All Saint’s Day & Why We “Weird” Catholics”pray” to Saints.

As a blue-collar, catholic guy I just felt I should give you my take about the day after Halloween, a day that is known to us catholics as The  Feast of All Saints or All Saint's Day. There is a lot of misconception about this "saint" business so let me try to clear this up in my own way. No research here, I am just digging down inside myself trying to remember what I learned from Sister Mary Ursula and all the other good sisters way back when and how I have managed to extrapolate that information over a 50 plus year period.

First of all, let's get something straight--Catholics DO NOT worship or adore saints. God alone is worshiped and adored. Period, Amen. So who are these people we call saints and why do we "pray" to them? Well, for starters, remember that praying is just like talking. When we pray to the saints we are talking to them. When we pray to God we are talking to God. However, there is a HUGE difference. When you talk to God it is direct, one on one, straight up. You cannot go any higher. God is the top Man. The "buck stops with Him". Many Christians feel that there can be no intercessor between "God and man (when I use the word man I also mean woman, okay) except God Himself. Well, that is fine and perfectly okay. All of us catholics always talk directly to God too. So, what about these people called saints? (I know, I know, we catholics sure can be weird.)

Here is how yours truly looks at this saint situation. I have to compare it to baseball or football. Over the years many thousands of men (and even some women) have played baseball and football. Heck, when I was a kid we were playing stick-ball in  the streets of the Bronx when we were  seven years old. I guess I could safely say that millions of people have played the game over the years. The years go by and we begin to grow up and most of us fall by the wayside as far as being great football or baseball players. But there are those select few that continue to play and actually become professionals. And from that group the cream comes to the top, the "best of the best" the greatest of them all, the ones that break records and become heroes to young and old alike. These people we pedestalize and place them in a place called the "Hall of Fame". Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Jimmy Brown and Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath and the list goes on. Immortalized forever because they were the best of the best. Well, there you have it. The Saints are the "Catholic Hall Of Fame". They are the best of the best, the ones that loved their faith so much many died for it. There are the ones who spent their entire lives living in poverty and working with the sick and the poor never wanting anything for themselves and always having a smile on their face because they never lost sight of the prize. They showed us how the game of life should be played.

Here's the deal. We know that these folks died and went to heaven. They are with God. This is a faith thing so don't get logical about it. Imagine if you had a big brother or a big sister and you needed something from your dad but you were sure he would say "no" so you decide to ask your big brother to put in a good word for you. And he does and dad agrees. And there it is. We ask the saints to put in a good word for us because they are with God and they "have His ear" so to speak. No, I cannot prove it. Once again, it is a faith thing. But I do believe it, without reservation.

 If you want to explore this talking to the saints thing a bit further go on line or stop by your local catholic parish and check it out. You know, we all have pictures of our family members in our homes or wallets and we have statues of great people in history. Why? We honor them. Same with the saints. And for all those who did not make it into the Hall of Fame we talk to them too. You see, we are all one, big family known as the "communion of saints". That's right, you don't even have to be dead to be a saint.  It is a beautiful thing.

     

The Legend of the “Jack-O-Lantern” Halloween, 2013

by Larry Peterson

Long ago in Ireland, the land of shamrocks, leprechauns, soft winds and smiles, there lived a man named Jack. Jack was quite lazy and did not like to work. But he had the gift of "blarney" and could talk the peat off the moss. He would tell wondrous tales about his adventures as a world traveler and the people in his village would be held spellbound by his golden tongue; however, Jack outsmarted himself when he  stole money from the townsfolk. He thought that they were not very smart and would never find out. But they did find out and began chasing him down the streets of the village.

As Jack ran down the road as fast as he could he rounded a bend and ran smack into the devil. The devil smiled at Jack and told him it was time for him to die and that he was there to take his soul. Jack quickly convinced the devil that if he would let him go and promise to never take his soul he would give him all the souls of the folks who were chasing him. "And how do you plan to do that, Jack?" the devil asked.

"Well now, all ye have ta do is turn ye-self into a pot of gold coins. Then I will give the coins to the people and you will be in all of their pockets. They will be yours."

Since many souls were better than only one, the devil readily agreed and turned himself into a pot of gold coins. Jack gave the coins to all the people and they went away smiling never realizing that they had given themselves to the devil in return for money.

So Jack lived on, grew old and, like all mortal men, finally died. His life had been so sinful on earth that he could not get into heaven and since the devil could not take his soul, he could not get into hell. He had nowhere to go. He asked the devil how he was supposed to see because he was in complete darkness. The devil laughed and tossed Jack a burning ember from the fires of hell, an ember that would never burn out.

