Follow by Email

Pray for Me: A Geeky Review

After Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, I am sure that many individuals sought to learn more about this new Vicar of Christ. I was certainly one of these individuals. I scoured the internet to find out what I could about Pope Francis and the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to know about his background, his words, and the manner in which he would lead the Church. Robert Moynihan's 'Pray for Me' is a great introduction to Pope Francis. Moynihan explores the upbringing of young Jorge Bergoglio, as an Argentinian born to immigrants that were neither extremely wealthy nor extremely poor. He shares tidbits of Bergoglio's childhood that help piece together the story of the man who continues to capture the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He writes about Bergoglio's love of soccer, a childhood crush on a girl (apparently he one day said he'd either marry her or become a priest), his upbringing, and his calling to the priesthood. Quoting friends, family, parishioners, and some pretty unlikely indivuals (like Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen), Moynihan brings to light many of the moments in Bergoglio's life that helped define the Pope that continues to surprise us.

We learn of his grandmother's simple faith and how this faith continues to move him now (he still quotes his grandmother in his homilies). We learn about the poverty he confronted as a priest and bishop and how he called parishioners and priests alike to action so that the poorest of the poor could receive communion, be fed, and be reintegrated into the community. We learn more about that moment in his young adult life when God's grace and mercy touched him in a way that solidified his vocation and ultimately inspired the papal motto "miserando atque eligendo."

At the time of this book's publication, we were only just beginning to know Pope Francis (and we still are getting to know him). However, this book has turned out to be somewhat prophetic. At least, it has helped explain some of the words and actions of Pope Francis since its publication. While writing this book, Moynihan did not follow in the footsteps of various media outlets by speculating about Pope Francis's intentions for the Church and inventing secret agendas for every word and action of Pope Francis. Instead, he gives readers an inside look into the people and things that have shaped Pope Francis and lets them make their own conclusions. There are some instances where Moynihan gets a bit sentimental, but he still seems to understand Pope Francis's mission (a good example is when he explains to a journalist friend about the manner in which Pope Francis gave a silent, private blessing to a group of journalists versus the traditional spoken prayer). Moynihan seems to understand Pope Francis quite well...partly because he is Catholic (and thus, actually understands the Pope in a way that secular media may not) and partly because he writes and analyzes situations as a journalist. With that being said, is is quite obvious that Moynihan really did his homework collecting homilies, eyewitness accounts, and interviews to piece together Pope Francis's biography and mission.

One of my favorite parts about this book was that Moynihan dedicated a section to the words of Pope Francis himself. Moynihan breaks down these homilies into sections such as "The Future," "Suffering," "Culture," "Sin," "Loneliness," "Death," and various other topics. I can picture readers dog-earing sections as they become relevant to their lives....because the lessons present in each second are beautiful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a good idea of who Pope Francis really is and not what the media wants him to be. There are plenty of misunderstandings and misinformation when it comes to Pope Francis, so it was quite nice reading a book that remains centered and attempts to stick to the facts rather than assumptions. I found myself falling in love with Pope Francis over and over again as Moynihan quoted some of the homilies he had given over the years preceding his papacy. I fell in love after reading some of the stories from his childhood and early adulthood...especially when I began to realize just how much I have in common with him in terms of upbringing, family ties, jokes, etc. This book was a quick, refreshing read and will certainly help you get to know Pope Francis a little bit better.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are my own. I was not paid for my review. I was given a free copy of "Pray for Me" by Blogging for Books for review.

Pax Vobiscum

Mass-Appropriate Attire

To the husband this morning: "You're wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt to mass?!?!"
Image Credit: Evilqueen112 at Deviant Art
I don't really mind what everyone else wears to mass, but Led Zeppelin from the man who just three weeks ago was standing at the altar with me wearing coat-tails and a bow tie? Fortunately, my husband *changed his mind* about the t-shirt. Okay, maybe I had something to do with it...

After the looks of disapproval, I went into the closet and picked out a nice white cotton button down shirt, a blue pinstripe vest, and a black Irish flat cap. He switched up the pants he was going to wear and next thing you know...I've got the most dapper man sitting next to me during mass. Huzzah!
Very dashing if I do say so myself...

Pax vobiscum

GUESS WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL?!?!

You all probably heard a girlish squeel a few minutes ago. The source of that squeel was me and I have no regrets. Why? BECAUSE THIS AWESOME SHIRT CAME IN! The super fast shipping is definitely a +1 for Monkrock. It feels like just yesterday I was contemplating the purchase of this gorgeous tee. 

Now I am all ready for the canonization of Bl. JPII! Just look at the joy on my face! 

Here I am sporting the coolest shirt I ever owned!

And just look at the back of this awesome shirt! Even more Bl. JPII! 
Here I am pointing to the name of one of the greatest popes we've ever known!

Speaking of more B. JPII, Monkrock is currently running a promotion with these shirts....so you get a free book on Bl. JPII that is full of images, biographic information, and all kinds of other material that I've only been able to skim through thus far (and promises to be a good read). 

My day is made (which is saying something because I spent 5.5 hours of my day slicing a brain).

