Sunday, May 29, 2022

I Love Learning about New to Me Saints - St. Peter Yu Tae-Chol, A Fabulous Confirmation Saint

My youngest son has been preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, and, finally picked his patron saint - St. Peter Yu Tae-chol.

"Who is that?" you might ask. I know I did when my son came to me and told me he'd settled on this particular saint. {Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.}

Then, my son went on to explain that he had read about St. Peter Yu Tae-chol in Radiate: More Stories of Daring Saints and liked him.

Upon hearing this and noting that St. Peter Yu Tae-chol was the last saint discussed in the book, I wondered if my son had just picked the last saint he read about, so I asked him to think and pray more to be sure this saint is the one calling to him. He did, and, in the end, came back and confirmed St. Peter Yu Tae-chol would be his saint. At this point, having prayed often and much myself over the last year to whatever saint was calling my son to make himself apparent, and having researched St. Peter Yu Tae-chol a bit more myself, I happily embraced my son's choice, confident that St. Peter Yu Tae-chol picked my son as much as my son picked him. So it was that my son and I sat down one day and as a combined English and faith lessons, worked on notetaking and essay writing so he could write the brief essay on his chosen saint that our priest requested.
The following is what he turned in, which I share with excitement wondering if St. Peter Yu Tae-chol might call out to you and yours as well.

 To Live and Die a Christian

like St. Peter Yu Tae-chol 

    I have chosen St. Peter Yu Tae-chol as my confirmation saint because he respected his non-Christian family members and others while still refusing to deny Christ. He was also brave up until his death as the youngest Korean martyr canonized by St. John Paul II in 1984. When Peter was a young boy, his father Augustine taught him about the faith and Peter became Catholic against his mother’s wishes. Although Peter’s mother and sisters were not Catholic, he still treated them with respect and obeyed his mother in all things except when it came down to his religious practices. This is relevant to me because some of my immediate and extended family, plus some of my friends, do not believe in Christ while others do believe in Him, but don’t believe in the Catholic faith. St. Peter Yu Tae-chol is an inspiration to me about how to respect these people while still staying strong in my beliefs. I would like him to intercede for me with this.

    The other main reason I chose St. Peter Yu Tae-chol is because of his bravery. When Peter was a young teenager, his father Augustine was imprisoned for his faith. Peter’s mother strongly encouraged Peter to deny his faith so he would not be thrown into jail, too. Refusing to deny his faith, though, Peter turned himself in. While in prison, he was tortured 14 times, lashed six times, and clubbed 45 times. Through all of this, he stayed strong and brave. At one point, a guard threatened to put a hot coal on Peter’s tongue if he continued to refuse to deny his faith. Boldly, Peter opened his mouth. The guard was shocked and did not carry through on his threat. Another time, even though Peter was the youngest among the imprisoned Christians, he urged and encouraged others,  including priests and bishops, to remain faithful. He even said to one older prisoner, “You are a catechist and a grown man. I am only a boy; it is you who ought to be exhorting me to suffer courageously; how comes it that we have changed places? Return yourself, and die for Jesus Christ.” Soon after that, Peter’s father was beheaded and, then, on October 31, 1839 Peter was martyred through strangulation. Peter lived his short life with fortitude and faith.

At Confirmation, we become warriors for Christ. Like St. Peter Yu Tae-chol, I am young and want to be a soldier for Christ with qualities like Peter had. I would like to stay strong among non-Christian family and friends and live and die a Christian. (I am not sure I want to be martyred though.)

I just love it! What a perfect saint for my son and a good candidate for other young people who need to stand strong, yet respectful in the face of non-believers. If you know anything else about St. Peter Yu Tae-chol, I'd love to hear about it! Tell me, so I can share it with my son. I'd also love to hear who you or your children have picked as a Confirmation Saint and why.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Begin a Rosary Cenacle

"What a cenacle?" a relative asked when we mentioned that we had plans to go to one this weekend.

"It's when we get together with other families, pray the Rosary, have a teaching, go to Confession if we wish, eat, play, hang out with the a potluck, but with a focus on faith and community," was my honest reply.

Later, it occurred to me that I did not actually know what the word cenacle meant. Throughout the past several years, I had been taking my family to small- and larger- group Rosary Cenacles with the wonderful Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, but had somehow missed whatever the formal definition for a cenacle is.

