Category Archives: marriage

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – Tucson, Arizona

My first parish.

I was baptized here, made my first holy communion, confirmed, and was also married.

It was also my grandmother’s and mother’s parish since it was located in their neighborhood.

I remember it feeling very grand walking in. I remember the sights and smells also. Burning candles or incense. Dark reds, blues, golds. Fresh flowers.

As you walked in you faced the altar that had a tall cross hanging from the ceiling upon red velvet centered behind. On either side there were niches with saints and kneelers to which you could go to and pray.

On the top balcony at entrance, this is where the organ pipes would ring out vibrating sounds. Sometimes the sounds would scare me because it always pounded out loud pitches.

I remember clearly the day of my confession. It was not inside the confessional, which I was sort of hoping for. Instead, the priest and I sat face to face in a pew near front. I guess for kids, they felt this to be the better approach than an a dark small room.

I also remember many weddings and baptisms at this parish. My family in Tucson is large, so every year it felt like there was some event to attend there.

This parish also has special significance because it so happens my husband also received all of his sacraments here as well.

Now that I’m moved away and my mom no longer lives in Tucson, I do not attend it much. There are still weddings or special masses given to which from time to time I’m there, but not as a regular Sunday participant.

With new priests and changes over the years, the altar is no longer the same. It saddens me because the original invoked many spiritual thoughts and the new appearance does not provide that for me.

In any case, I try to remember the times as a child I had there and still find it a special place that I hold close to my heart.

This was taken before all the changes were made to the altar. I want to say most here was original to what it was like when first built. Now the altar does not have any of this appearance but instead a wall with a painted cross.

On each side leading to altar are stained glass windows to this day I believe are the original. Also there are two altars aside the main altar. One with St. Therese of Lisieux and I believe St. Joseph.

I’m not sure who provided these art depictions in front of the parish, possibly the city, but this one is right in front. I love the touch it brings the community and the history of this neighborhood church.

Notre Dame – Paris, France

Whenever I get the opportunity to visit another city or town, I always try to visit one of their parishes.  Whether my husband and I attend Mass or just stopping in, my point is to always take pictures of the beauty it holds.

I remember being told that in early Christianity, many of the parishes were designed in a way that the bible was displayed in the architecture due to not having written material to distribute to the congregation. Therefore, the mosaics, stained glass, sculptures, etc. carried the stories of the bible.

Not only do I appreciate the architecture but the way each parish celebrates the Holy Mass. From traditional to contemporary. Yet no matter the approach, our Mass is the same spoken word in any area of the world. That I love!

To start, here are pics of Notre Dame in Paris. My husband and I were blessed and very fortunate to celebrate Easter Mass in 2011 at Notre Dame.  Despite the fact that I about passed out inside the packed church, due to no air circulation, I did not want to miss out receiving the Eucharist. The Mass was spoken in French, of course, but if you carry a Magnificat there is never any problem.  Sitting in Notre Dame, made me think of those parishioners from long ago and how they received Mass in this ancient church.

I’m glad we hadn’t entered the church yet because there was a procession that I was able to take pictures of from outside and then followed them in.  What an awesome touch!  I wondered how many times this had been done on Easter here at Notre Dame.

My only regret is that my husband and I didn’t go back to further examine this historic place.  After this Easter Mass, we carried on with the rest of our tour.

How blessed we are in the Catholic Church to have these sacred places.+++

   

 

 

 

Two for Tuesday

Two songs right now in the Christian music hemisphere that get to me.  Honestly speaking, I don’t listen to popular Christian music much.  I tend to listen to traditional hymns when I want to “go there”. But these two songs really move me.  Take a listen!

Audrey Assad – This song and video relates to me so much!!

Audrey Assad – New Every Morning

Travis Greene – This song helps me to be reminded.

Travis Greene – Intentional

 

Catholic Talk Shows

It’s been about five years since I first started listening to Catholic talk shows.

My husband and I got a subscription to Sirius XM radio in our cars and I signed us up for home internet too.  At first the reason was being able to listen to a variety of music with no interruptions.  I love music so I felt I hit the jackpot.

