What Do You Do With…?

Holy Ghost

As I was realizing that the Festival of San Gennaro was right around the corner and I had done all I could to coordinate things,  all I could, to get things moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, but was not getting as far as I should, things not moving as they should suddenly I was taken back in time.  

I was reminded of the movie The Sound of Music and when she is walking down the aisle to get married, the nuns start singing “What do you do with a problem like Maria?”  The song goes on to say that there’s many a thing you ought to tell her, many of thing she out to know, implied that she just doesn’t get stuff she ought to get.  Again it asks what to do with a problem like Maria.  The nuns had to acknowledge that you can’t really do much.  There are those who will never be focused, never be like a laser beam with their ideas, quick to action when action is what is needed.  There are maybe lots like Maria out there, who ought to get it, from how to treat friends and colleagues etc.., to how to be timely in their actions, reactions, have a sense of things, but don’t.  Often as a result projects that we may have been really hopeful about, had lots of enthusiasm about in the beginning, that can get crushed when you feel you are dealing with a Maria, male or female, that type of situation, person.  This birthday could have been one with a few smiles for me, but frustration from feeling like a lone ranger in getting things off the ground, moving etc.. take away the smiles this birthday.  Add on top of that the fibromyalgia acting up, and my frustration with this Pope, the “social justice, PC” confusion he has created, other factors and not feeling very smiley.  I realize also that I view Catholicism really more as a culture aspect, an aspect of heritage.  My true Christian soul is perhaps more in line, tune with let’s say the Neighborhood Church of the West Village, that Protestant, Congregational type of Christianity, a strong sense of the church being the one to foster the arts.   I guess my conflict or so called conflict, which I thought was about Jesus and who he was is more of one within my framework of faith as a Christian, in terms of “Is my soul Catholic or Anglican Conservative.  That is really what I need to explore and I intend to, but how?

I think that seeing how I would feel, fit into someplace like the NCGV and still respect my heritage, including the Catholic faith, but really see where I feel truly authentic and myself, where I feel I can fully embrace the theology.  The exploration really is about my Christianity, what does that mean to me, how do I identify myself, in terms of being Christian.  This is going to be interesting, but necessary.   As for my role as Arts Associate at MPB church, let’s see how that goes, if we can get organized for the arts program.  Not holding my breath on that, not totally.  I hope the church survives and thrives, really do.  There has to be a lot more of everyone being proactive, efficient and organized, moving at a solid fast pace to accomplish what is to be accomplished.  We shall see, only time can tell.  One thing I do know is that the ballon of hope for great collaboration etc…has been somewhat deflated.  Who knows it might just turn around right?

Amen

Going to Plan B?

soaring eagle

I care for much for my faith, for the core truths of the faith and the magisterium, boundaries taught in sacred scripture, and also for the parish I now call home, for the traditions of my heritage.  I would hate to see that lost, so what do I do?

I understand clearly that as much as one would like to be fluffy and romantic about one’s parish, one’s church, one also has to be practical, and for a parish, a church is like any other business and requires funds to pay the bills.  The faith in order to survive must at some point return to its’ roots, so much nations or they will cease to be America, Italy, Germany etc.. if they do not do so and firmly, not in a negative way, but do so.  I understand that and so I have discerned that a series of regular fundraisers will be required and where my heart rests is with the arts, with music, so when an offer was made to me by a wonderful choral group to perform for us, to fundraise for us I could not say no on behalf of the parish and knew we would require 30 days to organize, set up ticket sales etc…  I knew for any event to succeed we would require solid planning, PR and Marketing, not just in our own little world and neighborhood but beyond those four walls.  However, when others are not getting it, and are not getting what will put the organization “on the map”, back to its’ roots big time etc.. I have to scratch my head and think what I can do to help that entity to thrive on my own time.  It is frustrating, but I may not have a choice. What can I do?  Being on SSDI, I am limited in my personal resources, but that does not mean I can’t do artistic events on my own time and donate part of those proceeds to the church.  Frankly, not sure what else to do.

What will I work on putting together? I am going to work on giving Catholic artists a chance to work with me to put on a show  monthly, a lunchtime show An Afternoon of Song, Poetry and Prayer, with light lunch included. The music and prayer will be in English, Italian and Latin.  There will be plenty of PR, preparation, with heaven’s help lots of efficient planning, so it brings glory to the Holy Trinity and much needed funds to my parish, but also brings people back to traditional Catholic and Italian roots.

