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Author: ElizabethPetrucelli (Page 1 of 23)

Three Hearts Pilgrimage – Day 2

Crack of Dawn

Last night was a gorgeous night. The weather was so perfect that many people didn’t even set up their tents, they just slept under the stars. And there were no cows mooing all night!

The morning wake up was similar. Chanting monks! This time though, we could barely move. How on earth will we be able to pack out supplies let alone carry them to the staging area? How can I even walk to the port-o-potty?? Jason was in intense discomfort. He was walking like he had something shoved up his you know what. We decided that we were going to have to pack up and take the bus. Jason couldn’t go on with how bad his thighs hurt and there was no way I could walk without him.

I figured if I started walking the pain might subside because I just needed to stretch but as I walked nothing started to feel better. I made my way to the potty and prayed. I asked for a miracle. I specifically asked Mother Mary to help us walk. We were about to give in and I didn’t want to not finish because I really wanted to help with the pilgrimage the next year. If I hadn’t finished, what was I going to say to people that would be helpful??

As I left the potty, it hit me! My prayers were answered…or so I thought. I would still need Jason’s permission but I felt like this was the answer. The only problem, it was very gross. So here’s the TMI.

It was my time of the month on the pilgrimage. The only two days of the month that were best to be avoided for this sort of thing and I was there managing it. Only problem is, last night I realized that I forgot to make sure I had extra underwear in my bag. I had brought some for the trip but I forgot to put them in my pack for the pilgrimage.

So, because my undies were sweat-filled, I hung them up to air dry and I would flip them inside out for today. Which meant that last night I slept in my “unders.” Or knickers, or silk/spandex shorts that go under the skirt I wore. Because I was wearing a skirt and we were headed to the monastery, I also had leggings with me. We were told to wear modest clothing for the monks as well as priests and men in general.

I wasn’t sure Jason would accept my unders considering the entirety of the situation. Plus, I had worn them all day yesterday. It’s gross! But, we were in the Marines together and I figured he still would “improvise, adapt, and overcome” so I thought he would accept my offering.

He had just taken down the tent but hadn’t folded it up yet as I approached. I said, “I have our miracle. I think we can finish this walk.” He asked, “How?” I said, “Put the tent back up. You can wear my unders.”

Jason put the tent back up, we made the switch, and he walked around a bit to “test” them out. Sure enough, he wasn’t in as much pain. He said, “I think I can probably do this now.” “Great!” I replied. Let’s just take it five minutes at a time.

I took 800mg of Ibuprofen and 1000mg of Acetaminophen and off we went to the staging area and then lined up. It was beautiful. So joyful! People were singing and chanting and we waited for enough sun to start walking.

Our bodies hurt so badly but we had petitions to pray and people to pray for as well as reparation for our sins so we just kept taking steps. One at a time. That’s all we could do. One foot in front of the other. I could feel the blisters beginning to form. The medication had done nothing. The best thing, the pace was slower.

The first break was short as all the others had been but the pace was slower. See, we’re smiling…sort of. Man, were we in pain. We still really weren’t talking much. I Was surprised others were able to talk. Some had super long conversations but Jason and I were just tired.

We were happy we made it to the first break area because we didn’t think we would. When we made it to the final break area, we were shocked. I was also experiencing significant blister pain. This break had a Mary grotto in a rock wall and many people were walking to it but there was no way I was going to be able to go any further. I needed to visit the medical tent.

When I arrived at the tent, there was a line. One woman was on a stretcher and she was in tremendous pain. Her feet and legs were wrapped and there was no way she was getting up. I felt horrible. Turns out the night before an ambulance was called for someone who cored, and another person who was severely dehydrated. I just had blisters.

The medic was super nice. She looked at my feet and told me I had two blisters that needed lancing. She cleaned me up, and lanced. I felt nothing. The pain everywhere else in my body had superseded a scalpel. Actually, she said I probably wouldn’t feel anything but still. I thought it would hurt and it didn’t. She wrapped up the blisters and I went to rest before the final leg.

This was the part that many people were saying was the worst. The FINAL stretch into the monastery is THE HARDEST part…so they said. It’s hills and a gravel road. The last hill was difficult. I was mentally trying to prepare myself for this and repeated, “their pain isn’t my pain. Everyone has a different perception of what is difficult and what isn’t.” I didn’t want to psych myself out of the final part of the walk.

As we approached the monastery gates, my body realized something. If I stopped, it was excruciating to start up again. We started to stop alot. We were ahead of schedule so we had to stop numerous times and it hurt so much to start walking again. By the time I reached the gates, I decided I needed to march in place. This was a much better option.

While it hurt tremendously, this hurt less than stopping and starting up again. In fact, if I stopped, I wasn’t sure I would be able to start again, so I had to march in place. It seemed like forever before the monks arrived to open the gates. Once they did, the final stretch was here. I couldn’t even see the monastery.

There was no adrenaline left, we just needed to keep placing one foot in front of the other and praying for God to give us the grace to keep moving. It truly was placing everything in God’s hands. There is no way my physical body could do this. I was on a grace auto-pilot. I was being pushed by the Holy Spirit, literally. Some husbands were behind their wives pushing them to keep moving. It was THAT difficult at times.

As we took the final steps towards the monastery, I couldn’t see it but I could hear it. The bells! Oh the bells! This was when what little adrenaline was left in my body kicked in. My soul was being called. My soul leapt for joy when it heard the bells. It was as if God called me by my name and stretched out His hand. I was going and no one was going to stop me, not even the blisters or the pain.

We had done it! We made it! The walk is over! As we waited to enter the monastery, I put on my veil. It was time for Mass with Bishop Konderla. The sad part, yet amazing, was there were so many pilgrims, we didn’t get to go inside. There were too many of us. They had an area set up outside though with TV’s and speakers to broadcast Mass and there were so many priests to help distribute communion. Despite not attending Mass inside, it was beautiful.

We were able to enter the monastery after Mass. It still smelled of the pilgrims. After all, we were in the wilderness for the last two days. LOL

We also went into the gift shop, which was packed. We bought a few things. Apparently I have the CD with the chanting monks. I think I have PTSD so I can’t listen to it. LOL Actually, the last time I listened to the same chant it gave me chills. I’m ready to go again.

This pilgrimage was a testament to our marriage because there was never any fighting, bickering, or resentment. Just love for each other and what we were enduring inside. We pushed each other to keep moving and encouraged each other.

We didn’t bring the kids for several reasons but when we picked them up after everything, Timmy mentioned that grandma thought we would divorce on this trip. That truly made me sad to hear. Divorce is not an option but I was sad that there was so little faith in the bond we had. We certainly have our problems. All married couples do.