However, soon, I came across the Catholic Channel. I thought whoa it’s a station that’s Catholic?! I had listened to KLOVE in the past so I was thinking it might be playing music by Catholic artists only, but soon I realized it had nothing to do with that.   I tuned in one day and heard Lino Rulli.  The tone right away struck me because it wasn’t what I expected.  He had a bright strong voice, not the quiet monotone voice we are used to hearing with Catholic speakers. Well, at least in my experience.  He also had a co-host who was laughing and sharing jokes that I kept checking to see if I had it on the right channel.  As I continued to give it another shot each day, I found myself addicted to the format.  First and foremost, funny, relatable, thought provoking, and entertaining.

Each day, they would cover a topic such as confession, marriage, hot topics in the Church, and educate by way of quizzes and contests.  I would find myself laughing out loud and couldn’t wait to hear more the next day.

I then began listening to the channel all day. Even now, I turn it on and leave it at a high volume so I can hear throughout the house.  The other programs such as Busted Halo, Gus Lloyd became my favorites too. They not only cover serious topics but allow the listeners to relax to not so serious information.

My favorite time to listen is when they are live at the Vatican for reasons such as Easter, changing of the Pope which in this last case was Pope Francis.

Truthfully, it puts EWTN to shame. I wish the two would partner up somehow or follow the Catholic Channel format. It would give life to EWTN.

There are podcasts of the show so seek them out if you don’t have Sirius radio.

If you first listen and set a judgment right away, trash the thought, and give them a listen again.  I promise, they will change your opinion.

 

A girl can’t help it!

Stress.

Stress + Lupus = Down time 

These last weeks there has been different levels of stress. Some everyday stress that I can deal with and one big stressful situation that with days gone by, seems to have taken its toll on me. 

That’s the weird thing with Lupus. You don’t know until it hits you how well you’re coping. It also becomes a pride issue because you want to say “I can handle it” but even when your mind may say that the attacks of stress are already hitting your body.

So now I’m there.

It’s our anniversary week and I have the feeling we will need to postpone a trip we made because of how I feel. I know that anymore added stress will just knock me and keep us from fully enjoying our time.

The good thing is that it really has been a long time since I’ve felt like this. It’s also not as bad as past flares but I know enough to know my limits.

The symptoms for this flare are mainly fatigue, wiped out energy, and a bit dizzy. If I have any energy, whatever ounce there is and I use, I’m down again.

Really as long as I’m with my husband to celebrate our 21st anniversary it doesn’t matter where we are.

Thanks be to God for His graces! No matter what, I know I am blessed to be where I am.+++

Mid Life Crisis Awareness Month

Actually, this might just be on my calendar.

Lately,  it seems some of my sisters (not literally, I mean friends) are battling emotional struggles all at the same time.

It feels weighty on my relationship with them and I can see some headed down a damaging road.

With my own life changes, I always try to do my best and stay in touch with my girl friends or my female cousins who I refer all as “Sisters”.  My friendships have not always kept up and I know I am part to blame, but I still care for them and if there was ever a chance to meet up, I would do it.

At times, I don’t know if it’s just my life but I don’t have many gal pals. I think it has to do with not having children, not staying in the workforce, or other entities to cause some to dismantle.  In any case, I haven’t really worried about it but I noticed some relationships appear to be ending.

I feel some around me are going through emotional changes.  Mid life crisis maybe?  I don’t know.  I don’t know why all of a sudden a shift has occurred in our relationships. Am I focusing too much on my life that maybe these individuals were always this way and I’m barely now taking notice?? I truly care about them and do wish our friendship’s would stay strong.

I try to be patient and let them know I’m here for them. I do my best in understanding all factors to a situation.  We don’t always know everything going on in one’s life.

In any case, I realize we all have trials and tribulations. I’ve had times where I’ve felt unaccomplished and know those closest could see it in me. It can be hard to break out of that ‘spell’ of feeling down and depressed.  The evil one can certainly make you start believing things that are untrue about yourself and about those around you.

