Focused for Lent

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February 11, 2013 will probably be the first “where were you when…” day to leave a mark on my three older children. As I explained to them the historical significance of the pope’s resignation, I reflected back and shared where I was eight years ago when he was elected, and the sharp contrast in my feelings at that moment. Some day, they may share similar memories with their own children, “I was throwing Legos at your aunt when…”

While initially shocked and saddened, I must admit that a haze that has clouded my thoughts for a few weeks now was immediately lifted and at the forefront of my mind remained a crystal clear purpose and mission. My Lenten sacrifices made themselves known and I was forced to acknowledge them, knowing full well that anytime I seriously apply myself to any spiritual practice with a purpose I’m miserable.

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I’m not reading the mainstream headlines, the speculations and the opinion pieces. I’m resolved to offer up all my prayers and sacrifices this Lent for Pope Benedict XVI and for a successful conclave. I’m cutting back on social media and spending more time reading the printed word, including “The Virtues.” In addition, I’m going to go all ‘Papal Unit Study’ up in here starting with copywork from ‘Deus Caritas Est’….okay, maybe not, but one of the perks to homeschooling is allowing ourselves to get a bit sidetracked when current events demand it.

In looking for some resources I came across this helpful post by Elizabeth Foss. Lots of great links there.

I also found this link of all the popes in chronological order, with pictures. And it’s interesting to note that we’ve had popes from Africa and across the European continent including Croatia, Poland, and Spain.

Fisheaters also has a detailed description of the election process. It’s interesting to note that any Catholic man may be elected pope, and the last non-bishop elected was Pope Gregory XVI in 1831.

Here is a list of all eligible cardinals.

UPDATE: Catholic Toolbox has compiled a good list of resources, with printables and links to some relevant Google Books.

UPDATE: Jessica at Shower of Roses has created the bomb diggity of a Papal Unit Study and Lap Book. I bow to her awesomeness.

UPDATE: The Catholic Toolbox created a neat file folder game I know my kids are going to enjoy.

Dorian Speed has also undertaken the penance, I mean, simple task of compiling a papal election website (The site is now up and running HERE.) Contributors are needed to get this project done ASAP so I can use it as a resource in teaching my kids.

There are several good sites which explain the history of the papacy and the election process as noted above, but Dorian is correct in creating something a bit more youth friendly.

Although times like these make me glad we no longer have a TV, we will be streaming live online footage of the ¬†Sistine Chapel’s chimney when the time comes. If you want a reminder of why it’s not worth wasting time on mainstream media, read this great article my husband found. It’s NPR’s predictions on who would replace Pope John Paul II, ¬†and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is strangely missing from the list.

Now I’m off to finish sewing up my¬†hair-shirt and throw away the kids candy. (Just kidding Nonna, it’s only going in the freezer.)


  1. You are both hilarious and correct. The website project did, indeed, become a penance around 4:53 this afternoon. But hopefully it will be “live” tomorrow. Thanks for the link!

  2. Wow, thank you for compiling all of this, Kelly! And Dorian, too! I too am offering everything up for our beloved BXVI and his successor. And since it’s already Lent here, I got a jump on y’all! ūüėČ

  3. I don’t know what it is about watching the smoke stack that makes me so happy. Maybe just watching history unfold? The drama!

    Also, if I hear one more person say, “Maybe the new pope will change the Church’s teachings on…”, I gone done flip out.

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