Friday, July 30, 2010

Sr. M. Evarista, our Librarian

Sr. Evarista, Holy Family School Librarian
Union City, NJ - back in the 60's !

A 17th Century nun's prayer...

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.


Facebook page for Holy Family School Union City, NJ

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Deacon Jack Sullivan Will Proclaim the Gospel at Cardinal John Newman's Beatification

I grabbed this article out of Catholic Online, written by Deacon Keith Fournier. The beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman is exciting news - especially for my dear friend, Sister Thomas Moore, MC. !

CHESAPEAKE, VA. - Because of my deep admiration for John Henry Cardinal Newman, and my conviction that the move of our Anglican friends into the full communion of the Church is a part of a prophetic plan for the coming full communion of Christ's Church, I follow with great interest the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom. I have also followed the cause of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He is one of my heroes!

I rejoiced when the "Congregation for the Causes of Saints" confirmed the miracle attributed to Cardinal John Henry Newman, the healing of a severe spinal disorder suffered by Deacon Jack Sullivan from the Archdiocese of Boston. I identify with Deacon Jack for several reasons. I was born and raised in Boston, I love his plain spoken manner, I believe in miracles, I am a great admirer of Cardinal Newman, I am a deacon and I believe that this trip to the United Kingdom by Benedict, the Pope of Christian Unity, is prophetic.

In speaking of the miracle Deacon Sullivan told the London Times: "If it wasn't for Cardinal Newman's intercession . it would have been virtually impossible to complete my diaconate formation and be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston...Nor would I have been able to continue in my chosen profession as a magistrate in our court system to support my family." He insisted that said he has developed "a very deep sense of the reality of God's love for each one of us, especially during times of immense difficulties and suffering....I have developed a very real relationship with Cardinal Newman in frequent prayer and I try to pass on what marvelous gifts I have received to those I meet."

The approval of the miracle constituted the final step before Pope Benedict XVI could proceed with the beatification of the beloved Anglican convert and British Cardinal. One more miracle will be required in the process leading to canonization. I have no doubt it will occur. I believe that Cardinal Newman's prayers have been a part of the historic movement which led to the Anglican Ordinariates and the release of the Apostolic Constitution.

John "Jack" Sullivan, 70, is a brother deacon and fellow lawyer. He experienced a miracle assisted through the intercessory prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He shared his story at Arnold Hall Conference Center. In years past, before my ordination, I attended several retreats there with Opus Dei. However, Opus Dei has no place for Deacons.

It seems that when the founder of "the work" (the popular term for Opus Dei) my lawyer friend (St Escriva was a lawyer) and inspiration, founded the work, there were no permanent deacons. So, my ordination fifteen years ago was a crossroads concerning my participation in Opus Dei. Perhaps some day the leaders of the work will reconsider the role of Deacons. I know that their founder has a great place in his heart for them. After all, he is still alive in Christ, a part of that great cloud of witnesses, the communion of Saints. I know this is true because he is one of my greatest intercessors and teachers.

My good friend of many years, Fr C John McCloskey III, a Newman scholar, had hosted a series of programs for EWTN on Cardinal Newman in 2000. At the end of the program wherin Father CJ interviewed Fr Ian Ker, a Newman biographer from Oxford, he put a message on the television screen that read: "If you receive any favors from Cardinal Newman, please contact the Birmingham Oratory in England." The Oratory is where Newman lived and died.

Jack Sullivan, not yet ordained, was watching EWTN that night. He prayed and asked for the intercession of the good Cardinal. He had been in formation to be ordained to the Order of Deacon for the Archdiocese of Boston. He had just finished his second year. However, he had experienced a terrible injury which threatened his fulfilling his vocation. He had awakened one day with intense pain in his legs, nearly unable to even walk.

Read the rest of the story HERE

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas - Quote of the Day

Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P., also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino; (Aquino, 1225 – Fossanova, 7 March 1274) was an Italian priest of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Order, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor) and Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis (the Common or Universal Doctor).

"Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
— St. Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Entrance Solesmes

Ten years ago I read an interesting book written by the late William F. Buckley, Jr. The name of the book is "Nearer, My God." It is Mr. Buckley's autobiography of his Catholic faith. At the end of the book he writes about the ordination of his nephew, Fr. Michael Bozell, who is a priest and monk at the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes in France. I checked out the abbey website - I found it not only informative, but fascinating. The abbey is beautiful - a holy, quiet place. A perfect place for a future retreat.

