“Getting married is not a vain act”

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JUST MARRIED AT THE FIRST LATIN NUPTIAL MASS IN 50 YEARS Ricardo Lara Colón is head of the Department of Basic Sciences at the Instituto Tecnológico de Pabellón de Arteaga. He and his new wife live in Aguascalientes, Mexico. This is the story of their journey of discovery of Catholic tradition.

 

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I ATTENDED MY FIRST TLM in March 2011 in a private chapel, the first Latin Mass in our town since Vatican II. When I was invited to this first Mass, I fell in love with the liturgy, all the solemnity and the devotion. One month later we organized a public Mass in the same church where I was later to marry. Who would have guessed that God would call me in order to prepare me for a traditional marriage?

 

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IN 2012 I INVITED MY GIRLFRIEND TO THE LATIN MASS, and she was impressed. We both were participating in the traditionalist group for about one year when we said to the priest that we wanted to be married in a TLM. We got engaged in April 2013.

 

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 A FLURRY OF EXCITEMENT Everyone in the group was excited and they helped a great deal in the organization of the wedding. Some of them are part of the choir and one is a tenor, so they prepared the music for the Nuptial Mass (from the XVIII century, from Manuel de Sumaya). Some helped with the Missal, and others were acolytes.

 

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A LATIN MASS? When we told our families our wedding would be in a Latin Mass, they were confused. Nobody had ever attended a TLM, except my father in his childhood. Some friends were surprised and asked questions about the difference between the Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo. At the end of our Sung High Wedding Mass, everybody was impressed. We hope our wedding serves to draw more people to the Latin Mass.

 

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WHAT THE BRIDEGROOM SAYS “The vocation to marriage is essential to the world. This sacrament allows us to train our children to reach holiness. Getting married is not a vain act –it imposes obligations and allows us to participate in God’s plan for humanity.”

 

Romance in Mexico

How An Evangelical Canadian Fell in Love with a Mexican Catholic, His Family and His  Faith

by Jacob Wall

It was summer in Mexico City.  I spoke about fifty words of Spanish, and she spoke no English at all. But to our astonishment, the day we’d planned for cultural discovery turned into a day of romance.

I remember this clearly:  as my guide and I walked through the countryside, we saw poor farmers in procession carrying stalks of corn to the village church.  Unbeknownst to me, they were bringing corn for the blessings of the first fruits of the harvest.

It was the Feast of the Transfiguration.

We took a moment to stop in the church and watch.  I was amazed, not only at the piety and reverence of the people, but also to see how my lovely guide also knelt and prayed with reverence to Christ and the Virgin Mary. This made me realize in a very direct way that this was no quaint, small-town display put on for tourists, but rather a real expression of living faith.

As my lovely guide and I  strolled through the countryside, we saw poor farmers in procession carrying stalks of corn to the village church.  Unbeknownst to me, they were bringing corn for the blessings of the first fruits of the harvest. It was the Feast of the Transfiguration.

What We Knew After Three Weeks

Before my three week vacation in Mexico was over, we knew three things; we loved each other, we wanted to spend our lives together and I was going to stay in Mexico.

Neither of us were strong in our faith; I was a lapsed Evangelical, who, although still believing, no longer practiced in any real sense.  My wife was a Catholic with an authentic love for Mary, the Saints and the Church, but with little understanding of the Church’s teachings. 

2007 Wedding Tepoztlan, MexicoBefore my three week vacation was over, we knew three things; we loved each other, we wanted to spend our lives together and I was going to stay in Mexico.

How She Brought Me Closer to the Faith

However, she understood one important thing; prayer, persistence and patience were the best way to bring me closer to the Church.  She never pushed me, but also did not hesitate to challenge me to rediscover my faith.

Exactly one year after  the day we met, we were wedded in a beautiful colonial Catholic Church in the village of Tepoztlan. To our new home, my wife brought crucifixes, images of the saints and holy water before I understood what they were for.  We baptized our first son before I was entirely convinced that baptizing children made sense.

Just after our second son was born, after I had expressed some doubt on some point, she asked me directly; “What exactly is it that you believe?” 

I didn’t know.  I decided to go talk to a priest whom I had come to respect. I began to read about Catholicism, and at Easter 2011 I joined the Church.

I shared what I learned in RCIA classes and from my readings with my wife.  Some important points were new to her.  Her challenge to me – to discover what it is I believed – became a challenge to her as we learned the teachings of the Church together. 

2009 Akumal, MexicoTo our new home, my wife brought crucifixes, images of the saints and holy water before I understood what they were for.  We baptized our first son before I was entirely convinced that baptizing children made sense.

Love, Marriage, Children and the Church

Since then, we have continued to grow in love for each other at the same time as we grow closer to the Church in knowledge and love. Over six years into our marriage, we continue to find romance. Our love for each other grows stronger with every passing day. 

Our four children are not an obstacle to romance but are really a part of the love we have for each other.  While we take moments for ourselves, some of our most delightful moments have been with the family together. For example, last fall we went on a boat tour in the Mexican Caribbean; four of the other five couples had kids, but had left them behind, far away at home.

In contrast, all six of us were there. No one was bothered by the kids.  It was certainly romantic for us as a couple, not to mention lots of fun for the kids.

We also make pilgrimages as a family, such as to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as visits to our beautiful cathedral in Canada for important feast days.

2012 Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico CityWe also make a pilgrimages as a family, such as to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as visits to our beautiful cathedral in Canada for important feast days.

I would say that romantic love, family and the Church are not three disconnected aspects of our lives. Rather, they are ideal complements to each other, and within the Church we find our love for our family and for each other to be the ideal place to grow.

FEATUREDI would say that romantic love, family and the Church are not three disconnected aspects of our lives. Our four children are not an obstacle to romance but are really a part of the love we have for each other.

 

Inside Catholic Romance Online

The last 15 to 20 years have seen a sea change in the world of dating, one with profound implications for Catholics. The change is the rise in online dating and its widespread acceptance as a legitimate tool for meeting the right person.

Turning to the Internet for assistance in meeting people makes sense for anyone, regardless of their religious and moral convictions—let’s face it, with society operating at such a fast pace, meeting people in the usual places isn’t all that easy.

But for Catholics who are committed to our Faith, an expansion of the dating pool is almost a necessity. Again, let’s face it—if you don’t believe in unmarried sex or artificial contraception, even a lot of the people you meet in the usual places are going to be in a different place.

