Who Was The Moron That Gave British Courts This Power?

What a sad, shameful, society we live in when a hospital has the right (under British law) to apply to the courts to forestall further treatment for any human being…

For ten months, Charlie has been living in the intensive-care unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In March, his doctors decided that there was nothing more they could do for him, and they recommended that his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, withdraw his ventilator. They refused, on the grounds that an untried experimental treatment was available in the United States. The hospital, in accordance with British law, applied to the courts to forestall further treatment. In April, the High Court found for the doctors and against the parents. In May, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision. In early June, the Supreme Court agreed. And this week, the European Court of Human Rights — the last court of jurisdiction — refused to intervene.

These parents only asked to be allowed to take their child to the United States for an experimental treatment.  Just imagine, for a moment, if the hospitals had applied, and courts had ruled, the same way when parents wanted to treat their child who was afflicted with chicken pox, measles, polio, or some other ailment that has since passed the experimental stage and has become treatable.

I am so disgusted. I will never visit the UK, or Europe, because I do not want to give such authority to hospital administrators and court personnel who are simply looking at numbers rather than people.

No compassion, no regard for human dignity, no respect for life. As I said… Shameful.

Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for Charlie Gard, he and his parents are so helpless and alone. Make use we implore you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to their assistance in this great need
that they may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all their necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, and that they may praise God with you and all the elect forever. We promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as our special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.

At What Point Do We Say, Enough!?!

If you have not been following the Charlie Gard case in England, you may be surprised by the turn events in that case. You see… Charlie Gard is a 10-month old child who will be put to death tomorrow because the government of England has ruled that he does not possess the right to life and he is not worth saving.

This has been in the news lately, no not the news you have probably been watching where politicians spend all their time fighting over policies they themselves will never truly enforce and for budgets they know they will not keep. This news is real news, not fake news. The value of human dignity and human life is real for every human being, not just those who the media portrays as worthy.

You can find out more about Charlie Gard by searching his name on Google, but I wanted to point out two quotes you should read regarding authorities and medical “experts” who are,

entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgment, are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death.

and

concluded, on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm.

Oh wait, my bad. That first quote was a statement from Adolf Hitler in reference to Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt back in 1939.

Yeah, now maybe you get it.

A society that fails to remember history is doomed to repeat it.

May God save us all.

The Death of My Mother… May She Rest In Peace…

The last month has been the most chaotic, heart-wrenching, emotional, time of my entire life, so please bear with me because I feel the need to get this all out.

Thirty days ago, we took my mother to the emergency room at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton because she was coughing up some blood. Twenty-six days ago, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer that had metastasized in her soft tissue, adrenal gland, liver, spine, and brain. Twenty-five days ago, my mother came home from the hospital with the belief that she would have approximately three months to live without treatment, and she began to wait diligently to find out if she would test positive in a marker test for new treatment options. Twenty-four days ago, she began a series of daily radiation treatments to reduce swelling in her brain, trips that were taking more and more of her energy each day.

Fourteen days ago, my mother’s oncologist informed her that the marker tests were negative and she was not a candidate for the new treatments so her only option was traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She declined such treatment. My mother wanted quality over quantity, she wanted comfort over combat, she wanted her last days to come on her own terms, not through sterile tubing and bitter tablets. Before we walked out of the office that day we were told to start thinking in terms of weeks, not months. Thirteen days ago, Tanner Hospice showed up with all of the equipment she would need to remain comfortable and they assured us they were here for the duration. And they were.

Nine days ago, in the morning, my sister and I were making plans for her to come see our mother on June 9th, by the afternoon I was telling her that she might want to come sooner rather than later. Seven days ago my mother’s hair was beginning to fall out because she was not getting enough nutrition because the cancer was eating it all, and she asked me to shave her head. Six days ago, mom did not eat anything all day and was resistant toward taking her medications. I told my sister that she needed to come even sooner.