Fr. Bozell is a painter. The above painting is called "Entrance Solesmes." The entrance to the abbey. Fr. Bozell's paintings are a good source for contemplation, like Icons. If you can, make a retreat at a Benedictine will surely bring you closer to God.

Here are some words from the abbey website...

The grace of baptism makes us sons of God, in imitation of Christ. And by the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in each baptised person, faith and love progressively transform our natural life. Our view of God and the world are renewed and gradually resemble that of Christ, the only Son of God.

He whom God calls to the monastic life feels attracted by this mysterious discovery of God, and he understands the supreme value of the priceless pearl. To acquire it, everything else must be subordinated to it because only it gives him the plenitude of life and wisdom.

Saint Benedict resumes this program with the expression, "seeking God", and he wants us to verify carefully if this is indeed the intention of a candidate to the monastic life. This is what he writes in the Prologue of his Rule:

«The voice of God calls out to us each day: 'Run as long as you have the light of life, for fear that darkness cover you over!' And the Lord, seeking his worker in the crowd whom he speaks to, says, 'Who is the man who wants life and desires to see blessed days?' If, having heard him, you answer, 'Me!' God answers you,'Do you want true life, eternal life? Then keep your tongue from evil and do good, seek peace and keep to it.' See with what tenderness the Lord shows us the way of life!»

«God seeks man, comments Dom Delatte, and in turn man must seek God. We do nothing else in the monastic life.»

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missionaries of Charity - Summer Camp

This summer, at the many Missionary of Charity Missions around the world, the sisters and volunteers are active - working with the poor and needy children at "Summer Camp." Every day the sisters pick up local children, feed them, teach them, pray with them, entertain them. This work can only be accomplished by the help of young volunteers.

These young volunteers travel from all parts of the world to come and stay with the sisters and help with the work. These young people are truly a great hope for the Church. Please keep them in your prayers.

It is with such inner freedom and such burning charity that Jesus teaches us to find him in others, first of all in the disfigured face of the poor. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta loved to distribute her “visiting card” on which were written the words: “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace”. This is the way to meet Christ. Go out to meet all of human suffering spurred on by your generosity and with the love that God instills in your hearts by means of the Holy Spirit: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). The world is in urgent need of a great prophetic sign of fraternal charity! It is not enough to “speak” of Jesus. We must also let him be “seen” somehow through the eloquent witness of our own life (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 16).

(Message of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Youth of the World On The Occasion of the XIX World Youth Day 2004)

* Second image -Youth attending the Beatification of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defend the Sacrament of Marriage

The Sacrament of Marriage is now under constant attack. Let us recall these words of Pope Benedict XVI...

"The marriage bond, in which man and woman together constitute a life-long association, ordered by its very nature for the good of the spouses and the generation and education of children," is the basis of the family, the heritage and shared wealth of humanity. "Thus the Church cannot cease to announce that, in accordance with God's plans, marriage and the family are irreplaceable and admit no alternatives."


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Who is the Catholic Church

Great Video, please send it out - the world needs the Good News !

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catholic Bells

Catholic Bells by William Carlos Williams

Tho' I'm no Catholic
I listen hard when the bells
in the yellow-brick tower
of their new church

ring down the leaves
ring in the frost upon them
and the death of the flowers
ring out the grackle

toward the south, the sky
darkened by them, ring in
the new baby of Mr. and Mrs,
Krantz which cannot

for the fat of its cheeks
open well its eyes, ring out
the parrot under its hood
jealous of the child

ring in Sunday morning
and old age which adds as it
takes away. Let them ring
only ring! over the oil

painting of a young priest
on the church wall advertising
last week's Novena to St.
Anthony, ring for the lame

young man in black with
gaunt cheeks and wearing a
Derby hat, who is hurrying
to 11 o'clock Mass (the

grapes still hanging to
the vines along the nearby
Concordia Halle like broken
teeth in the head of an

old man) Let them ring
for the eyes and ring for
the hands and ring for
the children of my friend

who no longer hears
them ring but with a smile
and in a low voice speaks
of the decisions of her

daughter and the proposals
and betrayals of her
husband's friends. O bells
ring for the ringing!

