Be Heroes: Modern Love vs. Year of Mercy


Image courtesy of “The Thin White Duke 76” by Jean-Luc Ourlin . Uploaded here by Auréola. – originally posted to Flickr as David Bowie. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – 

This post has been percolating for quite a while.  If you’ve read Don’t You Forget About Me (or even just the reviews), you won’t need much thinking to figure out that music is an important part of my life–and not pure, holy music by Matt Maher or Audrey Asaad, either.

When I first returned to the faith of my baptism, I’d come from months of trying really, really hard to be a fan of CCM: Contemporary Christian Music.  And while a lot of the words were nice to hear, the music didn’t necessarily speak to me.  With the exception of Rich Mullins, it’s nothing I still listen to now.

“Don’t let the Devil have all the good music!” I  heard.  So I tried, but given the choice between Echo & the Bunnymen and Phillips, Craig & Dean… sorry.  Jesus may have saved me, but if I said I’d lost my way, would you sympathize? Could you sympathize?

I asked God to change my tastes, knowing full well He has the power to do so.  But He didn’t.  So here I am, downright afflicted with an ear that loves anything from blurred lines to the center of the hollow moon. I’m careful with what I let linger in my mind (the former gets the station changed; the latter… well, if it’s on the radio, it gets bleeped, so I let it play).  But I still worry about the state of my soul.

The state of my soul.

The state of my soul.

The state of my selfish soul.

So while it did occur to me a few years ago to offer prayers for the soul of Ian Curtis, I didn’t really extend those prayers to anyone else.  Then a few months ago, someone in a Catholic blogger FB group asked if it was weird to offer prayers for the soul of Kurt Cobain. Of course it isn’t, not if I’m praying for Ian and his family.  After all, dollars to donuts, neither of those people ran in circles where folks are including them in their rosary intentions.

So when Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots died this fall, I was pretty comfortable praying for his soul.  I was even contemplating having a Mass said for him (announced? maybe…) when I found this letter from the mother of his children.

Our once sweet Catholic boy refused to watch the kids participate in Christmas Eve plays because he was now an atheist.

“Once sweet Catholic boy.”  So… he might have people saying Masses for him?  People not making the Entertainment section, but still, people.

But why didn’t I think to pray for him before he died?  I’m a child of the grunge era.  I liked STP well enough.  Maybe if I had focused less on being a Good Contemporary Christian Music Fan and more on the people making the music I liked… I could have fasted and prayed and Noah and Lucy would still have a father here on earth.

I don’t know.  We’ll never know, I guess.  And now, David Bowie is gone, too.  Without a single Rosary from me.

The Catholic definition of “love” (courtesy of Aristotle first, then Aquinas) is to will the good of another.  God has been waving this musical flags in front of my ears, begging me to love people who very likely have turned from Him and written Him off.  And I’ve been sitting here, tentatively pulling my fingers out of my ears, saying to myself, “Oh, just one more song isn’t gonna hurt me.”

Dumbass.  It hasn’t been about me.

It’s the Year of Mercy.  We are asked to focus on how much God loves everyone, everyone, no matter how much they look like they don’t need Him.  So here’s the dumb thing I’m gonna do to celebrate the Year of Mercy.  I’m gonna have Masses said for David Bowie and Scott Weiland and Ian Curtis.  I’m also gong to have Masses said for the conversion of other souls still walking among us–souls that, frankly, look irrevocably hardened to my eyes, but as Simcha Fisher said,  generosity to one’s audience can be an act of charity, of virtue open to grace; and as all faithful Catholics know, we cannot know another’s soul.

So, Henry Rollins, you’re getting a Mass said for you before 2016 is out.  You too, Ian McCulloch.  Aaron Bruno? Dave Grohl? Heck, if you’ve ever played the Doctor, you might get a Mass, too.  (I’d keep naming names, but I just had steroids injected into my elbow, and while I’m offering it up for all these folks, I’m also a flesh & blood woman for whom Tylenol and ice only go so far.)

So that’s my Modern Love: getting celebrities who don’t know me from Adam into heaven.  If it doesn’t work (free can be a b1tch sometimes), then I’ll at least have some guardian angels joining me at my individual judgment who can hopefully say, “See how she loved them?”

Loved them.  Not their music.  Them.

Any other names you want to throw onto my list?  Pray for them.  Ask me to pray for them.  And we could be heroes.  

“And may God’s love be with you.”  

