Filipinos have a tradition similar to the Mexican quincinera, simply called a “Debut”. French society has it, too, popular with the wealthy in New Orleans. Basically, it’s a coming of age party, to celebrate a girl’s entry into womanhood, and it’s traditionally an 18th birthday party.
I recently attended one of these for the daughter of a friend of ours, and was generally impressed by the upbringing of her, and all her friends. There were no pierced lips, noses, etc. None of the girls had tattoos (that I could see), though some of the adults did. The debutante was beautiful, nice hair, makeup and a nice, modest flowing gown. She was gorgeous. I’ve always thought this girl was pretty. Her brother is also very handsome. And both of them are so conservative regarding their modesty. Both are vowed to be chaste. The girl will be playing basketball on scholarship to the University of Hawaii. She’s good. Her brother is also physically gifted. He’s always been there to protect her, too.
Mom and Dad were beaming ear to ear, as they should have been. They have everything to be proud of. Despite the ways of the world, the way their classmates were brought up (generally), and the message the world tries to give, besides their parents, the people they look up to are two priests. So the party was really very nice-held in a country club, an exclusive country club, with lots of paid camera people around taking pictures, and an Emcee, and the whole 9 yards. Other than the fact that dinner wasn’t served until after 8:00, the only thing I said to our host was that I wished her daughter would become a leader to her friends. Our host understood what I was saying almost immediately.
Aside from the cotillion of tuxedos and princess gowns, the invited girls who came were all dressed in just so…little. As we entered the ballroom, we had to climb a flight of stairs, and the girls in front of us, I feared for them-as they climbed the stairs, I wondered what might be visible from a lower point of view. I didn’t wonder long, I cast my eyes down, to preserve their dignity, and my own purity. But the question remains, do they think of these things when they buy the garment, or do they shrug it off for the sake of being like the other girls? The debutante, I know, had she been a guest, would not have worn such a thing. Why? I think it’s because of the way she was raised.
And so I implore you parents out there…start teaching your kids Virtue at an early age. Visit this article, and see if it helps.
A universal concern among Catholic parents committed to their faith is communicating the Catholic faith and its morality to their children. They wish to see their offspring embrace the faith and avoid the corrupting influences of the secular culture.
An essential component in the instruction of youth is the practice of virtue, good habits that properly dispose them to receive and benefit from God’s grace. (Or, as 13th-century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas succinctly says, “Grace builds on nature.”)
Parents can effectively teach their children to practice virtue, even in modern society, by providing homes that nurture good habits.
Dr. Ray Guarendi (DrRay.com), a psychologist, EWTN host and Register contributor, says that virtue is something that requires development. It begins with teaching children good habits, with virtue being “the accumulation of good habits over time.”
As Guarendi remarked, “The average 6-year-old is going to lie, for example. The parent can discipline that child, showing him there are consequences for that lie; and, over time, most children will come to realize that it is not a good thing to lie. Telling the truth for truth’s sake is something that comes later.”
Many parents frequently complain that the culture is negatively impacting their children, he said, noting that “they believe the culture is a tsunami, a vortex, with bad influences coming into their homes in an unprecedented way due to technology.”
Many parents “wake up to the power of the culture years too late,” he continued, and “are shocked at the attitudes, beliefs and character manifested by their 15-year-olds.”
That’s why discipline should come in an atmosphere of unconditional love, with parents remaining vigilant in instilling virtue in their children. They must also set a good example, Guarendi says. In order to establish credibility, parents must practice virtue themselves.
The Catholic faith plays a crucial role in properly raising children, he asserts, because “without the faith, there are no absolutes.”
When writing his book Back to the Family, Guarendi interviewed many strong families and recognized the importance of religious faith. As he explained, “Some ask, ‘Are you saying you can’t raise good kids without religion?’ You can, but how do you decide right and wrong? Religion gives parents a moral authority that is greater than just their opinions or preferences; it is that of the God of the universe.”
Teaching virtue to children begins with integrity, according to James Stenson (ParentLeadership.com), who has spoken to scores of parents and written a series of books related to parenting.