Amen

Heritage of America Squashed, Sad

Life and Liberty, God Bless America

The light shines within., going out in connection to the Divine Creator.

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Adopted children at some point want to know about their biological parents, people are sending in kits to see their ancestors, what their DNA says their heritage is so on and so forth, but yet as a nation, America has done the opposite, tried to erase and deny it’s heritage, foundations.  Doesn’t bode well, as we can see.

Your heritage, particularly your cultural heritage gives a point of reference, an identity, a foundation for your life, as do parents, whom one hopes are mature stable etc.. persons, not perfect because no on is, but mature, stable, decent people doing the best they can.  A nation also has a heritage and unless one understands it, nows it, embraces it, at least appreciates, honors and respects it, there can be no identity, no love for that nation, no real ties to that nation.   Secularists, especially academics, have done a good job of fooling people in this nation, teaching that our founders had no faith heritage, this nation never had anything to do with anything of faith, of Christ.  Problem with that is, it’s false, blatantly false.  If we are going to be a United States, then we must accept the heritage of our nation as the foundation for it, for its’ laws etc…, also respect the rights afforded by the Constitution and stop attributing phrases to the Constitution and founding papers that never existed such as Separation of Church and State.  We must also get the truth about he context of such things, the whole letter that phrase was written in.  Even the Supreme Court has forgotten or twisted our heritage to something unrecognizable, and that is too sad for words and frightening for the future.  I hope you will look at these sites on this Independence Day week and learn about our heritage, honor it, respect it and embrace it.

http://www.wnd.com/2017/03/no-one-questioned-americas-christian-heritage-before/

http://www.earstohear.net/heritage/quotes.html

http://www.heritage.org/political-process/report/did-america-have-christian-founding

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Founding-Fathers-Were-Not-Deists-John-Fea-02-02-2011

You can not know who you are as a nation or a people unless you know your origin and heritage, love, honor, respect and embrace it.

 

 

Being Part of Something, Beautiful

Baptism of Fire

Yesterday The Sons and Daughters of Italy celebrated their 112th Founder’s Day, with Mass and lunch, which included a lifetime achievement award.  It was special for one or two particular reasons.

As I heard the priest give his homily in Italian, as I watched the Mass with everyone very reverent to the priest, the Eucharist, and prior the camaraderie of us all, even those of us who were perhaps meeting for the first time, it touched my heart.  Then there came the beautiful voice of one of our members singing Ave Maria and brought a number of us almost to tears.  I was so grateful to be part of the church that started with Peter, with Jesus telling him to feed his sheep.  Then came the ceremony, laying of the wreath a few blocks away at the site of the founding of OSIA. We sang the Italian and American anthem and again I was brought to tears almost, a number of us were because we realized we belonged to not only this exceptional nation America, but also to a culture rich with so much tradition, includes the faith, and if we don’t do something to preserve it, we are in huge trouble.  It was for some of us a mixture of feelings, but pride was definitely part of that. Once again at National Convention NY State loges gave more in charitable donations than any other state lodge and our lodge Petrosino more than any other lodge in NY State.  Part of our cultural identity is being grateful through all generations for being in the land of opportunity, trying to make it better for others.  As we were at the table at lunch and just sharing, talking, chatting,  we were given a flyer about an upcoming Christmas show by one our members, the artist who sang the national anthems, one of the ladies said we should go, her and I.  It is so great to have that camaraderie, but also to know that the truth of the faith can live on with out being active and pro active, as well as the good done for the community, for veterans, for example. It’s beautiful to be part of this.

After a very long journey, I am home being a minister of the arts, a writer here on this blog, some might even label this as life coaching, you decide, Roman Catholic and proud Italian-American

 

My Culture and My Faith Intertwined

Catholic

Sunday at Shrine of the Most Precious Blood, my parish, The Society of St. Anthony of Padua celebrated the Mass in honor the saint.  Tuesday the church itself will celebrate a Mass in honor of the saint, as Tuesday is the actual feast day of St. Anthony.

