Friday, July 31, 2009

Thank you Lord for all CREATION

We have arrived home from our mini-vacation in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. My wife and I had a lovely time - the weather was perfect - cool and sunny almost every day. I am refreshed. Thank you Lord for granting my wife and I some free time to enjoy your First Revelation - "Creation."

Here are a few images from the Adirondacks

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance,
order, rhythm and harmony."

"Love is our true destiny.
We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-
we find it with another."

"Art enables us to find ourselves and
lose ourselves at the same time."

Solitude is not something you must hope for
in the future.
Rather, it is a deepening of the present,
and unless you look for it in the present
you will never find it.

** All quotes above are by Thomas Merton

* images©bjm

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looking for Space

I am writing this short post from the Adirondack Mountains. When I am in the midst of the mountains, I dream of my youth, and my first trip out west - to Colorado. I must have been 19 years old, long hair, Indian beads - you should have seen me! I think I was trying to find myself. I was looking for space.....

It is true, you really can appreciate God's creation when you are close to the clouds. I was and am a big John Denver fan. It was John's music that brought me to the Rockies. Since that first visit, I have visited the Rockies many times. God has surely blessed me.


I just received this message from a friend. It is from the Catholic League..

Please read the attached, it is important news on the so called Health Care Packaging Obama wants the Senate and congress to approve. There are still many sticky items on the agenda that are in need (deep need of explanation and clarity)

July 29, 2009


Catholic League president Bill Donohue discusses Section 1233 of H.R. 3200, the health care reform bill that was introduced in the House:

There is language in this section of the bill that implies that the federal government may become involved in euthanasia. So over the past two days, July 27-28, Catholic League staff contacted the following persons, committees or offices looking for clarification:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi; Rep. John Dingell; Rep. Rob Andrews; Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.; Rep. Charles Rangel; Rep. Pete Stark; Rep. Henry Waxman; Rep. George Miller; Rep. Dale Kildee; Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aging; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Discretionary Health Programs; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Mandatory Health Programs; HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; HHS Congressional Liaison Office; HHS Office of Human Services Policy; HHS Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy; HHS Office of Planning and Policy Support; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Human Services; Ways and Means Committee; Education and Labor Committee; Energy and Commerce Committee; Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Budget Committee; White House Health Reform Office.

No one with whom we spoke said the government is entering the business of euthanasia. But this is not enough. We need to know exactly what is meant by the following: “An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available….” We also need to know exactly what is meant by “The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register proposed quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning….” The public has a right to know exactly what is meant by terms like “end-of-life services” and “quality measures.” Now is the time to settle this issue.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Busy, Busy Martha

"Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need for only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Luke 10:38-42

I think this Gospel passage strikes home for many of us. Are we not so busy with so many things? Sometimes we are so busy we block out the words the Lord wants us to hear. I know this is the truth in my life. A busy commute every day back and forth to New York City - it can numb the mind. I am now in Lake Placid, New York, in the midst of the high peaks - in the Adirondack Mountains. Yesterday my wife and I hiked to the top of Whiteface Mountain (well, some hiking, some driving). At the top of the mountain it is so quiet - all you hear is the wind. Jesus says that Mary had chose the better part. Jesus wants us to find that quiet place - to be still - to listen - to choose the better part. This is what I will do today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New York Catholic Nurse Forced To Participate in Abortion

Can you believe this? Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo, who is a nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, was forced to participate in an abortion.
America! - What are we doing? We are killing our children! God help us.

This disturbing story, written by Thaddeus M. Baklinski, is out of

NEW YORK, July 28, 2009 - Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital who was forced to participate in the abortion of a late-term unborn child under the threat of losing her job and nursing license, has given a candid interview to the New York Post. In the interview she describes the ordeal she endured when she was told by hospital administrators to choose between her religious convictions and her job.

It felt like a horror film unfolding," said Cenzon-DeCarlo, 35, who claims she has had gruesome nightmares and hasn't been able to sleep since the May 24 incident.

"I couldn't believe that this could happen," Cenzon-DeCarlo told the Post, describing how she was threatened with charges of insubordination and patient abandonment, which could result in the loss of her job and nursing license, if she did not participate in the abortion. "I felt violated and betrayed," she recalled.

Hospital administrators told the nurse that the scheduled abortion was an "emergency" and that the woman would die if she did not assist.

However, Cenzon-DeCarlo says that she saw no indications that the abortion was a medical emergency while in the operating room, and she later learned that the hospital's own records deemed the procedure "Category II," meaning that the situation is not considered immediately life threatening.

Despite repeated and emotional objections, Cenzon-DeCarlo was ultimately forced to participate in the child's death, and was later pressured to sign an agreement that she would assist in all abortions doctors deemed an "emergency."

The Post reports that Cenzon-DeCarlo, a native of the Philippines, moved to New York in 2001 and started at Mount Sinai as an operating-room nurse in 2004. During her job interview, an administrator asked Cenzon-DeCarlo whether she'd be willing to participate in abortions. She flatly said no.

The nurse said she put her beliefs in writing.

"I emigrated to this country in the belief that here religious freedom is sacred," Cenzon-DeCarlo said. "Doctors and nurses shouldn't be forced to abandon their beliefs and participate in abortion in order to keep their jobs."

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys filed a lawsuit last week against Mount Sinai Hospital on behalf of Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, who is asking the court to order the hospital to pay unspecified damages, restore her shifts and respect her objections to abortion.

The suit also seeks to force Mount Sinai to give up the federal funding it receives, the Post report states, because it failed to uphold a federal rule protecting employees who have moral objections to controversial procedures.

To express your opinion to Mount Sinai Hospital:
Kenneth L. Davis, President and CEO
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, New York 10029
Phone: (212) 241-6500
Toll-Free: 1-800-637-4624


Please help > Stop The Abortion Mandate

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Turin in the Spring

Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting Turin, Italy in the spring, when the Holy Shroud is put on display. The Shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Shroud is claimed to be the actual "clean linen cloth" in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 27:59)

I grabbed this article out of today.

Benedict XVI Wants to See Holy Shroud. Tells Cardinal of Turin He'll Visit During Next Exposition

INTROD, Italy,- Benedict XVI says he is planning to visit Turin to see the Holy Shroud that covered Christ in the tomb when it is put on display next spring.

The Pope spoke of his plans to the archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, who lunched with the Holy Father on Sunday at his vacation residence in northern Italy. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, recounted the conversation in declarations today.

