Sunday, April 30

My first Tridentine Mass

I got up early and went to the Tridentine mass held on 8a at St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturdays. I was really nervous about going.

The altar was dressed up beautifully. The priest was wearing a very cool "fiddleback" chasuble, which I had never seen one in real life. It was very cool. There were two very young altar boys, about ages 5 and 7 I'm guessing. They were so disciplined! All the altar "people" at the Cathedral (who are girls except for one boy who I thought was a girl for three months because his hair is so long) are only responsible for carrying up the cross and the gifts. And they sit there looking very bored throughout Mass. These two little young boys were kneeling and standing and praying in Latin and kneeling and moving things and other than the youngest scratching his nose once, were the two best behaved boys I've ever seen I think. They were so reverent. They were wearing the black cassock and white thing that goes over the cassock (sorry, I don't know the names of these things). The people who were attending the mass were reverent, and most has missals that they were using to follow along. At STA, we are allowed to receive communion by going to an altar rail, and I found that very respectful as well. The altar boy held up the paten under my mouth as I took communion from the rail.

Now the down sides. The WHOLE THING is in Latin except for a few Hail Mary's at the end. No homily, no scriptures, no prayers in English at all except for the few Hail Mary's I mentioned before. Also, the only participation that was going on during Mass with the parishoners was standing/sitting/kneeling and the Hail Mary's. The Kyrie and Pater Noster and other parts of the mass were recited by the altar boys (did I mention that they absolutely blew me away???). I didn't have a missal, so I kind of had to guess what was being said. The priest kind of mumbled the Latin, so it was hard for me to follow. I actually picked up a lot of Latin going to Fr. C's Novus Ordo masses in Latin, so I know the big phrases for that mass. But I couldn't even understand the Priest. He said most everything at a level that was impossible to hear. He faced away from the people the entire mass.

I honestly didn't feel very spiritual going there at all. I can definitely see why people would be boggled by the VII changes, but on the other hand, I can also see why they were made. I like participating by praying and responding to the priest. To me, the priest is supposed to be acting in Christ's place during the mass, so it makes total sense that he face us and speak to us as if Christ is speaking to us. It brings me into the mass much better and it helps me to feel spiritual to be able to participate.

On the other hand, I absolutely loved the reverence and solemnaty of the mass. It was so reverent, and was done with such precision. I really wish that I could find a way to bring that into normal attendance at churches.

To me, an ideal mass would be one done as the Novus Ordo mass was at St. Jude, with the Adoramus hymnal so that we could sing Gregorian chant. Much of the main part of the mass would be in Latin, but they would do the scriptures, homily and prayers after the Homily in English. I would also love to see the Mass treated with such respect as that priest and those altar boys. That was an amazing site. I'd love to hear the bells ringing during the Sacrament prayers to announce that Christ has risen as they do at STA.

I don't think I'll be going to the Tridentine mass on a regular basis. I get much more spirituality out of my little daily mass at Holy Family. And I really enjoy going to St. Jude, even though it's small and doesn't have nearly the bells and whistles that the Cathedral has. I enjoy the smallness, and seeing the familiar faces, and being able to walk half a block to church on both Saturday and Sunday.

Bad news - Good news

We had some interesting news about St. Jude chapel today. The bad news is that of mid-May, the Dominicans will no longer be running the chapel. This is sad becuase I've gotten to know a few of the Dominican priests and they're such a great group of men. Unfortunately, their regional headquarters is in New Orleans and has been struggling to recover from Katrina, and the priory and the region is just very short staffed.

The good news is that the Bishop has decided that the chapel will become a Diocean priest-run chapel. It will keep the same mass and confession schedule that it currently has. That makes me terribly happy for so many reasons. First, I really love St. Jude's on so many different levels. I love that it's convenient, I love that it's small. I hope that with the staff changes, I can find ways to serve the church and get involved as a volunteer. I really wanted the Chapel to be my church "home", but feared that with the changes that it might not have weekend services or might be shut down completely.

They've finally anounced a replacement for Fr. C there, and I'm very thankful for that. Ever since Fr. C left, attendance has been steadily dropping. I truly believe that with a strong leader and a permanent replacement for Fr. Ce that people will start coming again in the strong numbers.

I know that there are people that are going to have their feathers ruffled by the fact that the Dominicans are leaving, but I hope and seriously pray that people will work to build the unity and strength of the Parish now instead of being petty and snotty about every little thing. St. Jude is too small to weather much contention.

Friday, April 28

I found a very cool and interesting site online today called Mormon Quotes. It is a site that only has quotes from leaders of the Mormon church, from talks and papers they have presented. Just for fun, I put in "Catholic" in their search engine, and here's some of the quotes that appeared:

Q. Who founded the Roman Catholic Church? A. The Devil, through the medium of Apostates, who subverted the whole order of God by denying immediate revelation, and substituting in the place thereof, tradition and ancient revelations as a sufficient rule of faith and practice. Q. Did the great Protestant Reformers restore the Church of Christ to the earth? A. No: for they had no inspired Apostles, Prophets, or Revelators among them, without which the Church could not be restored. Q. But did not the first Protestant Reformers receive their ordination and authority from the Catholics? A. Yes: and in this manner they received all the authority that their mother church was in possession of; and the mother having derived her authority from the Devil, could only impart that which his Satanic majesty was pleased to bestow upon her

Author: Orson Pratt
Source: The Seer
Page: 205

But who in this generation have authority to baptize? None but those who have received authority in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints: all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people. Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the “whore of Babylon” whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act.

Author: Orson Pratt
Source: The Seer
Page: 255

Shall we go to the Greek Church for the true authority? It is based pretty much upon the same principle as the Roman Catholic Church is, and all the sectarian bodies of Christendom are as destitute of the true authority of God as the mother church is. Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom. There is no people that have held communion with God, no true church, priesthood or authority, no medium of communication between God and man for church government, to dictate, regulated manage and control the affairs of his kingdom upon the earth.

Author: John Taylor
Source: Journal Of Discourses
Volume: 10
Page: 127

Isn't the Internet fun?

Thursday, April 27

Why I posted the words to a part of the Temple ceremony

When I realized I was going to do some posting on topics that I knew might or would offend Mormons, I put quite a bit of thought into it. Would it offend so much that any Mormon readers might run off and any chance I had to minister to them would be lost? Would it bore Catholic readers?

I decided specifically to post the information about the Temple ceremony in a recent post because so much of what goes on in the Temple is shrouded in mystery. As a Mormon preparing to go into the Temple, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. People who have Mormon relatives and are invited to "wait outside" as their Mormon relatives go in and have a Temple Marriage without them having no understanding of what is happening within the Temple walls.

So I decided that offending Mormons who might read this blog was worth the risk, so that I could at least inform the non-Mormons who read this blog of some of the truth of what is taught in the Mormon temple right now, and to show the teachings that I was exposed to in my lifetime.

Yes, I did make a vow to keep these things sacred, but I also made a vow to consecrate all I had to the Mormon church, to wear Garments until I die, and to obey my husband as long as he obeyed God. I no longer respect the secrecy of the Mormon temple because I've been there, I know the history, and honestly, I know how silly the whole thing is.

I don't think the secrecy thing is inherantly dangerous, I just think it's pointless. I was told after I went through the temple that half of the people get blown away with the depth and mystery of what just happened, and the other half goes, "Is that it?" I was one of the latter people.

Wednesday, April 26

Similarities between Catholic Rites and the Mormon Temple Ceremony

On the RFM boards (I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from them these days), there was a post that linked to a BYU document that discusses the similarites between the Catholic liturgy and the Mormon temple.

The document is a beast to read (each page is a separate PDF), but I did my best to peruse most of it. I'll get it printed out this week if I can and I'll type a post about it. But as I thought of the title in the post, I vividly remembered something in my early days of investigating the Catholic church.

The Rite of Acceptance as a Catholic Catechumen is done usually a bit before Advent, to formally welcome the investigators into the Catholic church and officially declares them Catechumens in the eyes of the Church. After going through this Rite, a person can be buried in a Catholic cemetary and is considered "Christian" by the Catholic church.

In our parish, all of the catechumens and candidates were walked down the center aisle, and our sponsors stood in front of us. Then a prayer very similar to this was said:

The presider addresses the candidates saying.......

"I mark your forehead with the sign of the cross [all signs of the cross being done with the palm and not the thumb]. It is the sign of Christians. Let it remind you always of Christ and how much he loves you."

At each of these prayers, the sponsors make the sign of the cross of the areas of the bodies mentioned.

"We stand with you, we pray for you, O holy child of God

I mark your ears with the sign of the cross: hear the words of Christ.

I mark your eyes with the sign of the cross: see the works of Christ.

I mark your lips with the sign of the cross: speak as Christ would speak.

I mark the sign of the cross over your heart: make your heart the home of Christ

I mark your shoulders with the sign of the cross; be strong with the strength of Christ.

I mark your hands with the sign of the cross: touch others with the gentleness of Christ.

I mark your feet with the sign of the cross: walk in the way of Christ"

The presider alone traces the sign of the cross over the whole person of each candidate saying...