As the mix of Italian and English was filling the church, the statue of St. Anthony with lights all around it at the entrance visible when you first came in, the bread blessed and distributed at the end, everyone greeting everyone, even if they did not know each other, and people introducing you to others, it was beautiful.  It also brought home a very important point, maybe more than one.  It brought home to me that Catholicism is a major part of who I am, culturally whether I agree with all of the theology of the faith or not.  It is a very important part of me, what shapes me, who I am, the conservative side of me, also the spiritual side of me.  I have no problem saying I am of Christ, I am Christian, and yes I have had my crisis moments, my questioning moments, but I never turned my back on Christ.  The core of who I am remained the same throughout my journey and my connection the Trinity, the core of the Catholic faith never wavered, ever.  I have been also aware that as was pointed out last night in a Catholic anniversary program there has to be a periodic examination and renewal, so questioning is not problematic within itself.  However one thing I have realized is that the core principles of the faith are perfectly sound, logical and serve me well in my life should I adhere to them.  Appreciation for them and my culture is a true blessing, the church does and has recognized when it has faltered, even if not right away, but then do we immediately realize when we falter?  What are those principles that have guided me, that the saints have shown me?  There are a few:  

  • Make the journey of faith, really explore the Judeo-Christian faith from all facets, come to it and God with an open and willing heart, spirit and soul, and love
  • It’s okay to stumble along the way, just get up and keep going
  • Stand strong for and in who you are, a child of the Creator, and in Christ who gave his life for you
  • Discover your gifts, talents, purpose in that and how to best apply them for the good of society
  • Value family, cultural traditions, while still valuing progress and moving forward
  • Be a shinning example of faith and strength through faith, no matter what
  • Don’t ever be anything but who you are and are meant to be in Christ
  • Celebrate that every day of your life and help others to do so

As I continue in my work as an artist, and music coordinator for the church, I hope to learn more about myself, my faith, my culture all of that and grown in my relationship with the Trinity, as well align my own trinity in harmony, my heart, spirit and soul.

Amen

“Warrior” Soul, Huh?

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When one hears this phrase and one I have heard in reference to me, including as regards my faith and faith journey all kinds of stuff can come up.  What do I mean when I say a warrior soul?

My journey has brought me full circle to appreciate my love of Israel of the faith of my ancestors Catholicism and also realize politically etc… I lean more along the view of Evangelical Tea Party Protestants. At the same time I am not an overly religious person and often whether it’s to God, Christ any of the saints, most often I don’t use standard prayer,I just have meditative conversation, use visualization, but I do it every day.  I do it with firm faith that what I am putting forth in my prayers, making sure it is within the realms of optimistic realism and God’s sacred boundaries, will come to fruition!  That is one aspect of my “warrior soul”  Another aspect is that throughout my journey and as I explored where I was in the faith journey, I stood by the roots of what I felt was true the Christian core of faith and spirituality, those tenets of faith, God not as some impersonal inner thing, or just all of nature and creation, but a very personal being that took great care in creating everything, including laws of nature, gravity etc…Granted the RCC has gone more liberal and taken the Social Justice thing a bit too far as far as I am concerned, but the core I stand with.  When I stand with the core of the faith and the core of my Italian heritage  I won’t pick a fight, but I will stand firm and strong in defense of the faith, my heritage, and also an important part of that Israel.  My warrior soul is one that though can be as gentle and loving as most gentle breeze can also be as fierce in the battle to preserve and defend the core of who I am as the Archangel Michael.  Never is there any intent to harm, nor should there be, but there must be a strong compass point and you must be willing to, as loving a person as you are, to stand strong with your core.  Recently my Godmother told my mom she worried about me because I was too good a heart, I had not a conniving bone in me and the world being what it was she was worried.  My family knows I pretty much wear my heart, thoughts, feelings on my sleeve, but they fail to realize I have a warrior heart.  Yes I have that very sweet nurturing side, even yesterday if you would have seen me with a dear friend’s child I was very maternal, warm etc.., but when she was trying to put the crayons in her mouth, the protective mommy warrior soul came out and I firmly, very firm voice, a certain look, told her ‘No, crayons for coloring, not for eating” I took the crayon from her and then in gesture reinforced it.  The warrior soul needn’t be one that picks fights, seeks situations of conflict etc.., something like this is an example of a warrior soul, that protectiveness in this situation, and how it is handled.  When it comes to what I care about in terms of projects anything like that, anything related to my heritage and the faith, again, I will defend it, stand by it, flaws and all.  A warrior soul.

I am a warrior soul, but also with a great capacity to love, nurture all of that.  I will always be a warrior soul fighting for what means a lot to me, my heritage, my spiritual and artistic path.  Amen