Add Universalis Catholic Calendar to Your Google Calendar

To give credit, I found this site, http://www.productivecatholic.com/how-to-easily-add-the-catholic-liturgical-calendar-to-google-calendar/

Go to Universalis – Yearly Calendar.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Add to Google Calendar button. Also, if you want to add the liturgical year to Outlook or another desktop or online calendar system you can download the calendar in vcalendar/ical format and then import.

You will be taken to your Google Calendar page where it will ask you if you want to add it to your calendar. Just ensure that you are only adding the items to one calendar – if you add them to multiple calendars that you are subscribed to, you will receive multiple reminders. And, it is time consuming to delete those entries since there is one for each day of the year.

Click Yes – and – voila – you have the liturgical year on your Google Calendar.

One other suggestion for families that have multiple calendars that they share – create a new calendar called Catholic Feast Days, or whatever you wish, and then add the liturgical calendar to that specific calendar. Everyone can subscribe to that calendar without worrying about receiving multiple reminders.

Free Midwinter Virtual Conference

Thanks to Homeschool Connections (your source for great online classes taught by excellent, faithful Catholics), you can look forward to a

FREE Midwinter Virtual Conference

Webinars begin on January 17th – I can’t wait to hear Nancy Brown bring Chesterton into a discussion finding levity in homeschooling.

We are facing our burnout seasons – make plans to head off the winter doldrums and ruts we are in.

Online Summer Classes Now Available

I imagine if you are internet active, you’ve seen a message or two regarding the classes that are available online this summer. I will post the information in a moment, but I wanted to give a plug for these classes. We had a wonderful priest speak to our homeschooling group several years ago. He talked about world view and the importance of understanding how a person’s world view affects what he believes, says and does. The example he gave was that while two people might have the same goal – to end poverty for example the approach they take could be radically different. One would be in line with Catholic morality and teachings and the other might not be.

With that being said, I think it is such a gift to see this endeavor flourishing and I hope as a community we are able to support these types of courses. Courses being taught by teachers who have a Catholic world view through which they offer their insights and through which they guide discussions.

Many of us were so poorly formed (God is love – 1970’s CCD classes), that we may not have our Catholic world view in place. How many of us studied history not understanding the most basic points. I remember in high school discussing Columbus and the goal of the explorers – find riches and subjugate the natives.When I was teaching my 3rd graders out of Pioneers and Patriots, I was shocked to realize that a goal that Columbus and the explorers had was also to bring Christ to all people. And, at the time, I thought I was pretty well read up on the Church – but still my formation / lack of shined through.

The rest is from Maureen Whittman:

As promised I’ve put together the information for you on the summer courses. Both of the professors have a love for the trivium and all things classical. Also, both have experience teaching at the kitchen table as well as in the ivory tower. I’ve talked to several moms whose high school children have taken their courses. Both men are loved by their homeschool students and come highly recommended.

Note that all Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months. So you can go back to review or if you’re going on vacation in the middle of a course and can’t get internet access where you are then you can watch the recording later. These particular courses have been designed for summer — little or no homework. All courses require high speed internet (non-dial-up).

If you want to register, just go to https://homeschoolconnections.webex.com/. Please don’t hesitate to send me questions or suggestions.