Again, let’s face it—if you don’t believe in unmarried sex or artificial contraception, even a lot of the people you meet in the usual places are going to be in a different place.

Furthermore, Catholics can find that online dating not only expands the pool, but makes the ultimate winnowing down process much easier. The profiles at major Catholic dating sites ask the member’s belief on the above moral questions, on which the laity is often divided. Knowing up front whether you are on the same page with a date on subjects like birth control spares you a conversation which becomes almost impossible to fit into polite dating dialogue—at least until you’re  serious enough that you’ve wasted valuable time if the wrong answer comes back.

Several Catholic dating websites have grown quickly, and the number of success stories continues to increase. One example is Donna Sue and Joel Doc, a 50-something couple with a strong Catholic faith.

Donna Sue lives in Oklahoma, and in 2008 her previous marriage was annulled by the Church. With two daughters and seven grandchildren nearby, she was settled into single life, a parishioner at St. Damien’s of Molokai, a parish run by the Fraternity of St. Peter, an Order based in Nebraska and dedicated to offering the Tridentine Mass.

Joel Doc Berry is a retired rancher and lived in Montana. His wife had succumbed to leukemia and Joel Doc found his solace in being near his horses and through his devotion to the rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Like Donna, he was looking to meet someone and they both joined Ave Maria Singles.

Joel and Horses B&WJoel Doc is a retired Montana rancher. When his wife succumbed to leukemia, he sought solace in being near his horses and through his devotion to the rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Donna Sue’s profile caught Joel Doc’s attention. “She was cute as a bug,” he recalled. “She had a great profile and a great smile.” For her part, Donna wasn’t looking to get into a long-distance relationship, but the distance between them made her feel safe enough to start an online dialogue. “With him in Montana, there was no way we would ever meet, let alone date and get married,” she recalled thinking.

The little opening that Donna gave Joel was all that he—and the Holy Spirit—needed to begin working. Joel, being retired, was able to travel to Oklahoma and stay at a bed and breakfast, as they got to know each other. When they were apart, he sent roses, a beautiful rosary and pictures of his Montana home. “Yep, I was falling in love,” Donna Sue admitted.

February to October in 2010 saw Joel and Donna Sue’s long-distance courtship flourish. “It was the love we both had for the Eucharist that made each of us think he/she is THE ONE,” Donna told Regina Magazine. They also share common cultural interests, each being from cowboy country with a love for all that entails—rodeo, authentic western music and movies.

Joel knew early on he had a treasure in Donna, and had an engagement ring made, a rose-cut diamond with two roses on each side and diamonds in the center.

In Oklahoma City he took Donna and her two grown daughters out to dinner, got down on one knee and proposed. “Although I figured I an official proposal was coming, I was surprised that night,” Donna said. “And the ring…well I was just blown away by its beauty and symbolism.”

Today, Joel Doc and Donna are married and living in Oklahoma, in spite of his earlier vow never to leave Montana. He said he would never leave home, she never thought she would date long-distance. Both of them found happiness by stepping outside the box.

DonnaSuebw“With him in Montana, there was no way we would ever meet, let alone date and get married,”  Donna Sue recalled thinking. Besides, Joel Doc said he would never leave home; for her part, she never thought she would date long-distance. 

Joel Doc and Donna are just one of the many thousands of couples I have see come together in the last ten years I have been working on Catholic dating sites. I have seen couples come together from across the ocean. I’ve also seen couples who were in the same parish, but who didn’t meet until they noticed each other online.

If Valentine’s Day 2014 has you wanting a change in your dating life, this is a way to step outside the box and shake things up. Maybe now is the time for you to find a real Catholic marriage.  

Joel and Calf 1A CATHOLIC COWBOY

Never met a Catholic Cowboy, who bows his head to pray

With his Rosary in his pocket, each and every day

Who whispers to his Father God, from deep within his heart

When life is full of happiness, or when it falls apart

This cowboy who loves Jesus Christ, is such a Godly man

Who sets the course throughout his day, to follow Heaven’s plan

A bull ridin’ kind of cowboy, so Catholic and so true

Like the Cowboy from Montana, that is ‘til I met you!

Donna Sue Leehan, 8th February, 2010

 

Megan in the Mirror

Megan is a beautiful woman by anyone’s standards. It’s not just her long blonde hair, her ready smile or the elegant way she wears her clothes. She’s also happily married, and a blissful new mother in America’s Midwest.

But Megan is not a ‘golden girl,’ leading a charmed life. Her childhood was scarred by an ugly divorce. She spent her youth desperately seeking for love in all the wrong places. Rejected by her boyfriend, alone in a strange city, she finally attempted suicide.  

Today, at 31, Megan is close to the Sacraments. How did she get here? Here’s beautiful Megan’s story, in an exclusive interview with Regina Magazine.

Like many people in your generation, your parents were divorced.

My parents’ divorce was one of the worst tragedies of my life and yet it brought me closer to God. I think because I knew there had to be something better than what I was living in, and so I searched for the truth.

Or the Truth found me, because the Truth is a person.

Do you have siblings?

I have a sister; she’s one year older than me, now 32. She is into drugs. She’s had one abortion, and then had a baby. That baby was taken away by the State. Our dad adopted my niece.

I pray for my sister every day. She asked me once why our lives turned out so differently and I tell her it’s because I prayed and became Catholic. I think she might finally start to see it.

The hardest thing is convincing my family that it’s more than just prayer, that it’s Confession, the Eucharist and all the sacraments. There is healing there and the grace to fight evil.

My sister is into drugs. She’s had one abortion, and then had a baby. That baby was taken away by the State.

Were you brought up Catholic?

My parents converted to Catholicism when we were young but they fell away. My sister and I were baptized, but they stopped going to church. When my parents were divorcing my dad took us to St. Louis and we visited the Cathedral Basilica.

I prayed and wept there. I was ten years old.

What happened after the divorce?

My mother re-married, to the man she had an affair with. He was from a Polish background, and his mother was very Catholic. He kept a rosary around the house.

So the Faith was still there somehow, in the background of your life?

In my preteen years we went on a trip to Indianapolis and we stopped by a Catholic bookstore. They told me I could get whatever I wanted so I went to the kids section and I looked around a bit. There was a kids’ book about the lives of the Saints, a small book on how to pray the rosary and little rosaries here and there. So I grabbed a couple of items.

