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Caitlin Kennell Kim :
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Caitlin Kennell Kim is a full-time baby wrangler, writer, and ponderer of all things theological. She earned her Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She currently lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their four small children.
April 9th, 2013

Question: Where is the house of the Virgin Mary? Can I visit it?
Yes, you certainly can visit the House of the Virgin Mary! It is located in Turkey in the hills that dot the landscape between Seljuk and Ephesus. Scripture tells us that Jesus entrusted his mother Mary into the care of his disciple John (and, likewise, John was entrusted into her maternal care). Tradition tells us that John travelled to Ephesus after the Resurrection to preach the gospel and Mary came with him. It is said that John had a simple house built for Mary in the peaceful hills where she lived out the rest of her days.
The house is a place of pilgrimage for both Christians and Muslims (they honor Mary as the mother of a prophet and believe in the virgin…

April 4th, 2013
Thoughts on the Octave of Easter

The tomb is empty. The stone has been rolled away. Jesus is not there. A vacant grave in the dim light of morning. This is the height and summit of the story of Jesus the Nazorean.

Except it’s not.

This year’s Easter reading from the Gospel of John gives us the account of a grief-stricken Mary Magdalene seeking the tomb of her Rabbi, Master and friend…

March 28th, 2013

On March 7, 2008 at approximately three o’clock in the afternoon Theodore Xavier Kim had his first shots … four of them. Now, it should be noted that I love my son’s pediatrician. I’m using the word LOVE here. But when she stuck four very big needles into my very little baby as he screamed and cried so hard that his perfect little inny bellybutton became an outie, I had several thoughts:
#1: The part of my mind hard-wired like that of any self-respecting tigress screamed: “This little 90 pound … witch … is hurting my son. It is incumbent upon me as his mother to hurl her like a javelin into the waiting room, grab my poor half-naked shrieking baby, and run screaming through traffic, half ambulance…

March 19th, 2013

I want to talk about fathers. I want to talk about fathers because — despite what one might garner from nearly every aspect of popular culture — they matter. They matter profoundly. I want to talk about fathers today because it is the Feast of St. Joseph and the day in which our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, will celebrate his installation.

March 11th, 2013
A Lenten Call to Action for Catholic Institutions

This is a call to action. Catholic institutions, I’m talking to you.
January 1, 2006, 31-year-old Lori Stodghill was admitted to the emergency room at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colorado. She was complaining of nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Lori Stodghill was seven months pregnant with twin boys. As she was being wheeled into an exam room, she lost consciousness. ER staff desperately attempted to page her obstetrician. He never answered. She passed away a mere hour after arriving at the emergency room. The Stodghill twins died in their mother’s womb. It was later discovered that Lori Stodghill had suffered a pulmonary embolism.
Jeremy Stodghill lost his wife and two children…

March 4th, 2013

This year I’m not fasting during Lent. Period. Not because I’ve given up on the concept of fasting as spiritually edifying. Not because I’m the worst faster in the long and storied history of fasting (which, by the way, I am). Not because I have a tendency to be rebellious, defiant, and stubborn (me, me, and — let’s face it — me).

February 6th, 2013

There are approximately 45 women’s colleges in this country. A great many of them are Catholic institutions founded principally by religious orders. The Church has a long history of supporting the education of girls and women. As Catholics, we possess a rich legacy of great woman-philosophers, theologians, and saints. The truth is I’ve been thinking a lot about women’s education lately. A few weeks ago, those at the administrative helm of my alma mater — Wilson College — decided to end her days as a college for women by admitting men into all of its academic programs. This decision (as I understand it) was made in an attempt to dramatically increase enrollment in hopes of bolstering the college’s…

January 28th, 2013

Holy controversy, Batman! I had no idea that so many people had such impassioned opinions about what other people wear to Mass. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to those who took the time to respond to my last post via the comments section on the Convert-sation blog and also on Busted Halo’s Facebook page. I decided it would be easiest to respond to your questions and thoughts in another post. So here we go …

January 20th, 2013

Once upon a time there was a Mary. No, not that Mary. A different one. This Mary lived in Egypt at the end of the fourth century. She made her way across the better part of the ancient near east by trading sexual favors to pilgrims for food and lodging. She boasted heartily about her ability to seduce and, if legend bears any truth, her licentiousness knew no bounds (seriously).
Once she followed a procession of pilgrims bearing a piece of the True Cross through Jerusalem to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Donned in clothes meant to advertise her sexual availability, she sauntered among the pilgrims in search of her next conquest. When the procession reached the door of the church, she was barred from entering by a powerful…

January 9th, 2013

If I ascend to the heavens,
you are there.
If I fly with the wings of the dawn
and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand hold me fast.
Psalm 139: 8a-10…
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. At a press conference on the eve of her historic flight, reporters asked her what effect space travel would have on her reproductive organs and whether she was prone to weeping when things didn’t go according to plan. I find it difficult (OK, actually incredibly amusing) to imagine the same questions being posed to Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. Ride handled these questions — the content of which ranged from insultingly silly to profoundly sexist — with grace,

December 31st, 2012

Attention! Christmas is NOT over! January 1, we celebrate the second most significant feast of the Christmas season: The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. New to this feast/season/faith? Come along with this convert as she explains the ins and outs of this celebration of Our Lady as the Mother of God.
T — Theotokos: This Greek word means ”God-bearer” or “God-birther” and has been used as a title of honor for the Blessed Virgin Mary since the earliest centuries of the Church. It is this title that is translated into Latin in liturgy and prayers as Mater Dei… (Mother of God). Whenever we proclaim Mary the Mother of God, we are proclaiming that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate. Every Catholic doctrine pertaining

