Easter, First Communion & Confirmation Season…Oh MY!

Here we are at the end (nearly) of another Lent and Easter is fast approaching. I am excited to share that this year I actually know someone who will be entering the Church on Easter, my friend Jessica!

Every year at Easter a new group of adults enter our Church (Thanks be to GOD)! After nearly a year of R.C.I.A (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) training they are welcomed during the Easter vigil and every year I cry when I witness this miracle.

It’s ok I cry EVERY single time a baby is baptized and when we renew our baptismal promises.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises Video

That is a powerful prayer, you’re saying before God and all your brothers and sisters  what we believe as Catholics and that you RENOUNCE Satan and all his empty promises! (Does anyone else picture the scene from The Godfather during those words?)That is some serious business, the renewal part not the movie I mean.

So during this beautiful season you may find yourself invited to several parties celebrating these mile stones. If you’re like me, I am always on the look out for thoughtful faith filled gifts.

Here are just a few that I recommend:

The Little Butterfly Who Loved Jesus, A Story of the 7 Sacraments

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This is a sweet book for children having their First Holy Communion. We received it as a gift last year and it explains beautifully with text and pictures the Sacraments.

The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass

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This book is terrific for teens receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation or adults entering the Church this Easter season. Or cradle Catholics who want to brush up on their faith. The book is broken down into bite size nuggets of information. It lists many common and maybe forgotten prayers and explains in detail why and how we do the things we do as Catholics. If you have a question that needs further explaining and you can’t find it in the  Catechism of the Catholic Church (Apostolic Constitution) then this book may clarify it for you.

The One-Minute Apologist By Dave Armstrong

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This book is one of my all time FAVORITES! If you’re easily distracted like me but want to be able to explain or defend your Catholic faith, then this book is for you. In 2 pages Dave Armstrong tackles one Protestant claim after another regarding our faith. He explains the Church stance and backs up all the claims with biblical footnotes. So not only can you explain it but also understand it. What better way to share our faith then with love and the Bible. After all the Catholic Church did comply the Bible, publish it (thank the monks) and the Council of Rome 382 A.D. as well as The Council of Trent 1545-1563 established and reaffirmed the dueterocanon (Books included in the Catholic Bible yet left out of The King James version). So ignorance of scripture is not an excuse when you have this handy paperback.

The Ultimate Catholic Quiz:100 Questions Most Catholics Can’t Answer

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This is another great quick read. Leave it on the coffee table, use it to start dinner conversation, play kids v.s. adults, use it in your parish for a Quiz Night. You get the idea and again the theme is quick nuggets of information that if you choose to can delve further into. #SquirrelKnowledge

Our Heavenly Friends Flash Cards

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Hello! I love Flash Cards for quick bits of trivia and learning. Again family fun night, Bible Camp, car trips or just general “Smack Down” fun among siblings and friends.

So skip the gift cards and give one of these to your friends or families or just treat yourself!

This season, please pray for all these new brothers and sisters joining our big wacky, beautiful Catholic family.  Pray that God will continue to encourage each of us to grow in our faith and be the light of the world.

God Bless and Keep You,

Your friend

Pilar The Papst Squirrel

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Confession & Other Stuff I Avoid

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Are you like me and you haven’t been to confession for a while? Maybe even decades? It’s ok, I am not here to judge you AT ALL!

My last confession was last year when my youngest went to her First Reconciliation. You know the drill if you have kids that have made their First Holy Communion. You all meet in the parish and if it’s small like many parishes some kind visiting priests help out.

One in each corner and you do this Confession facing the priest (no anonymity here) . Your kid is fidgeting wondering why you’re crying and WHAT could be taking Mommy SO LONG?

Wait that’s just me, sorry I get side tracked.

Anyway before the Sacrament our old priest ( I say old as in he was transferred to a remote town and serve 3 parishes and we miss him terribly). Father Steve was such a kind and gentle priest. He gave the best homilies (that’s a sermon for you non Catholics following along).

He had an amazing way of making his homilies relatable to the kids during Tuesday morning all school mass.

The one he gave for this Reconciliation Retreat was all about his dad off roading in his Jeep. When he arrived home Fr.Steve and his mom thought his dad had taken someone else’s Jeep at the event (his dad is in his 80’s).

Then they realized it was just covered in mud. At which point his wife read him the riot act and said NO WAY was he washing that mess in their driveway.

Well, Fr.Steve concluded that’s what Reconciliation is all about, Jesus washing away our sins and forgiving us. Great analogy for kids to follow along.

So cut to me sitting face to face with Fr. Steve, where I confessed my sins and he forgave me, but at the end he gave me a beautiful gift. He said “May God forgive you, and for all the sins you may have failed to mention you are also forgiven. Go now and sin no more. Your penance is 1 Hail Mary and 2 Our Fathers” (or something along those lines).

I was stunned with this beautiful grace he had passed along to me by the power of forgiving my sins, even the ones I was too ashamed to admit.