Five days ago, we finally got mom into the hospice bed. We needed the help of hospice and the local fire department, but we got her into the bed. Up until the night before, she resisted all attempts to get her into the hospice bed. She knew that once she went into it she was not going to come out of it. Four days ago, my sister arrived just after noon and mom was alert enough to talk to her and hold her hand. Three days ago, the hospice nurse had to increase mom’s medication because she was showing signs of increased pain. Two days ago, in the morning, mom’s breathing became more labored, and hospice told us to be ready by Sunday.
Forty-eight hours ago, I walked into mom’s room to sit with her. As I sat with her, I talked to her about all of the love we had for her. I talked about the value of the life lessons she taught me, I reminded her about some of our more memorable birding trips, I laughed about our “fierce competitions” in Words With Friends, and I then I thanked her for everything. She was the mom that God sent for my sister and I, and God doesn’t make mistakes. I walked out of her room at 5:22pm to talk to my sister for a few moments, and when I returned at 5:25pm, she was gone.


 

Sharon Moore Barrett (I won’t post her middle name here because she hated it), age 74, of Carrollton, Georgia, was born into eternal life on Saturday, June 3, 2017 after a brief, but courageous, battle with cancer. She was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada on January 14, 1943. She was the daughter of the late William Stewart Gregg and the late Helen Ann McKechnie (Moore) Chilimpis. Sharon was retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where she worked as a records supervisor.

Sharon immigrated to the United States with her mother and sister, Sandra, on June 7, 1944 via the Great Northern Railway at Blaine, Washington. Her mother married William Strother “Pete” Moore on September 4th, 1948, and she and her sister were adopted by Grandpa Pete on August 22, 1950. She was raised and lived most of her life in and around the Las Vegas area, including Boulder City. After her own two children she loved the LVMPD most of all. Although she retired many years ago, not a day went by without a story about her days at the old Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the merger with the Las Vegas Police Department, or the many different events with LVMPD. People will always remember her for her beautiful hair, her shrimp dip, and her pea green Mustang II that got flooded underneath the old City Hall in the 1970’s. But, we will always remember her as the best role model and friend that two children could ask for.

Survivors include one daughter, Katherine Barrett of New Albany, Indiana; one son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Joyce Barrett of Carrollton, Georgia; three grandsons, Joshua Barrett, Joseph Barrett, Jacob Barrett, of Carrollton, Georgia; as well as two nephews; three nieces, two great-nieces, and several cousins.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her adoptive father, William Strother Moore; her step-father, Thomas George Chilimpis, her sister, Sandra Ann Gove; her uncle, Robert McKechnie; and her cousin, John McKechnie.

Sharon requested no service or memorial, but did request that any donations in her memory be made to Tanner Hospice of Carrollton, Georgia at 101 Clinic Avenue, Carrollton, Georgia, 30117, specifically in support of sitter services. If hospice services had the resources for sitter service, more people could pass into eternal life in the comfort of their own homes surrounded by loved ones.

Who Knew Dirt Could Smell So Good?

Today is the day. The beginning of a new season. The first day of Spring. New life is springing up around us, nature is “refreshing” after the cold and darkness of Winter. Teresa of Avila reminds us that “Just as there are seasons in the world around us, so there are in our interior life”. Our lives often mimic seasons with physical warmth and cold, psychological highs and lows, and spiritual light and darkness. This week I found myself emerging from my own physical Winter as a Spring began to blossom from the depths of my spiritual soul.

Upon entering the Catholic Church, I often pondered the path God wanted me to follow. I have prayed for direction, I have pled for clarity. I have heard Him calling, and I have tried to answer that call each time. I answered His call when I decided to serve on the RCIA team, I answered His call when I led a Lenten small group for a few years, and I answered His call when I agreed to take on Jr. High Youth Ministry. When I answered His call to serve as the Director of Religious Education at St. Peter’s I knew I was still heading the right direction, and that has not changed. Each time I have answered His call, He has led me down paths I never knew existed, and even though there have been obstacles that seemed overwhelming blocking my path, He always “has my back” as long as I keep my faith in Him. Always. I have known for quite some time that I am right where God wants me to be.