"Cardinal Poletto updated the Pope on the preparations for the exposition of the Holy Shroud in the spring of next year, and the Pope confirmed his intention to visit Turin for this event, on a date still to be defined," the spokesman said.

The last time the shroud was exposed for the public was 10 years ago. The upcoming exposition is scheduled for April 10 to May 23, 2010. The shroud will be on display for the first time since its 2002 restoration, in which the patches sewn onto the cloth in 1534 by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed.

Without the patches, the holes burned into the cloth are visible. The backing cloth, known as the Holland Cloth, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter-colored cloth.

The 2010 exposition will also include a new tour to inform visitors of the history and significance of the shroud, complemented with unpublished high-resolution photos.

Vacation nearing an end

Meanwhile, Benedict XVI's vacation in the Italian Alps is nearing an end. On Sunday, after praying the midday Angelus, he went for a brief walk. Father Lombardi said that for today and Tuesday, the Holy Father has nothing planned. They will be days dedicated to "prayer, study and reading," the spokesman added.

On Wednesday morning, the Pope will bid farewell to Les Combes and those who have ensured him a restful vacation, particularly the security forces and local authorities.

Around 5 p.m., he will travel by helicopter to the Turin airport, and from there, take a plane to Rome. After landing in Rome, he will travel by car to Castel Gandolfo, where he will stay for the rest of the summer.

** For those of you making a visit to New York City, I would highly recommend that you also visit Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. It is only fifteen minutes out of the city. It is a Benedictine Monastery dedicated to the Holy Shroud. The monastery is built on a hill - it has wonderful views of New York City. One of the monks in residence is Fr. Louis Marie Navaratne O.S.B. Fr. Louis is not only a wonderful monk, he is a poet and a renowned expert on the Holy Shroud. He occasionally offers talks on the subject.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Frank McCourt's Catholic Faith

Here is a follow up of my post of July 19th regarding the passing of teacher and writer Frank McCourt. Frank McCourt understandably had some issues with Mother Church. If you haven't read "Angela's Ashes", you should. You won't be able to put the book down. Here is a good article out of the Wall Street Journal written by Peter Duffy. The article gives a good indication as to where Mr. McCourt stood regarding his faith.
The Faith of Frank McCourt

The rites and rituals of Ireland’s Catholic Church of the 1930s and ’40s exist at the core of “Angela’s Ashes” (1996), his great Bildungsroman. That book’s hilarious and irreverent chapter on Mr. McCourt’s preparation for, and eventual ill-fated reception of, First Communion set down for all history what it was like to sit before an old Irish “master,” named Mr. Benson in this case, and have very pre-Vatican II lessons pummeled (literally) into your pre-teenage brain.

“He tells us we have to know the catechism backwards, forwards and sideways,” Mr. McCourt writes. “We have to know the Ten Commandments, the Seven Deadly Virtues, Divine and Moral, the Seven Sacraments, the Seven Deadly Sins. We have to know by heart all the prayers, the Hail Mary, the Our Father, the Confiteor, the Apostles’ Creed, the Act of Contrition, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. . . . He tells us we’re hopeless, the worst class he ever had for First Communion but as sure as God made little apples he’ll make Catholics of us, he’ll beat the idler out of us and Sanctifying Grace into us.”

Mr. Benson, who inhabits the same spiritual rectory as the fiery Father Arnall in James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” didn’t quite succeed in making an orthodox Catholic out of Frank McCourt. In fact, Mr. McCourt was one of the church’s principal public antagonists. He delighted in delivering bawdy riffs against what he saw as the church’s hypocrisy, cruelty and joylessness. “I was so angry for so long, I could hardly have a conversation without getting in an argument,” he once said.
We’ve been tracking him for a number of years,” Bill Donahue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights told me on Tuesday.

After the New York Times published an excerpt from the First Communion chapter of “Angela’s Ashes” this week—in it Mr. McCourt describes how “God,” i.e. the sacred host, became glued to the roof of his mouth—Mr. Donahue issued a statement denouncing the newspaper. “During his lifetime, Frank McCourt made any number of insulting remarks about Catholicism, all to the applause of his sophomoric fans,” it read.

Somewhere Mr. McCourt, who loved to spar with critics, is smiling. “Anti-clericalism, they said about me,” he told a newspaper reporter in 2002, who noted that Mr. McCourt’s eyebrows arched with skepticism. “No. I just told the story that millions of other Catholics would tell about their own lives.” Referring to the clergy sexual-abuse, he said: “Maybe now people are beginning to realize that I was just a bit too early with the truth.”

The rest of the article is HERE.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jupiter Took a Bullet For Us

Last weekend either a comet or an asteroid hit the planet Jupiter. The image of Jupiter shows that the planet took a big hit. To put this into perspective, the "black eye" is the size of the Pacific Ocean! If this object struck Earth, life on our planet would be forever changed, most likely over. As terrible a scenario this is, we, as Christians, know that there is another life - Our Lord promises us "eternal life." But is our prayer a confident prayer when we say "maranâ' thâ'", Come Lord Jesus? Is our house in order? Our Lord says "Beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come." Mark 13:33

The following article, by Dennis Overbye, is out of

Jupiter took a bullet for us last weekend.
An object, probably a comet that nobody saw coming, plowed into the giant planet’s colorful cloud tops sometime Sunday, splashing up debris and leaving a black eye the size of the Pacific Ocean. This was the second time in 15 years that this had happened. The whole world was watching when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fell apart and its pieces crashed into Jupiter in 1994, leaving Earth-size marks that persisted up to a year.

That’s Jupiter doing its cosmic job, astronomers like to say. Better it than us. Part of what makes the Earth such a nice place to live, the story goes, is that Jupiter’s overbearing gravity acts as a gravitational shield deflecting incoming space junk, mainly comets, away from the inner solar system where it could do for us what an asteroid apparently did for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Indeed, astronomers look for similar configurations — a giant outer planet with room for smaller planets in closer to the home stars — in other planetary systems as an indication of their hospitableness to life.

Anthony Wesley, the Australian amateur astronomer who first noticed the mark on Jupiter and sounded the alarm on Sunday, paid homage to that notion when he told The Sydney Morning Herald, “If anything like that had hit the Earth it would have been curtains for us, so we can feel very happy that Jupiter is doing its vacuum-cleaner job and hoovering up all these large pieces before they come for us.”

But is this warm and fuzzy image of the King of Planets as father-protector really true?

“I really question this idea,” said Brian G. Marsden of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, referring to Jupiter as our guardian planet. As the former director of the International Astronomical Union’s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, he has spent his career keeping track of wayward objects, particularly comets, in the solar system.

