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Thursday, January 31, 2013


Day 1 - Wednesday January 23, 2013

US Airways from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Charlotte, NC

I don’t know what it is, but every time I am about to take vacation from work, the days leading up to my vacation are usually pretty stressful.  Last time, I had to make an hour drive to work to only stay for 15 minutes, a wedding to go to, and a bunch other little things.  No time to pack before a week-long trip.

This time?  Crazy hectic, but in a different way.   I’ve been having to pull overtime both at my day job and my volunteer job the past few days.  And so, getting home at 11:30PM last night without having packed for a 6:30AM meeting time at the airport having only a few hours of sleep was definitely a challenge.  But I like challenges >:-].  And surprisingly, I’m not doing that bad in terms of tiredness! 

I guess I’m just so excited!

Actually, everyone I’m with is pretty excited.  You can’t tell that we had to meet up really early this morning!

We’re leaving today to go on a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to see the sights, to pray, to have fun, to hang out, and …our primary purpose is to participate in the March for Life this Friday.  Looking at our itinerary, it looks like this will be a pretty prayerful and moving experience.  So yeah, it’ll be a spiritual journey as we make a stand for life.

I beg the questions: do people care enough about the pro-life movement to gather together and gain a sense of common cause and purpose in the fight for human dignity, starting in the womb?  Are a lot of people passionate about this?  Is this worthy of our time? If 60,000 young adult Christians can gather together to make a stand against human slavery and trafficking, who will and how many will show up to make a stand against ending lives in the womb?

Last year, I really wanted to blog about how the March for Life in Washington D.C. didn’t even get any main media coverage despite hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.  I think only a local newspaper mentioned something about how “pro-lifers caused traffic on streets of DC.”  This year, I hope to capture the sights and events through blog and pictures during our trip.  And I’m armed with my laptop, camera, and iPhone.  Challenge accepted.

1:40AM (Thurs)
Somewhere In Virginia at Host Family Home

The original plan was for us to stay at a Knights of Columbus hall, but that fell through a few weeks ago, so we are blessed and fortunate enough to have some host families willing to let us stay in their homes.  One of the perks of being a chaperone is that sometimes you get an actual bed and/or room, and I definitely have those things.  But, in keeping with the pilgrimage spirit of this trip, I will forego the bed and use my sleeping bag on the floor.

I guess I’ve been more occupied with thinking about traveling to the East Coast without really thinking too much about what I’m going to be doing here.  I mean, our itinerary the next few days is going to be pretty action-packed but it hasn’t hit me of all the things that we’re going to be doing.

Some stories since last blog update.

Our leader had to stay with one of group members because they lacked proper identification at the airport and thus had to wait for parents to take care of that.  In the process of that delay, our leader was reassigned flights and seats.  And on one of his flights today, a priest happenchance’d to sit right next to our leader.  Undoubtedly, one does not simply sit next to a Catholic priest on a flight and not talk about Catholic things.

What’s really cool about being a traveling Catholic is that it is totally legit and cool to ask a priest for Confession, even at an airport.  The priest was totally willing to give that Sacrament despite the awkward circumstance (because this is normally done in a confessional).  The other really cool story was that our leader totally met Abby Johnson at the airport.  She’s a very powerful voice in the pro-life movement since she was a former director of a Planned Parenthood who had a conversion after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion.  Now, she’s jumpstarted a new outreach program, And Then There Were None, for abortion clinic workers who want to get out of the abortion industry.  And oh, she’s a Fightin’ Texas Aggie.  And now Catholic. WHOOP! AMEN!

Baby djembe and ukulele -- tools of epic music
Rewinding a bit, our group arrived at a local Catholic church to gather ourselves and unwind, eat dinner, and hang out.  We spent the evening playing get-to-know-you games, going over rules and procedures, eating a scrumptious lasagna and salad dinner, and then spent time in prayer and worship...and of course, rules and logistics.

This has been an exhausting day, and it’s probably a really dumb decision for me to be blogging at this hour, especially since I have to be up in a few hours.  But, hey!  I’m willing to sacrifice my comforts.  After all, this is a pilgrimage.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day visiting a monastery and attending the March For Life Vigil Mass.  Word on the pew is that both are pretty epic.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tolkien Recites the "One Ring" Passage

Pretty cool stuff!  I saw this via Twitter via @CatholicBloggs who got it from The American Catholic, who found it from Creative Minority Report, who got it from Badger Catholic (somewhere), who (I'm assuming) found this YouTube video below!

