Can Catholics observe Lent AND eat corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day?

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

            Photo courtesy of Dorothy Lane Market
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Lane Market

We wondered: Can Catholics who are abstaining from meat while observing Lent receive the equivalent of a one-day pass that would allow them to enjoy corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day?

The answer, it turns out, is yes — under certain circumstances that are, well … complicated.

RELATED: Guide to St. Patrick’s Day 2017 events in Dayton

We know the issue has come up in Dayton-area parishes, since this is the first year St. Patrick’s Day has fallen within Lent since 2006, according to this story from that explores the issue in great depth.

MORE: 4 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with FOOD in Dayton

The Catholic News Agency story shows that more than 80 dioceses in the U.S. have announced some form of dispensation on St. Patrick’s Day this year, but cautions that Catholics should check with their local diocese before partaking in “the celebratory meats.”

RELATED: More Dayton-area restaurants add St. Patrick’s Day specials

So we posed the question to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which includes the Dayton, Hamilton, Middletown and Springfield areas. Here was the answer we received from Lisa J. Weber, Secretary to the Chancellor for the Archdiocese:

“If a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati wishes to request a dispensation from the abstinence of meat on St. Patrick’s Day, we ask them to write to the Archbishop by postal mail. He will then consult with their pastor.”

So it might be a bit too late for this year. But now you know for the NEXT time the beloved Irish holiday falls on Lent.

RELATED: 8 things to know about Dublin Pub’s 2-day St. Patty’s Day bash

By the way, the best line from the Catholic News Agency story comes from J.D. Flynn, a canon lawyer and Special Assistant to Bishop James Conley in Lincoln, Neb. When the story’s author asked about her own extremely proud Irish grandmother who declared a dispensation for herself and all her Irish kin on St. Patrick’s Day, regardless of where they reside, Flynn’s response was:

“Your grandma was, with all due respect to her Irish brilliance, mistaken.”

Parents, tell your teens synthetic marijuana is no joke

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 5:06 PM

Police Discover Huge Marijuana Plants After Domestic Dispute

We’ve done a lot of stories about K2, aka synthetic marijuana, and a rash of overdoses and death, especially among the homeless population in Austin.

That seems like something that happens to other people, not our teens, right?

John O’Neill knows that’s not true. He’s the clinical director and vice president of Phoenix House drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, which has centers in Austin and Round Rock. Synthetic marijuana addiction in teens is second only to marijuana addiction.

Why is that? Synthetic marijuana is easier for teens to get than alcohol, opioids or other drugs, and it’s often cheaper than marijuana. It’s sold in smoke shops under crazy names like Tiger’s Breath, Yucatan Skunk, Joker, Black Mamba, Kronic.

“They market it as natural herbs, natural materials, like it’s not something bad for you,” O’Neill says. Yet kids don’t know what’s in it, and they don’t know how it might affect them. Every batch can be different.

>> Smugglers use drones to deliver contraband to prisoners

“The argument that teenagers will make is ‘it’s not a big deal. I can get it in the store,’” O’Neill says. “It’s absolutely without a doubt destructive and harmful.”

And in teens, it’s even more harmful because their brains are not fully developed. That doesn’t happen to around age 25. What synthetic marijuana does do is alter the brain chemistry. Users can have psychotic issues, aggression and hallucinations.

Parents should look for these signs:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Change in attitude more so than is developmentally normal.
  • Disconnection to usual interests.
  • Dropping out of activities.
  • Becoming more secretive.
  • Holding onto their backpack like it’s gold.
  • Withdrawing into their room.
  • Agitation.
  • Aggression.
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
  • Euphoria.
  • Paranoia.
  • Excessive emotions.

“When parents are paying attention, they have an instinct that something is going on,” O’Neill says. “Paying attention can be difference between life and death.”

>> Calls to poison control spike over 'spice'

One thing to pay attention to is what are their friends doing and what are the drugs going around their school. If one of their friends gets caught with drugs, start asking questions. Don’t assume it was just what that friend or someone in their friend group was doing.

“The most important thing any family can do is not hesitate in having conversations with teenagers about the substances and substance use,” O’Neill says. “Be open and honest and direct. It’s easy as a parent to hope and assume and have good thoughts that they are not messing with that. We have to assume that they all have access to those substances.”

What starts out as a way to have fun on a weekend then becomes something they need to escape whatever is going on in their lives that is difficult.

When O’Neill treats teens, he treats the whole family and whatever is beneath that need to escape. Sometimes there could be mental health issues as well. It might mean outpatient treatment or it could mean residential treatment for a time and then outpatient later, but all of it has a whole-family component.

“It’s easy to say, ‘That’s not my problem. That’s your problem.’ It’s everyone’s problem,”he says. He likens addiction to the tiger in the room. It’s not only the person closest to the tiger that could be hurt by the tiger. “We’ve got to figure out how to manage it or it’s going to eat us all.”