So, I did some research and discovered that the
 Cenacle is the room where Jesus and the 12 Disciples met for the Last Supper and from it has sprung the idea of modern Cenacles where Catholics come together to pray to Jesus through Mary. So, I guess I was not far off in the explanation I gave my relative, and, most certainly, I am blessed to be able to be a part of beautiful local cenacles where we pray the Rosary, have catechism, enjoy games and family activities, eat together, etc.

Perhaps you and yours could start or begin a cenacle near you, too.

Undoubtedly, it would please Our Lady, who, at Fatima in 1917, enjoined:

I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day.

It would also follow suit with Saint Padre Pio's wonderful recommendation:

Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.

And, of course, it would prepare you and yours in a very important way!

At a church, in your home, in a community center, wherever, you could gather with others - and with a priest if possible - consider beginning a cenacle with purpose.

For more information and ideas:

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Choosing a Confirmation Sponsor

Do you have a child readying for Confirmation? Has your child picked a sponsor? If not, perhaps the questions I have prepared for my son can help your child, too.

My youngest has been preparing for Confirmation lately and, among other things, has been thinking hard about who to ask to be his Confirmation sponsor.

 Our priest encourages Confirmandi to select a sponsor who is of their same sex, is not their Godparent, does not live with them, and who will take the responsibility seriously.

With that in mind, my son and I talked about the
 primary responsibility of a sponsor, which is to provide a candidate prayerful support and guidance in his or her Christian walk and to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (Canon 892).

We also talked about how, even though many do not realize it, being a sponsor is a lifelong commitment, since a sponsor takes on the role of a spiritual parent who “brings the candidate to receive the sacrament, presents him to the minister for the anointing, and will later help him to fulfill his baptismal promises faithfully under the influence of the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Confirmation 5). Somehow, I did not realize this when I was confirmed and wanted to be sure my son did.

So, as he continues to think about who his sponsor might be, I've encouraged him to ask himself five questions:

1. Who do  I know who is an enthusiastic, committed Catholic that lives a life of faith and will want to help me to do so? 

2.  Who is someone who would be willing to pray regularly for me and with me? 

3.  Who do  I have a good relationship with now and who can  I see supporting and encouraging me in the future in person and via letters, emails, calls, etc.?

4. Will the person  I have in mind be able to be there on my Confirmation day?   

 5. Will he guide me into a more 
personal relationship with the Lord and to a deeper familiarity “with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life” (CCC 1309)? 

Additionally, I have asked my son to think about who he would actually be willing to approach and ask to be his sponsor, because, when it all comes down to it, this is his walk of faith, not mine, and he needs to do the asking.

I cannot wait to see who he picks, and I hope the questions I have shared help you and yours when it comes time to pick Confirmation sponsors.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Follow a Daring WWII Rescue in the Christian Historical Fiction: Prisoner of War {A Whatsoever Stories / Homeschool Review Crew Review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

If you're looking to connect World War II history with some Christian fiction for reading aloud or independently, Whatsoever Stories is a place to look. We've recently had the opportunity to review one of their new releases, Prisoner of War by Kinsey M. Rocket, and have enjoyed it.

Prisoner of War is well done.

Prisoner of War begins with action and continues to engage throughout.

The story centers around an attempt to save over 100 unarmed men from a POW camp under German control during World War II
and moves back and forth between what is happening with the imprisoned characters and what the men of the Wings of Service - who plot to save the POW's - are doing.

Switches in location/scene are indicated by visual breaks in the text. 

(When reading aloud, I indicated the switch by saying things like, "back to the POW's", "scene change," or "back to the Wings of Service" to help my son follow along without the visual cue of the stars.)

Whatsoever Stories

The book is intended for readers 12 years old or older, but I believe can be enjoyed by families with younger children as well. It is definitely written with an aim to engage readers while honoring Christ, and, as it says in the front pages of the book and on the Whatsoever Stories website:

"The purpose behind Whatsoever Stories is to produce wholesome, God-honoring books that parents can trust to uphold biblical principles and that will give young people good things with which to feed their minds so that good things can come forth from them." 

Prisoner of War fits this mission, and, although intended for readers 12 years old or older,  could be enjoyed by families with younger children as well I believe.

My son enjoyed this Christian historical fiction book.

When I asked my son for his thoughts for this review, he said:

My mom and I have been reading Prisoner of War recently. I have found it to be an interesting historical fiction novel set during World War II. 
The book focuses on two storylines that intersect. One is about a U.S military man - Charles Brentley - who gets captured by German soldiers and is put in a prison camp, where and he and his prisonmates try to escape. The other storyline is about an air rescue squad that attempts to rescue the soldiers in the prison camp. The stories intersect with an American special agent - William Whitlock, who swaps places with an enemy soldier and becomes the inside man at the prison camp.