Let me know, below, on FB, shoot me an email, whatever works for you (but a reply might take a while, see above re: big needles in my elbow.)


Interview with Working Mother Kerri Baunach

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Let’s meet working mother, Kerri Baunach!


What’s your name?Displaying Family Christmas 2014.jpg

Kerri Baunach. I always loved my Irish name, still do, but then I married a German. My first name combined with my married name still sounds funny to me. In a good way, it just makes me smile.

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

​​My husband and I met back around 2004 (I think) through the young adult group at our church. I was actually dating someone else at the time and was hit or miss attending the group. But I eventually became a more regular attendee, we very slowly got to know each other, two years later we started dating, and were married a little less than two years after that, in 2007. We have 6 children; our 3 in heaven are Casey (2008), Zachary (2009), and Brigit (2010); and our 3 living children are identical twins Peter and Ethan (born in May 2011) and Silas (born in December 2013). We live in Lexington, KY and think it is a wonderful town surrounded by beautiful country.


Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

My answer varies depending on the person asking. Most of the time I tell people I’m a librarian, specifically a music librarian in an academic library. If I’m asked more about what I do (often I get asked about shelving books, checking books out, etc., the types of tasks we hire students to do) I’ll explain as briefly as possible that I am mostly a cataloging librarian for the music materials and a few other formats. And no, I don’t know anything about the Dewey Decimal System.

[Erin here.  Kerri also writes for and is on the board of Catholic  Sistas.]

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

One of my job responsibilities is that of supervisor for what we call Special Formats Cataloging (music, maps, rare books, and some other odd formats). It was a role I was asked to do after a reorganization, not a role I particularly wanted and definitely did not seek out. Despite that, I believe I have grown from the experience. I believe God has used this aspect of my work to teach me leadership skills, to help me learn more about fostering success in other people, and He’s given me the chance to act as a mentor to colleagues in earlier stages of their careers. Being in any sort of administrative role, even my tiny low-level one, was not something I ever wanted, but I have most benefited in a way that I think makes me a better mother to my children and gives me skills that I can use in other aspects of my life as well.


What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

For me, my job offers some flexibility. I have the ability to connect to my office remotely if I have to and I have a bit of freedom in my hours and when I work. This is helpful for weeks like this week when I have a deadline but also a sick baby. So I’m home with the baby while the twins are at daycare and I’m connecting to my office remotely to finish the work that needs to be done. I have been able to work during nap times and then I work a couple hours at night after the kids are in bed. When my twins were babies I also got approval to take a six month sabbatical. A sabbatical, still requires you to work, but the work is focused on a project (just one!) and you can do the work whenever and wherever you want. The boys were in daycare for about 4 months or so from the time they were 8 weeks old until about 6 months old. Then I took off the whole month of December to use all my remaining vacation time (our year ends June 30) and in January my sabbatical started. The boys were home with me in December and they stayed home with me during my sabbatical. They were a perfect age because they still napped twice a day. I worked during nap time and a little in the evenings. THe last few months of my sabbatical I hired a babysitter to come over twice a week and play with them from after lunch until they went down for their second nap. That way I had a couple days of work where I could get more like 6 hours in instead of 4. It worked out beautifully. They were 13 months old when I returned to my office full time and they started at a new day care.Unfortunately I’m not eligible for another sabbatical until (I think) 2018.
Sometime, too, I take advantage of the fact that I am paying for daycare anyway. I will sometimes take a day off of work to run errands or get my haircut without having to drag all the kids with me. Oh, and speaking of dragging all the kids with me, it’s been helpful to be able to take a sick child to the doctor without the other two in tow.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

One thing I try to do is remain focused on my job when I am there. By that I mean that I figure if I am going to be at work I need to be working and not wasting time. If I’m going to waste time or be lazy in my work then why am I bothering to work, I could be home with my kids instead. Likewise, ever since I got married I have made a conscious effort to not work late and not bring work home. I felt it was a courtesy to my husband (and now also my kids) that I be present to them when I am home. There are still rare times when I have to bring something home or run in to my office for a couple hours on a Saturday, but overall, work stays at work and my time at home is for my family.


What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

​ I would ask people to not be critical of the decisions my family makes. Whether you agree or not, you don’t know, can’t know, all the reasons why a family makes the decisions they make, whether it is having both parents work outside the home or something else. Instead, be supportive of us and offer to help when/if you can. Just knowing that others in our life are supportive of us makes a world of difference when we are stretched thin.


Thank you, Kerri!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”