Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day



Servant of God Father Vincent Robert Capodanno (February 13, 1929 – September 4, 1967) was a United States Navy Roman Catholic chaplain and a recipient of America's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor - for actions during the Vietnam War.


Memorial Day

As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
A few of the true American brave

They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except that these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine

As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let's pass this word to others
It's what they would expect

I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vein
But for the red, white and blue.

Let's pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least we can do

Let's not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care

No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.

So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.

Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.

© 1999 by Michelle Keim,
Commander of Royersford VFW Post 6341 in PA


* Memorial Day Memories

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Most Holy Trinity


The following is an inspiring homily, reflecting on the Gospel of John 16:12-15, by Fr. P. Raniero Cantalamesa, ofmcap., the preacher to the papal household.

The Gospel for the solemnity, drawn from Jesus' farewell discourses, deals with three mysterious subjects which are inextricably united, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into the whole truth. … All that the Father has is mine" -- the Son! Reflecting on these and similar texts the Church arrived at its faith in the Trinitarian God.

Many ask: But what is this puzzle of three who are one and one who are three? Would it not be easier to believe in a God who is just one, as the Muslims do? The answer is simple. The Church believes in the Trinity, not because it likes to complicate things, but because this truth has been revealed by Christ. The difficulty of understanding the mystery of the Trinity is an argument in favor of, and not against, its truth. No man left to himself would have ever come up with this mystery.

After the mystery has been revealed to us, we intuit that, if God exists, it can be no other way: one and three at the same time. There can only be love between two or more persons; if therefore "God is love," there must be in God one who loves, one who is loved, and the love that unites them.

Christians are monotheists; they believe in a God who is one, but not solitary. Who would God love if he were absolutely alone? Perhaps himself? But then his love would not be really love, but rather egoism or narcissism.

I would like to consider the great and formidable teaching about life that comes to us from the Trinity. This mystery is the maximum affirmation that there can be both equality and diversity: equal in dignity but different in characteristics. And is this not the most important thing that we must learn if we are going to live well in this world? That we can be, that is, different by the color of our skin, because of culture, sex, race and religion, and yet enjoy equal dignity as human persons?

This teaching has its first and most natural field of application in the family. The family must be an earthly reflection of the Trinity. It is made up of persons of different sex (man and woman) and age (parents and children) with all the consequences that derive from these differences: different sentiments, different attitudes and tastes. The success of a marriage and a family depends on the measure by which this diversity knows how to tend toward a higher unity: unity of love, intentions and collaboration.

It is not true that a man and a woman must have the same temperament and gifts; that for them to agree, they must both be either cheerful, vivacious, extroverted and instinctive, or both introverted, quiet and reflective. Indeed we know what negative consequences can follow, even at the physical level, from marriage between relatives within a restricted circle.

Husband and wife do not have each to be the "better half" of the other in the sense of two halves perfectly equal, as an apple cut in two, but in the sense that one is the missing half of the other and the complement of the other. This was God's intention when he said: "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a help similar to him" (Genesis 2:18). This all presupposes the strength to accept the difference of the other, which is the most difficult thing for us to do and in which only the most mature marriages succeed.

From this we also see how erroneous it is to consider the Trinity a mystery that is remote from our lives, one to be left to the speculation of theologians. On the contrary, it is a mystery that is very close to us. The reason is very simple: We were created in the image of the Trinitarian God, we bear this imprint and we are called to realize the same sublime synthesis of unity and diversity.

Link

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jordan Romero, 13 years old, climbs Everest!



I had to post this story about young Jordan Romero, thirteen years old, who on May 22, 2010, became the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest. An amazing accomplishment. How wonderful to know that we all can accomplish great things, with patience and perseverance, and more than a little help from Our Father above.

VOA News.com by Kate Woodsome | Washington, D.C.

A 13-year-old American made history on 22 May by becoming the youngest person to summit Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. Jordan Romero tackled the dangerous peak in his quest to conquer the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on all seven continents. But his climb has attracted as much criticism as it has praise, with some observers saying he was too young to take on the challenge.


American Jordan Romero says he got the idea to scale the world's highest mountains when he was just nine years old. The boy with long, curly hair was inspired by a painting on the wall of his California elementary school.

