Monday, October 31, 2005

I am still on the beat

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Just call me Nellie Bly with an advent wreath. In fact, do call me that. I like it.

I just wanted to let you know I am hard at work, bringing you the latest news in the Catholic realm. However, my various other apostolates (I've just signed on to train the Church greeters! Plus, I am offering an advent -wreath making class via correspondence course!) are also keeping me really busy today. Look for a new post soon, though. And, as always, if you have any news tips, letters to the editor, etc., drop me a line at Oh! If I use one of your tips, I will include a link to your blog at the end of the story. It's citizen journalism at its best.

God bless, Maureen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

News Briefs

Local Woman Reflects on 'the Movement'

SEATTLE -- Since she was only 9 at the time, Tatem Murphy had no idea her "extracurricular activity" would be viewed as a major stand against injustice, cruelty and hatred when she became the country's first female altar server.

"Um, at the time, I didn't think it was that big a deal," said Murphy. "I just wanted to do it because my brother dared me, but after that first mass, a couple of nuns came up to me and gave me high-fives, and yelled 'Girl Power.' When the DRE came up to me later and said I might have a vocation to the priesthood, my mom and I decided the whole thing wasn't for me, and I should take ballet. It was too weird."

Woman Accomplishes Much During Mass

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. -- In the time it took the priest at St. Andrew's Catholic Church to consecrate the bread and the wine, Marie Talbot balanced her checkbook, wrote out her schedule for the day, made plans with her husband for lunch via cell phone at the Panda, a local Chinese restaurant, and still had time to catch a couple of laughs as her son tried unsuccessfully to stuff cheerios up his nose.

"I can't believe how much I got accomplished today," Talbot said on her way out the door. "And I caught my cellphone on the second ring. I must be right with God or something."

Another Surprise on the Way for TomKat

HOLLYWOOD -- After days of speculation, it has been confirmed that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have chosen Francis the First as their silverware pattern.

"We're beaming," Holmes purportedly told Judy Lloyd, owner of Lloyd's Fine China, Silver and Crystal in Santa Monica. "Francis the First is so beautiful. Some silver patterns have flowers on them, and some silver patterns have fruit on them, but Francis the First has fruit and flowers. The fruit and flowers together make it so wonderful. It's a dream come true. We're ecstatic!"

Network and cable news shows, which were reporting the burning of a large village in Darfur, Sudan, interupted programming to cover the Francis the First announcement.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Apostolate Steps in Where Parents Leave Off

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Children at Ufamilia update donor bases in their spare time.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- As more Catholic parents get involved in Church ministry and apostolates, some of their children are getting a special dose of family love, thanks to a new apostolate created recently in Rhode Island.

Ufamilia, which means "Happy Family" in Latin, was created to fill the void in cases where families have broken down due to overinvolvment in Church ministries and apostolates.

"Unfortunately, sometimes when we make the decision to follow Christ, it is our own children who suffer,"said Patrick Dawson, founder of Ufamilia. "Husbands and wives sometimes get so involved in church work, that one or both of them find that God may be calling them to leave the family. So, we knew it would be much better to care for these children ourselves, rather than see them become wards of the state."

Over 20 employees and volunteers work at the Ufamilia headquarters. Five of those employees spend time with the children, teach them Bible lessons, and serve meals to them. The rest of the paid and volunteer staff do the important work of speaking tours, fundraising, public relations and education.

"The real backbone of our apostolate is public relations and fundraising," said Melanie Dawson, Patrick's wife, and co-founder of the ministry. "We need to get the word out about our organization, what we are doing, and how important it is for folks to donate. We can't raise these kids or pay our staff without money from donors."

Currently, there are 50 children who live at their center in Providence. Staff and volunteers keep the kids busy with games, television, and other activities. "They have us doing a lot of stuff here like stuffing envelopes and licking stamps," said Mary Therese Johnson, an 8-year-old who attends Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Providence."I guess I would rather be back with mom and dad, but mom writes Christian books, and I know that is really important to God."

Patrick Dawson believes in his apostolate so much that he keeps his own two children, Peter and Paul, at the apostolate headquarters. "They are right in there with the other kids, playing, having a good time, and putting brochures and audio tapes in donor boxes."

Tony Bello, a lay volunteer for the apostolate, said he really feels good about the time he puts in here. "I volunteer several here hours a week, and my wife and kids are really proud of me because I am sacrificing time with them in order to spend it with other kids whose parents aren't around."

Melanie said this apostolate is thoroughly needed in the modern church. "St.Paul was single and supported himself as a tentmaker primarily," she said. "However, families today want to help spread the gospel and support themselves while doing it. That can be detrimental to a family, and we are sympathetic. We want to help."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

NBC to Air New Reality Show Featuring 'Ex-Priest' This Fall

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New reality series takes a look at man's life after he leaves priesthood.

PHILADEPHIA -- Move over Paris and Nicole, network TV is banking on a new reality series which will chronicle the life of an 'ex-priest' who is entering the dating world and a new career field at the same time.

"Father Charlie?" stars Charles de Marcini, 38, a recently laicized Catholic priest living in Philadelphia. In the procedure known as laicization, a priest can be returned to functioning in the Church as if he were a layman.

de Marcini left the priesthood after a relationship with the parish DRE (Director of Religious Education) began to heat up. "I guess she was really into the forbidden fruit thing, because once I was a free man, she lost interest," de Marcini said. "Once that happened, though, I knew I no longer wanted to serve in my parish, but pursue romantic interests instead."

de Marcini admits life on the outside has been much more difficult than he imagined. The first season of the show follows de Marcini as he leaves his parish and begins a job at Captain D's as a night manager. In the first episode, de Marcini is slapped by a co-worker when he lectures her about gossiping too much. In episode two, de Marcini gets a large iced tea thrown in his face when he upbraids another manager for using profanity. Later in the same episode, things reach a fever pitch when a co-worker falls on the freshly-mopped floor, and de Marcini urges her to make a confession to him.

"He's got a great story," said Marcus Konig, vice president of marketing for NBC. "He's a man who left the priesthood because he couldn't control his desires, and now that he's an ex-priest he can't control his desire to tell people how to live."

Keisha Long, 18, a co-worker of de Marcini's at Captain D's, who appears with him on the show, said that he often brought up religious topics, making other employees feel uncomfortable. "He kept telling us about this book he was writing about how to live a happy Christian life. I was like, 'dude, you work at Captain D's. No one believes you enjoy your life.'" She said there is a big confrontation in episode six when de Marcini tries to convince her to start a new life plan based on her ennegram results.

At the end of the season, de Marcini gets engaged and is fired from Captain D's. Despite this, his outlook remains positive. "Now that Marcia and I are about to get married, I am really hoping the Church will take me back as a priest. I see how it is my calling, and I really need a way to support my new wife. As they say, once a priest, always a priest."

"Father Charlie?" will air Tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern this fall.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Getting Back to My Apostolate

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Well, my husband told me today that I was spending too much time with him and not enough time on my apostolates (this blog and my advent wreath making classes.) "Maureen," he said. "You are a spiritual star in the Blogosphere. You are a celebrity now. You have a responsibility to your followers. People's very souls may be in jeopardy if you don't start blogging again. How will people ever learn the Truth if the two of us don't start sharing our brilliant light with the entire world?"

He's right, you know.

Just imagine what the Apostles could have done if they had had blogs and apostolates?

So, check this space out for more news stories soon. If you have a hot tip, email me at

Striving to be a Higher Being