Here are the descriptions with the instructors’ bios at the end

Course Title: Beowulf and Christ
Course Description: This great mini epic will be explored as an allegory that te aches the Anglo-Saxon world how to transform pagan heroic ethos into a pattern for Christian heroism and how to re-envision blind Fate as Godly Providence. The Charles Kennedy translation is suggested. Be careful not to get a web version that cuts out the Christian elements. This is a book that lies behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s depiction of Edoras as well as the warlike virtues of Gondor. Suitable for any high school student who can read the poem and enjoy it. It is preferred that student have pre-read the poem before the first day of class. There will be no homework assigned for this course.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Fee: Four-week course for $60.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 1, 2009 and meet every Monday through June 22, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students:  Beowulf, preferable the Kenned y translation.
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Name: The Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis
Course Description: This is a seminar in which we will discuss the Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis—Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. The first session will be an overview. Then we will spend two session discussing each volume. The final session will be a discussion of the entire trilogy. Juniors and seniors.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher. Ph.D.
Fee: Eight-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Tuesday, June 16, 2009 and meet every Tuesday through August 4, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:30 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 15 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: The Space Trilogy by C. S . Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength)
Equipment requirements: Because this is a discussion course, students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Title: Catholic Living for Young People
Course Description: In our complex and changing world, with its serious cultural challenges, how does a young person structure and organize his life so that he can grow in his relationship with the Lord? Themes covered include prayer, study, social life, recreation and entertainment, technology, and decision-making. Lecture and discussion. The student will compose a rule of life tailored to his own situation. High school.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Eight-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Friday, June 19, 2009 and meet every Friday through August 7, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: None
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Name: College Writing
Course Description: What are the characteristics of excellent writing in the eyes of college professors? This course will use the rhetorical arts to help turn competent writing into impressive writing. What are the essential components of an excellent piece of nonfiction writing? How does one write a compelling introduction and conclusion? How does one argue effectively for one’s position? What are important mistakes to avoid? The course will work with previous writing samples of the students, as well as composition exercises, culminating in the writing of a short argumentative essay. Juniors and seniors.
Instr uctor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 22, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 27, 2009. The time will begin 12:00 PM Eastern and end at 1:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 20 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: None
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Title: The Short Stories of J.R.R. Tolkien
Course Description: In this course we will discuss in seminar (discussion) format five short stories by J.R.R. Tolkien in light of his essay called “On Fairy Stories.” The stories are “Smith of Wooton Major,” “Farmer Giles of Ham,” “Leaf by Niggle,” “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil,” and “Roverandom.” All five stories and the essay are available in one volume, called Tales from the Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien. The assignment will be to write your own fantasy story by the end of the six weeks. High school.
It is preferred that students have read Lord of the Rings before coming to this course, but not required.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Wednesday, June 24, 2009 and meet every Wednesday through July 29, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:30 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 15 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: Tales from the Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Title: The Mass Explained
Course Description: In order to participate fully in the Mass, we need to understand it better. The Bible provides many images and ideas that are the basis for the structure and prayers of the Mass. This course looks at these Biblical ideas and explains how they are realized and fulfilled in the celebration of the Mass. Some of the images include the Trinity; temple, priest and sacrifice; the Passover and the Exodus; and the bridegroom/bride. In this course we will look closely at the prayers and structure of the Mass in light of these images and ideas. This course will not require written assignments. It will involve reading from the Bible. High school.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $90.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Thursday, June 25, 2009 and meet every Thursday through July 30, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: A Catholic Bible
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Title: The Catholic Shakespeare: MacBeth
Course Description: The course will explore the play on four levels: 1) What is literally happening and why that is often surprising; 2) What main Christian moral messages are being embodied in the play; 3) The Biblical references that enrich the meaning of the work; and finally, 4) How Shakespeare is presenting the challenges and duties of the Body of Christ within the Elizabethan police state. Suitable for anyone who can read the play and enjoy it. It is preferred that students have pre-read the play before the first day of class.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Fee: Four-week course for $60.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 29, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 20, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Student: MacBeth by William Shakespeare
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Biography, Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students.

A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University.

Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Biography, Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert F. Gotcher most recently served as Associate Professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the home schooling of his children, especially in the junior high and high school years. He has taught Latin, literature, physics, astronomy, and religion to homeschooled students. He has a special devotion to the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric, especially as they pertain to the written arts.

