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Austin, Texas, Sep 18, 2014 / 04:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A pair of Catholic authors has found a new way to give mothers some time off while helping break the social isolation that can sometimes come with modern parenting: throw a weekend-long party just for moms.

“We just felt a need to bring all these women together and just let them relax and be pampered and put their feet up and just be rejuvenated through relaxation,” conference co-founder and author Hallie Lord told CNA.

Along with fellow mom and author, Jennifer Fulwiler, Lord decided that mothers needed some way to connect with each other and have a refreshing weekend away from their daily responsibilities which are admittedly difficult, but also “so beautiful.”

Their solution was the Edel Gathering – a weekend full of fellowship, relaxation and pampering for moms that would help renew them to go back and fully live out their vocations as wives and mothers knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.

The Edel Gathering, held in Austin, Texas from July 25-27, featured talks from Catholic speakers, a karaoke dance party and plenty of downtime to socialize or relax. More than 200 women from around the country came to the inaugural event.

“I think when you take all the wonderful retreats and you put it together with a party for Catholic moms, then you’re really getting to the point where Catholic moms can put that together and have this great package of things that they need and maybe are missing in their day-to-day life,” Lord said.

Named after an Irish laywoman, Venerable Edel Quinn, the conference focused on helping mothers realize that they are not alone in their daily struggles. Many miraculous healings and interventions have been credited to the woman, but one in particular stood out to the organizers.

One night, a woman with several young children – who was friends with Edel – was walking across a bridge in Dublin in a state of deep depression and despair. She was tempted to end her life by throwing herself into the water below, but was distracted when she saw her friend Edel walking by in a crowd.

The woman was happy to see her friend back in Dublin, but when she tried to find her in the crowd, Edel was gone. The woman later read that Edel had actually died doing mission work in Nairobi shortly before she saw her on the bridge.

“As I said at (the conference), it is my fervent hope that none of the women there faced that kind of crisis, but … I think every mother out there has those moments where they look heavenward and say ‘I don’t think I can do this for another day. I don’t even know if I can get through this day. This is so hard and I am so ill-equipped’,” Lord reflected.

“We just wanted to feel like we could come together and petition Edel Quinn to become a part of our lives and be with us in those moments and strengthen us and reassure us that yes, you can get through this.”

Lord and Fulwiler wanted to make sure that no attendee felt left out, so they included ample time for socializing as part of the scheduled events.

“It really worked out wonderfully. I don’t feel like there were any cliques or that anyone felt excluded,” Lord said.

On Friday night, guests were welcomed by a Crazy Shoes and Cocktails party to help women get to know each other before the event began. On Saturday, attendees listened to a talk by award-winning journalist Marion Fernández-Cueto, and were then given a few hours to check out vendor tables or have some quiet time in the mother’s nursing room before another talk by Catholic mom Haley Stewart of the blog Carrots for Michaelmas.

In the evening, guests sat down to dinner and a talk from Jennifer Fulwiler. After that, moms were encouraged to hit the dance floor with a karaoke dance party.

“Everyone felt so uninhibited and so confident. All of those fears and insecurities that we usually carry around as women, somehow they all dissipated,” Lord said.

She and Fulwiler are already hard at work planning next year’s conference to be held in Charleston, S.C., July 10-11.


Vatican City, Sep 18, 2014 / 04:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As Pope Francis' council of cardinals for curia reform gather this week in Rome, the newly-created Pontifical Commission for Protection for minors will soon meet to finish creating its statutes.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican's press office, announced in a briefing with journalists Sep. 17 that the commission will hold its next meeting Oct. 4-5.

Monsignor Robert W. Oliver was appointed secretary of the commission Sep. 10, and that same day Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston was confirmed president of the commission.

As the commission takes shape, Fr. Lombardi underscored that “in the next few weeks other very important aspects will be specified regarding the statutes and further members of the commission.”

Msgr. Oliver immediately stressed that his first effort will be that of identifying new members for the commission, in order to include Asia, Africa and South America and thus represent all the world geographical areas.

The new secretary will also work on the statutes, harmonizing with the work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Speaking on the sixth overall gathering of the cardinals' council which took place this time around from Sep. 15-17, Fr. Lombardi said that a draft introduction of the new constitution for general curia reform “was also drawn up and distributed.”

The council was chosen by Pope Francis shortly after his election in 2013 to advise him on matters of Church governance and curia reform. As part of this effort, the minors' protection committee was launched within the year. It aims to provide a model for practices which provide an adequate and pastoral response to situations of abuse.

Fr. Lombardi said that Cardinal Oscar Andrés Maradiaga, coordinator of the council, “has prepared an overall plan to facilitate the organization of the contributions and reflections already offered during the previous meetings and the integration of new ones.”

Each cardinal of the council has been entrusted with a specific area he has to deal with, and each of them has presented several proposals.

During the last meeting, the council focused on two principal topics, Fr. Lombardi said.

The first “includes the themes of the laity and the family,” a “very broad area, encompassing many issues, including for instance the role of women in society and in the Church, youth, childhood or matters related to lay associations.”

The second dealt with “themes linked to justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology,” he recounted.

Both of this discussion dealt about how “these topics may be included in the Curia reform,” Fr. Lombardi said.

It has been widely speculated that the curia reform will streamline its offices by creating two super-congregations: one for Justice and Peace, which would include the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Migrants and Cor Unum; and another Congregation for Laity, including competences and offices of the Pontifical Councils for Laity, Family and Pastoral Health Care.

The next meetings of cardinals are scheduled for Dec. 9-11 of this year and Feb. 9-11, 2015.


St. Joseph of Cupertino
9/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
On September 18, the Church celebrates the life of St. Joseph of Cupertino, a mystic who was perhaps most famous for his ability to fly.  His father, a poor carpenter, died before his birth and his mother, who was unable to pay the debts, lost her home and gave birth to Joseph in a stable at Cupertino, Italy on June 17, 1603.Joseph began having mystical visions when he was seven, and was often so lost to the world around him that the other children made fun of him giving him the nickname, "open-mouthed" for his gaping manner.He had an irascible temper and read very poorly, giving others the impression that he was dumb and good for nothing. Aside from that, he was so continually drawn into ecstasy that it was impossible for him to be attentive to the tasks at hand. Thus, when he secured a job, he lost it very quickly.He finally managed to obtain a post taking care of a stable in a Franciscan convent near Cupertino. Upon realizing his holiness and aptitude for penance, humility, and obedience, it was decided that he could begin studying for the priesthood.Joseph was a very poor student, however during his final examination, the examiner happened to ask him a question on the one topic he knew well.  He passed and was admitted into the priesthoodIt was also soon recognized that though he knew little by way of worldly knowledge and had little capacity to learn, Joseph was infused with a divine knowledge that made him capable of solving some of the most intricate theological quandaries.For the last 35 years of his life as a priest he was unable to celebrate Mass in public because he would often, without being able to help it, be lifted up into the air when he went into an ecstatic state, which happened at nearly every Mass.  It took only the slightest reference of anything having to do with God in order for this state to be induced in him.Despite being moved from one friary to another, because of the disruption he caused by his ecstasies and the persecutions he endured from some of his brothers who were envious of his gifts, he remained profoundly inundated by the joy of abandoning himself to Divine Providence.He died on September 18, 1663 and was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.  He is the patron of air travelers and students preparing for exams.

First Reading - 1 Cor 15: 1-11
9/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
1 Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; 2 By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures: 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen by Cephas; and after that by the eleven.6 Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once: of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have laboured more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me.11 For whether I, or they, so we preach, and so you have believed.

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