Pax vobiscum! 

MONKROCK MUST HAVE!!!

I think it goes without saying that I love Bl. John Paul II....soon-to-be Saint John Paul the Great. He's a saint in my book as far as I am concerned, but I think many of you can say the same. Well, in an effort to be more in the know with the happening New Evangelization scene, I have started following more and more Catholic pages, groups, people, etc. on Facebook, Twitter, email updates, etc. One of the cool sites I've started following is MONKROCK and boy do they have some awesome Catholic garb for sale. They also have some pretty awesome bloggers on board that are worth a read as well as many great graphics that embrace the brand of Catholicism that the world pretty much wishes was dead.


They tend to post some pretty cool stuff, whether it is prayers, quotes by saints, scripture, and many other updates that will make up for at least some of the rubbish you will typically see in your friends feed. Among all the posts I have been liking lately (many of which are Divine Mercy Chaplet prayers), one of the coolest things they have posted is the old-school soccer jersey below. Just in time for the upcoming canonization of one of Catholicism's most beloved popes....even if Poland never made it to World Cup 2014. *SIGH* I suppose Bl. JPII was busy interceding for other more important causes than Poland's victory in the World Cup. For the record, my family is very Portuguese...so it goes without saying that I come from a soccer-loving/football-loving culture. As Portuguese as my background may be, I have always and will always root for Team Poland when it comes to the World Cup. There's something about cheering for the underdog...or maybe I just can't help but sympathize with this great nation (seriously, read up on Poland's history, these people are the epitome of courage under fire). Okay, enough about this great nation..BACK TO THIS EPIC JERSEY. I want it. I must have it. It is simply too awesome to not be in my possession right now. 
Unless a meteor falls on my laptop, I will soon be the proud owner of this jersey. If I haven't convinced you to buy it yet, just check out the sweet product description:


Perfect for World Youth Day 2015 in Poland! This throwback soccer jersey honors Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who will soon be canonized a saint. The Pope's native country Poland (Polska) is on the front along with his Totus Tuus ("Totally Yours") papal seal. On the back is the Pope's last name (Wojtyla) and the number 05 signifying the year of his passing (2005). White Design [Front & Back] on Red Jersey / 50% Polyester, 50% Cotton / © 2012 MONKROCK, LLC - See more at: http://monkrock.com/index.cfm?load=page&page=36&group=52#sthash.OzANOazj.dpuf

I can already see myself slicing brains in the lab, rocking this gorgeous jersey. It's evangelizing potential is astronomical. I can already see the curious looks that lead to questions and conversations about one of the greatest popes of all time. I can see myself riding the subway with rosary in hand, making Bl. JPII proud as I pray the mysteries and evangelize by example. I can see this jersey pop up 20 years ago as I am flipping through the family photos with my children...cousins, you name it. I will tell them of the awesomeness that was Bl. JPII. Whovians the world over will fawn over their first Doctor. Catholics, on the other hand, fawn over their first Pope. As much as I love Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis, there will always be a special place in my heart for my first Pope, Bl. John Paul II...and I can commemorate this love with this awesome shirt. Now please excuse me as I go make the purchase!

Pax Vobiscum

Pictures of me in this jersey to follow....HUZZAH!


***Update, the jersey has been ordered!***

Catholic Science Geek: Wedding Edition

It's been a little over 2 weeks since my wedding on the feast day of St. Faustina Kowalksa (October 5th). I haven't had the heart to post about it until now because a week after the wedding took place, my dad made an awful discovery. Our house had been robbed and someone had stolen my mom's jewelry, wedding banns, and even the jewelry that my sisters and I had gotten when we were young. It's been quite a mess and I have had a tough time accepting that so many of these things are missing...mostly because of the sentimental value. Fortunately, some of my mom's not-so-valuable jewelry was spared...along with her engagement ring (thankfully the thief managed to overlook this). I know these things are just things, but they all had stories and can never truly be replaced. This is especially true for the items that had been given to us by loved ones who had passed away. My dad was heartbroken along with the rest of us about these things being gone and as happy as I was about my wedding...I have had a tough time being happy about it this past week. However, today I have decided to at least try celebrating everything in spite of this evil act and the many sorrows that have followed it.

Today, I will share with you one of the happiest days of my life.
___________________________________________

Below is a photograph of my family and me. I went for a fifties look with the dress. I got up at 5 or so that morning to get my hair and makeup done (so that I could look like a girl and not a lab rat) and was very excited by the beautiful work done. I gave the bridesmaids a bit of freedom with regards to dresses and dress colors. They settled for these very cute navy blue dresses. I have a friend who makes fascinators and she ended up doing a lovely job on the bridesmaids fascinators. Please, please visit her site and check out her very lovely works! You will not be disappointed if you order one or two...TRUST ME. They got so many compliments! (A link to her etsy shop: Madame Merrywidow Hats and Accessories


I purchased the vintage pill box hat veil on Etsy. The dried flower and birch bride bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, and altar flowers were all purchased from a lovely little Etsy shop called New Hampshire Woods Creations. They were very sturdy, beautiful, and well-made. Ostentatious rose and ranunculus arrangements just aren't my style and I loved the idea of a dried flower arrangement alternative. It ended up working really well with the feel of the wedding. The shoes were white leather heels with straps at the top (which I ditched  for white tennis shoes in the parking lot of the church following the service and photographs...as I am way too practical to ever suffer in the name of beauty). 

