Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the beautiful Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!  I found this gem of a picture in my mother-in-law’s possessions and thought it would be ideal to post for today’s feast.

At this link is the Efficacious Sacred Heart Novena that St. Padre Pio prayed every day.
https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/heart/sh_novena.htm

Other suggestions for this Solemnity:
1. Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Found here
2. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home! Resources here
3. Confession and Holy Mass
4. Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Here
5. Prayers of reparation against the Sacred Heart – Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Rest in Peace, Mumsy

It’s been a few weeks since I posted here on my blog.  My mother-in-law (who already had advancing dementia) started declining rapidly with the diagnosis that she had cancer. Despite her dementia, she had made it clear to my husband that she did not want to go to a home, that she just wanted God to take her.  Shortly after that, a CT scan showed advancing cancer.

She entered the palliative care unit at the Arnprior Hospital on June 8th and was given pain medication to keep her comfortable. She passed away on June 13, 2017, with family by her side.  The medical personnel were kind, caring and compassionate to her and to our family. Her obituary is below:

Shirley Hrkach

Passed into eternal life on Tuesday morning, June 13, 2017 with family by her side. Shirley was the devoted mother of James (Ellie) of Pakenham; Jan of Hobe Sound, Florida; Jocelyn of Maui, Hawaii; and Jody (Karen) of Longwood, Florida. Loving “Mumsy” of Josh, Ben (Kayla), Tim, Adam, Paul, Ashley, Katelyn and Sean Hrkach. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. The last surviving of 11 children born to the late Charles and Katherine (née Legree) Laderoute. A long-time parishioner of St. John Chrysostom Parish in Arnprior, Shirley was an active member of the Catholic Women’s League for many years. She will be missed. The family will receive friends during visitation at the Pilon Family Funeral Home and Chapel Ltd., 50 John Street North, Arnprior on Monday evening, June 19th from 7 to 9 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. John Chrysostom Church, Arnprior on Tuesday afternoon, June 20th at 1 o’clock. In memory of Shirley, please consider a donation to the St. John Chrysostom Church Memorial Fund.

Although it was sad to lose Mumsy, she leaves behind a beautiful legacy in her descendants.

 

May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Requiescat in pace, Mumsy.

 

An Open Book – June 2017 #openbook

Open Book

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Dying for Compassion: Book 2 Lady Doc Murders by Dr. Barbara Golder

Now available on Kindle!

Synopsis: What happens to a new love when an old one appears to claim first rights to a man and a marriage?

Just as Telluride Medical Examiner Jane Wallace and Irish writer Eoin Conner take their first steps toward romance, Eoin’s beautiful wife Fiona arrives to resume her long-abandoned life with Eoin.

When Eoin discovers that Fiona was responsible for the denial of their annulment, he returns to Ireland to find the proof to free him to marry Jane. After Fiona is found dead in her hotel room, Eoin is indicted for her murder.

Unwilling to leave the matter solely in the hands of Irish authorities, Jane goes to Ireland to follow the evidence wherever it leads. She leaves behind a tangle of problems in Telluride, where it is left to her trusted friend Father Matt to unravel the mysteries at home, unaware that they hold the key to Jane’s mystery abroad.

My review: Riveting follow-up to Dying for Revenge.  Then again, I’m probably biased because I’m the publisher of this book!

“It is rare indeed to find an author who not only tells a good story but writes with real literary flair. Barbara Golder is such an author. In this latest offering, we find the plot twists and twisted characters that one would expect in a good murder mystery but also the fine character development and deep insight into the human condition which separates the truly great mysteries from the run of the mill.” Joseph Pearce, Author of The Quest for Shakespeare, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, and Tolkien: Man & Myth

Captains and Kings – Taylor Caldwell

Amazon Synopsis: New York Times Bestseller: Sweeping from the 1850s through the early 1920s, this towering family saga examines the price of ambition and power.

Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh is twelve years old when he gets his first glimpse of the promised land of America through a dirty porthole in steerage on an Irish immigrant ship. His long voyage, dogged by tragedy, ends not in the great city of New York but in the bigoted, small town of Winfield, Pennsylvania, where his younger brother, Sean, and his infant sister, Regina, are sent to an orphanage. Joseph toils at whatever work will pay a living wage and plans for the day he can take his siblings away from St. Agnes’s Orphanage and make a home for them all.

Joseph’s journey will catapult him to the highest echelons of power and grant him entry into the most elite political circles. Even as misfortune continues to follow the Armagh family like an ancient curse, Joseph takes his revenge against the uncaring world that once took everything from him. He orchestrates his eldest son Rory’s political ascent from the offspring of an Irish immigrant to US senator. And Joseph will settle for nothing less than the pinnacle of glory: seeing his boy crowned the first Catholic president of the United States.

Spanning seventy years, Captains and the Kings, which was adapted into an eight-part television miniseries, is Taylor Caldwell’s masterpiece about nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America, and the grit, ambition, fortitude, and sheer hubris it takes for an immigrant to survive and thrive in a dynamic new land.

My review:  This is a very long book, but I’m enjoying it immensely (and will likely be enjoying it for the next few weeks, given the length!) Characters are well-developed and the story engaging and compelling.  Some believe the family in the novel is the Kennedy family, but the author has denied this.  It’s easy to see why people think it is because there are a lot of similarities.  A lot of differences, as well.

Bead by Bead: The Scriptural Rosary (Full Color Softcover Edition) by Meggie K. Daly

Amazon synopsis:  Our Mother Mary implores us to pray the Rosary—but why does Mary want us to pray the Rosary? Meggie chronicles her journey from an active avoidance to a deep love of the Rosary as she shares the meditation aids and techniques that—together with her insights as to why Mary wants us to pray the Rosary—have redefined her relationship with the Rosary. A chapter is devoted to each of the four Mysteries of the Rosary containing Scripture for each bead of the Rosary, beautiful color artwork for each of the 20 decades by artists such as Raphael, Murillo, Rubens, and many others. “Bead by Bead” includes a concise history of the Rosary, from its earliest beginnings to the present day. A tutorial is included for those new to this devotion and an appendix with helpful resources for those who wish to dig deeper into Catholic theology, Mariology, apologetics, spiritual growth, lectio divina, and writings of the saints.

This book is a must read for those who pray Rosary but desire more vivid meditations and, also, for those who struggle to stay awake and focused. For those who suffer through the Rosary fighting monotony and boredom, this book is a life-changer! And for those who remain mystified as to why anyone would pray the Rosary—find out why in “Bead by Bead.”

My review:  Meggie K. Daly’s Bead by Bead: The Scriptural Rosary is a terrific resource for anyone who wants to take their daily recitation of the Rosary to a whole different–and higher–level. Using this book, the reader has at his/her disposal a line of scripture for each bead that will help the reader to reflect more deeply on the mysteries and prayers of the Holy Rosary. Includes background, history, resources and an appendix, as well as the author’s journey towards a Scriptural Rosary. Highly recommend!

 

The Path to Forgiveness

 

Photo by Kayla Hrkach, used with permission

My latest article at Catholic Mom:

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Many of us say this prayer multiple times every day if we are saying the Rosary. It’s important to take these words to heart every time we say them.

I’ve heard many people say “I’ll never forgive him,” or “I’ll never forgive her.” However, Christ didn’t qualify it. It doesn’t matter what the person has done to us or the heartache they caused. We must do our very best to forgive the person. This is NOT an easy thing to do, especially if the person you’re trying to forgive isn’t sorry for the pain they’ve caused you.

For most of my life, I had a difficult time forgiving an older female relative who verbally abused me throughout my married life. I spent years avoiding this relative, but sometimes it wasn’t possible. And while I thought I had forgiven her, a few years ago when someone asked me what had happened, I let it all come out and began reliving all the difficult moments. That’s when I realized I needed counseling and/or spiritual help. Later we discovered that she suffered from a mental illness and I just happened to be the convenient target for her verbal abuse.

