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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.
December 13th, 2012
Mary and the Child Jesus are depicted in this painting “Madonna and Child.”(CNS/Art Resource/Metropolitan Museum of Art)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…
December 3rd, 2012
A mother holds her children during Mass at Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, Maryland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)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…
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…
September 13th, 2012
CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters Mose Gingerich is a thirtysomething with a wife and kids. He lives in a tidy brick house in Columbia, Missouri. He sells Toyotas. On the surface, his life seems utterly unremarkable. But it’s not. Mose Gingerich spent the first half of his life as a member of an Old Order Amish community. National Geographic Channel recently ran a series examining the lives of young adult Amish who have left their communities and their faith (which, one could easily argue, are one and the same). The series, “Amish: Out of Order,” details the lives of these individuals as they struggle to come to grips with the strange, fast-paced “English” world and the heartbreaking, often irreversible…
August 28th, 2012
I have a morbid fear of the ocean. I am not now nor have I ever been (nor, in all probability, will I ever be) a strong swimmer. Also, I am unilaterally opposed to entering any body of water the murkiness of which prevents me from seeing my own feet or the subaquatic creatures most likely poised to wreak all sorts of mischief on my unshod, obscured tootsies. I do, however, love being near the ocean. I love the sound, the smell, the vastness, the mystery, the treasures it reveals as it lifts the veil of the tide again and again. When it came time for us to embark on our first family vacation, we headed to the Delaware shore. I will take the liberty of assuming that you have never travelled close to five hours in a four-door sedan with…
August 9th, 2012
Country: United States/Brazil
Born: July 7, 1931
Died: February 12, 2005
Religion: Catholic, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Sr. Dorothy Stang worked tirelessly for poor farmers' rights and preservation of the Brazilian rainforest. Confronted by assassins on a deserted road, she opened her Bible and read the Beatitudes to them. She was shot six times.
August 7th, 2012
Country: United States
Born: March 24, 1820
Died: February 12, 1915
Religion: Methodist
Fanny Crosby was a prominent American lyricist, composer, poet, and advocate for the urban poor. She wrote approximately 8,000 sacred songs and is considered one of the mothers of American gospel music.
August 3rd, 2012
Country: United States
Born: December 29, 1937
Died: March 30, 1990
Religion: Roman Catholic, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Sister Thea Bowman was an esteemed educator, talented singer, gifted leader, powerful preacher, and a passionate bridge-builder across racial divides within the Christian community.
July 31st, 2012
Country: Germany Born: February 4, 1906 Died: April 9, 1945 Religion: Lutheran
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor and theologian, was outspoken in opposition to the Nazi regime and its practice of genocide. He was arrested for crimes of sedition and executed at Flossenbürg concentration camp.
July 11th, 2012
I hate moving. I have moved seven times since I graduated from college. This August, we are moving again. I am vexed. Terribly vexed. I know that moving can be an adventure. I know that a change often does me good. But, to be perfectly honest, I am anxious. I didn’t realize just how anxious I was until a few weeks ago when our 4-year-old son (the oldest and the self-appointed spokesman/chieftain of the tribe of little ones that inhabit our house) stomped down the stairs into the living room with his arms folded across his chest and proclaimed with unadulterated sass that he is NOT moving to Ohio. This was followed by an emphatic “Hmmph!” as he threw his head to the side in an Oscar-worthy demonstration of defiant indignation.…
June 27th, 2012
The etching "Christ Preaching" by Rembrant (The Hundred Guilder Print). (CNS photo/Philadelphia Museum of Art) Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the
May 30th, 2012
I learned how to pray the rosary with the help of a nun. A Zen Buddhist nun. During my final year at seminary I was privileged to take a class in Zen Meditation. We gathered early every morning to sit in complete silence and stillness on the floor of the Social Hall.
May 4th, 2012
A month of lessons in doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly in her footsteps
Cherry blossoms surround a statue of the Mary and baby Jesus outside St. Thomas More Church in Brighton, N.Y.(CNS photo/Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier)The first time my now husband came to lunch in my tiny studio apartment he looked with puzzled amusement at the statues and icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary that dotted my closet-sized dwelling and noted that I was “a very strange sort of Protestant.” Long before I became Catholic I loved Our Lady. Her strength and beauty have endeared her to me ever since my grandmother (an ardent and lifelong Presbyterian) gave me a holy card with a picture of Our Lady of Grace on the front and the Hail Mary printed on the back as a souvenir from our visit to a church in Niagara Falls.…
April 10th, 2012
A look at the women at Jesus' tomb and the Resurrection Women of today
Illustration of women discovering Christ's empty tomb. (CNS photo/courtesy of Alinari, Art Resource)We are tired. We feel it is now time to rise up and speak … You are asking, “Who are these women?” I will say we are ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters. For us, this is just the beginning. — Leymah Gbowee, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize In almost every corner of this world and in almost every epoch of recorded history, women have been entrusted with the care of bodies. We birth them. We feed them. We wash them. We mend them. We comfort them. We fret over them. So it is nothing short of utterly unremarkable that it is women who arrive at the tomb of Jesus to anoint him for burial. It…
March 19th, 2012
I have a confession to make. I am horrible at fasting. Epically horrible. My Lenten fast usually devolves into me eating precisely that from which I have vowed to abstain in a shameful and ridiculous display of my apparent lack of self-mastery. And then (good Catholic that I am) I feel guilty. Epically guilty. There are some for whom this sort of fast (minus, of course, my aforementioned pre-Easter meltdown) is spiritually gratifying and meaningful. To you I say a hearty and sincere, “Huzzah!” It just does not suit me. It does not make me feel any more prepared to walk with Jesus on his way to Calvary and it does not call me to joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. It makes me feel cranky… and ashamed.…
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