Saturday, October 01, 2016

It is being called "The final assault" ... Aleppo.

Syrian volunteers carry an injured person on a stretcher 
following Syrian government forces airstrikes 
on the rebel held neighbourhood 
of Heluk in Aleppo on Friday CREDIT: AFP

The assault force gathering outside Aleppo is reported to be made up of 10,000 troops and their goal is to finally recapture the rebel-held east of the city and bring an end its four-years of defiance against Bashar al-Assad and his regime. “There appears to be forces massing for some kind of assault on Aleppo,” said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the US State Department. When asked how long before the city fell to attackers, he replied: “It could be soon”. - Telegraph


Today is the
First Saturday of October,
the month of the Rosary.


Fun Gary Brings It to the 2016 Election




That's mature.

Looking presidential.

After this is all over he should get his own talk show or even a sitcom.

Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes.

Gerhard Marcks, „Hiob“  1957

From Today's first reading at Mass:
Job answered the LORD and said: 
I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
and repent in dust and ashes. - Job 42

Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Remember, Little Therese, 
that never was it known that anyone 
who asked your assistance,
sought your counsel, implored your intercession 
was left unaided.

Remember your promises to the most abject ...
"I will come down ...
I will spend my heaven doing good on earth ...
I will let fall a shower of roses!"

Inspired by this confidence, 
I come to you - hoping against hope,
O sweet virgin bride of Christ,
littlest daughter of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel;
before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. 
O St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, 
despise not my petitions, 
but in your love and mercy hear and answer me.

Friday, September 30, 2016

St. Jerome, patron saint of kitty kats and the irascible

What?  That's a kitty kat in the picture.

He was a volatile man - irascible - which is why he did a lot of penance.  Imagine if he had a blog ... he'd be Mark Shea.

Evidently he liked to take his clothes off too - because he is often shown naked.  So gross.

Jerome reading 'Penance For Dummies':

"First: take all your clothes off.
Then take a stone 
and pound it against your chest,
until you see blood.
Repeat as often as necessary,
especially after telling off
people who disagree with you."

Anyway - my favorite quote from St. Jerome:
"He who clings to the Chair of Peter is accepted by me."
Works for me. 

The Transitus of St. Therese ... the last day of preparation.

"Oh!... Je L'aime!... Mon Dieu, je... vous... aime!" 

Shortly after 7 PM, little Therese died on the evening of September 30 in 1897.

She died much like Our Lord, suffocating in great agony; the weeks and days leading up to her death, St. Therese suffered an ineffable darkness, "the trial of Faith". Neither her own words, nor those of any other living person, can describe what it was like to share so intimately her Beloved's death. Not even her sisters could comprehend it.

Therese is little, and yet great. Nevertheless she is always little...very, very little. I sometimes lament she has been declared a Doctor of the Church, resulting in many academics, intellectuals, and masters of theology and spirituality making a science of her "little way." Many times they miss. They miss her "littleness" - her insignificance ...

The only great theologian or mystic that I know of who best writes of what comprised her spirituality is St. John of the Cross, the writer whose works Therese's spiritual doctrine most perfectly embodies. John of the Cross was a little soul as well.  The one person living today whom I believe understands the spiritual doctrine of St. Therese - and actually lives it - is our Holy Father Pope Francis.

Of course, the person who most closely exemplified Little Therese's "little way" was even more little and insignificant than Therese herself - Saint Teresa of Calcutta.


O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Preparation for the feast of St. Therese - a memorare.

Remember, Little Therese, 
that never was it known that anyone 
who asked your assistance,
sought your counsel, implored your intercession 
was left unaided.

Remember your promises to the most abject ...
"I will come down ...
I will spend my heaven doing good on earth ...
I will let fall a shower of roses!"

Inspired by this confidence, 
I come to you - hoping against hope,
O sweet virgin bride of Christ,
littlest daughter of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel;
before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. 
O St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, 
despise not my petitions, 
but in your love and mercy hear and answer me.

St. Michael Archangel

Vatican Gardens

Castel S. Angelo




Mont St. Michel

Monte Gargano

Miracle at Chonae

St. Michael and St. Joan of Arc


Synaxis of the Holy Archangels

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”
- Revelation 12:7-12

Global cooling in Minneapolis ...

"It's my new winter coat." 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Preparation for the Feast of St. Therese

Little Therese, give me your childlike faith,
to see the Face of God
in the people and experiences of my life,
and to love God with full confidence.