As a grade school student, I was bullied by one particular girl who made my life extremely difficult. The religious sisters at the school loved me and I was a good student. But I was also the shortest in the class and probably weighed 45 pounds soaking wet. The girl was not that much taller than me and I was an easy target. I spent years holding onto a grudge against this girl and found myself thinking, “I hope she’s had a hard life.” But that isn’t forgiveness. I suspect now that she was probably enduring her own abuse and projecting that onto an easy target.

After my father’s death at the young age of 49, I found out that he had been molested by a priest when he was a boy. Because of the shame, he never told anyone except for my mother. He suffered from addictions and mental disorders and these all seemed to make sense in light of this information. I spent years thinking, “I hope that priest burned in hell.” I have always wished that there had been some justice for my father and for our family, who suffered along with him in his struggles. However, the thought that this priest’s soul was burning in hell was not forgiving at all. But truthfully, I didn’t want to forgive him for all the heartache he caused my father and our family.

So how can you forgive? First, ask the Blessed Mother to help you. She stood by, quietly, with great sorrow as her Son was beaten, scourged and hung on a Cross to die a painful death. She cradled Him in her arms afterward. She heard Him say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Mary forgave them because that is what her Son asked.

Second, when I was in confession with a priest a few years ago, he told me to pray for every person who has ever hurt me. So that’s what I did. I prayed for them, offered up sacrifices and prayed a blessing on them. I also prayed that the Holy Spirit would bring to mind all those that I needed to forgive. As well, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would bring to mind all those who needed to forgive me for any wrongs I’ve done, and I prayed for those people as well, that they would find it in their hearts to forgive me.

Then I began fasting, especially for those people I have had a hard time forgiving: the bully, the relative, the abusive priest. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I didn’t like sacrificing for those who had hurt me. However, because fasting invites the Holy Spirit into our hearts and souls, He gave me the grace to forgive. Forgiveness didn’t happen overnight, but I was finally able to forgive the abusive relative, the priest and the bully and to love them unconditionally. I was finally able to think of these people in love, rather than anger. A burden had been lifted. I was also able to sympathize with what these two women and the priest must have gone through in their lives to treat others so badly.

Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t want justice if the person has committed a crime. It also doesn’t mean we should stay around and continue to be a target. However, embracing anger and holding onto a grudge hurts us and our souls. It doesn’t matter whether the person is repentant and/or wants to be forgiven. It’s important for us to be as merciful to others as we expect God will be with us.

If you find yourself in a position where someone is hurting you, offending you or being unkind, stop and say a quiet prayer of blessing on the person and the silent words, “Father, forgive him/her, for they know not what they do.” This is extremely helpful whether the offense is big or small.

To read an inspiring and compelling story of forgiveness, I highly recommend Immaculeé Ilibagiza’s book, Left to Tell. She was able to forgive the people responsible for murdering her family.

Forgiving others is one of the very foundations of Christian life. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we find forgiving someone too difficult, ask Our Lady to help, then pray and fast for those who have offended us. If we can’t forgive those who have hurt us, how will God forgive us for our sins?

Copyright 2017 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Dying for Compassion Cover Reveal

FQ Publishing (my company) has a new book coming out!  It’s Book #2 in the Lady Doc Murders called Dying for Compassion by Dr. Barbara Golder!

“It is rare indeed to find an author who not only tells a good story but writes with real literary flair. Barbara Golder is such an author. In this latest offering, we find the plot twists and twisted characters that one would expect in a good murder mystery but also the fine character development and deep insight into the human condition which separates the truly great mysteries from the run of the mill.” Joseph Pearce, Author, Tolkien: Man & Myth
Synopsis: What happens to a new love when an old one appears to claim first rights to a man and a marriage?Just as Telluride Medical Examiner Jane Wallace and Irish writer Eoin Conner take their first steps toward romance, Eoin’s beautiful wife Fiona arrives to resume her long-abandoned life with Eoin. When Eoin discovers that Fiona was responsible for the denial of their annulment, he returns to Ireland to find the proof to free him to marry Jane. After Fiona is found dead in her hotel room, Eoin is indicted for her murder. Unwilling to leave the matter solely in the hands of Irish authorities, Jane goes to Ireland to follow the evidence wherever it leads. She leaves behind a tangle of problems in Telluride, where it is left to her trusted friend Father Matt to unravel the mysteries at home, unaware that they hold the key to Jane’s mystery abroad.