Matthew 18:18 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

2 Corinthians 2:10 “Anyone who you forgive , I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.

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So what’s in it for the priest? Have you ever asked yourself this? Well, here as amazing article that will shed light on the absolute beauty of the sacrament Reconciliation.

My Side of the Confessional: What Is It Like For A Priest? By Fr. Mike Schmitz

If you have never heard of Fr. Mike Schmitz you can find his homilies and reflections on his blog BulldogCatholic.org or check out one of his great video’s Making a Good Confession on YouTube.com. Once you get past the fact that he is a dead ringer for Jon Hamm of Mad Man fame, he is a charismatic and thoughtful young priest with a wonderful way of explaining our faith.

So what are you waiting for? Grab that grace and wash those sins right outta your life!

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Your friend,

Pilar The Papist Squirrel

 

 

Hilarity from Ghana & How God writes straight on “crooked lines”.

Are you having an awful day?

I want to share something with you that will make you laugh right out LOUD. It will make you laugh, cry and be grateful for your life.

So I’ve mentioned the Catholic Channel on Siruis XM radio, right? Well one of my very favorite shows is  Lino Rulli the Catholic Guy Show -A Man With A Large Nose ( his words not mine).

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Lino’s Book “Sinner”

Lino (we’re on a first name basis in my head) has one of the funniest radio shows next to Busted Halo with Fr. Dave Dwyer, but I digress and Lino would get jealous!

A few years ago I caught the tail end of this AMAZING ( I wish I could make that word shout it self off this page for you) interview. I mean I sat in the car and let the kids run amok inside while I listened!

When you hear Thomas Awiapo’s life story, just his joyful laugh alone will brighten your day, I promise, you will wish he could be your neighbor.

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POP QUIZ (I’m fairly certain you will know the answer)

Do you know what day and year you were born? Do you know your name? If you answered YES, then you get a 100%!

Well, Thomas doesn’t and it’s incredible when you listen to his life story. Not only how he chose his own birthday(s), but also how Catholic Relief Services fed, educated and employs Thomas Awiapo.

“How did you make it…a life full of very many crooked lines.But God has the power to write very straight on crooked lines. All you have to do is say YES!”

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Be warned DO NOT drink anything while you listen. Because it might come outta your nose when you laugh. Trust me I’ve done it with hot cocoa. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you!

The entire podcast is about 2 hours, BUT the first part 40 plus minutes is with Thomas. The middle is Lino at a well dedication, but the end (a few days later) is MORE Thomas (Woo HOO)!

#156 Live From Ghana  Lino Rulli Podcast with Thomas Awiapo.

So be joyful and share this post with someone who needs some happiness!

Remember we’re all children of God, don’t you hide that light under a bushel. Let it SHINE glitter style! Tah Dah (with jazz hands).

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The School of Love

I subscribe to a daily email from  MorningOffering.com and this was the quote for today. Sigh

“The school of Christ is the school of love. In the last day, when the general examination takes place … Love will be the whole syllabus.”
— St. Robert Bellarmine

In each email, they list a quote, a meditation, the days bible reading, a verse of the day, the Saint of the Day, today had a Lenten reflection “What Jesus Saw From the Cross” (let that sink in), and so much more.

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Also this prayer:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.

I personally love this prayer and because I am a revert to the faith and wasn’t raised in the Church only baptized, I am a sponge for Jesus, soaking up all of the beautiful knowledge that our faith has to impart from 2,000 years.

My kids attend a Catholic School (talk about a School of Love), so I am surrounded by all kinds of different Catholics i.e. “cradle catholics (like my husband) and new converts (who are bubbling over with great enthusiasm for the Faith).

It’s fascinating what each person shares with me. Or even what I see in their homes and how they raise their children in the faith.

I have a friend who has been a Catholic her entire life but had never heard the Angel of God Prayer*. Apparently I texted her “may the Angel of God watch over you” (I don’t remember).I give all the credit to The Holy Spirit!

She told one of her teenage sons and he loved it. It’s now a nightly ritual for them.

I know another mom who keeps about 3-4 little prayer cards tucked into the window over her kitchen sink. So that while she’s washing dishes she can pray. WOW! #Multitasking

I keep a rosary cd in my car, so I can pray and run errands.I’ve even been known to put on EWTN (I have a Roku and no cable) and pray the rosary while I clean the house (a few times a year). IMG_4198

So when I’m not listening to Adam & The Ants, I listen to the Catholic Channel on the go.

Catholic Channel

I have a Rosary app too, yes there’s an app for that.

Which has come in so handy, like when I was in the emergency room with a kidney stone, or at Cleveland Clinic waiting for my husband to see if he had a brain tumor (he didn’t thank The Lord, but he does carry the gene).

So what will you learn from the School of Love today?

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(Image credit Zazzle.com

Restless Decorating & The Itchy Foot

Do you change the decor in your house with each season or is every thing exactly in the same place that the interior designer left it? I have a friend like that. Her stuff only ever moved to just dust and return to the original spot.