Jack, using the ember to guide his way, found a pumpkin patch (some say it was turnips) and carved out a pumpkin. He put the ember inside and began carrying it around so he could see where he was going. To this day he wanders the earth seeking a resting place. And that is why he is known as "Jack-O'-Lantern" or "Jack of the Lantern".

"HAPPY HALLOWEEN"     posted in 2011 and 2012





                                                   copyright © 2012 Larry Peterson
     

Review from Reviews by Molly

     

Review from Rainy Day Reviews

The kind where I need to get all errands and house work done before hand becasue once I pick it up it is near impossible to put down. This was one of those books. This sucks you in right from the start. Part of the pull of this book was that you just had to know what was going to happen next.

http://bookjunkiemom.blogspot.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-by-larry-peterson.html

     

“A Guy Named Barney” Just a Doorkeeper

The election season has fried my brain.  The pundits, the commentators, the campaign officials, the editorial writers and, of course the candidates. My God, MASSIVE EGOS--everywhere. They are all experts in everything you can think of and they villify each other, name call, besmirch each other and even attack their opponent's families. It had finally gotten to me. And then you hear this Machiavellian disclaimer, "Hey, that's politics". You know what, I have a different word for all of it, "DISGUSTING". To the Point-----

As a Catholic I decided to check the Catholic Hall of Fame for someone "egoless". You know them as saints but to me, they are the Catholic Hall of Famers. The best of the best, the creme de le creme. Let me tell you about one of them, a simple man who never aspired to be anything more than a simple priest. His name was Bernard Francis Casey and his family and friends called him Barney. There are many guys like Barney in our Catholic Hall of Fame and they, like Barney, probably never even knew what the word "ego"meant.

Barney was born in Oak Grove, Wisconsin back in 1870. He was the sixth of 16 kids of Irish immigrants. When Barney was a boy he contracted diptheria and it left him with a permanently raspy sounding voice. Barney would never have qualified for American Idol. Barney felt the call to the priesthood but his goal was detoured by jobs in Minnesota and Wisconsin as a lumberjack, a prison guard, a street car operator and a hospital orderly. Barney Casey always did whatever job he had to the best of his ability wanting to serve his God in all things. At the age of 21 he was able to enter St. Francis High School seminary in Milwaukee and spent five years there before being able to move on and join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Upon his acceptance he took the name of Solanus after St. Francis Solanus, a 17th century missionary.

Solanus Casey was finally ordained a priest at the age of 33. He had to study extremely hard to reach that goal and when he was finally ordained he was given the title "Sacerdos Simplex" which means "simple priest"and he was not permitted to preach or to hear confessions. He never complained and took joy in being a "simple priest". Father Solanus Casey's main job at the monastery where he lived in Detroit was that of "doorkeeper". Father Casey was probably  the finest doorkeeper that ever lived. He did this for well over 20 years and also became known for his service to the sick and the advice and consultations he would have with visitors. People began attributing cures and other blessings to his interaction with them or others.

So there it is. A man who opened and closed doors for people. A man who had no ego and was happy to serve God in the simplest of ways. He died in 1957. A man who, because miracles have been attributed to his intercession, was declared "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II in 1995. This is the first step toward canonization as a saint. He is the first man born in the USA to be on the road to full sainthood. And all he did was humbly and happily open doors for people and talk to them if they wanted. A Catholic Hall of Famer for sure and quite the contrast to the gaggle of egotists that bombard us daily with their "I think" wisdom. Solanus (Barney) Casey has re-charged me.

     

Review from Lissette E. Manning

This was such a beautiful story. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to anyone for reading.

http://www.simplistik.org/lissetteemanning/review-the-priest-and-the-peaches-larry-peterson

     

Review from aobibliosphere

I am an orphan myself and the eldest child too. I can relate well with Teddy, the eldest brother, as he gathers his wits about him now that he takes over his late father's role as head of the family.

http://aobibliosphere.blogspot.com/2012/03/03-tribute-books-review-priest-and.html

     

Review from A Pocket Full of Books

The Priest and the Peaches is a different kind of book than I usually read and I very much enjoyed it! Sometimes branching out from your usual genres can be really worth it.

http://apocketfullofbooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/tour-stop-review-of-priest-and-peaches.html

     

Win a copy of ‘The Priest and the Peaches’ during the ‘Spectral’ read-a-thon

Win a copy of 'The Priest and the Peaches' during the 'Spectral' Read-a-thon! A 15-day celebration of Shannon Duffy's book - as we re-read it together and focus on a couple of chapters every Monday through Friday from November 1st through November 21st. All you have to do to participate is purchase 'Spectral' and read along with us.

