Today we celebrate the feast of the Visitation — the occasion on which the Virgin Mary and her elderly cousin Elizabeth met while both were pregnant. This event is heavy with theological meaning, but leave it to Kerry Trotter to miss most of that, focusing instead on what a meeting of minds and bellies can do for a woman's soul.
We’re going to start this blog post with a familiar scenario: Kerry, lost, in the Word On Fire blog content meeting.
I flip through the Ordo, scour the Internet, and sift through the dusty manila files of my taxed brain until some sort of idea or inspiration strikes. As per the norm, especially these days, I was coming up with bupkis.
“The Visitation is on May 31,” Father Steve piped in during our last meeting. “Kerry, you’re pregnant. You should write about it.”
Yes, Father Steve, it’s true. I am pregnant. Eighteen weeks to be exact. But you know better than anyone that’s where my relationship to this holy and blessed (two things never before uttered in my wake) event begins and ends....
Posted: 5/31/2013 6:00:00 AM
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It's the middle of the week — are you feeling down on your job? Well, chances are your employment hasn't been determined to be the worst ever, as a website recently called Kerry Trotter's husband's chosen field. Chin up, folks. You could be a newspaper reporter. Today, Trotter invokes the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker, whose feast day we celebrate, to bring some perspective to the daily grind.
Last week, website CareerCast.com ranked 200 jobs available in this country from best to worst.
If you have any friends in the fields of journalism or actuary science, you probably saw some rumblings about this on Facebook.
Using an incomprehensible algorithm that measures salary, job outlook, and the likelihood of being crushed by a falling object while on the clock, they crowned “actuary” as the best job one could have. “Newspaper reporter” came in dead last.
(Let’s assume here that the results were real, and not just a masterful PR grab by a little-known job search service … always a distinct possibility.)
Either way, those are some sobering words to digest when your husband’s field occupies the No. 200 spot...
Posted: 5/1/2013 6:00:00 AM
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What's in a name? Ask any expectant parent and you'll hear: a whole lot of pressure. Moms and dads want to be unique but not bizarre, creative but not pretentious, memorable but not laughable. Understanding that her own pregnant sister is traversing these hotly debated waters, Kerry Trotter has found some saints whose names are due for a popular comeback.
Nothing gets us folks here at Word on Fire more excited than the birth of a baby. This is why we are especially thrilled that our own video producer, Megan Fleischel, will be welcoming her third child any day now. Megan happens to be my sister, and she and her husband, Jamie, have kept both the gender of their little one, and what they will call him or her, under wraps.
On the off chance that they aren’t settled on a name, I’ve taken the liberty of offering some suggestions of monikers that are inspiring, original or just plain awesome. Not content with the Top 10 trendy types, and tired of the swinging hipster pendulum to random silent letter territory, I give you these gems. Since we are a Catholic organization, I made sure that these were names of saints, too. If they don’t shelve their own naming plans for one of these, I will be offended.
In alphabetical order, my suggestions:
Abundius — If baby Fleischel winds up a boy, this would be an obvious pick. Both strong and memorable, it has that Latin suffix that screams, “I’m important, and my dad studied the Classics in college.” But moreover, in a twist of nomenclature irony, there is little known about him. Abundius? Not so abundant. Abundius Fleischel, then, has the liberty of writing his own story without anyone too pious to live up to. Score...
Posted: 1/23/2013 6:00:00 AM
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Sunday is the first day of Advent, and Kerry Trotter wants to do more than just go through the saccharine motions of observing tradition with her family. So she looked to the wreath, and was pleasantly surprised at the rich symbolism it bears.
While grocery shopping recently, I impulse purchased an Advent calendar for my 2-year-old daughter. It’s the kind with waxy chocolate nuggets hidden behind numbered cardboard doors — doors that will soon be mangled and torn asunder by my sweet girl’s eager, chubby fingers. Since this is the first Christmas that she really knows what’s going on, I’m pulling out all the stops. And if a $3.99 sugar-filled accessory is “all the stops,” consider them pulled.
I stood in the aisle of the store admiring my soon-to-be purchase, imagining her excitement over the daily ritual. I traced my finger over each number counting down from 25 until Christmas. I admired the trimmings adorning the tree in this Victorian-era illustrated tableau. I gazed upon the cherub-faced children seated at the foot of Santa Claus. I couldn’t wait to see my daughter’s face when I brought it home.
Then my little Word on Fire internal employee alarm went off. Wait, a second — Santa Claus?Advent Calendar?
I’m no theologian, but something didn’t add up. And Father Steve would have my head if I left well enough alone.
Admittedly, prior to my tenure here at Word on Fire, Advent for rubes like me started on December 1, ended December 25, and had three-plus weeks of chocolate surprises in between. Apparently, the makers of this calendar see it similarly...
Posted: 11/30/2012 6:00:00 AM
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Today is the Feast Day of St. Gertrude the Great, a 13th century Benedictine nun and tireless intellectual. Kerry Trotter takes a look at what it means to be great in the saintly sense, and how this particular example can be so helpful to the very vulnerable.
A couple of weeks ago, some among us on the Word on Fire staff gathered for our weekly content meeting. We bandied about blog post suggestions, perused movie openings, and flipped through the Ordo in search of November feast days.
It was there something curious emerged.
November 10: St. Leo the Great
November 15: St. Albert the Great
November 16: St. Gertrude the (you guessed it) Great.
I asked Father Steve in a most earnest-but-admittedly-sounding-a-little-like-a-wiseacre way, “What makes them so great? Aren’t they already saints?”
Father Steve’s answer surprised me: “What makes them great? Well, nothing in particular.”
To clarify, Father Steve wasn’t asserting that these saints weren’t great (lowercase “G”), but the tag of Great (capital “G”) wasn’t a formal Church title, as “saint” or “blessed” would be. Great (capital “G”) was and is determined by the scope of one’s work.
Even still, wasn’t the work of all saints great? Dusting off my very dusty journalism degree, and to the disappointment of professors everywhere, I hit up Wikipedia for answers. I needed to craft a blog around this, and I wasn’t finding anything definitive on which to hang a really brilliant point.
What I did find was this: often in ye olden days, folks were informally assigned epithets to distinguish themselves, especially in the ranks of the clergy and religious where men and women shared a handful of names. John the Wise. Peter the Short. Kerry the Procrastinator. Those who were decided to be great, that was a fantastic compliment from their peers and a testament to their influence. What was it that Matthew wrote? “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Still, a cohesive blog post this did not make...
Posted: 11/16/2012 10:10:00 AM
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