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Today is the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

This is also the day when many pro-life citizens come out to demonstrate in the nation’s capitol.

This year, in addition, thousands more are joining the Virtual March for Life!  If you haven’t joined yet, there’s still time!

You can also catch EWTN’s televised coverage at their site; I am listening to it as I work.  It’s very uplifting to listen to all the people who have come out.

Above all, however, we can and must all unite in prayer against the scourge of abortion.  And we must not just pray that unjust laws be repealed, but that we can forge a society in which such laws are not needed or desired.  We must pray above all for the building up of the Culture of Life.  This was the message of Bishop Kevin Farrell at the 2009 Roe Memorial Mass, and I’ve never forgotten it.  I think it is the best counsel for all of us.

That is why this anniversary is such an uplifting, encourage, and life-affirming occasion.  Because it’s not really about Roe v. Wade.  It’s about making Roe v. Wade irrelevant.


Wouldn’t you know… just as I was feeling that I had nothing to write about tonight, I find that a kind correspondent has given me something to share!  And it is something most wonderful!

Many thanks to Mr. Richard Collins from the UK for giving me this story and photos from a very special Mass that took place in celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and–as he reminds me–the 2nd anniversary of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which has liberated the 1962 Mass, what we now know as the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Latin Mass:

Latin Mass on the Feast of the Holy Cross celebrated in ex Italian PoW Chapel

Mass in the Extraordinary Form was celebrated, on the Feast of The Holy Cross, in a Nissan hut in Henllan, West Wales. The hut is the framework to a small Chapel created lovingly by Italian prisoners of war in the final years of World War II. The original Nissan hut is part of a PoW camp where both German and Italian servicemen were held.

One of the main artists responsible for creating images of St Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Papal Flag, Mario Polito, died only this year. He and his fellow servicemen made pigments from vegetable juices and painted the aisle arches in a fresco style and the sanctuary area and pillars (made of corrugated cardboard) with a faux marble effect.

Tin, from corned (bully) beef tins was used to make candle sticks which look uncannily three dimensional despite being totally flat.

All artwork in the Chapel leads the eye to the primitive painting of The Last Supper in the apse, a lasting testament to the devotion of men held prisoner many miles from their families and loved ones.

The Missa Cantata, in thanksgiving for the second anniversary of the Motu Proprio was celebrated by Father Jason Jones, Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady in Wales at nearby Cardigan and whose parish embraces Henllan.

What a perfectly beautiful and fitting way to celebrate this feast day and this anniversary–and to honor men who made something good in a bad situation!  Here are some of the photos:

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Well done to those who created that sacred space, and to those who still preserve and use it today!

Today we remember the tragic, sudden, and violent loss of 2,996 innocent Americans on 11 September 2001.

This year, I have the special honor and privilege, thanks to Project 2,996, to pay tribute to Paul “Paulie” Ortiz, Jr., aged 21, from Brooklyn, NY.

Paul Ortiz, Jr.

Paul was preparing a conference at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the north tower of the World Trade Center when the tower was struck by a jet liner.

Although he lost his life at the very young age of 21, Paul had created a happy and successful life for himself and his loved ones. He was clearly a hard-working and passionate young man who knew what was most important in life.

Paul was devoted to his wife, Star, and their infant daughter, Rebecca. He worked as a computer technician at Bloomberg, a job and a company he loved. He was also dedicated to and active in his Jehovah’s Witness faith and community. He was a very joyful and caring man, always putting himself at the service of others. Many who knew him remark upon his radiant, unforgettable smile.

This excellent young man will live on in the wonderful legacy of love he has left in his wife and daughter and in everybody who carries his memory in their hearts.

I pray that he has found peaceful rest in God’s eternal light and eternal life, and that God will also grant peace and comfort to his family and friends, especially to Star and Rebecca. May the Lord’s face shine upon them all!

Let us never forget Paul Ortiz, Jr. or any of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives eight years ago. No matter how many years go by, let us never forget!

Related links:

See other tributes at the Project 2,996 blog

Paul’s memorial page at

Paul’s memorial page at 9-11 Heroes

Another blogger’s tribute to Paul from 2006

My tribute to another 9/11 victim, Thomas E. Sabella, from 2006

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday dear The Practicing Catholic!!!!

Happy birthday to you!

(And many mooooore!!!)


Yes, today, 11 May is the 1st birthday of this blog!

We’ve recently crossed the 33,000-visitor mark, and I want and need to thank YOU for visiting and giving your support by reading, commenting, emailing, and perhaps voting.

If you haven’t voted yet, would this not be the perfect occasion to show your love for TPC?

Also, please let me know if there is anything you’d like to see here or anything I can do to make this an even better place!

Thank you so much!

Today is also the 4th anniversary of when I made my first Confession in many years and officially became Catholic again!  :D  I thank God for it every day!

Today’s the 4th anniversary of Patrick’s death.

But it’s pretty much an ordinary day for me.

I guess that’s a good sign.

I’m pretty happy with it, anyway.

I still would rather he were here, but that’s not how it is.  And so much has happened since then… I have more than enough to think about and keep me busy.

He’d want me to keep on moving forward.

After all, moving forward is moving toward being reunited someday.

That will be good.