“It is a word used a lot, but many cannot easily define it,” he said. “It is related to the word ‘integer,’ which means unity or unity of word and action. You need to tell the truth and keep your word. It is absolutely critical in all we do, and it has ramifications on how we live our faith.” For example, when a student turns in a paper at school, integrity means that it is his or her work.
Proper moral formation, he continued, involves the child moving his focus away from himself to others.
As an educator, Stenson believes that only a small part of a child’s moral formation occurs at school: “Ninety percent of what children learn occurs in the home; the school should support parents in that endeavor.”
On his website, Stenson offers a variety of free parenting materials, the most popular of which is his “The Power of We,” a compilation of rules for successful family life from parents he has spoken with. They include such things as saying please and thank you, worshipping God together and not belittling others. As Stenson remarked, “Parents should live a certain way and then get their children to join them.”
Parents must also focus on what sort of men and women their kids will become, he said: “When parents see themselves as raising adults, not children, they will better understand what can stay the same and what needs to change.”
Stenson has also written Successful Fathers. In a culture increasingly known for absent dads, Stenson stressed that fathers need to invest time with their children and be loving protectors of their wives and children.
Most of all, children should be encouraged to develop a “lifelong friendship with Jesus Christ.”
Stenson gave the example of a priest who was praying his Breviary in church when a 6-year-old boy with a toy car came in. After a clumsy genuflection, the boy held up his car. The priest asked what he was doing, and the boy said, “I just got this car for my birthday, and I’m showing it to the Lord Jesus.” The priest smiled and said, “You go right ahead!”
As Stenson said, “The priest knew if that little guy could maintain this friendship with Jesus he could not only be a great man but a great saint.”
Children should also understand that being Catholic is part of the family pedigree. “Parents need to tell their children that the faith has been in the family for generations,” Stenson encouraged.
Father Rocky Hoffman, executive director of Relevant Radio (RelevantRadio.com) and host of Go Ask Your Father, speaks to parents about five important virtues they ought to teach their children: work, sincerity, piety, poverty and purity. All of this is in addition to love within the family.
Regarding work, Father Hoffman said, “Work is the original vocation of human beings in the second chapter of Genesis. God told Adam and Eve to till the garden and keep it, even before the Original Sin.”
Frequent confession can be an invaluable aid in growing in sincerity (or honesty), and piety involves “developing a prayer life and affection for God,” the priest explained.
Poverty involves detachment from material goods and “training youth to be generous from an early age,” he said, suggesting that when giving allowances to children that parents divide the money into three jars: save, share and spend. Money from the “share” jar could then be placed in the church collection, as a way of instructing the children on the concept of tithing.
Purity is based on the virtue of temperance (or self-control), he said, and it is essential for parents to model chastity to children. He noted, “It is unrealistic to expect children to be chaste if parents use artificial contraceptives; even though it is never talked about, the kids will know.”
Father Hoffman also stresses the importance of love: “When Mom and Dad love each other, kids know that they love each other. When Mom and Dad love their kids, kids know that they love them. When Mom and Dad love their faith, then the kids love their faith.”
Jim Graves writes from
Newport Beach, California.
First, I’m sorry, I’ve been away. Busy with work, home, life, and Church.
I go to Mass every day in a seedy part of town. I walk through a residential neighborhood up Broadway in San Francisco past at least 6 or 7 strip joints to the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. I’ve been doing this for several months, passing these places, along with the other industries which support, and are supported by these ‘clubs’. I’ve been propositioned, and invited for lap dances, and so on. Those are all very easy for me to decline. But I’ve noticed a couple places that sell lingerie wear, probably for the women that work in these clubs, and lately they’ve had me thinking…
Do you realize how lingerie incourages lust? I’m here to tell you. Even on a mannequin, some of those outfits draw out thoughts from a man, and I can only imagine (and remember) how I thought at the sight of said clothing on a woman, whether she was involved with me, or not. And I’ve gotten to thinking about how the entire fashion industry plays on this instinct. Swimwear, as well. Even if the article of clothing covers the nether parts completely, much of this type of clothing leads to impurity. I remember a long time ago, for Valentine’s Day, I bought a set of lingerie for my wife. She wore it for me. Once. I think it wound up in the garbage bin. She wasn’t comfortable wearing it. But it did evoke what it was supposed to.
