Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Ordination Day of Bishop Lopes

The Ordination festivities started with a Prayer Vigil and Choral Evensong on Monday evening and a Tuesday morning mass for Candlemas, followed by talks. After this was an Ordinariate festival all afternoon. It started with the old English country dances performed by our kids and their homeschool friends.

Practicing upon arrival

Checking out the area with the inflatables

All of our dancers!

Time to perform!

The next performers were the bagpipers from St. Thomas Episcopal

Sisters fighting! 

A sweet little moment between some Sisters and a priest 

I just realized that these little ones were sitting in just the same spot!
 Two Sisters and a priest one day?

Babies and Texas ribs!

Babies and giant sticks!

Not photographed was our crazy afternoon of missing keys, waiting for Daddy, readying for the mass, finding dinner, circling downtown for a parking space, and finally arriving into the Co-Cathedral just as the procession was beginning! Steven and the big kids had a spot in the sanctuary but I stayed in the vestibule with Katie and later Thomas.

I believe there were around 150 priests, over 30 bishops, and 6 cardinals!

Cardinal Levada, our pastor Fr. Hough, and Cardinal Müller

Homily by Cardinal Levada

Bishop Lopes preparing for Ordination


And this was what my view was like during the mass!

I think this was my favorite part, Bishop Lopes' mother and step-father bringing up the gifts at the Offertory. His father died when he was a teen.

All the handsome altar servers

Cardinal Müller

Cardinals and Bishops

The newest Bishop!

My crazy crew after mass

Tommy with a plate of strawberry leaves

Katie Grace and her friend "Party Addy" having fun at the reception which ended at 11pm! We got home at midnight. A full, but very blessed and grace-filled day!

I'll also add the YouTube video of Bishop Lopes' remarks at the end of the mass. Especially poignant is the explanation of his motto "Magna Opera Domini," Great are the works of the Lord.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Exciting week for The Church!

Last year around this time we started attending Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church. It is part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, that is a sort of "diocese" made up of Catholic Churches in North America which have been formed for Anglican (and other) converts to the Catholic faith. Our pastor, clergy, and many parishioners are former Episcopalians. But other Catholics are welcome to worship there as well, and being that my father was raised in the Episcopal church, our family is actually even more "official" than we'd initially realized.

The mass is beautiful and reverent, the sacred music is uplifting, and the community is vibrant and welcoming. We love smaller, traditional churches, and are blessed to be a part of this parish, which is the Principal one for the Ordinariate. This week is a very exciting one as The Holy Father has named the first Bishop to lead the Ordinariate, and he will be ordained here at the Cathedral in Houston on Tuesday night. It will be broadcast live on EWTN (also streaming online).

Tuesday will be filled with lots of events and a big children's festival at the church. That evening, Bishop-elect Steven Joseph Lopes (yes, his name is Steven Joseph!) will become a bishop, and next weekend our parish will actually become a Cathedral! His story is a beautiful one of faithfulness and service to the church and to the mission of the Ordinariate. Our three oldest children will be performing some traditional old English country dances during the children's festival and have been rehearsing for several weeks. They've been doing these dances with their local homeschool clubs for many years, and now they finally get to perform them with their local friends who attend our parish! We look forward to watching their dances and also experiencing the bishop's ordination mass. I hope the children handle well the events of the day, as we celebrate with our friends and church community this joyous event!

Our current Administrator, Msgr. Steenson, describes the Ordinariate as "the most remarkable endeavor the Catholic Church has ever launched for the cause of Christian unity." We are blessed to be a part of it and continue to pray for the unity of all Christians.

Project 366

Days 22-31
Here ends one full month of every day photos!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Home is Wherever I'm With You

We have lived in eight different homes in the fourteen years we've been married (one of them twice). The longest stretch we spent in any home was five years, but most stays were only a year or two. Recently someone asked about our current home, if it felt like I was finally home for good when we awoke after the first night here. The answer to that question was...not exactly!

Honestly I have gotten used to staying in different places, from our very modest first apartment to our current new-ish, large home. Whether hometown or college town or the city-by-the-sea, it always takes awhile to feel like I'm home, and I am not sure I've ever really had that feeling of being settled for the long-term. I love purging and reorganizing, and especially redecorating! But sometimes it has been hard not knowing how long we'd actually be in that particular home. I've gotten used to just trying to find contentment with the current home for the current day and trying not to think too much into the future!

The one constant is our own little, actually big, family. Every morning (unless he's traveling, or playing musical beds with children, or already at work) I wake up next to Steven, and that makes me feel like I am home. Our children are all in different places around the house...our room, their rooms, the couches, or even the upstairs balcony, but we are all together in our home. We spend most of our days together in our home and it becomes the safe haven where our hearts and our lives reside.

There have been seasons in our life when I wanted to escape from "home." Our outside activities were the things that my daily life revolved upon. Whether it was due to financial stress or job insecurities, or just my desire for lots of social engagements, we had outings every day and we all thrived on those as being the focus of our days.

I can say that now, especially with these last few moves, we have found so much more contentment at home. We have schooling to do, meals to prepare, games to play, crafts to do, shows to watch, and quite a few children to raise! I do enjoy a mom's night out, a shopping adventure, or a special homeschool event with friends, but really when I think about it I'd rather be home than running around town these days. And I love the days that we don't have to go anywhere at all!

It's stressful to dress children and load children and drive them and chase them, to deal with meltdowns, and find food, and change diapers, and miss naps, and come home exhausted! I'd prefer to let them play in their dirty clothes, snack on food in the pantry, ride bikes in the street, chase the dog in the backyard, and play games with each other. We can have slow mornings and slow evenings. We can school all day long when we don't have places to run to. I can take a nice long bath, and the baby can take a long nap in her own bed. My one less-social child can be more content and my extroverted self can have some time to text or call friends.

Our new home has afforded us the ability to have lots of gatherings here. It seems like we've hosted a large group event or party almost every week since we moved in.  It's helped us keep the house company-ready, and we've been able to have friend's over on a moment's notice. Today we have a neighbor over plus two friends who came to play for the afternoon. We've taken a walk to the park and a little bike ride. Although we have some errands and a party to attend this evening, it sure feels like an ideal Saturday here at home with our kids and their friends.

I'm grateful to have come to a place of contentment at home. I'm sure being in this beautiful new home makes that happen more easily! But what I'm trying to teach myself and the children is that the focus of our lives should be on the PEOPLE around us. That is, we should first focus on God, whose presence and love always surrounds us wherever we are, then on our family who God has given us to represent his love on earth, and finally on the community around us and other people we encounter each day. The place where we are is less important than the people we're with. Whenever all seven of us are together, wherever we are feels like home!

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