Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fr. Frank Pavone comments on the killing of George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller, who performed thousands of late-term abortions, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

Here is today's Statement on the Killing of George Tiller by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life:

“I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.

“But whatever the motives, we at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem. Every life has to be protected, without regard to their age or views or actions.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, offers preliminary comments on the killing of abortionist George Tiller.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pentecost Sunday, an early post

In a less than an hour, it will be Pentecost Sunday here on the east coast. I would prefer to publish this post on Pentecost, but I won't make it till midnight. I am fading now - and there will not be enough time in the morning. Pentecost Sunday is First Communion Day at the Missionary of Charity Mission. Volunteers will arrive at the mission early morning - pick up the sisters with their vans and cars - and travel through town picking up the children - and bring them to Holy Mass. The children will receive for the first time, the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A marvelous event in their lives.

Please notice the image above. The prominence of Mary is important. Mary is the first disciple of Jesus - and the Spirit was teaching her while Jesus was in her womb.

The following image is the painting "Pentecost" 1989 by Andrew Wyeth. It shows fishermen’s nets being gently lifted and extended by the wind. Wyeth said, “I felt the spirit of something when I did it, and I believe I managed to communicate that spirit.” Fisherman's nets as a sign of the Spirit? - yes - perfect!

The following reflection "Power from Above" was written by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap. Father Raniero is an extraordinary homeliest. He is the preacher to the Papal Household.

Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23.
Everyone has on some occasion seen people pushing a stalled car trying to get it going fast enough to start. There are one or two people pushing from behind and another person at the wheel. If it does not get going after the first try, they stop, wipe away the sweat, take a breath and try again. ...

Then suddenly there is a noise, the engine starts to work, the car moves on its own and the people who were pushing it straighten themselves up and breathe a sigh of relief.

This is an image of what happens in Christian life. One goes forward with much effort, without great progress. But we have a very powerful engine ("the power from above!") that only needs to be set working. The feast of Pentecost should help us to find this engine and and see how to get it going.

The account from the Acts of the Apostles begins thus: "When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all together in the same place."

From these words, we see that Pentecost pre-existed Pentecost. In other words, there was already a feast of Pentecost in Judaism and it was during this feast that the Holy Spirit descended. One cannot understand the Christian Pentecost without taking into account the Jewish Pentecost that prepared it.

In the Old Testament there were two interpretations of the feast of Pentecost. At the beginning there was the feast of the seven weeks, the feast of the harvest, when the first fruits of grain were offered to God, but then, and certainly during Jesus' time, the feast was enriched with a new meaning: It was the feast of the conferral of the law and of the covenant on Mount Sinai.

If the Holy Spirit descends upon the Church precisely on the day in which Israel celebrated the feast of the law and the covenant, this indicates that the Holy Spirit is the new law, the spiritual law that sealed the new and eternal covenant. A law that is no longer written on stone tablets but on tablets of flesh, on the hearts of men.

These considerations immediately provoke a question: Do we live under the old law or the new law? Do we fulfill our religious duties by constraint, by fear and habit, or rather by an intimate conviction and almost by attraction? Do we experience God as a father or a boss?

I conclude with a story. At the beginning of the last century a family from southern Italy emigrated to the United States. Not having enough money to pay for meals at restaurants, they took bread and cheese with them for the trip. As the days and weeks passed the bread became stale and the cheese moldy; at a certain point their child could not take it anymore and could do nothing but cry.

The parents took the last bit of money that they had and gave it to him so that he could have a nice meal at a restaurant. The child went, ate and came back to his parents in tears. The parents asked: "We have spent all the money we had left to buy you a nice meal and you are still crying?"

"I am crying because I found out that one meal a day was included in the price and this whole time we have been eating bread and cheese!"

Many Christians go through life with only "bread and cheese," without joy, without enthusiasm, when they could, spiritually speaking, every day enjoy every good thing of God, it all being included in the price of being Christians.

The secret for experiencing that which John XXIII called "a new Pentecost" is called prayer. That is where we find the "spark" that starts the engine!

Jesus promised that the heavenly Father would give the Holy Spirit to those who asked for him (Luke 11:13). Ask then! The liturgy of Pentecost offers us magnificent words to do this:

"Come, Holy Spirit ...

Come, O Father of the poor,
Ever bounteous of Thy store,
Come, our heart's unfailing light.
Come, Consoler, kindest, best,
Come, our bosom's dearest guest,
Sweet refreshment, sweet repose.
Rest in labor, coolness sweet,
Tempering the burning heat,
Truest comfort of our woes!"
Come Holy Spirit!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Dolores!

Yesterday, May 27th, was the 100th birthday of Dolores Hope. Dolores was dedicated to her husband, loved her home, her country, and the Roman Catholic Church. Dolores accompanied her husband on many overseas tours, entertaining our troops around the world. God bless you Dolores, we wish you a very happy birthday!

From the Associated Press;

Dolores Hope celebrates her 100th birthday
By BOB THOMAS – 1 day ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "I thought it was going to be just another birthday," Dolores Hope mused as she attended a Hollywood gathering celebrating her 100 years.

When her late husband, entertainer Bob Hope, reached his 100th birthday, he was too frail to enjoy it. Although Dolores Hope was brought to Wednesday night's party in a wheelchair, she was alert and happy as she greeted old friends and posed for photographs.

At 100, Dolores Hope is little changed. Her white hair is richly coifed, her skin is smooth and her voice is deep and warm.

Her 10 decades were represented by 10 kiosks set up around the long patio of the Hope estate in Toluca Lake. Each displayed elements of the time. The World War I era was represented by an ad for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 and pleas to "Buy More Liberty Bonds" and "Our Boys Need More Socks. Knit Your Own."

Guests included Gloria Stuart, who will be 99 on July 4; Ann Blyth; Kathyrn Crosby; and Phyllis Diller, whose trademark laugh rose about the merriment. A number of priests were in the crowd, reflective of the Hope family's devotion to the Catholic church.

Her son Kelly Hope said, "When we were at Mass today, she told me, `Turn around; you're in church.'"

She was born Dolores DeFina in New York's Harlem on May 27, 1909, and grew up in the Bronx.