the beginning and the end
of the ringing! Ring ring
ring ring ring ring ring!
Catholic bells——

* Some interesting information > William Carlos Williams was not only a wonderful poet, but also a pediatrician and resident of Rutherford, New Jersey.
I hope you enjoy the Catholic Bells!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Corpus Christi Church in New York City

This morning I attended Holy Mass at Corpus Christi Church in New York City. Being a Thomas Merton devotee, I always wanted to visit the place where Merton was baptized, where he came home to the Catholic Church. In today's Gospel, from Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

The celebrating priest offered an insightful homily - how we all must help shoulder the burdens of our neighbors. A sentiment spoken time and time again by Thomas Merton a.k.a Fr. Louis.

Here are some photos I shot today and some of Merton's own words grabbed out of the Corpus Christi Church website.

Aug. 1938, his first Mass:

I found a place that I hoped would be obscure, over on one side, in the back, and went to it without genuflecting, and knelt down. . . . Before I knew it, the priest was in the sanctuary with the two altar boys . . . . And then the next thing I knew there was someone in the pulpit. . . . It all became completely mysterious when the attention was refocused on the altar. When the silence grew more and more profound, and little bells began to ring, I got scared again and, finally, genuflecting hastily on my left knee, I hurried out of the church in the middle of the most important part of the Mass."

Sept. 1938, requesting instruction:

We sat in the little parlor by the door. And I said: "Father, I want to become a Catholic."

"The words, songs, ceremonies, signs, movements of worship are all designed to open the mind and heart of the participant to this experience of oneness in Christ. One reason why I am a Catholic, a monk and a priest today is that I first went to Mass, and kept going to Mass, in a Church where these things were realized. . . . There was nothing new or revolutionary about it; only that everything was well done, not out of aestheticism or rubrical obsessiveness, but out of love for God and His truth. It would certainly be ingratitude of me of I did not remember the atmosphere of joy, light, and at least relative openness and spontaneity that filled Corpus Christi at solemn High Mass."

(Seasons of Celebration, p. 237)

God speaks to Merton:

. . . and you shall . . . find all things in My mercy which has created you for this end and brought you from Prades [Merton's birthplace] . . . to New York to Columbia to Corpus Christi . . . to the Cistercian Abbey . . . . (SSM, pp. 422-423)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Most Blessed Sacrament Friary

I live about 20 minutes from the Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, NJ. I have been making monthly visits to the friary for almost a year. It is truly a holy place. This video is out of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal website.

Check it out

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Saint Modomnoc and the Bees

I took this picture yesterday in my back yard. A small bumble bee, going about his business, doing his work. It brings to mind a saint we don't think about too often, St.Modomnac.

Here is some information about this interesting saint, courtesy of
Tug At Nature.

The man who became Saint Modhomhnoc (or Modomnoc) came from the royal line of Ui Neill of Ulster. He wanted to be a priest and so he left Ireland and went to be educated under the great Saint David at Mynyw (Menevia, now Saint David’s) Monastery in Wales. All those who resided in the community were expected to share in the manual work as well as the study and worship; Modomnoc was given charge of the bees and he loved it. He cared for them tenderly, keeping them in straw skeps in a special sheltered corner of the garden, where he planted the kinds of flowers bees loved best.

Every time they swarmed, he captured the swarm very gently and lovingly and set up yet another hive. He talked to the bees as he worked among them and they buzzed around his head in clouds. It was if they were responding to his soothing words.

His years of study ended, and Modomnoc had to return to Ireland to begin his priestly ministry. While he was glad to be returning home, he knew he would miss his bees. On the day of his departure, he said good-bye to the Abbott, the monks, and his fellow students. Then he went down to the garden to bid his little friends farewell. They came out in answer to his voice and never was there such a buzzing and excitement among the rows of hives. The monks stood a distance watching the commotion in wonder. “You’d think the bees knew,” they said. “You’d think they knew that Modomnoc was going away.”

Modomnoc resolutely turned and went down and boarded the ship. When they were about three miles from shore, Modomnoc saw what looked like a little black cloud in the sky in the direction of the Welsh coast. He watched it curiously as as it came closer, he saw to his amazement that it was a swarm of bees. It was a gigantic swarm – all the bees from the monastery hives followed him out to sea!

