Archives for June 2010

Following Claire – Dave O’Mara’s amazing tribute to his aunt, a Catholic nun

Today I was over on A Nun’s Life reading some of their quality blog posts and I came across this one in particular. It is the story of a man named Dave O’Mara who has been volunteering his time to a group called Real Options for City Kids for a long time. He has chosen to take his volunteerism to a new level though, in honor of his Aunt Claire. He will embark on a two month journey on bicycle across the country. I thought this whole story was just really great, and it is definitely something that I felt obligated to share with everybody. There are plenty of links in this article to help Dave’s cause and donate money, or to just follow Dave and see how his journey has been going via some social networking sites.

Have you ever come to a point in your life when you wanted to do more? More to help out those in need, more to develop yourself and most of all….more to make a difference? Well that time is now for me. My name is David O’Mara and I am just your average guy looking to make a change. I have spent years volunteering for one of the best philanthropic organizations in the United States, Real Options for City Kids, otherwise known as R.O.C.K. This is an organization that works tirelessly to help create physical and educational development programs for underprivileged kids in San Francisco. They have changed the lives of many young boys and girls and are about to help change mine.

I grew up in Modesto, CA and had the privilege of knowing someone who committed her entire life to helping others. My Aunt Claire was an educator, a missionary and most of all a wonderful role model for me and my family. She has spent her entire life working to better the lives of others. It is in her honor that I have made the decision to embark on this two month journey. I have left my job and will be riding my bike across America to raise money to support the R.O.C.K. cause. Am I a seasoned cyclist you ask? No. Have I done this before? No. Am I a little bit nuts? Probably. This is my chance, however, to make a change. I realized that I have the capacity to do something that could truly change the lives of others. Yes, it will be a challenge. And, yes, it is a big risk – but, if Aunt Claire taught me anything, it’s that the joy you get from enriching the life of someone else is worth every sacrifice that comes with it. Wish me luck! Here’s to you Aunt Claire…. – Dave O (from Dave’s website, Following Claire)

Now meet his 88-year-old great-aunt, Sister Claire O’Mara, OSU, an Ursuline nun and missionary. Writes Dave, “For most of her adult life, she was an educator and missionary in Latin America and in the Bronx. She dedicated herself to working with the poor and less fortunate wherever she was. She was always steadfast in her commitment to her beliefs and values. In 1995, New Rochelle College honored her, along with Rosa Parks, as a “Woman of Conscience.””

Dave is currently somewhere in Kansas on his trek from California to Washington, DC.

I highly encourage you to check out Dave’s website Following Claire and also to keep an eye on him via Twitter and Facebook. Please consider supporting Dave in his mission — he needs help along the way — donations, a place to stay, a cyclist to keep him company on the road, help spreading the word through the Internet and media!

Pretty cool guy, eh?

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The Top Five Religious Statues You Should Own

So you’re looking to add some decoration to that room in your office or house that is just plain boring? Well look no further because a nice religious statue could be just what you have been searching for. These statues can be modestly priced and look great in almost any kind of setting. There are a plethora of options to choose from as well, like a statue of any patron saint, Jesus, or Mary. To help you on your way to choosing one you here are five pretty awesome statues you may want to consider.

1.) Sacred Heart Statue – Jesus is depicted in this piece wearing a white and red robe. He is shown with the holes in his hands from his death on the cross and has a shining red heart coming from the center of his chest. This piece is a great idea for anywhere in a house or office because it holds a true meaning that everybody will be able to look at and comprehend. Let’s be honest here, who couldn’t use a little reminder of our savior Jesus during their day?

2.) Virgin Mary Statue/Our Lady of Grace Statue – Mary was the mother of Jesus, and this statue does her justice in depicting her as the mother of the Catholic Church. Mary is standing with her arms raised at her sides looking tranquil as always. She is dressed in a long dress that is white, covered by a blue cloth over the top. This statue will make a great piece for any room in your house and will be sure to catch visitor’s eyes. However, it is nothing over the top and can be discreet if it needs to be.