We'd love for you to leave comments on our daily posts at the 'Spectral' blog, tweet us under the #Spectral hashtag, leave shout-outs to Shannon at @ShannonDuffyLit - and of course, we'll have giveaway surprises for those who follow along.

Sign up at the linky at:
http://spectralwitch.blogspot.com/2012/10/sign-up-for-spectral-november-read-along.html

Help us spread the word. If you don’t have a blog, use Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. Having a blog is not required. Be sure to grab the button at the top of this post.

We are looking for prize donations if anyone would like to contribute. Authors, this is a great way to promote your book! Email info [at] tribute-books [dot] com

Let's hit the road with Jewel!

November 1: Chapters 1, 2 & 3
November 2: Chapters 4 & 5
November 5: Chapters 6 & 7
November 6: Chapters 8 & 9
November 7: Chapters 10 & 11
November 8: Chapters 12 & 13
November 9: Chapters 14 & 15
November 12: Chapters 16 & 17
November 13: Chapters 18 & 19
November 14: Chapters 20 & 21
November 15: Chapters 22 & 23
November 16: Chapters 24 & 25
November 19: Chapters 26 & 27
November 20: Chapters 28 & 29
November 21: Chapters 30, 31 & 32

     

Review from Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

I recommend to fans of faith-based tales and human endurance. I think the tale is timeless and perfect for all ages.

http://www.caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-by-larry-peterson.html

     

Review from Sweeping Me

The book was really good. I found myself with so many emotions about these kids and all they had to endure. What a delightful surprise to feel so many tugs at my heart. I loved each of the kids and felt like I could relate to all of them.

http://sweepingme.com/2012/01/blog-tour-priest-and-the-peaches-by-larry-peterson-review/

     

“Little Sisters Threatened by Big Brother”

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a catholic, religious organization founded in France in the first half of the 19th century. A woman by the name of Jeanne Jugan (now Saint Jeanne Jugan) felt the need to help care for the many poverty stricken elderly who seemingly were everywhere in France. She began her ministry by inviting an elderly woman into her home to care for her. One woman caring  for another and so began the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Let us fast forward about 160 years or so. The Little Sisters of the Poor serve people in 31 countries. They have grown from one woman helping one woman to one of the most successful religious organizations in the world. One country they serve is the good old U.S of A. They have about 30 homes here and care for 2500 elderly in the U.S. Enter Obamacare and the HHS Mandate.

There are certain penalties that accompany the Mandate. For example, if an organization were to stop offering health insurance rather than comply with the Mandate that organization, ie: The Little Sisters of the Poor, would be forced to pay a $2000.00 penalty per employee. If they chose to offer insurance without contraception, aborta-facient drugs or sterilization availability, they would be penalized $100.00 per day per employee. If there were 50 employees that would come to about $2,000,000.00 a year.

The Little Sisters of the Poor do one thing. They care for the elderly. They offer them homes where they are welcomed and lovingly cared for. These folks are treated with respect, dignity and love. The good Sisters do not want money. They do not need a fancy car or a big house to live in. They do not need  a flat-screen TV or contemporary clothing. All they want to do is serve other people. Half of all operating costs come from donations, the other half from Medicaid. The penalties for non-compliance with the Mandate would virtually wipe out their ability to continue this work.

The Department of Health and Human Services exemption criteria is so narrowly defined that hardly anyone will qualify. A religious employer will only be exempted if they hire & serve only people of their own faith. Catholic Charities and  Catholic hospitals serve all folks. So do other religious organizations. The penalties will force them to go out of business.  This is so crazy and I would ask, what do the elderly need birth control for anyway?

     

Review from Adventures of Frugal Mom

Here is an alert to this book. Make sure you have a box of tissue ready. You will either laugh until you cry and you will cry at the sad moments. This book is that good.

http://adventuresfrugalmom.com/2012/03/the-priest-and-the-peaches-book-tour.html/

     

Review from Sara’s Organized Chaos

The Peach children immediately feel like real characters and within the first ten pages you are rooting for them and want them to do well.

http://strandupdate.blogspot.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches.html

     

Review from The Paperback Pursuer

I think young adults will really enjoy Larry Peterson's writing style and humor in this short and uplifting/optimistic read.

http://thepaperbackpursuer.blogspot.com/2012/03/review-123-priest-and-peaches-by-larry.html

     

Review from Musings of a Bookworm

I liked this more then I thought I would. This is definitely an author to look out for!!

http://www.musings-of-a-bookworm.org/2012/03/this-is-the-priest-and-peaches-by-larry.html

     

The “Nones” are here–are you One?”

