Faith, Family

Liturgical Living, Simplified: An Introduction

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Hi, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here because life is very full and I can barely keep up most days, but I’ve been meaning to post about our new years resolution this year! In the past couple years we’ve fallen in love with our unique Catholic faith, and we’ve wanted to make an effort to incorporate the rich traditions of our faith into our daily lives, especially in ways that kids will love.

Dom and I love family traditions, and there are things that each of us grew up doing that we remember so fondly. Even though we were both raised Catholic, we didn’t really have any traditions tied to the liturgical calendar. This is something that we’d like to do with our kids, and we hope by starting now with Gianna as a baby we can establish traditions that our children will enjoy doing, and will also invite them into a deeper understanding of the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith.

So, why am I writing about it here? Hasn’t this been done before? Yes. Certainly! Many times over. I’ve actually stalked quite a few blogs and read books on the matter of liturgical living and what that looks like within family life,  which has been very helpful in coming up with ideas of how to celebrate feast days and honor our Catholic faith in this way. However, I will admit that we’ve also been overwhelmed by the celebrations of other families, and we want to try to keep things simple and practical so that we actually follow through and do the things we set out to do!

So, here I will be documenting our simple and liturgical traditions for my own future reference, and also for anyone else who is looking for new ways to celebrate their favorite feast days with their own family!

Now, to get started. Dom and I sat down and wrote out different feast days that we’d like to celebrate and recognize throughout the year. We began with bigger feasts like Solemnities and Holy Days of Obligation, and then moved into feasts of our favorite Saints and days that are a little more personal to us.

A I said earlier, we think that if a celebration is practical and fairly easy to execute, we’ll be more likely to do it and make a tradition out of it, so we want to keep it simple. The most important way to honor a feast would be to go to Mass, so that is first on the list. We will make an effort to attend daily mass on each feast day we’d like to celebrate, so our children know that ultimately our goal is to bring glory to God and grow closer to Him. Another thing we plan to do with each feast day is to have a special meal or dessert that draws attention to the specific feast we are celebrating. We have to eat anyway, so we are simply bringing each feast day into our daily routine by making a special food that reminds us of what we are celebrating. Sometimes this may look like a meal from a certain culture, or a dessert of a favorite Saint. Besides mass and a special food, we want to do one thing on each feast day that would honor the person or devotion we celebrate that day. It could be as simple as praying for the intercession of that particular Saint, or as elaborate as visiting a shrine devoted to them.

If you’re like us, and you’re trying to live liturgically but simply don’t have the time and energy to do every feast in the biggest and most elaborate way possible, I hope you’ll follow along! Each month we’ll be sharing what feast days we are celebrating as a family, along with what we’re cooking & what we’re doing on those days. By keeping it simple we hope to carry out these traditions and instill them in our children, so they will have fond memories of celebrating these special days as a family, and also so that we can begin laying a foundation for a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith as they grow .

Faith

Enthroning Our Home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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Hi there friends, and happy new year! We kicked off the first Friday of 2020 by enthroning our home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is a devotion I had never heard of, but it is amazing! We hope that in this new year and decade, our family can grow in our faith and love for the Lord. We feel that by enthroning our home to His most sacred heart, Jesus will be at the center of everything we do in our home and as a family. We also hope that God will grant us the promises of the Sacred Heart, so that we can live holy lives as a family as we strive toward Heaven. And let me tell you, these graces are no joke. I’ll list them below!

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will comfort them in their trials.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Sounds good, right?

Don’t get me wrong — these promises don’t just spontaneously happen (although, they could, because God is all powerful!) but by fostering a devotion to to sacred heart and praying specific prayers to the sacred heart of Jesus, along with placing our focus on Christ in this way, we are inviting God into our home and we are striving to please Him in all we do.

So, how do you do it?

Well, there’s a few things you need to do in order to enthrone your home to the Sacred Heart. It includes finding an image of the sacred heart to display in your home, reciting specific prayers with a priest, and if possible — having a mass said that day. We used this as our reference and it was super helpful in outlining everything we need to do, and then also in providing the prayers for us to recite with the priest during the enthronement.