"We were poor but we didn't know it," she said.

As Dolores Reade, she sang in New York nightclubs. George Murphy, Hope's co-star in the musical "Roberta," advised him to see a pretty singer at the Vogue Club. After a brief courtship, the couple were married on Feb. 19, 1934.

Bob Hope died in 2003 at age 100.

Here is a nice video of Dolores and Bob in England in 1994. The love Dolores and Bob had for each other really shines through.

A Subtle Persecution

It has been a very interesting week. I read an article in LifeNews that said "Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, on Thursday, signed a bill that would tighten abortion reporting requirements and ban sex-selection abortions. The bill would prohibit using abortions for purposes of sex-selection and would allow better reporting information about abortions done across the state". Here, in America, we need a bill to prohibit sex-selection abortions? Mr. Obama has nominated Miguel Diaz, a theology professor, to be the ambassador of the United States to the Holy See. Problem is, Mr. Diaz is a supporter of Kathleen Sibelius. I wonder what the Holy See will think about that. The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in the state. Yet, some [marriages] that have already taken place may stand - and the opposition is getting ready for another assault.

Christians, we are now in the midst of a subtle persecution, and as history often repeats itself, worse hardships may be down the road. As those early Christians were strengthened by persecution, may God grant us the same strength to persevere.

This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost:

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit
may bring peace and unity to all mankind
Almighty and ever-living God,
you fulfilled the Easter promise
by sending us your Holy Spirit.
May that Spirit unite the races and nations on earth
to proclaim your glory.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Show me a Rose

On Memorial Day I walked through the Brookdale Rose Garden, just taking some pictures, enjoying the sunshine. I came upon this lovely white rose. I was thinking, am I the only one today who noticed this rose? Have others stopped by to enjoy it? Sometimes we don't stop and see all the good gifts our God has given us. On this one short walk through the garden, I received sunshine, blue skies, fresh air, roses, hello's, good morning's... yes, so many gifts.

While writing this short reflection, a old time tune came to mind...

Who sang it? Yes - Groucho! another wonderful gift


I recently received an email from Father Paolo Padrini, the project manager of Pope2You. This endeavor seeks to bring the Good News to the world by the use of modern technological instruments. You can read more about it below.

Benedict XVI Speaks to the Net Generation through the World of Social Networks

The new media of Facebook, the iPhone, YouTube and Wikipedia are increasingly becoming the new forum where the Catholic Church dialogues with the world. As Pope Benedict XVI noted in his message for the 43rd annual World Communications Day, the Internet is a place where young people need to develop true friendships which spring from an encounter with the Risen Christ. With this awareness and the courage to enter into the world of social networks, the project Pope2You was started with the idea of helping these networks become authentic places of friendship and true dialogue.

Pope2You was created in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications as an experiment in providing a new forum and channel of communication using the latest platforms. The Pope2You website provides a new way for Pope Benedict XVI to reach out to young people around the world. The site can be viewed in five languages and allows young people to learn more about the Church and Benedict XVI through his own writings, starting with the message for the 43rd World Communications Day. While the site aims to generate the interest of young people, it is also meant for people of all ages. It features news on the Catholic Church and details on the pastoral activities of Benedict XVI incorporating content from the Vatican’s YouTube channel. At the same time, a new application for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been created by the Catholic news agency H2Onews, with plans to add other mobile platforms later.

Pope2You also provides a gateway to a parallel world in Facebook with an application where you can create and send to your friends virtual postcards with the Pope’s own words, greetings and excerpts of his writings staring with this year’s World Communications Day message. Also, with the help of the Media Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, a special area has been created along the lines of a WIKI with suggestions on how to put into pastoral practice the Pope’s 2009 Message.

These new applications highlight the latest example of the Church reaching out in new ways in the world of social networks – a forum where the Church can meet new people, make new friends, dialogue and offer solidarity.

Pope2You website

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time Alone with the Trappists

My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock and salvation, my secure height; I shall never fall. Psalm 62

Years ago I read a wonderful book titled "The Seven Story Mountain" written by Thomas Merton, a man who's search for God brought him to the Abbey of Gethsemani, to become a monk of the Cistercian Order, a Trappist. I recommend this book to all pilgrims. I believe you will find yourself somewhere in the pages. The life of a trappist is intriguing - and in some way I wanted to experience it. After reading the book I decided to make a retreat at a trappist monastery. I chose St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Mass. It is so quiet - you sense something very special there - the Spirit all around you.

While surfing the net today, checking out some Catholic blogs, I came upon "The Catholic Thing." Here I found a wonderful reflection written by Brad Miner posted April 16, 2009. With Brad's permission I will share it with you now.....

I came to Our Lady of Gethsemani Trappist Abbey one cloudy winter morning when I was twenty-six. I drove down from a seminary in Cincinnati along roads made slick from the previous night’s ice storm. Power lines sagged under the weight of icicles. Tree limbs were bowed but glistening.

As I turned onto Kentucky 247 a few miles south of Bardstown my hands gripped the wheel so tightly my knuckles were white, especially when I saw a yellow caution sign warning that the curving road ahead was about to dip. I worried that the tires on my old Nash Rambler might not have the traction necessary to climb the hill up after the hill down, but the rise was gentle, and as I made the east-west curve and came onto the last flat straightaway, I saw the monastery spire and saw that there was a patch of blue sky above the abbey and saw the border of gray clouds around the blue rimmed in fiery gold. Sunlight streamed down in ribbons on the monastery, and I was frightened that I was witnessing a message from God; that this retreat was meant to be the beginning for me of a vocation to monasticism. I almost turned the car around.

It was a momentous stay for me – as I recall it was a Monday to Friday retreat – because I realized I was not cut out to be a monk, however much I admired the monastic life and might try to emulate it in my worldly existence. I did not mind rising at three in the morning and collapsing into bed at eight in the evening, and, though as a visitor one does not participate in the work of the house, I would not have minded the farming I saw the monks doing – I’d spent summers in high school working on a farm. And I did not mind the silence, which in any case is not particularly burdensome for a visitor. What I minded was the absence of women, and if you miss the girls you know you are not made for monkhood. I shared my thoughts with the guestmaster and told him about the omen of sunlight that had greeted my arrival. Was I missing God’s call? The monk looked at me for a moment and then, barely suppressing a chuckle, he asked:

“You mean to say you think God arranges the weather for you?”

