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Did you get your “ash on” this week? I cantored for the noon Ash Wednesday Mass at Saint Francis of Assisi and was passed over during the imposition of ashes. As much as I wanted to proudly wear my symbol that marks the beginning of Lent, there was no Catholic “coming-out” party for me on Wednesday.
Yesterday at the parish, the front-office staff and I were joking about all the funny calls that came in this week regarding Ash Wednesday. Here are two of my favorites:
Caller: What times are Ash Wednesday Masses?
Staffer: 7, 9, noon, 5:30, and 7:15 pm.
Caller: So what time is the noon Mass?
Staffer: Straight up noon.
And hereâ€™s my other favorite.
Caller: Can I just come into the office and get my ashes?
No response necessary!
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The Power of the Cross. Discerning Hearts, the morning show program onÂ KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio out of Omaha, was promoting the book The Power of the Cross byÂ Michael Dubruiel which is “a truly exceptional meditation on the Cross of Christ which serves beautifully as a source for reflection . . . that is particularly poignant and compelling during the weeks of Lent.”
Dubruiel died unexpectedly in February 2009, but his gifts continue to be shared through his books. Michaelâ€™s wife, Amy Welborn, another well-known author, has made The Power of the Cross available for purchase as an e-book for just $3.00.Â Father Benedict Groeschel has this to say: “This is a book that can be spiritually helpful for us all, especially when we are confronted by the suffering which is so much a part of every human life.
While I didn’t need another title to add to my “to-read” list this Lent, I am making room for this one; thanks to Amy for making it available at a low cost.
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Thanks to the Maximus Group, we were invited to view a screening of the movie Soul Surfer, a true story of Christian, competitive teen surfer, and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm while surfing. Her story has attracted a lot of media attention, so you may have seen and heard bits of it already.
Lack of free time has prevented us from writing a full-out review of the film, but I loved it, Joel loved it, and 2 1/2 year-old Lucy was even entertained through the entire film (it was her first experience in a movie theater!) The film was inspiring, life-affirming, and family-friendly. The cinematography with the beautiful ocean footage during the surf scenes was amazing (a respite from the snow that was falling the night we saw the film!), and the soundtrack deepened my emotional and spiritual connection to the movie.
This isnâ€™t simply a Christian movie you will need to suffer through to hopefully encourage Hollywood to make more faith-based movies. Given opening weekend movie sales are critical in Hollywood, go and support it when it opens in theaters everywhere on April 8.
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Evangelization Through Entertainment! Speaking of supporting theatrical events, you can now purchase The Pope of the People tickets here. I am honored to be a cast member in thisÂ new musical written by Tom Quiner that is being performed in seven Des Moines area churches as part of the Diocese’s of Des Moines ongoing 2011 Centennial celebration. Through dramatically presented song and narrative, the musical tells the story of Pope John Paul IIâ€™s visit to Poland in 1979, his impact on Poland’s Solidarity movement, and miraculous escape from death at the hands of an assassin.
One note: I will not be at the performances held at Saint Mary of Nazerth or Saint Augustin as Joel and I will be at Conception Abbey that weekend for diaconate commitments. So if you want to see me, come to one of the other five performances.
Who says swimsuits need to be itsy bitsy? By accident I stumbled upon a terrific resource for modest, vintage, Audrey Hepburn-inspired swimwear and swimsuits called Rey Swimwear.Â My e-buddy Elizabeth Hillgrove speaks very positively of the company and their products. I trust her recommendation and will be purchasing one very soon!
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Thereâ€™s strength in numbers, right? That’s the basis for Catholic Media Promotion Day. The Catholics Next Door have put their energy behind and spearheaded efforts to help get the word out about all Catholic New Media (blogs, podcasts, Catholic resources, etc.). Â On March 15, we are all encouraged to talk about about our favorite Catholic media resources that help us on our journeys to be the best “Practicing Catholics” day in and day out. So, next Tuesday, talk up your favorite Catholic resources on your Facebook pages, blogs, podcasts, radio shows, etc. In the meantime, go to this Facebook site, “Like” it, and then post your favorite resources to that site on March 15 as well. Let’s help spread the Catholic new media momentum.
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And here’s the best quote of the week from an â€œAverage Joeâ€:
“Being Catholic is more than simply following a religion. Itâ€™s a way of life.”
Amen, Joe, amen!
Hereâ€™s to a great weekend! Head over to ConversionDiary.com to read more Quick Takes.