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, we’ve begun reading Father Michael Gaitley’s  book, Consoling the Heart of Jesus at the recommendation of a friend in order to foster a devotion to the sacred heart. We also are attending mass for 9 consecutive first Fridays this year as part of the devotion to the sacred heart. Lastly, we also prayed a novena to the sacred heart as a family, which I recommend you do either leading up to the enthronement or beginning on the day of the enthronement!

I encourage you to do this too! It’s an old devotion that is not done often today, and it takes a little bit of effort, but it is so powerful for our hearts, homes, and families. Imagine how we can change the world if we raise our families with Jesus and His most sacred heart at the center of everything we do?

 

 

 

Faith, Flowers

Living for Christ Giveaway

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Hey there! It occurred to me recently that my blog celebrated its one year anniversary! I wanted to thank you for reading this past year and for being a part of my life (digitally, at least). Maybe it’s because I recently had a baby, or maybe it’s because I’ve been doing this for a year now, but I wanted to reflect on why I started this whole thing in the first place.

You see, I’ve always had a heart for evangelization, but I’ve struggled with how that looks in my own life for a few years. My life hasn’t brought me to be a missionary of travel the world, and that’s OK! In fact, that’s not what I’ve ever felt called to. I felt called to complete my schooling, work as an occupational therapist, marry Dom, and have children. While I’ve seen God work in my daily life and I try to being Christ to all I encounter, I sometimes felt like there was something more I could be doing. At the time, I found social media leaving me very materialistic and empty. I decided to make a switch and follow some accounts that were centered on faith. Suddenly I wasn’t left feeling empty, but rather, inspired.

I was so inspired by these other women — wives, mothers, workers, students, sisters, daughters, friends, living their lives for the Lord in such a way that it wasn’t weird or strange, but authentic and beautiful. I then had the idea to create this blog and hopefully, allow Christ to work through me and lead others to Him. Through sharing about my prayer life, politics, marriage & family, our struggles and joys, how we incorporate faith in our home style, I could be a witness to God’s love and faithfulness, and hopefully inspire others to see God working in their own lives.

One year later I’ve had moments where I’ve wrestled with the thought of what I’m doing here and if it is something that should continue. Am I doing this for God? Or for me? Am I humbling myself to glorify God? Or has it become about me, and about whoever I’m following at the moment?

After much prayer and reflection, I’ve realized that like with anything else, if we put God at the center, we will find fulfillment. After all, it is God who has led me to these Christ-centered friendships I’ve fostered online, the community I’ve received, and He continues to use this digital world as a way to draw me closer to Him. While I’m not sure I’ll ever find a perfect balance in it all, in giving the glory to God and in placing Him at the center, I’m able to find peace.

Also, I have a hard time believing that the Saints wouldn’t have used whatever technology was at their fingertips to share the Gospel and witness to the Lord. Living in 2019, I think it may just be exactly what we are called to do.

To celebrate living authentic lives for Christ and the one year anniversary of Loves Jesus & America too, I’ve teamed up with some friends on Instagram for a fun giveaway! These women have been some of the ones who’ve inspired me and brought me closer to Christ through their witnesses, and I think they’ll do the same for you. Claire of Finding Philothea was one of the first Catholic accounts I followed, and she shares how God is working in her life and family everyday in such a beautiful, yet relatable, way. Priscilla of The Little Catholic makes incredible jewelry that points people to Christ. I think wearing her stunning jewelry is one small way you can be a witness to others! Natalie of Colors by Natalie uses her creativity and artistic abilities by painting incredible religious art. Head over to Instagram to check out our giveaway!

Lastly, thank you for reading! I’m so humbled that you’re here, and it’s been such a blessing for me to share my life with you this past year. Let’s continue to give God the glory, connect with others, and bring them to Christ. Most importantly, let’s live for Heaven.

