Saturday, June 30, 2012

Last Day of June

Summer vacation began for me yesterday - though of course it involved some reading for the AP class. More of that today, along with cleaning out some old papers. Bit by bit.

This morning, I prayed outside Planned Parenthood. There were 23 of us - the most since I started with the group. There was some talk of the Fortnight for Freedom, and of the November election. I don't think there was a vote for Obama there!

I feel kind of in between. Tired, but knowing there is work to be done. I'm going slow.

It's the last day of June. I used to post almost daily at my old blog. I've been far less frequent with this one - and far "nicer." Less argumentative. Must be that Franciscan influence.

I do sometimes wonder how I as a Catholic Franciscan can better make use of my gifts. Music with/for the Fraternity? Writing? 

Not sure. I think in July I'll start with more frequent posts on this blog, and less time wasted on Facebook. (The argumentative me shows up there too often.)

And now ... to read. 

Pax et bonum

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer vacation begins (sort of!)

Yesterday, I filed all my grades and handed in my grade book and teacher's manual.

Summer has begun.

Of course, as a teacher my summer includes:

A week of training (starting Monday) for teaching our new Advanced Placement Composition class;

Reading or rereading all the books that I'll be teaching in the class;

Designing the class, as it is new to the school and I'm the first person to teach it there;

Redesigning the Sophomore English class based on last year's experience;

Meeting with an art teacher to create the new Digital Design and Publications course we are creating as a joint Art/English class we hope to get approved by the board (in December) and begin teaching in the 2013/14 School year;

Going in to the school to file all the student portfolios and essays that are still siting on my desk (110 of them from the end of the year);

Cleaning out my files to get rid of unneeded materials.

Yep. Summer vacation.

Good thing I love my job! 

Pax et bonum

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bishops call for Fortnight of Prayer

Bishops’ Fortnight Prayer
Pray each day June 21 through July 4

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal. 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice,
and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect
and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them,
for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession
of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God for ever and ever.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sex-Selection in America: Part 4 - Undercover in Hawaii

Live Action keeps finding more abuses.

The War on Women continues - at Planned Parenthood.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Just saying

Pax et bonum

Mass today; Where my mind was

I was at Mass this morning, but in some ways my mind and heart were not there.

It was the last Sunday of the season for the regular Sunday choir, with which I play guitar and sing.

At the end of the Mass, Father announced that we would be taking our regular summer break, and he called for a round of applause for us.

I'm not a big fan of applauding at Mass, particularly for people serving in a ministry. Do we applaud the lectors? The Altar servers? The Deacon reading the Gospel?

Still, it's not something I'm prepared to go to the mattresses over. (Yes, a Godfather reference!)

But I was thinking about a conversation I'd had just a couple of days ago with the leader of the other liturgical group with which I play, Rock of Faith, a contemporary ensemble. (Yes, I know, that uptempo style of music is not to everyone's taste, but the group is always announced in advance so that people can choose to go to a different Mass.)

He called to tell me he had resigned.

There were a variety reasons, some related to changes at work, the amount of time being the director requires, and so on.

But there were also parish/ministry related ones. There have been some unpleasant moments involving staff and parishioners, and more were in the works for next year. There was also a sense of a lack of appreciation for the group and his efforts to keep it running well.

As I sat there listening to that applause for the choir today, I thought back to last week, the last of the season for Rock of Faith.

There had been no acknowledgement of the group at the end of Mass or an announcement that we would be off for the summer. No call for applause. Not even a thank you.

Probably just an oversight, but fitting in with some of the things the director said.

The thing is that without him, the group will basically cease. He picked the music. He met with parish staff. He was a skilled musician who was good at arranging. He dealt patiently with the personal dynamics both within the group, and in our relationship with the parish. He spent long hours to make sure that we were a good group, that the music was appropriate, and that we added something to the worship. And there's no one else within the group who has the ability or the time to duplicate all that he has done for the past five years.

So there's a good chance the group will simply not be able to continue.

I was thinking about that, and my own commitment to the regular Sunday choir. Part of me was wondering if it's time for me to move on from that as well - which would mean today was my last time with them.

I haven't decided yet, but it was on my mind during Mass - instead of on the Mass. Mea culpa.

And then there were the Prayers of the Faithful. We prayed again for the people of Syria who are being slaughtered by government forces. I have no problem with that: The situation is terrible. We do need to pray about it.

But then I realized there were no prayers about the slaughter of the innocents going on here in the U.S.

We should be praying about abortion every week.

Every week.

Not only because of the power of prayer to change things, but also because those prayers provide moments to teach. The more people hear about such issues, the more likely they are to realize how wrong our nation's policies are.

As I packed up at the end of Mass, I kept wondering if I will be back at this parish as a musician.

Or even a parishioner.

Pax et bonum

Faithful, pro-life Democrats are moving on

Democrats leave party over marriage, religious freedom concerns :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

I was a Democrat from 1973-2007. I even tried organizing and working with Democrats for Life. I found I finally had to leave the party because of its increasingly anti-life, anti-faith positions.

I'm now registered with the Right to Life Party, which, in my home state, means I'm considered a "blank" - a member of no official party.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Reading - itching to get started

As the school year winds down (there are still a stacks of student journals, portfolios and exams that have to be graded over the next week and a half), I'm already beginning to shift into summer mode.

For a teacher, that means getting ready for next year.

And as an English teacher, that means reading.

I'll be teaching an AP Composition course next year, and as I've never taught that course before, it means I have to read all the material. Some things I've read before, but years ago. And others are entirely new.

The students' summer reading list for that class includes The Scarlet Letter,  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Thomas Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor.

They are stacked and waiting for me.

For my sophomore's I'll also be teaching the last half of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I always loved, but I haven't taught in nearly 30 year. Reread time!

There are other works I'm considering for the AP course. Black Like Me, for example, or Reading Lolita in Tehran, or Chesterton's Everlasting Man. I'll be looking at several works that I might use during the year.

Then there's my personal/spiritual reading. I'm currently reading Paul Sabatier's The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis, and joyfully working my way through In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton.


But first, there's all that pesky grading!

 Pax et bonum