I’m not against women being beautiful. Women are supposed to be beautiful. It’s how they make themselves beautiful that bothers me, whether it’s too much makeup, the clothing they wear, or how they show off their assets. Even in a man who tries so hard to be holy, we have eyes, and what you wear, say and do has consequences to those you run into, even if you don’t know them.
This caught my attention yesterday watching the news, from Breitbart.com-
Birk: Ravens Teammates ‘Congratulated’ Me for Declining WH Invite
Former Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk said many of his former teammates congratulated him for declining an invite to see President Barack Obama at the White House last week to celebrate the Ravens’s Super Bowl championship.
Appearing on Fox News’s “Hannity” on Thursday, Birk, who retired after the Super Bowl, emphasized that he did not see “much upside” in going to the White House after President Barack Obama “invoked the name of God” while praising Planned Parenthood. Obama became the first sitting president to address the organization.
“A lot of guys congratulated me,” Birk said, “They were glad that I did what I did.”
He noted the Ravens were “a spiritually deep team” and “everybody’s great with it.”
Birk said he believed one cannot say “God bless Planned Parenthood,” as Obama did in April, because “it’s a contradiction,” noting that the organization was responsible for aborting nearly 300,000 babies last year.
He said Obama’s comments, especially “bringing God into it,” was “too much” for him to handle.
Birk said he never intended to make a big statement, but reporters noticed he was not with the team at the ceremony and asked some of the players why that was so. He also expressed disappointment that abortion has been “pushed down the list of priorities,” and said it was outrageous that the eggs of sea turtles cannot be smashed but unborn human lives are allowed to be taken away. He said he has worked with many women who have aborted children and are now a part of the pro-life movement because they have come to regret their decisions.
Last season, Birk and Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was his former teammate, had opposing views on gay marriage and were on opposite sides of a Maryland initiative to legalize same-sex marriage. Birk opposed and cut a video for a Catholic group that opposed the initiative while Ayandabejo was outspoken in support.
.- Pope Francis told thousands of children who gathered at the Vatican on Friday that he did not want to be the head of the Church before his election.
“Someone who wants, who has the desire to be Pope doesn’t love themselves, but I didn’t want to be Pope,” he said at a June 7 meeting in Paul VI Hall.
“Do you know what it means if someone doesn’t love themselves very much?” he asked the 7,000 children from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania in response to a girl’s question.
The students were accompanied by their teachers and family members, as well as alumni of the schools, on the trip to the Vatican.
Pope Francis chose to speak off-the-cuff for a little over five minutes instead of reading a five-page set of remarks.
He then answered questions posed by a few children, who waited on the side of the stage, close to where he was sitting.
One of them asked him why he had chosen to live in Saint Martha’s House instead of the Papal Apartments in the Apostolic Palace.
“I can’t live alone, do you understand?” he remarked. “It’s not a question of my personal virtue, it’s just that I can’t live alone.”
“A professor asked me this question, ‘why don’t you go live there?’ and I answered, ‘listen, professor, it’s for psychiatric reasons’ because that’s my personality,” the Pope said.
He told the children jokingly not to worry because “that apartment (in the Apostolic Palace) isn’t so luxurious.”
“In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor people,” he remarked.
“Poverty today is a cry, we all have to think if we can become a little poorer, all of us have to do this,” he added.
He asked them, “how can I become a little poorer in order to be more like Jesus, who was the poor teacher?”
A young boy asked Pope Francis if it had been difficult to leave his family when he decided to become a Jesuit at the age of 21.
“It’s always hard, it was hard for me,” he affirmed.
“Jesus gives you joy, but sometimes you feel dryness and alone. But it’s beautiful following Jesus and then more beautiful moments arrive,” he said.
He then turned the question back to the children.
“How do you think about walking ahead with difficulties?” he asked them. “With the Lord, all is possible.”
In today’s gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me more than these?” and again, “Do you love me?”, and then again.