"It was a mural in my school hallway, which was labeled the highest point on every continent, and it just fascinated me so much for some reason. So, I did some research, then my father picked me up from school one day, and I said, 'Dad, I want to climb the seven summits.'"

Romero's father immediately started training him and, a year later, he climbed his first major peak - Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Romero says his father and step-mother, who are both competitive outdoor athletes, have been key supporters of his goal to inspire young people to get fit and aim high.

link

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Almost Summer!



Here in New Jersey, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer. "Down the shore" hotels, motels, arcades are all hoping for warm weather and blue skies. There are so many issues today that it is hard to get into that summer spirit. As Christians, we are people of hope. We are called to be "happy." So let's be happy - let the world see "Christ in us."

I posted this video - from 1967! This song was a big hit - and whenever I hear it - it reminds me of the days of my youth - going to the beach in Lavallette, New Jersey. A time of no worries or cares. That time is long gone, but the memories of "Groovin on a Sunday afternoon" remain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prayer of Consecration at the Ordination of a Deacon


The candidate kneels before the bishop. With his hands extended over the candidate, he sings the prayer of consecration or says it aloud.

Almighty God, be present with us by your power. You are the source of all honor, you assign to each his rank, you give to each his ministry. You remain unchanged, but you watch over all creation and make it new through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord: he is your Word, you power, and your wisdom. You foresee all things in your eternal providence and make due provision for every age. You make the Church, Christ's body, grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple. You enrich it with every kind of grace and perfect it with a diversity of members to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.

You established a threefold ministry of worship and service for the glory of your name. As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi and gave your blessing as their everlasting inheritance. In the first days of your Church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostles of your Son appointed seven men of good repute to assist them in the daily ministry, so that they themselves might be more free for prayer and preaching. By prayer and the laying on of hands the apostles entrusted to those chosen men the ministry of serving at tables.

Lord, look with favor on this servant of yours, whom we now dedicate to the office of deacon, to minister at your holy altar.

Lord, send forth upon him the Holy Spirit, that he may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace to carry out faithfully the work of the ministry. May he excel in every virtue: in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self-discipline, and in holiness of life. May his conduct exemplify your commandments and lead your people to imitate his purity of life. May he remain strong and steadfast in Christ, giving to the world the witness of a pure conscience. May he in this life imitate your Son, who came, not to be served by to serve, and one day reign with him in heaven.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Meaning of God


There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything.
I feel It, though I do not see It.
It is this unseen Power which makes Itself felt and yet defies all proof,
because It is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses.
It transcends the senses....
That informing Power or Spirit is God....
For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth, truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.
Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is love.
He is supreme good.
But he is no God who merely satisfies the intellect
If He ever does.
God to be God must rule the heart and transform it.

~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(Young India, October 11, 1928)

Pentecost


A treatise "Against the Heresies" by St Irenaeus

The sending of the Holy Spirit

When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.

He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy. So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation. The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.

Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant. So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first-fruits of all the nations.
This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above. Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to his Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to his own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.

If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an advocate as well. And so the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit. Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us, and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Empire State Building Vs. Mother Teresa. Catholic Action Needed


Do you remember, last September, the Empire State Building in New York City was shone in red and yellow lights to honor the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Revolution? This Chinese Communist government is the same government that killed its own people in the Tiananmen square massacre of 1989.


The same government whose leader, Mao Zedong, killed 77 million people. The same government that only allows one child per family, and enforces the law by forced abortion.

The Empire State Building organization has been asked to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mother Teresa's birthday by shining the colors of blue and white. And what is their answer? NO! Wake up America - there is a sickness in our country - we are headed down the wrong path. Political correctness is a disease - we have to find the cure.

U.S. BISHOPS IN THE NORTHEAST CONTACTED; MOTHER TERESA CAMPAIGN CONTINUES

May 19, 2010

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on Day 6 of the protest campaign on behalf of Mother Teresa:

Today I am writing to the U.S. bishops in the Northeast notifying them that Anthony Malkin, the owner of the Empire State Building, has decided not to overrule those who have chosen to deny a tribute to Mother Teresa: our request to have the towers shine blue and white, the colors of her congregation, on August 26th, the 100th anniversary of her birth (and the day the U.S. Postal Service is honoring her with a commemorative stamp), was denied without explanation. Yet the same persons who chose to stiff Mother Teresa decided to honor the Chinese Communist revolution last year, even though 77 million innocent men, women and children were murdered under Mao Zedong.