Jupiter is just as much a menace as a savior, he said. The big planet throws a lot of comets out of the solar system, but it also throws them in.

You can read more HERE

The above image taken by NASA with an infrared telescope in Hawaii shows a large impact on Jupiter's south polar region early Monday. Astronomers say Jupiter was apparently struck by an object, possibly a comet. It happened on the 15th anniversary of another comet strike.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Canticle To The Holy Face

Canticle To The Holy Face

Dear Jesus! 'tis Thy Holy Face
Is here the start that guides my way;
They countenance, so full of grace,
Is heaven on earth, for me, today.
And love finds holy charms for me
In Thy sweet eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.
How gladly would I live unknown,
Thus to console Thy aching heart.
Thy veiled beauty, it is shown
To those who live from earth apart.
I long to fly to Thee alone!

Thy Face is now my fatherland,
The radiant sunshine of my days,
My realm of love, my sunlit land,
Where, all life long, I sing Thy praise;
It is the lily of the vale,
Whose mystic perfume, freely given,
Brings comfort, when I faint and fail,
And makes me taste the peace of heaven.
Thy face, in its unearthly grace,
Is like the divinest myrrh to me,
That on my heart I gladly place;
It is my lyre of melody;
My rest - my comfort - is Thy Face.

My only wealth, Lord! is thy Face;
I ask naught else than this from Thee;
Hid in the secret of that Face,
The more I shall resemble Thee!
Oh, leave on me some impress faint
Of Thy sweet, humble, patient Face,
And soon I shall become a saint,
And draw men to Thy saving grace.
So, in the secret of Thy Face,
Oh! hide me, hide me, Jesus blest!
There let me find its hidden grace,
Its holy fires, and, in heaven's rest,
Its rapturous kiss, in Thy embrace!

Poems of Sr. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, known as The "Little Flower of Jesus,Translated by S.L. Emery,

Do, Re, Mi....

Hello Friends! The weekend is here and we are going to lighten things up. This video was sent to me by my daughter-in-law.

This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium Central (Train) Station on the 23rd of March 2009.. . . with no warning to the passengers passing through the station, at 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system.
As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances. They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stop the Abortion Mandate! by Jennifer Hartline

Dear friends, I just found this article by Jennifer Hartline on Catholic Online. It's message is more than disturbing, it's frightening.

"The health care reform plan being offered up (by Mr. Obama) will mandate abortion coverage at taxpayer expense."

We can not be silent. The unborn need our protection - NOW!

Special Report: Stop the Abortion Mandate!

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Thursday evening I participated in a live nationwide webcast called “Stop the Abortion Mandate.” It was dedicated to revealing what President Obama and many Democratic members of Congress do not want you to know: that the health care reform plan being offered up will mandate abortion coverage at taxpayer expense.

This outstanding webcast featured a stellar panel of guest speakers, including Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Marjorie Dannenfelser, and two U.S. Congressmen – Chris Smith of New Jersey and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania.

In the interest of speed, I will get directly to the important points, for there is not a moment to lose in taking action. This is the one we must defeat, and the time to defeat it is NOW.

First, be wise in the coming days. The White House and Democratic leadership will be busy disseminating disinformation about the health care bill that is purposely vague and deceptive. They will insist that abortion is not mentioned by name in the reform, and therefore we have nothing to worry about. Wrong. Pro-Life leaders are demanding an explicit exclusion of abortion in the health care reform because they know that otherwise abortion will be considered a “minimum required benefit.” President Obama has affirmed his commitment to “reproductive health care” and said such benefits are at the center of his health care plan.

Obamacare will result in the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. How? As it stands now, Roe gives individual states leeway in writing and enacting their own restrictions on abortion and the Supreme Court has upheld those state restrictions. These include 24-hour wait periods, parental consent for minors seeking abortions, prohibiting abortion after a certain week of pregnancy, etc. If abortion coverage is included in federally mandated health care, those state laws and restrictions will be rendered null and void. Abortion becomes an “essential health service” that cannot be restricted.

Please read more HERE, it's important.

Jennifer Hartline is a Catholic Army wife and stay-at-home mother of three precious kids who writes frequently on topics of Catholic faith and daily living. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She covered this historic webcast on special assignment.

"Ask the Animals, and They will Teach You". Job 12:7-12

I have mentioned my dog Shelby in a number of posts. Well, here she is! We had an interesting event this morning. About 5AM, we let Shelby out the back door, into the back yard, after her early breakfast. All of a sudden - she began to growl and bark loudly. This is not the norm for Shelby, she is a very peaceful dog. Sitting on the fence that separates our yard and our neighbors yard was a RACCOON! Shelby didn't like the raccoon. The raccoon was making hissing sounds. The raccoon was understandably unsettled, as Shelby had just ruined a good "garbage can" meal. I ran outside and grabbed Shelby by the collar and brought her back into the house. I don't think my neighbors were too happy with all the noise so early in the morning.
At least it wasn't a SKUNK. We have been through that before.

LORD, we know we have been lovingly
CREATED in your image...
and given "DOMINION" over all other living creatures...
neither to conquer, nor to dominate, nor to exploit...
but to defend and sustain these noble "others"
with generosity, justice, and mercy worthy of our divine charge.
Father, bless us with the humility
to recognize and cherish their sacredness
and their manifold gifts to humanity...
inspire us to know you and to love you ever more
through our spiritual union with our animal companions
and every living thing on earth.
Creator GOD, speak to us
through the wisdom of the Holy Scriptures,
and the Saints and the animals
with whom they communed in peace and understanding...
Make us One in your Kingdom of Love!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Manna from Heaven

We always thank God for all of you and mention you when we pray. We continually recall (remember good things) before God our Father the things you have done because of your faith and the work you have done because of your love. And we thank Him that you continue to be strong because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Thessalonians 1:2-3 NCV

Here is a good article I grabbed out of It is written by Barbara E. Reid, O.P.

Heavenly Bread

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t know.” Such popular wisdom reflects the reluctance of most people to change, even when a current situation is difficult. It is easier to hang on to what is, using familiar coping mechanisms, than it is to risk something new that might result in even greater difficulties. Such is the complaint of the Israelites to Moses in the first reading. They would rather have stayed enslaved in Egypt, with all the suffering that entailed, than risk the freedom into which God was leading them, a freedom that brought a whole new set of challenges.

One challenge concerned food. For those who migrate from one land to another, one of the hardest changes is to eat the food of another culture. One longs for familiarity, the “comfort food” from home.

