Monday, November 28, 2005


Well, I have been working for several hours on the .html code for this blog, trying ardently to be able to personalize the sidebar. Thanks to a friend, I have pages of code in front of me to copy and paste. However, it took some exploring; since she and I are using different templates for our blogs, some things had to be adjusted and moved. In any case, I could not have done it without her very kind assistance, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

To show my thanks, I am adding a link to a project of mutual importance:

Lest we forget at our tables of plenty, there are many still hungering, aching, longing to once again behold homes of their own. In the meantime, they hope to have at least a place to lay their heads, a bowl of soup to feed their stomachs, and The Word on which to fill their hearts and rest their souls.

In Remembrance

This is a week of many remembrances.

Tomorrow, November 29th, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day. Pacifist and advocate for the poor and marginalized, Dorothy Day is known as co-founder of "The Catholic Worker" movement.

While there are many now well-known people who made a preferential option for the poor, Dorothy Day stands out among them for a number of reasons. First and foremost, living as simply as she did and doing so by choice was about as countercultural as one could imagine. She espoused real world poverty and made it "holy" by her love for those who possessed the least in the eyes of the world. Simultaneously she recognized the intrinsic and inherent link between peace and justice and sought to illuminate the darkness that peacelessness, injustice, and war flooded upon the world one life at a time.

At our parish Church tomorrow evening, the Liturgy Committee together with the parish chapter of Pax Christi (Credo Pax Christi="I believe in the peace of Christ") will gather for Evening Prayer followed by a Candlight Vigil for Peace and a Litany of Peace for the People of the World.

Join us from wherever you are in recommitting ourselves to peace and justice in the worlds in which we "live, move, and have our Being."

For more on the life of Dorothy Day or The Catholic Worker, visit The Catholic Worker Online

Some interesting biographical information is also available on an unofficial site maintained by a fan of Dorothy Day and The Catholic Worker at More on Dorothy Day

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Quiz Scores

I am pleased to report that a few people have taken me up on the invitation to take my quiz. So far my sister has achieved the top score (but I need to figure out which answer she got wrong). A couple of my good friends from college have taken it as have a few new blogger friends. I have to admit that I really wasn't sure what questions to use so I came up with an assortment of somewhat ecclectic questions. I thought they were somewhat out of the ordinary and so would be fun to consider.

Hope to see a few more quiz scores posted (and hope a few more friends will make quizzes of their own that I can take :).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Take My Quiz

Ok, I did it - I created a quiz. Take my Quiz on! Please stop by and give it a try! It will be fun.

What a surprise!

I have been well-acquainted with the worldwide web for a long time but only recently discovered blogging as an equally powerful method of communication.

Today I happily discovered that Sister Helen Prejean, csj has a blog of her own:

Pay her a visit! It's worth the trip.

Center Court

For those of you who are fans of professional basketball, check out my related blog, Center Court 2006.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Reflection

It's Thanksgiving here in the United States, a national holiday which for believers has come to have a significantly religious dimension. Actually it strikes me as I write this, that it is perhaps the most significant national holiday and interestingly the most religious of national "secular" holidays. The observation confirms for me that the separation of Church and State that characterizes U.S. democracy and religious freedom was not intended by the founding souls to mean an absence of religion from public life but rather to generate and sustain a climate in which the free expression of religious belief was tolerated (in the true sense of the word, not the minimalist one) and promoted.

Historically, Thanksgiving is complicated. The pilgrims sat down to a meal with the Natives to give thanks to the Creator for the blessings, that seems clear and straightforward. But let's not forget the price that the Natives and the native land have paid for colonialism. In thanksgiving, I pray for the lives and land lost as well for the freedoms and opportunities gained. One doesn't truly balance the other, but at this point, they are both fact and a part of the complex history of humanity. As beneficiaries of such a legacy, we must use what we have inherited for the betterment of all of humanity and the glory of God the Creator.

Religiously, Thanksgiving is a unique moment, one in which the nature of living a Eucharistic life (or at least trying ardently to do) is highlighted by this national pause to give thanks. For Christians, especially for Catholics who enjoy the immeasurable grace of the Holy Eucharist, "Thanksgiving" is what we are called to be each and every time we approach the altar of sacrifice and receive into our beings the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the very existence of God in sacramental form. So, in that sense, this national holiday can be a day of moving internal renewal when we realize that this is what are called to be each and every day: living witness of the Body of Christ, giving thanks, giving glory, feeding and making whole through our own presence to others.

