Friday, March 5, 2010

Keeping Your Mind Off The News

These are challenging times for the world at large and for the Church.  I was saddened to read in a number of popular blogs (Whispers intheLoggia- and Deacon Greg's blog-( about the need for restructuring in the Diocese of Brooklyn. The plan titled, "Christ Jesus, Our Hope," ( might result in the closing or merger of a quarter of the Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens. Brooklyn and Queens have more Churches per square foot than anywhere in the world (I read that somewhere a long time ago.) That might be about to change. And we have some of the most beautiful Churches too. Those who are responsible for the restructuring plan will need our prayers, this is not going to be an easy process. 
There was some good news too in Brooklyn's diocesan newspaper, The Tablet. "At two seperate Rite of Election Prayer Services, Feb. 21st at Christ the King HS in Queens, Bishop DiMarzio formally accepted 904 catechumens and candidates for the first sacraments in the Diocese." They are preparing for full entry into the Church at the Easter Vigil Services.  My good friend, S. Alice Michael, S.U.S.C., coordinates the RCIA program and she always does a great job. I would have volunteered to help her that day, but I was away. I'm usually there most years either working or as a volunteer.  It's an uplifting day for me, to see the enthusiasm of the candidates and their yearning to become Catholic.
We need more positive news in the Church and less negative news. I'm sick of so much negativity. So how do I get my mind off of the negative news? In a number of ways. 
My usual stress reduction techniques include walking and other forms of exercise, Centering Prayer, going to Mass, praying and reading. Something I've recently added is that I'm learning to play Bridge. Bridge is a challenging card game but I'm learning with a group of women, and so we are trying to master this game together. It's a great game to stimulate the mind. I never played cards before, except as a child, but I heard that learning Bridge is a great way to keep your mind active and prevent memory loss as one ages. (I hope I don't age, but it might happen!) There is much to learn so we're being patient with ourselves. People get "obsessed" with playing Bridge. I do find it enjoyable but I already have an interest or "passion" which takes up a lot of my time.   
While learning to play Bridge I learned about a prominent member of the Vanderbilt family, who had a passion for playing Bridge. Harold Vanderbilt was a very rich man and apparently he played a lot of Bridge and became a champion Bridge player. I found that interesting. 
But in any event, I'm praying for more good news in the days and weeks ahead, I just can't bear hearing about another natural disaster or challenges facing our Church.