"I place you entirely under the sign of Christ's cross. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: to live with Jesus now and forever."

We were then presented with a wooden cross - we were officially carrying the cross of Christ as we continued on our journey towards becoming Catholic.

Upon reflection of this Rite, I had the distinct feeling that it was familiar to me. At some point, it dawned on me - this is extremely similar to the Initiatory Ritual in the Mormon temple. Here is information that clarifies what happens in that Mormon Rite in the Temple:


After showing his [or her] Temple Recommend to a worker stationed near the entrance inside the building, the patron repairs to the men’s [or women's] dressing area, where he is assigned a private locker (dividers and a door ensure privacy). After disrobing he covers himself with a "Shield"—a white poncho-like linen covering with a hole in the top for his head and open sides (held shut while walking). Covered in the Shield [a person is completely naked underneath the shield], he carries one pair of Temple Garments (one-piece style [basically like a one-piece t-shirt boxer short combination with a zipper up the front]) to the Washing and Anointing area, and waits on a bench until directed by a temple worker to enter one of the Washing and Anointing booths through a veiled partition. The booths are simply small cubicles made up of suspended lined veils.

When called for, the initiate enters the booth and hands his Garments to a worker who places them on a towel rod. As the initiate stands upright in his Shield the temple worker wets his fingers under a small faucet of running water in the booth, and lightly touches each area of the initiate’s body through the open sides of the Shield. [NOTE: While this sounds naughty, in my experience nothing unseemly or inappropriate happened during the ceremony. Also, the temple ceremony has changed this policy this past year, but when I went through the temple in 1997, this is how it was done.]


Brother _______, having authority, I wash you preparatory to you receiving your anointings [for and in behalf of _______ (patron and then temple worker read name of deceased), who is dead], that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation. I wash your head, that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active; your ears, that you may hear the word of the Lord; your eyes, that you may see clearly and discern between truth and error; your nose, that you may smell; your lips, that you may never speak guile; your neck, that it may bear up your head properly; your shoulders, that they may bear the burdens that shall be placed thereon; your back, that there may be marrow in the bones and in the spine; your breast, that it may be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles; your vitals and bowels, that they may be healthy and strong and perform their proper functions; your arms and hands, that they may be strong and wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue; your loins, that you may be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you might have joy and rejoicing in your posterity; your legs and feet, that you might run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

(Females undergo a similar ritual, attended to by females, which includes the following, "Sister _______, having authority, I wash you preparatory to your receiving your anointings [for and in behalf of _______, who is dead], and whereas you have obeyed the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a true and honest heart, and have been faithful in keeping your covenants, your sins are forgiven and you are clean every whit. I wash your head that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active in discerning between truth and error, and that you may be filled with the spirit of the Lord..." etc.)

After the cleansing with water, a similar prayer is said, but with the annointing of oil, and then the temple patron is presented with the garments and their "new name". (I remember getting terribly excited because I was "clean every whit" - I had essentially gone through an ordinance that cleared all of my sins, just like baptism!) The church doesn't speak of these things outside of the Temple walls, so the whole thing was a surprise to me.

It was very interesting to me that the Mormon Initiatory and the Catholic Rite of Acceptance both were intiation rituals. Both blessed different parts of our body. Both ended with us being given something that we would keep with us always and something that was tangible. The Rite of Acceptance gave us the mark of the Cross on our soul and a wooden cross for us to wear, the Mormon Initiatory gave us a "new name" and Garments (sacred undergarments to be worn at all times under clothes).

The main difference between the two rituals in my opinion is while the Rite of Acceptance happened in the center aisle of the Cathedral in front of my priest, all of the parishoners, my fellow catechumens, and my sponsor, the Initiatory happened in a small curtained off room, with an old lady with minty breath and shaky hands. And I got to keep my clothes on for the Rite of Acceptance.

Fixed the graphic

I'd like to say a big Thank You to my husband for fixing the graphic at the top of the blog. I had a graphic with an 800 width and I was having to fix the width in the coding, which made it look really sloppy, but he reedited it and saved it at the correct width, and it looks SOOOOO much better!

Thanks, sweetie!

When you cut them, do they not bleed Wite-Out?

Slate has a funny-because-it's-true article about Administrative Professionals Day, or as the Author calls it, the classic term of Secretary's Day.

If you've ever worked in an office where this holiday is celebrated, I can tell you from personal experience that every down side to this holiday that is mentioned in the article does happen and will be repeated over and over today.

I've pretty much been an administrative professional since starting my professional career after college. I worked for Incredible Universe as my first job out of college in 1995, but I was considered a Clerk, not an Administrative Professional, so I didn't get anything for this day. IU got shut down by Tandy and my position was eliminated, so I ended up branching out a bit career-wise. When I first got a job as Office Manager at LDD Productions in 1996 (which was quite fun because they ran a haunted house), my boss told me, "We're not going to celebrate that for you because you're much more than just an Office Assistant - you're our Production Assistant!" Ok, that one I could kind of buy. After the end of the Haunted House season, I was told that my position was going to go from year-round to seasonal, so essentially my position was eliminated. The job I had after that, at Warrantech in 1997, I was officially an Administrative Assistant to a rather young Middle Manager. Of our admin team of 12, every single person got something -lunch, flowers, etc - except for me. My boss told me he was about to get married and he was really low on funds, but he'd buy me something at some point. Yeah, guess when I got that gift? If you said "never", you would be correct. I ended up having my position eliminated (along with 7 other admins that day), and moved on to Flashnet in 1998. I started there as the Tech Services Supervisor, which actually ended up with me scheduling the internal IT guys to fix the computers, so even though they put "supervisor" after my name, I was getting paid less than my employees and did all the administrative work for them. I moved on in FlashNet to become the Sales Reporting Analyst, which I didn't consider myself to be administrative, so when I didn't get anything, it didn't hurt my feelings. In 2000, SBC bought FlashNet and, yep, my position was eliminated and I lost my job. In January of 2001, I got hired by Broadvision as an administrative reporting analyst, and at about the four month mark, I had my position eliminated (along with 1/2 the sales force in the office) about a week before Administrative Professionals day.

I've been working at Big German Corporation since September 4, 1991. (The second week of my job was quite interesting - check the date.) So far, after being here 4 1/2 years, and being paid as an Administrative Assistant, and given accomodations like an Administrative Assistant, and doing all the Crap Jobs like an Administrative Assistant, I am pretty much an Administrative Assistant. I do high-level reporting, but when you look at my pay stub, it says "Admin Asst I" as title. Last year, I was told, "I know you don't consider yourself an admin, but we're taking all of the administrative staff out for lunch and we'd like to invite you as well." I thought it was a nice thought, but I also thought that my reporting skills and my professional duties had elevated me from the Secretary niche due to the fact that I hadn't gotten squat before. I was wrong - the bosses were just lazy before last year. So I took my free lunch and I ran.

Well, I haven't heard anything about the "Administrative Staff" getting free lunch today, although one of the Regional Sales Managers is taking out all of the Order Entry Clerks for lunch. So even though my jobs are even more crap this year than last year, I guess I'm not getting free food today.

I hate my job. And I hate Secretary's Day, too.

Tuesday, April 25

Communion services

There's a church very near where I work that has Masses on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30. I know I've mentioned it in my blog at some point. Since becoming baptized, I've also been going to their communion services, offered M-W-F.

On Monday, the Deacon presides and it is almost identical to a Mass with the exception of the deletion of the Eucharist prayer and the addition of the Te Deum or the Magnificat. On Wednesdays and Fridays, it is led by a lay minister and is very truncated - no homily, no eucharist prayers, simply the readings and a few basic prayers.

I worried about the legitimacy of this quite a bit, but when I talked to my RCIA teacher, Deacon L, he said that it was perfectly licit. So I'm not so worried anymore. I've heard comments for and against communion services with lay ministers, but I figure if it's the only opportunity I have for daily reception of the host, and my Deacon says it's licit, then it's Ok.

I stayed afterwards to ask the Deacon there about the Liturgy of the Hours and ended up talking to him and a couple of other parishoners for an hour and a half. They were all amazed that I was already attempting to pray the LOTH and I'm such a recent convert. (Obviously they have not met my friend L. She's been praying the 4-volume LOTH for years.)

It's good to feel like I have a weekday home. I'll feel better when I have a weekend home as well. While the Cathedral is still my parish, and I've decided to support it, it frustrates me that they have no Daily Mass on Saturdays, so I'm essentially forced to go to another chapel for Saturday Mass. I'm so grateful for St. Jude, because I can pop in and out of there on a Saturday and it's super convenient. I want to get in the habit of going to my parish on Sundays, though, so I'll haul myself down to the Cathedral on Sundays.

Chloroform in print

Jimmy Akin's blog has published a quote by Mark Twain on his impression of the Book of Mormon. Here is my very favorite quote of all time about the Book of Mormon, courtesy of Mark Twain:

The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so 'slow,' so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle -- keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.


The Lamanites must rise!

Due to the ever-changing nature of the Mormon religion, often an article or talk published by the church comes back to bite them in the backside. This is one of those times.