Coming soon via Kindle and in paperback!

Special thanks to my youngest son for posing as St. Michael the Archangel!

Goodreads Giveaway – Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk

FQ Publishing is hosting a giveaway for three paperback copies of Rightfully Ours.

Enter here to win a copy!

Young Adult Religious Fiction. A coming-of-age story of first love, buried treasure, and discovering some things are worth the wait.

Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep.

Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend, and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure.

Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake.

Reviews:

When Carolyn Astfalk unearths a newspaper clipping about a treasure hunter who struck gold, she turns it into a young adult romance novel. That took some doing, but as Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” A keen observer, Astfalk soaks her written pages with reality. Rightfully Ours, like her other romance novels appeals to the senses, especially those associated with food. You can smell the baking cookies and feel the bite of a January freeze. Her understanding of human emotions transports her readers into the minds of her characters as they experience blessings in the guise of disasters and conflicts. The reader cannot take for granted that a happy ending awaits in the last paragraph. (Don Mulcare)

Rightfully Ours is a fast-paced, exciting book that will hook you and keep you reading. It is not just for youth, but is a great read for adults, too. If you have a teen, read this book first before you give it to them. I recommend it for older or more mature teens, due to the intimate scenes described in the story. It is filled with non-preachy messages about the beauty of authentic love, which Pope St. John Paul II defined as the “theology of the body.” This does not mean that the book contains theological terminology, but it does mean that it deals with the issue of sexual temptation and assists teens in handling that. It also helps them understand the meaning of true love. I highly recommend Rightfully Ours for both teens and adults. (Jean Heimann, author)

Enter here to win a copy!

Prominent Catholic Writers to Speak at Catholic Writers Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois

Contact: Ann Lewis, Catholic Writers Guild, 317-755-2693

Schaumburg, Illinois– Several prominent Catholic writers will speak at the ninth annual Catholic Writers Conference LIVE taking place July 18-21 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois (near Chicago.) Sponsored by the Catholic Writers Guild and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) and held in conjunction with CMN’s annual retailer trade show, the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic writers with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Catholic Imagination.”

Presenters include keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Golder (THE LADY DOC MURDERS), authors Amy Cattapan (SEVEN RIDDLES TO NOWHERE), Erin McCole Cupp (UNCLAIMED), Lisa Mladinich (TRUE RADIANCE), Lisa Hendey (THE GRACE OF YES), Ellen Gable (STEALING JENNY) and many others.

The conference will give authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, and Servant Books. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for a fiction critique workshop with award-winning short fiction writer Arthur Powers (A HERO FOR THE PEOPLE), a non-fiction critique group with Nancy Ward (SHARING YOUR FAITH STORY) and attend writing workshops with novelists John Desjarlais (SPECTER) and Michelle Buckman (RACHEL’S CONTRITION). Michelle Buckman will also be offering one-on-one critique sessions. Information for all these events can be found on the conference website.

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, sponsors this conference in July, an online conference in March, and a writers’ retreat in October to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature.  CWG President, Joseph Wetterling, says, “The Guild exemplifies the Catholic faith ‘both/and’ with writers from every part of the world, in every genre, and from every walk of life. We’re diverse in personality and style but united in our loyalty and love of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Writers Conference Live is a unique opportunity to come together in fellowship and sharpen each other toward our united mission: a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”

Registration costs $75 and $45 for students. CWG Members receive a 10% discount. There’s also a discounted registration combined with a CWG membership. To register or for more information, go to https://catholicwritersguild.org/live-conference