Faith, Family

Story of a Name: Gianna Rose

Let me begin by saying I’m fascinated by baby names and I love hearing why people give their children particular names. Since I’m such a big fan of the story behind baby names, I’d like to share with you the story behind the name of our sweet Gianna Rose.

As Catholics, we see immense value in honoring Saints through our children’s names for several reasons. First, we believe that the prayers of that particular saint are invoked when the same is said. Secondly, we feel this gives our children a patron, or role model, who they can look to when striving to life a holy life. Lastly, we feel it’s a beautiful way to honor the holy men and women who have gone before us and who intercede for us in a special way.

Dom and I prayed about our daughters name often, and we felt that God would reveal to us in His time what her name should be.

Gianna is a name that I’ve always loved, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla is a Saint I’ve always looked up to. I first learned of her in eighth grade when faced with choosing a confirmation Saint. I did consider her, but ended up choosing Elizabeth Ann Seton. Little did I know God would place St. Gianna on my heart once again, many years later, not for me — but for my first born daughter.

St. Gianna is a fairly modern Saint. She was born in the 1920’s, died in the 1960’s, and was canonized by St. John Paul II in 2004. She was an Italian wife and mother who worked as a doctor while raising her children. Growing up, I always felt like all Saints were nuns so I thought it was neat that she was a working mom! She’s known for being faced with a medical condition during her fourth pregnancy, and despite being pressured to have an abortion, she said no and ended up sacrificing  her own life to save the life of her unborn child.

She’s the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.

At our 20 week ultrasound we learned that our unborn baby had a foot deformity known as clubbed feet. While it appeared merely to be an easily treated, physical deformity, the ultrasound technician and doctors initial panic and discussion of “options” if it were more than this jarred us. We knew that no matter what, this baby was a gift given to us by God and that we would only love her, regardless of what her feet looked like, or any other abnormality she would have. Because of this experience, we began praying to St. Gianna for our baby’s health, and for peace and courage for us to face whatever lied ahead for us. I asked for God to give me the grace and strength that St. Gianna Beretta Molla had, and for her to intercede for my baby and for me in my vocation of marriage and motherhood. We also feel deeply that in today’s political climate, with vulnerable lives—specifically the unborn, under attack, St. Gianna is a timely witness to the prolife mission. We hope our Gianna will be a beautiful witness to the value of every human life, just as St. Gianna was.

Her middle name is Rose for several reasons. The first reason is to honor St. Thérèse, which we knew we wanted to do since the very beginning of this pregnancy. You see, after traveling to France last summer, St. Thérèse was popping up everywhere for me! I never felt much of a connection to her before, but I knew she was a powerful intercessor for many and that she sends roses to those who pray for her intercession. We sort of randomly decided to pray a novena to St. Thérèse to conceive a child in the days leading up to her feast day. On the last day of our novena, several small rose bushes bloomed in our yard. I knew right then that she had interceded for us and I had a feeling we were pregnant. A few days later, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I learned I was pregnant! The rosary is a prayer that’s been incredibly special to us, and we have a deep devotion to Mary. We love that the name Rose honors several of our favorite Marian apparitions as well, including Our Lady of Lourdes (where we went on pilgrimage last summer) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (who our diocese is consecrating itself to this year)! A few days before Gianna was born, Dom and I went to the Blue Army Shrine, which is a Marian shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. While we were there, I noticed for the first time a large statue of St. Thérèse. There was one pink rose in bloom next to the Statue, and I took this as our last little reminder from St. Thérèse that she was praying for our girl.

We love our little Gianna Rose, and we love that her sweet name embodies strong and beautiful examples of holy women. We are comforted in knowing that these Heavenly friends will intercede for her during her lifetime, and we look forward to sharing these women and their stories with her as she grows up.