Dr. Gotcher graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his M.A. in Theology of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1991 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. In his adult life he has done everything from volunteering with the poor in Appalachia, to religious education and youth ministry, to desktop publishing and computer related responsibilities at a law firm. At the seminary he taught introduction to theology, the doctrine of God, one and three, theological anthropology (creation, sin, redemption, grace, four last things), life principles, and human sexuality and has given public presentations on Vatican II, the encyclicals of the pope, social justice, life issues, human sexuality and the theology of the body. His publications focus on family=2 0issues, lay spirituality and issues related to the Second Vatican Council. He is involved in the secular Franciscan order, home schooling, and pro-life activities in the Milwaukee area and nationally.

Dr. Gotcher blogs at Heart, Mind & Strength, Classic Catholic and Love2Learn.

The Vatican on YouTube!

Yeah! I love when evangelization meets technology. So, the Vatican is on YouTube now – http://www.youtube.com/vatican. Where else might we find technology and media being of service to evangelization? How about iBreviary for you iPhone? Available for a small fee of $.099 to run on your phone (I do not have an iPhone or iPod so was unable to run the software – please let me know if you download it).

Facebook is also experiencing an explosion of Catholic users – it can serve as a quiet evangelization tool for those who are a bit more timid in sharing their faith. And, the Pope even introduced a new social networking site for Catholics after World Youth Day (article) at www.Xt3.com.

Online Catholic Homeschool Webinars

Do you need a boost / a shot in the arm / a bit of encouragement? Some of us are blessed to have local or semi local Catholic homeschool conferences to look forward. The speakers help to encourage us and stretch us and comfort us. So, what if that is not available in your area (Find Catholic Homeschool Conferences) or what if you just really need some help right now?

I have an answer – free or very low cost online seminars from noted members of the Catholic homeschool community. How about a free 1.5 hour conference from Mary Kay Clark (Seton) on “What is Homeschooling?”

Or, how about some ideas on “Organizing Your Classroom 101” from Maureen Whittmann, Catholic homeschooling author of:

I am very excited to be able to pass this information along. Things to note: some of the seminars are interactive, some cost a small amount, and you have to download a special piece of software to listen to the seminars. I imagine then that you cannot simply pop a recording onto your MP3 player.

Please post back and let me know what you think of the seminars.

Oh, I nearly forgot to give you the links:

Current and Upcoming Webinars

Previously Recorded Webinars

Review – The Faith Database

Faith Database – Over 1500 Writings – Over 75,000,000 Words – Over 80,000 Pages

First of all, let me give you some links:

Faith Database Website

Video Introducing the Faith Database – Jerry Usher

In one place, you have an absolutely mind boggling amount of information compiled (from the website):

2000 Years of Christian History

  • 10 Bible Translations
  • 88 Council Documents from all 21 Ecumenical Councils
  • 400 Early Church writings
  • 165 writings from the Doctors of the Church
  • 74 books from John Henry Newman
  • 1300 Papal writings/encyclicals
  • The Old Catholic Encyclopedia (1200 entries and 5000 images)
  • Many classics including Gibbons’ “Faith of our Fathers,” Thomas a Kempis’ “Imitation of Christ” and John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”
  • 1000 Bible Art Images
  • Over 100 Bible Maps
  • Illustrated Church history
  • Search Catechism and Code of Canon Law

Some of the Over 1500 Featured Writings Classics

  • Apologia (Newman)
  • Orthodoxy (Chesterton)
  • Thomas a Kempis
  • Doctors of the Church
  • St. John of the Cross
  • St. Theresa of Avila
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (The Summa)

Early Church Fathers

  • St. Augustine’s Confessions
  • Irenaeus’ Against Heresies
  • St. John Chrysostom’s Commentaries

Papal Writings / Encyclicals

Ok, so now as a homeschooling parent – what do we do with this? How can we it assist us in our job as teachers? I believe it’s a given that it it is a fantastic apologetic tool for all adults as well as way for us to grow in our faith. With ten translations of the Holy Bible, we can do in depth Bible studies.

But, this review is focused on how we might use the database with our children.

