Papa-Lu: June 2004 Archives

I've arrived!

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How do I know I've arrived? Because I finally received my first Nigerian email promising me large amounts of cash!

He must be getting smarter, though. Instead of asking for my bank account, he asked for a fax number where he can reach me.

I'm so honored, especially because of how he chose me:

I then came across your address on the Internet as I was browsing through a Christian site, and as a matter of fact, it is not only you or your ministry that I picked on the Christian site initially, but after my fervent prayer over it, you were nominated to me through divine revelation from God, so these are how I received such a divine revelation from the Lord, how I got your contact information, and I then decided to contact you for the fund to be used wisely for things that will glorify the name of God.

Even better - my divine nomination must really be true, because he sent the exact same email to the account I have set up for my old blog!

I do have some advice for him though: even if I didn't think it was a scam, the claim that he got his inspiration from Benny Hinn would have me raising my eyebrows.

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Sign you've married a good woman:

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You're lying on the couch, listening to the Cubs game together. During the commercial, she starts telling you about a PBS special about fireworks, and how Boston has the whole Boston Philharmonic play The War of 1812 live during the 4th of July fireworks show. While she's talking, the game comes back on and your attention is suddenly torn. You try to focus on her, but you can't fully shut out the game, though you are succedding in blocking most of it. You faintly hear that your favorite Cub is up to bat (Aramis Ramirez in my case), and a short while later, you hear the Cubs announcer get real excited. You think it's a homerun, but you can't quite hear because your wife is still talking. You feel really bad about it, but you're also really excited and want to hear the homerun call if it goes out...

...so you lift the hand you have wrapped around her shoulders and cover her mouth with it so you can hear the call.

So how do you know you have a good one? By her reaction of course. Does she elbow you in the ribs? Does she bite your fingers? Make you sleep on the couch? Maybe she cries?

No, no. You know you have a good one when she is completely understanding, harbors not a smidge of a grudge, and even calls you a "good husband" because you tried to listen to her for so long before covering her mouth.

That, my friends, is how you know you struck gold.

By the way, yes it was a home run, and the Cubs went on to win!

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Neato Litany

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The Litany of the Three Patrons, one of many Litanies found here, link courtesy of these kids.

The patrons? Our Lady of Consolation, St. Augustine and St. Monica. This makes my day. I've long wanted to create a Litany to Augustine, and here one is!

Our Lady of Consolation
St. Augustine (Feastday August 28th)
St. Monica (Feastday August 27th)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Response: pray for us.

Mary, our Mother and the Mother of Jesus,
Mary, our Mother of Consolation,
Mary, the source of our hope,
Mary, the refuge of sinners,
Mary, the guiding star of our lives,
Mary, source of strength in our weakness,
Mary, source of light in our darkness,
Mary, source of consolation in our sorrows,
Mary, source of victory in our temptations,
Mary, who leads us to Jesus,
Mary, who keeps us with Jesus,
Mary, who redeems us through Jesus,
Mary, Mother of Consolation, our Patroness,

St. Augustine, triumph of divine grace,
St. Augustine, so faithful to grace,
St. Augustine, glowing with pure love of God,
St. Augustine, filled with zeal for Godís glory,
St. Augustine, bright star in the firmament of the Church,
St. Augustine, so great and so humble,
St. Augustine, dauntless defender of the Faith,
St. Augustine, vanquisher of heresy,
St. Augustine, prince of bishops and doctors,
St. Augustine, our father,

St. Monica, devout mother of St. Augustine,
St. Monica, whose prayers won Augustine from sin,
St. Monica, whose prayers gave Augustine to God,
St. Monica, pattern for wives,
St. Monica, model of mothers and mother of saints,
St. Monica, exemplar of widows,
St. Monica, devoted to prayer,
St. Monica, so patient in trials,
St. Monica, so resigned in sorrow,
St. Monica, so happy in death,
St. Monica, devoted child of Mary, Mother of Consolation,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of Consolation,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Pray for us, O holy father, Saint Augustine,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Pray for us, O holy mother, Saint Monica,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, grant to Thy servants, that joyfully venerating Thy most pure Mother Mary as Our Lady of Consolation, we may be consoled by her in our sorrows, fortified in our trials through life, and in dying, may merit the ineffable consolations of Heaven for all eternity.
Amen.