Faith, Family

A Birth Story: Gianna Rose Ocello

Our Gianna Rose Ocello was born at 2:35 PM on Saturday, June 15th (my grandmother’s birthday!) weighing 8.7 lbs and measuring 21 inches. We are so grateful to God for the most precious gift we’ve ever received. I’d like to tell you a little bit more about how she came into this world. Gianna was born in a natural, unmedicated childbirth, and though it was difficult and even scary in some moments, it was also the most incredible and beautiful experience I’ve ever had.

Leading up to her birth date I had been feeling slightly more uncomfortable than usual, and I found out I was slightly dilated at my doctor’s appointment, but I had yet to feel any real contractions or experience any real progression. I had stopped working a couple of weeks prior and I was starting to get a little antsy waiting for this baby to arrive. On June 14th, Dom and I went to his parents house for dinner and flag cake to celebrate Flag Day (it’s also President Trump’s birthday — I actually was really hoping she’d be born this day for a patriotic birthday). We went home and went to sleep, and I woke up a little after midnight to my water breaking. After questioning if I had peed myself for a few minutes, we figured my water broke, and called the doctor. They said since I hadn’t felt any intense contractions yet I could stay home for a few hours and try to sleep. Well, soon after this conversation I wasn’t able to sleep through the contractions anymore as they were picking up severity and coming closer together. I wanted to let Dom sleep a bit longer, so I ended up on a birthing ball watching the episode of The Office where Pam gives birth. Dom woke up shortly after and we began timing my contractions. We prayed, I took a shower, had a snack, and we got all our things together and left for the hospital around 5:00 AM. 

When we got to the hospital we had to go through the ER because the main entrance was not open yet. Luckily our birthing class had told us this so we knew exactly where to go! They wheeled me upstairs and we checked in to the labor & delivery unit. The doctor on call told me I was 3 cm dilated and Dom and I braced ourselves for a long road ahead. They admitted me, and we went to a delivery room. By this point, my contractions were intense, consistent, and close together. The nurse asked if I’d be getting an epidural, to which I said “I don’t think so!” The thing is, I don’t have a particularly strong feeling for or against epidurals, although they do scare me. I also knew that I wanted to offer up my suffering for a special intention, so I intended to fully experience all the pain I could bear. I really didn’t have a birth plan, I tend to be a planner — but since I really didn’t know what to expect I tried my best not to plan. I didn’t want to be stuck in a certain mindset, so I simply offered it up in prayer and asked that God’s will, not mine, be done. 

As the morning went on and the sun came up, I continued to breathe through my contractions and savor the slightly more peaceful moments in between. I was leaning over a birthing ball, rocking back and forth because that was the most comfortable position I could find.  I had put on my scapular and we had a crucifix and rosary laid out on the small table next to the bed to bring comfort, and to be a reminder that there is beauty in suffering and a resurrection moment of meeting our child awaiting us at the end of all this. At this point I was actually confused because I was experiencing more pain in my back than anywhere else. This is an important piece of information and it makes sense later! Anyways, Dom was coaching me through the breaths and he was being a rockstar of a husband as usual. He was encouraging, calm, and not too chatty. He was estimating where we were in the labor process based on how I was feeling and the timeline we had learned in our birthing class. Dom’s conservative estimates made me feel like we still had a very long way to go, but when the doctor came in and checked me again at 9:00 AM I was 8 cm dilated and progressing nicely. She even said we may be close to pushing soon!

I’d also like to say that the doctor who came in to check me this time was my favorite of all the doctors in my practice! I had actually prayed she’d be on call the day we gave birth, and it was so comforting to know she’d be the one delivering our baby. I also loved our nurse, she was an angel and was encouraging to us throughout the entire process. Our nurse had told me earlier that I could use the tub during labor, and I asked her if it would be OK to use it now. She told us sure, but if I felt the urge to push that we needed to call her immediately to get out and return to our room. At this point Dom and I thought things were moving super quickly, so I was a little anxious about being in the tub. I will say though, it was so much better laboring in the tub. When I started to feel like things might be moving along we got out and returned to our room, only to find out I was still only 8 cm and hadn’t really progressed at all.

