Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Biking for Babies

Photo by Adam Vogler
The Southeast Missourian featured an article on Cory Ross, a recent CCM and SEMO graduate, who is biking from New Orleans to Chicago this week to raise money for pregnancy resource centers:
Cory Ross, a student at Southeast Missouri State University, will be one of the nine riders participating in Biking for Babies 2012. Schaefer asked Ross to participate in this year's ride. They are both originally from Freeburg, Ill., and became friends in high school.
"I jumped on board," Ross said.
Ross has been bicycling recreationally since high school and began training for the ride in February. He said he trains inside two or three times a week by riding between one and two miles on a bicycle trainer. However, on the weekends he practices outside by going on long bicycle rides. These rides began at 50 to 60 miles and have increased over time. He said his longest ride was 120 miles.
"What keeps me going is knowing what I am bicycling for," Ross said. "Some days I can't stand bicycling at all."
Ross said riding for charity is a huge motivation. He explained that the money raised will help supply women in crisis pregnancies with the resources needed to carry out their pregnancy.
For example, Ross said some of the money raised will go toward buying an ultrasound machine for one of the beneficiaries. He explained that this machine would help mothers make a connection to the child inside them.
"It will greatly increase their chances of carrying out that pregnancy," Ross said.
Ross's fiance, Brittany Mickel, will also participate in the ride as a support vehicle driver. Mickel, who currently lives and works in East Prairie, Mo., will drive the riders to New Orleans and later meet them in East Prairie. From there, she will follow them to Chicago and carry supplies along the route.
She recently received her master's degree from Southeast Missouri State University and knew she wouldn't be able to complete the degree and train for the ride.
"I was amazed that Cory was able to train," Mickel said. "I am glad I was able to help in some way."
Mickel became aware of the pro-life movement in college. She attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C., in January 2011 and 2012.
"We should support life because it is our foundation," Mickel said. "From conception to natural death we should respect life."
Continue reading here.
Contribute to the cause here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1)  Be sure to eat something Polish today like pierogies or kielbasa in honor and celebration of the 92nd birthday of John Paul II!!! I bet he's doing this -----> right now in heaven.

2)  Wanna be sure to have a great summer?  Then don't forget to check out our ever so aptly titled post Five Tips on Having a Great Summer...

3)  Speaking of having a great summer - do yourself a favor and go on a silent retreat sometime before the fall - in fact, I'll make this really easy on you:  go to this website, call one of the two phone numbers at the top of the page and you're golden.  You won't regret it.  Going on a silent retreat can be an important opportunity to remove yourself from distraction so you can hear God speak to you in the silence and it's also just a nice way to take a break and relax.

4)  In March 2010 CCM took several students to Chicago for our annual Spring Break Mission Trip.  We went to work with Fr. Bob Lombardo of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the new religious order he was founding called the Franciscans of the Eucharist.  Fr. Bob was invited to Chicago by Cardinal George to serve the poor and restore a parish in a Chicago neighborhood that had seen much trouble.  In the '50s, Our Lady of the Angels Parish experienced a tragic fire in the parish school which resulted in the deaths of over 90 children and a few sisters who taught there.  We we visited Fr. Bob just two years ago, much work had already been accomplished including a lot of renovations to the old convent, but the parish itself had not been worked on much yet - it had been out of commission for many years and Fr. Bob was working on getting help to restore it.  Providentially, today I found a video featuring the newly restored parish and the rededication Mass that took place there just last month.  It's really a beautiful video - the church is gorgeous and its restoration is a true sign of hope and joy for the Church universal and the people of the neighborhood.  Those of you who were on the trip with us will especially enjoy seeing this I'm sure:

5)  Next Sunday, May 27, is Pentecost, so that means that today is the start of the Novena to the Holy Spirit.  Click here to pray the Novena.

6)  Normally the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday of the sixth week of Easter, but for pastoral reasons many dioceses in the U.S., including ours, transfer the solemnity to the following Sunday.  That means that when you go to Mass this Sunday, the readings will be for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  What is the Ascension and why is it important?  Here's Fr. Barron with a commentary on it:

7)  "The he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven." - Luke 24: 50-51

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Ascension of the Lord:
"Pierced hands best distribute benediction.  In the book of Leviticus, after the reading of the prophetical promise of the Messiah, there came the high priestly benediction; so too, after showing that all prophecies were fulfilled in Him, He prepared to enter the heavenly sanctuary.  Hands that held the sceptre of authority in heaven and on earth now gave the final blessing....In the Ascension, Christ took our necessities to the Father; thanks to the Spirit, Christ the Redeemer would be brought into the hearts of all who would believe in Him.  The Ascension would give Christ the right to intercede powerfully for mortals." From Life of Christ

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Takin' It to the Streets

What are some innovative ways that Catholic young adults are bringing truth to the streets of America?  Here are three organizations that are literally doing exactly that:

Biking for Babies is a pro-life organization which "completes an annual long-distance bicycle trip to increase awareness of the dignity for human life at all stages. Financial and spiritual support received through the ride specifically benefit the work of eight different pro-life organizations, each striving to meet the needs of women and unborn children in their own particular region." 
We encourage you to support Biking for Babies - this year one of CCM's very own, Cory Ross, who just graduated, will be participating in the 1150 mile bike ride from New Orleans to Chicago.  You can support Cory and the other bikers both spiritually and financially by clicking here - please consider making a financial donation as they are seeking to raise funds to purchase an ultrasound machine for a pregnancy resource center - the funds you provide will have a direct effect on the lives of families in our region - your sacrificial gift will quite literally save a life! 