I told my wife about the Litany and who the patrons were. Her response: "What is it the "Litany for Rotten Children?"

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Various and Sundry Pics

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Here are some pictures to satisfy the public while I set up a page for Matthew:

Matthew's Birthday Cake:
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It came three days belated, but it was worth it! Props to Baskin Robbins for a job well done.

Here's Papa-Lu taking a little siesta with the baby:
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Monika and Kevin visited this weekend and got to meet little Matthew!
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We took Matthew for his first stroll around the neighborhood yesterday. Here he is all strapped in and ready to go!
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Here's Matthew wearing one of the few blue pieces of clothing we actually have for him (somebody make sure Carmen sees this one!):
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We get by...

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One of the greatest blessings that God has given the Lu- family is that we have a great network of family, friends and fellow parishioners to support us. We have received so many gifts for the little guy - everything from a crib to clothes to diapers and so much more. Additionally, we have several friends who have been good enough to prepare and deliver meals to us, which has been a tremendous help in sparing us the timeof cooking.

We are so grateful for all of these blessings - big and small. The birth of our first child would be a tremendous joy under any circumstances, but it's made it that much sweeter to know that there are so many people around us who love us and care for us with true Christian charity.

It also makes me sad to know that there are many families and single women enduring pregnancy right now who don't have this kind of support.

Our parish has an Elizabeth Ministry, which involves outreach to pregnant women. It seems to me that this is one of the most needed ministries in our society. I know when Jenny was so sick at the beginning of the pregnancy, she needed all the support that I and her mother and other friends could give her. It makes me think of young women out there who don't have any support trying to manage a pregnancy while alone and vulnerable. It is a very scary thing, and ministry to these and all pregnant women and their families is truly a worthwhile way to serve. If your parish or diocese has an Elizabeth ministry or if there is a crisis pregnancy center nearby, I highly recommend looking into ways you can help.

On a lighter note, one of these acts of generosity came from a friend of ours wwho was in Chicago this weekend. In a true act of charity which will gain him many jewels in his heavenly crown he offered to stop by one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago - Carsons, and pick up a meal for us.

For those who don't know, Carsons is world famous for its ribs. What most people (even many of those who have eaten there) don't know, however, is that the porkchops at Carsons are about 20 times better than the ribs. These are incredibly large slabs of meat cooked to perfection and smothered in barbeque sauce.

And so, due to his generosity, my wife and I were able to have a dinner last night consisting of brick-sized hunks of porkchop with au gratin potatoes and one of the best slaws in Illinois.

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So thank you, Mr. D., you did a good thing this weekend. Nay, a great thing!

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Mornings are Rough

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Here's why:

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It's kinda hard to say goodbye to this and run off to work, you know?

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One for Rosie and Monika

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I'm getting requests from a certain couple of people for more pics.

Here you go:
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I'd like to set up a page somewhere so I can store lots of pictures, since I don't want to gobble up all of St. Blogs' bandwidth. If anybody knows of somewhere I can do it cheap/free, lemme know.

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New blog!

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Well, actually it's been around for a while, but I just found it.

Cor ad cor loquens is by a Peoria diocese seminarian. Those of us from the U of I Newman Foundation will recognize many of the names he mentions. Check it out!

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"No one steals from God."

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Father Matt Foley ran from the rectory to the church and grabbed the manís tools. They fought in the church and the altercation spilled into the street and then the alley. While parishioners called police Father Foley tried to keep the robber from stabbing him.

Full story.

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Have I lost my mind?

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I just got my first wetting by the little Tyke this evening.

The sick part: I thought it was great!

I had pee all up my arm and all over the couch, and I was smiling and giggling.

This just goes to prove that you can get away with anything if you're cute enough.

I assume - and you veteran parents can chime in if you wish - that this sort of thing gets decidedly less novel as time goes on, yes? Oh well. I guess I'll lap it up (the novelty, not the pee) while I can.

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The gloves are off

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Christopher Hitchens destroys Fahrenheit 911, from Slate.

I'd comment, but I don't want Moore and his Democrat party goons to come after me. Just read the article.

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Tear-Jerker

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A lullaby composed by my 10-yr old sister-in-law:

Sleep my Matthew I am near, Mama's got you in her arms.
Sleep my child I am near. Daddy's got you in his arms.
Sleep my dearest. Tonight's a starry night. Your parents with you in their arms.

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Papa's Day!