So, feeling slightly discouraged we tried a few different positions to help move things along and to feel more comfortable. As I said before, I was offering up my labor for one special intention in particular, and so I continued to think about this intention through the immense pain I felt with every contraction. I had been praying Hail Marys throughout my labor and asking God for strength, but at this point the only words I could utter were, “Jesus, I trust in You.” At this time the nurse told me I could go back in the tub if I wanted, and I immediately said yes because it had helped manage the pain earlier. So, I got back in the tub and Dom and I prayed a rosary together. To be honest, Dom mostly prayed the rosary out loud and I did my best to follow along in my head, as my contractions felt much more intense now and were coming nearly back to back every minute.

Shortly after we finished our rosary I got out of the tub and returned back to the room to be checked. At this point we learned that I was slightly more dilated at 9 cm but my cervical lip would not retract. This is what hThe doctor was able to lift it over the baby so that we could begin pushing. At this point I was thinking it would all be over soon, and I was so excited to meet our baby. Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned, and I ended up pushing for over an hour and a half. I kept thanking Dom for giving me ice chips, and I kept apologizing to our nurse for every push that didn’t result in a baby. She would laugh and remind me that I didn’t need to apologize or even talk to her at all!

It wasn’t until the very end that they had realized our baby was sunny side up, and that is why she was having such a difficult time coming out. It’s also why I was experiencing such intense back labor pains! At one point, we got very close, but suddenly our baby was under distress. The next few moments were a blur, the doctor told me she’d have to perform an episiotomy, and once she did, Gianna entered the world! I honestly didn’t feel the pain of the episiotomy or the stitches after all of this, I was just so happy our baby was born. Since she had a bowel movement during birth, they had to make sure she hadn’t inhaled any meconium. They quickly cleaned her up and put her back on my chest, and suddenly the past several hours faded away as Dom and I looked at our baby girl.

Giving birth has been the most meaningful experience of my life. Although it was filled with moments of frustration and terror, there was also a presence of deep peace and joy I felt throughout the entire process. Offering up my pain, uniting it to Christ’s pain for us on the cross, brought so much grace during this time. The nurse and doctor both commented on how they had never seen someone smile so much during birth, and Dom pointed out that I had managed to labor in a joyful manner. This was purely by the grace of God, I’d like to point out. It’s funny because the one scripture I kept reflecting on during my pregnancy was “The joy of the Lord is my strength” Nehemiah 8:10. As I said earlier, I was only able to do any of this purely by the grace of God, and I felt His hand on me through every moment. We found it amazing that the nurses and doctors were able to see and feel a tangible joy, and we’ve been praying that our family can be a witness to Christ’s love and joy to those we encounter.

I’m so grateful for God’s grace, and I pray that He uses my earthly suffering for His greater good. If you were praying for us during this time, thank you so much. I truly felt every prayer give me the strength and grace to continue on in the more difficult moments.

 

Faith, Freedom

Blessed are the Persecuted

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“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:10-12 

So, here’s the thing. I don’t want to write this post. It’s not fun for me, and it’s not really pleasant for anyone. I like for this space to be a place where I can share the beauty in my life + in this world that comes from God. I like to share about my family, our farm renovations, and fun things like fashion + food. I still plan on sharing about all of those wonderful and light hearted things, but the reason I started this blog was to share how my unique Catholic faith informs every single aspect of my life. My Catholic faith enables me to have a sense of joy that transcends temporary happiness, and it also allows me to witness God’s beauty all around me. I feel it’s my privilege to share that with you! However, in understanding my faith, Christ’s teachings, and the Catholic Church, it also allows me to see the brokenness of this world and it increases my awareness of true evil that exists among us. I feel it’s my obligation to share this with you as well, even though it is much more difficult. 