Personally, Thanksgiving is truly bittersweet. It's a great day to be with family and friends and enjoy the gift of presence. It's also the last holiday we had a a whole family, the last holiday we enjoyed with my father physically still with us. Our last Thanksgiving as a family was perhaps the most simple but without knowing it also the most meaningful. It was the most stress-free Thanksgiving we had had in many decades, if not ever. It was a simple homecooked meal with the most important fixings, a family enjoying each other's company. I still miss my Dad very much, and I always will even thought I know he's still with me in a different way.

That said, I realize I have a lot to for which to be grateful, year after year and especially this year.

God's grace sustains me. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

My family loves me. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

My friends are my family. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I was able to be there for my cousin after his wife died suddenly. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I was graced to be reunited with a long lost friend after more than a decade and have the opportunity to visit him and see the parish where he is now a pastor. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I have a parish community with a precious pastoral team that has made a home for the soul. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I am blessed with a wonderful religious community of which I am a lay associate and a wonderful circle of religious friends from a variety of communities. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I have had the blessing of adopting two wonderful dogs this past year and, together with my friend, providing them with a loving home. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I have entered the world of weblogging and the circle of life that surrounds me has been expanded. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

I have had, amidst the worries and challenges of every day life, many moments of grace this past. For that I say, "Thank you, God."

To each of you who grace my life with love and blessings, I pray in song the words of St. Paul:

"I thank my God each time I remember you,
which is constantly,
praising God for the blessings I have known
through your love."

What is the melody for your litany of thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"When in Our Music God is Glorified ..."

This opening line of a majestic hymn is an ever so fitting way to mark today's feast, the Feast of Saint Cecilia who is, among other things, the patroness of singers, musicians, and music ministers.

Music, especially Catholic liturgical music, is an essential part of whom I am and my life's journey to this point (even during periods when I am not actively engaged as a music minister).

I thought, in light of today's feast, it would be nice to pose the question:

What are some of your favorite liturgical music hymns or songs? And why? What makes that music special for you?

Other replies, like favorite composers for example, are also welcome.

One of those "Fun" Tests

Ok, I'll admit it: I am not a big fan of online "tests" nor of the word "stupid." However, I decided to give the link on Steph's site a try and actually this one was not too bad since it contained a number of "read the wording of these questions closely" questions. So I thought I'd post the link here for those who might want to give it a look:

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Fairly Smart!" How Not Stupid are you? Click here to find out!

I think I figured out the question that cost me ranking "Pretty Smart" but can't tell you which one it is now :)

It's rainy here, the edge of a Nor'Easter from what I can gather so it's a perfect day for quizzes like this I guess.

What I am looking for is an online, free access version of Sudoku, the number puzzle. If anyone knows of one, I'd appreciate the URL for it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Another Recommended Blog

This is another worthwhile blog I have discovered,
  • Novitate Notes

  • by Joe K., a novice with the Jesuits.

    He has some very interesting and thought-provoking reflections on Catholicity and the formation of Catholic identity through parochial school versus public school training prompted by the Alito nomination.

    It's worth a visit! He makes some really sharp observations about the distinctions many of us Catholics have held culturally with regard to Catholic School formation versus public school formation.

    More on that later ...

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Some of my favorite blogs ...

    I have been trying to fancying up my blog a bit. Thanks to a friend, I am able to write the .html code to do it, but I am still having trouble placing it in the correct place in my template's .html (I will keep trying).

    In the meantime, I'd like to post links here to a few of my favorite blogs, ones I have been visiting for a while now:

    Noteworthy Blogs

      These are a few to start. They are well worth the visit!

    • Nunblog by S. Anne Joan fsp

    • Open Wide the Doors to Christ by S. Lorraine fsp

    • A Peek at the Pauline Charism Renewal Course in Rome with S. Bernadette fsp

    • An International Preparation for Perpetual Profession with S. Donna Jean fsp

    • Catholic News and Views by S. Kathryn James fsp and the Pauline Editors

    • Other Blogs Worth Checking Out

      • Musings by a Discerning Woman

      • Susan Rose, the author of Musings, is a candidate with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace - Our Lady's Province (Western US). She shares some very personal insights regarding her journey.
      • Check out Jesuit Mark Mossa's Blog

      • An Insightful Glimpse at the Daily Life of a Paulist Priest in New York City

      • Crying Out in the Wilderness

      • Narrow at the Outset

      • This blogger, a junior professed Benedictine Sister, offers a range of issues to consider drawn from her daily ministry.
      • Sollicitudo Rei Socialis

      • There's a team in charge of this blog, and each member takes a turn with the day's message on a current social issue or world event.

        Take a few visits, and let me know what you think ...

        Disclaimer: Whatever I should say in terms of disclaimer, consider it said.


