Getcha red-hot patrons, here…

Julie at Happy Catholic reminds me that it’s that time of the year again, when a generous Catholic blogger like this one will take the time to pull a patron saint for the next year, just for you.

What’s the point? Well, the idea is that whatever saint name gets pulled out of the hat is the saint “picking you” so to speak. It’s a chance to get to know one of our buddies up in heaven, and to get comfortable with the Communion of Saints. You talk to your patron, the patron prays for you; you learn. It’s all good.

My patron for ’08 is St. Gerard Majella, a saint I knew little about but who ended up being the sort of saint the mother of two boys can appreciate. For this year, Lucia has pulled for me: St. Titus. A New Testament heavyweight and co-worker of Paul! Not sure what that’s about yet, but I’m sure I’ll find out! If you go over there and ask, a saint will be pulled for you, too

Deacon Greg Kandra, the proprietor of The Deacon’s Bench, is having a great deal of fun posting promos for the new Catholic television station he’s helping build for the Diocese of Brooklyn. It’s called NetTV and they’ve got a clever – really sort of adorable – reverse psychology campaign going on. I think it’s going to be a fun entity, and I like the website a lot.

Sadly, my cable thingy won’t be delivering NetTV to us, so Catholics in my neck of the woods are rather screwed. The bishop in our Diocese has decided that Dreadful Catholic Television is the way to go, so we get discussion panels with rather dull priests and ladies talking about how “120 people showed up at our prayer service last year…” and other misbegotten programming. Greg! We need you! Move to Lawn Guyland!

Bill O’ Reilly: Apparently he got the title for his latest book from a phrase an old nun used, calling him A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. That’s a great bit. The good sister was clearly Irish. Nowadays, I’m betting she’d be narrowing her eyes and calling him “a toothache of a man.” I know I would be.

Speaking of books, Elder Son’s Sweet Girlfriend works in a bookstore and she said the other day a very angry lady, “a really angry senior citizen, tiny but mad” came into the store looking this book. She was apparently all fired up about the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” and the threat to free speech. I’m glad to hear about militant seniors. Someone has to give a damn about preserving free speech!

Magnificat Magazine: I mentioned it recently and someone wondered if it could be purchased at Amazon. The answer is yes, it can. And yes, it’s a terrific gift. I love my subscription, and what I find myself liking the best, amid all the readings, the truncated Office hours and the poems and bios and essay excerpts, is the monthly exposition on a work of art. I can be mesmerized by a painting and have no idea why; I never took an art class. Every month, is like a lesson in art appreciation.

Amy Welborn: She’s in Rome, lucky stiff, and participated in a papal audience. Lucky stiff. And she’s posting lots of cool pics. Very nice.

A remarkable life: Every once in a while, you read one that really makes you stop and consider. This is one:

Father Philip Chung-jin Kim’s first encounter with Catholicism came during a near-death experience almost 60 years ago when he was a teenager in war-torn South Korea.

Kim was to be executed for refusing to join the People’s Volunteer Army of North Korea after being taken captive at gunpoint.

“He was facing the wall and closed his eyes, and at the last minute he hears another officer yell stop,” said his 41-year-old son, Louis. “One of the boys that was about to be executed with him apparently had a rosary and he had been praying.”

The encounter left a lasting impression on Kim, who became a Catholic priest late in life — at age 72. He was serving as parochial vicar at Selma’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church when he was killed in a traffic accident Sunday morning south of Pleasanton in Atascosa County. He was 76.

So, how enlightened are we? Not very. Not very, at all. At all.

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