Everyone is being asked to sign our petition (click here), and to write to Anthony Malkin. His address is Malkin Properties, One Grand Central Place 60, E. 42nd St., NY, NY 10165.

Also contact Melanie Maasch at the Empire State Building: mmaasch@esbnyc.com


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rainbow Sash Movement to Disrupt Pentecost Masses


From the earliest days of the Church, the children of God have suffered persecution. And so it goes on today.

Let us remember, we are a people of Christian Hope. In the words of Our Lord Jesus "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
(Matthew 5:11,12)


Today's leading article written by Peter J. Smith in LifeSiteNews.com reads:

"Rainbow Sash Protesters Set to Disrupt Masses across U.S. on Pentecost Sunday."


CHICAGO, May 18, 2010 - Homosexualist activists belonging to the Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) are planning to demonstrate at Catholic Cathedrals and parishes across the United States this Sunday. They have targeted particularly Cardinal Francis George of the Chicago Archdiocese, since he is the head of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has publicly engaged in promoting and preserving the natural definition of marriage and family in civil law.

The RSM is an organization of activists that link together and coordinate through the internet. Ordinarily they wear a 2-inch wide ribbon of rainbow colors across their shoulders, and on Pentecost Sunday they present themselves to receive Holy Communion in Cathedrals and parishes across the nation while wearing the sash.

The protest challenges the Church's teaching that engaging in homosexual behavior is harmful and constitutes a “mortal sin.” Under Church teaching, a Catholic cannot receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin, and must first repent of the sin and confess it to a priest before he can be re-admitted to the sacrament.

“[W]e will directly challenge Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Holy Name Cathedral at the 11 AM Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010, along with other Bishops nationally and internationally to highlight their homophobia,” said a release from the organization.

The release accused the Church of “institutionalized homophobia,” went after the Church’s opposition to condoms as a legitimate means to stop the spread of AIDS and accused the pope of making “attacks on gay and lesbian families.” The latter is likely a veiled reference to the pope’s statements at Fatima in Portugal recently, in which he characterized same-sex “marriage” alongside abortion as amongst “today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”

Joe Murray, executive director of RSM, said, “Our purpose is to try to put out the dialogue in a very respectful way. Our presence – you wouldn’t know if we were there if we weren’t wearing the rainbow sash. It’s kind of like going into a Catholic Church on St. Paddy’s Day. You wouldn’t know the Irish were there if they weren’t wearing green.”

However, the wearing of the sash has proved divisive, and on many occasions has been a source of tension, spectacle, and distraction in Catholic churches on Pentecost Sunday.

A number of reported incidents have involved sash-wearers attempting to steal consecrated hosts, and turning their backs on the altar for the rest of Mass once they are denied communion.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Ascension


The Holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Pope's Address In Portugal



The Pope is in Portugal! Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Vespers on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. He gave the following address in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son born of woman, [.] so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Gal 4:4,5). The fullness of time came when the Eternal broke into time; by the grace of the Holy Spirit the Son of the Most High was conceived and became man in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, type and lofty model of the believing Church. The Church does not cease to beget new sons in the Son, whom the Father willed to be the first-born of many brothers. Each one of us is called to be with Mary and like Mary, a humble and simple sign of the Church who offers herself constantly as a spouse into the hands of her Lord.

To all of you who have given your life to Christ I wish to express this evening the Church's appreciation and recognition. Thank you for your witness, often silent and certainly not easy; thank you for your fidelity to the Gospel and to the Church. In Jesus, present in the Eucharist, I embrace my brothers in the priesthood and the deacons, the consecrated women and men, the seminarians and the members of the movements and new ecclesial communities present.

May the Lord reward, as he alone can and does, all those who have made it possible for us to gather together before the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I mention especially the Episcopal Commission for Vocations and Ministries, with its President, Bishop António Santos, whom I thank for his greeting, full of collegial and fraternal affection, at the beginning of Vespers. In this "upper room" of faith which is Fatima, the Virgin Mother shows us the way to place our pure and holy offering into the hands of the Father.

Let me open my heart and tell you that the greatest concern of every Christian, especially of every consecrated person or minister of the altar, must be fidelity, loyalty to one's own vocation, as a disciple who wishes to follow the Lord. Faithfulness over time is the name of love, of a consistent, true and profound love for Christ the Priest. "Since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalistic ethic and a shallow religiosity" (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).

In this Year for Priests which is drawing to its close, may grace in abundance come down upon you that you may live joyfully your consecration and bear witness to your priestly fidelity grounded in the fidelity of Christ. This evidently supposes true intimacy with Christ in prayer, since it is the powerful and intense experience of the Lord's love that brings priests and consecrated persons to respond to his love in way that is exclusive and spousal.

This life of special consecration was born to keep the Gospel always before the People of God, as a reminder which manifests, certifies and proclaims to the whole Church the radical nature of the Gospel and the coming of the Kingdom. Dear consecrated men and women, by your dedication to prayer, asceticism and growth in the spiritual life, to apostolic action and mission, you are progressing towards the heavenly Jerusalem, you are a foretaste of the eschatological Church, solid in her possession and loving contemplation of God who is love. How much we need this witness today!

Many of our brothers and sisters live as if there were nothing beyond this life, and without concern for their eternal salvation. Men and women are called to know and love God, and the Church has the mission to assist them in this calling. We know well that God is the master of his gifts and that conversion is a grace. But we are responsible for proclaiming the faith, the whole faith, with all its demands.

Dear friends, let us imitate the Curé of Ars who prayed to the Lord in the following words: "Grant me the conversion of my parish, and I accept to suffer all that you wish for the rest of my life". And he did everything to pull people away from their own lukewarm attitude in order to lead them back to love.

There exists a deep solidarity among all the members of the Body of Christ. It is not possible to love Christ without loving his brothers and sisters. For their salvation John Mary Vianney decided to become a priest: "to win souls for the good God", as he said when, at eighteen years of age, he announced his vocation, just as Paul had said: "to win as many as I could" (1 Cor 9:19). The Vicar General had told him: "there is not much love of God in the parish; you will bring it there".

In his priestly passion, this holy parish priest was merciful like Jesus in meeting each sinner. He preferred to insist on the attractive aspect of virtue, on God's mercy, in comparison to which our sins are like "grains of sand". He pointed to the merciful love of God which had been offended. He feared that priests would become "insensitive" and accustomed to the indifference of their faithful: "Woe to the Pastor - he would warn - who remains silent while God is offended and souls are lost".

Dear brother priests, in this place, which Mary has made special, keep before your eyes her vocation as a faithful disciple of her Son Jesus from the moment of his conception to the Cross, and then beyond, along the path of the nascent Church, and consider the unheard-of grace of your priesthood. Fidelity to one's vocation requires courage and trust, but the Lord also wishes that you join forces: that you be concerned for one another and support one another fraternally.

Moments of common prayer and study, and sharing in the demands of the priestly life and work, are a necessary part of your life. It is a fine thing when you welcome one another into your homes with the peace of Christ in your hearts! It is important to assist one another with prayer, helpful advice and discernment! Be especially attentive to those situations where there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals or dedication to activities not fully consonant with what is proper for a minister of Jesus Christ. Then is the time to take a firm stand, with an attitude of warm fraternal love, as brother assisting his brother to "remain on his feet".

The priesthood of Christ is eternal (cf. Heb 5:6), but the life of priests is limited. Christ has willed that others continue in time the priestly ministry that he instituted. Keep alive in your hearts, and in others around you, the desire to raise up - in cooperation with the grace of the Holy Spirit - new priestly vocations among the faithful. Trustful and persevering prayer, joyful love of one's own vocation and commitment to the work of spiritual direction will allow you to discern the charism of vocation in those whom God calls.

Dear seminarians, who have taken the first step towards the priesthood and are preparing in the major seminary or in houses of formation, the Pope encourages you to be conscious of the great responsibility which you will have to assume. Carefully examine your intentions and your motivations. Devote yourselves with a steadfast heart and a generous spirit to your training. The Eucharist, which is the centre of Christian life and the school of humility and service, should be your first love. Adoration, piety and care for the Most Holy Sacrament during these years of preparation will lead you one day to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Altar in an edifying and devout manner.