What I have learned in practicing my faith is to ask myself questions.  Identifiers.  Like whatever it is I’m feeling, is this a thought from God or the evil one?  If the feeling is causing me to be down, then it’s not from God. If it is to cause harm on anyone, then it’s not from God. If it’s something that doesn’t keep me on the side of virtue, then it’s not from God. You know what I mean?

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Is it okay to do something once and a while that is foot loose and fancy free? Sure.  At least I think so. The issue is whether you start believing this is all your life needs.  Ways to give you short term, empty joy.

I’ve seen some who end their marriages because they found “true happiness” in other outlets. They start to believe this is what they need and end up ridding their life of important people. Most of the time, it relates to the idea of feeling young again.  I’ve seen this false sense cause damage and havoc in many lives.

For myself, my guard against these realms need attention.  Don’t take the bait! Combat with prayer! I pray with and over my husband, our home, our life.  Asking Jesus to consecrate our marriage! It’s true!  You spend less time with Jesus, you leave an door open for weakness to come in.

John 4:10-14

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
[The woman] said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

 

 

 

Cradle Catholic, not really.

My parents did not share the same faith.  My mom received the sacraments in the Catholic church and my Dad was a son of a Free Methodist Pastor.  My mom wanted me to have the sacraments too and my Dad supported it.

My Godparents as I grew up were not faith nurturing but despite that I had an abundance of love from them.  Our family was not "church going".  I can't recall us going to Mass as a family unless it was for a reason like someone getting married.  In fact, I don't remember ever praying with my parents or spending time learning what faith was about.

During my time as a child, my maternal grandmother took care of me while my parents were at work.  In her humble house she had an altar.  It had a pastel painted Virgin Mary and other smaller sized saints made out of plaster which in my Mexican culture are called "Santitos".  I remember when it was nap time, she would have me lay in the bed that was right near her altar of Saints.  I would often play with them like they were barbie dolls. I wondered who they were and why she had them in a corner in her room that had candles and flowers. I can remember the smell of burning wax from her prayer candles and the reflections of the Saint figures on the walls.  I remember feeling all this but I can't recall why she had this in her home and why it was important to her.  My grandmother passed away when I was eleven.

For my First Holy Communion, I remember loving the idea that I would be wearing a mini wedding dress including a veil. I remember the excitement about the party that was coming to celebrate it. Oh it was a big party too! Tons of family brought me gifts like rosaries and prayer books. I had a sugared cake with white frosting and a plastic communion girl on top. But soon after the party, all that I was taught in catechism was lost.  I had no more nurturing from the teachers nor did what I learn come from my parents. 

Around this same time, my Dad's drug addiction started. Our family life became more about drinking.  There was no spiritual direction in our home. No compass.

communion

When my only sister got married, I was in 6th grade, I would attend Church with her and her new little family.  We went to the neighborhood Church.  I remember feeling peace and happy she would always include me.

My high school years were not filled with guidance from my faith.  In fact, all that a teenager can do without someone being there to protect or set straight, I did. Drugs, sex, suicidal tendencies, etc.  I didn't know my value.

After high school and a bad breakup with a high school boyfriend, I started back up and attended Church with my sister and her family.  And even though I had a foot in the door (so to speak) I still was living a sinful life.  Doing what most young 20 year olds do – going to clubs, drinking, and being promiscuous. Not grasping what I was hearing in Church or realizing it was to be my life.

In fact outside of going to Church with my sister and her family, not much about Jesus was spoken of.  Don't recall family talking much about Him either. If anyone was showing me any path it was my sister, who was receiving some guidance through her in-laws.

However, now looking back I know that those "seeds" that were planted by my mom and sister throughout my young life were there to help me where I am now.  I can look back and see the Hand of God despite the child life I was given or the choices I made.  

We all have journeys and not everyone takes the same path to finding a relationship to Jesus. This is why I find it important for me to share with others who might have a similar past or are living this now.  To make aware how our Father God is truly real, is always by our side, and never gives up on us. Ask, seek, and knock! In the end it's about when you desire Jesus in your life! +++