Frankly, in the past week I’ve seen several injustices on a national scale that I just can’t look away from and I can’t let go of. The first injustice includes a group of Catholic prolife high school students being wrongfully accused of harassing a man (when in fact they were the ones being harassed) and then attacked by what felt like the entire country. New York’s “Catholic” governor Andrew Cuomo signed a truly repulsive law expanding abortion in New York. This law permits abortion through the ninth month, rescinds a previous New York public health law that protects children born alive after an abortion, allows non-physicians to commit non-surgical abortions, and moves the abortion law from the state’s penal code to its health code—which essentially removes the ability to prosecute abortionists. New York celebrated this sick law by lighting up the World Trade Center pink for a night, despite the World Trade Center Memorial including the 11 unborn children who were killed on September 11th, 2001. Lastly, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife found themselves in the middle of a national scandal when it was announced Karen Pence would be teaching art at a private Christian school that upholds the biblical and traditional definition of marriage. So, in America this week we’re shaming young boys in Trump hats for smiling, criticizing a Christian woman for living her faith and exercising her right to religious freedom, all while cheering for the murder of our own children.

As I said before, my faith informs every aspect of my life. This includes treating all people with equal dignity and respect, which I try my very best to do. The thing with respect is, it needs to go both ways. As a nation, we tout “tolerance” and “acceptance” toward all. However, some of us seem to feel that this only applies to those who share in our views. The second someone is different—maybe because they’re wearing a Trump hat, maybe because they believe in upholding the sanctity of traditional marriage, or maybe because they’re not yet born, suddenly their value is discounted. They don’t matter. We can slander them, ruin them, murder them, it doesn’t matter because they don’t fit into the narrative that is currently trending. 

Well frankly I’m disgusted by it and I’m also tired of it. The boys of Covington Catholic High School did not, in fact, harass an elderly, innocent, Native American man with veteran status. No, in reality they were called anti-homosexual and racist slurs repeatedly by several members of the “Black Hebrew Israelites” and then approached by a Native American activist banging a drum in their face who wrongfully accused them of harassing him on national television. What did these boys actually do? They drowned out the hatred that was being spewed at them with innocent high school chants. Oh, and they smiled, all while exercising what I imagine is an admirable amount of self control for a group of seventeen year old boys. Yet, they somehow became the face of racism in America and were bullied on a national scale from liberals and conservatives, seculars and Catholics, alike. Similarly, I have yet to witness Vice President Pence and his wife treat any individual with anything but incredible respect, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Yes, they uphold natural, traditional marriage. You know where they get it from? The Bible. If you have an issue with that, your problem is with the word of God, and not with Karen Pence or the Christian school that employs her. 

Last I checked, this is the United States of America. This is the place where men, women, liberals, conservatives, Native American activists, Trump fans, pro-life marchers, Black Hebrew Israelites, Christians, heterosexuals, and homosexuals are allowed to express themselves and coexist despite their differences. But no, evidently that’s not what America is anymore. 

I was disappointed at the reaction of many prominent Catholics, Christians, and conservatives over the past week. The thing is, I know why the liberal media is attacking boys who are pro-life, Catholic, and support Trump. What I don’t understand is why other Catholics were so quick to jump on the bandwagon, or remain silent on the matter? I know why secular feminists are cheering for an expansion of the law that allows them to kill their own children. What I don’t understand is why others aren’t loudly condemning this law and calling for the ex-communication from the Catholic Church of Governor Andrew Cuomo? I know why liberals are shaming the Pences for being Christian. Why aren’t other Christians in America vehemently defending them and their right to religious freedom? I saw many Catholics loudly condemning those who are freely exercising their rights in a respectful way, while remaining eerily silent as our nation’s leaders continue to allow for and encourage the mass murder of children in their own mothers’ wombs. 

Why is that? Is it because the people I mentioned here don’t align with the popular opinion today? Probably so. Frankly, I love finding myself outside of the popular opinion. It usually affirms my own opinion that much more. After all, 2,000+ years ago the popular opinion was, “Crucify him!” toward our very own God and savior—Jesus Christ. 