So, my first delve into the database – my two oldest children had to write a paper for 8th grade about Infallibility. I could not do the search because I was using the database incorrectly. Finally, I realized I needed to select Encyclopedia and searched again for the term, “infallibility” – and the program crashed. Yikes. A caveat, watch the video! It gives a nice walk through of how to search the encyclopedia. But, I still encountered an error and will contact them in regards to it. It appears if you search for a term in the topics that is not found, you receive an error message and if you press cancel, it closes the program down.

Oops – I discovered that I spelled the word incorrectly. Once I correctly spelled infallibility, I discovered one entry for the topic and many entries when I searched the text – both searches returned a huge amount of information. Everything I might possibly want to know about infallibilty was in the topic and my children were able to understand the concept better. Actually, I read it and distilled it and was better able to delve deeper into the topic so that they were able to write more about it.

Then, out of curiosity, I wanted to see what other information was in the database about infallibility. After selecting the Tab, Apologetics, I selected Authority/Church in the Categories Box, and then in then in the box below, Doctrines, I selected Church Authority/Papal Infallibilty.  What was returned, was a series of quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church including:

100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.

Under this section was Supporting Bible Passages with another great list of quotes. This was followed by quotes from the Early Church fathers. Wow! All I can say is wow! What an amazing collection of information.

Next task – my 8th graders needed to write a paper on the 4 marks of the Catholic Church, “One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic”. I go immediately to the Apologetics section – and there it is. Once again, I select in the Categories box, Authority/Church. Then I find a topic for each item – Church is Apostolic (ok, I know this is the One part of the Marks of the Church). Again, the format is a collection of quotes from the CCC, then the supporting Bible passages, followed by the Early Church fathers quotes. There is more information than I even know what to do with. And, again, my children are able to write a deeper paper because I am better educated.

My only disappointment with the Apologetics section is that I was unable to search for terms in it.

The Mass section is another little treasure. Each part of the mass is written out, and then a “references” link is provided on the right. After clicking it, you find a list of Bible passages giving reference to where the words came from. You could also use this section for a detailed study of the Creed since each section is referenced.

The saints section is searchable.

I love the History Section. It has as categories, 100 year increments, and within each period such as 501-600AD, a number of topics like Irish monasteries flourish. The text on the right is brief, but there are images to view, an encyclopedia entry about the history of Ireland, and a map image. As my children study medieval history, I can totally image how we can use this section.

I cannot even begin to delve into all the rest including the various writings of Saints, Doctors of the Church and Popes. You can select Popes and then Pope John Paul II and see all the writings included. So, if you want to read “Faith and Reason”, there it is. I believe all these writings are downloaded upon installation. So the install of the database does take some time.

Also included are 10 translations of the Holy Bible and again, I do not have time to delve into how we might use that in our homeschools.

This is a fantastic product – I am not sure if they will be offering updates, but it is well worth the price of $31.95 (downloaded), or $39.95 (shipped). I look forward to seeing all the ways I can use this for both my personal growth in faith, to become a better apologist, and in my homeschooling.

Physical Education

I have a week long free trial to GoTrybe. It costs $30 / year and you could have a membership for each child, but the representative at the booth said one per family is enough.

Now, I have to say on one of the banners last week, they talked about STDs – not graphic, but it was a bit disconcerting.

Anyway, what is so unique is you get to build a workout – you have a 3 minute warm up section and 38 different video clips to choose from, then you have 3 cardio sections to fill for 10 minutes total, then there is a strength section (8-12 minutes), and finally a flexibility section (3 minutes). The warm up and cardio video clips include just basic cardio, cardio groove, hiphop, kickboxing, and sports drills. The strength training section has some videos that include basic weight training, and finally the flexibility has basic flexibility and about 10 yoga clips – none seem inappropriate or spiritual.