From the small books I taught myself how to pray the rosary. At first I prayed all the Mysteries: joyful, sorrowful etc and thought, ‘man this is LONG to do in one sitting.’ LOL. I didn’t realize that you only had to pick one Mystery, until a little later.

I got this really neat mirror and wall stand. I made myself a little altar with candles and the rosary. I started praying occasionally, and then I just had this inspiration to join the Catholic Church. Like a super-strong desire.

I made myself a little altar with candles and the rosary. I started praying occasionally, and then I just had this inspiration to join the Catholic Church.

What was your life like?

I was living in sin. Following my sister, experimenting with drugs, numerous terrible boyfriends, losing my virginity at a young age. All things that were killing my soul.

I was a product of the MTV generation, where society and youth culture is saying these things are fun and make you happy.  Meanwhile I’m so unhappy and killing my soul.

I was living in sin. Following my sister, experimenting with drugs, numerous terrible boyfriends, losing my virginity at a young age. All things that were killing my soul.

Did you abandon the idea of being Catholic?

No.  I called St. Charles Catholic church and asked if I could take classes. They put me with the adults and paired me up with a sponsor. I was a senior in high school.

So did your life settle down?

No. My mother divorced her second husband and things got really bad at home. She started dating this really, really, bad guy and he was absolutely terrible. A drunk, etc. It was sooo bad.

My dad was meanwhile dating so many different women and I hated them all. He was also verbally and somewhat physically abusive to my sister and me after their divorce.

After her second divorce my mother was verbally abusive and I would fight with her because her lifestyle was disgusting and I couldn’t believe all the bad stuff she was doing to our family.

So I got kicked out of her house and have to live with my Dad. I didn’t agree with his lifestyle –with all the women he is dating –and so then I got kicked out of his house.

So now I had nowhere to go.

My mother divorced her second husband and things got really bad at home. She started dating this really, really, bad guy and he was absolutely terrible.

That’s a scary situation at age 17.

Yes, but my mother was less strict than my dad, so of course thinking like a teenager, I opted to live with her. I made a decision to swallow my pride, shut my mouth, and apologize to her for all of the things I said about her sinful life.

I really didn’t ever feel that I had a place to call home, that felt like home. Too many bad memories in either house.

I really didn’t ever feel that I had a place to call home, that felt like home. Too many bad memories in either house.

You still didn’t abandon the idea of being Catholic?

No, I was still in the RCIA program and trying to finish my senior year of high school. So I’m still not an angel, but I feel this STRONG desire to receive the sacraments. I look forward to this class every two weeks and am so excited to go. I ask so many questions to the teacher lady, and when the priest came from time to time I would ask him questions also.

My number one question was, “what will it feel like to take communion”?

He told me, “I’m not sure you will feel any differently, but I will pray that you have this miraculous experience for your first time.”

Interesting that you focused on the ‘feeling.’

Yes, at my first confession I felt this incredible sensation after he gave me absolution. Like I was touched by the Holy Spirit and I could fly. A true weight, not some sentimental figurative thing, but a true feeling in my whole body of warmth and love and weightless feeling.

The same thing happened at my Confirmation a few weeks later, after I received Holy Communion for the first time. I remember being really cold because I didn’t have on the right kind of sweater and I was wearing sandals.

But when I took Communion, this incredible warmth came over me. It was amazing. It wasn’t my imagination but a true miracle.

I have never experienced it since.

At my first confession I felt this incredible sensation after he gave me absolution. Like I was touched by the Holy Spirit and I could fly.

So you finished high school…

…yes, but my mom’s house was not working out, unsurprisingly. I moved in with my Dad. I was not sure where to go to college but my Dad, of all people, knew of this Catholic college book that I could get at school. So I checked it out.

There was a small Catholic Junior college in Illinois. It didn’t look too hard to get into.  So I took the risk, applied, got in and moved there for college.

Meanwhile Easter was the last time I went to Mass. When I was in RCIA they never really said, ‘now you have to start coming on Sundays.’ I don’t know why I didn’t go but they never really followed up with me.

I thought “I’m Catholic now” like it was a one-time thing. You would have thought that the miracle feeling would have made me go back, but I was young and still had some problems.

Easter was the last time I went to Mass. When I was in RCIA they never really said, ‘now you have to start coming on Sundays.’

What happened at college?

So I’m at college and I immediately start dating this terrible guy. He pushes me down the stairs and gets kicked out of school. It was bad. I probably dated terrible guys because I had low self- esteem and psychological problems from my childhood and previous sinful behavior.

So in my sophomore year I make friends with Sister Judy (she doesn’t wear the habit) and she helps me get into an all-girl Catholic College. I go there for my Junior and Senior year.

I continued partying and drinking. I meet this guy Tom from a neighboring co-ed Catholic University. We start dating, sleeping together etc. I graduated and moved to a small Midwestern city, because that is where is he from and he is going to medical school there.

I’m at college and I immediately start dating this terrible guy. He pushes me down the stairs and gets kicked out of school. It was bad.

Tom was a ‘catch,’ huh?

Tom’s family is SUPER Catholic and I liked them a lot. His dad is SUPER devout and introduced me to the Latin Mass. They go to Mass every Sunday.

Then Tom cheated on me with a girl in his medical school class. I broke up with him.

How disappointing! How did you cope?

I promptly started dating this guy who worked near me at the airport.

This was a diabolical relationship. We started sleeping together and then he starts treating me like crap. Won’t accept my phone calls and is super mean. I felt used and unwanted so I got really depressed, and I started drinking.

One night I thought if I took a bunch of pills and told him, he would come running back and we would be together. (My sister did this before, so I learned this from her.)

I felt used and unwanted so I got really depressed, and I started drinking. One night I thought if I took a bunch of pills and told him, he would come running back and we would be together.

Oh that is terrible!

Well that didn’t happen, and I had to call Tom and ask him to drive me to the hospital to get my stomach pumped. So now I was in the worst shape of my life.

In this hospital I called out to God. I asked Him ‘why is this all happening to me? Would He help me? Please?’

In this hospital I called out to God. I asked Him why is this all happening to me? Would He help me? Please?

What happened next?

So after I am released, I see that there is a position open in a different city. I apply for the job and I get it!

After I moved, I began to slowly cut ties with my sinful life. I also had this voice say to me one morning, “Obey the 10 commandments.” It was weird.

I wondered if there was a cool church that offers the Latin Mass in my new city. I love music so much, and the town where I grew up has one of the best music schools in the world.

I remembered that the Latin Mass church where Tom’s dad took me had an amazing choir. So I looked up the Latin Mass in my new city and I found one. It was run by a religious order of priests, dedicated to the Latin Mass. 

When I entered the church, I saw all these people in line for Confession, so I went too. The priest asked me, are you ready to change your ways?

I said ‘I think I am.’ I prayed in that moment, “God, please send me someone to marry. Clearly I cannot choose, so please choose for me. Your will be done, not mine.”

That’s when I met my future husband.

The priest asked me, are you ready to change your ways? I say I think I am. I pray in that moment, “God, please send me someone to marry. Clearly I cannot choose, so please choose for me. Your will be done, not mine.”

How did you meet him?

One of my best friends growing up moved to the same city in which I was now living. She invited me to a Christmas party and that’s where I met Rob.  He asked for my phone number and I told him I’m not interested in dating anyone, but thanks.

Unbeknownst to me, my friend gave Rob my phone number. He called one day and we agreed to go to dinner but on one condition-only as friends.

Something about him though seemed different than other guys I dated in the past. His demeanor is super respectful, caring and kind. He seemed genuinely interested in me as a person, so I decided to give it a shot.

Rob’s demeanor is super respectful, caring and kind. He seems genuinely interested in me as a person, so I decide to give it a shot. I asked him if he wanted to start going to Mass with me, for Lent.

I asked him if he wanted to start going to Mass with me, for Lent. He is Catholic and so he agreed. We started going to the church down the street. Then I started bringing him to the Latin Mass with me.

He hated it. Over time, though, he started to meet people, understand the Mass, and liked it.

We got married there, and now we have a baby. : )

How did you get involved at the parish?

I decided to register at the church. I’m sitting in the office, wearing a black shirt, hot pink knee length shorts and sandals, and in walks this tall 6 foot 4 tall priest in a long cassock.

I’m 5’3. I looked up and am like ‘oh my goodness.’ I was terrified.

He takes me to his office and starts asking a few questions, “your name” and he writes it down with his left hand. He asks me how I found the parish and I tell him, I’m not really sure but I looked it up online and I liked the music.

He says this is most unusual and normally people come because they have heard about it from someone else. I didn’t really have this “I’m fed up with the Novus Ordo Mass and that’s why I’m coming to the Latin Mass” thing like some people do.

I came because it was beautiful and it seemed holy.

I didn’t really have this “I’m fed up with the Novus Ordo Mass and that’s why I’m coming to the Latin Mass” thing like some people do.  I came because it was beautiful and it seemed holy.

As I’m leaving, on the way home, I get cussed out by some homeless man who bangs on my window. He screams “hey b****” and bangs on my window. Luckily my doors were locked, the light changed, and I sped off.

Wow, so it was very welcoming, but scary too.

Another time I was visiting, while I was walking into the building, a group of thug-looking people started yelling at me so I ran fast and was able to make it inside the building.

I also experienced extreme anxiety driving to church, and also in the church, and in line for Confession. That feeling has since gone away but it took several months. I also had several experiences where a voice told me to spit out the Communion while it was in my mouth. I WAS TERRIFIED!

But I read somewhere that a few saints had this, St. Faustina in particular, and the Lord told her they were temptations and as long as she didn’t listen or take any pleasure in them, it was not sinful.

Did you tell a priest about these supernatural things?

At the time I remember they were pretty amazing, some scary, but I never really told anyone. I think I told the priest about the Eucharist experience and asked him why that might have happened.

He said perhaps because the Lord wanted to show me what the other side is like. What was hidden behind the veil, the Sacraments, like a doorway. So I would remember.

After all of my bad experiences, he said that he was surprised I ever came back. Clearly, the devil did NOT want me there!

My supernatural experiences were pretty amazing, some scary, but I never told anyone.  I told the priest about the Eucharist experience and asked him why that might have happened. He said perhaps because the Lord wanted to show me what the other side is like. So that I would remember.

What is your life like now?

Now I am a regular at Confession, every two weeks. I help out at the church, I go to Mass every Sunday, and I receive Communion with reverence and deeply pray.

I am still very much a sinner, but I try to steer clear of mortal sins. It is VERY hard to come to the church once you are in the pit of mortal sin, but I had some divine assistance.

I am still very much a sinner, but I try to steer clear of mortal sins. It is VERY hard to come to the church once you are in the pit of mortal sin, but I had some divine assistance.

What about the future?

What gives me great hope is that there are saints like Magdalen and Augustine who were very close to our Lord. My hope is to raise my children closer to spiritual innocence, like our Lady and St. Therese were raised.

My Dad is also back in the church. He remarried, and they have some issues, but he prays and goes to Mass sometimes. I pray for him.

megan bottom

 What gives me great hope is that there are saints like Magdalen and Augustine who were very close to our Lord. My hope is to raise my children closer to spiritual innocence, like our Lady and St. Therese were raised.


Adventures of a Latin Mass Divorcee

AUTHOR: DONNA SUE BERRY What does a Catholic woman do when she is divorced after a 30-year marriage? If there’s one word to describe the absolute feeling of being discarded after my 30-year marriage, it would be ‘alone.’ Suddenly I was living a life I didn’t recognize. I lived in a deafening, isolating silence. I … Read more

Family Night

Sunday Dinner for Thirty

by Mandy Green

“I remember wondering why your sister got upset if we couldn’t make it to family night. Now, if we miss one Sunday dinner, I think, ‘WHY? What am I supposed to DO? I’m so lost!’ Before family night, I had a life. But now if you aren’t at family night you just aren’t in.”

This is what my brother-in-law said a few months ago. This is the same guy who today makes up epic adventures at every Sunday dinner about kings who eat too much spaghetti and cousins who fight bad guys and ride off into sunsets. The same guy who is father to five of my blondest and silliest nieces and nephews.

This is the same guy who today makes up epic adventures at every Sunday dinner about kings who eat too much spaghetti and cousins who fight bad guys and ride off into sunsets.

How It Began

I am not sure what year the Sunday dinners at my parents’ house began, but it was around eight years ago. During this time I was a young mother, busy with a husband, a business, and a baby every year. We would go when we could, often staying overnight to make the most out of the drive. (Anyone who has spent three hours in a car with a screaming two year old and a hungry infant knows why we weren’t eager for round two on the way home.)

At that point, I wasn’t able to make family night every week, and I wondered how long it would last. How many times can the same 20-30 people have dinner together without getting tired of each other?

Turns out, the answer is lots of times. Eight years later, it’s still going strong. What started as a way to get together and reconnect as the various birdies left the nest has turned into a meaningful custom spanning three generations. Today, our Sunday dinner nights have expanded to include great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors.

Just yesterday, my kids were discussing how it might look to strangers driving past my parents’ home on Sunday evenings. Some weeks there are eight-passenger vehicles surrounding the smaller (and cooler) cars that my parents and single brothers drive. Other weeks the road is lined with pickup trucks with big tires, American flags and Red Dirt Trucks stickers on the back. (This is because my brothers’ friends showed up to sit around the fire.) Still other weeks, you’ll see ten mini-vans out front because it just so happens that family nights are a great time to host birthday parties.

I wondered how long it would last. How many times can the same 20-30 people have dinner together without getting tired of each other?

Sunday Nights in Flu Season

And some weeks, especially during flu season, only one or two vehicles sit outside. On those weeks, the lucky families with no sick children have a smaller and quieter dinner. This has its pros and cons.

On the plus side, there’s quiet time visiting with Mima and Grandawg (as our children call my parents), but it doesn’t feel right if someone is missing. The first week we’re all together after an extended flu season is full of exclamations about how much nieces and nephews managed to grow. Once last year, various family members passed around an illness so long that we had two separate dinners — one for the well people and one for those who still had a fever.

The Generations Expand

Since this tradition began, all four of my sisters married and started their own families. One brother is engaged to a lovely young woman I will be happy to have as a sister-in-law. Our other brother is busy planning a life beside the ocean.

My parents now have twenty-one grandchildren, ranging in age from thirteen years to three months. More babies are on the way and are as anxiously awaited as the first. Being an aunt is one of the best aspects of my life;  I treasure this time to get to know each one of those precious little ones.

My parents now have twenty-one grandchildren, ranging in age from thirteen years to three months. More babies are on the way and are as anxiously awaited as the first.

Blessing for a Single Mama

For me and my children, Sundays are a haven of peace and fun at the end of chaotic weeks of school and work. We look forward to spending the morning at Mass and the time afterward to visit with friends. Come late afternoon, I put the finishing touches on my contribution to our Sunday meal while the kids get more anxious to leave. We drive the two miles to my parents’ house. If you’re between the ages of four and ten, it’s very important to be the first group of cousins to arrive.

Today, I am a single mama of six, and family night is more important to me that it ever has been. My children get to spend time with their six uncles. Whether it’s driveway basketball, races on the TV in the garage, or wrestling on the living room floor, I am so thankful for these six brothers who make such a strong impression on my kids. Four of them are my brothers by marriage, but that’s another benefit of Sunday dinner; the term “in-law” doesn’t matter anymore when they’ve had so many hours to spend proving they can be just as adorably annoying as real little brothers. (I had to say “adorably” to be nice, but eldest sisters everywhere will know what I mean.)

The time with my sisters and my mom in the kitchen is such a blessing for me. Those couple hours of idle chatter make up the majority of my adult interaction for most weeks, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Today, I am a single mama of six, and family night is more important to me that it ever has been. My children get to spend time with their six uncles. Whether it’s driveway basketball, races on the TV in the garage, or wrestling on the living room floor, I am so thankful for these six brothers who make such a strong impression on my kids.

Granddawg the Party Animal

My dad is the king of party setups. If it’s hot, he will have a massive fan set up outside the garage, or a small air conditioner in the bed of a pickup truck. If it’s cold, he’ll have a fire going in the pit outside. Four-wheelers with trailers full of grandchildren, lawn mower rides, bounce houses, and sprinklers are some of the fun our legendary Grandawg has rigged up for the grandkids. They love him, and if there’s not a three year old clinging to him, it’s an odd day.

Four-wheelers with trailers full of grandchildren, lawn mower rides, bounce houses, and sprinklers are some of the fun our legendary Grandawg has rigged up for the grandkids. They love him, and if there’s not a three year old clinging to him, it’s an odd day.

Why Sunday Dinner is Crucial

Sunday dinner at Mima and Grandawg’s house is an integral part of our day of reconnecting. Our own family has time at home to be unscheduled; we have time at Mass to immerse ourselves in Our Lord, our parish family, and our Communion of Saints family.

Then dinner is for mom and dad, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins – with music in the driveway,  garage-band jamming, husbands and wives taking turns changing diapers, skinned knees, “circuses” put on by the smaller kids, shooing people out of the kitchen before dinner is ready, and sitting in lawn chairs around a fire after dark.

This is the day we reconnect. After Sunday dinner, we are replenished, ready for another week.

Sunday dinner is for mom and dad, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins – with music in the driveway,  garage-band jamming, husbands and wives taking turns changing diapers, skinned knees, “circuses” put on by the smaller kids, shooing people out of the kitchen before dinner is ready, and sitting in lawn chairs around a fire after dark.

Living In Lincoln

A Beautiful Catholic Culture

By Georgeanne Rashilla

Lincolnprocession1
Some of the 46 seminarians in the diocesan seminary lead a massive procession of thousands of Catholics in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2013.

My husband Rick and I have lived in the Lincoln Diocese for 19 years. We were not aware that the Diocese was very traditional until we moved here.  In fact, it was not really until we returned to Ohio for my father-in-law’s funeral in 2000 when we spoke with the priest who had married us and baptized our children that we knew there was a stigma about our Diocese.  Even that priest raised his eyebrows when we told him we were living in Lincoln.  But we also told him that we never felt closer to God or more committed to our Catholic faith.

I do know of people who have actually moved from across the world just to live in this Diocese.  It’s amazing and we feel so very blessed to live here.

WELCOMING BISHOP CONLEY: Seminarians in cassocks applaud their new Bishop.

From the very start, the authenticity of the Catholic teaching here – speaking from the pulpit about our history, emphasizing sacraments (especially Confession and the Eucharist), pro-life (including being faithful to not taking artificial contraception) – has truly challenged us to examine how we live our lives, what is Truth, and how to raise our children to be authentic Catholic Christians.

We have opportunities to participate in Bible studies and Pro-Life Conferences, and to serve the poor in Catholic Social Services or the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  And of course, the encouragement to step outside yourself and volunteer is always present.

I do know of people who have actually moved from across the world just to live in this Diocese. 

Amazing, Affordable, Faithful Catholic Schools

Photos by Cathy Blankenau Bender. Sister Mary Helen, C.K., with students at St. Teresa School in Lincoln, Neb.
The Lincoln diocesan schools feature Sisters in habits who live in community, teaching in the schools.

Both our children have been raised in Lincoln.  Their Catholic schools were much like what my husband and I experienced in our youth – Sisters in habits, who live community, teaching in the schools, and priests teaching at the high school level and visiting the grade schools.

In fact, about 11 years ago, my husband and I were forced to make a decision due to employment changes as to whether or not we would leave the Diocese.  The major factor in our staying in Lincoln was to keep our children in these Catholic Schools, where we felt a real foundation was being laid.

In Lincoln, Catholic schools thrive and are kept very affordable through the support of the parishes.  It helps also to have thriving Religious Sister communities here that help to keep the cost of Catholic education lower.  I think that means Catholic Education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.

LincolnPhoto by Cathy Blankenau Bender. Sister Mary Helen, C.K.,
Thriving Religious Sister communities in Lincoln ‘help to keep the cost of Catholic education lower. I think that means Catholic Education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.’
In the Lincoln diocese, Catholic education is not just for the elite, but for anyone who wants their child to have a good faith foundation.

The Catechetical program for the public school students is also well done.  And there is no shortage of priests either!  The influence of the priests teaching my children in the grade and high schools, leading Quest and TEC retreats, providing a summer Leadership Camp for young boys who serve on the altar along with the seminarians is an opportunity for them to consider their own vocations.

Our Newman Center

new fraternityhouse
CATHOLIC FRATERNITY BROTHERS: Outside their brand new home on the University of Nebraska campus.

Although we encouraged both our children to go away for college, neither has.  I believe their decisions were made in part because of the campus ministry at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  The Catholic Newman Center, with its 10 FOCUS missionaries, is thriving.  In fact, the daily Mass attendance every night is so large, and the Sunday Mass attendance so great that they are currently building a larger church. They’ve just completed the new Catholic fraternity, and will also build a Catholic sorority.   Bible studies abound both in the dorms and in the Greek houses.  The Newman Center is such a draw, that even the University advertises it in their materials to draw new students.

Why We Stayed

From the beginning we have been involved in both parish and school life.  I have served as President of one of the altar societies at my parish, President of the Parish Council of Catholic Women, currently Treasurer of that same organization.  I taught CCD for about 4 yrs.  My husband is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Together we have served as Presidents of the School Family Association at our parish grade school and later on the fundraising board for the high school.  We have both participated/led Bible studies or Leadership Conferences.  My husband also served on the fundraising board for our parish when we were building an addition to the church/school.

I can assure anyone who asks that the Catholic Diocese here is the main reason we have stayed all these years.  It is a beautiful Catholic culture.

Rick and I grew up in different parts of the country, moved as single people to various states, and only as a married couple did we move here in 1994.  We never would have thought that Lincoln, NE would be a place we’d be in for long.  I can assure anyone who asks that the Catholic Diocese here is the main reason we have stayed all these years.  It is a beautiful Catholic culture.

Back from the ‘Promised Land’

Our Move to Nebraska from California

You moved to be in the Lincoln diocese; was it a difficult move? Are you happy?

EileenWe were very concerned about the dramatic rise in crime, drugs and poverty that the city in which we lived was experiencing.  We were very concerned that, although our children attended our parish school, the catechesis they were receiving, particularly in terms of sacramental preparation, was poor at best.

We also started homeschooling in January 2011, before we moved to Lincoln.  The decision to homeschool really helped us make the decision that we needed to relocate to Lincoln.  We knew we wanted to raise our family in an environment which was safe, nurturing, and we could live our faith daily without having to apologize for being “too Catholic”.

We are very happy in Lincoln, NE, and hope to stay here permanently.

What are your new parishioners and neighborhood like, in contrast to California?

Photo by Cathy Blankenau Bender.St. Teresa School in Lincoln, Neb. pray before entering the school.
PRAYING AFTER RECESS helps students focus at St Theresa’s School in Lincoln, Nebraska. PHOTO CREDIT: Cathy Blankenau Bender

The Diocese of Lincoln is known for its orthodox bishop and priests.  Because of this, the community at St. Francis has not grown significantly over the years.  The people who attend St. Francis do so because they are dedicated to the TLM.

However, coming from our previous diocese, this is a huge improvement!  Our previous TLM experience consisted of priests coming in from out of town from as far away as five hours, to say the TLM.  The feeling that many TLMers had was one of the “ugly stepchild.”

The neighborhood in which we live now is in southwest Lincoln.  It is a very safe and friendly neighborhood.  My kids have introduced themselves to all of our neighbors and they have all been very friendly towards our kids, inviting them to play on their swing sets and use their basketball hoops without having to ask first.

I have no qualms about letting the kids play outside during the day without direct supervision.  In California, we lived in a gated community on a cul-de-sac.  Despite this, we did not know any of our neighbors, and I did not like sending the kids outside alone because I just did not feel that they were safe.

Do you have children? Are you homeschooling? Would you call it a healthy environment for kids?

We have three children, ages 12, 11 and 9.  We adopted the kids as a sibling group out of foster care in October 2006.  I have homeschooled all three children since January 2011.  Lincoln is a wonderful environment in which to raise a family.  There are many parks, hiking and biking trails throughout the city.  There is a terrific library system, and a number of kid-friendly museums.

The Catholic homeschooling community is strong, and it continues to get bigger and better every year.  Whenever we go somewhere in town and the kids tell people that they are homeschooled, the response is often, “You are so lucky!” or “What a blessing!”  We rarely received these responses in California about homeschooling, even from family and friends.

What have been your general impressions of the lay Catholics in Lincoln? The clergy?

lincolnsisters
EIGHTEEN ORDERS OF CATHOLIC SISTERS are present in the Diocese of Lincoln.

Even though we prefer attending the Traditional Latin Mass, it is such a relief to know that we can take our children to Mass anywhere in Lincoln and feel certain that they will not see the liturgical abuses that we witnessed in our previous diocese.  The Novus Ordo priests in the Diocese of Lincoln have been properly catechized, and I know that I will not hear anything from the pulpit that is contrary to the Church’s teachings.  I feel comfortable wearing my veil at any Mass, and do not get stared or glared at by others as we stay and pray after Mass.

All of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lincoln go to daily Mass.  What a blessing!  The parish school my children attended in California offered Mass only once a week.  Sadly, Mass was frequently canceled for reasons that were never made clear to us.

The diocesan clergy that I have met personally here in Lincoln have been wonderful.  Faith-filled men, dedicated to the Church, but not thrown off by the fact that we attend the TLM.  Some of the more recently ordained diocesan priests have learned how to say the Low Mass, and have offered a Low Mass for an end to abortion once a month.

LincolnprocessionbenderphotoAnother blessing has been discovering the women religious!  There are 18 orders in the Diocese of Lincoln!  And they all wear habits!  Before moving to Lincoln my children had never seen a sister in a habit.  Now, my children see these women in the community on a regular basis, and are able to say, “Hi Sister!” without staring or asking, “Who is that? Why is she dressed like that?”

The ministries these women offer are so valuable to the Lincoln community.  The Diocese of Lincoln was so blessed to have Bishop Bruskewicz at the helm for so many years, and the diocese continues to be blessed with Bishop Conley.  Clearly the faith-filled priests and women religious of Lincoln are a reflection of the orthodoxy of the Bishops of Lincoln.  The longer we live in Lincoln the more we discover what a blessing it is to live here.

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Your Boyfriend

First, do NOT read this article if you can’t handle the cold, hard truth. Go back to your Vampire Diaries.

Second, Catholics love sex. If you don’t believe me, read a little European history. Oh, and look at your own family. (Nuff said? Okay.)

Third, why on earth is sex such a big deal? It would be far easier for Catholics to just relax, already, and do what everyone else is doing – guilt free! Right?

Wrong. Read on, if you dare…

Not About Your Self-Esteem

You can relax, because I am not going to deliver a lecture on your self-esteem. Actually, I couldn’t care less about your self -esteem.

What I care about is you spending your youth bouncing from one guy to the next. It’s called ‘serial monogamy’ – and it’s all the rage with people in the 20-40 age group.

After that, the men settle down and marry a younger woman, if they are successful enough. Women get fat, bitter and depressed. (Or, they spend jillions on cosmetic treatments, marry a guy who is years younger and settle down to life as a successful cougar. NOT. Does the name ‘Demi Moore’ ring a bell?)

I am not going to deliver a lecture on your self-esteem. Actually, I couldn’t care less about your self -esteem.

So, how do you avoid this fate worse than death?

Excellent question!

Step One: Be honest. Admit that you want to get married and have a family. You don’t have to tell anyone this. Just admit it to yourself. (There, now doesn’t that feel better?)

Step Two: Look at your boyfriend. Is he sacramental marriage material?

Step Three: Learn what sacramental marriage material looks like. (See: “What a Catholic Husband Knows” below.)

Step Four: Repeat Step Two.

If your answer is ‘yes,’ then you need to exercise some self-control for the sake of your future marriage. (See: “Re-Virginization”)

If your answer is ‘no,’ then what are you doing wasting your time like this? (See: “How To Get On the Right Track For a Happy Future”)

Step Five: You and your boyfriend need to decide about marriage. Go to church, and pray for strength. A good first step is to sit down with your parish priest and ask his advice, together. He will probably tell you to enroll in Pre-Cana classes, which are designed to help you discern and prepare for the sacrament. Take it one day at a time, but move forward steadily towards your goal of a true Catholic marriage.

If you are playing the serial monogamy game, you should know that after a certain age, men settle down and marry a younger woman — if they are successful enough. Many women get fat, bitter and depressed. (Or, they spend jillions on cosmetic treatments, marry a guy who is years younger and settle down to life as a successful cougar. NOT. Does the name ‘Demi Moore’ ring a bell?)
why youshould
 

What a Catholic Husband Knows

Is your boyfriend sacramental marriage material?

What’s a ‘sacramental marriage,’ you ask?

For 2000 years, the Church has regarded marriage as a sacrament, an outward sign of God’s grace. This is in contrast to most religions, where marriage is a contract, which can be terminated when one or the other partner is unhappy.

Marriage was instituted – like all other sacraments – as a way to help you get to heaven. A Catholic husband knows what his job is: to help his wife and children get to heaven.

That’s his Prime Directive: He needs to do whatever needs to be done to help his wife and children be holy.

Why? Because he loves them, and he wants eternal life for them and himself.

This is why he works hard to earn a living. Not so he can have all the latest toys. That is called selfishness – just the same as you blowing all your money shopping.

This is why he insists on practicing your Faith. Not because he’s weird. Because he knows that is the way to grow closer and stay in the state of grace.

This is why he helps you whenever he can. Not because he’s a fair-minded feminist. Because he knows you need help, and he wants to make your life better. Why? Because that will help you be holier—and get you to heaven.

This is why he avoids pornography, excessive drinking, gambling, drugs and womanizing. Not because he’s boring. Because he knows all of that is ‘sin’ — the road to deep unhappiness for you, for him and for your future children.

So, does your boyfriend know all this? Do you think he is capable of committing himself to this goal, for the rest of his life?

If your answer is ‘yes,’ then you need to exercise some self-control for the sake of your future marriage. (See: “Re-Virginization” below.)

If your answer is ‘no,’ then what are you doing wasting your time like this? (See: “How To Get On the Right Track For a Happy Future” below.)

 A Catholic husband avoids pornography, excessive drinking, gambling, drugs and womanizing. Not because he’s boring.
whyyoushouldn't

 

Re-Virginization

It looks like you have a great future husband! So, let’s say you do marry this great guy.  How are you going to keep your love affair going? Through the jealousies, the stress, the diapers and babies crying at 4 am? Through losing your figure? Losing his job? Bad medical diagnoses? Sick children? Aged parents needing care? Money problems?

Seems impossible, and I have no doubt you have seen all kinds of relationships and marriages train wreck.  So what’s the difference between those and the old couples you see who have been happily married for 50 years?

Well, science has now proven what we all knew: It turns out that sex is key to happy marriages. A slew of recent studies confirm that married couples who practice their religion have the best sex.

More to the point, all kinds of studies show that delaying sex makes for happier marriages. Here’s just one:

A 2010 Journal of Family Psychology study involved 2,035 married participants in an online assessment of marriage called “RELATE.” According to the study, people who waited until marriage:

  • rated sexual quality 15% higher than people who had premarital sex
  • rated relationship stability as 22% higher
  • rated satisfaction with their relationships 20% higher

The benefits were about half as strong for couples who became sexually active later in their relationships but before marriage.[i]

A slew of recent studies confirm that married couples who practice their religion have the best sex.

Seems reasonable? But impossible? Because there is no such thing as ‘re-virginization’?

Take a deep breath. I know that you are already sleeping with him. And that stopping this seems like something you cannot do.

Actually, there is a chemical reason for this. It’s because your oxytocin level is very high. Oxytocin is called the ‘bonding’ hormone; women secrete oxytocin in lovemaking and breastfeeding. It’s the reason why your girlfriend can’t leave her bum of a boyfriend. It’s also the reason why battered women go back to the slimebags who beat them and cheat on them.

It’s not because women are stupid. It’s because of oxytocin.

It’s the reason why your girlfriend can’t leave her bum of a boyfriend. It’s also the reason why battered women go back to the slimebags who beat them and cheat on them. It’s not because women are stupid. It’s because of oxytocin.

So, how do you fight the chemical in your bloodstream?

Don’t trigger it.

Oxytocin levels rise when women come into contact with men they have slept with. The closer he gets, the more your oxytocin levels rise. The higher your oxytocin levels, the less able you are to think objectively about your loved one. You are bonded to him.

Hmmm, could this be why traditional cultures insisted that courting couples never be left alone?

So, now what?

Now you need to talk to your man.  Tell him that you love him, and that you want a future with him. Assure him that there is nobody else in your life. Explain that you want to keep seeing him, but that your sexual relationship needs to stop unless and until you are married.

You will have a LOT of ‘splaining to do, but his reaction will tell you A LOT about whether he is, indeed, sacramental marriage material.

If he is surprised, chagrined but ultimately respectful, go to Step Five.

If he gets angry, sulks or tries to over-ride your wishes, see: “How to Get On the Right Track For a Happy Future.”

Explain that you want to keep seeing him, but that your sexual relationship needs to stop unless and until you are married.
How to Get On the Right Track for a Happy Future

First, if your boyfriend has agreed to abstain from sex, stop right here and go to Step Five above.

However, if you have decided that this guy isn’t for you, you need to end this bad relationship and free yourself for a good relationship that will lead to a happy, Catholic marriage. This isn’t easy, but you have to face facts: you have already wasted enough time as it is.

Step One: No contact. Not even once. Do not try to be friends. Do not waste your time trying to make him happy. Soon enough, he will find some else and will have moved on – probably before you are over him. (You can pray for him of course.)

Step Two: Go to confession. Get this off your chest. Ask the priest for his guidance on how to get yourself on the right road. Establish a regular prayer routine whereby you focus your requests for help in finding a good, Catholic spouse. Pray for strength and perseverance.

Step Three: Focus your efforts on finding a good, Catholic man. Here’s a few ideas: Polish up a profile on Catholic Match or Ave Maria Singles. Research Catholic events or conferences you would like to attend. Find yourself a vital parish. (Hint: Latin Mass parishes are teeming with young adults.) Get involved with your parish doing all sorts of great religious and social events.

You need to end this bad relationship and free yourself for a good relationship that will lead to a happy, Catholic marriage. This isn’t easy, but you have to face facts: you have already wasted enough time as it is.

And pray that God sends you a good, Catholic spouse.

 

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/20101227/theres-benefits-in-delaying-sex-until-marriage

 

Clues to Britain’s Catholic Past

What’s in a ‘Christian’ Name?

The English school application form stopped me dead in my tracks. What was my son’s ‘Christian’ name?

It was long ago in the U.S. that we abandoned this terminology, ostensibly for fear of offending non-Christians. (As a result, many Americans now invent their children’s first names out of whole cloth, with lamentable results. Or name them after celebrities. Actually, sometimes it’s hard to decide which is worse.)

Digressions aside, what exactly, is a Christian name? My Anglican friends think this a very strange question, until I point out that Christian names are actually saints’ names, or biblical names.

Names are manifestations of a culture. For centuries, Catholics, orthodox Christians and many Protestants have given their children the names of saints. This was done as a religious talisman and also as a life-long reminder of the careers of these successful Christians. In some countries people celebrated the feast days of their name saints in lieu of their ‘birth’ days.

Despite reformation and secularism, it is a sign of the ongoing English respect for Christian tradition that the country’s most popular baby names in 2012 still derive from these Catholic sources. It may be a sign that most of us don’t know history that ‘Oliver’ — the third most popular name for boys — is the name of the last Catholic martyr in England (see chart).

Interestingly, the other five of the six top baby names in England are foreign – French, Spanish, Belgian, German and Jewish – saints.  Perhaps this is another cultural clue, harkening back to a time when England was part of an international Catholic civilization?

So, here’s the full Catholic treatment for the top six baby names in England in 2012:

 

2012   Popular Baby Name* The   Saint’s Story The   Saint in Art
BOYS    
  1.   Harry
From St. Henry, Holy Roman Emperor from   1014-1024, the only German monarch ever to be canonized.                                                                    St Henry     
  1.   Jack
From St. John. There are more than 70 saints by   this name, derived from John the Baptist (Jesus’s cousin, depicted right, by   El Greco) or John the Evangelist, one of the four Gospel writers.     Jack
  1.   Oliver
St.   Oliver Plunkett, archbishop of Ireland. On   1 July 1681 (aged 51), Plunkett became the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England when   he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.     Oliver
GIRLS    
  1.   Amelia
From   Saint Amalberga   of Maubeuge, a Belgian who was the mother of five saints; she died in 773.   There have been several other saints with this name since.     amelia
  1.   Lily
From   Saint Liliosa, a lay woman in Moorish- controlled 9th   century Cordoba, Spain. Lily was cruelly martyred for   appearing in public with her face exposed during the persecutions of Caliph Abderraham II.     Lily
  1.   Emily
St. Emily de Vialar, Foundress of the   Sisters of St. Joseph “of the   Apparition” in France. She is the patron saint of single women and neglected   children.  She died in 1856.       Emily
    SOURCE: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/