God is not indifferent to the plight of the Israelites. Morning and evening God provides plenty of manna and quail. But the manna is completely unfamiliar to the Israelites. “What is this?” they ask. Moses tells them, “This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” It may have filled them physically, but it does not seem to have satisfied them on other levels. God’s providence never fails, but it does not always come in the way we want or expect.

In the Gospel, Jesus invites the crowd to shift their expectations from outward signs to inner transformation. He has just fed a hungry crowd of 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish, yet they ask him for a sign so they may see and believe. They are looking right at the very Bread of Life, but they do not see him as such. Jesus tells them that the same God who provided for their ancestors in the desert is the one who fed the crowd and who gives life to the world. To come to Jesus and believe in him requires letting go of familiar habits, like filling up on “food that perishes,” and allowing him to give “food that endures for eternal life.”

Grazing on junk food or trying to satisfy our spiritual hungers with constant noise and busyness are some contemporary “devils” we know. What would happen if we carved out an inner emptiness to let the Bread of Life satisfy our deepest hungers and thirsts?

Risking an unknown future, the Israelites crossed the desert and entered the land of freedom to which God led them through Moses. The crowd in the Gospel crossed the Sea of Galilee, opening themselves to the possibility of being filled forever by the one who would also entrust to them the “work of God” to feed others and give “life to the world.” This mission can take us into strange territory, where we risk the familiar and taste the “bread” or rice or tortillas of others. Step by step, we turn from looking for the external “signs” toward seeking to become one with the Bread of Life, who fills us to the full.

Barbara E. Reid, O.P., is a professor of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Ill.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I wish I had a River.....

When it gets late at night, as it is now - I begin to reminisce - of my life in the early 70s. I was blessed with the experience of very good music. We had BEATLES, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, John Denver, James Taylor, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead (Garcia was my hero)...and one very special favorite of mine, Joni Mitchell. Joni's "Court and Spark" album just blew me away, still does.

I am beginning to fade now - so I am going to close my eyes and think of those days -and although I love my life today, sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I had a river, so I could just skate away......

Amish Communion

On August 9th, my wife and I will be bringing my godson back to college. He attends St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, Pa. Driving from New Jersey, we will be passing through "Amish Country", the home of little black buggies and shoe-fly pie. I was thinking - how little I know about the religious life of our Amish brothers and sisters. So, while I had some time today, I searched the net and found some interesting information about the "Amish Communion Service." I hope you enjoy the reading...

The Amish Communion Service

For those of the Amish faith, communion is an important religious service, held only twice a year --- in the spring and fall. The actual communion service is not necessarily held on a Sunday. As is the Amish custom, religious services are held in the home, not in a church building. The geographic area where the Amish live is divided into church districts for this purpose.

At a church service two weeks prior to communion, there is a "Council Meeting." Only baptized members attend this meeting and the communion service. The rules of the church and other matters are discussed. Scriptural passages from the Old and New Testaments as they relate to the Amish are explained.

On the day of the communion service itself, the congregation again gathers at a member’s home. Commonly, men sit in one room and women in another.

Hymn singing begins the service as the preachers and bishops leave to discuss who sill be giving the sermons. The second hymn sung is always the same (#131), "Das Loblied," or "hymn of praise." The hymns are sung in German, with no organ or musical accompaniment. Singing is in unison with no harmonizing. The singing may go on for more than 30 minutes.

There is a short opening sermon, followed by a longer second sermon, lasting about two hours. During this and continuing into the main sermon, a few people leave off and on to eat. Since this service lasts well past noon, this is the way that everyone eats without taking time for a break.

At some point in the main sermon, which takes about three hours, two deacons leave to get the wine and a large, round loaf of bread. The bread, wrapped in a white cloth, is uncovered and cut before the congregation. While all stand, each member receives a piece of bread, starting with the bishops and preachers, the other men, and finally the women. Upon receiving the bread, each person puts it in his mouth, genuflects, and sits down to eat it. The congregation then rises again to receive the wine. The wine is poured into a cup, and each person takes a swallow, genuflects, and is again seated.

Buckets for the footwashing are now brought in. Shoes and socks are removed. One man stoops over, washes, and dries the feet of the other man sitting in the chair. The two then switch places. The men exchange these words, "The Lord be with us. Amen, in peace." They give each other the "holy kiss" and then return to their seats. This continues until each man has had his feet washed at the chair. Women follow the same procedure in their room. More singing then concludes the service.

Afterwards, as the congregation leaves to go home, the men slip some money into the hands of the deacon. It is only at the two communion services that an "offering" is given. The deacon quickly slips the money into his pocket. This money is used for any emergency or special need that might arise among the members.

Thus, in many ways, the rituals and sharing that comprise the communion service confirm the bonds of faith and community that are so important in Amish society.

Link to the Amish News

Mother's Prayer for Priests

This morning I attended Holy Mass with the Missionaries of Charity, at their mission in Harlem, New York. The Chapel is very beautiful, with old stained glass windows and a lovely marble altar. Even more special is the fact that Saint Katharine Drexel lived here for a time. Other than the sisters and regular volunteers, there were many young people attending, who spend a good part of their summer staying with the sisters and working with the children at MC summer camp. They are our hope for the future.

Immediately after every Holy Mass, the MC sisters and volunteers get down on their knees and pray, always the same prayers. Now that we are in the "Year of the Priest", the sisters added a new prayer to the list, Blessed Mother Teresa's "Prayer for Priests." Here it is....

Mary, Mother of Jesus, throw your mantle of purity over our priests. Protect them, guide them, and keep them in your heart. Be a Mother to them, especially in times of discouragement and loneliness. Love them and keep them belonging completely to Jesus. Like Jesus, they too, are your sons, so keep their hearts pure and virginal. Keep their minds filled with Jesus, and put Jesus always on their lips, so that He is the one they offer to sinners and to all they meet. Mary, Mother of Jesus, be their Mother, loving them and bring them joy. Take special care of sick and dying priests, and the ones most tempted. Remember how they spent their youth and old age, their entire lives serving and giving all to Jesus. Mary, bless them and keep a special place for them in your heart. Give them a piece of your heart, so beautiful and pure and immaculate, so full of love and humility, so that they too, can grow in the likeness of Christ. Dear Mary, make them humble like you, and holy like Jesus. Amen!

* above image Saint Katharine Drexel

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago Today, America Walked on the Moon

July 20th, 1969. I was thirteen years old, sitting on the living room floor of my Uncle Duke's house "down the shore" in Long Branch, New Jersey. My family and I were watching live black & white images from the Moon. Yes - America was walking on the Moon! We were mesmerized - the event was unbelievable. I will never forget that day. I was so proud to be an American.

I grabbed this article out of (CNS);

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—"Honor, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon, pale lamp of our nights and our dreams," Pope Paul VI said in a message to the three Apollo 11 astronauts who had just landed on the moon.

The night of July 20-21, 1969, Pope Paul had spent time looking at the moon through the telescope of the Vatican Observatory at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Then he watched the actual landing and the first moon walk on television.

But his message to the U.S. astronauts and a congratulatory telegram to then-President Richard Nixon represent only a tiny portion of what Pope Paul had to say about the expedition months before the July 16 launch and months after the July 24 return to earth.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first manned mission to land on the moon, Vatican Radio published its collection of Pope Paul's audience and Angelus talks about the mission, his reflections on the day of the landing, and the text of his speech to astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, whom he met at the Vatican Oct. 16, 1969.

Pope Paul told Armstrong that he was right on the mark in describing the mission as "one giant leap for mankind."

read more HERE

* Image of the Earth from

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt - Teacher and Writer - Dead at 78

Every now and then, a writer comes along who touches your soul. A writer who enters your heart, unlocks the door, and releases all your hidden memories, the ones you are happy to remember, and the ones you want to die. Frank McCourt was that writer. His story was our story, the American story. God bless you Teacher Man, God bless you...

This story is out out the Washington Post;

Frank McCourt, who melted the hearts of millions of readers with "Angela's Ashes," a lyrically poignant memoir of his poverty-stricken Irish childhood, died of melanoma July 19 in New York. He was 78. Mr. McCourt was a retired teacher in his mid-60s when he wrote "Angela's Ashes," an unflinching and unforgettable account of his family's misery in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s and 1940s. It was his first book, published in 1996, and immediately won critical acclaim and a vast readership.
The memoir received the Pulitzer Prize and stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 117 weeks, including 23 at No. 1. In a review, Washington Post book editor Nina King wrote, "This memoir is an instant classic of the genre."
From the first page, Mr. McCourt enchanted readers with a warm, subtle voice that was by turns funny and sad but always honest.
"When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I survived at all," he wrote. "It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."

More of the story HERE


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Garbage Can on the Moon

Every Saturday afternoon I take my dog Shelby for a walk in the park. Today was no different. The weather in New Jersey today was delightful - sunny, blue skies, and very low humidity - which is not the norm here in summer. I usually bring my camera with me -you never know what you are going to see. Along the path we came upon this garbage can. The outside was dusty and dirty. The inside of the can was a real nice red color. It grabbed my eye. After I returned home, I worked with the image on my computer. I removed all the color except for the can. I immediately thought of the moon. Probably because this Monday is the 40Th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

So, there you have it, "Garbage Can on the Moon."

A Giant Step for Life


Friday, July 17, 2009

Zac Sunderland, the youngest to sail solo around world

Zac Sunderland, 17 years old, now the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world. Absolutely amazing - 28,000 miles! How did he do it? Zac has a deep faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"It is a simple testament to what is important, to working towards your goals. Most of all, with perseverance and faith in God, anything is possible."
Zac Sunderland

Check out the full AP story HERE.

Zac Sunderland-The World Awaits

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bishop John M. D’Arcy Promulgates Norms for Tabernacle Placement

Last year I attended a retreat weekend, on the grounds of a very prestigious Catholic High School. Sunday morning I entered the school's modern Church to attend Holy Mass. As I walked down the isle my eyes looked for the tabernacle. I looked behind the altar, to the left side of the altar, to the right side. No tabernacle to be found. Finally I asked a parishioner, "Where is the tabernacle"? Well, I found Jesus in a small room off a side isle. A cold dark room, with a lit candle. Now, why would an architect designing a "Catholic Church" hide the tabernacle? It's hard for me to understand. Obviously this is not only a problem in my state - it is also a problem in Indiana. Bishop John D'Arcy, of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in Indiana, has issued a directive that the tabernacle should be centrally placed in all churches of that diocese. Here is the directive off the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend website.

To Priests, Deacons, Religious, and to All the Faithful,
The presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is at the center of our faith and of the devotional life of our Catholic people.

In recent years, the place of the tabernacle in our churches has become a source of controversy. This should not be. The Eucharist, whether we are referring to its celebration or to the place of reservation, should always be a means of unity and communion, and never of division.

The place of the tabernacle in our church should reflect our faith in the real presence of Christ, and should always be guided by church documents.

My experience is that our people, with their instinct of faith, have always desired that the tabernacle be central and visible. They find it confusing when the tabernacle in their churches is not visible, and if possible, central.

Because of my responsibility to foster the devotional life of our people, and to keep it sound, I have asked our Office of Worship to prepare norms for the placement and design of the tabernacle in this diocese. These norms were brought before the Presbyteral Council, the Liturgical Commission and the Environment and Arts Committee. Suitable refinements and improvements were prepared.

These norms are promulgated to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on June 14, 2009, the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of the Lord. They will be effective on Aug. 4, 2009, the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of priests, in whose honor the present Year for Priests has been dedicated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI.

I urge all priests to follow these norms carefully and completely, and most importantly — to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Sincerely yours in our Lord,

Most Reverend John M. D’Arcy


* above image of Catholic Altar by Doug Lawrence

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Discipleship - Description & Encounter

The word “Disciple” literally means a "learner." According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament words, it denotes “one who follows another’s teachings.”
A disciple is not only a "learner"; he is also an "adherent." In Webster’s “sticking fast” - a supporter or follower.

I would like to share with you a reflection concerning "discipleship." I will expand the reflection over a few posts. I hope that you will share your thoughts with me. Let us pray for vocations, pray for disciples.

Jesus Christ – The Good Shepherd

What does a good Shepherd do? He feeds and tends the sheep. The shepherd is always moving forward, looking for new ground – looking for new pasture for the sheep. The sheep follow the Shepherd with loving trust. They know that if they follow the Shepherd, there will be food, there will be life. And if we follow the Shepherd Jesus Christ, we follow on a divine path. When we follow the Master, we are His disciples. The Gospel of St. Luke 6:40 - “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” Our teacher is Christ. To be Christ’s disciple is to be LIKE CHRIST. In his book "The Imitation of Christ" –Thomas of Kempis writes: “Christ’s teaching surpasses that of all the saints, and whoever has His spirit will find in His teachings “hidden manna." This is the Bread come down from heaven, the necessary food for life. If you want to understand the Teacher’s words, you must strive to conform your entire life to His.”

The Encounter with Christ

Pope John Paul II says;

The encounter with Christ “radically” changes a person’s life; it spurs him to Metanoia, a Greek word that means a profound conversion of mind and heart. Turning one’s back to the past and making a clean break with it. It establishes a “communion of life” which is discipleship. To have one’s life touched by Christ means to see one’s own life and plans upset. Like the fisherman of Galilee who heard the call of Jesus, they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything to follow Jesus. (Lk 5:11)

When Jesus enters your life, He disquiets your conscience and He reads your heart, as happened with the woman of Samaria who said to Jesus “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.' Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you. She went into the town and told the people. “Come see a man who told me everything I have done.” (Jn 4:29)

Thomas Merton, Cistercian monk and priest wrote, "A true encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, resilience, an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation."

My first encounter with Christ occurred in my childhood. I grew up directly across the street from my Church, Holy Family in Union City, New Jersey. I listened to the church bells day and night for 21 years. The ringing of bells has many meanings. The announcement of Consecration, time for dinner, time to wake up. Jesus wanted to wake ME up, but it would be years before I discerned the call.

To be continued....

* Top image - Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey
** Image of the Good Shepherd - 3rd Century painting

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Catholic Deacon - Married and Ordained

A Deacon's Prayer

Come to my assistance my Lord and my God, that I may do for You all that you ask. Strengthen me in adversity and do not let me succumb to my feelings of worthlessness. Help me to feel in my heart all that You speak to me, and help me to understand. May I be to others what they need: a body to work when others cannot; a heart to love those who are forgotten; a shoulder to console those who's soul is in need; a smile to brighten the most somber of Your children; a mouth to proclaim Your love. Let me be to You, as a brush is to a painter, worthless without You, but capable of transforming the human heart by the power of Your mercy.

I grabbed this article out of It is written by Deacon William T. Ditewig, professor of theology and director of graduate programs in theology at Saint Leo University, near Tampa, Fla. For all of us who have a special interest in the Catholic Permanent Diaconate and for all Catholics who seek a better understanding of this ordained ministry, you will find this article to be quite informative.

Married and Ordained: The Ministry of Deacons

I had been a deacon for about a year and was on active duty in the U.S. Navy as executive officer of the Security Group Activity at Hanza, Okinawa, Japan. My family lived on Kadena Air Base, where I served at the Kadena chapel—the only deacon on Okinawa. One day I received a call from the senior Catholic chaplain, a friend. Laughing, he told me of a conversation he had just had with a young Air Force man reporting to Kadena for duty. Father Mike explained the chapel programs, and the young man said he had been to Mass there. Father described the pastoral staff, including the participation of a Navy Commander (me) as deacon. “Oh, was he the tall man who preached last Sunday?” the young man asked. “That’s right,” Father replied. The young man complimented my homily, but complained that he had seen me do something “just not right” after Mass: he saw me get into a car “with a woman and her children” and drive off! Father Mike explained that I was a married deacon, and that “the woman and her children” were my wife and our children. The young man said he knew deacons could be married, but that I should not have driven off with my family like that. Cognitively, he understood; affectively, he couldn’t imagine a married cleric.

In another story of confusion, a woman visiting our parish once asked my wife, “When you die, will Bill become a real priest?”

For more than a millennium, Latin Catholics saw an overwhelmingly celibate corps of ordained ministers, though for the last 40 years a new pattern has emerged that includes deacons who are both ordained and married. It is not surprising that confusion persists over the “double vocational sacramentality” of a married deacon.

Scholarship also lags behind current practice, with centuries of writing on the relationship of celibacy to ordained ministry, but nothing comparable on the relationship of matrimony and holy orders. One exception is Chapter Five of Sacrament of Service: A Vision of the Permanent Diaconate Today, by Patrick McCaslin and Michael G. Lawler (1986). This did not reverse the trend, but it does, I hope, offer food for conversation and understanding.

Just as the permanent diaconate is not only for celibates, neither is it a “married ministry,” though currently most deacons are married. Rather, the permanent diaconate is a major order of ecclesial ministry open to married and to unmarried men.

Read more HERE

St. Francis on Obedience

St. Francis of Assisi

I believe that the current problems of faith in the world are rooted in disobedience. The "culture of death", the problems with religious vocations - all rooted in this disobedience. St. Francis had an interesting take on obedience.

Here is en excerpt from “The Way of St. Francis” by Murray Bodo, O.F.M.

One of the strangest stories about Francis is his comparison of the obedient person to a corpse. He is sitting with his companions, and he says something like this: “There is hardly a friar in the whole world who obeys perfectly. “Taken aback, his brothers say to him: “Tell us, Father, what is the perfect and highest obedience.” And Francis replies, using the figure of a corpse to describe the truly obedient person. “Take a corpse and place it wherever you want. You will see that it doesn’t resist being moved, it doesn’t complain about its position, it doesn’t cry out if it is allowed to lie there. If it is placed on a chair, it won’t look up but down; if it is clothed in purple, it looks twice as pale. This is true obedience: not to ask why you are moved, not to care where you are placed, not to insist on being changed somewhere else. Raised to an office, you retain your accustomed humility; the more you are honored, the more unworthy you consider yourself.”

The truly holy person chooses obedience, the way a knight rides purposefully into battle, or like Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, not because he was weak, but because he chose to do so in order to become one with us. Obedience, embraced for the right reason, makes us one with all of creation, because it makes us one with Christ who is the Firstborn of all creatures.

The Christian’s first obedience is to God, and the authority of the Church is linked with the obedience to Christ by and through its hierarchical superiors.

Above painting of St. Francis - Artist: Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tuesday, the Golden Retriever


The Golden Retriever

I grabbed this piece out of the the Wall Street Journal, written by Yochi J. Dreazen. The story concerns a very special Golden Retriever named "Tuesday." Our family dog, Shelby, is also a Golden. These dogs are very loving, very bright - why there are so many "rescue" Goldens is beyond me - they are the perfect pet, and excellent service dogs. I hope you enjoy this story... I did.

'Sit! Stay! Snuggle!': An Iraq Vet Finds His Dog Tuesday

NEW YORK -- Like any other golden retriever seeking a treat, Tuesday nudged his owner's hand with his snout one recent morning and waited expectantly.

Luis Carlos Montalvan got up from a chair in his small Brooklyn apartment and walked to the kitchen. Tuesday followed close behind, eyes fixed on a white cabinet. The retriever sat alertly as Mr. Montalvan, an Iraq war veteran with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, reached for a vial of pills, lined a half-dozen on the table and took them one by one.

The dog had gotten what he wanted: When the last pill was swallowed, he got up and followed his master out of the kitchen, tail wagging.

Tuesday is a so-called psychiatric-service dog, a new generation of animals trained to help people whose suffering is not physical, but emotional. They are, effectively, Seeing Eye dogs for the mind.

Tuesday is with Mr. Montalvan at all hours. Taught to recognize changes in a person's breathing, perspiration or scent that can indicate an imminent panic attack, Tuesday can keep Mr. Montalvan buffered from crowds or deliver a calming nuzzle. Other dogs, typically golden retrievers, Labradors or Labrador retriever blends, are trained to wake masters from debilitating nightmares and to help patients differentiate between hallucinations and reality by barking if a real person is nearby.

"Tuesday is just extraordinarily empathetic," said Mr. Montalvan, 36 years old, a retired Army captain who received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Iraq. "In bad moments, he'll lay his head on my leg, and it'll be like he's saying, 'You're OK. You're not alone.'"

Seeing Eye dogs were first systematically trained in Germany during World War I to aid blinded veterans. Today, psychiatric-service dogs are being trained to help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan battles.

More of the story HERE.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday evening muse

Arturo "Thunder" Gatti
April 15, 1972 – July 11, 2009

As I get ready to bed down for the night, I need to reflect on today’s events. Today began as most Sunday’s do – up at 6am, shower, a nice cup of Mary’s coffee, ready to drive to the city and begin my work with the mc sisters. But this morning was melancholy; my daughter called me last night to give me the bad news. Arturo “Thunder” Gatti, the well known prizefighter, was found dead in a hotel room in Brazil. Today I hear the Brazilian authorities are charging his wife with murder. How sad is that. I was privileged to meet Arturo Gatti about ten years ago, in a restaurant owned by a friend. My childhood friend was Gatti’s manager. All of us friends who grew up together attended Gatti’s fights in Atlantic City. I am not a boxing enthusiast, but I have to say, it was very exciting. This fighter had heart. Now so many hearts are broken, a life cut short.

In a recent post, I pictured a nest of baby robins resting in a forsythia bush in my back yard. Well today, my dog Shelby and my son’s dog Jasper decided to take a run in the yard. One of the baby robins was startled and tried to fly. Being much too young for flight, the bird fell down to the grass. Still, she was able to hop-fly very fast. Keeping the dogs at bay, I tried to catch the bird. Alas, the bird was gone. She went through a fence into a neighbor’s wooded yard. It is so sad. The baby will never survive. I know the mother and father were in the trees watching. What did they think of me?

Psalm 90

We have come out of the Earth
and to the Earth we return
Our lives are but a flash in the light of Eternity.
We are like beautiful flowers which live only a day.
We might live 70 years—more if our strength holds.
So much work and hardship!
How quickly the time passes.

Teach us then, to value our days
to treat each one as a sacred trust.
Fill our hearts with wisdom.
and a love for our lives.
In spite of all the grief and suffering
May we be always glad of this precious gift
And hallow the good in each day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Consider the lilies of the field

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Matthew 6:27-29

Thank you Lord, for all your kindness, your protection, your mercy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Youth who loved the Pope at Mother's Beatification

On October 19th, 2003, my son and I attended the Beatification Mass of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in Rome. Although it rained the night before, at dawn the golden sunlight was melting over St. Peters. As a Lay Missionary of Charity, I was lucky to secure tickets - we had very good seats, sitting very close to Pope John Paul II. The day was exciting, an emotional roller coaster. The square was a sea of people. So many different orders of religious, nuns wearing habits I never saw or imagined. And there were so many young people. The Holy Father knew they were there. When the Holy Father turned his gaze towards the crowd, and waved his hand, all the young people would stand on their seats and shout out "Viva La Papa, Viva La Papa" !

I took a photo of some exuberant young people, who were certainly in love with Mother Teresa and John Paul II.

A New Jersey Woman's Act of Love

Catholic parishioner Clare S. Liptak displays a few of the donated sewing machines that will be sent to Tanzania for women there to sew clothes for themselves and their families. A member of Mary, Mother of God Parish, in Hillsborough, N.J., Liptak shipped 30 machines to the African nation in 2008 and hopes this summer to ship 50 more, along with fabric and other sewing supplies.

This story is out of With all the bad news today, it is nice to read some good news, about a woman's act of love, by providing for her neighbor. Jesus said "What you have done for the least of my brothers, you have done for me." Clare Liptak is living out her Christian faith. She is a wonderful role model for all Christians.

New Jersey parishioner collects sewing machines for poor in Africa By Chris Donahue

Clare S. Liptak is combining her Catholic faith with a love of sewing to help the poor in Africa stitch together a better life.

Liptak, a member of Mary, Mother of God Parish, collects fabric and sewing machines to send to women in Tanzania to sew clothes for themselves and their families. She and her friend Kathleen "Kat" Wilson have 140 sewing machines in storage at Mary, Mother of God and another 19 at Liptak's home.

Liptak shipped 30 machines to Tanzania in 2008. This summer, she hopes to send 50 more along with fabric, sewing supplies, carpentry tools, equipment for a culinary program and children's books. The container being used to ship the items is supposed to be loaded Aug. 7.

The machines remaining in storage are awaiting shipment to poor families in rural Kentucky, she said.

"It is really a lot of fun to do this, and the people who donate are very generous," Liptak told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Metuchen Diocese. "Often the machine has been in their family a long time and they want it to be used. They don't want their grandmother's sewing machine to be thrown away."

Liptak traveled to Tanzania in 2008 and plans to return in June 2010.

* Read more HERE.

CNS photo/Chris Donahue, The Catholic Spirit

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Abortion, America's Nightmare

I was watching a news story this evening concerning the film “The Stoning of Soraya M.” This film concerns the legality of human stoning used as punishment in Iran today. The practice of stoning a human being is horrible. And a society that allows it is immoral and doomed to self destruction.

Then I was thinking, - wait a minute - since 1973, 50 MILLION children have been killed by abortion, not in Iran, but in the United States of America, our home, the land of the free! Using the words of Father John Corapi, who I have quoted before in this blog “WAKE UP AMERICA”! What are we doing! Please, the carnage must stop. Blessed Mother Teresa said so clearly “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.” And now don’t we see and hear about this killing every day, on TV, internet, newspapers. We have become immune to it. And how sad it is - now we have elected a President who, in his own words, said “if they (my daughters) make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." Where is the moral leadership? This “culture of death” will destroy our country.