When you complete the workout, you get points that are redeemable for online javascript games (kind of a funny connection) but you have to have loads of points before you can “buy” a game. There are also motivation videos (some baseball team members give short talks about eating and training), nutrition tips with a one or two question quiz, and wellness video clips.

The people on the video range from young adults who lead the moves, to gawky teens that don’t do the moves perfectly – so my guys all fit.

Downside – the video clips don’t have any information about what the workout is other than the title such as Cardio Groove- so you don’t know if the strength training clip needs weights until you start it. I am just keeping a log of what clips we like. Next downside, you can’t “save” your preferred workout – so every day you have to go rebuild it again.

How to make it work better? Well, my laptop has an S-Video out plug, so I was able to route the video out to the TV screen. There was  a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to make the TV display the laptop screen’s content. Basically, for my graphic card, I had to make a clone, but each card’s software is a bit different. That enabled us to do the videos in the living room with enough room for everyone to have a spot. I also connected up a set of USB speakers to the laptop to have the sound louder since my laptop does not have a sound out to 5.1 audio. I do not know if there is a cable to take the headphones out jack to the sound input for my TV.

You should see my crew in the morning doing kickboxing – my 4th grade loves the aggressive nature and I think it moves out some of the pent up energy. We do one workout as a family, but as long as you don’t care who gets the points, each child could design and do their own workout.

I think this would be an easy way to add physical education to our daily program and I joined last week.

Recording Keeping / Lesson Plans / Assignment Sheets

I first must confess that I am a techno-geek. I love all things technology related. In my purse, is a Motorola Q that works as a phone and PDA (personal digital assistant) and I read books, keep my phone / contact list, to do lists and more in one place. So, I am most familiar with electronic resources. But, I understand that not everyone is technology oriented, so I will try to include a number of printable resources for families that prefer to print a form and enter the information by hand.

First of all, I will describe the program I use in my homeschool – Homeschool Tracker.

I began using Homeschool Tracker about four years ago. The company offers fantastic support – answering emails in the evening and participating on an active forum. The forum is a fantastic resource too because users share their methods of using the product. Finally, the company also offers period user training sessions. All in all, I have never seen a product that is better supported.

While the free Homeschool Tracker Basic Edition is a great product, I did purchase the complete Homeschool Tracker Plus Edition about six months after I started using the Basic. Primarily, I was led to do this because I began to understand the value of the Lesson Plan feature offered in Plus. I use Mother of Divine Grace syllabi with some additions and substitutions of resources. This past year, since I have been using Plus for so long, I only needed to enter the Seventh Grade plans into the program and was able to re-use my Fifth, Third and First Grade Plans that I had entered in previous years. I saved a lot of time. And, as a side note, Tracker now offers a Lesson Plan Sharing Program, so you may not even have to enter lesson plans if someone else has input the information.

I also use the Weekly Planner section to input lessons that do not change from week to week. I use Math U See for our math program and while most of the time we progress one worksheet a day, there are times when we need to stay on a particular lesson longer thus I do not create a Lesson Plan for math, but simply use the Weekly Planner to require math each day. On the Weekly Planner, I also include the drill work each child is to do including Baltimore Catechism review, math facts, and more.

Finally, on Sunday evenings, I take about 20 minutes and submit the next week’s lesson plans to each child’s assignment sheet along with their Weekly Plans. When I input the Lesson Plans back in the summer, I included the week number in one of the columns, so I find it very easy to submit a week’s worth of assignments. And, if I find that I have slipped because of doctor appointments, or other outside activities, it is quite easy to reschedule that work for the following week.

Once all the work has been submitted to the Assignment section for each child, I print an assignment report for each child. For the little ones, it generally is a one page report and the older children have a two page report. The days of the week run across the top of the page, and then on the left side are the subjects and in each box are the details for that day’s assignments.

With this page in hand, my children are able to easily see what is required for the week. Some subjects lend themselves to the children working on them independently, and others require me to teach.