As I sat listening to Curtis Martin this week at the Amazing Parish Conference, he spoke about evangelization and discipleship, and I was reminded of the simplest of requests that Jesus asks of us. “Come, and Follow Me”. As Martin continued to speak, I reflected on those words and the most amazing vision began to unfold within me. I finally understood why I stepped up to help in RCIA, why I decided to lead the Lenten Small Group, and why I served nearly six years at OLPH in Jr. High Youth Ministry. I have never doubted why I am at St. Peter’s but His plan is so clear now. His will for me took a considerable amount of time. It took time for me to understand my own human imperfections. It took time for me to overcome my own human weaknesses that kept distracting me from His vision. It took time for me to open my heart so fully that He could “spring” his plan from deep within my soul.

One of my favorite paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has always been #520, which tells us that Jesus is our model, the perfect man, “who invites us to become his disciples and follow him”. This paragraph may sound obvious to many people, because each of the four Gospels have an account of Jesus actually speaking these words, but I never fully understood the depth of His call for me to serve. I never realized how much He had formed me in my philosophy for religious education. I never knew His plan for me was not necessarily the message, but the journey in front of me.

We are all called to be disciples, we are all called to follow Him, but we are not all called to serve the same way. St Therese of Lisieux said, “If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness”. The same can be said of our own discipleship, our own service, and our own journey with Him. My journey is far from over, but I have discovered a new joy; a new way to serve Him in ways that will bring His Good News to more people. The flame within my soul is on fire once again, as I incorporate this new calling into my personal life, my work life, and most importantly, my faith life. This week, I was in the right place at the right time as God allowed my faith to blossom and now it’s time for me to get to get my hands dirty and get to work. St. Paul told the Colossians in Chapter 3, Verses 23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.

Spring has sprung, and to commemorate this first day of Spring, I am happy to reveal that I will be praying for you. Yes, you. He has called me to share my journey in a way that will help spark a flame in others and help them learn more about Him as they continue on their journey. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, specifically so they could pray for each other, hold each other accountable, counsel each other, and most importantly, share their testimony. It may take some work, there is nothing wrong with hard work. Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty”. I can see the path that God has laid out in front me and I am ready to roll up my sleeves. Margaret Atwood wrote, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. Who knew dirt could smell so good?

Good night, and God Bless You!

Fifteen Years Ago Today…

My Aunt Sandy died fifteen years ago today…

Sandra Ann Gove
November 20, 1940 – March 9, 2002

I miss you Auntie. We all miss you.

Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Faith Cannot Be Taught, It Must Be Lived…. A Personal Update

When I came into the Catholic Church in 2011, I was asked to help with a special sacraments class for youth who were catching up on their sacraments for First Communion and/or Confirmation. It was my first taste of leading religious education or youth ministry of any kind and I loved every minute of it. It was during the course of that class that I felt called by God to share my faith with others through catechesis, evangelization, and youth ministry.

As the class concluded, several of the students asked if I could come with them to Jr. High Youth Group, because that is where they would be the following year. The next day, the Director of Religious Education at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic Church approached me and asked if I was could help with Jr. High Youth Group. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways! The DRE invited me to lead the group, explaining that they did not really have a curriculum, but I could use whichever curriculum I found that would work best for developing a new program. At first I thought I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but I quickly grew more comfortable and realized that this was indeed my calling.

For the past five years I developed customized content combining material from several different publishers including Pflaum Publishing Group, RCL Benzinger, William H. Sadlier, Inc, Ignatius Press, Loyola Press, and most recently Our Sunday Visitor, all of which are included on the Conformity List from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops for use in religious education and youth ministry. I modeled our classes after the EDGE model, which is the middle school program from LifeTeen, where each session is divided into Gather, Proclaim, Break, and Send. We started with an activity to gather the students in to here the message, then we proclaimed the message to be instructed. Students were then able to break down the message through small-group discussions or large-group dialogs, and then they were given a way to take that message with them to use in their personal lives.