Football players under 12 at high risk of brain injury, study finds

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 2:55 AM

A new Boston University study published Tuesday found a single season of youth football can change a child's brain.

>> Watch the news report here

The findings focused on children 12 and under and, according to the study, those first 12 years of a child's life are critical to brain development.

That’s why any damage – no matter how small – could mean health concerns years later.

Youth football is a family tradition for many, but this new study out of BU has found the longer a child waits to play football, the better it is for their brain.

“There's really something specific about hitting your head over and over again at a young age and it is disrupting normal brain development,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Alosco, said. 

>> On One youth football game results in five concussions

Researchers examined 214 amateur and professional football players and found those who started playing football before they were 12 years old were at higher risk for behavioral and cognitive problems.

“That's a critical period of brain development, especially in males,” said Alosco. 

According to the study, the risks for behavioral problems doubled and the risk for elevated depression tripled.

>> Read more trending news

Alosco told WFXT that their findings revealed any injury to a child's brain could result in permanent damage.

“We're talking about those tiny hits to the head, over and over repeatedly that don't necessarily result in symptoms, but we think are enough to cause injury to the brain,” he explained. 

Just earlier this summer, WFXT investigated the growing trend of youth flag football as many are families opting out of regular football because of health concerns.

“I just think it's a little too dangerous at their young age. They're so fragile,” parent Jeanine Hetzel said. 

>> On Despite new helmets, doctors warn of concussion risk for football players

WFXT asked Alosco whether he would recommend parents not let their child play youth football. He said more research needs to be done, but he did say one thing. 

“You just have to ask yourself: Do you really want your young kid to go out there and start hitting their head at such a young age – not even just football – in anything?” said Alosco. 

Is 18 the new 15? Today’s teens drink and date less than in the 70s, study says

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:50 PM

Teen birth rates in the U.S. have dropped to a historic low According to records from 2013 to 2014, births to teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 fell to a low of 24 births per 1,000 women. The study said that in recent years, more teens have acc

Teens aren’t in a rush to grow up. They’re not as interested in dating, snagging jobs or even driving, according to a new report. 

Researchers from San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College conducted a study to determine how soon adolescents engage in adult activities. 

To do so, they compared teenagers from the 70s, 80s and 90s with today’s kiddos, using surveys that questioned more than 8 million children, ages 13 to 19, from 1976 to 2016. The poll focused on topics including sex, alcohol and part-time jobs, and it also factored in race, region and gender. 

>> Dad challenges school dress code after 13-year-old daughter punished for 'distracting boys'

After analyzing the results, they found that kids were not having sex, drinking or holding jobs nearly as much as those from 20 years ago. 

Among 8th graders, only about half of them had held down a job or tried alcohol, compared to kids in the 90s. As for older teens or those in the 12th grade, the number of youth getting their driver’s license, working, drinking and dating was down nearly 20 percent, compared to those from 40 years ago. 

"The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teens growing up more slowly than they used to," co-author Jean M. Twenge, said in a statement. "In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did."

While researchers could not pinpoint why minors engage in fewer adult activities, they say homework or extracurricular activities were not a factor as those activities had decreased among 8th and 12th graders and was steady for 12th graders and college students.

>> Heartbroken dad shares viral message after 'horrific' bullying of special-needs son

However, they believe their findings, which were recently published in Child Development, could be associated with increased internet and social media usage.

"Our study suggests that teens today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol)," co-author Heejung Park, said in the statement. "These trends are neither good nor bad, but reflect the current U.S. cultural climate."

Grieving grandfather handed a toddler $20 in target for the most heartbreaking reason

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 4:08 PM

An Oklahoma mother took to Facebook on Sunday to share a heartwarming story about a kind gesture that happened in an aisle at Target.

Alyssa Hacker, of Coweta, Oklahoma, was at the Fort Smith Target when her young son grabbed three dinosaur toys off the shelf.

“Owen grabbed all three and we were trying to pick out which one he wanted when Owen abruptly yelled, “Hi,” at this older man walking past us,” Hacker wrote. “He turned around and said, ‘Hey sweet boy.'”

As he continued to play with the dinosaurs, the man got his wallet, pulled out $20 and put it in the pocket of Owen’s shirt and said, “I just lost my 2-year-old grandson last week. You take this money and buy this boy all three dinosaurs.”

He rubbed Owen’s back, wiped away his tears and walked off.

this momma just cried in the middle of Target. We were at target waiting on Grammi and we found some dinosaurs. Owen...

Posted by ColbyandAlyssa Hacker on Saturday, September 16, 2017

The touching moment that Hacker shared on Facebook has since been shared over 100,000 times.

“There is still some good in this world,” she added.