3.) Saint Joseph Statue – Saint Joseph was the father of Jesus, he raised him from a newborn with Mary and taught him how to be a good man. He played a vital role in Christ’s life and this is a very important thing that people should remember. Joseph is holding Jesus in this statue and in his other hand he holds flowers. A statue of both Jesus and Joseph is a very nice thing to find because it depicts two very important people from the New Testament of the Bible at once.

4.) Saint Jude Statue – Saint Jude was one of Jesus’ Apostles, and his is shown in this picture with a flame on his forehead. This is to symbolize Pentecost when the spirit came down upon the Apostles and allowed them to speak in tongues and communicate with all people to spread the word of God. Saint Jude is almost always shown with an image of Christ on his person, and this statue follows that tradition with a picture of Christ being held close to Jude’s chest.

5.) Saint Michael Statue – Saint Michael was the Archangel who led heaven to victory in the battle against Satan. He is a hero and this statue does him justice. He is shown in this piece with great shining angel’s wings and a shield of armor across his chest. Many people are unaware of Saint Michael and the great win he helped bring for heaven so this statue could be a nice conversation piece to have in your house or office.

Six of the Best Baptism Gifts Ever

The first sacrament a Catholic boy or girl gets to take part in is being Baptized. Baptism is a really meaningful sacrament because it vanquishes original sin and welcomes us into the Church. Most people are too young to remember being Baptized, which makes it that much more important to get them a great gift they can appreciate later in their lifetime. There are many different ways that you can go about getting a wonderful Baptism gift, and there are many choices to pick from as well.

1.) An easy way to give a great gift for a Baptism and start teaching a child about Jesus is to get him or her a Jesus Loves Me nightlight. This gift has a reasonable use (who doesn’t want a nightlight when they are one or two years old?) and is also still religious at the same time. These lights come in blue or pink depending on if you are buying for girl or a boy.

2.) Guardian Angel Crib Medals can also be a great idea for a gift. These medals can be attached to any child’s crib and they come in a boy’s and girl’s version. These medals feature an angel and either pink or blue depending on the gender of the child. Once the child grows out of the crib, you can keep the medal as a keepsake just because it is so nice to look at. So this gift is one that can be enjoyed for life.

3.) A very nice boxed set that could definitely make a high quality gift that both a child and their parents would love is a My First Rosary and Crucifix set. The crucifix is very nice and would look great on the wall of a bedroom or any room in a house. It is elegant, yet simple enough not to be too much. The rosary is great because it is a real rosary and getting a child a rosary at a young age can only lead to good things. Also, the rosary is very colorful and is made of wooden beads so it is safe for a child to hold onto and play with if they wish. You really get the best of both worlds with this gift box.

4.) Another set of less child-like rosary beads could be a great idea for a Baptism gift as well. The child may not be able to really have any interaction with the beads until they grow a little bit older, but it does not change the fact that this rosary set is very nice. It includes a picture of a guardian angel on it and is really neat. This Guardian Angel Cross and Rosary set also comes with a cross that matches the rosary set. It includes a hook so you can hang the cross up where you want in the house.

5.) You can also go the route that many people have gone before and choose to give your loved one a medal or pendant for their Baptism. While is has been done before there is no shame in being unoriginal. You can still give a great gift by getting a pendant or medal because there are so many unique ones to choose from. Some have images of kids praying on them, while others say only Baptism. And don’t forget; you can always engrave a medal or pendant and that makes it one of a kind!

6.) There are so many different kinds of picture frames that are made especially for Baptisms. These can make really cool gifts. There are just plain baptism frames, and other special frames that are supposed to be from the godparents to the child, and grandparents to the child. These frames are all very nice looking and can end up being something that the child will keep for years to come.

