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The blog Fallible Blogma is running a poll on the best Catholic speakers for 2009.  You can vote only once, but your vote can include up to 10 selections!

I was alerted to this poll by my friend Monica Ashour, who happens to be one of the nominees.  She is an outstanding speaker and teacher on Theology of the Body.  She’s the director of our local ToB apostolate, Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET), which I’ve mentioned a few times before.  I can’t recommend Monica or TOBET highly enough for ToB talks.

As you’ll see, however, that poll includes many wonderful speakers who deserve recognition.  So why don’t you go vote for your favorites!


I just wanted to announce Vocation Boom!, a new initiative dedicated to encouraging and supporting priestly vocations.  From the site:

Vocation Boom! is a non-profit initiative that is the fruit of more than twenty years of prayer and deliberation. It is a vision which began to take shape in the heart of Jerry Usher while he spent time in priestly formation from 1989 to 1995. Over the past two years, he and a few of his colleagues have been moving Vocation Boom! from idea to reality. Pope Benedict XVI’s recent proclamation of The Year for Priests is a confirmation of our intentions and as an indication that now is the time to unveil Vocation Boom!

We have assembled a team of passionate partners consisting of top Catholic professionals in business, marketing, media and content development, as well as Church leaders, including priests, bishops, and vocation directors committed to guiding us on our journey. And we ask that you prayerfully consider helping us with this important endeavor.

You may know Jerry Usher from his previous work hosting the Catholic Answers Live radio program.

I am pleased and proud that some efforts from my local Church went into this wonderful project.  The logo and the Web site were designed by a gentleman I know from my local parish and Lay Dominican community.  I think they look awesome!  He also directed the video, “I Will Give You Shepherds,” which includes some of our parish’s seminarians too!

[UPDATE] Julie tells me her husband contributed the layout, so there’s another local gent who deserves credit!

The site includes many more videos, helpful resources such as links to seminaries, educational and inspirational food for thought about the priesthood, and Jerry Usher’s blog.

I think this is a great project… I can hardly think of a more worthy cause!  We should definitely support it with our prayers and in any other way possible.

To begin with, please go visit the Vocation Boom! site, and spread the word!

This is the first Wednesday of the month, which our noble and heroic brethren in the e5 movement are dedicating to prayer and fasting for womankind.

Let us, their lady beneficiaries, remember them and support them with our own prayers.  I can certainly use the extra infusion of grace and blessings… I think all women can.  No matter what the feminists say, women need and deserve such heroic deeds and sacrifices from our men.  They help us, in return, to entrust ourselves to men and their care without fear.  We need and deserve that kind of security.  We need and deserve Christ-like men.

So, a heartfelt thank you to our e5 men!  May their efforts bear much good fruit for all women and men.

And a heartfelt thank you to all the good men I’ve been blessed to have in my life.  Especially my dad–I don’t think I would be the same without him.  My life and my very person would definitely be missing something.

A wonderful new apostolate, Oramus: We Pray, aims to help us express love for those around us in our everday lives whom we do not know.  Would that not include a vast majority of people around us?  And might it be that we are placed among them for a reason?


The vision statement:

The essence of the Christian life is passing along God’s love and blessings to those we find in our path. We love those with whom we live and work and play by sharing their daily lives, their joys and their trials. We love the needy in far off places through general prayer, and through contributions to those charities that aid them.

But how do we love and bless those in our own community that we do not know personally: those we see on the street, in the market, at the mall? Those who are well-dressed and well-fed, and in no obvious need? They, too, need the love and blessing of God. Some already have it; but what of those who do not know God? How, as Christians, can we love and bless them?

We Pray.

If asked, they would not accept our help; but through us they may receive the Lord’s blessing. And some few might choose to ask what we are doing, and why; and perhaps they will learn to know God themselves.

Even people who seem happy, well-off, and successful may be carrying around sorrows and pains we cannot see.  They may be going through ordeals we cannot imagine.  And that says nothing of all those who may be walking in darkness, in the shadow of death, or on the path to Hell.  Even when somebody is rude or mean to us, is it because they are bad people or because they are in distress about something we can’t guess at?

Whatever the case may be, here is a very simple little prayer:

Lord, bless him (or her) and keep him and make your face to shine upon him, that he may know how much you love him. And have mercy on me. Amen.

Who knows how we could impact the world if all of us prayed this little prayer for all the strangers we come across?  Or pray for them in other ways?

Personally, I like pray in public places so that, hopefully, I can call down God’s blessings and graces upon the place and everybody in it.  I pray at work sometimes.  I also pray while working out at the gym.  I pray in the church and priory, of course.  I pray outside.  I often pray if I am out shopping or eating or having coffee alone–which is usually the case.  It brings me peace and a sense of companionship, as well as blessing those around me.

But I will remember the above prayer and use it in an even more focused and personal way for individuals I encounter.

I highly recommend visiting their site.

When many people think of Ephesians 5, they think of the part about women submitting to their husbands.  But men are called to an even greater, more demanding duty: to love and sacrifice themselves for their wives as Christ loved and sacrificed himself for the Church.  That is, completely, even to death.

This powerful exhortation to men is the focus of this wonderful apostolate I just learned about: e5 Men

From their site:


The e5 Man fasts for his bride to imitate Jesus as described by Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 (for which e5 is named). Fasting is eating only bread and water.

Jesus made a bodily sacrifice on the cross for His Bride the Church to present her to God the Father “without spot or wrinkle.” (Eph 5:27) By fasting for our earthly bride and joining our sufferings to Christ’s we intercede for grace for our brides. At the same time our act of bodily love in union with Christ accelerates our own conversion.

By making this sacrifice for the women in our lives we live out the essence of the gospel through a very particular act of self denial. To lay down one’s body out of love for another is the central message of the gospel.

Register as an e5 Man. Click here.

Click here to watch the e5 video.


Membership is not limited to married men. For single men, their fast may be dedicated to their future bride. For widowers or those unlikely to get married, the beneficiary of their fasts may be for a deceased wife, a daughter, a sister, or a granddaughter, or any other women in great need. For the consecrated celibate man the benefit of their fast can be for the benefit of the community they serve or for consecrated celibate women.


Except for medical reasons, the minimum requirements to be an e5 Man are that you:

1. Be a baptized Christian man.

2. Register with e5. Register as an e5 Man. Click here.

3. Fast on plain bread and water at least one day a month for your bride for her spiritual growth and healing – preferably on the first Wednesday of the month.

Any woman can receive the graces obtained by the men’s fasting.  We are asked only to pray to receive these graces.  Attending Mass on the first Wednesday of each month is recommended, but not required.  Women may also join the men in fasting, but they are not bound by the same obligations as the men.

I think the whole idea is very beautiful and uplifting!  As a woman, few things in this world are as important and beneficial as the love, support, respect, and esteem of men.  And there’s no greater, more powerful man than one who prays and seeks to imitate Christ!

God bless all our e5 Men!  May many more join their ranks!

I’ve been meaning to “plug” this wonderful local apostolate for a while now:  The Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET)!

If this name sounds familiar, I have mentioned it before here.

I’m a member of one of the study groups, and they are so awesome!  We get together every week, have food and wine, listen to talks on Theology of the Body and related topics, and have discussions and share stories.  It’s a nice little getaway during the week for good Catholic fellowship and study.  I’m learning so much–and loving it!

Teaching and passing on the Theology of the Body is a huge key to transforming our Church and our society.  Please consider supporting TOBET!  The speakers are excellent–if you ever need somebody to give a talk on Theology of the Body, you can contact them via their Web site.

Please keep them in your prayers too!

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St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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