I spent countless hours planning sessions, developing activities, and most of all, learning about the individuals I would be responsible for leading during our sessions. I learned all of their names and I took time to learn something about them so when they walked into the room I could greet them by their given name as a sign of respect and converse with them about something going on in their lives. If we are to model ourselves after Christ, who calls his sheep by name, it is important to know the names of each individual that we interact with, so we can show them the respect that they are due.

While working toward my Bachelors Degree in Psychology I wrote a continuing series of articles on the importance of upholding the dignity of every individual as well as the necessity to be respectful to those you are leading in ministry. As I progressed toward my Masters in Education with a specialization in Family and Community Service, I focused on developing customized curriculum that provided several teaching strategies for students with differentiated learning styles from various family backgrounds, while maintaining regard for every individual by respecting their individual God-given human dignity. This proved effective in youth ministry where I could differentiate each lesson for the students as they participated in one combined session and they learned how they could take the fruits of each lesson home to their family.

Over the years, as I completed my education, I realized I was teaching in what was once an unconventional and unusual way, by flipping the classroom and making the classroom experience relational, experiential, and conversational in nature while differentiating learning styles for students with particular needs. Although it was unconventional at one time, this is now a common practice in many classrooms, in fact it is one of the best practices in many of today’s schools and religious institutions. I was not perfect, but I continued to grow in faith, knowledge, and experience, making sure to pass the best parts of this growth on to the students I was teaching. Then the bottom fell out.

On February 8th, just hours before a Jr. High Youth Ministry session, I was informed that significant changes were being implemented. The Jr. High Youth Group was going to be split up, randomly, into two groups, and the individual leading the second group would be teaching from a different lesson plan that I had developed for the entire group. I was not contacted about these changes. I was not asked to offer input about these changes. I was told that I could have no input on choosing which students would be in which group. I was also told, in a rather firm tone, that “this is the way it is going to be” and my opinion, knowledge, and experience, did not matter, to which I told them good luck and resigned myself to the fact that the Jr. High Youth Group was no longer my ministry. I could not participate in any action that would be detrimental to the children I was ministering too, and I would not be complicit in altering their progress in faith formation.

To state that I am devastated is an understatement. When someone builds a ministry over the course of nearly 6 years, develops customized content for that ministry, and devotes countless hours and monetary resources toward the success of that ministry, they should be consulted when decisions are made that will significantly change that ministry. At the very least, I deserved the respect of knowing that changes were being discussed in the first place. With that said, I soon found out it was implied to others that I was on-board with these decisions, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. This was my ministry. This was my calling. Here we are just over three weeks later, and it hurts just as much as the moment it all happened.

Today, I am hurt because I was not included in the discussions about changing the ministry I developed for the past several years. I am disappointed because I was not informed of the changes being made prior to the notification of others that I was already onboard with those changes, and I disagree wholeheartedly with the changes that were implemented because they are a grave disservice to the children of our parish. Most of all, however, I am saddened for the children of our parish who have been relegated back to a “textbook instruction” classroom and will not experience the fruits of a genuine youth ministry program that they so richly deserve. You cannot learn faith from a book, you have to learn it from experience. Faith cannot be taught, it must be felt, desired, and lived. Youth learn through observation, experience, and actions.

We are all called to model ourselves after Christ and we cannot do that if we do not acknowledge the human dignity of each individual or we do not offer respect to those we serve with (and for) in ministry. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps” (1 Peter 2:21). As I look back on everything that happened on February 8th, I can only pray that I planted a seed within all of my Jr. high students that will continue to help them grow closer to Christ and love for our Lord.

I may not have been able to change what happened, and I may no longer play a role in the Jr. High Youth Ministry at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but I do know that I deserved more respect than I was given, and more importantly, the students I was leading, as well as their parents, deserved more respect than they were given. Who knows what the future holds, but I do know one thing… The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways!