Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Feast of St. James the Greater - Patron saint of pilgrims to the Holy Land

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James the Greater was the brother of John the Evangelist, the beloved apostle. Our Lord referred to the two brothers together as ""Sons of Thunder." They were the sons of Zebedee and Salome, and like their father, the brothers were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.

 James and John were together when Jesus called them and their friends Simon and Andrew, to be "fishers of men."  Among the 12 apostles, James held a special place.  He was there when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead; he was present at the transfiguration along with John and Peter, and he slept in the Garden of Gethesemane.

The mother of James and John asked for a special place for her sons in Mathew 20:20.

c Then the mother* of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.21He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”22Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking.* Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”

As it turns out, they both did.

Legend has it that  after the Ascension of Jesus,  James traveled to preached in Spain.

He returned to the Holy land and was martyred. (Acts 12:1).   King Herod Agrippa I killed him with a sword in an early persecution of the Church. There is a story that the man who arrested James became a convert after hearing James speak at his trial and was executed with him.

Legend has it that after his death, Christians put the remains of St. James on a rudderless ship that landed in Spain. After some negotiations and problems with the local Celtic Queen Lupa (who later converted) the saint's remains were put on an ox cart. The Christians determined that they would lay the saint wherever the ox stopped to rest. And that is how St. James came to be buried where the Cathedral of Santiago stands today! (Iago is his name in Spanish).

So how did the scallop shell become a symbol of St. James?  I've read it two ways  -The scallop-shell is very prevalent on the shores of Palestine, so pilgrims would take these shells home and put display them on their hats to show that they had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands.  St. James will frequently be portrayed as a pilgrim with a staff and with a scalloped shell.  It also seems that when the body of St. James was nearing the shore of the Iberian Peninsula, a man on a horse went out into the water to meet it and went under the water. When the man and horse came up, they were covered with shells!

 photo 725james26.jpg

St James as a Boy
Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc - St. James as a child - note the sea shell included in this piece!

For More information

St. James the Greater
A Little about St. James 
The Shell
Follow the Camino

This is the day to try oysters on the half shell!  or maybe stuffed shells for dinner! or try some fun shell crafts!

This is our Pentecost bowl filled with sea shells on the Feast of St. James

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Homeschool Diploma Fairness in Ohio

A homeschool diploma granted lawfully in the state of Ohio is considered proof of completion of a high school education.  This is what you need to know.

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Adobe Spark (15)
This is an update from my post in 2015.

My oldest son, Calvin, went to EMT and paramedic training at a local hospital. On the application, there was a section that wanted to know the name of his "accredited" high school. He had graduated from a local digital charter school which had only been open for a few years, so I was a little concerned about whether or not that would count.  It apparently did because he was accepted to the school and earned his paramedic credentials. He is now married and gainfully employed in Charlotte, NC.

That made me wonder about the diploma I issued for my second son, who graduated from our homeschool in 2011. Would he face a problem if he applied to college, or sought employment opportunities?   So far he has not had any problems getting a job with his homeschool issued diploma and he has not been asked to get a GED. Luckily he has also been fully employed for the past six years. But could that be a problem for him in the future?

I was right to wonder.  In 2014 a homeschool graduate, with some completed college courses and relevent work experience found a job offer rescinded because his high school diploma was from his homeschool. In 2013 an institute of higher learning told a qualified homeschooled student to come back with a GED. Another student who had already been accepted at an institution was told to produce a GED or leave right in the middle of a semester!

Sam's Graduation Mass 2011 012

Luckily, in June of 2015, Ohio passed the Diploma Fairness Statute. (Ohio Revised Code 3313.6110)

A person who has completed the final year of instruction at home as authorized under section 3321.04 of the Revised Code and has successfully fulfilled the high school curriculum applicable to that person may be granted a high school diploma by the person's parent, guardian or other person having charge or care of a child  as defined in Division 11 of section 3321.01 of the Revised Code.

That law was amended in 2016 Senate Bill 3 Parent- issued diplomas. 

This bill includes a revision to the diploma fairness law. It removes the option of having the local superintendent sign a parent-issued diploma. Parent-issued diplomas may simply be accompanied by the excuse letter for the final year of home instruction. It also adds the option that a homeschooling parent may assign the state seal of biliteracy to the student's diploma in the same manner as school districts and chartered nonpublic schools.

What does this mean to the average homeschool graduate?

Quite simply it means hang on to the official letter of excused issued by the district superintended for the student's FINAL YEAR of home schooling.  That excusal letter is always important, but it is vitally important the senior year since by law it validates the diploma.

For that reason I will:

  • I'll probably make a copy of it for my student's portfolio
  • Keep the original with important papers in a lock box.  
  • Scan it into the computer for digital back up. 

This means that for the purposes of employment, or any other situation that requires proof of this requirement, a diploma granted with either of these top options is considered proof of completion of a high school education.

What if your student is over 18 years of age but not a graduate? The student doesn't need an excuse letter by law because he/she is over the age of compulsory education. But you also want the final letter to go with the diploma. Should you notify or not?

Isadora's senior pictures and sign

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association says this:

HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Ohio law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the m i l i t a r y , applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security b e n e f i t s . If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.

I also heard from Attorney Jill from HSLDA  July 20 on this issue.  She told me that in Ohio,  you do not have to send in a notification once the student is 18. HSLDA says that the final letter would mean the final letter under the compulsory age requirement.  However, some families will choose to send in a notification after age 18 so that they have that letter for the final year of high school, and that's fine! If the parents are comfortable with that, they can go ahead.

As in all things, do your own research and make decisions based on what is best for your family. DO NOT get bullied into doing things you feel uncomfortable with by "letter -of-the-statute-only" zealots. The local school district shouldn't bully you either. If you decide to keep notifying after age 18 you are NOT dishonoring the sacrifice of the homeschoolers from generations past by doing what is comfortable for you.  Those homeschoolers fought for educational freedom - it would be dishonoring them not to use yours.

Homeschooling through high school is quite an accomplishment! Be proud of yourself and your graduate!

Izzy's graduation Party

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene July 22

" O happy Mary of happy merit, who deserved to be the first of mortals to see the Son of God rise from the dead. For love of him, you despised the allurements of the world. Commend us to him, we beg you, by your assiduous prayers that we may enjoy with you, O Lady, his most happy presence."

- from a Matins responsory in the Dominican tradition for the feast of St Mary Magdalene.

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He is not here!
Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc

St. Mary Magdalene is know as the apostle's apostle.  She is said to be the sister of Martha and Lazarus. We get our first glimpse of her in the Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 7  and in Chapter 8 we learn her name and that she had 7 demons cast from her.  She told her friends and they became followers of Jesus. She is mentioned at least a dozen times in the scriptures.

Gospel scholars may dispute whether or not she was truly the woman that washed Jesus's feet. Scholars also debate whether her sin was that of prostitution. They do agree, however, that she had been a great sinner, and that she experienced a conversion in her life and became devoted to Jesus.

But I think this is the important point - Mary Magdalene was such a great sinner that she was vulnerable to demonic possession.  And yet Jesus saved her. The lesson for us is that no person is beyond the love and saving grace of God.

It is believed that Mary Magdalene followed the apostles and took care of the disciples. She was the first to visit the tomb and find the risen Christ.

Legends tell us that she remained with the early Christians. The Jews allegedly put her into a boat with other Christians and set them adrift. She eventually landed in Southern France where she lived out her life in a cave. There are stories of miracles from invoking her intercession and involving her remains.

She is the patron saint of converts, sinners, pharmacists, tanners, women and the tempted.

A medieval window of St Mary Magdalene, identified by her long flowing hair and the alabaster jar of ointment, in the antechapel of All Souls' College in Oxford.

St Mary Magdalene
Father Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr, licensed cc

Sacro Monte di Domodossola. Fig.2.JPG
By Stefano Bistolfi - Own work, Public Domain, Link

For More Information!
Legend of St. Mary Magdalene 

Great Article at Fish eaters about Mary Magdalene


Make a homemade balm, oil, or perfume. This looks fun and it's free on Kindle.

Or make Madeleine's (French for Magdalene - which is fitting since that's where legend says she ended up!).

Catholic Cuisine has the recipe here!

Gluten Free Magdalena Cakes!

On a personal note, my son became a single dad when he was 17.  He was rebellious and rejecting of his parents and Catholic upbringing. After four years though, he is finding his way back to his faith, and has blossomed into a focused man, provider, loving son, and most importantly - loving daddy to his little girl. Today is also his birthday.


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