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Papa's Day
A still-sleepy and almost teary-eyed Papa-Lu celebrates his first ever Papa's day.

Thank you all for the prayers, emails and kind words. Please always feel welcome to visit and comment. I plan on enjoying the rest of my day with a pipe and a pint, some of Matthew's belated birthday cake, and by holding and cherishing my beloved wife and treasured son. Who knows, there may even be a reading tonight from the book of George - Curious George, that is.

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More pictures of Matthew

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Mother and child are now home from the hospital. Little Matthew passed all of his tests with flying colors! Here are some more pictures taken today:

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Matthew has a bit of a rash. It's already almost cleared up, though.

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Awwww... look at that adorable mug!

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Mother and child, shortly after bringing him home.

Time to rest. It's been a whirlwind for three days.

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Meet Matthew Boniface!

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Taken about an hour after birth:
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A very tired Lu family portrait:
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Proud Papa-Lu:
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We only have the one close-up of the baby right now, because he was very sensitive to the flashes the first day. We tried again today, and he's better with it now, so the next batch will have more close-ups.

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HE'S HERE! HE'S HERE! HE'S HERE!

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Matthew Boniface Lu- was born last night at 6:42 PM, tipping the scales at 8 pounds, 7 ounces and measuring 21 inches long (this will probably be the last time in his life that he's one of the taller kids his age). He has dark brown hair and eyes, and his paternal grandma's nose.

Mother and child are doing wonderfully. Jenny was an absolute soldier. We went to the hospital at about 9 PM Wednesday night, and she endured 22 hours of labor at the hospital. We are happy to say that Matthew was born without the use of any pain relief drugs. We did use pitocin to get the labor jumpstarted when, after 7 hours of labor (including artificially breaking her water), dilation had only increased one centimeter.

I have thoughts galore, but there's been too much emotion, too many tears (of joy and pain) and too little sleep to get into it all. Besides, I have to get back to my wife and baby at the hospital.

Jenny and I will be at the hosital until tomorrow. She tested positive for the strep B bacteria a couple of months ago, and so we have to stay 48 hours to make sure the penicillin she was given succeeded in protecting the baby from acquiring any infections.

The one thought I do have to share is that I am so proud of and so in love with my wife. She was amazing. She had a hard, HARD labor, and she endured it all and fought and fought to breathe and relax properly, and when she pushed, she pushed like a champ! She was the talk of the maternity ward last night! I've always known my that my wife is a strong woman, but to see what she was able to by sheer force of will and love was inspiring.

Pictures and information on visiting and Baptism to come!

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"It's kind of like a snooze alarm"

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Apparently, Illinois is just one of eleven states who are passed their deadline to have a budget in place for the next fiscal year. Article from the Champaign News-Gazette

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the four legislative leaders were expected to resume negotiations today in hopes of passing a spending plan before the current budget expires June 30.

The key leaders still can't agree on basic issues, such as how much the state should spend and where to get that money, but they are not entirely alone in their quest. The budget situation is being echoed in a handful of other states, including California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania....

Unlike here in Illinois, the deadline in California does not include an increase in the number of votes needed to pass a budget. It has been missed so many times that few consider it binding.

"It's kind of like a snooze alarm," Senate President pro tem John Burton, D-San Francisco told the Sacramento Bee this week.
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My absolute favorite part of summer is getting to play my favorite sport: softball.

Actually, my favorite sport by far is baseball. But since opportunities for a grown man to play baseball are far too few, softball it is.

I'm on two softball teams this summer. My parish team is 2-6 so far. Our first few games we played well, but lately we have been suffering from a severe inability to get basehits and a deficiency in fundamentals.

For instance: last night we had a guy on first and the batter hit a line drive to centerfield. The runner on first took a few steps off the bag, which was the right idea since the centerfielder was probably going to catch it, and then inexplicably took off for second. After the center fielder caught it, it was obvious that our player simply did not know what to do. The throw came in to first, and he was out by a long shot. Of course, this was the runner's mistake, but we also had a guy on first coaching, who should have been calling the runner back.

On another play, we had a guy in a rundown, but one of our fielders held the ball way too long. Instead of throwing it as soon as the runner committed, he held on to it until the runner was already sliding safely into the bag.