Twice Modomnoc had the boat turn back and brought the bees back to their garden. On the third time his boat set sail Modomnoc prayed fervently that the bees would stay in their pleasant garden rather than risk their lives at sea. But, for the third time, he saw the black cloud rise over the coast of Wales. This time, the boat did not turn back. Resigned to the will of God and the persistence of his faithful friends, he coaxed the swarm into a sheltered corner of the boat. There, much to the relief of the sailors, they quietly remained throughout the voyage.

When Modomnoc landed in Ireland, he set up a church at a place called Bremore, near Balbriggan, in County Dublin, and there he established the bees in a happy garden just like the one they had in Wales. The place is known to this day as “the Church of the Beekeeper.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Courtesy of Paul Nichols

I grabbed this post out of Paul Nichols' blog "Catholic Cartoon Blog." I thought it was too good not to share.

According to Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, that's exactly where the late Senator Robert Byrd is already. Safe in heaven. Nope, no need for prayers here, people, he's already there. Wow.

Is this how low we've come? That even a Catholic bishop declares a non-Catholic to be in heaven? It would appear that "social promotion", that great equalizer of the publik skools, has now worked it's way into the hierarchy of the American Church.

Puts a new, modern twist on "Whatsoever you bind on earth, is bound in Heaven", because if an authority in the Church says you've made it, then I guess they're duty bound upstairs to let you in, right? Right?

Read about it HERE

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Experience of Silence

Yesterday, in New Jersey, the temperature topped 100 degrees F. This kind of heat we don’t experience very often. The hot weather brought back to mind the first time I visited St. Joseph’s Abbey, a trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts. The month was August. Turning on to the abbey road (no pun intended), I slowly passed through forest, stream and field. Halfway up the hill towards the monastery church I stopped the car – shut off the engine – and stepped outside. As a man who grew up with a parking lot for a neighbor, I am never prepared for silence. It is a surprise. Here the breath of the wind works its way through the forest - like falling domino tiles, the tree tops sway one to another. The sweet steamy air surrounds me in warm embrace – and I see the air rise up from the earth, like a rippling vision of heat lingering above the desert ground. This is a holy place. A place where you must leave your worries, your concerns in God’s hands. The Taize Community says this about “silence" -

“Silence makes us ready for a new meeting with God. In silence, God’s word can reach the hidden corners of our hearts. In silence, it proves to be "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit" (Hebrews 4:12). In silence, we stop hiding before God, and the light of Christ can reach and heal and transform even what we are ashamed of.

Christ says: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). We need silence in order to welcome these words and put them into practice. When we are agitated and restless, we have so many arguments and reasons not to forgive and not to love too easily. But when we "have calmed and quieted our soul", these reasons turn out to be quite insignificant. Maybe we sometimes avoid silence, preferring whatever noise, words or distraction, because inner peace is a risky thing: it makes us empty and poor, disintegrates bitterness and leads us to the gift of ourselves. Silent and poor, our hearts are overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit, filled with an unconditional love. Silence is a humble yet secure path to loving”.

Though the Abbey is far from Tibet, the Tibetan music of Nawang Khechog always reminds me of this quiet place, where one can always experience God's silence. Listen to the music, close your eyes, and you will feel His presence.

*all images ©bjm

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1915)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

St. Maria Goretti

Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children.

In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather died than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife.

As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn't end her forgivness, however.

Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria's mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. "If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withold forgiveness," she said.

When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter's crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth.

She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander's attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker -- her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth and for the victims of rape.

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

* Bio out of Catholic Online

** Maria HERE

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Heavenly Father, You are the real foundation of nations, raising them up
to serve and care for the people dwelling in their boundaries.
I thank You for making me a citizen of this land of freedom
and unlimited opportunity---which are the result of its Christian base.
Send forth your Spirit to this country and make it a source of wisdom
and strength, order and integrity throughout the world. Amen.

Declaration of Independence HERE

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

Amelia Earhart - Last Seen July 2nd, 1937

On July 2, 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart took off from Lae, New Guinea, in her twin engine Lockheed Electra and flew east into overcast skies toward Howland Island, a sliver of land 2,600 miles away in the Pacific Ocean. She was never seen again.

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Venerable Pierre Toussainte

Pierre Toussainte died June 30th 1853. This amazing man was a Haitian slave who became a hairdresser in New York City. His story is very inspiring. He is buried in the crypt under the main altar at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. He was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on December 18, 1996.