Along this path of fidelity, beloved priests and deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and committed lay persons, may the Blessed Virgin Mary guide us. With her and like her, we are free so as to be saints; free so as to be poor, chaste and obedient; free for all because detached from all, free from self so that others may grow in Christ, the true Holy One of the Father and the Shepherd to whom priests, as his presence, lend their voice and their gestures; free to bring to today's world Jesus who died and rose again, Jesus who remains with us until the end of time and who gives himself to all in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who is the Permanent Deacon?



Do you really understand the role of the Permanent Deacon? Here is a good description out of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

Who is a Deacon?

A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. There are three groups, or "orders," of ordained ministers in the Church: bishops, presbyters and deacons. Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world of Christ, who came "to serve and not to be served." The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the deacon, in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various ministries, is to be a servant in a servant-Church.

What are these "various ministries" of the Deacon?

All ordained ministers in the Church are called to functions of Word, Sacrament, and Charity, but bishops, presbyters and deacons exercise these functions in various ways. As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshalling the Church's resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs. But no matter what specific functions a deacon performs, they flow from his sacramental identity. In other words, it is not only WHAT a deacon does, but WHO a deacon is, that is important.

Why do some deacons become priests?

For many years ordained ministers "ascended" from one office to another, culminating in ordination to the presbyterate, or priesthood. The Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), however, authorized the restoration of the diaconate as a PERMANENT order of ministry. So, while students for the priesthood are still ordained deacons prior to their ordination as priests, there are more than 13, 000 deacons in the United States alone who minister in this Order permanently. There is no difference in the sacramental sign or the functions between these so-called "transitional" and "permanent deacons."

May married men be ordained deacons?

Yes. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate, when it was restored as a permanent order in the hierarchy, could be opened to "mature married men," later clarified to mean men over the age of 35. This is in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church, in which married men were ordained into ministry. Also in keeping with ancient practice is the expectation that while a married man may be ordained, an ordained man, if his wife should die, may not marry again without special permission.


"Celibacy Affects Every Deacon: In one way or another, celibacy affects every deacon, married or unmarried. Understanding the nature of celibacy—its value and its practice—are essential to the married deacon. Not only does this understanding strengthen and nurture his own commitment to marital chastity, but it also helps to prepare him for the possibility of living celibate chastity should his wife predecease him. This concern is particularly unique within the diaconate. Tragically, some deacons who were married at the time of ordination only begin to face the issues involved with celibacy upon the death of their wives. As difficult as this process is, all deacons need to appreciate the impact celibacy can have on their lives and ministry." -- National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, par. 72.

Is a Deacon ordained for the Parish or the Diocese?


Whenever a person is ordained, he is to serve the diocesan Church. Deacons are no different in this regard: they are assigned by the bishop to ministries for which the bishop perceives a great need, and for which the deacon may have special gifts or talents. Most often, this will be within a parish setting, just as most priests serve in a parish. Once assigned to the parish, the deacon and any other clergy assigned to the parish minister under the immediate supervision of the pastor. However, this assignment may be changed at the request of the deacon or the initiative of the bishop.

How do I find out more about becoming a Deacon?

The best place to start is with your pastor, who can put you in touch with the Director of Deacons for your diocese. The Director will be able to outline the various requirements and processes to be followed.

Link

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quote for Today



Teresa Benedict of the Cross Edith Stein (1891-1942)


"And that is doubtless the surest way to maintain constant union with God, to grow each day more firmly and deeply into the mystical Body of Christ. I am well aware that for many that is an all too radical request. In a practical sense, it will mean for most--when they first start--a complete change in their external and internal life. But that's exactly what it is supposed to be! To make room in our life for the Eucharistic Lord, so that he can change our life into His, is that asking too much? One has time for so many useless things: all sorts of stupid stuff gathered from books, newspapers and magazines; sitting around in bars and gabbling on the street for a quarter-or half-hour; all these are diversions which waste time and energy like crumbs. As a challenge to the whole day, should it not be possible to put aside a morning hour in which one is not distracted but recollected, in which energy is not wasted but gained? "But, of course, this requires more than just one hour. From one such hour to the next, one must so live that it may come again. It is no longer possible to 'let yourself go', even if only for a time. One cannot escape the judgment of those with whom one daily associates. Even if no word is spoken, one senses how the others feel towards him."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Stamp for Pro-Life Heroine Mother Teresa Coming In September



How exciting it will be to have a Mother Teresa stamp on our envelopes. If you look closely at the stamp, you will see the small Crucifix near Mother's left shoulder. I applaud the US Postal Service for allowing this very important symbol to remain on the stamp. We all know how important it is for Mother.

Here is an article out of LifeNews.com

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Postal Service officials have confirmed it will print a new stamp honoring pro-life heroine Mother Teresa and that it will be released in September. The stamp has come under fire from atheist groups who say the government shouldn't be honoring a pro-life religious figure.

The USPS Mother Teresa stamp is one of 23 new issues the United States Postal Service recently unveiled for 2010.

After it came under criticism, the pro-life group CatholicVoteAction launched a campaign to generate support for it.

"Over 138,000 friends of CatholicVote joined together to defend the stamp to honor Mother Teresa. And the Postal Service took notice," Brian Burch, the group's president, said.

Roy Betts, a spokesman for the Postal Service, told CatholicVote yesterday, “The stamp will be dedicated September 5 [at] the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Feel free to post information about the stamp, the image and the dedication ceremony on your web site."

Burch was excited about the news but surprised at the location of the unveiling ceremony.

"Wow. Launching the stamp at a church. The anti-religion radicals are going to go wild," he said.

Mother Teresa gave a pro-life speech when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. But when the Postal Service announced the stamp, a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation began spreading lies about Mother Teresa, accusing this holy nun of having a "darker side," and calling her a "polarizing Roman Catholic figurehead."

"Too often only one side of this debate is heard. This time the Post Office heard from us. A separate spokesperson for USPS even told a reporter that our efforts were appreciated," Burch said. "You would think attacking Mother Teresa would be off limits. But in our world, respect and decency can be discarded so long as you're bashing Christianity. A small but vocal segment of our country will stop at nothing to cut down the role of religion in our public life."

In February 1997, in her remarks at the White House Prayer Breakfast, with President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton -- two unswerving supporters of abortion -- Mother Teresa laid out her case clearly.

"What is taking place in America is a war against the child," she said. "And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another."

Three years earlier, Mother Teresa was quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying, "America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation."

She added: "The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters."

And in response to critics who asked who would care for an unwanted child, Mother Teresa said, "Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"

Link

Thursday, May 6, 2010

St. Bernadette - Marie-Bernard



On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she was known within her order -- died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five. Born into a humble family which little by little fell into extreme poverty, Bernadette had always been a frail child. Quite young, she had already suffered from digestive trouble, then after having just escaped being a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855, she experienced painful attacks of asthma, and her ill health almost caused her to be cut off for ever from the religious life.

I was thinking of St. Bernadette today as I was taking my numerous medications for asthma, which as of late has become quite severe. Bernadette also lived with asthma. I can only imagine the suffering she went through, without the availability of modern medicine. Bernadette is the perfect patron saint for asthmatics. Bernadette would say "It is so good, so sweet and above all, so beneficial to suffer."

I pray and ask for God's grace to help me embrace suffering as Bernadette did so lovingly.


Oratio

Humilium, Deus, protector, amator, et corona,
qui beatam Mariam Bernardam, virginem
mira patientia et caritate clarescere fecisti,
praesta, quaesumus, eius intercessione et exemplo,
per simplices fidei semitas,
ad tuam in caelis visionem pervenire mereamur.
Per Dominum.

O God, protector, lover, and crown of the humble,
who didst make the virgin, blessed Mary Bernard
shine with a wondrous patience and charity,
grant, we beseech Thee, by her intercession and example,
that [walking] in the simple paths of faith,
we may at length be found worthy
of beholding Thee in heaven.
Through Our Lord.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Love One Another"



Here is a wonderful reflection by Fr. James Farfaglia.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - Many years ago in Dublin, Ireland, two women were spending the afternoon together shopping at their favorite clothing store. They had grown up together in the same neighborhood and were lifelong friends. As they left the store with their bundles, they began to cross a busy street in order to get to the parking lot where they had left their car.