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Things have changed and things are-a-changing still. I have stepped into the world of senior citizen which is a high-up perch where one can pause, look down and see with clarity what was and what is. When I look back about 20 or so years ago there is a small group of people occupying a small corner of the landscape. For some  reason their numbers have exploded and now they occupy almost 20% of the American population. These people are called the "Nones". Maybe you are one of them.

The "Nones" are those folks who have no religion affiliation. Except for the atheist and agnostics the rest do not consider themselves Godless. They just do not think that they need a religion to guide them. (this leads to another thought--if God and religion are two different things why all the hysteria about using the name of God in the public square? That can be discussed another time). As you can see, for a guy like me, a Catholic blue-collar, flag waving type of person, this "None" thing is a bit perplexing.  I want to yell and scream and say----"OH MY GOD!! What's the matter with you people?" But--I and many of my generation are part of why this "None" phenomena has grown and taken hold. We have not passed  down our faith and traditions. We have, as Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington has said, "catechized without content".

Protestantism was the majority religion for decades, maybe longer. Now it is under 50%. There are supposedly about 58 million Catholics in the country yet, maybe 16 million practice their faith. That's about 28%. What happened to change the religious landscape? We old fools happened, that's what happened. We let down our guard with our kids and started worrying too much about traumatizing their delicate psyches. We did not want to say "no" to poor little Johnny and Joanie. That was the beginning.

And so the world changes and evolves. I am a cradle catholic. I am even among the dwindling population of  catholics that attends not only Sunday mass but daily Mass. Yet I am responsible as are many of my generation. From the religious hierarchy downward and into the home itself and right to the empty supper tables choosing TV instead. We did not  transfer the baton. We dropped the baton. Not saying "no" morphed into "Nones".

                              ©Larry Peterson 2012 All Rights Reserved

     

Review from My Two Blessings

The story is well written with 3 dimensional characters and the Peach kids will steal your heart as you experience all the ups and downs with them. Highly recommend it.

http://www.mytwoblessings.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-by-larry-peterson.html

     

Review from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Many kids would have folded under the pressure and simply threw their hands in the air in surrender, but not these two.

http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-tour-priest-and-peaches.html

     

Review from Jersey Girl Book Reviews

A heartwarming inspirational book that will pull at your heartstrings.

http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-by-larry-peterson.html

     

Review from CeCe’s Reading & Writing Safari

Love and faith can go a long way to healing and providing strength needed to face hardships.

http://cecereadandwrite.blogspot.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-blog-tour.html

     

Review from Celtic Lady’s Reviews

I found myself tearing up and laughing at the same time over some of the antics of the younger children.

http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/2012/03/priest-and-peaches-by-larry-peterson.html

     

Review from Kristal McKerrington

A Young Adult book that had me hooked from page one right through to the last nitty gritty page.

http://kristalmckerringtons.blogspot.com/2012/03/please-welcome-peaches-and-priest.html

     

“My Pollyanna bubble is ready to burst”

Last week I posted that we Christians (Catholics included) are the latest victims of hate crimes subjected to what seems to be a daily onslaught of ridicule, degradation, mockery, lampooning and defilement. Our President and Secretary of State saw fit to use tax-payer money to  star in a video apologizing to Muslims for a 13 minute movie trailer that offended them.  It depicted the prophet Muhammad in a satirical manner.  I suggested that we Christians should have a tax-payer funded video produced apologizing to us for the "PissChrist" exhibit on display in midtown Manhattan. This exhibit is not satirical, not quite. It cuts to the very core of a Christian's belief system by placing Christ in the artist's urine. Not to worry all you "powers that be". We Christians will do like we always do and make some verbal objections and then turn the other cheek. There will be no anarchical  uprising with plundering and pillaging, mayhem and murder. Rest easy, we Christians do not have to be feared. Now, to the point.

I guess when all is said and done my  pollyanish world view has taken a serious hit. I have discovered that many Christians do not even care about stuff like this. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked catholics all over the country to stand behind them in their quest to stop the infiltration into the Catholic church's invasion by a government run amok, an intrusion unprecedented in American history. Forty nine (49) individual lawsuits were filed on the same day in federal courts all around the country to stop the HHS mandate. How did many Catholics respond. They didn't. They did not seem to care. In addition, because of the main stream media's refusal to report about these things, many still do not even know about it. Now the Washington Post comes out and says the latest polls show President Obama leading Mitt Romney by a large margin among Catholic voters. HUH!!! In my pollyanna world this does not even make sense. This Pollyanna's bubble is ready to burst. I'm just  hoping and praying that it holds on a bit longer.