On Fortitude ... and not getting 'even'.

One day, when she (Therese) was doing her best to arrange some bunches of flowers that had been sent be placed around Mother Genevieve's coffin, a lay-sister said to her: 'Obviously , these bunches of flowers have come from your family; you are putting them well in front and disregarding those of the poor.'  I was wondering what Sister Therese was going to say to such an unfair comment, but she just looked affectionately at the sister and hastened to satisfy her wishes by bringing the less beautiful flowers to the fore." - Marie of the Sacred Heart, ocd; Therese by Those Who Knew Her


O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.


I probably would have made a big spectacle of it,
and said, "I hope you're happy now!"

St. Therese, pray for us!

Monsignor Pope discusses voting as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision...

Monsignor Pope 

He's the best priest online - the best advisor for mixed up Catholics - in my opinion.  I don't care what anyone says about that - he preaches the truth.  However, he just made me even more depressed - because I keep looking for a loophole to vote for Clinton.  In my heart I know what he presents regarding a Catholic vote is true, and I accept and agree, and most of all believe in all the truths the Catholic Church teaches.

Which means ... I can't vote for Hillary.  Even if I did not believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, I couldn't vote for Hillary after reading about the abortion process and leaving abortion survivors on the counter to cry themselves to death.  I can't embrace that hypocrisy.

I can't vote for Trump either.  Did you watch the debate?  Did you watch the Frontline report, "The Choice" on PBS last night?  How could anyone possibly support Donald Trump?  Don't answer, because I won't believe you.  The Republican Party Platform - he represents that?  Really?  I don't believe it.

Now I'm back to square one - I can't vote.  If I could, I would vote for Clinton.  But I can't.  I can't vote for anyone who supports abortion and considers it necessary to maintain the status quo and equal rights for women.  I cannot support evil, much less the less of two evils.

Read Monsignor Pope's good advice:
Among the moral issues that have been most politicized are non-negotiable issues for any Catholic: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same sex “marriage.”  These are non-negotiable issues because there is no room for nuance or degree of support. You are either for them or against them. There is no middle ground. They are outright forbidden by Church teaching and no Catholic may agree with or support abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research or same-sex “marriage” in any degree whatsoever. This goes for every Catholic from the highest political officials to the lowliest and most unknown Catholic in the pew. This precedes politics, party loyalties, political leanings or any such thing. 
I agree.
I say to every American, that we must come to our senses and stop peddling death through abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research. The culture of death must end. Stop redefining sexuality and marriage and all other sins against the family and the body such as fornication, adultery, contraception, and homosexual acts. No candidate for office should be thought fit or deserve our vote who supports such deadly and confused practices. It is also true that we must find ways to welcome the immigrant, ensure economic fairness, and care for our poor more effectively. But in these matters there will be legitimate differences as to how best to accomplish such goals.
 I agree.

Mons. Pope urges Catholics to vote, but at this point, I still do not think I can - I've gone back and forth on this - but I can't vote for Trump in good conscience, and I can't vote for Clinton either.  Monsignor wrote: To all Catholics I say, be Catholic. Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision. Advance the Kingdom of God.  I do not believe for a minute that either party intends to advance the Kingdom of God, much less either candidate.

And I believe what the Catholic Church teaches.

Act of Faith 
O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because you have revealed them who are eternal truth and wisdom, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. In this faith I intend to live and die. Amen.

My thanks to Monsignor Pope for teaching sound doctrine, with persistence, 'whether it is convenient or inconvenient;' he is faithful to the call to 'convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.'

My Lord God I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- Thoughts in Solitude. Thomas Merton

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preparation for the feast of St. Therese

"To help me accept a humiliation, she once confided to me: 'If I had not been accepted in Carmel, I would have entered a Refuge (for fallen women) and lived out my days there, unknown and despised among the poor penitents. I would have been happy to be taken as one of them, and would have become an apostle among them, telling them what I thought of God's mercy.'" - Therese By Those Who Knew Her

O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Action Alert: Save the Baby Rabbits!

How can you let something this cute die?

Yesterday I posted a story about a nurse's testimony on how babies born alive after an abortion procedure are left on the counter, in a stainless steel pan, crying themselves to death.

I will never ever disparage another pro-life activist for being a single issue voter ever again.  These stories are so inhumane it is difficult to believe that any country or government could approve of such atrocities committed in the name of 'women's health'.  It is a crime against humanity.  It is evil.

Today I read another story about a woman who could feel her twins in her womb, fighting for their lives, during an abortion. She had too many children and didn't want more - so she had them killed.  It's insanity - such hardness of heart - I can't even express the anguish I feel reading these stories.

So often, on local news, - for the feel-good news segments, they show people bringing in hurt animals to be rehabilitated, often orphaned baby rabbits, and fawns which people believe to be an abandoned baby deer, and even fledgling backyard birds - to be nursed and saved and returned to their habitat when old enough.  Fawns and baby rabbits and fledglings are really meant to be left where they are, because somewhere mommy rabbit is hiding - and she'll show up at feeding time to care for her babies.  Same with deer and birds.  Unlike us, even animals take care of their own.  Yet we, who would rescue a cute little bunny, allow a baby to die, naked, wounded, cold, alone in stainless steel pan.

More recently, in the news covering survival stories of the floods and disasters, news anchors said that it was the cry of babies that led rescuers into the gravest dangers to rescue those who were trapped - one woman said she wouldn't let go of a baby in the rushing waters.  Though she found some place to cling to, it was dark, and chances she would be found were slim.  Then she prayed - and suddenly the baby cried - and only then were rescuers able to locate them.  A baby's cry saved the woman and the foundling baby.

In Aleppo, after recent bombings, rescuers found a baby boy in the rubble - crying - and he was saved.  Yet we kill our own when we don't want anymore kids - and if somehow they survive our attempts to kill them - we ignore their 'whining' and let them die.

If you have any heart at all, if you want peace, if you want love, rescue these children, these babies.

Make the killing stop.

This is why I love to hear babies cry at Mass - they remind me of those whose cries are ignored, or not heard, and left to die - and it rends my heart.  I thank God for the babies who cry, I thank God for the kids who are unsettled.  They remind me to pray for them, as well as for those babies and little kids who suffer daily, and to ardently pray the unborn and newborn and babies and little kids, will no longer suffer from our cold indifference and lack of love.

Be grateful for children, welcome them, and love them.

Remember this ... keep it in mind: "Every day and every hour, every minute, walk round yourself and watch yourself, and see that your image is a seemly one. You pass by a little child, you pass by, spiteful, with ugly words, with wrathful heart; you may not have noticed the child, but he has seen you, and your image, unseemly and ignoble, may remain in his defenseless heart. You don't know it, but you may have sown an evil seed in him and it may grow, and all because you were not careful before the child, because you did not foster in yourself a careful, actively benevolent love." -  Fr. Zosima, Brothers Karamazov

Love your children.  Save them.  Save the children.

"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" - St. Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, September 26, 2016

Preparation for the feast of Little Therese

"Therese believed that God frequently allows us to experience in ourselves the same weaknesses which we deplore in others,,, [Thus] when we see ourselves fallen into those faults we are then more prompt to excuse them in others." - My Sister St. Therese, Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face


O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Legal Atrocities ...

Mrs. L.M., a former anesthetic nurse, describes what took place when a 28-week-old baby was born alive during an abortion in France. The abortion took place in 1987. The mother was HIV positive. L.M. says:

It was in a maternity of Paris suburbs (South) in 1987. I was an anesthetic nurse at the time and I intervened in monitoring the epidural composed by the Anesthetist… 
Gynecologists convinced [the mother] to abort but the baby was born alive. Midwives simply put it in an empty box, naked in a stainless steel tub, cold, without any care. His mother was conscious during labor and delivery of the baby; she was crying and wanted to see her little one but the doctors decided that this child should die. They did not give the child to the mother to spare her. This baby was viable, he was breathing on his own and cried vigorously. I honestly think it was just left to die of cold … it was horrible…! We were harnessed in our gloves, overshirts, headwear, masks, “overshoes” because we were afraid of getting AIDS, and the baby, naked, abandoned by all, and so vulnerable. He took a long time to stop whining. - Source

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.  Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’  At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ - Luke 23:30

They are killing priests in Mexico.

At least 15 dead since 2012.

Three priests in a week.

I had a dream last night of a white rose spattered with blood, and then I saw Blessed Miguel Pro - his face and temple spattered with blood - just like the rose.  I woke up and said a short prayer to him, asking him to protect the priest who had been recently kidnapped ... They are killing priests.  If they take away our priests we have no Mass, no sacraments.

