Chalice of Love – Happy Mother’s Day!
May10

Chalice of Love – Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! There is just something unique and mysterious about mothers. But I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be unique and mysterious simply because I was a mom. In fact, it was just the opposite for me… I was a Catholic Worker for several years as a young adult. While my college friends were getting pregnant, I was with a social justice movement marching for changes in society. As a group of...

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The Feast of St. George
Apr25

The Feast of St. George

About that Dragon… There was a historical figure named George, who lived from approximately 280 to 303. We know that he traded a military career for the role of “knight for Christ, defender of the faith.” In many of our holy card images of St. George he is portrayed as slaying a dragon….Here’s the story: According to the old legends about George, an entire pagan village lived in fear of a large and terrifying creature. (Was it a...

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Thoughts for Good Friday – Ready to Walk, Come Rain or Shine
Mar28

Thoughts for Good Friday – Ready to Walk, Come Rain or Shine

Ready to Walk, Come Rain or Shine Tomorrow is a big day. My children and I will be joining dozens of other Catholic families in walking approximately 14 miles while reflecting on the Via Dolorosa. Fourteen miles to remember the 14 Stations of the Passion of Jesus. For the kids the question on Thursday is: What is the weather going to be like? Last weekend we had freezing weather here in New Mexico and 60 mile an hour winds! There was...

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Leprechauns Know Where the Real Treasure is Located!
Mar15

Leprechauns Know Where the Real Treasure is Located!

My mom is 87 years old and she’s a “leprechaun!” The story starts many years ago… When she had six little kids at home, Mary Costello pulled out a “Wearin’ Green” box every year during this week preceding St. Patrick’s Day. Whether we liked it or not, each of her children wore wide green belts, green hats, green buttons and green necklaces to school. And St. Patrick’s Day had a certain kind of “magic” to it! After all her wee ones...

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Forty Days and Forty Thoughts, Part 2 of 2
Mar07

Forty Days and Forty Thoughts, Part 2 of 2

In my Sunday School class there’s a little girl who doesn’t say much…ever. When I ran into her at the grocery store after Ash Wednesday, I asked what she was giving up for Lent. She whispered, “All sweets and all desserts.” That’s a tough commitment in the modern world—and she’s only eight years old! Then in class this last Sunday, my daughter handed out freshly baked, homemade cookies to the students. This girl shook her head to...

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Forty Days and Forty Thoughts on the Beauty and Mystery of Lent
Feb22

Forty Days and Forty Thoughts on the Beauty and Mystery of Lent

Part 1 of 2 of the Mysteries of Lent My son will be confirmed in April. In writing a letter to the bishop to apply for this sacrament he wrote, “I’m proud to be Catholic because the Church speaks up for Truth. We Catholics know why we were made. God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him. It’s reassuring to understand this.” What he wrote reminded me that Lent is the season to re-align ourselves with Truth…we were made for...

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Lent is the Power Season
Feb13

Lent is the Power Season

The Power Season Lent is the Power Season. It’s the time to rein in all those straying practices…the “pig out” tendency, the munchies tendency, the “grouchy ‘til 4 cups of coffee” tendency, the “I’ll pray later” tendency. It’s our time to feel the power of true Love. When my daughter was learning to ride horses, the first lesson from her teacher was “How to Stop: Use your Reins.” When you’re a little girl on a big, powerful animal,...

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Are you Ready for a New Year Challenge?
Jan02

Are you Ready for a New Year Challenge?

Although the liturgical calendar doesn’t celebrate New Year’s Day per se, we are often exhorted to “put on the new man.” In Ephesians 4:24, St. Paul tells us to assume a new nature as Christians.  This is not a trifling change we are called to make. The Apostle doesn’t say “put on a new garment” or “wear new shoes”….instead we are called to a whole new life! It makes sense to take up this renewal and regeneration once a year. In the...

