First of all, I want to add my prayers for Jennifer Fulwiler, author, speaker, and hostess of 7 Quick Takes, who was recently admitted to the hospital for blood clots in the lungs. She is pregnant with her sixth child, and due a little after I am. May she recover fully and enjoy a smooth third trimester with no more complications for her or her baby boy.
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If you’re in the Phoenix area, I hope you’ll consider attending an upcoming seminar with George Weigel, international author and speaker, and expert on Pope John Paul II. He’ll be back in town for the 5th Annual Celebration of Heroic Love and Life Jan. 26 beginning at 7 p.m. at Xavier College Preparatory Performing Arts Center, where he’ll speak on “Blessed John Paul II: Man of Faith.” Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at www.jp2faith.eventbrite.com. A catered coffee and dessert reception will follow along with a book-signing. My hubby and I are going with some friends. Hope to see you there.
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For smaller scale presentations and less reputable speakers, you can catch me Thursday, Jan. 10, beginning around 7:30 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa, Ariz. as I kick off the Sanctity of Life speaker series. I’ll be presenting on the connections between contraception and abortion. This should be an enlightening talk, especially for those who are committed to the pro-life cause but aren’t on board with the Church’s teaching on contraception. Come hear why the Catholic Church has been right about this all along, and how you can’t be truly pro-life if you support the use of contraception, especially chemical contraception.
Every now and then I like to recommend a book or a movie. If you haven’t seen Les Miserables in the theaters, go see this film. Besides going against its usual grain and messing with a classic by adding superfluous material or changing ideas altogether, Hollywood has managed to just let a beautiful story and its music speak for itself. I was so moved by the performances. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway knock their roles out of the park, and Russel Crow – while not as gifted in the signing department – manages to use his strong acting talents to pull off the very difficult role of Javert.
What is so inspiring is the thread of respect for the dignity of the human person that weaves the entire story together. And as always, it’s nice to see the Catholic perspective portrayed in the positive light that it really is instead of being warped or misrepresented by secularists pushing an agenda or an overzealous administration determined to shove the Christian faithful into a corner through unjust laws (I was inspired seeing this movie because it made me aware of how valiant the civil disobedience many Christians will be called to if things don’t change in this country will be. I’m totally on board and ready to take action).
But what I really took away from this film was the common bond that links all of humanity, even those who don’t know they believe this: Hope. We have a hope that we’ll live our lives in such a way that we make a difference, that we reflect the divine call to love and in doing so, we inch ever closer to entrance into the divine light. We see this played out time and time again, and it moves us, it inspires us, it transcends us so that we catch a glimpse of Heaven and our purpose on Earth. In other words, as the character Fantine points out in the final song, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Amen!
Speaking of recommendations, I want to alert all Phoenix residents about an upcoming fundraising event and book signing Friday, Feb. 8, at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. Joyce Coronel, journalist for The Catholic Sun, is releasing her first book called A Martyr’s Crown, based on the Chaldean Catholics in the Middle East and the persecution that is driving them to seek refuge right here in the Valley. The concert features well-known Catholic composer and vocalist Michael John Poirier. Chaldean Catholics will also be on hand to sing hymns in the original Aramaic language, composed by martyrs over 1000 years ago.
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And because I’m in a mood for recommendations, why not throw out another. An acquaintance through the Diocese of Phoenix who has been a long-time speaker on pro-life and Catholic teaching, has recently become an apologist for Catholic Answers (love this show) based out of San Diego, Calif. Trent Horn has already been on the air defending the pro-life stance and refuting atheists. He’ll be back Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time in the Open Forum for Atheists segment, and on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time to give pro-life answers to pro-choice questions. Both of his recent appearances can be found here. I encourage you to listen to the upcoming programs and call in if you have any questions.
I’ve decided that this year every now and then I’m going to highlight a woman who truly represents feminine dignity and serves as a real role model for girls.
My first one is a dear friend of mine, Sharon Phelan, who is a homeschooling mother of six amazing kids ages 13 to 3 (seriously, they are awesome). Oh, and five of them are boys!While she admits she loved the work she used to do when she was a career woman with her master’s degree, she would never sacrifice her kids, her vocation, or the day-in-day-out fruits that come from being home with her children and educating them – especially in the faith. She takes all six kids to daily mass (I’m still trying to get the guts up to take my three by myself) and attends adoration at 4 a.m. with her husband at least once a week.
She and her husband Mike (a rare example of one of those real men I often speak about) also happen to be one-third of our fabulous team that presents to engaged couples throughout our diocese on God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage (as if she wasn’t busy enough). I absolutely love spending those days with them, our great friend Fr. John Lankeit, and my own hubby. But I also love our little coffee dates we have here and there when we get to just go and share, commiserate, laugh, and reinvigorate one another.
Here’s to my friend, Sharon Phelan. I’m so proud to know her!
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