Missionaries of the Eucharist is a Catholic organization that spends the summer proclaiming the beauty of the Catholic faith particularly through talking to people about Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  They do this by walking from Maine to Washington, D.C. and speaking to people they meet along the way whether on the road, at parishes, at pregnancy resource centers, youth groups, etc.  

Crossroads is a pro-life organization in which "each summer, young adults walk on four simultaneous pro-life walks across America from Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.. Walking over 12,000 miles and through 40 states, these young people hope to convert the hearts and minds of others – at the grass-roots level – by witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death."  Two CCM students have participated in Crossroad in past years.  

Each of these groups are providing opportunities for young adults to become actively and integrally involved in the New Evangelization.  Experiences like these are often life-changing, which I say from experience.  They are opportunities for young adults to experience authentic formation and an openness to the grace of God that some may have never known before.  Through efforts like these, real lives are being effected, healed and often saved.   Everyone is affected somehow, from the people making the journey to those whom they encounter on their way.  If you can make a financial contribution to any of these groups, please do, but especially pray for them and for those they will encounter.  If you make a spiritual or financial contribution consider writing a letter to them letting them know that you're praying for them - it's a great encouragement to receive things like that because often the situations they can encounter can seem daunting - it's a boost to them when they know that people around the country and the world are in solidarity with them and the mission.   When we take risks in following God's will, he usually pours out an abundance of graces upon us that have real and lasting effects, so don't doubt that God is going to do amazing things with these groups this summer. Let that also be an encouragement to you that whatever you face in your own life you can trust God with it if you take a radical leap of faith to do something beautiful for God.

Of Knights and Damsels

Two must reads for both the guys and the ladies: 

Dignitas Magazine:
From their first issue: "The purpose of Dignitas Magazine is to seek the truth about womanhood as God intended it to be, to encourage Catholic women to authentically live this truth, and to promote it in the world. We look to Sacred Scriptures and the teachings of the Church for our instruction. We strive for authentic holiness by seeking concrete ways to practice virtue. We eagerly look for relevant, winsome ways to promote the goodness of God’s image of womanhood in a world so hungry for the truth. Nourished by prayer and the sacraments and inspired by the example of the saints we joyfully embrace this task – and invite you to join with us!"

I read through their first issue (btw, it is a free online magazine) available here and it's fabulous.  It's a great mix of inspiring articles about the faith, tips on fashionable and modest clothing and other fun stuff for spring, and, of course, relevant affirmation on the dignity of women.  Also, it is quite well done aesthetically - as good, if not better, frankly, than top dollar magazines.  It's really, really good - so why are you still reading this? Go check out Dignitas now!!!

Also another amazing find (courtesy of Dignitas, btw) is The Man Who Would Be Knight
Ryan Kraeger, you're my hero! This dude is awesome - first of all Ryan is valiantly protecting us as a soldier in the US Army - and on top of that he is protecting our dignity as women by writing things like this:
"My sisters, you are worth more....We men lose something of our own manhood when we do not sacrifcice for you, when we take for granted the greatness of such a gift.  Unless we strive to be worthy of it, we are  not true men.   You do us a favor by guarding your hearts so that they must be pursued and won....Remember that your heart is to be so wrapped up in God that a man must ask God's permission to court you...."  I wish I could share everything he wrote here but then I'd probably end up posting the whole book (and you can read a longer excerpt at Dignitas) - and yes, this is from a book Ryan wrote called "My Dearest Sisters: Thoughts About Modesty From Your Brother".  He wrote it for his sister and cousins, but obviously it is having a much farther reach.  He has also written a book for men called "What Every Man Needs: A Young Soldier's Thoughts on Christian Manhood".  Both of these can be purchased at his website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Joyful Anniversary

Today we remember with joy and gratitude this day one year ago when Bl. Pope John Paul II was beatified with a Mass in St. Peter's Square attended by millions:

Kevin Heider "Travelling Vagabond/Minstrel"

Thanks to Kevin Heider for a great concert for CCM and SEMO students last night.  If you missed it here's a video by John McLain of Kevin and Anna LeBoeuf performing a duet of Kevin's song "Hold Me":

Confession = Free Gift of Mercy