Like Martha in the Gospels, I have been running around, distracted by much ministering. So much so that I forgot to post anything on Saturday, and was unable to get online at all today--and it looks like the forecast for tomorrow will be the same. Sr Frances and I have been attending a Photoshop class. I have had a limited edition of the program for years, but only got an hour or so of training from our eminent graphic artist, Sr Sergia (in Rome). This was back when I was stationed in Italy. So I've been using what I know or can figure out to do such things as...this blog's header and the occasional poster for our bookcenter's front window. I don't really have an urgent need to acquire high level graphic skills, but I was offered the class for free (my favorite word) and didn't want to pass up the opportunity to learn something with potential for the ministry. (Our founder used to advise us to never stop learning, and to learn from everything.)
I managed to prepare a short post for the Chicago Tribune on a local situation that mirrors something happening nationally, with government entities defining what does or does not constitute a dimension of religious identity. In the first, the US Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that employers who provide insurance benefits must also cover such things as contraception and sterilizations. Religious institutions must follow this rule (conscience be damned!) unless they measure up to the extremely narrow criteria determined by the HHS, criteria that perfectly match what Cardinal George said was one of the aims of "aggressive secularism": "confining the church’s mission to private worship" [and that means confining freedom of conscience to matters of personal, private worship, too]. The agency is allowing 2 months for input toward a more acceptable definition of a religious institute.
The busy-ness of the week continues with choir practice season starting up (I actually missed the first rehearsal last week!) and the consecration of the new altar at Our Lady of Mt Carmel this Sunday. (We won't be doing any "special" music for the event; just our "ordinary" Mt Carmel music program.) Friday night I am scheduled to share a little something with the local Legion of Mary on prayer: it's a helpful reminder to me not to let the "better part" go in the midst of so many things to do!