As for myself, I had a great start to the season. Playing third base, I was fielding well and getting on base frequently. But I banged up my bad knee a few weeks ago and it's been hampering me ever since. Additionally, they moved me over to shortstop the past two games, where my reduced mobility has been more of a liability. We're getting our regular shortstop back next week, and I'm very much looking forward to going back to my little corner.

Yesterday was particularly frustrating. I just don't have enough confidence in my knee to get down on the ball, and so I muffed two grounders. Additionally, all but one throw from the outfield that I had to cut off came in on a bounce or two, which makes it difficult to turn and fire an accurate relay. I did nail one guy at the plate - my throw was so far ahead of him that he stopped and headed back for third, but the runner on second had broken for third, so we ended up getting two outs out of the deal. But every other time, the lob from the outfield skipped in and I couldn't make a good throw home. On one cut-off, after I finally did get the ball, I turned and gunned so wildly I almost took the ump's head off.

At the plate, I've been a bit above average most of the year. I don't have a great deal of power, but I can fairly consistently dump it over or through the infield. Additionally, I stubbornly adhere to the "run out every ball" rule. I am absolutely positive that I lead the league in reaching base on an error. My theory is that you have about a 25% chance on any ground ball of either the fielder or the firstbaseman making an error. Additionally, running out the hit increases the chance that the fielder will make a bad throw because if they see you hustling down the line, they are far more likely to rush things and make a mistake. I can't tell you how many teammates' necks I've wanted to wring because they hit a ground ball and lazily jogged down the line; or even worse, took a few walking steps and stopped, or worst of all: tossed the bat down and walked immediately back to the dugout while the shortstop was leisurely throwing them out.

Yesterday, I reached base my first two times on an error. Each time, I hit a sharp ground ball to the left side of the infield, and legged it out. Each time, the throw went past the first baseman. Had I not hustled, the fielder would have had more time to make a more accurate throw.

My third at bat, I laced a beauty that should have dropped in behind the third baseman and would have scored two runs (everybody was running with two outs) - except the third baseman was about 6'5". I wanted to drop it between him and the right fielder, but instead of turning around and running for it, he took two steps back, planted himself, leapt in the air and just nabbed it. My whole team started cheering when I hit it, but promptly shut up when he stretched out and came down with it. My fourth at-bat was a fielder's choice.

In my other softball league, which is a team from the campus Newman Foundation, we are 0-1 with two rain outs because the U of I fields we play on have terrible drainage. We got creamed in our first game, although most of our team was MIA due to a Church function. We should be at full strength this week.

I love playing softball, though I of course prefer baseball. These sports give you the perfect combination of complete reliance on teammates and the opportunity for complete individual achievement (I feel like Robert DeNiro now). There's only one thing finer than stepping to the plate and outsmarting the defense by placing a hit into a gap with pin-point accuracy, and that is playing on a defense that is clicking on all cylinders, with the entire team is catching and throwing and making smart defensive decisions.

Baseball is also the perfect democratic game (in the cleanest, most pure sense of that word). The strike zone is relative to a player's size, giving big and small the same chance to hit. The 5'5", 165 lb Venezuelan and the 6'3" 250 lb Iowa farmboy can both hit .300 and make the all-star team. As proud and as revered as an ace pitcher is atop his mound, he must still put on a helmet and wield a bat, facing humiliation and getting a taste of his own medicine (unless he is in that ridiculous entity known as the American League). The most egalitarian feature of baseball, however, is the fact that in every single baseball game, every team is assured an exactly equal number of chances to score. There's no clock to watch, no coin flip, and certainly nothing as ridiculous as a possession arrow; nay, each team is given 27 outs evenly distributed over 9 innings, and they have to make the best of it. This means that no matter how badly a team is getting beaten, they always have a chance to come back. Many a game has been won in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

Furthermore, baseball remains the most uniquely AMERICAN sport. Basketball is an international phenomenon now. Football is still pretty uniquely American, but that's because the rest of the world has real futbol, or rugby to watch, which they much prefer. But baseball is still an enigma in much of the world.

This is not to say baseball is only American; Asian and Latin America are of course immensely fond of the sport. This is yet another telling aspect of baseball: where it does catch on, it spreads like wildfire. All of Japan had an electric air when Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie on the Seattle Mariners. His games were shown live in the middle of the night and then rebroadcast all day.

Baseball is the most gentlemanly of games. If the home team is winning in the ninth inning, they don't take their bat. Everybody goes home and we try again tomorrow. The men wear caps and their shirts button up.

