whether you're looking for gum, sunglasses, or perfume de World Youth Day, consider this your one-stop no-flight-required World Youth Day shopping experience!

Of course, World Youth Day is about something much more significant than stuff. But the stuff can be fun, too!

Peace and all good,