December 18th, 2012

Enough. This is enough. I look at the faces of our three children — our son the same age as the youngest victims of Friday’s tragedy — and I declare that this is enough.
It is Advent, the season of hope. It is the season of making ourselves ready for the coming of Christ. We … our grieving sisters and brothers in Newtown, Connecticut, and all of us who keep watch with them and pray with them and weep with them … have witnessed a dark shadow descend over this season of light. We have seen the hopes and dreams of little children and the selfless adults charged with their care extinguished by an act of indescribable violence. Enough.
We are a people who walk in darkness. In the mire of wanton death…

December 13th, 2012

This Advent, I am remembering how I came to love (really love) Our Lady. I am remembering an Advent about five years ago when a very pregnant me sat across a gargantuan desk from a stern-faced doctor tossing phrases around like “never be able to carry to term” and “lungs will not function” like he was ordering a meal from a drive-thru window. I remember the anger — the deep and desperate anger — that coursed through me as I tried to understand why God would allow such a thing to happen. I remember feeling like I couldn’t pray. Me — the third-year seminarian who had been trained to pray with individuals and communities in pain. I remember the first time I asked Mary to intercede for me … clutching…

December 3rd, 2012

Advent is a time for cultivating our patience in anticipation of Christmas and the coming of Christ. What more fitting way to welcome the infant Jesus into our hearts (and to practice patience) than to go out of our way to celebrate the presence of children at Mass! Here are some tips for folks with and without kids for making Mass a welcoming place for the little ones who are so dear to Jesus.
Tips for Parents

Feed Them: Little people who are too young to receive Holy Communion are not obligated to fast before Mass. So feed them! I recommend a big breakfast with lots of protein and easy on the sugar. Nobody finds it easy to sit still on an empty stomach.
Sit Up Front: Imagine attending a liturgy (or a play or concert, for that…

November 26th, 2012

It started out as a perfectly mundane shopping trip. Our youngest (nearly one) sat in the front of the cart and our two oldest (two and a half and four, respectively) were riding in the basket. I was at the helm. It was last winter and we were shopping for sweaters. Our oldest was calling out the color of each sweater on the rack. His sisters clapped with hearty approbation. A woman approached me and, with more than a soupçon of disbelief and disgust, asked me, “Are those all yours?”
“Yes,” I replied, “These are all mine.” She stopped. She stared. She shook her head and clucked her tongue in disapproval. She walked away. I prayed (Oh, Lord did I pray) for the self-control to not pummel her with the diaper bag…

November 19th, 2012

On the eve of our daughter’s third birthday, she and I spent hours in the kitchen baking bread. We mixed. We kneaded. We waited. We shaped the dough. We carefully opened the oven door just enough to fill ourselves up with the smell of baking bread. We got flour in our hair. We made a mess of epic proportions. It was beautiful — her little hands and my not-so-little hands working and playing and creating something good and wholesome together. It was almost prayer.
I have always found bread making to be an intensely spiritual endeavor. Somehow flour, water, yeast and salt — the most common and mundane of ingredients — are combined to make something warm and hearty and magical. A miracle. A little “ex…

November 5th, 2012

It is an unseasonably warm morning in Northeastern Ohio. The pickles Kim (shorthand for the three little people who live at our house) are running wild in a choppy sea of motley leaves. (Raking is on the list. The list is long.) I ask our 4-year-old — the one loping around with a Tyrannosaurus Rex strapped across his torso in a self-styled Baby Bjorn whilst brandishing a stick/pirate sword — what I should write about voting. Without stopping, without so much as lowering his wooden scabbard he yells, “Tell everyone about how you love God.”

October 29th, 2012
A convert's guide to an eerily Catholic Halloween

Growing up most of the kids I knew from Christian families weren’t allowed to celebrate Halloween. Here are a few thoughts on the meaning of this Catholic celebration (yes, really!) and why it matters.
H… — Holy. That’s right, folks. Halloween is a derivation of “All Hallows’ Eve” aka “All Saints’ Eve” aka “the vigil of All Saints’ Day”… a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholic Christians. All Saints’ Day is a celebration of the holy saints in heaven who were exemplars of Christ’s love in life and now enjoy the eternal reward of heaven. The saints are our sisters and brothers in faith who pray for us. Let’s feast

October 21st, 2012

My dad is the king of Sunday morning. When I was growing up, Sunday was a day of ritual and beauty. Also, it should be noted that it had nothing to do with church or putting on fussy clothes or being anywhere at any particular time. It was about waking up to the smell of eggs cooking on the stove. (And not just eggs – dad eggs…. These involved throwing random things from the refrigerator and freezer into the skillet to create awesomeness. I have tried this. Apparently it’s dad-specific magic.) It was about padding down to the living room in my jammies to find John Wayne or Judy Garland waiting to take me on some new adventure as I snuggled up on the couch and was issued a bowlful of eggs as provisions for my journey. It was about

October 15th, 2012

Both of my parents believe in God. I can’t say much more about what they believe because religious beliefs are so idiosyncratic and personal and tangled up in who a person is deep down in their marrow it seems presumptuous to try to articulate any but one’s own. Also, to be perfectly frank, my parents very seldom shared these beliefs with me. We did not go to church. We did not pray as a family. We did not read the Bible. I had the freedom to discover God on my own. And even though there were times when I wanted to go to church and I wanted to learn more about the Christian God cryptically entwined in the pages of the Bible my mother had received as a child, I am thankful for this. I am thankful for the freedom to feel that God is…

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