Perusing the RFM boards today, I found a very interesting post that referenced two articles that can be found on the web site: "The Lamanites Must Rise in Majesty and Power", written by Elder J. Thomas Fyans, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve in the Ensign, May 1976 (p. 12) and "Miracles among the Lamanites" by Elder Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy in the Ensign, Nov. 1980, (p. 67).

To give you a brief Book of Mormon lesson, it has been taught since the beginning of the teachings of Joseph Smith that the Book of Mormon was a historical account of the people who live on the American continent. There were essentially two sets of people talked about in the Book of Mormon who had traveled to America from the Middle East/Holy Lands and split apart after their arrival - the Nephites, descended from Nephi, son of Lehi (good guys) and the Lamanites (bad guys), descended from Laman and Lemuel, also sons of Lehi. At the end of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites had been conquered and destroyed by the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were considered to be the ancestors to what we call the Native Americans today.

This teaching of Lamanites being the ancestors of all Native Americans has been proven genetically impossible by modern science. That's a discussion that can take up an entire book. Suffice it to say that the Mormon church is scrambling to change history, trying to prove that there were never (or rarely) teachings of the Lamanites being the ancestors to Native Americans. On the FAIR site, the article "Who Are The Lamanites?" (PDF link), copyright 2004, contains this text with emphasis added:

One traditional assumption that does not conform to an enlarged understanding of the text is the once-held opinion that the Lehites populated all of the Americas. (See the FAIR brochure "Were the Lehites Alone in the Americas?") Most LDS scholars agree that the Lehites were a small incursion into a larger existing population of Native Americans. (This would account for the disappearance of Lehite DNA. See the FAIR brochure entitled "Is an Historical Book of Mormon Compatible With DNA Science?")

It is being implied by contemporary Mormon apologists that the "traditional" Lamanite as Native American ancestors was just a teaching, an opinion, as opposed to true doctrine of the church.

However, the Fyans article is evidence that the Lamanite as Native American ancestor school of thought was taught as doctrine, even going as far back as Joseph Smith. I'd like to break down this article for you in sections so that it can be more easily digested, with emphasis added on the particularly interesting bits. The article begins thusly:

As we listened to the prophet as he opened this conference, I was reminded that the inspiration and direction of prophets over the years have given us foreknowledge of what was to come in the future.

In this dispensation, our day, a book of prophetic utterances has channeled earthward to us.

The statements that are being quoted in this article by Fykes are "prophetic utterances", or in other words these are revelations given to the leaders of the Mormon church. These are the words of God, not simply an opinion of Fyans or the leaders quoted.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "One of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, through the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, is the gathering of Israel (of whom the Lamanites constitute a part)." (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:357.)

In a proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the restored Church in 1845, we are told - speaking of the Lamanites of North and South America - "They will also come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and fullness of the gospel; and they will embrace it and become a righteous branch of the house of Israel." (Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, New York, "Prophet" Office, Apr. 6, 1845, p. 3.)

The Lamanites of North and South America referred to here are the Native Americans, and their forefathers are the Lamanites depicted in the Book of Mormon.

The article goes on to quote numerous Mormon leaders discussing the flourishing of Lamanites with the introduction of the Gospel. Next, the author brings the prophetic utterances into the present day.

Now may we consider the book of revelations of today as shared with us by the present prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball: "The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1947, p. 22.)

This prophetic statement was made on October 3, 1947, when in Central America we had fewer than 100 members and in that great land of Mexico fewer than 5,000, half of whom were in the Mormon colonies. "The Lamanites must rise in majesty," I repeat. The fewer than 100 in Central America when these prophetic words were uttered has blossomed into more than 40,000 as of today. From the fewer than 5,000 in Mexico at that time, a rich harvest of over 150,000 stand tall in the field white already to harvest; the total membership of 1947 but represents harvest of a pair of months today.

Fykes is saying in this part of the article that the reason that the Mormon church has flourished in Latin America is because it was prophesied that it would years ago by multiple prophets. It was flourishing because it was prophesied that the descendents of the Lamanites, the Native Americans, would prosper when given the fullness of the Gospel, in this case by the missionaries of the Mormon church.

The article then talks about all of the industrial growth and church growth in the 1900's, and according to Fykes, this is again attributed to the prophesies of the leaders of the church.

When reading the Cook article, the first sentance makes no mistake of who the Lamanites are:

My family and I are presently living in South America among the Lamanites—the children of Lehi, the people of the Book of Mormon, a people of great promise.

Cook quotes a scripture from the Doctrine & Covenants, a collection of revelations to Joseph Smith, which says:

D&C 28:8

8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

Cook, as Fyans did, mentions the Lamanite world as he quotes statistics of Latin American church membership:

What a miracle to behold! Only in part of the Lamanite world, in Latin America alone, there are over 600,000 members of the Church, with 7,000 baptized nearly every month; 181 stakes at present with almost 2,400 congregations of Saints and 2,500 Latin missionaries serving; thousands and thousands of priesthood holders—Regional Representatives, mission presidents, patriarchs, bishops—faithful sisters, and faithful children of a powerful generation yet to come.

(The retention of LDS converts is another very complicated subject, but you can see some interesting articles about the subject here, here and a seriously scientific projection of growth with all kinds of fun formulas and graphs here. Most studies show that LDS retention rate of members is extremely low.)

Sometimes it's good for me to take a refresher course on why exactly I no longer believe in the Mormon church. One reason I no longer have a testimony is because I no longer believe that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. I no longer believe what I was taught in my youth, that the Lamanites were the ancestors of my Native American ancestors.

There is too much DNA and scientific evidence proving the true heritage of the Native Americans (that they are mongolian and made their way to this land via the Bering Strait in Alaska). And the whitewashing of Mormon history has already begun with the Lamanite subject, so I would just like to make firm documentation that indeed, the Native Americans as Lamanites doctrine was taught as true fact by high leaders of the Mormon church and has now been proven scientifically to be a lie.

Monday, April 24


Today on my blog template, you will find the addition of a little green button with "CCDB" on it. This is a link to the Catholic Catechism Dialogue Blog. It's a blog whose tagline reads "A group blog for devotional & practical dialogue while READING THE COMPLETE CCC IN ONE YEAR". They give a list of readings each week for readers of the blog so that they can follow along, and then each day the mutiple contributors post about their reflections on the readings of the day.

So far it has been very interesting and enlightening. I'm looking forward to when they get a little bit father in the book and really start getting into some "meaty" issues. I would highly suggest blogrolling this blog or putting it into your RSS feed.

Keeping tabs on sin for confession

I am finding, a whole week into my Catholicism, that I am going to appreciate going to frequent confession. I'm still trying to get a hang of this Mortal/ Venial sin thing and which ones need confessing before taking the sacrament and which ones are ok to keep until confession because they are only venial.

Last week, when I was thinking of my sins, every day 2-3 times a day I would go over my "mental list" of sins so that I would make sure that I wouldn't forget anything when I confessed. When they dealt with bad thoughts, such as anger towards someone, I found I would relive that anger over and over each time I thought of the sin. I just want to get it out of my head. I don't think I need to go to confession multiple times a week, but I definitely need to go to confession every week or two.

I already have one in my head that I keep playing over and thinking, was that a mortal sin? I'll go ahead and say it, because I'm sure the same thing has happened to everyone else. My husband and I were at a clothing store buying a skirt for me. I went to a second clothing store and found a better skirt (it was longer, and I didn't need a slip with it), so I went back to the first store to return the skirt. When I purchased the first skirt, I used a 30% off coupon. But when I got my refund, I got the full amount of the purchase. I feel like I stole that $3 difference. Now, in my defense, they were having serious problems with registers and there were 9 people behind me who had been waiting at least 10-20 minutes to ring up. To bring it to the cashier's attention would have meant having the people behind me wait another 5 minutes until the transaction was rerung, plus it may have taken even longer since the registers were acting so badly.

Also, I lied to them when I returned the skirt. I told them I was unable to find a slip to go with it. I just didn't have the courage to tell them that I found a better skirt at their competitor. I feel guilty about it and feel the need to confess it. But is that a mortal sin or a venial sin? I know the lie was a real lie, because I sat there and tried to figure out what I was going to tell them before I went into the store to justify returing a skirt I had purchased 30 minutes ago.

I have a couple of other small sins similar to the one above that, while not terrible, I'm having to keep a mental tally of, and it's hard to remember them all. I'd rather just confess them and learn from them and get on with my life, you know? And I want to make sure that I don't take the eucharist when I'm not worthy.

I've found multiple web sights that help a bit, but I still worry that I might be too sinful to take the eucharist. I pray for forgiveness and bless myself with holy water but I just don't want to offend God.

New Articles of Faith revealed at last!

There's some pretty funny people over at the Salamander Society, and they have some really funny submissions for their Salamander Awards. The funniest winner of the 2005 Salamander Awards is the section entitled "New Articles of Faith revealed at last!" by Deconstructor. There's four different versions of the New Articles, so please check out their web site and see the other three.

(For those Catholics who read this blog and don't know what the Articles of Faith are, they are basically a creed of sorts, that tell the basic and principal teachings of the church. Go read the page on this link, and then read the rest of the post. And floss. That's good advice, too. Floss every day. And look both ways before you cross the street. But I digress. Onto the hillarity!)