Those of you who read my blog, and consider yourselves pro-choice, please – look into your heart. Do you really know what abortion is? Have you made an effort to find out? Do you know that abortion is killing? Have you ever watched an abortion? If you haven’t, you ought to. Then you will know that the unborn child suffers like you and me, the unborn child is a human being, like you and me, and the unborn child is made in the image of God, like you and me.

I am pro-life. I will continue posting articles concerning the legal killing of children in our country, until the nightmare is over.

Here is an important article from Catholic Online, written by Theresa Bonopartis.

Abortion: Killing off More than the Unborn

BRONX, NY - It has been about twenty years since I first became involved in pro life work. My motivating factor was to let others who were suffering in silence from a past abortion, learn of the forgiveness and mercy of God.

Having aborted a son in my fourth month of pregnancy due to pressure from my father, I knew all too well that abortion took a human life. I saw my unborn son lying on the bed beside me after giving birth to him from a saline abortion. Of course, he was dead. That picture will forever be ingrained in my mind, a reminder of what a sinner I am and just how far we can fall without the grace of God.

Over the years, I have had to work through a lot of emotions relating to the issue of life.. As someone post abortive, I often felt like I was stuck in the middle of the debate.I did not think either side really understood why women abort, and I was eager for people to learn so that others would come forward for healing without fear and hearts would be converted. I have always believed that if we truly worked to bring souls back to Christ for no other reason but their conversion, Christ would do the rest and end abortion.

Read more of this article HERE.

Theresa Bonopartis is the Director of "Lumina/Hope & Healing after Abortion", 1-877-586-4621, and the Co-Developer, “Entering Canaan” post abortion ministry.

Pope Benedict XVI Approves Newman Miracle

Venerable John Henry Newman, CO (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890)[1] was a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal who converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism in October 1845. In 1991 Cardinal Newman was proclaimed "Venerable" by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

This post is a follow up of my June 18th post regarding the healing of Catholic Deacon Jack Sullivan of Marshfield, Massachusetts. Deacon Sullivan's healing is attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Pope Benedict XVI has now recognized the miracle, placing Cardinal Newman on a sure course to sainthood. Here is the latest video concerning the miracle.

* Above portrait of John Henry Newman by John Everett Millais, 1881

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pope Benedict's New Encyclical " Caritas in Veritate"

The text of Pope Benedict XVI’s new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), has now been posted on the Vatican website.

Click HERE for "Caritas in Veritate"

Escape from North Korea

"Crossing Heaven’s Border" is a documentary made by South Korean journalists who spent almost a year filming North Korean defectors trying to escape the hell of their homeland and enter the paradise that is freedom.

As you are viewing this post, there are people risking everything to gain freedom from the evil regime of North Korea. North Koreans have been referred to as "some of the world's most brutalized people". The PBS documentary "Crossing Heaven's Border" is important for all of us to see. It will be offered on PBS stations across America this week.

Read the Wall Street Journal article by Nancy Dewolf Smith HERE.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sisters of Life

The Sisters of Life is a contemplative / active religious community of women founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life.

Through the centuries, many religious orders have come and gone. This is God's Providence. When the Lord sees a need in our world for a particular charism, He will surely rise up saints to do His work. How long did humankind turn away from the poor and the suffering. In His wisdom, the Lord rose up the likes of Mother Cabrini, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and many other saints. Now we are in the fight of our life, the life of the unborn child. How sad - to live in a world that allows the legal killing of children. This is a great sin. God, in His great wisdom, brought forth a humble man to be a Cardinal of His Church, John O'Connor. Cardinal O'Connor was a man of compassion. He heard the cry of the poorest of the poor, the unborn, and he responded. Through Cardinal O'Connor, the Lord instituted a new religious order, The Sisters of Life. A religious order committed to defend the dignity of the human person. Please keep them in your prayers. Support them in any way you can.

The Codex Sinaiticus - Online

The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important hand-written ancient copoes of the Greek Bible. It was written in the 4th century in uncial letters. It came to the attention of scholars in the 19th century at the Greek Monastery of Mount Sinai, with further material discovered in the 20th century, and most of it is today in the British Library.

I grabbed this article from the NYTimes. For all of you who have an interest in religious documents of antiquity, this should be very interesting.

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - The surviving parts of the world's oldest Christian bible will be reunited online on Monday, generating excitement among biblical scholars still striving to unlock its mysteries.

The Codex Sinaiticus was hand written by four scribes in Greek on animal hide, known as vellum, in the mid-fourth century around the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great who embraced Christianity.

Not all of it has withstood the ravages of time, but the pages that have include the whole of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copy of the Gospels written at different times after Christ's death by four of the Apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The bible's remaining 800 pages and fragments -- it was originally some 1400 pages long -- also contain half of a copy of the Old Testament. The other half has been lost.

"The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.

* You can read the rest of the article HERE.

* Photograph by Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Remembering Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig
Born: June 19, 1903 New York, New York
Died: June 2, 1941 Riverdale, Bronx

New York Yankees First Baseman,
"The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth."

July 4th is a very important day in America - a day of celebration, the birth of our country. It is a day we reflect on all the good gifts God has given to us Americans, most importantly, our freedom. Today I wish to mention another God given gift, Lou Gehrig. Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the farewell speech of Lou Gehrig, the famous Yankee baseball player who said, "I might've been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for." Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS, an incurable fatal neuromuscular disease. This disease is widely known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

America loves baseball, just like apple pie. First Baseman Lou Gehrig was and is a hero to so many Americans. God bless him.

I leave you here with a video of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, July 4th, 1939.

ALS Association

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Freedom Prayer

The Freedom Prayer

Heavenly Father, on this holiday weekend we give thanks to you for the gift and blessing of the freedom we enjoy in our great nation. We praise you, Lord, for inspiring and guiding our founding fathers as they struggled to build our country and create a new way of living with the goal of freedom and justice for all.

We thank you, Lord, for the courageous self-sacrifice and generous spirit of countless people who have given their life's blood in the defense of freedom and for the pursuit of justice. Keep us faithful to the tradition and example we have inherited; may we leave for the next generation a better world, prepared for the dawning of the Kingdom of Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.


Independence Day in America

Here is the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America. This is the reason for our celebration today. Please be sure to read the Declaration - if possible, read it out loud, with your family and friends.
God bless America!
Declaration of Independence
(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton