Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush Nominates Alito

I, of course, am very pleased. I am also good friends with one of his former clerks, and I've heard nothing but high praise for his legal mind and good character. I don't know if Bush could have made a better pick.

Here's the SCOTUS blog discussion. And here's the discussion of his free-exercise decisions at Mirror of Justice. And you might want to join in the discussion on Open Book.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wiccans Might be Offended by Halloween

The Toronto School Board issued a memo to its teachers and principals warning that the traditional celebration of Halloween may offend and "traumatize" those who practice Wiccan rituals. The Board stated that a Wiccan may not appreciate the "Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs." Is that what Halloween is? I always thought that the Eve of All Souls Day was a Christian religous tradition systematically paganized by the secular world over time. I'm offended that Halloween has become a mockery of this Christian tradition. But now trick or treating is offensive to Wiccans? This one isn't quite coming together for me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Trip

There's so much to say, and I couldn't possibly explain everything, so here are a couple of observations:

- The coastal communities are devastated, but recovering. No rebuilding is going on right now. Mostly people are trying to clean out the homes that were submerged under water. All that remains of the homes along the shore is foundations.

- People from all over the US are giving aid. We stayed at a Catholic Student Center with students from the University of Richmond and Charleston College. Other people just left their jobs and will be in Mississippi for months.

- All of the people we met who were devastated by the storm are in good spirits, saying that the Lord will get them through all of their tribulations. There was a lot of joy and thanksgiving to God for his many blessings. This attitude was the most powerful thing on the trip for me.

- The parish we stayed at in Hattiesburg is doing great things for relief. They have a distribution center and they also house anyone who wants to help out (including us). The priest there is incredible (Fr. Tommy - and he loves Notre Dame!) and all the parishoners are being very generous with their time. Here's the link to the parish if you want to contact them. They're taking donated goods from all across the US.

The size of the uprooted trees amazed me. I couldn't have imagined something this powerful before the trip. Posted by Picasa

More... Posted by Picasa

Just got back from Mississippi. Here are some pictures of what I saw on the coast. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hurricane Relief in Mississippi

Just wanted to let you know that I'll be heading to Mississippi on Sunday to help with the relief effort over my fall break. My group of 8 will be joining up with the Catholic Student Association of Southern Mississippi University to do clean up and distribute goods to families in need. I'm very excited about going.

To donate to Hurricane Relief through Catholic Charities, go here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Canadian Thanksgiving

Sorry about the silence lately, folks. I was in Canada for Thanksgiving. Yes, I know you will all ask - what is Canada thankful for?? Well, my answer to this typical and frequent question is, "Same thing as y'all!" We eat the same food and we celebrate the discovery of the New World, of which we are very much a part. Also, our celebration happens on Colombus Day, which is entirely more appropriate than when it takes place in the US. :)

So yes, I went home to the farm for Thanksgiving. First time since high school. It was a beautiful fall weekend, and I made sure to take the time to just walk around my family's rolling property, marvelling at how beautiful everything was. Isn't it amazing how much you take your home for granted as a kid? I just walked up and down the hills and looked out over the river at the other properties surrounding ours. The leaves were orange and red, warning of the impending winter. The silence and the cold wind reminded me that at the basis of the Canadian culture is a mentality of survival. We're a community because it takes a community to keep yourself alive in the harsh winters of the Canadian north. We're a simple people, because in a life where resources must be spent on survival, simplicity is necessary. Home was a good reminder of where I come from and what has shaped me from the beginning. It reminded me of life's simple joys.