The Articles of Faith, Now With 10% More Disclosure

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. God lives on a planet near a star named Kolob. But there are lots of other Gods, too. We aren't sure if our God is the oldest God, or the most powerful, or not. I don't know that we teach that. By the way, you can be a God too, if you give God some of your money (give it to us, we'll pass it on) and do everything we say God wants you to do for the rest of your life.

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression. We also believe that God sometimes commands us to sin, or at least puts us in situations where sinning is necessary to fulfill God's purposes. Also, some sins aren't sins if you are doing them to help God's church. Also, you might be punished for other people's transgressions (like Cain, if you have dark skin, or Eve, if you are a woman) but not for Adam's. Whew!

3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Well, they may be saved, but only if they obey the laws and ordinances, which are changing almost all the time. They change kind of slowly, so sometimes no one notices, and WE sure as heck don't call attention to it.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. There are a lot of other ordinances and principles, too, but if we mention them up front, no one would ever join our church. They'd think we were some kind of whacked-out cult. But we aren't. And if you ask us specifically about some of the bizarre things we think are part of the 'gospel', we will lie about it; but that's okay (see Article 2).

5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. Only our Church has this authority. If you are in another church, you aren't called by God, you don't have his authority, and your ordinances won't save you. We will tell you that we don't think people from other religions are going to hell, but we only say that because we think you might become a Mormon later in this life, or after you die. If you don't, you are going to hell, no doubt about it. Well, Mormon-Hell. It's actually pretty nice, but you live in eternal regret of not being mormon.

6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. Well, we don't have pastors, or evangelists, per se, but still, it is the same as Christ's church. Well, we change our organization a lot, actually, for good reasons, but whatever the current version is, it MUST have been the same way back in Christ's church, because we said the two are the same. And they are. And always will be, no matter how much they change.

7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. Well, not the speaking in tongues thing anymore. That's freaky-weird. But now we say that learning a foreign language (even if we don't speak it very well) is the gift of tongues. Oh, and prophecy doesn't mean predicting things correctly, it just means being inspired about something, usually a new Church program, or a new rule about earrings or knee-length shorts.

8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. By 'translated correctly', we mean not what it said in the original texts, but whatever we think it should say to be consistent with the Gospel, as defined by us (God told us). And about the Book of Mormon, well, it might not be true, as in 'it really happened', but it still has inspiring stories. But we know it is true, too. At least for now.

9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Including stuff that contradicts the old stuff.

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American Continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. Well, we think we do. This all sounds a little crazy, so we don't talk about it much, certainly not to non-Mormons. In fact we'd probably deny it if we thought it would help get you baptized (again, see Article 2). It's in the scriptures, so it must be true.

11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Unless you are a Mormon, then we have a bunch of things you can and can't worship, certain places you can and can't go, certain things you can't talk about, and a lot of things can't do, and other you have to. But the members of the church are free to do/believe what they want. Unless they do/believe something we don't want them to. Then we excommunicate them and ostracize them as much as possible. And they are going to hell, and not the nice Mormon-Hell we mentioned in Article 5.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Well, not all the laws. At least, not the laws against polygamy, unless they threaten to send troops. But now we obey that one, too. And if you can break a law to help get people baptized, that is probably okay, but don't get caught.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things, but never in Church meetings, where we stick to the lesson plan and are careful not to use any outside sources, because they might lead us astray. And we really mean that honest and true part. Stop laughing.

Sunday, April 23

Mass today

I decided to go to my home parish for Mass today instead of going to St. Jude. My husband drove me up there (I have GOT to get over my fear of parking garages!), and I was there plenty early. There was a TV camera outside filming people going in or something.

My sponsor was sitting in the front row where the catecumens usually sit, so I sat with her. I like being close to the front, and I particularly like being on the front row at the Cathedral - I can pray as long as I want without worrying about bumping my hands on the back of someone else's head.

Mass was good. They had a visiting priest, due to the leaving of Fr. Ramone I imagine. He was pretty good. He reminded me a little of Robert Carradine.

Have I mentioned lately how cool it is to be able to recieve under both species? It's pretty sweet.

At the end of the mass, where they read announcements, they read a letter from Fr. Ramone. It said that basically he was severely stressed out, and his health was suffering, which is why he is taking a break from things. It didn't say whether he would ever be a priest again, although there was a lady whispering that maybe he was going into a hosipital ministry and being a staff priest. So we'll see. No one said a word about the newspaper article in church.

There were quite a few people from my class at Mass, which made me happy. We all kind of sat in the front, where we usually have been sitting.

Saturday, April 22


I didn't know whether to title this post "Confused" or the alternate, rejected title of "Dropping Like Flies."

I was reading my friend Julie D's blog, and ran across a post about my parish. It linked to an article in our local paper, the Dallas Morning News about the priest in my parish where I was baptized. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Priest's exit stuns staff

Dallas: Cathedral pastor cites health; he may testify in abuse cases

07:12 AM CDT on Saturday, April 22, 2006

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

The pastor of Dallas' Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe suddenly left his high-profile post this week, stunning staff members and leaving fellow clergymen in the dark.

Catholic Bishop Charles Grahmann has tightly guarded news about the Rev. Ramon Alvarez's departure, which the priest disclosed to some church staff Monday.

By late this week, many other local clerics didn't know it happened, or why.

Here's the two sentences in the article that really freaked me out:

Patrick McLain, one of Father Bagert's attorneys, has said Father Alvarez came under legal scrutiny because he was told that his friend ordered a video with images of nude children.

In 2002, diocesan officials said Father Alvarez admitted "inappropriate contact" with a middle-aged man who sought a blessing from him in 1991. The man said the priest groped and propositioned him.

This is the priest that concelebrated my baptism seven days ago. This is the priest who led our RCIA retreat. He grew up in this parish, went to seminary school, and has stayed on to teach in this parish.

This is really blowing my mind, for lack of a better way of putting it. First Fr. C leaves St. Jude Chapel and now Fr. Ramone has left under very odd circumstances. I know that you can't put all of your beliefs into what the newspaper said, but even if the one fact about Fr. Ramone "inappropriately touching" someone is true, which he admits to, it's a very bad thing.

I've been struggling for a while whether to stay with the Cathedral or branch out to a different church for my home. The two options I've been considering are the Latin Rite masses, and the second option is St. Thomas Aquinas, a very traditional church. That's where I had my first confession in an earlier post. Latin Rites would be nice because of the Latin, but I don't want to become a RadTrad right out of the baptismal gate. St. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, is very traditional and conservative while at the same time presenting the Novus Ordo as prescribed by the leadership of the church. The only problem is that it's not my parish. And I just joined the parish a week ago. They are having a welcoming gathering next Sunday, and if I go to STA this week and really like it, I may go next week and get to meet some people.

I hate to not be loyal to my home parish, but I honestly don't know what to do.

Friday, April 21

I did it - my first confession

I went ahead and went to St. Thomas Aquinas and did my first confession. I left work at 5p, trying to get to STA before 6:00. Because it was rainy and Dallas drivers are stupid, it took me 55 minutes to drive from Grand Prairie to Lakewood where STA is. I got there, and looked for the confession area. STA has those old-timey boxes for confession, just like you see at the movies. Have you ever seen Moonstruck? Yeah, kind of like that. There is a green light over where the priest sits, so you'll know that he's in there, and there's red lights over the doors when someone is in the box confessing. I imagine that's so that you don't walk in on someone. I'm also guessing that the preist flips the switch to turn on the red light. They had two sides you could go in, one with a kneeler and a screen and one called the "Reconciliation Room." I went to the one with the kneeler because I could see what was in there when the person before me stepped out.

There was one person before me, so I sat there and waited. I prayed for a good confession, and then it was my turn. I had brought a Cheat Sheet from the Internet with all of the prayers in it, in case I wasn't sure what was coming next.

The booth where I was to confess was very bright, not dark and scary like the ones in the movies. It was painted ivory, and the screen was actually like little slatted wood, so that you could hear but not see a thing. The Act of Contrition prayer was on the wall next to the screen, held on by a little tack.

I knelt down, and said, just like in the movies (I don't know if you can tell, but the movies is pretty much my only point of reference for these things) "Bless me father for I have sinned. This is my first confession." The priest said, "Ever?" I said, "Yes, father, I was baptized on Easter." He said, "Oh, this Easter? Like two weeks ago Easter?" I said, "Well, like four days ago Easter, yeah. I was just really nervous about getting this first confession over with." He said, "Well, congratulations! About getting baptized, I mean." I was hoping he wasn't congratulating me about sinning.

He told me about how in the middle ages people often got baptized on their deathbed, but now people get baptized early. I said, "Ok, is this where I confess then?" He said yes, so I said my sins. He said, "Ok, this is where you pray the Act of Contrition", so I did. He said after that, "Do you have that memorized?", like it sounded that I did, and I said, "No, it's on a piece of paper in here on a tack." He said, "Oh, yes, ok then." Then he absolved me of my sins and gave me two Hail Mary's as a penance ... just like in the movies.

I was very grateful for Hollywood when I was kneeling in that box.

So I went and knelt and said two Hail Mary's. I stayed for the evening Mass. It was a very nice mass. We knelt at the altar rail to receive communion, and when they said the part in the eucharistic prayer about This is my body, and held the bread up, they rang bells. I thought it was quite cool.

The main part of the mass wasn't as different from the little daily Mass that I've been going to. There were a lot of people there, though, but they were all scattered about the church.

If I can handle Dallas traffic, I'd like to make a habit of going there on Thursday nights for confession.

I'm thinking that I will probably go there on Sunday this week, just to see how I like it.

Gas Prices and Weather - because my blog is just that darn exciting today

Yesterday morning, I paid $3.09 per gallon for premium gas to fill up the tank of my Volkswagen New Beetle. Yesterday afternoon, on my way home from work, gas prices had risen to $3.15 per gallon at the same station. It cost me $40.61 to fill up my subcompact car with about 13 gallons of gas. Now that's just stupid.

On the up side, it rained and we desperately needed it. It's been so dry that there are no bluebonnets this year. And that just breaks the heart of every native Texan out there.

Thursday, April 20

First Confession

I've been very nervous about my first confession ever since I realized I'd have to make one at some point. I don't know why - it's not like I'm doing anything terribly bad. I just feel nervous.

There's a nightly mass at a church I've been considering attending (St. Thomas Aquinas), and on Thursday nights they have confession and Mass. I think I might go tonight and get confession out of the way. I don't know how "bad" a sin has to be before it is so bad that I have committed a mortal sin. I feel confident that my small infractions in the past few days do not count as mortal sins, but I'd rather get in the habit of frequent confession (weekly or bi-weekly), even if the only offenses I have done are small. I've kept a mental tally of my offenses, and so far I'm up to three. Again, nothing bad, but I don't want to forget one and then not have a chance to be forgiven of it.

I know we had a lesson about Mortal vs Venial sin, but I don't remember exactly the line between the two. Yes, I know mortal is with forethought and knowing that what you are doing is wrong but you do it anyway, but how bad of a sin does it have to be before it is mortal?

Also, is running a red light intentionally because it was yellow when you were close and you ran it because you were running late (when it was red before you got into the intersection) considered a mortal or a venial sin? See, I seriously need a regular confessor so that I can get these things worked out so I'm not running to confession every time I run a red light or speed or violate a traffic law.

Wednesday, April 19

Washing the Feet

One of the questions I had at Mystagogy class was about the Washing of the Feet at Holy Thursday. The woman I was sitting with told me that normally both men and women had their feet washed and that our Bishop was "liberal" like that. I had read many blogs and news articles about the controversy about feet being washed.

I asked the deacon why only men were selected this year, and how he felt about the Men Only/ Men and Women controversy with the feet washing. He said that he was a little bit insulted that they only used men this year, and it was the choice of one nun for our parish, not a diocean decision. He said that women have always played a huge part in the church and not including them was discrediting all of the work that he did. He did not consider the act a reenactment of the last supper, but a representation of serving all kinds of people during the mass.

I'm not sure how I feel about that, because I thought it was a representation of the 12 apostles, which makes sense to me. You don't let women be priests because of the fact that Christ was a man and the preists represent Christ, and the same logic says to me that you should only have men's feet washed at the Holy Thursday ceremony because there were no women apostles.

Daily Mass/ Communion service

Ever since I got baptized, I've been going to daily mass. A whopping three days, I know, but hear me out. I find the time good for me to be able to receive the eucharist and to take time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to say my evening prayers. It takes about 40 minutes total, and it's right after work, so it's very convenient.

Their Communion Service is odd, though. Basically on Monday, there was a Deacon so the entire structure was the same as Mass except no Eucharistic Prayer. Tuesday was a regular mass. Today the Communion Service was conducted with a lay person, so it was a Reader's Digest version of everything. Much less prayer, no homily, that kind of thing. I asked Deacon L about it at class today, and he said it's very valid and that it's common due to the priest shortage that we are having these days for many churches to do this. It eased my mind quite a bit. It's a real blessing to be able to spend time at the Chapel and especially to receive the Eucharist every day.

Answered prayers

Things look good for St. Jude. That's all I can say right now, but it looks like prayers were answered. Thanks be to God!

Mystagogy Class One

Our deacon started the class out with this joke:
Three priests were sitting around discussing how things were going at their respective parishes.

The first priest complains of a terrible bat infestation at his church, and it is soon apparent that this is something of an epidemic at all three parishes. After much discussion of all matters clerical, they go home for the night.

After a week or so, they meet again and discuss the bat problem.

Priest 1: I tried to get rid of my bats this week. I shot at them with my shotgun, but I think I damaged the belfry more than the bats! I still have no way of getting rid of them!

Priest 2: I tried another way. I couldn't bring myself to shoot them, after all they are God's creatures, so I went up with a big box. I knocked all the bats into the box with a stick and drove out to the forest where I released them. But they were back at the church before I was!

Priest 3: I've solved the problem. I did much the same thing. I had all the bats in the box, but before I released them, I baptized and confirmed every one of them, and they haven't been back since.

It seemed to be quite true in the case of our class. We had 8 adults baptized and another 15-20 confirmed, and there was only six of us in class, plus two of the sponsors. We talked a bit about Easter Vigil, and I got a few questions answered.

During the break we talked about which parishes we might attend. There's one guy who wants to attend Latin Mass on Saturdays at a different church, and another girl lives in another parish but chooses to come to the Cathedral because she works downtown and spends a lot of time there during the week. Oddly enough, both of them don't like St. Jude's much. They think it's not "churchy" enough.

We spent the second half of the class around the Baptism font. It was very moving, and reminded us of our special day that we had just a few days ago.

We were also invited to the convalidation of two of our classmates. The two of them were confirmed and their three oldest boys were baptized and confirmed, leaving only their young daughter waiting to receive her sacraments.

New Mormon/Catholic blog

Brad Haas tuned me into a new blog called Mormons and Catholics which features both Mormon and Catholic bloggers. I'm anxious to see how this one develops. While Brad tends to do more comparative apologetics, I tend to blog more on my comparative experiences between being Mormon for most of my life and my new experiences of being Catholic. It's quite a ride. There's not a whole lot of Mormon/Catholic blogs, so it's good to see another one out there in the blogosphere.

Prayer request

Today is the day that the "other shoe drops" at St. Jude's Chapel. There are meetings happening with the staff and the Diocese. Please say a prayer for the staff of the Chapel, for the Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas and for the Dominican priests who run the Chapel that God's graces will be upon them and that the right decisions will be made to keep the ministry strong and stable.

Monday, April 17

Excellent suggestions

I got an e-mail from John R., whose wife is an Ex-Mormon Catholic who came into the church on Easter Vigil 2004. He had some great ideas on how to develop spirituality during the Easter season, and I thought I would share them with you all.

When Easter comes, I generally go back to my normal devotions. Here are just a few ideas:

Memorize the Regina Coeli. Pray that yourself or in a group through Eastertide in place of the Angelus.

Since you like the Divine Mercy Chaplet, you can do a Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday, and continue through the Octave of Easter.

Increase your devotion to the Blessed Mother of the Risen Lord in May. Most dioceses have Rosary processions sometime that month. Bring flowers to a Marion shrine that month.

I make sure I make mass on the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and Our Lady of Fatima, and I go on Ascension Thursday, even when they announce halfway through Easter that they are moving it to 6th Sunday of Easter. That always irks me.

You can start a Pentecost or Holy Spirit Novena on Friday after Ascension Thursday, and on Pentecost Sunday pray the Litany of the Holy Spirit. The Novena coincides with the first ever novena, when the Apostles prayed for nine days in the upper room for the Messenger of the Lord.

We started a new tradition this year. Holy Thursday we have a simple roasted lamb with pita bread and Greek salad. But for Easter, we always have a fancier lamb (we even have the option of braising it like those naughty Egyptians :) with asparagus. And my favorite tradition is as I help prepare the meal, I drink a bottle of ruby port as Easter music plays on the stereo (Handel's Messiah was composed for Easter, and it does indeed sound great on Easter morning, particularly after a few glasses of port).

But other than that, life goes back to normal. As I see it, Easter is a time to enjoy the fruits of Lent, as well as a time to sustain for life the good habits picked up during Lent. You built the fire during Lent, now you can roast the marshmallows.

And if you are looking for ideas to develop new traditions that follow the liturgical calendar, I recommend More great ideas to appreciate whatever season we're in than you can possibly ever use.

Sunday, April 16

Easter Vigil Recap

Ok, I've gotten my template fixed, pretty much, so I'm ready to talk about my Easter Vigil! (I totally cheated with my template, btw. I took one of the standard Blogger templates and did some tweaking to it to make it my own. But I think it should be a bit clearer to read than the old blog, plus it should look good in all browsers. Oh, and I got to use my nifty pic that I took in the blog header, which is way cool, too.)

So I slept all yesterday afternoon because I knew it was going to be a long Mass. Dan ironed my big purple gown, and we actually got to the Cathedral at a reasonable hour.

I was a ball of nerves. I was so wired, and I couldn't stop sweating. My RCIA teacher let Dan sit with me during the ceremony, so he had a primo seat in the front row in front of the baptismal font. At the Cathedral, they have AC vents on the floor, so I kept standing over them to cool down, but when I would my purple robe would billow out, and I would look a bit like Violet Beauregarde from "Willy Wonka".

I finally calmed down when I was able to talk to a seminarian named Christopher. I got my candle, and we took pictures, then we lined up to go into the church.

The fire was started by the time that we got lined up and in front of the Cathedral. The Bishop, the priests, and the deacons all came out to the Fire, and it was blessed and the Pascal Candal was lit. My husband said that when the ceremony started, the lights all went out, and then it sounded like God was addressing the crowd. Bishop Grahmann has a voice like that when he's got one of those Britney Spears headset mikes on.

The song that was sung when we entered the church was one of the most beautiful I have ever heard. We have an amazing cantor at the Cathedral who is a Junior vocal major at SMU. Standing there in the darkness, focusing on the candle, I was able to really understand about the light of the world, and what I was about to do.

Even though there were seven readings, to me they went by very quickly. I was reading along in my missal because the service was bilingual, so there was a LOT of Spanish. I'm thankful I had it. My husband had a missal, too, and we were able to follow along rather nicely.

Getting baptized was pretty nifty. The Liturgy of the Saints was great. When they got to the part about St. Mary Magdalene, one of my friends looked at me with a big smile, since that's my patron saint. When we were asked the questions by the Bishop, it was very hard to say "I Do" out loud because of how emotional that I was. My sponsor held my hand the entire time I was on the stage, which I really needed.

Our baptismal font is very big, probably about four feet wide, and two feet deep. I took three steps up and two steps down to get into the font. The water was very warm. The Bishop baptized me, and after getting out of the tub and slipping when I was getting into my shoes (no fall, thank goodness), I was able to get my footing and rush into the Grand Salon to change.

All the women were going to go into the kitchen and find closets, bathrooms and nooks to change in so we would have a little privacy. I walked into the kitchen, and saw a man, which surprised me considering that I was about to get nekked. I asked him politely to please leave for a moment, and then I stripped down, dried off, and put on my new white outfit. I looked and smelled pretty good, so I was happy.

We all lined up to get in line for our Confirmation. It was pretty incredible to look the Bishop in the eye as he confirmed me Mary Magdalene Jude. He lightly tapped me on the cheek as he said "Peace be with you" and I said "And also with you."

I sat down and enjoyed my newly Chrism-scented forehead. Then the big event came - the Eucharist. It was so humbling to see the Eucharist prepared knowing that for the first time as a Catholic, I was to receive. I was so nervous getting up there to receive, but I was able to figure out what I was supposed to do. When I got in line for the Eucharist, instead of simply bowing or crossing, I instinctively knelt before receiving. I received on the tongue, and then took a sip of the blood of Christ.

Kneeling there, after my first communion, was one of the most intense and beautiful moments of my life. I felt so surrounded by Christ. I could still taste the wine in my mouth, and my knees were achy from kneeling so long. I felt the cool water in my hair, and the smell of Easter Lilies and Chrism oil was very strong. The sacrament hymn sounded absolutely beautiful, and occasionally I would look up at the Cross and the lilies and the Pascal candle. All five senses were overwhelmed with the moment, and I was so happy that I got teary eyed. The only prayer I could pray that night was, "Thank you, Lord, for your sacrafice and for everything." It was amazing. Just writing about it is bringing back all those emotions and feelings.

After it was over, we went to Cafe Brazil and I ate the best migas on the planet. They were quite tasty.

And last night, I slept the most peaceful sleep I have had in a very long time.

Editing Blog


If you see something terribly squirrley, come back in a few hours and it should be fixed. Thanks for your patience.

Check it out, I'm Catholic!

Ok, so today has been a whirlwind. I was able to get my Crocs and have a nice brunch, and then I took a 3 1/2 hour nap today. Apparently I was tired.

I'll tell you all about the baptism tomorrow. But I thought you might enjoy a little picture of me as a big grape getting baptized by the Bishop. You can see me standing in the water, with the Bishop pouring water over my head with a silver pitcher. As I sit here writing this blog entry, my hair is still a little wet and I can smell the Chrism oil on my forehead. Things are good.

I'm planning on going to the Noon Mass at St. Jude's tomorrow, so I should get to bed, so that I can get a little bit of sleep. Tomorrow I can go to Mass just like a regular Catholic for an Easter service!

Also, I'm planning on working on my template tomorrow, so it might look a little goofy. But I'll try to post the Big Baptism update before I start going crazy with the template blog.

Saturday, April 15


I just got back from going to the rehearsal for the vigil at the Cathedral. It was kind of confusing, and I worry that all the people are going to get confused en masse and it's going to be a big mess. We got our purple robes, so I can get it nice and ironed before I go up there.

My best friend Michael is supposed to be coming to the Vigil, so we'll see. If he does, he and Dan can sit together. If Michael doesn't come, I've made arrangements for Dan to sit with me.

My sponsor didn't show this morning, but I called her as soon as I got home, and she said she didn't realize there was a rehearsal, but she'll be there at 7p.

I was able to find a nice white blouse and white skirt. It was one of those wrinkled-styled skirts, but Dan spent an hour last night ironing it. I don't know what I did in the past to find a husband who not only isn't into sports, but also enjoys ironing. He's a catch, that's for sure.

We still need to get some Crocks for me, so I'm going to make a few calls and find out where they sell white Crocs and get some this morning.

Friday, April 14

Holy Thursday and Good Friday

I spent all day yesterday at the Notre Dame school. It was more rewarding that I could have imagined. I pray that a position opens up there so that I can serve the students. I got to help the middle school grades in their social studies class, which was very interesting. I also talked to the principal and she seemed positive about the interview, so we'll have to see.

I went to Holy Thursday service at the Cathedral. I was sitting with Nancy, one of the sponsors in my class, and she said that normally the group chosen to have their feet washed is both men and women. But this is the first year, she said, that the Bishop selected all men to have their feet washed, including a little baby. There was a set of twins who were taking their first communion during the Mass, and they looked very cute in matching white dresses and tiaras.

Today, Good Friday, has been much more exhausting that I would have thought. I have truly been fasting today, with no food or drink since I've woken up this morning. I started my day with the Morning Prayers from Liturgy of the Hours, and then I took a shower and got to the Chapel early. I spent time praying and reading until Mass started. And I'm so glad I went to the Chapel. They had six Dominican priests there, and they were all wearing their white albs and garments, with a black cape over it and a red stole over the whole outfit. It was very neat looking. The Dominicans all read the different parts the Gospel, and it was as moving as Sunday's gospel was.

Veneration of the Cross was extremely moving for me. It was the first time I have gotten up with everyone and done something at the front of the church. It was very humbling to kneel in front of the Cross and to touch it. When I went back to my pew, I was very choked up.

After the service was over, I stayed in my pew and read the Passion in all four gospels. I also prayed a lot, and read other things from the Magnificat and the Dolorous Passion of the Christ. I imagined myself to be waiting as my patron saint, Mary Magdalene, waited, suffering along with Christ, and waiting for the agony to end. At 3p, one of the Dominican seminarians, Dominic, led us in the Stations of the Cross. It was a set of prayers put together by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and revised by Thomas M. Santa, C.SS.R. At the end of almost every station, the prayer said, "I love you, Jesus my love, with all my heart, and I repent of ever having offended you. Grant that I may love you always, and then do with me as you will." I thought that was very beautiful.

Tonight, after eating a decent dinner because I am seriously hungry, I have to go shopping for things for tomorrow. I need to pick up a pair of waterproof shoes to wear after I get baptized, so that I don't ruin a pair of shoes by dripping baptism water all over them. I also need to get a white t-shirt to wear for underneath my purple gown. I would like to find a nice white blouse and black skirt to wear after the baptism, for the confirmation. If I don't get chrism oil all over it, I could even wear it again which would be nice. I want to get gift certificates for my teachers for a dinner and a movie, because they've spent so many nights helping us I thought they deserved a night for just the two of them. I need to get some cash for the offering during the Easter Vigil. I'd like to get some nice cards for my sponsor and my friend Nancy, who have been so helpful in my RCIA process. Oh, and I would like to get a white satin clip for my hair, if I can find a white shirt to wear. I'll have to pull it back after I get baptized. I think I might just get baptized with my hair in a ponytail, and then just brush it again when I get back in the back to change out of the wet clothes.

I'm getting baptized tomorrow. Wow.

Thursday, April 13

Say a prayer for me

Today's blogging will be light. Today is the day I get to spend at the Notre Dame school for special needs students. I am going to use the day to help me try to discern a change in vocation, possibly going into teaching and using my Special Ed degree. I am seriously considering this and today is really going to give me a lay of the land, so to speak, and help me to decide if this is something I would like to pursue.

Please pray for me today that I will be open and willing to accept any call or guidance that God may want to give me. It's going to be fun, that's for sure.