It’s not all peaches and cream. There are some days things are awesome and others we are not each other’s favorite person. We’ve had serious trials and have gone many months disliking each other. We have lived as room mates instead of a married couple but we have endured. God has given us grace and this pilgrimage proved it.

Viva Christo Rey!

Bus ride back after the pilgrimage

Three Hearts Pilgrimage – Day 1

When I look back at this picture, I am in awe because there was something inside that was driving me. Literally pushing me with every step. We hadn’t even taken our first step on the walk and my brain was screaming at me that I was crazy and there is no reason to do this but my soul LONGED for it. Oh how I needed the reparation and mortification.

It was freezing that morning. I didn’t sleep well at all for several reasons. There was a child who whined most of the night and a man heavily snoring next to us. I was certain to offer all this up for my past sins but it was still very hard to manage.

I had heard a rumor that Father Nolan would wake all of us up with his bag pipes but instead, the chanting of the monks was blaring. I will never forget the chant!! The lights were then started and we hurried out of the tent to get everything packed. We didn’t have much time.

The chilly Oklahoma air revealed my breath so I knew it was very cold and I was ever so grateful we packed a tent heater. When I am cold, I really struggle so this was hard for me and I needed to warm my body through movement. We made coffee at our tent but as I walked to the port-o-potties, there was an area that had coffee, tea, and small breakfast bars. I brought back the coffee for my husband and I as we sat down and made a breakfast MRE. It was sort of fun.

I began shaking uncontrollably and realized it was not just because it was cold. We didn’t have much time and our tent needed to be packed. Plus we had to find the staging area. I was nervous. I had little confidence and with so many people around, we couldn’t find anyone from our parish group. We stayed together looking up and down the lines of people but it was dark and no one looked familiar. As soon as we recognized one person, we quickly lost sight of them. No one was telling us where to go to find our group and the sun was quickly coming up which meant the walk was going to start.

We finally were told our group was in a certain area so we stood there but didn’t recognize anyone. It took what seemed like forever for more people to be recognizable and then we weren’t even in the right area. This was very frustrating but we tried to make the best of it. As soon as we felt comfortable, I decided to try to make a last minute run to the port-o-potty. Oops! They were already being pulled by a truck so they were no longer an option. I thought I would be fine and my trip was merely a formality. I would soon be proven wrong.

The walk began as soon as there was enough daylight. As soon as we stepped onto the asphalt from the camp site, I felt the walking pace was too fast. We were going uphill so I figured it would slow down as soon as we were back on flat ground but it never slowed. I wasn’t out of breath since we came from high altitude but I felt like there was no way I could keep up with the pace. It was just so fast.

We didn’t do much talking at all. We looked down at the ground as we took each step and then it was time to pray. Rosaries out, the prayers began. While helpful, it was also hard with how fast we were moving. About an hour into the walk, we could see people falling out of line. I remember looking off into the woods seeing a guy standing in the open doing his “business.” I looked right at my husband and said, “don’t be that guy.” I had no idea what I was asking of him.

By the time an hour and a half passed, we both had to “do our business” but the pace was so fast, if we stopped to find a spot, we would lose our chapter. We had no idea when there would be a break and if there would be a place to go we tried to push the nature call out of our minds. It became consuming. There were many times we weren’t sure we would make it to the rest stop. One time, we decided we were going to step out and then the scenery changed and we were near homes instead of woods.

I honestly thought my bladder was going to explode. My prayers turned from reparations for my past sins to “help me get to the rest stop without soiling myself.” Kids were dropping their drawers on the side of the road. People who had stepped out from groups in front of us were running past us to catch back up to their group. In fact, it didn’t take us long to figure out why people were running towards the front of the groups. This didn’t help our situation at all.

By the time we made it to the first stop, we had less than 5 minutes before they were stepping off again. We were already behind! I stood in the line to use the potty, was able to get in and out and then we had to run to catch up to our group! I was unprepared for the pace of this walk. It was a bit defeating but I continued.

Grabbing a snack on the way

Despite the discomfort of the first leg of the trip, there was so much joy. We quickly learned that the rosary comes out after every break. Not only do we pray the rosary, we listen to sermons. Now that our bladders were empty and intact, we were able to have a snack and enjoy the next leg. It was just as fast.

We knew Mass was coming at lunch time so the roadside confessions began. I was prepared and wanted to confess but I had never done a face-to-face confession with our TLM priests. When it was my turn, I walked up to father and waited.

Roadside confession. If you see the white surplice and a purple stole, MAKE SPACE!

An awkward moment…was I supposed to speak first? Normally when I enter the confessional the priest is already praying and then pauses so I can start. This time, we just kind of stared at each other. “Father?” I asked. “OH,” he replied. And then the confession began. It was very quick for me. Others would confess for 30 minutes or so. It truly was beautiful making space for those to bear their sins. We were the protectors behind the priest ensuring that people wouldn’t run up or enter the “confessional” on accident.

We finally made it to Mass. I can’t believe I didn’t get a single picture of what it looked like but it was a huge field with makeshift seats (concrete blocks with slats of wood). I was hot and tired at this point. Can’t you tell?

After Mass and lunch (which it was Friday so we had peanut butter and jelly), I felt much better. It was a very nice break but our bodies were beginning to really hurt at this point.

We had finally become familiar with our group and where we were in the line-up so we found our spot and lined up for the next 12 miles. More rosaries and sermons along the way and again, my husband and I were pretty quiet. Merely focusing on keeping the pace and trying not to think about how bad we hurt.

It was definitely more hot in the afternoon but still relatively mild for Oklahoma. The humidity was certainly nice. You can see my red face in the picture above. This was a break after hiking up rocky hills. Those hills were the hardest of the entire trip.

I could feel every tiny rock through the soles of my shoes! I looked at the red dirt and imagined how Christ must have felt as he walked to Calvary carrying the cross. I meditated quite a bit on that mystery as we walked up these steep hills. I almost wanted to cry but I kept asking the Holy Spirit to carry me. Obviously, He was because there was no way I was doing this. Every muscle hurt. Every step was like daggers into my feet.

More and more people were dropping out along the walk. After the final “break,” and I say that lightly because there isn’t much resting, we were in the push to make it to the campground. Every turn I thought we were there but we weren’t. It was depressing. My hopes would be high as we made another turn, only to be crushed that we had more to go.

Everyone started saying, “We’re almost there, just another mile,” but they were always wrong. I heard “just another mile” so many times! I finally said to Jason, “I don’t think I can go much longer, if this next turn isn’t the campground, I need to be picked up.”

Just as I gave in, I heard our group say it’s time to run. Run?! What? Why??

We made it to the campground!

We ran through the cattle gates. I don’t know how we did it but there ARE pictures…somewhere. LOL

We still had so much walking to do once we got there. We needed to stake out a place for the tent (since we had no idea where the chapter was camping for the night). We ended up with Most Precious Blood of Tulsa, OK. Which was perfect since I go there when we are in town.

We then had to walk back to the staging area, collect all our supplies, carry them back to the spot we found, and put up our tent. What struck me was we were so exhausted but there were people that came out from everywhere to help us put up our tent. How were they so joyful?

We were in so much pain and just wanted to crash but I forced Jason to eat. We needed the energy. There was another talk that night with Eucharistic Adoration (Which I heard was beautiful and saw pictures) but there was no energy left in us. In fact, Jason was in so much pain from chaffing, we did not think we would make it. We asked one of the chapter members what we do in the morning if we can’t walk and went back to our tent to pray for a miracle.

Three Hearts Pilgrimage

Written in October 2022. Published in 2023

I just completed the Three Hearts Pilgrimage in Hulbert, Oklahoma. It was truly amazing and a blessing. It’s hard to believe I would say that now as I recover from the toll it took on my unprepared body but I needed the mortification and this was exactly what I was called to do.

I had heard about the Three Hearts Pilgrimage a few years ago from a parish bulletin. I found it very interesting because it occurs in Oklahoma. Nothing happens there. Oklahoma is considered very boring. I can say this, as an Oklahoman. I didn’t put much thought into it. I’m not in good shape and I had young kids at home but as the years passed on, I longed to go regardless.

We had had some friends over for dinner one night and this came up as a topic of conversation. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to go to the pilgrimage this year. I’m not sure he thought I was serious. Neither of us spend much time walking on a regular basis and we were very busy with life. As the weeks passed on and October arrived, I knew we wouldn’t be going. It’s too late to plan such a trip.

On October 3rd, my husband had come home from work and shared that we needed to talk. He said, “we have some planning to do. I signed us up for something.” As I began to sigh in discomfort (because we were already volunteered for things and stretched thin), he looked at me and said, ” I signed us up for the Three Hearts Pilgrimage.”

I was in shock!

I immediately began to smile and I couldn’t stop. The pilgrimage was in two weeks and there would be no time to physically prepare with all we had on our plates but I was very excited. We didn’t even know how we would accomplish having our children cared for while we were gone but I knew God would provide. Yes, we could have taken our children but not knowing what to expect, we wanted to do this together first. In addition, I had been longing for this kind of intimacy with my husband. We would be forced to pray together and suffer together. Yes, we have suffered together and should have prayed but this was much different.

I remained excited and looking forward to the trip until about one week before. I knew the Devil would try to get me to back out. This pilgrimage was very important to me because I needed to suffer for the temporal punishment due to me for my sinful life. To suffer on earth means I would reduce my time in purgatory and potentially help others be released from their suffering in purgatory. Yes, purgatory is biblical but it is also part of Catholic Dogma and has been believed by the early church fathers and has been passed down through Tradition.

I had this strange peace about all I was going to endure. It is very hard to explain but I have started to feel this peace instead of anxiety when I am being driven by God. I am usually a very anxious person and knowing I would experience pain would certainly bring on anxiety as well as not knowing what to expect and having to place my trust in everyone around me. But I had no anxiety, just peace.

Yet, the Devil still tempted me to back out through messages from friends about how awful it would be or thoughts that my husband and I would die along the way in a car accident and leave our children orphans. I prayed much to get these feelings under control.

My husband and I prepared for three days, trying out different tents, finding the right equipment, and picking out food we would eat. We had several lists and checked the pilgrim packet which had lists and information about what we would experience. The kids would go to grandma’s and our oldest would stay home and care for the dog and house.

I kept waiting for something to get in the way that would prevent us from going but nothing did. So we left on a Wednesday morning and headed to my sisters in Oklahoma. Had my parents still lived there, we would have brought the kids with us but they had just moved to Texas a few months before.

We arrived late that evening but we went out for dinner. The conversation at the table wasn’t really about the pilgrimage. We didn’t know what to expect at all so we just enjoyed time without the kids and with my sister and her husband. We Facetimed with the kids before bed, knowing it was unlikely we would have service to talk with them for the next 2.5 days.

The next morning we went to a nice breakfast, again, enjoying each other’s company and preparing the last few things before we threw all our stuff in the car to head to the first site. I wanted some bungee cords to try to keep our stuff together. I was worried we would lose some of our gear. Luckily, we found some in the garage. Nearly anything could have gotten in our way and stopped us from going but things seemed to be progressing. Our nerves were as well.

As we left my sisters, I could sense something was awry in my husband. I asked him, “What’s wrong?” He shared he was having some concerns and I almost lost it. I said, “remember when I was pregnant with Timmy and I was having preterm labor? I told you that no matter how freaked out you were, you could not look freaked out because that would freak me out. Please, don’t look freaked out.” He laughed.

We kept driving.

It was about an hour from my sisters home and was in a part of Oklahoma I never spent any time in. There were some very beautiful spots and some not so beautiful spots but it was a blessing to be out with my husband, alone, with no other responsibilities or people to care for other than ourselves. This part of Oklahoma is very hilly instead of flat. I didn’t think much of it until I was on the walk.

We found the campsite easily enough. They had very good signage and I think that helped my husband be more at ease. I was still nervous! We were going to sleep in a tent tonight! It’s been over a decade since we tent camped and I would be without amenities I enjoy. That was the purpose of this but I knew this would bring on bickering and fighting so I was waiting for the ball to drop at any moment.

The people checking us in were very nice. It was great to be around people who had the same goal, were focused on God, dressed modestly and were filled with excitement about the pilgrimage. I could tell they were filled with a love for serving others.

I was not looking forward to the first night because it was supposed to be very cold (for Oklahoma). The low was in the 40’s. This isn’t tent camping weather. The campgrounds were pretty full already and we had arrived much earlier than many. Our parish group was coming down on a bus and they weren’t expected to arrive until after 6pm! We couldn’t save any area for them either.

My worry is that we wouldn’t find any of our parish group amongst all these pilgrims so I mentioned to Jason that as soon as we set down our gear, we need to find people. I won’t be at rest until we do.

By dinner time, we were able to see the enormity of this pilgrimage. There were over 1500 people there!

We found a spot on the lawn so we could listen to the speaker that evening. who was Joseph Meaney with the National Catholic Bioethics Center. I was quite surprised by this speaker choice; after all, what would he have to share? While I saved a spot, Jason went to grab us some soup. Unfortunately, by the time he got through the line, there was no bread left. Offer it up!

Our chapter had just arrived as well so I ran to meet the group and find my friend Jesse who was coming. Our chapter was scattered all over so I brought her to our tent so she could set up. I shared with her where to grab some soup. She managed to set up her tent before sundown.