Finally - and I really believe this - baseball is a truly Christian sport. It is Christian in that is the most leisurely of athletic endeavors. It perfectly blends moments of intense excitement - think of an inside-the-park homerun! - with periods of seeming (but not actual) inactivity, which provide players, coaches and fans alike an opportunity to contemplate the situation and to strategize.

Contemplation! This most Christian of endeavors has a home in baseball. A day at the ballpark is full of opportunities for contemplation. The action on the field provides enough object, but there are plenty of opportunities to turn one's mind towards higher things as well. The grass, the sky, one's fellow players or fellow spectators - one truly has time to take in and contemplate all during a three hour game.

In fact, I believe that it takes a contemplative to fully appreciate baseball. Understanding the cerebral aspect of this game demands patience. The impatient go mad trying to endure the calm between pitches, even when that calm is weighted with the tension of a full count, or runners in scoring position with two outs, or a potential no-hitter.

Yes, baseball is my sport, and no other. I no longer pretend to substitute in the offseason. I was into the Bulls when they were worth being into, and I'll turn on a football game if there's nothing better to do (which is about never), but it's all in anticipation of spring training. Now that it's summer, and my boys in blue are starting to play like I knew they should be playing, all is well. Even if they were losing, it would all still be worth it, because my passion is for the game itself, not for Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez or Moises Alou.

Yes, all is right in the world. Now, if only my baby would be born...

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Could it be? I guess not.

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Mama-Lu is having particular strong contractions right now, less than five minutes apart. You know it's strong when I've rented A Hard Day's Night and she doesn't want to watch it.

So we're going to give it a little bit and then if they're still going we'll head in to the hospital. Dr. Bradley says that the way to tell if it's real labor is to eat, drink, bathe, walk and sleep. If the contractions are still coming, it may be time. If you're still not sure, then repeat the five steps. So, we're walking through them right now.

Check back here or give a call for more info. To get on the email list, drop me a line.

St. Gerard, pray for us!

UPDATE: False Alarm. After a walk up and down our pitch black street, we came in and J fell soundly asleep. We have an appointment this afternoon, so hopefully we'll find out something good!

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Kerry on Iraq

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I don't want to get political on this blog, and so I'm going to present this in as much of a "here are the facts" manner as I can. Additionally, since who the president is for the next four years has a great deal to do with my freedom to do what's right by my family, I'll indulge myself.

I post this link not to argue in any way that the war in Iraq was right, but merely to point out the following:

In 1997, Kerry believed Iraq was a threat, and that we should face it, unilaterally, if necessary, and the the United Nations had an obligation to prevent Saddam from furthering a WMD program. This sounds a bit different from his harsh criticism of what he calls Bush's "go it alone" policy, and from his statements that he would have involved the U.N. more.

In September 2001, he refered to evidence that Saddam has attempted to secure and test WMDs. Along with the rest of the world, he thought Saddam had them.

In December 2001, he refered to Saddam Hussein as an enemy in the War on Terror. Should we then accuse Kerry of taking advantage of our nation's anger and squandering the good will that other countries had towards after 9/11?

The actual website has the exact quotes and where they're pulled from, along with many other inconsistencies in Kerry's Iraq message.

Again, I'm not arguing that the war to take down Saddam was right. To be honest, I initially thought that it was a just endeavor, but now I believe it probably was not. I'll admit that.

I simply want to point out that any time you hear Kerry slam Bush for the war, remember this, and wonder what he actually would have done differently. I don't know what John Kerry would have done in the same situation but to hear him try and use 20/20 hindsight to criticize Bush when Kerry himself called Saddam an enemy in the war on terror tells you something.

The biggest thing I would fault W. on is his handling of the war. However, I think a lot of C in Cs in the same situation would have acted in a similar fashion.

I understand that most Kerry supporters will be unfazed by these points. My point is for those those who ordinarily support Bush, but are disullisioned by a war that has been wrought with so many tragedies and scandals. I think it should be very persuasive to see how much of Bush's rhetoric Kerry actually supported until he became a presidential candidate.

I have a lot of other reasons not to like John Kerry, but I won't get into them. I post this because it seems that his rhetoric against Bush's decisions with regards to Iraq seem to be winning him points, and I think it is because he is pulling the wool over a lot of people's eyes as to how he would have led our country at that time.