We know why Jesus asked three times, in order to forgive Peter’s denials. But what did Christ mean by “these”? Some might say the other apostles, some earthly things. I think Jesus was asking Peter “What are you willing to sacrifice for me?” and “Are you willing to give up “the world”?” One reason this passage points to Petrine Primacy is that, ever since, Popes have been sacrificing the world in order to lead Christ’s church. Benedict XVI gave up his teaching career, JPII gave up his acting career and his freedom, JPI gave up his life, Paul VI gave up his dignity. And so on. If we study the lives of the Popes, the Servants of the Servants of God, we can see real pastor-ship.
The Pope and all the bishops are referred to as pastors, and we know that in Biblical times, the sheep were more important than the shepherd. The shepherd would sacrifice himself to protect the sheep, and this is, by and large, what the popes have done, even to the point of being crucified or martyred in other ways rather than lead the faithful down a wrong path.
.- Pope Francis told the story of a man who felt ashamed of being a bishop to say that people should not worry of being sinners but should concentrate on allowing Jesus to transform them.
“He was ashamed because he did not feel worthy, he had a spiritual torment and he went to the confessor,” Pope Francis said at his May 17 daily Mass.
“The confessor heard him and said, ‘but do not worry, if after the mess Peter made of things, they made him Pope, then you go ahead!’” he recalled.
The Pope delivered his homily on the Gospel reading from John 21, which tells the story of Jesus asking Peter if he loved him three separate times.
According to the pontiff, people should try harder to encounter Jesus rather than focus on their own sins.
“Many times, we look the other way because we do not want to talk with the Lord or allow ourselves to encounter the Lord,” he stated.
“Meeting the Lord is important, but more importantly, let us be met by the Lord, this is a grace,” he added.
“Peter let himself be shaped by his many encounters with Jesus,” the Pope noted, “and this is something we all need to do as well, for we are on the same road.”
“Peter is great, not because he is good, but because he has a nobility of heart, which brings him to tears, leads him to this pain, this shame and also to take up his work of shepherding the flock,” he remarked.
The pontiff noted “the problem is not that we are sinners: the problem is not repenting of sin; not being ashamed of what we have done, that’s the problem.”
“The Lord makes us mature with many meetings with Him, even with our weaknesses, when we recognize them with our sins,” Pope Francis said.
“The point is that this is how the Lord is, that’s the way He is,” he said.
Referring back to the Gospel reading, Pope Francis said the questions Jesus posed to Peter are “a dialogue of love between the Lord and his disciple.”
He explained that the narration goes back to the history of Peter’s meetings with Jesus, from his invitation to follow the Lord, to his receiving the name of the Rock, “a mission which was there, even if Peter understood nothing of it at the time.”
“Peter was saddened that, for a third time, Jesus asked him, ‘do you love me?’” said Pope Francis.
Peter was a great man, the Holy Father remarked, but he was also a sinner and this question made him feel “pain” and “shame.”
“The Lord makes him feel that he is a sinner, makes us all feel that we are sinners,” but this shame and humility “brings him to a new encounter with Jesus” and “to the joy of forgiveness,” the Pope preached.
I don’t believe I’ve ever walked into a Catholic Church and not seen lit candles. Lately, I contemplate the candles where I go to daily Mass, the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. Most days, there’s no more than four or five people at Mass, but when I walk in, there’s always at least 100 candles lit. This is an old fashioned church with side altars, and paintings of St. Francis in various aspects, and even relics of St. Francis, St. Claire, and St. Anthony of Padua.
Since reading Revelation, lately, we know that the candles are our prayers, and the smoke carries those prayers to the saints in heaven, who present our prayers to God. Just think of all those prayers. If there’s one candle lit in every Catholic Church worldwide, that’s a whole lot of prayers.
I’d like to ask you to remember that candles have another function-they support the Church. I’ve heard it said of my weekday church that, were it not for the candle collection, the church would not survive. And yet it does. So I encourage you, any time you pay a visit to a Church you happen upon, really pay a visit. As Mother Angelica says, on EWTN, keep the Church between your gas and electric bills, so they can pay their bills.
I also want to encourage people to visit the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. If you come to San Francisco, it’s a little out of the way. It’s in North Beach; if you walk through Chinatown on Kearney, you’re about three blocks from it. As a bonus, two blocks more than that up Columbus Ave, there’s Sts. Peter and Paul, another of the beautiful churches of San Francisco.