One final note, is that there are more features available. You can input grades for the assignments, keep track of library books, field trips, goals, memory work, and include a journal. And, with the grades that you have input, you can easily generate a report card and / or transcript.

Now, Homeschool Tracker of course is not the only piece of software available. I am including a list of other software and I hope you the reader will submit comments on what has worked for you:

Now, I know that many families just do not want to learn another piece of software, so there are a number of downloadable sytems for record keeping / lesson planning that are paper based. You simply print the forms out and fill them out by hand:

Finding time to grow spiritually – letting technology assist

I must first preface this entry with a bit of self disclosure. I am not an “audio” type person. When material is presented to me in an audio format, I do not attend well to the details. Generally, I find that I need to read information in order to process it. But, I understand that other people take in information in different manners, so I want to offer both audio and text materials found on the internet to assist us in growing spiritually.

First of all, many of us have Ipod’s and other MP3 type devices. So, how we can use these devices as well as our wi-fi connected computers and laptops to grow deeper in our faith … and do it on the run many times? Well, audio material often times will be the medium that fits our busy lifestyles.

Podcasts are generally audio programs that generally can be downloaded to your laptop or Ipod to listen to while you are “offline” (i.e. driving in the car or walking on the treadmill). Itunes from Apple has a number of programs that you can download quite easily even if you do not use an IPod device. Once you download and install Itunes, you can navigate to the podcast section by clicking on the Itune Store and then in the Itune Store box, click on Podcasts – there should be a category box below now and you can navigate your way through Religion & Spirituality to the box below that should allow you to select Christianity.

You will have to try out the channels to see what programs fit your need – of course you’ll want orthodox programs.

  • Rosary Army – look on the right side of the page for top
  • Catholic Answers Live
  • Disciples with a Microphone – large network of “podcasts”
  • CatholicRadioInternational – a new comer into the world of Catholic audio content, you will find a rich assortment of materials from reflections, to current news, to poetry, to books offered chapter by chapter including “Left to Tell” and “Swimming with Scapulars”
  • The Catholic Hack! – collection of podcasts including apologetics, interviews with Steve Ray and Marcus Grod

Now for those of you who need text based material (yes that includes me), please consider the following:

  • Virtual Rosary -You can download a small application that helps you to say the rosary every day. The software is available for Windows, Mac, Palm and Pocket PC platforms.
  • Universalis – Do you want to pray the Divine Office? Well, this site assists you in that endeavor. Universalis is based on the 1985 edition of the Latin Breviary. You can either visit the website daily, or download it to your pc, or to you WAP enabled phone or you PDA via Avantgo (AvantGo is a service that allows you to download pages from the Web for use with Palm, Windows Mobile (Pocket PC), and Symbian handhelds.)
  • Mass Readings – Have you seen websites and blogs with that little nifty box that has the Daily Mass readings? Well, this site provides the HTML code for you to place it on your very own site – how encouraging for people who visit your blog to remember to take in the Word of God.
  • More Mass Readings – The USCCB provides a site for the Daily Readings on on the same page, you can sign up for the daily podcast of readings.

Now, if you want to kick your technology up a notch and enjoy audio programs – you can think about adding a Bluetooth adapter to your PC (your PDA may already have builtin Bluetooth) and a set of Bluetooth headphones. If your machine runs Vista as mine does, you have to find a USB adapter that actually has Vista drivers for Bluetooth. I finally found this:

But if you have an XP machine or Mac, you can find Bluetooth USB adapters in the $5 – $10 range. Insure that the adapter has the A2DP protocol – this is what gives you stereo sound.

I use this set of Bluetooth Stereo Headphones:

I had another pair that broke when I accidentally threw a book on them (I had picked them up used so not a huge loss):

What makes the BT adapter and headphones so useful, is that you are no longer tethered to you computer in order to listen to audio material. While your computer is in the school room, you can be in the kitchen preparing supper and listening to an audio program.