Pray for priests, protect priests, support priests, love priests.  We need to do that.  I need to do that.

Stop creating divisions - stop labeling and judging priests - stop calling them liberals or conservatives - stop criticizing and condemning.  I need to do that.  You need to do that.  Especially if you are a priest - these men are your brothers ... blood brothers - in the Blood of Christ.

Priest are being killed once again in Mexico.


Blessed Miguel Pro
September 25 is the anniversary of his beatification.

Does our life become from day to day more painful, 
more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? 
Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. 
If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, 
grounded on suffering, 
can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. 
Love without egotism, without relying on self, 
but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst 
to love and suffer for all those around us: 
a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish... 
I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith... 
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. 
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. 
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; 
but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. 
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; 
but take care of my promise 
so that I may be able to put it in practice 
even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.
- Bl. Miguel Pro shortly before his death.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Prayerful considerations in preparation for the feast of the Little Flower.

"My heart was filled with charity. 
I forgot myself to please others and, 
in doing so, became happy myself."

From the life of St. Therese:
One day in the infirmary during her last illness, my sister called my attention to the soft, downy linens which the infirmarian, Sr. Stanislaus always had at hand for the benefit of her patients.  
"Souls should be treated with the same tender care," Therese said, "but why is it that we forget this so frequently, and allow those about us to go on unnoticed in the endurance of sharp interior pain?  Shouldn't the spiritual needs of the soul be attended to with the same clarity, with the same delicate care we devote to our neighbor's bodily necessities?  For some souls are really sick; there are many weak souls on earth, and all souls without exception suffer at one time or other during life.  How tenderly we should not only love them but also show our love for them. - My Sister, St. Therese, By Celine Martin 

Dear St. Therese, you went out of your way to befriend
those you liked least, 
the most disagreeable, the most disturbed in spirit,
pray for me whom you have likewise gone out of your way for.
You have prayed for me and loved me when I was most far away ...
obtain for me now, a heart contrite and humbled,
full of love, on fire with charity,
that I may follow you and the legion of little souls
in your splendid way of 
confidence and love. 
Thank you for having heard my prayer.


O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

On Lazarus the beggar.

Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
Dogs and cats are often kinder than people.

The rich man and Lazarus  
There is another detail in (Today's) parable, a contrast. The opulent life of this nameless man is described as being ostentatious: everything about him concerns needs and rights. Even when he is dead he insists on being helped and demands what is to his benefit. 
Lazarus’ poverty, however, is articulated with great dignity: from his mouth no complaints or protests or scornful words issue. This is a valuable teaching: as servants of the word of Jesus we have been called not to parade our appearances and not to seek for glory; nor can we be sad or full of complaints. We are not prophets of gloom who take delight in unearthing dangers or deviations; we are not people who become ensconced in our own surroundings, handing out bitter judgments on our society, on the Church, on everything and everyone, polluting the world with our negativity. Pitiful skepticism does not belong to whoever is close to the word of God.
Whoever proclaims the hope of Jesus carries joy and sees a great distance; such persons have the horizon open before them; there is no wall closing them in; they see a great distance because they know how to see beyond evil and beyond their problems. At the same time, they see clearly from up close, because they are attentive to their neighbour and to their neighbour’s needs. The Lord is asking this of us today: before all the Lazaruses whom we see, we are called to be disturbed, to find ways of meeting and helping, without always delegating to others or saying: “I will help you tomorrow; I have no time today, I’ll help you tomorrow”. This is a sin. The time taken to help others is time given to Jesus; it is love that remains: it is our treasure in heaven, which we earn here on earth. - Pope Francis Homily

Yeah but - what if he wore jeans to Mass?

What if he tried to hold my hand?

What if he sang out of tune?

What if he took communion in the hand?

What if he smelled ... of alcohol?

What if he talked in church after Mass?

What if he asked for a few dollars to buy breakfast?

Thou shalt not hold hands at Mass ... Just say the black and follow the rubrics and you will be saved.

You can't pray at Mass like this anymore either.
It's Protestant.

Ordinary form of things.

The other day I left a comment on Aleteia in response to Fr. Henry Vargas Holguin's article, The Lord's Prayer During Mass - Should we hold hands?