The Most Popular Patron Saint Medals Today

Patron saint medals have been a popular accessory to wear for quite some time now. They are also nice to just have in your pocket or on you all the time. People get a feeling of comfort knowing that they have their patron saint with them at all times. People wear medals for all sorts of reasons, some because of their name, some because of their occupation, and some for no reason at all. Whatever the case may be there are certainly some common medals that you see on a more daily basis than some other ones.

5.) Saint Patrick – Saint Patrick was born in Britain to two wealthy parents, however he is known for his work in Ireland and for being the patron saint of the the country as well. Saint Patrick’s feast day is one of the more widely celebrated ones of all patron saints. It happens on March 17th each year and is more widely known as Saint Patrick’s Day. When Patrick was only a teenager he was taken by Irish Druids from Britain. They took him back to Ireland with them where he was forced to labor for them and he was treated very poorly. Patrick became very spiritual during his years in Ireland, he prayed day and night and became closer with God than he could have ever imagined before. God told him in a dream one night that he must flee to the coast, which Patrick did. At the coastline he found British sailors who brought him home to Ireland finally. He found sailors there who took him home to Britain. Patrick went home and got ordained into the priesthood. Not too long after that Patrick would become a bishop. Patrick wished to go back to Ireland and try to help the people their see the ways of Christianity, which he did to a great extent. Saint Patrick utilized the shamrock to teach the Irish people the Holy Trinity.

4.) Saint Thomas Aquinas – Saint Thomas Aquinas was one of the best theologians the Church has ever seen. He is known as the patron saint of students and universities because of his great passion for education and knowledge. Saint Thomas’ feast day is celebrated on January 28th. Thomas was given a great education from a young age, and he certainly took full advantage of his opportunity. Thomas decided, when he was of age, that he wanted to pursue life as a monk. His family strongly disapproved of his choice and tried to talk him out of it, but he would not change his mind because he knew what was right. Saint Thomas went on to become a member of the Order of Saint Dominic and would study under the incredibly smart Saint Albert the Great.

3.) Saint John the Baptist – Saint John the Baptist was the final prophet of the Old Testament and was also the last one to come before Jesus Christ, the son of God. Saint John’s parents were named Elizabeth and Zachary and the couple was extraordinarily old when they found out Elizabeth was pregnant with John. Gabriel was sent by God to tell John and Elizabeth of this before it happened, so they knew just what to expect. Saint John is best known for baptizing many people in the Jordan River. He even baptized Jesus there! John knew Jesus was the Messiah and spread word of it all the time. The ruler at the time, Herod, did not like the sway John had over all the people at that time so he had him arrested for no apparent reason. He then had his head chopped off to end what he saw as a threat to his power.

2.) Saint Michael – Saint Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of policemen because he was one of the angels who protected heaven in its battle versus Satan. Michael was actually the archangel who took charge and was responsible for the victory in that battle. He is a great protector and that is why he is the patron saint of policemen. His feast day is on the 29th of September every year.

1.) Saint Christopher – Saint Christopher died for his faith in Christianity just like many other martyrs of the Church. His death took place in the third century. One of the many stories of Christopher’s life is one that deals with him unknowingly carrying Christ across a terribly dangerous river. Christopher carried Christ and felt the weight of the world on him just as Christ always does. Christ appeared to him in the form of a boy though, so Christopher was really stumped as too why the boy weighed so much when he went to take him across the river. However, he did not ask questions or quit because it was too hard. Christopher made it across the river and told the boy he was very heavy. The boy told Christopher then that he was Christ and that he had just served the son of God. He thanked Christopher for his service and disappeared. Christopher appears on the most medals out of any patron saint. He is pictured on almost any sports medal that you can think of, and that is why he is number one on this list.

Saint of the Day – June 10th 2010

Here is a great post that I found written by Christine from A Catholic View. Today’s saint of the day is Saint Margaret of Scotland. If you like this post as much as I did then head over to A Catholic View and leave a comment on it for Christine!

Saint Margaret of Scotland

The Saint of the Day for June 10 is St. Margaret Of Scotland.

Born about 1045, Margaret was the queen of Scotland and the mother of eight. She was born in Hungary in 1045 to royalty. Her father was Edward Atheling, heir to the English throne, and her mother was Princess Agatha of Hungary. Her family returned to England when she was 10 years old but the Norman Conquest forced them into exile. By this time, her father had died, and her mother fled with her children. They boarded a ship which crashed onto the coast of Scotland where her family remained.

Four years later, in 1070, at the age of 25, Margaret married the king of Scotland, Malcolm Canmore, and they had eight children. Her Christian virtue was an important influence on her husband’s reign. She was a model mother who worked for justice for the poor, improving their conditions, rebuilt churches, invited the Benedictines to Scotland and worked to build strong ties between the Celtic Church and Rome.

She died in 1093, just four days after her husband and one of her sons were killed in battle. She was canonized in 1251 and named patron of Scotland in 1673.

Good Gift Ideas for Your Grandson’s Confirmation

The day has finally come, your grandson will be receiving one of the most important sacraments the Catholic Church has to offer, Confirmation. This day should be one that he will remember for years to come. Your grandson will be formally accepted as an adult as far as the Church is concerned and you want to congratulate him with a nice gift he will remember. There are an abundance of choices you will have to choose from to find the right gift for your grandson, which can prove to be tougher than it sounds. So here are some choices to think about before you make any sort of decision.

Rosary beads will always be a wonderful Confirmation gift! They are especially great for somebody who has just been Confirmed because that person has just been welcomed into the Church as an adult. This gives them more responsibility in their life and also means they should try to become closer with God. One of the best ways to do that is to pray the rosary! Rosaries are also very nice to have because of how nice some of them look. There are many different kinds of rosary beads out there, they come in all shapes and colors, and there are even some that are made specially for those who have just been Confirmed.

For any special occasion in the Catholic Church, a go to gift to give has always been a necklace of sorts. Now for a Confirmation one may want to consider a Holy Spirit necklace. These necklaces are shaped like a dove to show the coming of the Holy Spirit to the recently Confirmed. Some other types of Confirmation necklaces include crosses with a dove on them somewhere. These necklaces typically come in gold or silver and can be engraved. Engraving is another way to make the gift you give unique. Putting your grandson’s name on the necklace can make it very special to him because it is personal. Putting on the day, month, and year of his Confirmation could also be a nice idea because he will then be able to always remember the day of Confirmation and who gave him that awesome gift.

Another choice to consider for a Confirmation day present would be a cake topper. This gift serves two purposes, it decorates the cake that celebrates your grandson’s Confirmation and makes it look nice and it also provides him with a keepsake to hold onto and remember his special day. Many Confirmation cake toppers are shaped either like a cross or a dove to represent the sacrament, and they usually have some sort of message on them as well.

Another great gift that comes to mind when thinking about ideas for a grandson’s Confirmation would be a Confirmation photo plaque. These plaques can either be flat or have two parts that open like a book. The text usually is some sort of prayer or congratulatory note to your loved one. A space is left for a picture to be put into the plaque, and this is where you can personalize this present and make it really special. Placing a picture of you and your grandson in the plaque will give him something to look back on when he is older.

Rosary Beads: Choosing the Right Ones for You

Rosary beads and rosaries are made for various reasons. Some are just made as plain rosary beads for those who wish to have a regular set of them, while some others are made for specific purposes. Many rosaries are made because they are intended to be given as a gift for a certain occasion, like the celebration of an important sacrament in a person’s life. Some others are made in remembrance of Mary, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or a special patron saint. Also, you can find rosary beads that are made specifically for women or men. A popular rosary set made for women are the numerous different versions of bracelet rosary beads that are out there right now. No matter what the case may be there is one thing that is for sure, which would be that there is a rosary out there for everybody. If you are unsure of which set might suit you, there are many different options to consider.

