Archive for February, 2012

Pope Benedict to the U.S. Bishops

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

2012 Conferences

Jacksonville, FL. March 16 (Fri.). Immaculate Heart of Mary Jacksonville Homeschool and Parent Conference, Embassy Suites Jacksonville-Baymeadows, 9300 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL. 2:00 PM — 8:00 PM. Info: 540-636-1946 or or

Homeschooling: A Teenager’s Point of View

I never knew how much I didn’t know until I was homeschooled. I have been an “A-B” student since kindergarten, and I have attended private schools since second grade. I’ve always enjoyed the classroom atmosphere, and at this time last year, I would never have given it up for anything. I loved cheerleading, I loved sports and I loved to have fun. I was in every club and every contest; I was always on the run with my activities. At this time last year, I had just had my cap-and-gown 8th grade graduation, and I was trying to decide which of my three high school options was best for my needs, both socially and academically.

Gingerbread Houses and Nightlights

Someday, I’ll have to grow up. But not today.

I was married when I was 21 years old, and I have been a father since I was 22. I’ve often thought that this meant that I had to grow up fast. However, I have recently considered the notion that it meant quite the contrary. Whether growing up in my parents’ home or becoming a parent myself, I have been surrounded by little children my entire life. In fact, there has been at least one child under three-years-old in my home for almost every moment of my adult life.


My personal pet peeves include books and authors who present homeschooling as an always fun and sunny alternative to institutional schools. If you believe some of what is written, you might easily think that our homeschooled children are sitting at their tidy desks, in their neat school clothes, diligently hammering at the books, while begging for more challenging work. Let’s face it: sometimes the truth is not quite so pretty, making it easy to lose sight of our goals.

Questions We Are Asked – February 2012

How do I prepare my son to take a Seton test?

The first step is to be sure your student reads and follows the directions in the lesson plans. One problem we see is that the student “short cuts” the daily assignments. The assignments may include reading the chapter, studying any outline in the chapter, highlighting or underlining important points, answering the end of chapter review questions, and making a chapter outline if there is not one. One thing we are doing when we write our high school textbooks is adding an outline at the beginning of each chapter.

Our Lady of Lourdes

We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th. The shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is likely one of the most visited shrines on earth. At the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, countless numbers of people have been healed with the water from the miraculous spring. People suffering from physical ailments as well as spiritual maladies have testified to their cures.