Then we both had a good laugh.

Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous, anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not. So wrote Václav Havel in Disturbing the Peace.

I hadn’t expected to realize so quickly that I wasn’t cut out for the monastic life (or the priesthood) and in the years following often wondered if I’d missed something essential on my visit. I didn’t marry for another decade, and until I did, I’d wonder if I’d overestimated my passion for domesticity – this despite considerable evidence to the contrary. I’d tell friends the story of my retreat: the ride down, the portentous sunlight, the day-long process of prayer, the hiking in the woods, the hours in the library studying the Rule of St. Benedict.

“Tell me about that rule,” a friend said once. “You were reading it then and there. Did the Trappists seem to be following it?”

I said I thought they surely were, and my pal wondered what that meant.

“Ne quid nimis,” I replied.

“Which means what?” he asked.

Nothing to excess.

He was flabbergasted. He demanded to know how cloistered men praying incessantly and living in silence and solitude can be considered anything but excessive. I replied that the monks seem to float along on a cushion of equable poise. They were unflappable.

“Stoic?” he asked.

That and more.

They were capable, when they did speak, of speaking directly, simply, and without sermonizing. They possess the compassion you expect but also a detachment that takes you by surprise. That’s the stillness that on first encounter seems downright eerie. I tended to glamorize it, imagining that the monks really were floating by, feet off the ground, carried along by angels. But they were just going here and there and they knew exactly where, and in fact they were always already there. The guestmaster spoke to me plainly, and his words were wonderful because they were created only for me. He gave me his precious time, and in the minutes we shared he was able to see me with a heart and a soul and a mind uncluttered by the bumptious intrusions of television and movies, car payments and mortgages, women and children, war and peace.

If your retreat into monasticism works, it works because you share a week, a day, an hour smack on the edge of eternity.

Brad Miner, the senior editor of The Catholic Thing, is the author of five books, including The Compleat Gentleman, a new edition of which will be published on April 29 by Richard Vigilante Books.

* above photo by John Cremons

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Memories

My parent’s and their friends were always together - inseparable. They are my family. Either we were at their homes or them at ours. At the dinner table I would listen to one war story after another. Mostly, the stories were funny. Here is one I remember - my dad was training in Hinesville Georgia, where there were all kinds of critters i.e. leeches and snakes. One particular evening, before dad went to sleep, his friends hid a rope in his bed. When dad tucked himself under the covers, they slowly began to pull on the rope, as if it was a real snake. My father jumped out of his bed! He didn’t think it was funny. Here’s another – while stationed in Seattle Washington, there was a certain sergeant who was mean and nasty. One evening at a party, dad and his friends decided to get this sergeant very drunk. When the deal was done, the sergeant was placed in a wheelbarrow, wheeled to a cliff, and gently dumped down the hill. Luckily the result was only KP – it could have been worse. They spoke of all the interesting characters - one of these was a soldier named Opperman, who walked around talking to himself, saying “time is timeless”, over and over again. The story doesn’t seem very funny, but if you saw the facial expressions of my godfather telling it, you would be laughing too. My father rarely shared stories of combat. But, I do remember; my godfather was wearing shorts – and I noticed bumpy red dots all over his legs. After I questioned him, my father told me the dots were shrapnel, still lodged in my godfather’s legs. My godfather was wounded by a grenade.

TOP L-R: Frank Bruno, Patrick DeClemente, Frank Acinapura, Frank Gugliotta
BOTTOM L-R: Robert E. Kennedy, John Gosdigian, William Dueltgen, Ed Schueler, John Murphy

Dad and his friends were all raised in Union City, New Jersey. Union City was a well known city years ago. There were bars, billiard halls – and boxing. The Hudson Theatre was there, famous for big acts, Abbot and Costello, Burns and Allen.

When dad was seventeen, he found some work through the CCC program fighting forest fires in Idaho. When he was came home, he and his friends joined the New Jersey National Guard. When WWII broke out, the Guard became Army. Luckily, the guys stayed together most of the time, traveling throughout the country, and training in different camps. Camp Chaffee, Ark., Ft. Benning, Ga., Camp Shelby, Miss. Dad was in the first training class of Camp Stewart, Ga. 1941. Finally, training with “D” Battery 212th Artillery in Seattle Washington. When my dad was stationed in Seattle, my mother traveled there to be with him. She found a job with Boeing Aircraft. Mom and dad decided to marry in Seattle. The wedding took place on Wednesday, January 20, 1943, in the midst of the worse snowstorm Seattle had experienced in twenty years.

The “38thStreet” boys soon shipped out to Europe. They traveled by vessel to Southampton England, then on to France and Germany. While in Europe, dad served with General George Patton’s Third Army. He experienced a “Patton” speech. He also participated in the Battle for the city of Metz.

At the end of the war, my father searched for his closest friend, not hearing from or about him in a long while. He soon discovered that Robert “Midge” Kennedy was killed during the planning of the Ruhr River crossing. Dad was devastated. “Midge” Kennedy now lies buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands. You can see a picture of Midge Kennedy, top photo, second from the left.

When my father returned home, he and his friends decided to establish their own veterans club, which would be named in honor of Robert E. Kennedy. It would be named the Robert E. Kennedy Veterans Club.

The Kennedy Club, always known as “The Club on 38th Street” in Union City New Jersey, lived on for many years, until the members died, or were too old to keep it going. My brother and I grew up in that club. Memorial Day was always special – The club members all marched in the parade – then back at the club, free hot dogs and hamburgers – for everyone! The stories, the characters, the Robert E. Kennedy Club - all are memories now, but these memories will forever be part of me.

God bless our veterans and our troops.


National World War II Memorial Website - here you can enter information and pictures of your loved ones who served in World War II.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 13th Day - The Miracle at Fatima

A friend of mine sent me information about a new film, "The 13th Day." We certainly need more films like this one. Hopefully the film will be released in the USA soon. Here below is the film trailer and a the synopsis from the film website:

October 13th 1917, Fatima, Portugal.
FACT: Over 70,000 witnesses watched the sun spinning in the sky before plummeting towards the earth, in an extraordinary prophesised event, which became known as ‘The Miracle of the Sun’.

In a world torn apart by persecution, war and oppression, 3 children were chosen to offer a message of hope to the world.

Based on the memoirs of the oldest Seer, Lucia Santos, and many thousands of independent eye-witness accounts, The 13th Day dramatizes the TRUE story of three young shepherds who experienced six interactive apparitions with a “Lady from Heaven” between May and October 1917, which culminated into the final prophesized Miracle.

Abducted from their homes, thrown into prison and interrogated under the threat of death in the government’s attempt to silence them, the children remained true to their story.

The lady, who later revealed herself to be the Blessed Mary, gave a SECRET to the children told in three parts, from a harrowing vision of hell, to prophetic warnings of future events including the advent and timing of the Second World War, the spread of communism, and the assassination of the Pope.

All three Seers have since die. Two of them have been beatified.

Stylistically beautiful and technically innovative, writer-directors Ian & Dominic Higgins use state-of-the-art digital effects to create stunning images of the visions and the final miracle that have never before been fully realized on screen.

Shot on location in Portugal and in the UK, 13th Day Films worked with a cast of over 250 to re-create the scenes of the 70,000 strong crowds, and 3 Portuguese children play the iconic roles of the Seers.

Witness the greatest miracle of the 20th Century, and experience the incredible, emotionally-charged and often harrowing world of three young children whose choice to remain loyal to their beliefs, even in the face of death, would inspire thousands.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Solemnity of the Ascension

Today is Ascension Thursday. Jesus is taking leave of His disciples. He must take leave. If He does not, the Spirit will not come to them. Sitting here writing this post, I am looking out of my home office window. It is a sunny morning, the birds are singing. The sound of a very loud woodpecker is disturbing Shelby, my golden retriever. I wonder, was it a morning like this when Our Lord ascended? And did Jesus actually rise up into the clouds? Holy Scripture tells us so. And we know that every word of Holy Scripture has meaning, the Spirit is always guiding us to truth. Jesus went to Heaven, and the disciples are looking up to the clouds. Why? Jesus wants us to always look Heavenward. Where He is going, there is our hope. We must always live with an eye towards Heaven. I recently visited an elderly woman in the hospital. I brought her Jesus, Holy Communion. She experienced a slight heart attack. She also suffers from painful arthritis, barely able to raise her arms. We had some good conversation about life's ups and downs, about suffering. I explained to her that although we all suffer here on earth, we Christians are always to be happy, to have joy. The glory of Heaven will outshine all the pain that went before.

The Ascension is a grace, it calls us to Heaven. Where Jesus goes, we all hope to go.

Let us ponder this today, let our hearts ascend to Heaven. We possess Christ now in faith - let us hope to encounter Him face to face.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mother M. Angeline Teresa, Carmelite - On the Road to Sainthood

Mother M. Angeline Teresa, Carmelite may be on the road to sainthood. Here is the latest news from

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Roman Catholics in New Jersey have launched a miracle investigation that could lead to sainthood for the late founder of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Bishop Paul Bootkoski opened the Diocese of Metuchen's probe on Monday.

At issue is whether Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory answered the prayers of a parishioner. Carmelite Sisters superior general Mother Mark Louis Randall says the possible miracle involves a family who prayed to McCrory after their unborn child was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality. Randall says the defect was not present in the degree it had been expected when the child was born.

McCrory's New York home diocese in Albany has investigated her life and sent information to the Vatican. Two miracles must be verified for sainthood before a person can be canonized.

The 91-year-old died in 1984.

* more information about Mother M. Angeline Teresa

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mr. Obama - the Irises are in bloom....

Well, it finally happened. Mr. Obama gave his speech yesterday and accepted his honorary doctorate at Notre Dame University. I watched him give his speech and I found his words amusing. "Your generation must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it." Mr. Obama, we are trying to save God's creation. YOU threaten to destroy it. Here is another Obama line, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions." Well Mr. Obama, if the decision has moral and spiritual dimensions, there must be something wrong with the decision. Mr. Obama, maybe the decision is IMMORAL.

Yesterday was a cool, sometime rainy day in New Jersey. My godson Simon and I made a trip to the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair, NJ. The Irises have begun to bloom. They will be in full bloom in about a week or so. The Iris is a lovely plant, dating back to Greek mythology. I have read that the iris is a flower with meaning. A meaning of faith, of hope, wisdom, courage and admiration. How appropriate then to visit this garden on this day - when meaning is so lacking.
Here are some pics I shot....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Father Norman Weslin's arrest at Notre Dame U.

Courtesy of Catholic Online;
Father Norman Weslin's arrest at Notre Dame University for protesting abortion. Father Weslin, a former Army Colonel who became a priest after his wife died in a tragic automobile accident. In his 80’s, Fr. Weslin is a familiar figure in the work of Pro-Life through Lambs of Christ.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Benedict XVI Decries Holocaust's Brutality

Almighty God, remember the six million people that were gassed, killed, drowned, burned alive, tortured, beaten or frozen to death. For the sake of one man, a whole nation was crucified, while the world looked on in silence. In our hearts, their sacred memory will last forever and ever. Amen.

Following the media frenzy concerning Bishop Richard WIlliamson, who publicly denied the holocaust, Pope Benedict XVI made it perfectly clear that this is an unacceptable position, not only for Christians, but for all people. Pope Benedict XVI, and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, both experienced the face of evil. My own father, who served in Europe under General George Patton, told me the stories of American soldiers who marched the German townspeople past the open graves, so they could see with their own eyes what the Nazi State had done. Yes - this holocaust happened - let us never forget.

TEL AVIV, Israel, MAY 15, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is again forcefully denouncing the Holocaust, rebutting critics who say that he did not correctly decry the tragedy in his recent visit to Israel's Yad Vashem memorial.

One stop of the Pope's five-day Holy Land pilgrimage, which ended today as he flew back to Rome, was Monday's visit to the memorial where he placed a wreath in honor of the dead and met with survivors of the Holocaust.

Afterwards, he was accused by Jewish critics who noted that he did not use the word "murder" in his address at the site, nor did he make explicit reference to Nazism.

At his farewell ceremony in the Ben Gurion international airport of Tel Aviv, the Pontiff took some moments to recall his entire pilgrimage, but made particular mention of his visit to the memorial, calling it "one of the most solemn moments of my stay in Israel."

He affirmed, "Those deeply moving encounters brought back memories of my visit three years ago to the death camp at Auschwitz, where so many Jews -- mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, friends -- were brutally exterminated under a godless regime that propagated an ideology of anti-Semitism and hatred."

The Holy Father continued: "That appalling chapter of history must never be forgotten or denied. "On the contrary, those dark memories should strengthen our determination to draw closer to one another as branches of the same olive tree, nourished from the same roots and united in brotherly love."

Some Jewish representatives also had reproached the Pontiff for not alluding to his German background in his address at Yad Vashem. The Pope responded to them implicitly by citing the discourse he gave in his May 2006 visit to Auschwitz, where he did make this connection.

On that occasion, Benedict XVI explained that he visited Auschwitz "as a son of the German people" and that for this reason he "had to come" as a duty "before the truth and the just due of all who suffered here, a duty before God." He condemned the crimes of the "Nazi reign of terror."


In today's farewell address, given in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Pope also gave an assurance of his good will to all peoples.

"I came to visit this country as a friend of the Israelis, just as I am a friend of the Palestinian people," he affirmed.

The Pontiff expressed gratitude for his visit, and hope for "lasting peace based on justice" and "genuine reconciliation and healing" in the Holy Land.

"This land is indeed a fertile ground for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue," he affirmed, "and I pray that the rich variety of religious witness in the region will bear fruit in a growing mutual understanding and respect."

The Holy Father added, "We meet as brothers, brothers who at times in our history have had a tense relationship, but now are firmly committed to building bridges of lasting friendship."


Images from the United States Holocaust Museum website

Thursday, May 14, 2009


As the title of this blog states, "this is a blog where everything can go." So, now we go from scandal to lilacs. The above images are flowers of my lilac tree, which is planted near my bedroom window. Every spring these beautiful flowers bloom for about two weeks or so. The flowers fill the air with sweet perfume. They are a joy.

Here is a short poem by Amy Lowell "Lilacs" -

Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,
Lilac in me because I am New England.

If you are a flower lover, and you have access to the Northern New Jersey area, I recommend a visit to the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Upper Montclair. The 2009 bloom season is underway!

Presby Iris Gardens

* Images ©bjm

Fr. Jenkins - Be a Man of Faith

Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, says there is much to admire in the work of President Obama. Frankly, this is ridiculous. What work has he done? What is he doing to our country? Mr. Obama is the most pro-abortion president in our country's history. Fr. Jenkins, do you admire Adolph Hitler? He was a great orator, he gave the unemployed in his country many new jobs. No, I don't think you admire him. Why? Well, he murdered millions of Jews, many Catholics, and whoever got in his way. But do you know Fr. Jenkins, how many children are killed every day in our own country? And here we have a president who promotes abortion? Or should we use a more precise word, "killing." I am frightened for our country, Fr. Jenkins. In the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, "Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion". Fr. Jenkins, you are a Catholic. That means something, it means that you adhere to certain values and standards. It means that you are a man of faith, a man who says AMEN to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Fr. Jenkins, please, be a man of faith - for yourself, for the children, for our country - for the world.

click on link for new article from LifeNews - Fr. Jenkins to Graduating ND Students: "There is Much to Admire and Celebrate in the Work of Obama"


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To proclaim Christ to the world and convince others that Jesus is God with us.

To proclaim Christ to the world and convince others that Jesus is God with us, then you must first be people who listen to His voice, for it is His Word you proclaim, not your own.”

On Monday evening, thirty five men, and I am honored to be included in that number, were instituted as “Readers.” This Rite of Institution took place during Holy Mass, in a beautiful Roman Catholic Church in Northern New Jersey. We have now finished the third year of a five year program. We are on the move towards diaconal ordination, God willing

During the Rite of Institution, we all approached the Bishop, who was seated at the front of the altar holding the Bible. Each of us, in sets of three, knelt down at the foot of the Bishop and placed our hands on the cover and pages of the Sacred Scripture. The Bishop then recited these words “Take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people.” We answered “Amen.”

The service was absolutely beautiful. Joining us were many of our family members and close friends. My lovely wife Mary, my son and daughter-in-law, were there to give me support. Also, my second family, the Missionary of Charity sisters, and my fellow MC volunteers, Diana, Debbie, John, Peter, Ed, were all there for me. And my dear friend Marie, a Lay Missionary of Charity, drove all the way from Long Island. Marie, you are awesome! And of course my huckleberry friend, Father John – I can always count on him. Many priests and deacons attended the Mass. Deacon Tom from my home parish came – it was great to have him there. He is a deacon’s deacon! Immediately after Holy Mass, all the priests and deacons came up to us, shook our hands and patted us on the back. It was a real family atmosphere.

Thank you Lord for all the good you put into my life!

The Missionary of Charity Sisters gave me a beautiful hand-made congratulations card. I would like to share a part of it with you, my blog audience, and all my candidate brothers, now Ministers of the Word.

If you have a shared experience, please feel free to share with your comments..

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day - a day we remember our moms by visiting and bringing gifts. Some of our mother's that have left this good earth a long time ago. Maybe we can make this a day of meditation and reflection on our true mother, The Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus said to John, and to all of us - "Behold, your Mother." Yes, Mary is truly the Mother of us all.

This article is written by Jennifer Hartline, a contributing writer for Catholic-Online.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Mother. Wife. Homemaker. Maid. Cook. Chauffer. Nurse. Teacher. Corrections Officer. Party Planner. Maintenance Worker. Domestic Engineer. I’ve used all these titles, especially the more humorous ones, to describe myself and my job. My favorite moniker by far, though, is this one:

I’m a lifetime member of the QUEEN OF THE HOLY ORDINARY CLUB, established and approved by the King Himself, to be open to all women who have a home and a family they love and want to care for. “Be it known henceforth and forevermore that all who follow in the order of the QHO club shall be exceedingly and abundantly blessed, for the King has esteemed them and lavishly given them His own mother as their Queen.”

It’s hard to get excited about another load of laundry. It’s really hard to get pumped up about cleaning the bathroom again. I know the furniture needs dusting, but I just don’t have the slightest motivation to do it right now. I’m certain I washed the dirty dishes last night… how can the sink be full again already? My floor needs mopping. If someone needs a visual definition of clutter, just come on over to my house. Please try not to trip over the toys.

I’m a mother and a homemaker, and it isn’t glamorous. It’s tedious, monotonous, thankless, messy, germy, and it can be really hard on your manicure. It’s also the greatest job in the whole world.

Provided I stop looking to the world to validate and praise me for doing my job well, ‘cause they never will. People with ulterior motives may pay political lip service to mothers and the sacrifices they make for their families, but it’s just self-serving schmooze. I don’t need it.

I have the smile, the blessing of my Father in heaven, and I follow in some highly-favored footsteps. Before she was Queen of Heaven, she was the Queen of the Holy Ordinary.

I am awestruck by what our great God did for us and how He did it. It is truly what sets Christianity apart from every other religion. God could have chosen to take human flesh and come among us as a grown man, fully capable of taking care of Himself. But He didn’t. He came to us utterly helpless and vulnerable. He came to us the same way we have all come to be – through a mother.

By inhabiting the womb He proclaimed the honor and dignity of motherhood. By choosing to submit Himself to the care and authority of a mother, He put His indelible stamp of approval and merit on the vocation of motherhood. He declared it sacred and gave it the highest esteem and honor. In fact, He thought motherhood so important that He didn’t want to miss out on having one Himself.

In my admiration and wonderment of the Holy Family I often forget that the normal rhythms of earthly life still existed for Mary and for Jesus. The daily tasks of motherhood remained. This God-child depended on her for His survival. He required her milk for food. He needed her to keep Him clothed, warm and bathed. He needed her constant care. She set about raising Him the way every mother does, doing the same ordinary, everyday things that must be done. There was a home to be kept, laundry to do, food to cook, dishes to wash, even diapers to change. She did all of it, and let there never be any doubt ever again that all these ordinary things are holy in God’s sight.

It’s true for everyone – and perhaps especially true for homemakers – that our humble earthly tasks are instruments of holiness. Mary taught all of us something that is easy to forget when we feel invisible, tired, bored, or just buried in the monotonous mire: the task itself makes no difference. It is our willingness to serve that matters.

Mary was in the very unique position of serving God twice with the same action, since the child she was caring for was her God! But the same holiness is ours to touch today as mothers. The tasks may be mundane or thankless, or even smelly and gross, but the dignity of them all remains intact. The specific chores do not matter; only the love and humility with which I do them. I serve God by serving my family, and His grace inhabits all of my motherly duties.

The best days for me are those when I remember my membership in the QHO club, and when I say to the Lord, “Today I offer all my housecleaning up to You. I will serve my family the best I can knowing I am serving You.” Then as I go about my day, I load the dishwasher for Jesus. I clean the bathroom for Jesus. I fold the laundry for Jesus, and I do it carefully out of love for Him. Whatsoever I do for my family, I do for Him.

And an amazing thing happens…He lifts me up and pours out His grace on me. I feel the joy of doing my job well and knowing He is pleased. I’m still folding laundry and scrubbing toilets and washing dishes and mopping floors, but it isn’t drudgery. It’s the offering of my life given to Jesus with love and gratitude for all He’s given me.

I hope it makes Mary smile to see me strive to follow her excellent example. If my job was good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the members of the Queen of the Holy Ordinary club. God bless you.

P.S. Mom, you’ve always been an outstanding member of the QHO club…I can’t thank you enough. I love you so much. I’m a very blessed daughter.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Message from Fr. John Corapi

Here is the latest message from Fr. John Corapi regarding the Notre Dame scandal.

So what are we to do?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Remember going to Confession?

I am a Catholic child of the 60's, and I remember well those First Friday's, lining up with my classmates, ready to go to Confession. If you don't remember the confessional, check out the image above. The confessional in my Church had red and green lights. When someone was inside kneeling, the light was red. When vacant, the light was green. Confession was never face to face. The priest was in a small "closet" room sitting behind a screen, you were on the other side. As you entered the booth, the screen window opened. "Bless me Father for I have sinned."
It was mysterious. Penance was usually three Hail Mary's, Three Our Fathers, and Three Glory Be's - and maybe washing the dishes for a week. I must admit, we all were a bit nervous waiting on that line. Would we be scolded? I never was, I think for me it was always a good experience. And I did feel that I was forgiven, and I was refreshed. Today, very few people are going to confession. I can only assume that there are very few sinners?, as EVERYONE is receiving Holy Communion. Pope Benedict says that a sense of sin has been lost. Without this Sacrament of Penance, how will we recognize God's love and mercy?

Today, now in my 50's, I am still going to Confession. My confessor is a Benedictine monk from Sri Lanka. He is a holy man - and after my confession, I still feel refreshed, enjoying God's Love and His never-ending mercy.

I am linking here a good article found in ZENIT, by Genevieve Pollock -
Confession Questions From the Pew -
A Pastor Speaks About Promoting and Understanding the Sacrament


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dom DeLuise - A Master Comedian

Dom DeLuise, Catholic, Husband, Father, Comedian, Cook - died yesterday in Los Angeles after battling cancer for more than a year. I will never forget him - he was hilarious. There are so many TV shows i.e. Johnny Carson skits, and movies you can talk about - One of my favorite movies was "The End" with Burt Reynolds. Do you remember? Burt played a man who was depressed and just wanted to end it all. DeLuise was his friend - who wanted to help Burt kill himself. The final scene of the movie, Burt decides to end it all - he jumps into the ocean and swims far off shore. He submerges. Then - up he comes screaming "I wanna live"! He gets back to the beach, tells DeLuise. DeLuise does not believe him - takes out a knife and starts running after him on the beach. It is hilarious. Dom DeLuise was a good man - a good Catholic family man with a great devotion to Mary. God bless him!