The book is a Christian one, so there are references to God and the Bible, and one of the rescue squad people named Zach gets converted. 

I think the book is a decent one. The plot is exciting and easy to follow along. Sometimes, I found the story a little predictable and wordy, but I enjoyed it overall.

I would recommend this book as an independent read for fifth graders on up. Families could also read it together. People who like history, aviation, World War II, and Christianity might like this book.

Learn More

Prisoner of War is a 381-page paperback that seems to have a good binding and thick pages.

Each of its three main parts has a black and white illustration on its title page.

Before the historical fiction story unfolds, there is a Historical Note.

Then, at the end of the book, there is an Afterward which is a letter from the author to the reader that speaks to the reader about the author's hope that the tale has spoken to the reader's heart and encourages the reader to embrace Christ.

There is also a brief section in the back called "Inspiration" which summarizes the true incidents and facts that inspired the author.

Finally there is a glossary and a very brief author bio which, among other things, states that the author is a homeschool graduate!

You can preview the book here.

Christian Fiction Stories

Thirty-five Homeschool Review Crew families reviewed Prisoner of War, Trial at the Ridge (mean for ages 10-14), or Farmyard Faith (meant for ages 10-adult). Be sure to click through to find links to each of the blog, social media, or video reviews.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

A Poem Worth Sharing

On this Mother's Day, when news is abuzz with reactions to how the Supreme Court may overturn Roe vs. Wade, I look at my children and wonder why anyone would reject the gift of life. 

Every life is so precious - from conception to natural death - and so many people are ready and willing to welcome babies that other families cannot care for.

Every day, I am grateful to be "tied down" as Edgar Allen Guest so poetically write about in his poem "Tied Down".

Every life is so precious - from conception to natural death - and so many people are ready and willing to welcome babies that other families cannot care for.

What particularly irks me are those that look at children as a burden.

Yes, children can be challenging, but they are also such an incredible blessing. Every day, I am grateful to be "tied down" as Edgar Allen Guest so poetically wrote about in his poem "Tied Down".|

I think the poem is definitely worth sharing:

'They tie you down,' a woman said,
Whose cheeks should have been flaming red
With shame to speak of children so.
'When babies come you cannot go
In search of pleasure with your friends,
And all your happy wandering ends.
The things you like you cannot do,
For babies make a slave of you.'

I looked at her and said: ''Tis true
That children make a slave of you,
And tie you down with many a knot,
But have you never thought to what
It is of happiness and pride
That little babies have you tied?
Do you not miss the greater joys
That come with little girls and boys?

'They tie you down to laughter rare,
To hours of smiles and hours of care,
To nights of watching and to fears;
Sometimes they tie you down to tears
And then repay you with a smile,
And make your trouble all worth while.
They tie you fast to chubby feet,
And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.

'They fasten you with cords of love
To God divine, who reigns above.
They tie you, whereso'er you roam,
Unto the little place called home;
And over sea or railroad track
They tug at you to bring you back.
The happiest people in the town
Are those the babies have tied down.

'Oh, go your selfish way and free,
But hampered I would rather be,
Yes rather than a kingly crown
I would be, what you term, tied down;
Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,
Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,
The fettered slave of girl and boy,
And win from them earth's finest joy.'

May the gift of motherhood - and the right to life - prevail in our country!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Be a Reading Mother!

Image: The Fairy Tale by James Sant

What a blessing each Lord's Day is when we purposefully slow down to focus on faith, family, sometimes friends, and, frequently, taking time to refresh ourselves before another week ahead.

As my children grow, we don't spend the entire day every Sunday together, of course, but we dp aim to be together for Mass and at least a bit of family time, too. 

Sometimes, our time together includes read-togethers. For, yes, even with teens and tweens, I still try to include read alouds in our lives. In the minivan and at home, we sometimes all get read to by an audio CD. At home, I also still read aloud to my kids.

Sometimes they grumble about it. Sometimes they eagerly gather. Always I am glad for the time to share time together with books.

I pray that when my children are older, they will look back at our read-together times with thoughts much like Strickland Gillilan writes about in this poem that is in the public domain.

What a fun poem it is and what a blessing it is to be a mother who reads to her children.

The Reading Mother
by Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a Mother who read to me.

I encourage all mamas to be reading mothers - reading adventure, reading spiritual readings, reading the Word.

God bless!


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