Wednesday, April 12


I'm planning on doing a redesign of this site for after Easter. I have a general idea of what I want to do with the body of the blog, but the problem is that I am really lousy in Photoshop. I'd like to use a certain picture (you can go to it on my flickr account and view the picture here) in a header graphic, except that I can't figure out how to crop it and make it look good as a header.

If someone who reads my blog would be willing to edit this picture and put the title of "Mormon 2 Catholic" on it, I would be very very very grateful. You can either e-mail it to me or post a link to it in the comments here.

Mass today

I like going to mass on vacation because I get to go with my friend L. She's a catechumen, too. When they were doing the communion part of the Mass, she turns to me and says, "This is the last mass that we'll go to where we don't get to have communion. The next mass we go to, we'll be receiving." My friend L ROCKS!

Christian Prayer

My friend L, for an Easter present, gave me a copy of the book of Christian Prayer. It's a 1-book version of the Liturgy of the Hours. I always wondered why people said it was complicated. Now I know. Holy cow, I don't know if I'm EVER going to get it figured out! I think I'll buy a book on how to use it from the bookstore next time I go there. Wow, is it confusing!

I do think, though, that it will be a rewarding thing to learn how to use. I need all the help in prayer that I can get!

Chrism Mass

My friend L and I went to the Diocese of Dallas's Chrism Mass last night. That is the mass where they bless all of the oils used for annointing for the entire year, including the Vigil Mass. The base of each oil is Olive Oil, and different oils with various scents are blended into the oil and make each oil slightly different. They bless the Oil of the Sick, which they use for the Annointing of the Sick sacrament, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is used to bless the Catechumens before they get baptized. I talked about my blessing with the Oil of the Catechumens in this post.

The most important oil, at least for me this Easter season, is the blessing of the Chrism Oil. The Chrism Oil is what they use for confirmation and for holy orders. After I get baptized on Sunday, I will be confirmed a member of the Catholic church.

My friend L and I got there at 6:15 for the mass, which started at 7:30. The Cathedral was almost full already. We found a seat on the last row. By 7:00, the place was completely packed, and people were starting to take up Standing Room Only places to watch the Mass. We were seated right next to the entrance door, so we got good whiffs of the incense used and we got to get a good view of all of the deacons and priests as they came into the chapel. It was very impressive. They also had an excellent choir and the cantor was one of my favorites from the Cathedral.

The homily and the blessings were very moving and interesting. After the blessing of the oils, we had a Breaking of the Word. L was rather shy about going up, but I was able to persuade her to come up with me. We got a special blessing from the Bishop as catechumens, then we walked out the door. We had a special Breaking of the Word class with the head of RCIA for the diocese. That was very special. Linda really enjoyed that part.

I'm so glad we were able to go. We were even able to see a few deacons and priests that we knew. It was a very spiritual experience to see the actual oil that they are going to use to annoint us being mixed and blessed.

Please pray for these people

I have a sincere prayer request for the writers of the following e-mail. Steve, Cindy and their two sons have been in our RCIA class since the beginning. Steve and Steve Jr. have had serious health problems the past couple of months. This is an e-mail that I received. If you could say a prayer that this family's health stay well enough for all of them to come into the church during Easter Vigil, I would greatly appreciate it. I've been closer to the parents of this family than just about anyone else in my class. They are sincere and love Christ with all of their heart, and it will be an honor to come into the Church with them.

Please pray for us tomorrow. Steve (Dad) is going to have a cardiac cath in the morning at 8 am. He will be at Medical City. They have found he has a blockage of some type and they hope it is just one. If so he will just be there for one day and will hopefully come home Friday. We are praying for that as if it is more that one he will have to have open heart surgery. IF this happens he will probably not make the vigil.

Tuesday, April 11

Lord hear our prayer ...

For Brad and his girlfriend (and for the repose of his girlfriend's grandmother's soul)

For Fr. Victor Celio and his continued recovery

For the ministry of St. Jude Chapel

For my friend L, and for her parents to have their hearts softened towards the Catholic church

For my friend Jim, suffering from pnemonia

For the wife of FaithfulServant, who is in the hospital with multiple complications

For all of the Catechumens on their final stretch towards Easter Vigil

Monday, April 10


As of today, I am on my Becoming Catholic vacation. I've got four more days, and then Saturday Morning I'm going in for my Easter Vigil rehearsal, and then a few hours later I become Catholic. It's been nuts.

I apologize for my light blogging as of late. I do a lot of blogging at my job because I don't really like my job, and I tend to blog instead of work. Well, this past week I had to play catch-up at work for all the things I neglected to do while blogging, and I had to get it done by Friday or I wasn't going to get to go on vacation. It all got done.

I suppose I should catch you up a little on what's been going on in my life. On Wednesday night, I brought up the subject of the MegaMarch to my RCIA classmates. I suggested that Breaking of the Word be cancelled for Sunday because of the march, but all my classmates and my teachers said that they really wanted to have Breaking of the Word and that the crowds didn't scare them. I went to an early Mass at the Chapel on Sunday because I was going to skip the Noon mass at the Cathedral, but then I started feeling guilty that everyone else in my class was going to the Breaking of the Word and I was wussing out. I had my husband drive me within a few blocks of the Cathedral, and I walked the rest of the way. It was a madhouse. In case you missed it, it looked a little like this (you can see the Cathedral in the lower left hand corner of the pic):

So I get there and ... yep, I'm the only one from my class there! Holy cow. So finally 10 minutes after the Mass started, two of my RCIA classmates show up. I was rather irked. No sponsors, no teachers, and only two classmates. Ugh.

Today I went to Daily Mass and got to sit with my friend L. She has resolved her issues with the Chapel and feels comfortable attending there again, which makes me happy. After L got off of work, I met her up at the Chapel and we cut up the blessed palms that were not distributed this year during Mass, and buried them in the flowerbed outside of the church. Then some lilies were delivered for the Sunday services, and we carried them upstairs to be stored until they are put out on Sunday.

We received sad news during Sunday mass at the Chapel. Apparently it has been made official that Fr. Celio will no longer be serving at St. Jude Chapel. His medical problems have become very extensive, and the time that it will take for him to recover will be quite long, so they're going to bring in a temporary head until the Dominican Priory and the Diocese of Dallas can figure out what is best for the chapel. However, if anyone cares to send letters to the Dominican Priory in Irving for Fr. Celio, they will make sure that he receives them. I will get that address this week and would be happy to get that to anyone who sends me an e-mail about it.

On a lighter note, when I signed my lease, I was given the option of either having a free clubroom rental or a free maid service. Since my place always has a perpetual layer of dust and cat hair, I opted for the maid service. I decided to schedule the maid service for today, my first day of Becoming Catholic vacation. The cleaning crew came in and scrubbed my tub and cleaned my floors very nicely and dusted everything. So I'm happy. I wanted to have a nice, clean, stress-free environment to be able to pray and contemplate this decision that I'm making.

On Saturday, my husband looked at me and said, "So .... you're really going to do this then?" And it kind of hit me like a rock, and scared me, that yeah, I guess I'm really going to do this. That's kind of a scary thought on a lot of levels.

I'll write more tomorrow. I just wanted to let you, my faithful readers, in on where I've been and to let you know that I hadn't died or I wasn't lying in a coma somewhere or anything.

Saturday, April 8

Found this link on Gerald Augustine's blog

Chronicle of a Meandering Traveller: Palm weaving instructions-- practice now!

Thursday, April 6

Holy Week Meme

I never ever get tagged for memes, so I figured if the 2006 Best Catholic Blog by a Woman author tags me, I should go ahead and do it. Plus, I owe her, because every time she plugs my blog I get twice the average hits in one day.

Lent is almost over and this Sunday is Palm Sunday already! I thought it would be fun to share what we do special to commemorate the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord.

1. What do you do with your new blessed palm from Palm Sunday?

This is my first Palm Sunday going to a Catholic Mass, since I'm a convert and all. I plan on putting it behind my Crucifix near my bed. I figure that's festive, right?

2. What do you do with your old one from last year?
See #1

3. What do you do during Holy Week in preparation for Good Friday?

I'm taking the entire week off of work. I call it my "Becoming Catholic" vacation. I'm going to go to Mass every day at the Cathedral, except Sunday where it's going to be too insane. I'll most probably go to the Chapel in the morning to receive my blessed palm.

I'm also planning on going to the Chrism Mass on Tuesday evening with my friend L, and to the Holy Thursday evening Mass. On Thursday, I am going to be volunteering at a Catholic school for special needs children all day to help with my vocation discernment. On Good Friday, I plan on fasting, praying, reading, and really preparing for Easter Vigil spiritually.

4. How do you commemorate Christ's Passion on Good Friday?

I plan on going to Mass, as well as hopefully doing a Stations of the Cross that day on my own.

5. When do you color Easter eggs?
No kids, no Easter eggs.

6. When do you buy Easter candy?

The day after Easter because it's 50% off. I love those malted milk balls with the speckled candy shell! I'm also very partial to Jelly Bellies. That has nothing to do with Easter, I just really like them.