Rosary beads that are made in honor of patron saints can be a great choice to consider when shopping for yourself or somebody else. You can always get them a set made after the patron saint they share their name with, or you could get them one made for their favorite saint if you know theirs. A prime example of a patron saint with her own rosary set would be Saint Anne. Saint Anne was married to a man named Joachim, and their marriage had been a long one. The only issue for them was that they had never produced any children, and this saddened them because they wanted so badly to have one. They endured much ridicule from people in their town for their troubles as well. Mary and Joachim got news from an angel one day that they would be having a child, which they would. Their child was a girl by the name of Mary. And yes, this is THE Mary we all know, the mother of Christ. Mary would be raised by Joachim and Anne to love the Church and lead a religious lifestyle. Saint Anne’s rosary set is gorgeous, it consists of blue beads all the way around and a silver cross and chain. Mary is featured with Anne on a medal on the rosary to show that it was made in her honor. This is a great example of a patron saint with a wonderful life story who has her own rosary. There are a plethora of saints just like Anne who have their own medals, so you just have to get out there and look for them.

If somebody you know and love is receiving a sacrament of the Church, a great gift idea would be to get them a set of rosary beads that have to do with the sacrament. This is definitely a thoughtful gift that they will appreciate. There are rosary sets for Baptisms, Reconciliations, First Holy Communions, and Confirmations. A gift that would be great for a First Holy Communion would be a rosary set that comes inside of a Holy Communion Box. The beads themselves are black with a silver chain. The chaplet medal includes a visual of the Eucharist and the goblet of wine that are used at Mass, and the entire rosary set comes in a beautiful wooden box. This is just one of many rosary sets created specifically for different sacraments.

The last kind of rosary set that I will give you a heads up on would be the bracelet rosaries I mentioned earlier. These make great gifts for women, and can be worn casually or out to an important ceremony. They come in many different forms and can be very flashy or very plain. Three particular types that come up a lot are pearl rosary bracelets, sterling silver rosary bracelets, and a combination of the two. The pearl bracelets are sophisticated and may be a bit much if the woman you are shopping for isn’t into getting all dressed up. The sterling silver one is very plain and could be worn by anybody on a more daily basis. The last set, being a mixture of the other two, is like an hybrid that really works all the time no matter the situation. So no matter who you are shopping for, you should be able to find at least one set of these bracelet rosaries that fits into what you want.

Now this list is surely not the be all, end all for rosaries, but it makes a good start. Hopefully you have found something you liked after reading all of this, and if not then it was still a good start to show you what you may have been neglecting when thinking about rosaries. Now get out there and find that perfect set of rosary beads!

Celtic Gifts for All Ages

Looking for a great gift to give that will be great at anytime of the year for literally anybody? Well, the gift you are looking for is definitely a Celtic gift. Whether you are shopping for the parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, kids, or family friends they will be grateful to receive a Celtic gift without a doubt. There are many different kinds of Celtic gifts to choose from so it can sometimes to be difficult to determine which Celtic gifts will be good for who. This shouldn’t be something to stop you from buying Celtic gifts though because with a little help you will be able to find that perfect gift for whoever you are shopping for. Here are four ideas to get you started when searching for a Celtic gift for your loved ones.

1.) Gold Frosted Celtic Rosary – The only age group that this gorgeous rosary set would not be ideal for would be young children, simply because it is too delicate and nice for them to be trusted with or appreciate. For anybody else this rosary would surely make an awesome gift. The beads on the rosary are bright green and the chain and rest of the rosary are gold. Saint Patrick is featured on the chaplet piece of this rosary, and the usual Irish/Celtic icon of the hands holding a heart are also seen. The cross on the end of the rosary is gold and has much detail involved in it making this piece so awesome.

2.) Boys/Girls Shamrock Cross – Seeing as the Gold Frosted Celtic Rosary would not be a good idea for a younger child, if you are shopping for them you still need a good gift idea. This shamrock cross would make a great present for either a young girl or boy. There are two versions of this cross for whichever of the two you are shopping for. The cross itself is white with green patterns and shamrocks decorating it. On the center of the cross there is a girl, or boy, kneeling in prayer made out of silver. This piece would go great in any child’s room as a decoration on either a wall or a shelf.

