Monday, March 31, 2014

All Things Girl: Truth for Teens

Heather Renshaw, the contributor for the chapter on vocations and motherhood in the new 2014 release of All Things Girl: Truth for Teens invites you to connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Come and join the fun!

Here is the FB page:  

The Twitter feed:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Man Up!

The ultimate men’s conference is now here…easy to attend in the comfort of your own home!

Jared Zimmerer has accomplished a herculean task and gathered some of the best voices together for Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man.

Fr. Robert Barron endorses Zimmerer’s work and writes: What does it mean to be a man and a disciple? For too long, the Church's outreach and witness to men has suffered from a lack of coherence, vision, and zeal--a sad situation that has left too many men at the margins of the Church's missionary endeavors. Man Up! is evidence that a hope-filled change is in the making. Jared Zimmerer, with his "Man Up!" team, is boldly taking the lead into one of the great peripheries of the New Evangelization.

Catholic Apologist, Matt Fradd says of Man Up!: This book encourages men to become who they are—who they were created to be. Jared Zimmerer, and his extraordinary contributors, offer sage advice to a culture of men gone soft. I believe that it will contribute a significant amount to the renewal of authentic masculinity in the Church.

Perfect for hubby’s Easter basket—or for dad or brother—Man Up! truly is the best “men’s conference” in a book.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are You Setting Yourself Up for Failure This Lent?

This Lent I’m doing some different things. Or maybe I should say I’m doing things differently.

Regardless of my intentions, I’ve noticed that the last few Lenten Seasons (and Advent, too) have started out as gangbusters but then have really petered out. I’m reminded of the saying “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Talking with some friends, I’ve found that it is a far more common occurrence then most of us are willing to admit. We purchase the Lenten book, we buy all the pieces for the Advent wreath, we envision the holy and anointed times that will take place in our homes and in our hearts during these sacred seasons.

Of course, the more we plan, the more likely we are to fail. After all, 40 days is a long time to stay committed. It is test of endurance and we unwittingly set ourselves up for failure because we aren’t always realistic in what we set out to do.

So this Lent, I’m doing something different: I'm setting myself up for success.

This Lent I’m re-reading a couple of books that I have loved over the past few years; books that have fed my soul AND kept my interest. I’m not about cutting down bare tree branches and painting them and hanging Easter eggs on them (yes, that was one activity we did years ago that had less than successful results! LOL!).

This Lent I’m excited to pick up Nancy Carabio Belanger’s latest book The Gate and delve back in. It is such a great story and one that seems so fitting for my Lenten reading.

I’m also going to re-read Rosemary McDunn’s The Green Coat. Every time I read her book my heart is filled with a renewed sense of hope in all things. Perfect for Lent!

Last month I was invited to be a guest on Catholic Television’s This is the Day and talk about Young Adult literature. The fastest growing segment of the YA market is adults! This Lent I am reminded why that is the case and will be enjoying great Catholic YA literature—and invite you to do the same.

It is something I promise you will finish and feel nourished.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Elizabeth Ficocelli and the Conrad Hilton Foundation Have a Lot in Common

It turns out that Elizabeth Ficocelli and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation have a lot in common.

Ficocelli authored a series of children’s vocation-awareness books with a beautiful entry titled “Where Do Sisters Come From?” Elizabeth has shared her story behind the vocation-awareness series on Catholic radio and on a number of Catholic websites and in print. A convert, Ficocelli explains how her own interest in understanding consecrated life was the impetus behind writing the first entry “Where Do Priests Come From?” which was then followed by “Where Do Sisters Come From?.” The final entry in the series is “Where Do Deacons Come From?.”

So when it was recently announced that March 8 through March 15th is Catholic Sisters Week, Ficocelli was not surprised. Her own passion for helping young children learn about vocations was acknowledged in that announcement. Ficocelli’s life work and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation had oddly crossed paths around the consecrated life of sisters!

Catholic Sisters Week is the enterprise of St. Catherine University out of St. Paul, MN and is backed by over three million dollars from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. It is a vast undertaking and, according to Andrea Lee, IHM, president of St. Catherine University, it will essentially be “Fostering meaningful relationships between college-age women and accomplished American women religious will be a powerful inspiration for some to consider religious life.”

Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, program director of the Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation adds, “The Hilton Foundation’s vision is to create a movement that ignites a national awareness around the lives and profound contributions of Sisters, inspiring girls and women to be open to a potential call to religious life.”

For Elizabeth Ficocelli, it is an exciting time to introduce the beauty of vocations to Catholic families and classrooms. “Even if the youngsters aren’t called to a consecrated vocation, being aware of them as a special call from God increases everyone’s respect and appreciation,” Ficocelli has said in radio interviews.

It looks like the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation agrees!

(illustration is from Where Do Sisters Come From?)