7. What is the first thing you plan to do Easter morning?


I don't know that many bloggers who read my blog, but I'll tag Brad, Lilder, and anyone else who wants to do it. Just say I tagged you. :)

MEGAMARCH Route Details

This e-mail was forwarded to me by a friend who works in Thanksgiving Tower and verified by the daytime supervisor of the Downtown Safety Patrol.

An estimated 25,000 - 150,000 people will participate in a march on Sunday, April 9, 2006. As a result, movement in and around Downtown will be very difficult throughout the day. The march is expected to begin at approx. 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Ross Avenue and Pearl Street, proceed west on Ross Avenue, south on Griffin Street, east on Commerce Street, south on Ervay Street and conclude with a rally at City Hall Plaza.

Depending on the actual size of the crowd, the march could take considerable time to complete. It is anticipated that crowds will disperse from City Hall by 5:00 p.m. Please plan for disruption of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in these areas between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

DART service will be disrupted during the event and the West Transfer Center may be closed during the march. All streets along the march route will be closed until all participants have passed.

Other large events occurring Downtown at the same time include the Dallas Auto Show at the Convention Center and the Deep Ellum Arts Festival.

The Dallas Police Department, working with local government agencies and Downtown Safety Patrol, has allocated a large amount of resources for this event.

We will inform you if we receive any additional information regarding this event.

Wednesday, April 5

Public Service Announcement

Megamarch, April 9th in downtown Dallas

This political march event is looking to be HUGE. If you can go to a Mass other than any at the Cathedral this day, it is highly advised. I've got an e-mail in to the contact on the web page and a post on the Yahoo boards trying to find out the route. As a downtown resident, this is not only going to mess with my being able to go to my usual Mass at the Cathedral, but it's also going to mess up any plans I have of getting out of downtown.

I wish this political movement could have waited two weeks, until Easter was over. I understand the reasonings behind the timing for the marches, but I'm still a touch irked. My Palm Sunday is going to be hosed. This is the last time that our RCIA class was going to get to meet in Mass, plus this is my first Palm Sunday as a Catholic. I'll probably end up going to the early morning Mass at St. Jude.

I e-mailed my RCIA teachers about this but have gotten no response so far. I'm sure we'll talk about it tonight. Maybe our class can go to Vigil Mass together or something. I'll keep the blog posted as I receive information.

UPDATE: I just e-mailed my City Councilperson, Angela Hunt, to see if she could find out the march route information. Ms. Hunt is an excellent councilperson and I'm so glad she got elected. I'm sure she'll respond as soon as she has time to get the information.

Tuesday, April 4

My clock broke

My countdown clock broke, so I took it off the page. But you get the idea. We're close. Darn close.


I'll be volunteering at the Notre Dame school on Thursday, April 13th, all day. Whoo hoo!

While they don't have any positions in the high school open, there is a position open in the elementary school. So I'm going to talk to the principal about it while I'm there.

Monday, April 3

This should make Mass fun on Sunday

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. My first Palm Sunday. And this huge march is starting at Noon, the same time as my Mass is supposed to start. The last march they had, that was much less formal, still had close to a thousand people there. I'm scared to be there at Noon on Sunday. It's almost going to be impossible to walk there, let alone drive there.

I already e-mailed my RCIA teacher to see if maybe I should go to the Chapel services next Sunday instead of trying to brave the crowds.

The link takes you to the web site, but you have to be a registered user to see the story.

Cathedral urges worshippers to march
Dallas: Church officials invite all to protest immigration proposals

06:33 AM CDT on Monday, April 3, 2006

Officials at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe encouraged the congregation there Sunday to participate in a march for the legalization of undocumented immigrants set to take place downtown on Sunday.

Cathedral Rector Father Ramón Álvarez said the announcement was to be made at the end of each of the six Masses that take place there on Sundays.

"The people are invited, and those who want to participate in an orderly fashion may peacefully give their opinion," Father Álvarez said.

The march is to begin at noon Palm Sunday in front of the cathedral at 2215 Ross Ave. and end in front of Dallas City Hall.

Pastor Marcos Rico, state coordinator of Esperanza de Texas evangelical churches, said that Christian ministers affiliated with that group made a similar call to their congregations.

"We believe that an immigration agreement is necessary, as well as a stop to laws that incriminate those of us who help undocumented people," said Mr. Rico. "We want children and youth to attend, and we are getting people to take a palm branch, which symbolizes the triumphal entry of Jesus" into Jerusalem.

Unlike protests last week that were orchestrated by students using cellphones and the Internet, Sunday's march is being coordinated by the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Domingo García, LULAC's national civil rights chairman, said his group asked different churches to invite their congregations to the march.

"It's a call we really appreciate," he said.

Church participation in the immigration debate could increase the size of the crowd at Sunday's march, said José Ángel Gutiérrez, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"This is the beginning of a social movement of the 21st century," said Mr. Gutiérrez, adding that it is time the Catholic Church makes public its position in the immigration debate.

St. Benedict Medal

I've recently started wearing a St. Benedict Jubilee medal. For some reason, I really like the medal. I felt that a crucifix would be too intense for me to wear on a regular basis, and I wasn't quite ready to wear a Mary medal, either. But wearing the St. Benedict medal makes me feel closer to God. I can feel the cross on me, and that I am carrying it.

It makes me feel closer and feel more connected to the history of the church when I wear this medal. I look at the blessings in Latin, and like to think of the meanings. From the EWTN web site:



This old and powerful sacramental deserves an in-depth treatment, as it gives a kind of practical incarnation of the main purpose of this book. This medal has long been regarded as especially efficacious in protecting its wearers against demonic attacks, and securing a number of special graces. Let us take a closer look at the inscriptions on its two sides.

On the front of the medal we find St. Benedict holding a Cross in one hand, and the Rule of St. Benedict in the other. At his sides are the words "Crux S. Patris Benedicti" ("The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict"), and below his feet: "Ex S M Casino MDCCCLXXX" ("From the holy mount of Casino, 1880"). On that date, Monte Cassino was given the exclusive right to produce this medal, and special Jubilee indulgences were added. Still on this front side of the medal we find inscribed in a circle the words:

"Ejus in obitu nostro presentia muniamur" ("May his presence protect us in our hour of death").

The reverse side of the medal is where the real exorcistic force reveals itself. In the center is a Cross. The Cross, which St. Benedict so loved and often used as a powerful exorcism, is the sign before which even Dracula shrinked. The vertical beam of the Cross bears the letters C.S.S.M.L., and the horizontal beam, the letters N.D.S.M.D. These are the first letters of the words:

CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX, May the Holy Cross be a light unto me,
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX. And may the Dragon never be my guide.

The four large letters at the corners of the Cross, C S P B, stand for CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI: The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict.

We are not through yet. In addition to the "Pax" ("peace") motto at the top, we find the following letters in a circle around the margin of this side: V.R.S.N.S.M.V.: S.M.Q.L.I.V.B. It almost looks masonic; except, of course, the Benedictines are quite willing to tell you what the letters stand for, and they are enough to make any secret society get the shakes:

Get behind me, Satan; Never suggest vain thoughts to me.

The cup you offer is evil;

Drink the poison yourself!

Sunday, April 2

Johnny B Goode

There's a quote from Teresa of Avila, who is very quickly becoming one of my favorite saints. She said, "Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices." That is a very profound statement from a very spiritual woman. Something I've had to learn being Catholic is that what I can do is enough, and if I fall, I can be forgiven. To quote another wise man, my RCIA teacher, "No matter how hard you try, you can't be Jesus."

One thing I struggle with being Catholic is that All or Nothing mentality I had when I was Mormon. If I wasn't perfect, I was a failure. If I didn't read the scriptures every day, and pray morning and night and do my callings and go to church every Sunday yadda yadda yadda I was living in sin and was a "bad Mormon."

I set quite a few goals at the beginning of Lent. Some I have kept, some I have let fall to the wayside.

One goal was my sacrafice goal. I pleged to give up all drinks except for water and juices. Yeah, this got old fast. Other than about 5 sips of drinks that were not water or juice, I'm doing well. I have been drinking sparkling water and water with lime a lot, but still nothing with sugar or caffeine.

I also pledged to say the Divine Rosary every day, which I've done almost every day. Not quite every day, but close.

I made a pledge to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament every day. I did this for a few weeks, but then started to really feel burned out. My friend L told me that it took her years before she felt ready to go to Mass every day, and to not get burned out. Take baby steps if I needed to. I stopped going as often, although still spending a lot of time at churches, and I felt better. I didn't need to push myself so much. Plus it's made the times when I can get in front of the tabernacle for a while very special.

I'm still spending a lot of time Being Catholic this Lent. But I do what I can, and pray constantly for guidance, and I feel like I'm doing well. I have 13 days to figure out how ready I really am. I don't know if I'll ever feel totally ready. I just keep telling myself, God alone suffices. That's all I need. As long as I keep my eyes towards God, all else will work itself out. I don't need to pressure myself to be Mrs SuperCatholic at this stage. When I'm ready to begin a devotion in my life to draw myself closer to Christ, it will come.

It doesn't matter what speed I'm going as long as I'm headed in the right direction.