3.) Cherry and Gold Celtic Crucifix – This piece is made of very nice cherry colored wood. Over the top of the wood there is a golden piece full of Celtic designs. These designs really add to the true beauty of this piece. The final touch on this great piece is the silver Christ that lays on the top of the crucifix. The combination of the colored wood, silver, and gold really make this piece a worthwhile addition to anybody’s home. This would make a great gift for a grandparent or parent.

4.) Saint Patrick Key Ring – If somebody you know loves Saint Patrick or is extremely Irish than this keyring is for them. Unlike the rest of the gifts that are on this list this keyring can really be given to a person of any age group or gender. A kid would love to get this as a gift because it is cool, and an older person would love this too because of Saint Patrick and the Irish heritage that lays behind this piece. Saint Patrick is shown on the key ring of this chain and it is well decorated with shamrocks as well. This is the most versatile gift on this list and you should really consider getting it for anybody that you know.

Catholic Jewelry that even Men Will Love

You are looking to pick up a nice gift for a man in your life, and you cannot possibly think of anything that he would like to receive. Well, no matter the affair may be there is a quality present that you can give to a man of any age that he will love. This gift would be a nice piece of men’s Catholic jewelry. While this can be a great gift for any man you need to keep in mind that there are some pieces of men’s Catholic jewelry that will be much better than others for certain people. This is where the following list can become very handy. It is full of jewelry that any man would love to wear and will certainly cherish for many years to come. So let this list aid you on your search to find that perfect gift for the man in your life.

1.) Saint Michael Medal – Saint Michael is one of the best known and most beloved patron saints out there. That is why his medal would certainly be a thoughtful gift to give. Saint Michael is known as the great protector because he led heaven against the devil when he threatened the safety of heaven. This is why many Saint Michael has numerous patron saint medals in his honor instead of just one. It makes complete sense that medals for the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Army, and the Air Force all have images of Saint Michael on them. This medal would be a great gift for any man, but would certainly hold more value for somebody who has served time for our country. Engraving this medal would also be a great call so you can make it a one of a kind piece.

2.) Saint Christopher Medal – Does the man that you’re shopping for love sports? If so, a nice Saint Christopher patron saint medal may be just the gift for you to give. Saint Christopher is featured on multiple different patron saint medals, but the most popular of them all are the sports medals. These medals include sports such as hockey, tennis, soccer, golf, and basketball. So if the man you are shopping for is a sports enthusiast Saint Christopher would be a sweet medal for you to purchase. Also, if the man you are shopping for does not really like sports that much you can still get him a patron saint medal of Saint Christopher. There are also many different forms of his medals that do not incorporate sports at all. Overall, Saint Christopher medals are very popular and there is surely one that you can find that would make that ideal gift you have been looking for.

3.) Men’s Gage Cross – This cross is very stylish and may be a bit too much for some conservative older men. However, if your shopping for a youngster this cross is exactly what you have been looking for. It is made of sterling silver and is very intricate in its design. Younger men will definitely enjoy this medal because of how cool it looks, and it is something they can wear any day with any sort of clothing.

4.) Eastern Crucifix – This crucifix would make a great gift for a man that is very religious. This crucifix has much more meaning behind it than the everyday crucifix you tend to see. Jesus is shown on the cross on this medal, and it has a head and foot rest attached to it. The foot rest looks like it has been altered from its original state, and this is because when Jesus was really on the cross he was in so much agony that he moved the foot rest in his struggles. A fun fact to share with the person who is receiving this gift is that the foot rest is moved towards the left because that is the side of Jesus that the one criminal who asked Jesus to remember him when he reached heaven was. The detail in this piece will without a doubt amaze a truly religious man and make for a top gift.