My husband picked out some pretty great suits for the groomsmen. Coat-tails! Suspenders! Bow ties! Navy blue vests! All of the gentlemen looked very handsome in their ensembles...but the most handsome man there was the groom (and I was the lucky girl who got to marry him!). My dad did his own thing when it came to dressing up for the big day (I can assure you that he would probably never wear coat-tails and I respect that). One very sweet thing he did was wear the tie he wore to his own wedding. He told me this as I was waiting for our turn in the procession preceding the mass. Yes, I cried. Yes, he tried his best to distract me from all of those overwhelming feelings that come over brides right before the big moment. I even got a Salazar joke before we made our grand entrance. I laugh when I get nervous, so I actually ended up laughing  on my way up the aisle. 
I walked in to "Pescador the Hombres" as it is a song that will forever remind my of my mom, who used to sing in the choir for Portuguese mass. 
Excerpt from Wedding Program
We tried going for a bit of Lord of the Rings feel here...with the script and border.
The following pictures were taken during the mass, exchange of vows, and exchange of rings...unfortunately there are no images (yet) of the groom tripping after the floral offering...or images of me catching him before he fell. Crazy story, at the first church we visited following our marriage...I tripped in the front of the church after we lit candles and said prayers for loved ones. My husband caught me before I fell. Can you say match made in heaven? 
Exchanging Vows... In all honesty at this part of the ceremony,
it felt like it was just me, the groom, the padre, and God. According to witnesses,
 it even looked like we were in our own little world.
Oh, and check out the shoes...you won't see these awesome(ly painful) shoes for long...

Exchanging rings...I can only imagine how many iPhones and such were pulled out during this part...

The happy couple...just look at the bow tie and coat tails!! So debonaire!
Better yet, just look at those smiles...

Walking hand in hand as husband and wife! Oh snap!
The ceremony was one of the most beautiful events I have ever experienced. But the reception wasn't too bad either!
Yep, that is a handmade Tardis on top of the cake
EX-TER-MIN-ATE!
Our wedding reception took place the Richfield Regency. They did a phenomenal job with everything. They do wedding packages. You get food, the wedding cake, linens, etc. thrown into a package as well as an ice sculpture at  no added cost. I never wanted an ice sculpture and neither did the husband...but it came as part of the package and we decided that if we would have to get a ice sculpture...we may as well have fun with it. Forget ice swans and ice hearts with our names carved into them. Those are too boring. The sculpture we settled on, however, not so much. 

A TARDIS ice sculpture is so awesome!!!
We both LOVED it and a bunch of guests (including those who weren't Whovians) thought it was cool. I think we may have even helped people get interested in the show by explaining to them what the daleks and TARDIS were all about. I liked how we both managed to infuse our wedding with subtle touches of geekiness in a way that wasn't too overpowering.
Close-up of the TARDIS ICE SCULPTURE!
In case you are wondering, the husband is a HUGE Star Wars fan. We compromised on our first dance song. He agreed we could dance to "All I want is You" by U2 if we used this as our entrance music....


The things I do for love...


The Father and Daughter dance was De Nina a Mujer by Julio Iglesias
We laughed the whole time once we realized that neither of us really knew how to dance.
Notice the comfy tennis shoes I am wearing?
The best man speech and maid of honor speech were both hysterical. Everyone enjoyed them, as evidenced by the laughs as well as the spontaneous Bono versus Lennon shouting match. My husband and I first ended up together following and epic argument over who was better...Bono or John Lennon. The fight goes on to this day...but it was nice seeing how my half of the wedding guests rooted for Bono while the husband's half rooted for Lennon. All I can say is that Bono is obviously champion...

I didn't do a garter toss, but I did do a bouquet toss with a twist. I tied a bunch of nerdy wishes to rose stems and threw a bunch of roses at the group of ladies who came out to the dance floor to Beastie Boys' "Hey Ladies." (The wedding party were introduced to Beastie Boys Intergalactic.)

The husband and I ended up going to Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA for our honeymoon. We intend to go to Europe at some point for an extensive honeymoon...but at present, the days we spent in New Hope and Lambertville were absolutely wonderful and fantastic enough to be considered a true Honeymoon. We visited a beautiful church there, we thoroughly enjoyed a black out (drinking digestifs as we waited for the rain to stop), we tried Cajun food, we window shopped to our hearts content, we vintage shopped to our hearts' content, we went on nice walks together, we enjoyed nature together, and we had a very relaxing time doing the things we enjoy best (mainly trying new foods, sharing a drink or two, and having conversations about everything and nothing at all).

And there you have it...the wedding. It was awesome. 

The wedding party!
So many wonderful people!
Pax Vobiscum