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Pope proclaims Year of the Eucharist

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Dear brothers and sisters, let us relive this wonderful reality of today's solemnity of Corpus Domini, in which the Church not only celebrates the Eucharist, but carries it solemnly in procession, proclaiming publicly that the sacrifice of Christ is for the salvation of the whole world.

Full text of the Pope's Corpus Christihomily from Zenit.

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Waiting and hoping!

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Well, nothing yet.

As Alicia pointed out in the comment boxes below, first babies are usually late. I actually didn't expect the baby to come before the due date (as I think I mentioned in the comments of Let's Just Elope Already a while back.

This bodes well for me, as the dates I drew in the pool at work are Saturday the 12 and Thursday the 16th. :)

I must say though, anticipation is a beach. There are literally dozens of moments every day where the thought that J could be starting real labor enters my head. If I'm at work and leave the office to heat up lunch or use the john, or anything, I'll get the thought that she might be trying to call, and I'll rush back to my desk as soon as possible. Every time the phone rings my heart leaps.

I am a father now - I have been for 9 months, in fact. Truly, even before I was married, I knew in my heart that I had to begin living my vocation as a husband and father. Going back even further, when I first started dating Jenny and started falling in love with her, I had it in my mind that maybe fatherhood was approaching, and that I should be ready for it.

I could go back very slightly further, to when I realized that the priesthood wasn't in my future, and I realized I would need to prepare for a different kind of fatherhood. Earlier than that, after I came back to the Church and received Confirmation and Communion, I knew that "fatherhood" was in my future in some form or another.

Looking back, I understand that my whole life has been in preparation for this event. I'm using event here very loosely, for the conception and birth of our child is a passage - a time for our vocations as spouses to come into full flower and become the husband/father and wife/mother vocations we were created for.

The eight months that led up to my reeciving the Sacraments was an enormous time of purgation in my life. It was a time where - through God's grace - I grew out of so much sin and disbelief and despair. The time leading up to our marriage was the same - as God used my love for this woman to help me live and love on a whole new level.

Now, as the birth of our first child approaches, I see that I have more Sacraments to prepare for. This is not Sacrament in the seven-Sacraments sense, but it very nearly fits the definition. A visible sign (I can see my baby), instituted by God ("be fruitful..."), and definitely a means of delivering grace ("Sons are a gift..."). One could also say that the visible sign is also a reflection of the inner reality of the love between my wife and me.

In yet another sense, this time of preparation has been leading up to one of the actual seven Sacraments - Baptism. Shortly after the birth of our little one, Jenny and I will bring him to our pastor and request that he be adopted into the family of God, as we will with all of our children - God willing that we have more. This is not just a Sacrament we will witness, but one for which we must be as prepared as we were for our wedding day, for we will be making a promise just as solemn - to do our best to bring up our child(ren) in the Church.

All of this I have been preparing for; all of this is what my life has been leading up to, but this is of course only a beginning of another passage. For as our child is born, and as we present him for Baptism, I must be constantly preparing for whatever God has in store next: tragedy, joy, struggle, pleasure.

The truth is that approximately two years ago, I pretty much knew we would be in this position at about this time, give or take a year or two (at least I hoped we would, Mama-Lu and I still had to iron out some particulars), and so I began preparing for it. But the road from there to here took many twists and was full of many joys and struggles and much mystery that I never imagined.

So here I am, looking forward to the birth of our first. I can think of the future and say that if God wills it (which I hope he does), we will have more, and fifteen years from now I hope we will have several little ones (thought some may be quite big by that time). No matter how much I want to prepare, I can say with confidence that I have no idea what joys and struggles we'll encounter. I only know that they'll be there, and I can only hope that God will allow us to be well disposed to appreciate with awe and reverence the mystery and grace with which He intends to bless us through our child(ren), and that He leads us to fulfill our vocations as father and mother to our child(ren) and wife and husband to each other as faithfully as possible. I believe that He fulfilled this hope as we prepared for our marriage, which gives me the audacity to hope for the future.

Earlier today, J and I were talking about marriage, and I made the point that it is unfortunate that so many people seem to look at the wedding as the purpose of months and months of preparation, which is of course ridiculous. The marriage is what every engaged couple ought to be working towards.