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Christmas Tales, Father Larry’s Cat
Dec25

Christmas Tales, Father Larry’s Cat

Father Larry’s Cat This is our babies’ First Christmas. “How sweet,” you say.  Well, not really… That’s because one “baby” is a cat named Freckle. The fat cat fights with baby #2, an overgrown puppy. Between the two of them we have Christmas troubles. Freckle came to us on the fourth of July. Independence Day is quite appropriate as the new beginning for a stray kitten. Back then, Freckle was tiny and cuddly  and interested in...

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Our Prayer for the Victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School
Dec17

Our Prayer for the Victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School

Children of Light The Friday killings of 1st grade children in Connecticut is a fearful thing that has shaken our country. It is a stark reminder that evil exists. For children to be murdered…there can be no reason or sense. The souls of children are pure and the devil hates that purity. But the clean hearts of children will shine through any bloodshed. Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río, age 14, and St. Maria Goretti, age 11, are two...

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The Grand Conversion Story – Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12th
Dec12

The Grand Conversion Story – Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12th

How can the story of She-Who-Transformed-a-Nation be so unknown?  The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is far more than just an apparition to one man. It is more than just her miraculously leaving an image of herself on a cloak made of cactus fibers.  But you would think the truth is a secret.   Does anyone know this story? Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego in 1531.  During that same time period, the Reformation was taking...

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November is Gratitude Month
Nov07

November is Gratitude Month

The month of November is a great time to focus on gratitude. I teach my Sunday School students to learn this phrasing from Psalm 136: “We give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever!” It’s good to remind kids every day about how much we have to be grateful for. Here’s our list of Gratitude We are grateful for a cat who keeps us on our toes! The big, fat cat, will sleep close to your face purring. But the proximity...

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A New Saint – Kateri Tekakwitha
Oct25

A New Saint – Kateri Tekakwitha

I had never heard about the “North American martyrs” growing up.  But I moved to New Mexico and our parish priest here liked to talk about them. These were 8 priests who came during the early 1600s to convert the Native people along the northeast coast up into Canada. The Hurons were a fierce tribe. When sickness broke out, it was easy to blame it on the foreigners. The priests were tortured in especially brutal ways by the Mohawks....

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Celebrating Saints: October is a good month to begin!
Oct18

Celebrating Saints: October is a good month to begin!

In my Religious Formation classes we spend most of October talking about saints. The saints lived out the Gospel message of love and devotion in different ways. They weren’t perfect people. Many, like St. Augustine, didn’t turn away from a sinful lifestyle until later in their lives. What the saints all have in common is a deep longing to be closer to God. There are pilgrims who set out on a certain path for Home. Christian...

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October 7th is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
Oct08

October 7th is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

We live 40 miles away from the nearest big city. So driving on the highway is a way of life. On the days when I go into “the amazing town” (as my daughter used to call it), I find my mind filled with worries and random thoughts.  It’s really amazing what twists and turns the mind can take when left to wander at random! Do you find that to be true? I was driving down the road, alone in the car, when thoughts about my high school days...

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The Feast of the Archangels
Sep25

The Feast of the Archangels

In my catechism classroom I tell my students to “leave room for your angels.” It’s a way to keep them from poking and annoying each other by sitting too close. But I also want to remind them that our angels are always with us, and they have an important role. At the time, I didn’t realize the active involvement of the Archangels in the modern world.  Recently I’ve been reading about the appearances of Mary around the world. Did you...

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Prayer for September 11th – We Remember

Prayer for this Day Dear Heavenly Father, We turn to You, Lord, on this day of remembrance.  It was eleven years ago that our country was attacked and plunged into fear and mourning. Yet, You in Your infinite wisdom, brought us together during that time. We were, for awhile, no longer Democrats or Republicans. We were no longer Black, Hispanic, Asian or Caucasian….instead we were united as one people. We stood together as Americans to...