There are many video's of DeLuise. I particularly like this one with Johnny Carson.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009



This letter is addressed to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and to the president of Notre Dame University, Father John Jenkins. It is written in response to the fact that Father Jenkins has invited Barack Obama to be Notre Dame’s Commencement speaker on May 17, 2009, at which time the university will bestow on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Father Jenkins, what you have done is in direct violation of the U.S. Bishops 2004 document on Catholics in Public Life, which states that Catholic institutions are not to bestow honors on, or provide speaking platforms to, anyone who stands in public opposition to the Church’s moral doctrines, particularly those which defend the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. The prestige that the president will lend to your commencement is not sufficient reason to disregard these principles. There are numerous prominent public figures distinguished for their moral rectitude and record of public service from which you could have drawn.

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has urged faithful Catholics to “do what you are supposed to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what’s in your heart about this.”

By now, you have already heard from dozens of bishops, presidents of other Catholic universities, numerous alumni, and well over a 325,000 people across the nation, speaking against the action you have taken. Surely their collective voice has made it clear that they consider your action to be scandalously inconsistent with Notre Dame’s symbolic mission to showcase how Catholic faith can positively influence modern life and culture. Why have you refused to meet with twelve university student groups, who have asked to talk with you about your choice?

I join my voice to this growing chorus of protesters, and I encourage Valley Catholics to express what is in their hearts to you, Father Jenkins, by calling you at (574) 631-5000, faxing you at (574) 631-2770, emailing you at, or mailing a personal letter to you at 400 Main Building, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Father Jenkins, I pray that you use your office not only to maintain and enhance the academic excellence of the university, but also and above all to preserve and promote Notre Dame’s Catholic identity and mission.

Mr. Obama, I joined in our nation’s celebration of the historic significance of your election to the presidency, and did so with a glad heart. I support you fully in your efforts to assist our nation’s poor, and to improve our relations with other nations. In particular, I thank you for putting an end to harsh interrogation techniques that have rightly been classified in the past as torture. Such behavior is beneath our dignity as a nation; it is intrinsically wrong to subject any human being to torment simply on the utilitarian argument that good may possibly follow.

At the same time, I recognized that there is a deep divide between you and the majority of Americans on the paramount moral issue of our time: the right to life vs. the claimed right to abortion. A consistent ethic of life requires us to protect the sanctity of every human life from conception until natural death!

In the short time you have been in office, you have taken a number of steps that have been inconsistent with an ethic of life. You have rescinded the "Mexico City policy" and authorized the use of our tax dollars to fund international groups that promote abortion around the world. You have begun to eliminate the "conscience clause" that protects doctors and nurses from being forced to take part in abortions. You have provided federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that involves the killing of human beings at their embryonic stage of development.

You have renewed funding for the United Nations group (UNFPA) that helped China enforce its "one child" policy of forced sterilization and forced abortions. You promised to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which is meant to strike down every pro-life law enacted in the various states, including laws which require notification (but not consent) of the parents of a minor seeking an abortion, mandatory 24-hour waiting periods, mandatory dissemination of information on the physical and emotional risks a woman incurs in having an abortion, and the provision of information on alternatives to abortion.

Mr. President, less than 18 months ago, Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speaking engagement at La Sapienza University in Rome, simply because some of the students reacted negatively to the announcement of his coming. Rather than risk throwing the university into turmoil, the pope humbly withdrew. I respectfully ask you to consider freely withdrawing your commitment to speak at Notre Dame University, for the same reason.

I offer you my prayers, and I pledge my cooperation on all that you do to foster the well-being of our people and the good of the community of nations. I pray for peace and unity in our nation, conscious of the fact that we can never know peace or unity in a culture of death, but only in a culture that celebrates, promotes, and protects every human life at every stage of its development. I ask you not to exclude from the protection of law the most defenseless members of our national family – the unborn. May God grant you strength and wisdom to do the right thing.

+Bishop Raymundo J. Peña

Monday, May 4, 2009

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Nuns were an important part of my formative years. Maybe this is why I have love for the religious life. Every now and then I will post articles about women and men in religious life. My hope is that these posts may draw some of you to consider the consecrated life - it is a beautiful way to serve Our Lord.

The following paragraphs are taken from the "Benedictines of Mary" website.
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles is a traditional monastic community of women who desire to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary in the giving of herself to God to fulfill His Will, especially in her role of assistance by prayer and work to the Apostles, first priests of the Catholic Church. Society in these latter days is in obvious dire need of re-evangelization and sanctification through the ministry in particular of the sacred priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. Although times have changed, the divine mission committed to the first Apostles, as well as the needs of those to whom they were sent, have not. It is our ideal to imitate Our Lady's retirement from the world in quiet seclusion, as well as her apostolic charity. Consecrated entirely to her and filled with her spirit, which is none other than the Holy Spirit of God, we aspire to be, to the successors of the Apostles in our times, what she was to them in the beginning: behind-the-scenes encouragement, assistance and support.

Our charism, therefore,is to be united at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady who
receives the mercy and grace,that blood and water which Our Lord's Heart cannot contain, for His priests in the person of St. John. We are simply vessels in her hands;she fills us, and only to pour us out again. This explains our joy! With the sacred contents, she nourishes and strengthens the priest in his spiritual life, washes him from the contagion of the world, and quenches his thirst after preaching the Word. Being sent to bring God's mercy and His life to the nations, they are a "light shining in the darkness".

The Benedictines of Mary

Sunday, May 3, 2009

If you take a look at President Obama's appointments so far, you will see that he is a strong promoter of the "Culture of Death." The appointment of Katherine Sibelius to Health and Human Services is an insult not only to Catholics, but all men and women who cherish and protect life, from conception to natural death. Many people have united together to end this holocaust, most prominently, Priests for Life. There is another organization who is out there on the front lines, trying to get the "Life" message out. They are known as the "Pro-Life Survivors." These young people travel town to town, peacefully trying to make other young people aware of this terrible tragedy. These are brave young people, spreading the message of life, willing to endure persecution, very much like those early Christians. They deserve our support. You can click on the link below for the Pro-Life survivors site. Please know that the content is disturbing.