Similarly, I look forward to the birth of our child not simply because it is a culmination of the past nine months of anticipation, the fact is that I've been a father for nine months, and have had to act as a father to protect and love my family. What I am looking forward to is the unveling of a fresh mystery - one that exists, but which I have not yet had a face to face encounter with. There is a love in my heart for this child, and this love yearns to hold its object. And this child has a life, of which I have been ordained by God to play a significant role in forming and leading.

One one hand, with fear and trembling I stand here; dare I approach?

On the other, this is God's great gift for me, how can I do anything but run - hand in hand with my wife - and dive headfirst into the life God planned for us from our first created moments?

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Ain't too proud to beg

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If anybody knows what I can do to prevent the text from vanishing or otherwise flaking out, please do let me know. It is slightly on the annoying side to have to highlight my blog to read it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jeff Miller for helping me solve my problem! His answer is in the comment boxes, in case anybody experiences a similar problem.

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Theology of the Body in the NYT???

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The New York Times ran a fairly positive article on the Theology of the Body.

Of course, it's got the standard pooh-pooh quotes (including one from Francis Kissling).

Abp. Myers last week, Theology of the Body this week.... what's next?

In other news concerning the Pope's and the Church's teachings on human sexuality, the United Nations is still scheming to undermine it.

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Idea Queen/Dining-in

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"The Idea Queen" - that is one of the titles which Mama-Lu owns, and for good reason. Last night she had the idea to grill steaks, so we swung by Schnucks and grabbed two ribeyes that weighed about one and one quarter pounds, pre-cooked. I fired up the grill while she prepped them. We also grilled a skewer of 'shrooms along with the steaks and had zucchini on the side.

The result was almost perfect. One side got a little too dark for my taste, but they were the juciest steaks I think I ever had, which J says it's due to the fact that they were never frozen. Additionally, they were almost a perfect medium rare, with the browner side being closer to medium.

The point of all of this is that the same meal would have cost us about 30-40 bucks in a decent restaurant, but I think we did even better than any restaurant in town for a third of the price. In fact, the cost of dinner last night was about the same as the cost of two McDonald's value meals, was much more nutritious, and about 20 times as good. Just another example of why eating out is like flushing money down the toilet.

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Conflicting dreams

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My brother called me from his visit to California to notify me that we're having a girl because he dreamed it so. I had to break it to him about the three-dream week J and I had (additionally, we each had dreams back in the fall that we were having a boy).

All I have to say is, she better not go tomorrow, I haven't played on my parish softball team in four weeks, and they've not done too well without me (not that I'm the superstar or whatever, but I'm a capable third baseman and nobody else wanted to touch the position).

Kidding aside, tomorrow would be a great day to have the baby for a couple of reasons: one, it's our due date; and two, a year ago on Saturday June 7th, Jenny and I took a one-day retreat together at the Franciscan hospital sisters' convent in P-town to prepare for the wedding.

I highly recommend something like this for any of you engaged folk. We had Mass with the sisters, prayed a few hours of the office, prayed the full Rosary and spent some time in Adoration. Later in the day, we spent time talking about how things were going getting ready for the wedding (I was still looking for work at the time) and talked about some thigs regarding what we wanted our family life to be like. We ended the day by going to Confession at a nearby parish.

So yeah, tomorrow is our due date. I know that really doesn't mean anything, but I really want to hold my baby!

Today in Mass there was the cutest little boy in the pew in front of us. He spent most of the time during the Psalm turning and smiling at us. He looked like a wee angel, and there was something very peaceful about looking at the little cherub, sitting next to me wife and veiled baby and singing, "Oh Lord our God, how wonderful your works in all the earth!"

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What a day...

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No baby yet. J had an appointment today, and the baby has dropped, but not engaged, for those of you who know what those things mean.

For those of you who care about these things, I'm sure you're tearing your hair out just like I am. Of course, I'm thrilled at Prior's performance (6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 8 K, retired first 13 batters he faced and was pulled because he was on a pitch count). But how many times can one team completely blow it with bases loaded in one week? Remember though, Sosa is due back soon, and really, as much as Alex Gonzalez was struggling, wouldn't we rather see him step up to the plate than Ray 0-for-4-donez?

I make my return to the softball field tonight after being shelved for 3 weeks with a mild knee strain. I practiced live for the first time last night, ripping a home run that I actually legged out!

Again, Baby-Lu can make his* grand appearance any day now! Be sure to check back here for pictures (hint, hint).

