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Facts of Faith

Little known Catholic facts, knowledge and trivia

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, and Fr. Larry Rice, CSP, discuss facts of Catholicism not widely known, including everything from historical facts to modern pop culture references about the Church.

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December 24th, 2010

Fr. Larry explains to Fr. Dave how the Church fixes the approximate date of Christ’s birth and His incarnation breaking into human history.…

December 23rd, 2010

The other day I was scooting down the stairs with Olivia when I was struck with such a strong feeling of gratitude for her that I immediately began crying and clutched her to my chest.  I know it seems rote to say, but having a child is one of the greatest gifts that God can give.  I almost cannot contain the love that I feel for her sometimes.  There is not a single day that passes that I don’t feel thankful for being a mother.
Don’t get me wrong.  Being a parent, while more wonderful than I imagined, is also way harder than I ever imagined it being.  It isn’t always rainbows and puppies.  Olivia’s sleeping was a nightmare for a while.  I (thankfully) did not have postpartum depression but around O’s 8 month…

December 22nd, 2010

I realize that in my last post, I might have come off as kind of a grump… exams and papers will do that to you.  Not that I take back anything that I said regarding the importance of Advent or the true awfulness of the song “Last Christmas,” but when I hit the “Send” button on my last paper of the semester this past Saturday, the holidays began for me!
Still, after my last post I do feel the need to prove that I am not a total Mr. Potter.  In fact, it’s because I like Christmas music so much that I can’t stand when it is co-opted in order to give second-rate musical artists a shot towards achieving some “American Idol” style mediocrity.  So with that in mind, I would like to offer what I will be playing on my iPhone…

December 16th, 2010

Fr. Larry Rice and Fr. Dave Dwyer offer suggestions on gifts for the holidays that keep on giving: fair trade products, shares in Catholic Relief Services and other options worlds better than ugly sweaters.
A few of the organizations Fr. Larry mentions:
Heifer International
Advent Conspiracy
Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade
Ten Thousand Villages
Global Exchange…

December 16th, 2010

Sunday was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  In our household, the day came and went without any special celebration.  Honestly, I would have completely forgotten that it was her feast day except that it was also La Lupe’s birthday.  No church in our diocese was allowed to celebrate an Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass because this feast day is trumped by the celebration of the third Sunday in Advent.
On a typical feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe there is a whole lot of hoopla and celebration.  You wake up super early and go to church at 5am to hear mariachis sing Las Mañanitas.  Then, later in the day, you arrive at church to see a crowd of children dressed up as San Juan Diego with his tilma carrying roses.  There are…

December 10th, 2010

I’m 30 weeks pregnant now, 40 weeks is the due date, and I cannot ignore the inevitable.  Up until this point I haven’t really had to come to grips with giving birth to my second child.  I’ve been able to avoid thinking about it because of how far off it seemed but now I have to face it.  Physically, there is no way for me to avoid the fast-approaching day when this baby (God willing) will enter this world.  I’ve been clipping corners in my house and hitting my belly with the refrigerator door because it is getting that much… in the way now.  I even have to take an extra step back when I open drawers and have to consciously position the seatbelt and seat when I’m driving.
I think that God purposefully made pregnancy

December 10th, 2010

Back in the spring, Nitin Nohria, 48, was named dean of the Harvard Business School. At a time when MBA has come to stand for “masters of the business apocalypse” this is an important show of support for an ethics-focused approach to capitalism. Nohria, a professor of business administration, has been a proponent of the MBA Oath, a voluntary pledge for graduating MBAs and business leaders to return to old-fashioned business ethics and core virtues like stewardship and responsibility.
It was also good timing for Max Anderson and Peter Escher, whose book, The MBA Oath: Setting a Higher Standard for Business Leaders, came out around then. But the messages of the MBA Oath are timeless:
Anderson and Escher…

December 9th, 2010

Days Six and Seven of Hanukkah
Author Yaakov Astor states,
“Chanukah ideally is meant to instill in us an image of what we can be — no matter how far from that image we may begin.”
I thought back to high school, a time when all I wanted to be was an actor.
I have a confession to make. (Another reason to love Judaism: no confession, and thus — no penance!) The summer I was 16, I had my first job working the concession stand at “Live at the Lakehouse,” an outdoor summer stage that featured free musical theater six nights a week. Confession #2: I saw the play Fiddler on the Roof 36 times as a result. Let me repeat this: I saw Fiddler on the Roof… thirty-six times. If there is such a thing as a “born-again

December 8th, 2010

In my pre-Chanukah post, I discussed (or rambled on about) how Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, but also the time when Jews all over the world celebrate, and meditate upon, miracles.  But what kind of miracles exactly?  Well, we have the basic Chanukah story where the Hashmonaim found a small amount of oil that lasted eight days and nights to burn the menorah.  Now let’s go even further than that.
I recently heard a beautiful thought on Chanukah miracles.  The miracle wasn’t so much that the Hashmonaim found a small bit of oil that lasted 8 days, but that they believed… in themselves enough to search!  The Jews – the Hashmonaim – could have just given up on themselves, but instead they

December 5th, 2010

For almost every Mass on the first Sunday of December I can remember, a (visibly angry) priest would climb to the pulpit and offer a predictable lament.  The lament was that “society” had, once again, started the celebration of Christmas four weeks too early; we as faithful Catholics were strongly encouraged not to take part in this abomination.
Of course, over half of the congregation had already accepted party invitations, had presents purchased during Black Friday stashed throughout the house, and had already set up a tree.  No matter!!!  The priest would challenge the community not to use the “C-word” (Christmas) until December 24.  Because Advent is a SERIOUS time!  A QUIET time!  A time…