From the Pro-Life survivors website:
Survivors is a Christian, pro-life activism organization dedicated to educating and activating high school and college age individuals. If you were born after 1972, we challenge you to consider yourself a Survivor of the Abortion Holocaust. 1/3 of your generation has been killed by abortion in America!

The Survivors are taking an active stand on behalf of those who have already been lost, and for those who are scheduled to die through abortion. We are empowered by the truth, enabled by extensive training, and unafraid of condemning the death of innocents.


On Feb 12, 2009 police arrested 9 members of the Survivors Campus Life Tour ...
check out the video....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Reflection: The Feast of Joseph the Worker and the ‘Gospel of Work’

Today is the Feast of St. Joesph the Worker. It is a good day for us to reflect. At times, all of us have had difficulties in our work life. Working long hours, bosses that we do not get along with, jobs that we do not enjoy. Let us pray to St. Joseph to guide us through our busy days, keep us focused on what is true - that after all these sufferings are over, we will rise to new life.

Today's article is written by Deacon Keith Fournier for Catholic Online. As always, Deacon Keith is right on target!

CHESAPEAKE, Va.- During the last years of his service to the Church and the world the Servant of God John Paul II addressed an assembly of the leaders of the “Catholic Action” movement in Italy on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. He referred to the “gospel of work”. In explaining this gospel of work John Paul developed a theme deeply rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, expounded upon in the Christian Tradition and desperately needed in this age. In 1981 he had authored an Encyclical letter entitled “On Human Work” which presented the Christian vision of the dignity and meaning of human work.

In the industrial age men and women were often reduced to instruments in a society that emphasized “productivity” over the dignity of the worker. The technological age promised something different but failed to deliver. Human beings are still too often reduced to human doings. To come to a new understanding of the dignity of human labor requires what St Paul rightly called a “renewal of the mind” (See, Romans 12:2). Pope John Paul told those assembled that because work "has been profaned by sin and contaminated by egoism" it is an activity that "needs to be redeemed."

He reminded them that "Jesus was a man of work and that work enabled him to develop his humanity”. He emphasized that "the work of Nazareth constituted for Jesus a way to dedicate himself to the 'affairs of the Father,' witnessing that "the work of the Creator is prolonged" through work and that therefore “…according to God's providential plan, man, by working, realizes his own humanity and that of others: In fact, work 'forms man and, in a certain sense, creates him….”

He called them to be rescued "from the logic of profit, from the lack of solidarity, from the fever of earning ever more, from the desire to accumulate and consume." When the focus of work becomes subjected to what he called "inhuman wealth” it becomes a "seductive and merciless idol." That rescue occurs when we "return to the austere words of the Divine Master: 'For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'" Finally, he proclaimed that the "divine Worker of Nazareth" also "reminds us that 'life is more than food' and that work is for man, not man for work. What makes a life great is not the entity of gain, nor the type of profession, or the level of the career. Man is worth infinitely more than the goods he produces or possesses.”

This gospel of work needs to be proclaimed anew in an age reeling from the near collapse of a banking system corrupted by greed and the rejection of the dignity of every human person. Our Catholic Catechism helps us with these insights: “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. Hence work is a duty: "If any one will not work, let him not eat." Work honors the Creator's gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish."

"Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ. In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and beneficiary. By means of his labor man participates in the work of creation. Work united to Christ can be redemptive."

A Catholic vision views work through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. God became a worker! The dignity of this God become man elevates the basic goodness of all human work. The early Church Father and Bishop Irenaeus expressed this when he said: "Whatever was not assumed was not healed!" Because the entire human experience was assumed by Jesus, work was transformed by Christ the worker! As a child, Jesus learned from Joseph the Worker how to work with wood. He would later climb upon a wooden cross to re-create all humanity in the great work of redemption. All of the work undertaken by Jesus was joined to His Heavenly Father’s work. That is the same relationship we now have with the Father through Him.

Though there is biblical support that the toil and drudgery or "sweat" of work is connected to the fracture in the order of the universe which was occasioned by sin (see Gen 3:19) work itself is not the punishment for sin.Rather, for the Christian, work can become a participation in the continuing redemptive work of Jesus. He was always doing the "work" of the One who sent Him (John 9:3-4) and we are invited by grace to now do the same.

The early Christians' worship became known as "liturgy" which meant the "work" of the Church. For them the world was not a place to be avoided but their workshop! They were there to bring all to Baptism and inclusion in Christ and to prepare the world for His return. The “Paschal mystery” began a process of transformation not only in the followers of Jesus but also in the very cosmos created through Him and for Him. It is now being recreated in Him. The work of Jesus continues now through His Body, the Church, placed in that creation as a seed of its transfiguration.

All things were created in Christ (see Col 1:15-20) and are being re-created as His work continues through His Body, the Church of which we are members. The unfolding of all of this is a what St. Paul calls a "plan" and a "mystery", to bring all things together under heaven and on earth in Him (e.g. Eph 1: 9-10).For the Christian work is an invitation to participate in that plan. No matter what we are doing as work we are to "do it as unto the Lord" (see Col 3). That choice enables it to change the world both within us and around us.

This plan includes all work not just the "spiritual stuff." God Incarnate,Jesus, did not just do the "spiritual stuff." All human work sanctifies us and changes the world. St. Paul captures the hope of all creation when, in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans he reminds us that all of creation "groans" for the full revelation of the sons and daughters of God. We can have a new relationship to the entire created order beginning now because we live in the Son, through whom and for whom, it was all created and is being re-created. That is why this insight from John Paul II is such “good news.” There truly is a “gospel of work” when we embrace our work with a mind renewed by the Holy Spirit.

I am old enough to remember the days when on May 1st Communist Nations paraded their weapons of destruction through the streets of major cities promising a workers’ paradise through their counterfeit ideology. It was during this time that the Church first set aside Joseph the worker and proclaim the the Gospel of Jesus Christ with its “gospel of work”. On this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker let us rediscover the creative and redemptive value of all human work joined to the continuing work of the Gospel and proclaim for our time the Gospel of work in both word and deed.