Tomorrow is the Memorial of St. Boniface! If you make it to Mass, please do pray for us!

* We still do not whether we're having a boy or a girl, but in the English language, the masculine pronoun is appropriate for an unknown gender.

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Hooooooooome stretch

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We've been getting the "boy or girl" question a lot lately. The answer: we don't know!

BUT... a couple of weeks ago, J and I had 3 dreams between the two of us, and it was a boy each time.

AND.. J has for a long time said that she thinks it's a boy.

BUT... at J's first shower, my brother and I did a scientific experiment: we released a two helium balloons, one pink, one blue outside. We could see the pink balloon longer before it disappeared into the distance.

So.... you decide...

Bonus points for whoever can correctly complete the following quote:

"May their first child be a _________ _____."

I realize there's probably many words that can complete that quote, but there's only one phrase I'm thinking of...

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Getting VERY VERY CLOSE

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If you stop by here, could you please say a prayer for us? We're getting very close! Jenny had some prety strong contractions last night. They even got down to about 5 minutes apart for a while.

If anybody is looking for an update, you can call our home number. I'll try to change the message to keep you all up to date.

Also, if anybody wants to get on the e-mail list for when Baby-Lu finally arrives, drop me an email and I'll add you on to the list. Otherwise, stop by here and look for the news!

St. Boniface and Ven. Maria Luisa... pray for us!

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Itsy bitsy teeny weeny sacrifices

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Setting: Mexican restaurant in town. J and I have just finished our Sunday dinner and are still sitting in our booth, chatting. We had listened to the Cubs game on the way over, and we left the car to come in to the restarant, the Cubs were up 4-1.

Papa-Lu: You ready to go?
Mama-Lu (who, remember, is 8 1/2 months along): Can we sit here for a little longer?
P (noticeably antsy): (mumbles something about the Cubs and the end of the game)
M: It's probably over, anyway.
P (knows his wife is right, but adds, half jokingly, half jerkishly): What if the Cubs are in the middle of a historic rally? I could be missing it!

Cut to the car, 15-20 minutes later. Papa-Lu turns the radio on.

Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes: Your final from Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs 12, the Pittsburgh Pirates 1. The Cubs seal the game with a HUGE seven-run rally in the ninth!

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Cardinal George's remarks to the Pope

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Cardinal George addresses the Pope on the state of the Church in the U.S.

Here's the full text from Zenit. The following are some excerpts. I've seen the Cardinal speak and celebrate Mass several times. He's truly a brilliant man, and I agree fully with his diagnosis. I've bolded one particular passage which I think those of us in St. Blog's ought to take to heart.

The Church's mission is threatened externally by an erosion of institutional freedom. The scandal of the sexual abuse of minors by some priests and the failure of adequate oversight by some bishops has brought with it a more overt expression of the anti-Catholicism which has always marked American culture. In this context, courts and legislatures are more ready to restrict the freedom of the Church to act publicly and to interfere in the internal governance of the church in ways that are new to American life. Our freedom to govern ourselves is diminished....

The public conversation, like the political, legal and economic systems, is based on the generation of conflict between individuals and groups. Culturally, the right to sexual freedom is now the basis of personal freedom.

In this culture, the Gospel's call to receive freedom as a gift from God and to live its demands faithfully is regarded as oppressive, and the Church, which voices those demands publicly, is seen as an enemy of personal freedom and a cause of social violence. The public conversation in the United States is often an exercise in manipulation and always inadequate to the realities of both the country and the world, let alone the mysteries of faith. It fundamentally distorts Catholicism and any other institution regarded as "foreign" to the secular individualist ethos. Our freedom to preach the Gospel is diminished.

The Church's mission is threatened internally by divisions which paralyze her ability to act forcefully and decisively. On the left, the Church's teachings on sexual morality and the nature of ordained priesthood and of the Church herself are publicly opposed, as are the bishops who preach and defend these teachings. On the right, the Church's teachings might be accepted, but bishops who do not govern exactly and to the last detail in the way expected are publicly opposed. The Church is an arena of ideological warfare rather than a way of discipleship shepherded by bishops. The freedom of the Church is now threatened by movements within the Church and by government and groups outside the Church. The Church's ability to evangelize is diminished.

Here's the text of the address the Pope gave to the Cardinal and the bishops from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin who accompanied him.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Papa-Lu in June 2004.

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