Me, I like to change stuff ALL the time. My poor husband, I get on Pinterest and the next thing you know I’m repainting some random piece of furniture or moving a 500 lbs armoire to the den. Or I head to Home Goods because I just can’t stand our lamps another minute!

My basement is like a staging warehouse, full of every kind of decorative pillow, lamps, art work, mirrors, head boards (one day I will paint them, I promise),curtains for every room that rotate on a whim.

This is just the way my brain is wired, I can’t help it. In my family we moved a lot. My mom counted once and for her it was 45 plus times. For me this is the longest I have lived in one house in my LIFE!

I grew up in apartments so it was easy to pack and move on whim, for a job, better school or to be near my mom’s best friend.

All this moving forced me to make friends or sink trying.

But my Grandma Spike, she would move every 6 weeks (like a gypsy) if we let her. In our clan we say she has the “itchy foot”. If she saw something on tv, BAM! She’d talk my Aunt (a nurse) into packing the cousins and moving across America. (shaking my head)

These days Spike shuffles around a huge house she shares with my aunts, my mom and pack of assorted rescue dogs and cats.This form a women that always said “I don’t want anything that eats while I’m sleeping!”

When we all lived in one state, we would buy, sell and trade furniture amongst ourselves like pawn brokers. Always with the promise of first right of refusal.

These days I have a family and a husband who has never lived anywhere outside of this 25 mile radius. Weird right? So instead of selling our home every few years I redo our interiors and that wild “Itchy Foot”feeling subsides.

But….I’m still restless to put my “magic wand of decorating” on a new house. Sometimes I drive through neighborhoods and think “Oh my I could make that so adorable, a few flowers, some shutters, a new roof, etc”

It’s like when I was little and I would decorate my Barbie Townhouse for hours on end. Now I live in a house and do the exact same thing. My kids started the same obsessive behavior just out of toddler hood. Once moving a double canopy bed to another wall, while I was taking a nap.

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It’s in our gene’s this restless decorating & “itchy foot” urge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Deidre Wicks

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Etsy Shop WaterInMyPaint

I found these adorable little chaps at Marshalls or Home Goods, and I just COULD NOT resist them. I mean look at them! Who could resist a squirrel eating a doughnut, I also bought this little Mr.Pug in hat with glasses. Can you hear him crooning like Frank Sinatra, “I Did It My Way…”?

So I googled Deidre Wicks and found that she has an Etsy shop. WaterInMyPaint.She has so many adorable little critters that I can’t even stand it. She even has a squirrel dressed as a lumberjack, plaid shirt, beard, ax and all. #Charming

My next “must have” is the sassy looking orange tabby cat with a red bandana and cat lady glasses. I know right? How unbelievably charming can you get!

These would be perfect for a laundry room (where all the drudgery happens), kids room, home office, kitchen or just any place that you need a little happiness.

There are  2 things that I can’t say “No” to, wait 3 (I forgot about desserts, slapping my forehead like “I should have had a V8”).

1.) Books/magazines (I’m a sucker for book fair at school every year) I can say NO to more toys, but books?! Who can say NO to reading?

2.) Art. Posters, paintings, postcards, art books,post cards from a museum gift shop, you name it. Art makes me happy, so how could I say no to something that will cheer me up, brighten my home or bring whimsy to my kids rooms.

So go ahead by that adorable print, I promise you will thank me later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Papist Squirrel Blog!

Can I just tell you? I am so excited that you stopped by to take a peek at my 1st EVER blog.

My friend Heather asked my to start this because I gave up FB for Lent. Somehow I have collected a small following of friends that enjoy my wacky insights, cat videos, and posts about faith. I am totally humbled to hear that I cheer some of you up with the things I post.

I have so many things I want to share and discuss. My little squirrel brian is pinging like a pin ball machine.(insert cool sounds here)

Bare with me because I am a terrible speller and sometimes leave words out (dyslexic super powers form of super creative mind (Wonder Twins reference)).

This is a sample of what I want to share with you. I want to talk about our faith and things like,

  • Vocations
  • Prayers
  • #ShareJesus
  • Catholic media
  • Saint of the Day
  • Scripture
  • Catholic bloggers & Authors
  • How to squeeze the Rosary into your commute or carpool time.

Also I want to share some of my favorite things,

  • Books, movies, series that I binge watch
  • Cleaning Tips (Lazy style)
  • “Adulting” tips i.e. How to plunge a toilet, how to remove the shrunken head that lives in your tub drain and whats a P-trap and why do I care?
  • Beauty tips from a former makeup sales girl (B.K. Before Kids)
  • Decorating advice for the DIYer (Pinterest is your personal catalog of ideas)
  • Recipes (Crockpot style or easy enough for a kid to make)
  • and so much more…..(need more coffee to explain further)

So check back often and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Your friend,

Pilar aka The Papist Squirrel