December 2nd, 2010

I don’t know what possessed me to buy it.  I was in a store and I saw this kind of rolodex that cataloged all the Native Americans of North America.  It contained the Pima Indians which is a tribe that Brandon and I worked with for many years.  I saw it and bought it thinking that it was a perfect Christmas gift for Brandon.  Had I put more thought into it, I would have realized that he had absolutely no use for American Indian flashcards.  We had just started dating at the time so he had to act really excited to receive the gift but, as the years have passed, we laugh about how off my gift-giving skills were with this purchase.
We’re all guilty of it: buying gifts for others that we should probably have put more thought…

November 22nd, 2010

How much pain does it take to feel G-d? The people of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, worry about their kids and gangs, about drugs and homicide. They have the projects and they have their churches. But mostly, they have G-d.
The residents in this neighborhood hold more collective faith than any one community. You can just feel it. Every night, the churches host something for the community – anything – from youth programs to keep kids off the streets, to housing and foreclosure help to free HIV testing.

The residents here speak in gospel, and laugh with you like you are their good friend. I am a white, Jewish girl who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood on assignment as a writer. It blows my mind how much…

November 19th, 2010

Thank you all so much for your prayers and heartfelt comments on my post “Questioning God.” While the holidays will definitely be a difficult time for my family, I’m confident we’ll make it through.
The evening of the funeral I stayed up late to watch the video premiere of Lady Antebellum’s music video for “Hello World,” which managed to put life back into perspective.
Not one to cry, the moving video brought tears to my eyes and made me realize that life is way too short to spend so much time grieving or taking things so seriously.
Instead, I wanted to make a difference.
Back in September, I donated 10 inches of my hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit that makes wigs for children…

November 19th, 2010

It’s nearly impossible for most Americans to separate out what they need from what they want. Why? Because our wants are turned into needs by advertising, the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” and a constantly changing consumer culture. But in their Well-Being survey, the good folks at Gallup attempt to separate the two – asking Americans if they feel they have enough money for the things they need, for the things that they want to do, and then cross-tabulating those responses with a question asking the respondent to rate his or her current and future life on a 0-to-10 scale, with higher satisfaction reports categorized as descriptions of “thriving.”
Some 60% of Americans…

November 11th, 2010

I love churches.  I really do.  Back before we had Olivia, Brandon and I would take regular trips around Austin and its surrounding cities to visit churches we had never been in before.  I love the art, stained glass windows, smell, architecture, everything.  Kinda dorky, but it’s one of our favorite things to do together.
One time I visited this particular church and decided to stay for daily Mass.  There was a small group of people there and one of them was a policeman in complete uniform: gun, walkie talkie, baton and all.  This really struck me.  I thought how much faith this man must have to still attend daily Mass when, I could only assume, he was on duty or about to go on duty.  Mass continued and it was…

November 4th, 2010

Tithing used to be emphasized a lot more in the past as necessary to lead a good Christian life but has fallen out of favor.
I recently taught my students about stewardship which included a lesson on tithing.  I thought it was an important lesson to teach because my experience is that people don’t think that it is important to give money to the Church.  Some people get extremely offended when they are told that the Church needs money.  They don’t think it is the Church’s business what they do with their money and how dare the Church tell them that they have to give what they have worked so hard for and deserve.  Some have actually walked out of the church when the priest has to give his once-a-year homily on the finances…

November 3rd, 2010

I came across an interesting — if not a bit confusing — podcast on the Freakonomics site: Stephen J. Dubner argues that between “Sea of Cheating and the valley of Lying, you’d come to the kingdom of Faking It.” A woman who keeps kosher, but loves to nibble on bacon when she’s out for brunch. A man who tells nosy colleagues about a fake desire to have children and a fictional membership in a local church. All for the sake of easing social situations.
Some would call these white lies. Others would call these out-right untruths. But I certainly wouldn’t call it “faking it.” Still, that quibble aside, Dubner writes:
Is all this faking a menace to society? Or do…

October 29th, 2010

3:17 pm: After a long Metro Ride back (never ride the DC Metro with Joe Williams… bad luck always follows), Joe, Carolyn, and I talk about the place of religion in the public discourse in the hopes we can have a more open conversation as a whole, with people feeling free to both challenge and be challenged. We get back to St. Paul’s College and we drink beer. T’was a grand day!
2:35 pm: We decide to head out. We see someone holding a sign with a picture of Jesus that says something like, “That’s not what I said!” Had to get my picture taken with it.
2:02 pm: It’s funny, because there are so many people dressed up here today, not many people really notice me wearing a collar. BUT they…

October 28th, 2010

Have you heard the story of Reed Sandridge, who, after getting laid off from his job, embarked on a Year of Giving? He goes out in search of perfect strangers, hands them $10 and asks for their personal story–which he posts on his blog.
I used to write a blog called “Character Sketches,” but this gives the phrase new meaning.
About 30% of the recipients of the $10 used it for food or beverages — like a latte. But the next most common use for the cash was to give it away to someone in need.
And if you read a story that moves you — someone who you might hire, someone whom you could introduce to a contact — Mr. Sandridge has a page for followup, where readers can lend a hand.
Says his brother,…

October 25th, 2010

What’s the point of praying for the dead? Fr. Larry Rice and Fr. Dave Dwyer discuss why Catholics see praying for the deceased is important and why other denominations may not agree.…

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