One of the ladies was distracted with her bundles and could not see a rapidly approaching car. The other woman noticing the dilemma, pushed her friend forward and took the entire impact of the oncoming car. The woman was killed instantly.

This woman was the mother of a Catholic priest. I am sure that the woman was able to make this heroic sacrifice of her life because the pattern of her life had always been characterized by the qualities of a true mother and a true friend. I am sure that the priest was just as able to answer the call of God to love unconditionally because his mother taught him how to do so.

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13: 34-35). These words from this Sunday's gospel passage synthesize the whole meaning of the Paschal Mystery: Jesus died for us because of his unconditional love for all of us, and we are called to live this new life of unconditional love.

Anyone who wants to live true Christianity is called to live selflessly. Does a true mother complain when she must awaken in the middle of the night to care for her sick child? What father who really loves his family will complain about the daily sacrifices that he must make to support his family? Will a Catholic priest, enamored of his priestly calling, not be filled with a profound joy as he gives himself untiringly to his parish family?

Selfishness will prevent us from the giving of ourselves unconditionally. If we live selfish lives, we will not experience the profound joy of Christianity. True Christians are always laughing because they are men and women who are completely selfless. Despite the many challenges and sufferings of daily existence, a life of selfless love energizes the true Christian in such way that they are able to soar above every challenge.

This donation of our lives manifests itself in many concrete ways throughout the day. Simple little acts like saying hello to someone and being of good cheer, helping out in the kitchen during meal times, assisting a needy school friend with their homework, helping an elderly neighbor with the chores, and volunteering time in the parish are just a few of the numerous ways that the true disciple of Jesus can love in a very practical manner.

Married love and celibate love can only be understood within the dimension of total donation of self.

Mother Teresa gave the modern world a visible example of total donation. Everyone has been moved by her selflessness. She would always say, "Love, until it hurts". Here we find in her simple words the antidote for the crisis facing modern society

Daily, total giving of the self is not an easy enterprise. The tendencies of fallen human nature pull us into ourselves. This is why we need a daily encounter with the God of unconditional love hidden in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.

Whether through daily Mass or a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament, it is Jesus who will give us all of the graces that we need to love just like he loves you and me. But, in order to truly love we must first die to ourselves. Total and complete detachment from our selves is essential.

During the height of the Vietnam War, an African American soldier who was a second lieutenant, led his small company on a patrol through the jungle. As they were making their way through the dense tangle of trees and vines, he suddenly noticed that a sniper had dropped a grenade in the middle of his men. Without hesitation the second lieutenant pounced on the grenade and saved his company by sacrificing his own life. Shortly after this incident, President Nixon awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously, which was presented to his mother.

Perhaps we will never be in a situation to sacrifice our lives as heroically as the sergeant did. However, it is quite possible that he was able to make the supreme sacrifice of himself, because his entire life was made up of many heroic moments of self-giving. This pattern thus established made it easy for him to give of himself without hesitation.

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13: 34-35).

Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum.


Link

Saturday, May 1, 2010

First of May



When I was maybe 13 or 14 years old,, my cousin Mary Ann bought me this album - Best of the Bee Gees. Although it was very long ago, I still have the album - and "The First of May" is one of my favorite songs. A perfect song for today.

St. Joseph the Worker


A Prayer for Workers

O glorious Joseph! Who concealed your incomparable and regal dignity of custodian of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary under the humble appearance of a craftsman and provided for them with your work, protect with loving power your sons, especially entrusted to you.

You know their anxieties and sufferings, because you yourself experienced them at the side of Jesus and of His Mother. Do not allow them, oppressed by so many worries, to forget the purpose for which they were created by God. Do not allow the seeds of distrust to take hold of their immortal souls. Remind all the workers that in the fields, in factories, in mines, and in scientific laboratories, they are not working, rejoicing, or suffering alone, but at their side is Jesus, with Mary, His Mother and ours, to sustain them, to dry the sweat of their brow, giving value to their toil. Teach them to turn work into a very high instrument of sanctification as you did. Amen.


* This beautiful prayer was composed by Blessed Pope John XXIII (1958-63). It places all workers under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker, and asks for his intercession so that we may regard our work as a means of growing in holiness.