I’m writing this because one day I will have to face judgement by God at the gates of Heaven. I know that I’m going to need to answer for unkind acts, harsh words, selfish tendencies, and many sins I’m sure to struggle with throughout my life. I’ll also have to answer for how I treated the least of His people, and frankly—I think the least of His people expands much farther than those who are considered marginalized by the mainstream media in America today. Lastly, when God asks me if I boldly witnessed to the truth, I want to be able to say yes. 

Faith, Freedom

Make America Pro-Life Again

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“Perhaps we are out of line with the rest of society, to which I say – Good. So were the abolitionists, so were the civil rights marchers, so were the martyrs in Rome, and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn’t have to be popular, it just has to be righteous.” -Ben Shapiro’s words from the 2019 March for Life

Hi friends! I’d like to share a little bit about my experience at this year’s March for Life with you, as well as some important topics that I feel need to be discussed in relation to this critical issue.

We attended this year’s March for Life with our church from New Jersey. We started our day with mass and a beautiful homily by our parish priest. He encouraged us to fight for a change in the law on the books, but to more importantly pray for a change of hearts.  After mass we began our trip to DC! Despite one of our buses breaking down on the way, we were able to make it to DC just in time for the march to begin! We joined in with over 650,000 others to march for the most fundamental right of all, the right to life. It’s amazing what a truly joyful march it is. When you’re fighting for what is beautiful and true, there really isn’t a need for nasty remarks or hateful behavior.

Granted, 61 million children murdered in their own mother’s wombs under the laws of the United States is certainly something to be angry about. As a nation, the blood of these children is on our hands, and any anger harbored over this matter is certainly righteous. However, we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by our frustration with the intrinsically evil, secular law that governs our land and destroys women and children every single day. Instead, we choose to define ourselves by our hope for the future, our faith in God’s power and goodness, and our love for every precious human life.

We had a beautiful day marching for the abolition of abortion and we will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn – who are truly the most vulnerable, marginalized, and abused group in history. Today, we often hear about groups that are mistreated by our government and whose lives are perceived to be devalued. Frankly, some of these concerns are valid, but others simply fit the mainstream media’s narrative and are used to push a certain agenda that ultimately doesn’t value them. No matter what group pulls at your heart strings, there is no group more widely massacred and devalued than the unborn. The March for Life serves to fight for an end to abortion, and this is the original definition of what being pro-life means. While there are other pressing issues that you may feel passionately about, abortion + euthanasia are the sole issue that as Catholics we must agree on. This is informed by the doctrine of the Catholic Church. According to church doctrine, there is room for discussion and even disagreement on matters of economics, border security, immigration, healthcare, and waging war. There is no room for discussion, disagreement, or compromise on abortion + euthanasia.

This is why there is indeed a correct way to vote as Catholics, and there are causes we are obligated to support. While we don’t need to enthusiastically attach ourselves to a specific world leader or political party, we do need to value a candidate’s stance on this issue before and above all others. If you have been instructed otherwise, you have been misled. I encourage you to dig deeper into the Catechism and doctrine of the Catholic Church and search for the highest truth and prayerfully discern who to vote for and what causes to lend your support to. While we certainly treat all human beings with respect and uphold the dignity of all lives, we are called to value the most vulnerable and fight for those who are truly the only ones with no voice at all.

Moving forward, I continue to urge you to always stand up for what is right, and always fight for life. Support the women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies or find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. Be bold in sharing the truth of what abortion is and how harmful it is to women, children, and our nation as a whole. Do your research and remain informed on matters of abortion + euthanasia. Vote for candidates who are pro-life and vehemently anti-abortion. Most importantly, pray for those who are victims of abortion, and also pray for a change of hearts in those who support abortion.

I’d like to end this post with some photos we took while in DC at the march! We spent the day with family, bumped into some friends along the way, and left with such joy and hope from being among this beautiful, huge crowd of people who feel passionately about the right to life!

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Thankful for all of those who spent their time, talent, and treasure organizing The March for Life and for those who are in the trenches every day fighting for and praying for an end to abortion. God bless you & God bless America!