I sometimes save comments I leave in case they are not published. If the subject is important enough - or not - I'll use it for a post. Sometimes. In this case I didn't expect the comment to be accepted - I did a quick scan of comments and didn't see it. That's fine with me, I'm never offended. I do like to make my opinion known however, on 'ordinary' life, as a Catholic, as an ordinary Catholic.

Fr. Holguin's post is well written and well meaning, no doubt, as are many of the comments by those who like rubrics and follow rubrics, or search until they find a parish that does. When they decide to go to Mass that is. Sometimes people like this may skip Mass if they feel fat that day, or maybe had too much to drink the night before, or because the parish church in their neighborhood is too liberal and they just don't have the time to get to the 'perfect' parish - the 'observant' Mass where no one holds hands ever. But I digress.

Copts do it.

Having said that, the following is the comment I left on the post, a bit tongue in cheek, but it has been my experience over the decades...

I don't do it (hold hands or do the orans position at prayer or at Mass) but I see it in almost every Catholic church I have ever attended since the Charismatic Renewal spread across the country. It is now pretty much ingrained in Catholic's active participation at Mass... that old 'sensus fidelium' raises it's novus ordo head again! Darn!
Too late Fr. Holguin - it won't go away.
I imagine that comment came off a bit snarky - it wasn't meant as an attack or to be snide, but to just remind everyone that this practice has been ingrained in worshipers all around the country.  The sensus fidelium term was misused deliberately just to make my point it has become a common practice - especially among families.  If you say it comes from Protestants and I say it comes from the Charismatics, fine.  Most churches I have been to over the years include Protestant hymns in the liturgy - at Mass.  Many trads insist the Mass is Protestant.  Catholic devotions - especially in the Americas has been influenced by Protestantism, no doubt about it.  Yet it doesn't change the truth, it doesn't affect the dogma of faith - the centrality of the Eucharist, the belief in the true presence of Christ , the holy sacrifice of the Mass remains intact.

Asians do it.

Take the Latino parishes for instance.  Often their liturgies incorporate a great deal of emotion as well as hand raising and hand holding - it's not so much Protestant as it is cultural.  As a cultural thing, many priests are open to it, respect it and permit it in order to help others feel welcome and comfortable by permitting such gestures; call it 'cultural active participation'.  To embrace and accept such practices is a far better pastoral practice than losing the faithful to an Evangelical community without sacraments.

Kids are taught to do it.

The hand holding and orans position is not how I pray at mass, but like I said, just about every parish I've ever attended has that going on.  Our young, newly ordained priests follow the GIRM in everything, and yet they allow the congregation to continue the practice, as well as Communion in the hand, and altar girls and boys.  These newly ordained priests emphasize the sacraments, go out of their way to encourage vocations, their homilies frequently urge a return to the sacrament of penance, Eucharistic adoration, and devotion to Our Lady.  These are the essentials.  Let the priests follow the rubrics, and the parishioners will follow.

Here's a thought:  Perhaps if the priest celebrated Mass ad orientem, he himself would be less distracted by what the congregation does?  In the days before the Council active participation meant following along in the missal, the rosary, or some other Mass prayers - but then active participation changed.

Old people - for whom the very devout 
are waiting to die off - do it.

Once in a while I used to murmur to myself about that stuff; the hand holding, sign of peace, and so on.  Nevertheless, it became so widespread, I just accepted it.  Otherwise it became a distraction for me at Mass.  So many people watch others at Mass, no wonder they do not even know how to recollect themselves.  People look around at how others are dressed, how they pray before Mass - if at all, others whisper, some talk.  Single moms feel conspicuous and left out.  Fat ugly people are embarrassed the way they look.  Pious Mary's evil eye the women with bare shoulders or no chapel veil.  This is vanity.  This is not devotion.  Very seriously, if you pray before Mass in preparation, you'll be able to focus and pray during Mass - without distracting yourself by what others are doing.

So - my post here is a waste of time and consideration - but I think the comments to Fr. Holguin's post are a waste as well.  More stuff for people to gripe about and guilt other people for.

I guess they do it in Europe too.

This is what is more important:

Go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation,
even if you are living in sin.
Pray at Mass and pray privately,
even if you aren't in the state of grace.
Assist at Mass attentively and devoutly,
in accord with the rubrics as you know them or have been instructed.
Don't worry about what others do at Mass.

Go to confession and reform your own life.

Even Cat-licks do it.