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September 8th – It’s a Birthday – Mary’s Birthday
Sep04

September 8th – It’s a Birthday – Mary’s Birthday

It’s time for a special party! Bring out the candles. Bake a special cake. Say joyful prayers. Because on Sept. 8 we celebrate the immaculate birth of Our Blessed Mother. It’s Mary’s Birthday! This is a day to celebrate the best of motherhood—because Mary is our guide in the motherhood journey! She nurtures all God’s children and supports our growth in holiness. Celebrating Mary’s Birthday On September 8th we celebrate the...

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A Mother’s Love. The Feast Day of St. Monica. August 27th

There is a lot to a name!  In Psalm 147:4 it says God named every star in heaven! He gave man the responsibility of naming all the animals (Gen. 2:20) After Jesus called Simon to be one of His disciples, He renamed the fisherman: “Now you are Peter, and on this ‘rock’ I will build my Church.” Knowing all of this, I wanted to take a special name when I became a Third Oder Carmelite. At that time I was reading about St. Augustine.  He...

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Feast of the Assumption of Mary, August 15th, 2012

Feast of the Assumption of Mary. August 15th, 2012. A Holy Day of Obligation Imagine being one of those in the early Church. You know Mary, the Mother of Our Lord because she goes from table to table at dinner; quietly ministering to everyone…she radiates such a deep strength that simply seeing her face inspires peace. It is quite humbling to realize that so many who loved Jesus ran away during the crucifixion, but she, who was the...

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Back to School Lesson 1: Money Can’t Buy Me Love (or Happiness)

Here in New Mexico it is officially Back-to-School time at every store.  New trinkets, “Design your Locker” sets, teacher bribery items and kid clothes that get sexier every year.  Stores will take any turning of the calendar as occasions to ramp up the “gimmey, gimmies, plea-z-z-” in our kids! What’s a mother to do? Society tells our kids they won’t be happy unless they have the “latest.” I remember when one of those big-eyed,...

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God Invites You to a Journey of Faith. The Pilgrimage.

By Judith Costello When we think of “vacation” we often imagine heading for the beach or the mountains to relax and unwind, while the kids are pleasantly occupied with new outdoor distractions. But sometimes, what we really need is “soul liberation!”  Our souls, perhaps more than our bodies, need the opportunity to SOAR by experiencing holy places. Why not consider a pilgrimage for you and / or the entire family?  Sound unusual?...

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Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – We Receive Armor from Mary!
Jul16

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – We Receive Armor from Mary!

When I started attending meetings of the Third Order of Discalced Carmelites, my husband teased, “Are you going to make low-fat caramels again?” His joke actually has some merit–there is truly a healthy sweetness associated with The Blessed Mother and her special love for the monks of Mount Carmel! The beautiful mountain that rises up near the Mediterranean shoreline is named Carmel, meaning “beautiful garden.” It...

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Summer Reading List for Catholic Children

Summer Reading for Catholic Children By Judith Costello and family Kids need to flex their literacy muscles over the summer! Reading strengthens the mind and imagination. But the content of this material is important too. So we have developed a special list of Catholic books for children. From the 12,000 books in our house (my husband, Jurgen, is a bibliophile!) I asked 13-year-old Brigit to pick out the most inspirational and best!...

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St. Peter and St. Paul Were SO Different
Jun20

St. Peter and St. Paul Were SO Different

Why did God make us all so darn different?! Wouldn’t it be easier if we were more alike? We tend to look at the world as if that were the reality anyway. If you have a problem with lying, you will always wonder if other people are lying. If you love strawberry shortcake you assume everyone loves shortcake. It’s hard to imagine that the thing you love could make someone else gag! I started thinking about this because we have two very...

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Confirmation – Absorbed in His Presence
Apr13

Confirmation – Absorbed in His Presence

This is the Alleluia Season! Fifty days after Easter we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is also considered the unofficial birthday of our Church. It is at this time that many parishes also celebrate Confirmation, as young people receive the Sacrament that brings them the special help of the Spirit. But it seems as so many times we miss the beauty and power of this holy season. So often we seem to just go...