        Thursday, November 10, 2005

        How did I fare?

        Well, not so well considering :)

        The weather was good so I should have been more confident in predicting the win for the Democrats. I was certain that good weather would mean a good turnout, but I just wasn't certain that folks were going to vote along party lines this time around.

        So here's how the election turned out:



        My prediction: The Republican Candidate, by a slight margin. A win is a win from the point of view of the victor, but the count will be so close that it will fail to demonstrate any mandate from the people. Also, several Independent Candidates including an opthalmologist and an opposition candidate will have respectable showings.

        Election Result: Actually the Democratic Candidate won by more than a slight a margin once all was "said and done." A double digit lead by the end of the night! Proof that good weather definitely works in favor of the Democrats, at least here.


        My prediction: Both incumbent Democratic Candidates will be reelected.
        Election Result: Both incumbent Democratic Candidates won reelection. *Score: 100*


        My prediction: The incumbent Republican will be reelected by probably the widest margin of any county-wide candidate.
        Election Result: As of now, the Democratic Candidate appears to be the winner by .5% -- yes, half of one percent. The incumbent Republican Candidate has not conceded and will not until the election is certified. As of this morning, there were 700 provisional ballots to be considered still.


        My prediction: The incumbent Democrat will be reelected by a slim margin with the Republican challenger garnering a greater showing that most anticipated.
        Election result: Actually, the Democrat won by more than a slight margin, but as predicted, the Republican Challenger drew a much higher than expected percentage: 42%.


        My prediction: A young Republican Candidate will be elected to his first term, and one of the incumbent Democrats, the female candidate, will be reelected.
        Election result: Ok, I was half right: The female Democrat won, but so did the male. Given the respectable showing by the young Republican, I am rather certain he will be elected one day soon.


        My prediction: Both Republican Candidates will win the local election.
        Election result: The incumbent Republican came in first and clearly holds his seat on council, along with the wide support of the voting community. As of election night, it appeared that the incumbent Democrat also retains his seat for the moment. But there are some technical issues pending before this election can be finalized.

        Interestingly, voter turnout seemed very high on Tuesday, but according to state voting records it was NOT as high as the 2001 gubernatorial election which led Jim McGreevey to the statehouse.

        Interesting, very interesting ...

        Tuesday, November 08, 2005

        Election Day 2005

        In some ways, a non-presidential election can garner minimal interest. But this year in New Jersey, the gubernatorial race, while not extremely compelling, has garnered interest and combined with the good weather today appears to have motivated people to go and vote.

        Voter turnout is important and can be a source of discouragement or encouragement, depending on how you look at it and what the circumstances are.

        Statewide, New Jerseyans faced the choice of two millionaires for governor. What an interesting conundrum on that point alone, never mind the rest of the factors to consider.

        Then each state legislative district across the state had votes for two assembly seats.

        Locally, on the county level, this county had two freeholder seats, county sheriff, and county clerk. On the municipal level, we have likely the most interesting race this time around, two seats in a partisan race for township council.

        It's 6:30 pm, and the New Jersey polls are open until 8 pm. It won't be until around 9 pm that results will have any certainty to them.

        With my interest in politics, governments, and elections running deep, I have to take a look at what's going on back home. But that'll be for later. For now, let me share my predictions about the gubernatorial race.

        This is the first time in a long time that I don't feel confident in making my prediction about a high profile race, this time the race for governor. While I have been pretty accurate in my predictions about the election in general, the race has been extremely close and with the dual-sided negative campaigning of the past few days together with the good weather today, it's bound to be an extremely close race that won't be certified until the final hour with plenty of back and forth to court for recounts, voting machine openings, and absentee ballot challenges.

        That said, I wouldn't be me if I didn't take the chance of a prediction, noting that the predictions should not be construed as reflecting/not reflecting my preferences.


        GOVERNOR: The Republican Candidate, by a slight margin. A win is a win from the point of view of the victor, but the count will be so close that it will fail to demonstrate any mandate from the people. Also, several Independent Candidates including an opthalmologist and an opposition candidate will have respectable showings.

        ASSEMBLY: Both incumbent Democratic Candidates will be reelected.

        COUNTY CLERK: The incumbent Republican will be reelected by probably the widest margin of any county-wide candidate.

        SHERIFF: The incumbent Democrat will be reelected by a slim margin with the Republican challenger garnering a greater showing that most anticipated.

        FREEHOLDER: A young Republican Candidate will be elected to his first term, and one of the incumbent Democrats, the female candidate, will be reelected.

        TOWNSHIP COUNCIL: Both Republican Candidates will win the local election.

        I will let you know later how I fared as far as my predictions.