But we must be faithful to today too, and as I said, I’m pretty happy with today.


A very happy birthday to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, who is 82 years old today!

Pope Benedict in Brazil, 2007

As always, I pray that the Lord bless him with continued long life and good health!  I am so grateful to have him as our Papa!

Also, this Sunday, 19 April, we celebrate the 4th anniversary of his election as Pope!  Appropriately enough, this year, it is also Divine Mercy Sunday.  Providing us with such a good shepherd has been an act of God’s mercy in these troubled times.

Viva il Papa!  Ad multos annos!

(Photo by Fabio Pozzebom, found at Wikipedia)


I’m sorry that it took his death for me to get to know him and appreciate him. 

It seems just like yesterday… Patrick was alive, and we spent hours on the phone together while we watched all the news coverage, trading info about what was happening on this or that channel.  I remember listening in silence to the Litany of Saints during the funeral, and Patrick commenting on how beautiful it was.  Patrick also told me he’d gone to a memorial Mass, and I was surprised… but really, it was just like him to do that.  Pope John Paul II’s death drew me and Patrick closer together, and drew both of us closer to the Church.  I’m sure we weren’t the only ones, either.

At home, now, I’m watching the movie based on his life.  The one with Cary Elwes and Jon Voight.  It’s a lovely film, and I think it’s a very good tribute to our dear late papa.

This day used to be very sad and mournful for me.  Mainly because it meant that the anniversary of Patrick’s death was on its way.  But this year, I just feel so grateful!  My memories are fond.  I’m finally getting to where I can cherish them!  That’s a good place to be.

Today, 22 January, is the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

I’m afraid I sometimes have trouble remembering this day because in Dallas, we commemorate the awful anniversary on the Saturday before the 22nd.

But today is indeed the day.

36 years.  Longer than my lifetime.

How much longer, O Lord?

Blog Pictures | I always think it’s such a shame that after preparing for Christmas for weeks and even months in advance (some folks scarcely wait for Halloween to pass!), people seem eager to dispense with it as soon as the presents are open and the dinner is digested.  As if 25 December were the 12th day of Christmas and not the 1st.  I just don’t get it.

I still have my Christmas tree and creche proudly displayed, and am cheerfully embracing Christmas at least until the Epiphany.  Last year, I think I left everything up until the Presentation of the Lord on 2 February.  I think I will do the same again. 

That may sound a bit like going overboard, but I just love the Christ Child so much… I guess that, by my maternal instinct, I just want to “hold on” to His childhood for as long as I can.  I mean, by the time February is over, Lent will have begun, and Christmas will seem quite far away.  I always find that a bit jarring, but it does effectively hammer home the point that Christ came to us as a little babe solely for the purpose of eventually suffering and dying for us. 

The red poinsettia, while vibrant and festive in its hue also reminds me of this truth: the tiny little cluster at the center of the poinsettia, surrounded by the huge bright red leaves, reminds me of the little baby in the manger, Whose birth is just the beginning of a life that will end blood-red… at least for a time.  I do love poinsettias, and maybe I’m just odd, but I never see a red poinsettia without feeling a little twinge of sorrow.  Just as I can’t see the Christ Child without also seeing Christ Crucified. 

Also, in late January–sort of going along with this theme–we observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  This January will mark the 36th anniversary.  I think it is appropriate to hold the Christ Child in our hearts at that time, along with His mother’s great “Yes” to His life.

In any case, I see no need to put this beautiful and wondrous season to rest so quickly, or to turn the infant Jesus out of mind and heart as if He were anything but the tremendous joy and wonder that He is.

I’ll never forget that day now 7 years past.  That beautiful, sunny September morning.  I arrived at work at a small public library in Florida to find all my coworkers in the break room, watching the TV.  A jet liner had collided with one of the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan.  My coworkers and I remembered times we had flown into New York, recalling the rather uncomfortable proximity between the planes and those towering buildings.  We assumed it must have been a terrible, tragic, strange accident.  Just an accident.  And then, right before our eyes, another plane struck the other tower.  And we knew that what had happened was far more terrible, tragic, and strange than an accident.  I still remember how it felt like a lead ball had plunged into my guts.  And everybody was in shock.  It was like living in a nightmare.  And it was just beginning.

I never want to forget… I hope nobody ever forgets this day.  It’s really hard to talk about, though.  Words always fail.

So, here are some prayers to fill the silence.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

From the Diocese of Dallas:

God of perfect peace, violence and cruelty can have no part with you,
for you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
You are our strength in adversity, our hope in times of trouble,
and our comfort in sorrow.
Hold those families who were affected by the attacks of 9/11 
carefully in the palm of your hand, especially at this time of year.
Welcome all those lost into your kingdom, 
holding them close to you now and forever.
Guide those who continue to serve and protect our country
in order for us to experience the blessing of freedom.
May our leaders and decision makers have a high sense 
of responsibility and be free from temptations of selfish interests.
Let them be filled with knowledge and wisdom
so that resolutions adopted and laws enacted
may meet the standards for the good of your people.
We pray especially for all those who have given
the ultimate sacrifice for the price of our freedom.
In memory of them, let us rise again and build again
and live free from fear. 
We ask this in Jesus' Name.

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