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Mary, She’s Watching You…
Apr13

Mary, She’s Watching You…

The word “May” comes from the Latin word “Maia,” meaning “good mother.” The 5th month of the year is truly a celebration both for our Heavenly Mother and for motherhood itself! This entire month is dedicated to Mary, perhaps because this is the season for flowers. Mary has many titles including the “Mystical Rose…Cause of our joy…Queen of families.” She is symbolized by the opening flower, since she opened her life most fully to bring...

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Preparing for First Communion
Apr01

Preparing for First Communion

I wrote a letter for my students as they prepare for First Communion. When my own children were preparing for the first reception of the Eucharist, I wrote something similar for them. It is my hope that parents and Sunday School teachers will copy this and give it to this year’s First Communion class. My dear children, Your first time to receive Jesus in the form of the Holy Eucharist will be happening soon. How wonderful! You will...

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Mercy is Divine
Apr01

Mercy is Divine

How awesome is God’s mercy! Only a God of Love would extend mercy to sinners like us. Since the beginning of time, humans have ignored, disobeyed or turned cruelly against our Creator and Lord. Sometimes, these sins have happened right after God makes His presence known in a spectacular manner. Imagine being there when God parted the waters of the sea to offer your people a safe escape route, and yet a short while later, you are...

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Holy Week – Embracing Change

Palm Sunday—King or Servant? He is the Glorious Servant King! Change is a challenge isn’t it? Let me tell you about our donkey and horse by way of example. Three weeks ago, we changed the morning routine in our barnyard asking the horse and donkey to exit their stalls from the other side of the barn to go out to the pasture for food. Yet every morning, they continue to stand at the old gate, resisting the new routine. So I carry a...

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St. Joseph, Worker and Husband
Mar19

St. Joseph, Worker and Husband

St. Joseph, Worker and Husband –Solemnity March 19 During the month of March we celebrate the life of St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers and patron saint of a happy death. As I was thinking about this I overheard a teenager say, “Work? I’m allergic to it!” The value of “work” has seen a bit of a decline in our modern era. To remedy that voice of “the easy way out” and to honor St. Joseph, we’d like to reclaim the value of...

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Fish Fridays During Lent
Feb22

Fish Fridays During Lent

My daughter, Brigit, calls herself a true “carnivore.” She’d rather eat meat than candy. She’d rather eat good red meat than anything else. So “Fish Fridays” are hard for her and for many of her friends. Last year, at this time, she begrudgingly went along when it was time to go to the grocery store on that first Thursday in Lent. We needed to stock up on her least favorite food item. Once we arrived, though, a funny thing happened....

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Lent is Almost Here — How will You Fast?
Feb14

Lent is Almost Here — How will You Fast?

I was sure we were low on flour. And I don’t like going to the cupboard to bake something—which is usually at the last minute because Peter says, “I have to bring a snack to class tonight”—only to find there’s not enough flour for the recipe. So I brought home a ten-pound sack of high-quality pastry flour with my groceries. But when I went to pour it into the canister, low and behold, it was already full to the top. There was no room...

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Our Lady of Lourdes and the Humble Saint
Feb07

Our Lady of Lourdes and the Humble Saint

When my son, Peter, was 14 we visited St. Bernadette’s Church in Albuquerque, NM. He reported feeling an overwhelming sense of peace and “presence” as he sat in the pew. His experience seems consistent with all the reports associated with Our Lady of Lourdes, and the young girl who saw her. Bernadette was 14 when she saw the Lady on the hillside outside of Lourdes and she experienced a sense of peace and awe. Bernadette was a tiny...

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Advent – Straws for Jesus
Dec07

Advent – Straws for Jesus

A long time ago a poor family prepared to celebrate Christmas. There was no money for a Christmas tree or special decorations because the father of the house was out of work. There wasn’t even enough money to pay the heat bills and it was a cold winter that year. Still the mother said, “Children this cardboard box is like the manger where Jesus first laid his head. Jesus was actually in a worse situation than we are. No heat AND no...

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