I was pleasantly surprised with Dr. Meaney’s talk. He talked about pilgrimages in general and one particular statement came in handy for the rest of our pilgrimage, “There is no room for anger on a pilgrimage.” Tomorrow, I would be tested in this area.

After his talk, several semi-private Masses were taking place by different chapters. Our chapter’s chaplain though was the main priest for the pilgrimage, so the Mass for our chapter would have to wait. It was time for the St. John Bosco Knighting ceremony and bonfire!

It was an amazing display on the river. There were two bonfires going and it was starting to get very cold. I don’t do well with the cold so at this point, we decided to retreat to the tent so I could try to keep warm. We brought a tent heater and that was the life saver for that evening.

It wasn’t long before it was time for the camp to rest and quiet began to filter through. Moms were trying to quiet their children and my mind began to wander. With no idea what to expect, I said some prayers and we tried to go to sleep. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before nature was calling. It was freezing out but I had to make the trip to the bathroom.

Jason went with me. There were still some lights left on around the campgrounds and a few people had the same issue. The humidity was seeping through our clothes and the cold easily attacked my bones. I could see my breath as I stood in the line for the restroom!

We made our way back to our tent as the lights around the campgrounds were shut off. It was a clear night. The man in the tent next to us snored like a logger and a small child in another tent screamed. Through the hushes of his mother, the cows on the local farm land were mooing. They echoed through the cold, crisp evening. This would be a long night.

Check out Part 2.

Learn more about our Chapter here.

Maternal Mortality in the US

USA Today published an article today entitled The Rate of Women Dying in Childbirth Surged by 40%. These Deaths are Preventable. Let’s talk about this because I was almost one of those statistics. But first things first. Ya’ll need to stop believing that the United States is immune to a high maternal mortality rate as if we are some kind of super power where doctors don’t make mistakes, have personal and loving relationships with their patients, and would never suffer in their own personal lives at your expense. It’s laughable just reading what I wrote.

Doctors are humans too and they have lives just like we do and respond just like we do when tired, hungry, under stress, etc. Short cuts are made. That’s us…human. Doctors aren’t the only reason for the increase in maternal mortality though. I suppose one could blame me for “getting pregnant” in my 40’s and that it’s my fault I almost died but let me share my story.

Here I am just moments after giving birth at age 42. My pregnancy was one of my more difficult pregnancies (the easiest was my pregnancy at age 38). I’m not sure why, I was relatively healthy at the time though I was overweight and considered morbidly obese by my health care provider. For reference, my picture below shows what my obstetrician considered morbidly obese. This is me about three weeks from my scheduled induction.

36 weeks pregnant

I do have a “fat apron” as people call it and the nurses had no qualms pointing it out and sharing with me that my life would be better without the fat. I know there was discrimination because of my size and if I was being shamed and rough housed by medical staff at this size, I cannot imagine what women endure who are larger.

So there, I had two factors that contributed to the fatal condition that God saved me from. I was fat and over 40!

After having my baby, I went home the next day. We get more sleep when we are out of the hospital so as soon as I was medically cleared to go home, I did. I should have recognized something wasn’t right but I ignored it. The ride home was nauseating. I couldn’t look out the window at all while the car was in motion. That had never happened before. I decided that it was my age and didn’t think any more about it when I got home.

As the day progressed, I began to have some stomach discomfort. This is two days after the birth. My stomach was really aching and I wasn’t very hungry because of it. I decided I would bind my belly as I had heard this can help the organs go back into place better.

This was the best we could do with this kind of binder because I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t wear this binder though. As soon as my husband tied it off, I couldn’t get it off fast enough. My abdominal pain was too much to bear.

The nurse-midwife had been to our home earlier that day to check on me and the baby. I mentioned how much my abdomen was uncomfortable and it bothered her enough to say that she would visit me again the following day. She did come back and my pain was worse. It was a right sided pain and if you look at the “right” side in this picture (opposite), it’s poking out more. Something wasn’t right and she suggested to my husband to call for an appointment immediately.

This was our third child so I told my husband to stay home with the kids and I would drive myself in to be seen. After all, it was just abdominal pain and it was probably related to giving birth over 40. That’s what I kept telling myself anyway. Reading the notes today on those visits and apparently the pain was severe, I could not sleep, it radiated to my back, and I had shortness of breath.

I was seen by my obstetrician who palpated my belly and told me I had gall stones. She said I didn’t need OB so she referred me to the urgent care doctor. Urgent care was downstairs so all I did was walk downstairs to be seen. The doctor there sent me for an ultrasound of my gall bladder and ran some blood tests. I didn’t have gall stones and he said, “your labs are off but there is nothing out of the ordinary. We’re going to get you ready for discharge.”

I didn’t feel any better but something inside me remembered an article I had read a few months back. I’m certain it was my Guardian Angel with the Holy Spirit prompting me to ask the doctor the next question. “Will you please share the labs with my obstetrician? I read an article about postpartum preeclampsia.” I could see the disdain on their face. They just wanted me out of there. The doctor reluctantly agreed and the nurse came in to take my vitals for discharge.

Unfortunately for her and thank God for me, my blood pressure had risen significantly by that time. It went from 140/78 in the OB’s office to 171/93. Doctor noted that, “Patient states pain is constant, hurts in back when sitting” and their plan was to send me home until I asked for them to consult with OB. I was admitted back to labor and delivery and as soon as they IV went in, all I saw were stars and my blood pressure spiked again. It was higher and I was in danger.

It’s infuriating reading these notes because it’s full of lies. It lists I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia during pregnancy yet, I never had a pre-eclampsia diagnosis and if I did, it would be malpractice for them not to check my BP at my appointments leading up to my induction (BP was not being checked at any of my visits prior to my induction).

Pre-eclampsia is treated with Magnesium Sulfate and then delivery of the baby if things get worse during treatment. Postpartum pre-eclampsia is treated with Magnesium Sulfate and prayers. The baby was already delivered. It’s up to the body to heal at this point and some never heal. Some women die. Some have issues for life.

So, are maternal deaths preventable? Yes, but I don’t think doctors are really trying to prevent them, especially when they send women away. If the OB had checked my labs instead of saying, “It’s your gallbladder” they would have seen something was amiss.

A friends sister was sent away one week postpartum after visiting her OB because she had a fever. Her milk supply was low as well but the doctor said she had a virus. Nevermind that she had a c-section and was at risk for a uterine infection. I’m so glad her sister reached out to me and was encouraged to seek a second opinion. If she had ignored this fever as her obstetrician did, she would likely be dead…from a uterine infection…BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SHE HAD!

Countless women share their stories of how they went in with a concern and were sent away with nothing more than a physical exam. They either got worse and someone finally listened or they died at home or shortly after admission. Maternal deaths are getting worse. What’s it going to take for doctors to turn this around?

It’s not enough to go in to be seen. It’s not enough to list the warning signs. We had them! Right upper quadrant pain is a warning sign! Fever within two weeks of delivery is a warning sign! We trust our doctors and they are failing us. We MUST question our doctors now. It’s not enough to trust them.

The question isn’t are these deaths preventable? The question is, why aren’t doctors listening? Why aren’t they following their own protocols that they developed? Why are they sending us home? Why aren’t they concerned? Why are women having to push for better care? Again…why aren’t they listening? We’re dying!

Catholic Postpartum Book

No, this isn’t my next book. Although I am highly qualified to write such a book, I have other books I need to focus on at this time. Here I am, yet again, to publicly state that the book A Catholic Postpartum – by Julie Larsen, is a boo that Catholic’s should stay away from. That is, until the author accepts with humility that the book is in error and she researches and updates it.

I know earlier I blogged about the Responsibilities of Being a Catholic Author and I share that I had not read the book. I now change that statement. I have read the book and it is much worse than I thought.

Below is my review of the book:

The book has short chapters
The book contains bible verses from Douay-Rheims
The book contains a warning on Yoga
The book has written recipes that are easy to follow

The rest of this review is a warning to Catholics and explains that the book is poorly laid out and contains grammar errors. The font is hard on the eyes and it is very clear the book is unedited and self-published. In addition, each chapter is full of weblinks rather than the author giving you the information, she writes the book like this is her personal blog and refers you out to look up the information yourself. This would be very difficult for any postpartum mother.

Sleep When Baby Sleeps is outdated and causes more anxiety in postpartum women. If the author had done research, she would be aware and no longer promote this. She also promotes co-sleeping yet doesn’t explain how to do this safely. Page 27 has some weird formatting issues and is confusing. Lettuce? Other outdated information was about using alcohol on the umbilical cord stump. I’m sure there is more but this book is difficult to read and the table of contents isn’t helpful.

When the author discusses circumcision, she had the opportunity to explain that circumcision is not Catholic teaching but again, refers you to some other website for you to research. The Baby Care section should just be eliminated.

The author explains padsicles and talks about c-sections and using them yet ice is not needed on the perineum following a c-section. This is confusing. Most of the book is confusing.

The author fails at explaining the necessity for baptism. This should be done right away yet she says it’s okay to wait and then refers to Appendix A for choosing Godparents, yet there is no Appendix A. Why even have an appendix? Just explain the importance of choosing Godparents in this section? When I did find the section on choosing Godparents (page 150) it was called Bonus C and discusses that the Godparents are people who take your children when you die and this is incorrect yet it is the secular understanding.

Much of the book has pagan ceremonies and resources. Bone-closing, mother-roasting, don’t eat cold foods, Yoni vaginal steaming, homeopathy, ceremonial belly-binding, placental consumption, and more. The resources the author points to are pagan websites (not Catholic) and there is no biblical foundation nor Catholic tradition to provide a basis for any of what the author claims. Some of the links the author refers the reader to are broken as well.

When an author claims “catholic” in any title, they must do their due diligence in order to preserve the soul of the person reading their content. This author has shared that they do not know any theologians and didn’t even consult their pastor/priest. This is very dangerous. The links provided give “authority” and that may lead a Catholic to believe it is acceptable to participate in anything they find on these websites. As teachers, God calls us to a higher standard and warns us against poor teaching. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

The author does not share or explain her “authority;” meaning, what training and experience does she have in writing the book? This book is gives medical advice, has no theological basis for any of what is written, and the author doesn’t share her credentials other than the fact that she is a woman, has had babies, and claims to be Catholic.

My authority to critique this book comes from over 18 years of experience as a doula and childbirth educator as well as a Catholic. While I hold a certificate in Catholic Biblical Studies (4 years), I do not claim to be a theologian; but as an author myself (unrelated books), I consult at minimum my priest before claiming anything in a book of mine is Catholic teaching.

This book is not Catholic just because the author put bible verses in it and shares about Saints. Much of the material is problematic yet if the author took the time to research, I believe this could be an excellent guide for postpartum mothers. Unfortunately, the author is hostile about any feedback regarding her books so if you do read this book, please know it is not Catholic.

Stay clear of this book.

I do hope and pray that the author of the book will accept the criticism as a catalyst to make this book the best Catholic Postpartum book on the market, better than one I could write and one that will lead Catholic’s to a more spiritually fulfilling postpartum experience. If not, I hope another Catholic will write the book because it is certainly needed.

On a side note, I have consulted with a theologian on this topic and there is no documentation of a ritual for postpartum women in the Bible outside of Leviticus 12. Traditionally speaking, there could be rituals that were lost but anything addressing “energy,” anything that is Mayan or Chinese Medicine are all pagan rituals and should not be passed off as Catholic.

Do you receive gifts or take them?

I’m in the middle of my first year of catechetical school and we are studying the Eucharist, also known as the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, etc. About six years ago, I had no idea that the Eucharist was called the Blessed Sacrament. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far I have come in my faith journey. I want to share my thoughts on the reception of the Eucharist.

One of my biggest pet peeves now is when people refer to “taking” the Eucharist. Maybe some look at this from the perspective of the Eucharist was placed on their hand so they are “taking” the Eucharist and consuming it; however, I believe that this is actually said because they believe somehow the Eucharist is there for the taking.

This is error.

No person “takes” a gift. They are given gifts or rather, they receive gifts. It’s what we teach our children about gift giving. Don’t be stingy. You don’t “take” it. You must wait to be given it. Usually they have to wait until their birthday or other special day to receive the gift. Finally, they must thank the person who gave them the gift. The Eucharist is a gift. It is not to be taken.

When we go to Mass, it is a sacrifice. That is why it is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is not a service. It is not entertainment. While we are under obligation to go to Mass, we should not approach Mass as “just an obligation.” Never approach Mass as the weekly check off box item. Your full participation is required. This is your mental participation. Your disposition, not merely sitting in the pew but active in your worship.

I often ponder why so many Catholic’s do not believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and I wonder if it’s because they approach the Eucharist as their “exchange” for showing up. I came; therefore, I better “get” it. It’s the participation “trophy” or “gift bag” because they were there.

If they truly believed in the Real Presence; that Jesus Christ is fully present in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, they would never demand Him and they certainly wouldn’t stand to receive Him or even meet him standing. After professing they are not worthy to receive Him, they approach the King standing and demand placement in their hand.

What pride that is! Are you so arrogant that you are “good” enough to stand there? I use the term good because so many people use it, “I’m a good person.” Interesting.

To what do we owe the King? Obedience.

How do we approach the King? On our knees

How are we received by the King? With Love and Mercy

When the King gives himself to us, what is our response? Thanks

I know one of the number one questions people ask about this is that is receiving the Eucharist in the hand a main contributor to why so many Catholic’s do not believe in the Real Presence. Honestly, I think there is something to this. I have blogged before how some people I have talked with so strongly believe they do not need to kneel. It’s beneath them to kneel and since the Vatican says they don’t have to, they are unwilling to kneel. Such pride!

I was asked today about my experience with my First Communion. How old was I? What memories do I have of receiving my First Communion? Has our study of the Eucharist deepened my appreciation of the Sacrament? I will share what I shared with my instructor:

I do not remember anything about receiving my First Communion. There are various reasons why I believe I can’t remember but nothing seemed very significant to me growing up. It seemed as it was the “next” step in the process of being “Catholic.” I remember our religious education teacher but only because she taught us for over a decade and still teaches today! This section hasn’t helped deepen my appreciation. My transformation to the Latin Mass has been a catalyst in deepening my appreciation of the Sacrament.

When the Sacrament was taken from us during COVID, there was a longing for the Eucharist that I never experienced before which brought me to the realization that many people do not have access to the Eucharist as frequently as I do. I was attending Novus Ordo at that time but had recently moved from receiving the Eucharist in the hand to on my tongue and kneeling. This was no longer an option during COVID .

What I began to realize is that receiving on the hand did not deepen my relationship with Jesus. It seemed to be something given versus something I received. When I began attending the Latin  Mass, I discovered an intimacy with Jesus I had never experienced before. After the initial, “am  doing this correctly?” I began to experience a profound intimacy.

I was kneeling for our Lord, in front of our Lord, closing my eyes and opening my mouth to receive Him. There is an immense amount of trust that needs to be placed in that position. You are extremely vulnerable in that position. With eyes closed, anything could be placed on the tongue. Anything could happen to you in that moment, yet the sweetness of Jesus is placed on the tongue. He has made Himself available to you in a very intimate way.

He gives us His flesh and lives, literally, inside of us in that moment. It is very similar to the union of the bodies between husband and wife yet on a completely different level. If we are what we eat, we eat Jesus, and He will fill us in a way nothing else can. While some saints at a young age have felt this deep longing, I regret that I received Him for so long without the deep longing to be united to Christ.

I can no longer imagine standing to receive Him. It’s not intimate and it places me on the same level as Christ. I am not worthy to receive Him at all, yet he offers Himself to me and asks me to receive Him. In fact, He demands it.

I hope and pray more people will read this and want that intimacy. I can’t imagine having that sort of intimacy standing in a line waiting to have the Eucharist placed in the hand but I am certain someone feels that intimacy. If they feel it there, I wonder how much more intimacy they may feel kneeling, eyes closed, opening their mouths and waiting for the sweetness of the Lord?

I originally intended to write about receiving the Blood of Christ because many are anxiously awaiting the return of the lay people receiving His Blood. There was a question today that basically was about demanding they receive this species. So many don’t or haven’t ever received the Blood. How presumptuous of you to deem yourself worthy of receiving Him in that way.

In fact, one person stated that if they cannot receive the Blood due to Infection Control Prevention (let’s not even address this lack of faith), they should be able to dip their Eucharist into the cup of Blood. My dear Catholics, you shouldn’t even be touching the Eucharist. We are not worthy.

The Responsibilities of Being a Catholic Author

I’ve written several books and published them. I truly enjoy writing and all my books are meant to serve and help others but they are secular in nature. Becoming a “Catholic” author has been intimidating because I am held to a much higher standard.

Actually, as an educator, God says that teachers are judged more strictly, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1.

I take it very seriously when I say that any Catholic should do XYZ because I could be responsible for damning their soul based on my advice. Not only that, the publics perception of me (who read my books/blog), also needs to align with the Truth of my faith. I certainly can’t be a part of the Girl Scouts as a Catholic (due to their Planned Parenthood ties).

Last August, I was hit hard with humility when a woman admonished me for a blog post I had written. She’s an amazing woman and I am thankful she had the courage to reach out to me and admonish what I wrote. You can click on her blog in the previous sentence. I wish we lived closer so we could meet in person.

It turns out that the way I phrased my blog (men lactating), it appeared as if I was reducing the dignity of motherhood and the woman’s role. I was horrified. Instead of becoming defensive, I prayed and re-read what she was sharing. I could clearly see there was an error and was able to modify what I wrote so that no other person would fall into sin by asking their husband to lactate to feed their baby.

So when a woman shared her “Catholic” book in one of my Catholic groups, I felt courageous enough to reach out to her and tell her that she could be responsible for leading Catholic’s astray. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the same space spiritually and I was blocked though she did private message me and referred me to The Educated Birth website so I could read about the pagan (Mayan) bone-closing ceremony. The Educated Birth website is full of anti-Catholic, non-science based information; ie. men can have babies and uses the terms birthing person. Do not visit this site.

I find that very sad so this post is an effort to bring attention to an error in the book A Catholic Postpartum: A Plan for Catholic Mamas by Julie Larsen. I do not want to link to her book because I do not want anyone to buy it. It contains a Pagan ritual called “bone-closing ceremony,” which the author denies is Pagan.

This isn’t a “review” of A Catholic Postpartum. I have not read it as I will not pay over $25 for a 113-page, unedited, non-researched “Catholic” book. What I write here is a warning for those who may read it and believe that a bone-closing ceremony is something Catholic’s can do/did do.

I was able to find an email for Julie and I reached out to her and apologized for offending her with criticism about the pagan ritual in her “Catholic” book though I was met with hostility. She shared some information with me on her thought process. For instance, she admitted that she did not even read the information about a bone-closing ceremony on the website that she referred to me.

I was quite shocked! This website is the only place she got her “research?” She also shared, “I thought the bone closing was a Mexican tradition and that’s the only reason I put it in the book – most Mexicans are Catholic.” She also stated, “I don’t know any theologian to ask – I should[sic] have to consult someone to write a book – I based it on my own personal research. It doesn’t have an Imprimatur – ok?” Unfortunately Julie, if you are going to put a Catholic name to this, you DO need to consult someone. At the very least, consult your pastor.

It appears A Catholic Postpartum is not Catholic at all and is Catholic in name only. As a doula and childbirth educator, I am aware of the spiritual dangers that line of work can lead to. Doula’s are all about holistic ideology. The word “holistic” is actually died to pantheism. Despite being a Catholic, when I worked as a doula, I was led to energy fields/healing energy, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage, card reading, oils from witches and pagan shops, and all sorts of things that led me AWAY from God.

It seems as if Julie is there, navigating this pagan world with the Catholic one. I really had hoped she would prove me wrong that a bone-closing ceremony was an ancient Jewish practice that we lost. After all, there must have been something that women experienced during the 40 days after birth. Did the local women tend to them?

That is a question I am now asking my Catholic network to answer. There must be something? For now, we do not know and there is nothing that shows the bone-closing ceremony was a part of Jewish tradition or early Christianity/Catholicism. It is wise to avoid this book for now and pray for Julie to be open to doing the research required for this book to be amazing. She has a responsibility as an author to ensure her work is inline with Catholic teaching.

Donum Dignitatis: The Catholic’s Guide to Miscarriage

It’s finally happening! I’m in the homestretch to completing this work. I can’t say it’s been a long time coming but it’s been in the making for over two years. Of course, the manuscript sat for quite some time until the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and was like, “hey, you going to finish this book or not?”

So I prayed about it and asked Mary for intercession on what I should do. Should I finish this book or just let it collect dust to be lost on my computer hard-drive forever? Shortly after, I received all the energy and time to finish the manuscript. I then had to make the hard decision, self-publish or look for a publisher. I prayed again, many times and felt I should submit to a publisher.

Doing so is a long and daunting process but it has brought me to my knees in prayer and humility. It’s just me. I don’t have a literary agent. I have some talent but not enough to get me published by a publishing house so I was scared to even submit the manuscript. I’d like to tell you that I was accepted after getting rejection letters from many publishers but I wasn’t.

When I tell people that the manuscript was rejected many times, they always ask why. I don’t know. They never tell you. Some ask you to submit the entire manuscript (if it’s complete) and others want snippets or one or two chapters. Some just want your idea and to submit a query or a proposal. All of this takes an immense amount of time and without paying for a literary agent, I am stuck with my own wit. Apparently, it wasn’t good enough to get noticed.

I could have taken all the rejections as a sign that the work shouldn’t be published but then I see so many women suffering through miscarriage and wondering how to handle it. I see stories of women who went to their priests who didn’t know how to help them or gave them wrong information and it breaks my heart. Every baby has dignity and deserves to be treated as if they were the most important and beloved person of a royal line. Because if you truly understood who you are, you would know you are royalty, destined for the Kingdom of God to be with Him for all of eternity. Our babies are no different, even if they died in the womb.

In March of 2022, I sent my completed manuscript to be professionally edited. My editor finished the process in April so I then sent the manuscript to people I have met along the way whom I felt might be able to help with an endorsement of my book. I also sent the book to my pastor and a few other priests that I have friendships with. I felt I needed a priestly review of the book.

It’s interesting how busy priests are because only a few were able to briefly skim the book. Most cited that I was not a parishioner so they couldn’t dedicate much time to reading it. The book is so small, I found that confusing but I understood. Those that did read it, loved the brevity and felt the information was extremely important and would help parishioners and other priests.

Because my book contains theology, I felt it needed a look over from a theologian, so I began looking for someone to read it. Any time I needed someone to read it/review it/check my content, I prayed about it and every time I received help or an answer. This was very comforting. I also sent the book to the Archdiocese of Denver. I was seeking a nihil obstat. I had seen that some books have that and not a full Imprimatur and I felt that was all I needed to ensure what I had written was theologically sound.

I received a message that the book likely didn’t need to be reviewed by a censor so I left it up to the two theologians I solicited to review the content. By July, all the reviews were completed. I made all the changes necessary but I was still waiting on publishing houses to send me notice. It takes weeks and/or months to receive a letter. Most publishers won’t allow you to submit to multiple publishers at the same time so it was a long wait to hear back and then submit again to someone else who has a completely different set or requirements for submissions.

Again, rejection after rejection came in. It was hard to see the “we’re unable to accept your work at this time,” but that’s about all you get in terms of feedback. I had to remember that this was not a rejection of my work on a personal level. At least, that’s what I had to tell myself since they don’t give you anything substantial.

My motivation reignited when I received a letter from the censor from the Archdiocese of Denver. I was in shock. The book I thought had gone nowhere was receiving an Imprimatur! Just before Thanksgiving, the Imprimatur arrived in the mail. Praise be to God!

The biggest reason I wanted the book published by a publisher wasn’t so it would sit on a book shelf, it was because I wanted the book to be easily ordered in bulk by a parish. This will now be my focus; getting the book on the shelves of parishes. I have a plan and will execute it but I have to publish this work first.

I just received my final rejection notice so my goal this week is to finish the cover art and layout of the interior of the book. The book will then be officially published on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023! My first book, All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage, was also published on February 22nd.

Interestingly enough, the date my Imprimatur was written, was on the Feast Day of the Dedication of SS. Peter and Paul and the feast day for the publishing day is the Chair of St. Peter! St. Peter, Pray for Us!

Satan Despises Latin – Part II

In my last post, I ended with my opinion that if the Catholic Church returned to kneeling to receive the Eucharist, more people would come to believe in the Real Presence. I have heard that people haven’t always kneeled to receive the Eucharist. Fair enough…but there also wasn’t this crisis where people didn’t believe what they were receiving in the Eucharist. Maybe there was, and that is why we returned to kneeling to receive?

I can only guess right now, as I am not a theologian or expert in that area. Maybe you know more? Share it!

It’s quite obvious that receiving the Eucharist in this way makes us vulnerable. We are kneeling, closing our eyes, tilting our heads back, and receiving in an exposed area of our body. It takes an act of humility to receive in this way. Is our pride really so strong that we cannot control it to receive God’s love in this way?

There is still the question of why someone believed the Mass at the women’s conference was a Latin Mass. She specifically called it a “Pre-Vatican II” Mass. I wonder if she has ever attended a Pre-Vatican II Mass because 70% of the prayers that are said during the Pre-Vatican II Mass are NOT said during a Novus Ordo Mass. Want a side-by-side comparison? Here is another link you might find helpful.

Many will also say that it’s “for our benefit” that those prayers were removed. After reading my Missal for the past two years while following along with priest during the Mass, I am shocked at how much I didn’t know. Prayers I never knew existed were right in front of me. These are the prayers the saints were exposed to yet I had no knowledge of them.

And then there was the priest, facing away from me.

The woman complaining she couldn’t understand the Mass, a Novus Ordo Mass by the way, was really upset because the priest faced away. After 45 years of attending Mass with the priest facing away, this was probably the least confusing aspect for me when I began attended TLM. If I were being honest, it almost makes no sense for Ad Orientum (priest facing away) when the Mass is not in Extraordinary Form. Too much is missing.

Yet, if you truly understand what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, it’s really not questionable. It makes complete sense. Remember, we are a fulfillment of Judaism. Some of the manners will be similar. What did the priests do in the tabernacle or Temple?

The altar is in a different location for the Novus Ordo Mass and there is much discussion regarding the problems with the placement of the altar. To face the congregation means the priest is the focus of the Mass. The priest should not be the focus. The priest is there for you, offering for you, THROUGH him, TO Him.

Active participation is usually the next argument. If it’s in Latin, I don’t understand it and I can’t participate OR, I won’t know if the priest’s words make the Mass invalid. The first argument is just silly. Active participation is INTERNAL, not external. And the latter argument is ridiculous. How would you even know in the vernacular if the priest said something that invalidated the Mass unless you are a liturgical scholar?

Every movement of the priest in the TLM is purposeful and liturgical. It is truly amazing to have a priest DO for you. Again, it’s an act of humility and trust. “It’s not what we grew up with.” “It’s so unfamiliar.” I get it, truly I do. Remember, when I first attended, I felt the most alone at a Mass then I ever had. I felt far away from God but now, I don’t want to leave when I am there. It’s as close to Him as I will get on this earth. I am there early and stay long after Mass.

When I read Revelation (Apocalypse), it was blatantly obvious that this is the Mass of Heaven. THIS IS what the angels and saints participate in. There IS an altar and we worship Him in Heaven. After four years in Biblical School and the culmination was reading Revelation, I realized I was lied to my entire life. Revelation is not to be feared, it is to be longed for. It is the fulfillment of all that is right and true. It is the Mass, not the destruction of the world.

So again, I challenge you. Read Revelation. Go to a Traditional Latin Mass (High Mass) but don’t just go once. It’s rare that you’ll experience an “ah-ha” moment that first time. Go five times, or seven! Seven is a fantastic number and means so much in our Catholic “culture.” Read the book and follow along the Latin. You will see all that is familiar to you in the Novus Ordo yet there is so much more.

It’s not really about the Latin, because Latin IS the normative language for the Novus Ordo Mass. Every priest could change the language of the Mass to Latin and it would still be the Novus Ordo Mass. It could be a distaste or struggle with change and it’s likely related to your pride. It’s our tradition. Why is tradition a bad word these days?

If you find you just can’t go to a Traditional Latin Mass, maybe start as I did? I began to kneel to receive the Eucharist. I still received in my hand but I felt that since we believe that the Eucharist IS the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I could not receive him standing as if we were equals.

After months of kneeling, I felt a call to receive on the tongue. Every piece of Christ would remain in my mouth. Nothing would fall to the ground or be stuck to my clothing. Yes, even tiny particles are left on your hand but if you are absolutely convicted that you will not receive on the tongue, kneel. He is Our Lord. You will be unable to stand if He came to you now. Believe the Eucharist IS Him.

Humble yourself and kneel for the Lord.

Satan Despises Latin – Part I

I’ve heard this phrase many times. It’s one of the reasons people give to me to learn Latin and to pray in Latin. Exorcists seem to say this as well. Learning the prayers in Latin isn’t really that hard, but learning actual Latin can be much more difficult.

I have pondered why I truly attend the Traditional Latin Mass and I can say now, it’s not the Latin that brings me there. It’s beyond Latin, yet I have friends who despise Latin. I even had someone share with me that they could not understand the Mass at the Catholic Women’s Conference of Denver because of the Latin.

Let me say that the Mass at the recent conference was NOT in Latin. Nothing about the Mass reflected the Traditional Latin Mass with the exception of the priest facing away from the congregation. So why on earth would this woman say that she couldn’t understand the Mass? I surmise it’s because she despises traditionalism and anything that might point to it.

The Mass at the conference was a Novus Ordo Mass. The priest who celebrated it will tell you this was a Mass of ordinary form according to the spirit of Vatican II. The Mass had women readers, women gift bearers, modern songs with some chanting during the Mass (think of the Kyrie, Agnus Dei, and Sanctus chanting during Easter and Advent), incense, and reception of the Eucharist either standing/kneeling in the hand or on the tongue.

What I have come to know was the use of the communion rail was “offensive and divisive” and the priest should not face away from the congregation. Because of those two things, the Mass literally could not be understood because of “Latin.” Wait, What? The Mass was not Latin. Everything was said in English (our vernacular), except the Kyrie (Greek), Agnus Dei (Latin), and the Sanctus (Latin).

Why did this person identify the Mass as a Latin Mass?

Kneeling at a communion rail and the priest facing away from the congregation. Those two things made this Mass…”Latin.” I truly pity this person and pity is NOT a bad word. I have compassion and sadness towards her because she does not understand what the Mass is nor the differences between Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form.

In further exploring the concern with kneeling at a communion rail, another person explained it was divisive. Why? Because they felt the only choice was to kneel instead of stand to receive and either is acceptable. Honestly, the communion rail allows for a smooth “communion.” It eliminates the need for lay Eucharistic ministers. The speed in which the Eucharist can be distributed is very swift (when people know how to use the rail).

You can approach the rail standing (as some did at the conference) and receive in the hand or you may kneel and receive in the hand or you may kneel and receive on the tongue. Contrary to what happens when a person kneels and opens their mouth at most Novus Ordo Masses, not a single person was denied the Eucharist.

When a person kneeling with their mouth open to receive Our Lord is denied Our Lord, it’s an act of “activism” by the denier; whom could be a priest. It’s their very way of protesting traditionalism. It’s their demand that the person kneeling conform to modernism. It’s not about “safety” or “reducing the spread of disease.”

When I read the entire Bible, one thing stood out perfectly clear. Every person who faced God in some way, fell to their face. In other words, they dropped to their knees. Are we like Job? Attempting to believe that we are so worthy that we do not understand our insignificance to what God has done for us?


Job demanded God answer him and God replied with Job’s insignificance. Yes, God knows Job. God knows all of us, “every hair on our heads is numbered” most specifically. Heck, even I don’t know all the hairs on my children’s heads. Yet, Job was not there when God created everything from nothing.

God is our Creator. The Creator of the Universe. Jesus is God’s love manifested. Jesus IS God. Therefore, Jesus was there when God created everything from nothing. If we believe that Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is present in the Eucharist, and as a Catholic we are bound to believe this, why on earth is it not in our nature to kneel for our Creator?

I can only surmise that they do not truly believe they are receiving Our Lord when they “take” the Eucharist because if they believe this, they would fall to their knees. Yes, I was taught to stand. I was never taught to kneel and receive on the tongue so there is a degree of ignorance but if you are reading this, you can no longer claim ignorance. Failure to kneel is now defiance. It is an act of pride.

And I have heard that “the church changed so I don’t have to kneel.” The “church” is mere men. You know better so you should do better. I firmly believe that if the church stated you must kneel to receive (whether on the hand or on the tongue), more people would begin to believe in the Real Presence.

Part II

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