While I think that the movie depiction of Gandalf translating the language of Mordor on the ring to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring is sufficient already to satisfy my need for epicness, this is another type of epicness... where the author is reading his own words:

One does not simply recite The Lord of the Rings.
- JD

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Passionate Gathering

Ever just aimlessly browse around on Facebook and stalk the News Feed? Haha the News Feed definitely performs its function in letting everyone else know who is (action)ing what.

I recently saw some Facebook friends post about a conference called Passion 2013, which was held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA last weekend.

Made me go:

Didn't really know what it was until I looked it up this past week.  Seems to be about empowering young, Christian people (especially of my age) to make a difference in the world by bringing Jesus' name and renown to the forefront of our lives and to the world.  Sounds cool.  The focus of this year's Passion conference was to end human trafficking and slavery.  They raised just over $3 million in 4 days during the conference.

I would imagine (since I didn't go...and correct me if I'm wrong) that there were a lot of talks, lots of praise and worship music, and plenty of quality time to get to know fellow like-minded friends.

Since I didn't know much about it, I went to the Google to find out more.  Read a few testimonies via the blogosphere, went to their own website itself, and hey!...even some local news stories popped up about it!

News stories:
Passion 2013 Tackles Sex Trafficking And Slavery
Huge Beam Of Light Was Part of Passion 2013
...and I would also imagine (since I didn't go...and didn't do too much Google-ing)...that these stories only capture

I learned that 60,000+ were in attendance.  Impressive! And I think it's cool that such a movement/gathering garnered some media attention, because you typically don't see mass media covering these sorts of things.  Since local media covered it,  this helps in bringing light to the cause.

But what's more impressive is that 60,000 young people care enough about a cause ...and that by being Christ-like to others, and shining His light on the terribleness of human trafficking and slavery, we can hope to end the evil of human exploitation (again, I apologize if that slightly misses the mark or is not fully encompassing the point of the conference).  Deep down is the recognition that the dignity of the human person is worth protecting and yes, human exploitation in these ways are ultimately against the dignity of the human person.

Anyway, I think it's cool that 60,000+ Christian people around my age gather together to focus on certain matters.  When in a relationship with Jesus Christ, one does not simply do response to His love is to love others.  What can I do?  How can I help?  What is my focus? Do I do things because I get benefit out of it or is it because doing these things is what I ought to do? Do I take what I've learned back home with me whenever I go to events?

I hope to one day experience a mass gathering for a cause. :-)
- JD

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blind Love

My last semester of college, I saw an inspiring young couple walking about campus.  Judging from their body language, I could tell they depended on each other to take their next step.  Just watching them from afar, I realized that both of them working together to help the other would be way more effective than being on their own without the other.

The kicker is...both of these fellow Aggies...are blind.

I've seen the young blind woman in a previous semester traversing across campus on her own with her "seeing eye pole" (I don't know the technical term)...feeling about where to go next.  But in my last semester...a young blind man, also with a "seeing eye pole" walked alongside her and they held hands.  And they walked around pretty fast!

How beautiful!

...that the two blind people on campus found each other.

Imagine this kind of relationship...where you don't know what your significant other looks like!  You only know them for the person that they are on the inside.

Pretty cool stuff.

I think there's a more profound type of relationship to be had if it's not based on what's on the outside, but too often you see how superficial relationships can be if you don't consider the inside.  I mean, think about it--you actually love the person rather than love what they look like.

What's great about this visible example to me (#pun) is that it really shows how you can love a person rather than just loving a body...that there's more to a person than what you can see about them.  And the other interesting thing to note is how much more effective their navigation of campus is due to them helping each other out.  Perhaps that says something about desire the good of the other and in their case, providing an extra set of 'eyes' for the other so they can safely navigate campus.

I think they see who each other are in a clearer way than someone like me, who has the gift of sight.  And that's definitely a beautiful see people as persons, as human beings.  Maybe that's an important step in learning how to love--to love the person moreso than loving something about a person.

Now, I didn't stick around due to graduation to see how those two ended up...but either way... IS (literally) blind.
- JD