Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Crows are in the Corn

The Crows are in the Corn

A Georgia Tall Tale

Retold by S. E. Schlosser

It happened in Georgia not long ago that a farmer and his wife decided to sleep late, like the rich folk do. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the kind that brings all God's creatures out to play. But not these farm folk. No, they just slept and slept and slept.

The crows were gathered in a large oak tree, having a big morning meeting. They noticed that there was nobody stirring around the house, and that the corn was ripe in the field. So they adjourned their meeting mighty quick and flew over to the field to eat some corn.

"Caw-n, caw-n," they cackled excitedly.

The old rooster woke up to their activities and started to crow excitedly to the sleeping family. "Wake up, wake up, wake up!"

The farmer and his wife just kept sleeping, and the crows kept eating the corn.

"Caw-n, caw-n," they called.

"The crows are in the corn! The crows are in the corn!" The rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed with all his might.

The farmer kept snoring, and his wife just rolled over and pulled the pillow over her head.

The rooster was frantic. He tried once more: "The crows are in the corn. They're pulling up the corn!"

The farmer and his wife kept right on sleeping. And the crow's kept right on eating.

The rooster quit crowing in disgust. Nothing would wake the farmer and his wife.

The old turkey came strolling into the yard and watched the proceedings. Finally he said to the rooster: "The corns all et up, all et up, all et up."

When the farmer and his wife finally rolled out of bed, they found that the corn was all gone. That is why in Georgia we say "the crows are in the corn" when it is time to get up.

* Above image ©bjm "Sussex County, NJ"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus - A Reflection

This is a reflection of Sunday's readings - September 26, 2010.
Amos 6:1a, 4-7 – Psalm 146 – Timothy 6:11-16 – Luke 16:19-31

On September 22nd, the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, and the world, lost a very special and holy priest. Fr. Antonio Bico went home to God. He was only 43 years old. Suffering for years with liver disease, he needed a transplant – but time did not allow. I knew Fr.Bico from his years of celebrating Holy Mass at the Missionary of Charity convent in Newark. He was there before 7am – every Saturday morning. He celebrated Holy Mass with so much love. When the MC sisters needed him to dispense the sacraments – he was there. At Christmas time he would come with his friends, and his accordion – and entertain the local children. He would move through the soup kitchen – speaking to those who had no one to speak to. Of course, he did much more that that.

Yesterday I attended the viewing and memorial Mass which took place at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in the Ironbound section of Newark. Between the viewing and the Mass – there had to be thousands of people who came to pay their respects. At one point the line outside the Church was five blocks long. I personally have never experienced anything like this. I had seen pictures in books of the long lines for the funeral of Fr. Solanus Casey – and I had watched the funeral Mass of The Great John Paul on television. So many people gathered together to say goodbye to this young priest. He touched so many people. Fr. Tony was a true servant of God..

The readings give us a clue as to why Fr. Tony was loved by so many. - let us begin with the prophet Amos, sometimes called the prophet of Divine Judgment.” Amos expresses his grief for Israel. After a long war, Israel achieved victory and reaped the rewards. The people were enjoying beds of ivory; they lied down on couches, and drank the best wine. They anointed themselves with the finest oils. This new material world they were living in became for them a “false god.” Becoming complacent – they did not live up to their moral and religious demands – and they were marked by a heartless unconcern for the suffering and the oppressed. Amos says they will be the first to go into exile. They are dooming themselves. Their complacency will have dire consequences.

The Psalmist begins with an important statement. “Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry.” The message does not get any clearer than this. We will be blessed – highly favored by God – for loving and caring for the poor. This is how we will build up the Kingdom of God here on earth in a very real way.

In the second reading, Paul directs Timothy “and us” what we should do to attain eternal life - “Pursue righteousness, that is right-standing before God - good works will get us there – devotion (prayer) – faith (live your Christian Hope – and let the world see it). – Love (as God loves).

In the Gospel reading, Jesus offers a parable that is different from all others. This is the ONLY parable where Jesus mentions someones name. And that name is Lazarus. Who is Lazarus? He is the poorest of the poor. He is the homeless, he is the disenfranchised, he is the illegal immigrant, he is the sick, he is the lonely, and he is the unborn. Yes – Lazarus has a name - a God given dignity - he is made in the image of God and loved by God.

The rich man – he wears expensive purple garments, he eats well. Outside his door is a poor man named Lazarus. And how poor he is – covered with sores, lying all day on the hot dusty ground – day after day – just waiting for someone to offer him a little bit of food, hoping for the scraps off the rich mans table.

Lazarus and the rich man die. Lazarus is gone to the bosom of Abraham -heaven. The rich man– now suffers in hell. He asks Abraham to have Lazarus dip his finger in water, to cool his tongue, as he is in the ETERNAL FIRE. But Abraham explains that this is not possible. There is a chasm that separates the rich man and Lazarus. It prevents anyone from crossing. Now what did the rich man do to get himself into Hell? It was not the good living, the fine foods, the expensive clothes – it was only one thing – “HIS UNCONCERN FOR THE POOR.” And for that he will be in Hell forever. Don’t let anyone tell you that Hell does not exist – it does. The Church teaches that: Demons, and men who die in the state of mortal sin, suffer eternal punishment in Hell. suffering the pain of loss; the pain of sense – suffering the same pain that was inflicted on others, “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

The young priest who offered the homily at Fr. Tony's memorial Mass said that Fr. Tony had BIG EYES. Everywhere he turned, he saw the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed. He not only had pity on them – he had compassion. He was a man of action. He did all he could do to relieve them of their suffering. And all those who came and grieved knew he was a holy man – for they saw all his good works.

Do we have BIG EYES? Do we see the suffering happening all around us? Are we being compassionate? Let us remember the well known words of Jesus – the words that Blessed Mother Teresa took to her heart “What you have done for the least of my brothers, you have done it to me.”

Brothers and Sisters, let us not be complacent – let US live out all those good virtues that Paul mentioned to Timothy - righteousness, devotion, faith, Love - so that we may be able to attain that heavenly goal.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fr. Antonio Bico - In Memorium

The Rev. Antonio Bico, an engaging priest known for his work with drug addicts and his ability to draw crowds to his church, died September 22nd after suffering for years from a liver condition. He was 43. Fr. Tony was a wonderful, holy priest - a dear friend of the Missionaries of Charity.

Seton Hall U. Profile HERE

Our Lady of Fatima Facebook HERE


* Above picture shows Fr. Tony, playing his accordion, entertaining the children at the Missionary of Charity mission in Newark New Jersey - Christmas 2003.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Good Disciple

Some years ago I was asked to give a presentation on "discipleship" for my parish RCIA program. I chose a few of my favorite disciples to talk about - of course Blessed Mother Teresa was first as I have a long relationship with the Missionaries of Charity. I also spoke of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a wonderful saint for our time. I ended the presentation with some words about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the well known Lutheran pastor, theologian and martyr. He was a founding member of the Lutheran Confessing Church. He involved himself in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was hung in April 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp. I will not go more into his biography here but I will say he was a man to be admired, a man who loved Christ and gave his life for his friends, becoming a Christian martyr.

Here are some of his words on Faith and Obedience...

The gracious call of Jesus now becomes a stern command: Do this! Give up that! Leave the ship and come to me! When a man says he cannot obey the call of Jesus because he believes, or because he does not believe, Jesus says: “First obey, perform the external work, renounce your attachments, give up the obstacles which separate you from the will of God. Do not say you have not got faith. You will not have it so long as you persist in disobedience and refuse to take the first step. Neither must you say that you have faith, and therefore there is no need for you to take the first step. You have not got faith so long as and because you will not take the first step but become hardened in your unbelief under the guise of humble faith.” It is a malicious subterfuge to argue like this, a sure sign of lack of faith, which leads in its turn to a lack of obedience. This is the disobedience of the “believers”; when they are asked to obey, they simply confess their unbelief and leave it at that (Mark 9.24). You are trifling with the subject. If you believe, take the first step, it leads to Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe, take the first step all the same, for you are bidden to take it. No one wants to know about your faith or unbelief, your orders are to perform the act of obedience on the spot. Then you will find yourself in the situation where faith becomes possible and where faith exists in the true sense of the word.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 73-74

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gathering Leaves

Gathering Leaves by Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

* Image > "My Backyard Leaves" ©bjm

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman - pray for us.

Out of

UK Jubilant Over Cardinal Newman's Beatification

By Edward Pentin BIRMINGHAM, England, SEPT. 19, 2010 - A rainbow appeared over Cofton Park as Pope Benedict arrived this morning for the beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century English theologian who has had a significant influence on the Holy Father's own life.

Large numbers of faithful from all over the country and further afield had braved the rain and made their way from the very early hours of the morning to the venue near Birmingham, not far from Cardinal Newman's resting place in Rednal.

This was a particularly special beatification Mass: not only was it the only such Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI, but it was also the first beatification of an Englishman for centuries.

The Holy Father arrived in the popemobile and, as in Glasgow on Thursday, was driven through a crowd of around 70,000 jubilant pilgrims. On either side of the purpose-built altar were the words 'Heart Speaks to Heart', the theme chosen by the Pope for the papal visit, and taken from the crest of Cardinal Newman.

As well as bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, members of the royal family and government figures were also in attendance. So, too, were relatives of Cardinal Newman -- descendants of his cousin -- and Deacon Jack Sullivan whose miraculous healing of a back problem was last year attributed to Cardinal Newman's intercession. The ruling led to today's beatification, ending a cause which has been investigated since 1958.

In his homily, the Holy Father praised the theologian's spirituality and holiness. He singled out his vision for education that was "firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach" and highlighted Blessed John Henry's famous appeal for an intelligent and well-instructed laity. But he also reflected on his life as a priest, recalling his "profoundly human vision of priestly ministry" that manifested itself in the oratory he founded, his visits to the sick, his comfort of the bereaved and care for those in prison.

"'Heart speaks to heart' gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, as experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God," the Holy Father said. "He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness."

Read the rest of the article HERE

Pope Benedict's Homily HERE

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Dishonest Steward

The Dishonest Steward

Luke 16:1-13

Yesterday my wife and I returned from Pennsylvania, having enjoyed three glorious days at a mountain lake retreat. Although we did not have the opportunity to see a bear, - we were able to encounter the goings on of a family of squirrels right outside our window. We all see squirrels every day, but rarely do we take the time to watch them up close. Squirrels are amazing and resourceful creatures – jumping between the tops of the tall pine trees, they are on a never ending quest in search of food. And the only thing on the minds of these Pennsylvania squirrels was “acorns.” each and every day there is only one goal – and that is “SURVIVAL.” And that means gathering nuts and acorns all day long – and burying them in the ground and storing them in old dead tree trunks, so that they will have the nourishment to survive the coming Pennsylvania winter. But alas, the squirrels many times make mistakes. They FORGET where they hide their food. And their forgetfulness can sometimes be a cause for tragedy. Yet this is their nature as God intended. Now for us human beings, God intended a different nature. The squirrel’s nature, as God intended it, lends itself to forgetfulness. Our human nature, as God intended it, lends itself to LOVE.

Today Jesus shares with us the story of the dishonest steward. In last week’s parable of the Prodigal son, a father who owns property decides to hand out an inheritance to a son, before his death. This is a parable of forgiveness and patience. Today we hear another story of a rich man who owns property. One can only wonder if this is the same rich man – the father of the prodigal son.

A rich man (master) employs a steward who has the responsibility to care for his property. The rich man has concluded that his steward has squandered his property. The rich man fires the steward – and he wants a full accounting. The steward, not wanting to do manual labor or become a beggar – thinks about his situation and comes up with a plan. He calls in his masters debtors, one by one he hands them promissory notes – he has them fill the notes out for amounts that are less than what is owed to the master. Now the debtors owed much to the master – 100 jugs of oil (about 900 gallons worth) – 100 containers of wheat (at least 1,000 bushels). This is no small debt. This is big business. When the master sees what the steward has done, he commends him for acting prudently. This is shocking. Why does the master commend the one who has been dishonest in his service? There are many different interpretations of this parable. Maybe the steward is waiving his commission to seek favor with the debtors. Now that he has lost his job, he may need the debtors – for a job, or just a good reference. Could the master be dishonest himself and finds a little bit of his own cunning in the steward? We just don’t know. What we do know is that the master is not commending the steward for his dishonesty – he commends him for his shrewdness. The steward sees his situation clearly and acts to the best of his ability to produce the best outcome. And that is exactly the point of Jesus’ parable.

Jesus wants us to “see clearly” – to discern our situation in terms of our relationship with God. St. Augustine says to “Love God, and do what you will.” We must ask ourselves “Do we love God?” If the answer is yes, we should want to do His will. Are we doing God’s will? We cannot love the material things of the world and also love God. Let us ask ourselves, are we being faithful in our response to God? How do we use the good gifts we have from God? Are WE being good stewards of God’s property?

The squirrel gathers his food and buries it in the ground to provide for his earthly survival. Let us gather all the grace needed for the journey to our heavenly home by serving each other in God’s love.

Let us pray,

Lord, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of my resources, including the use of my time, money, and possessions. Amen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI visits Glasgow

The Pope's homily in full, Glasgow Scotland:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Lk 10:9). With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord. Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst! At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ’s word and our hope – a hope which never disappoints – in his promises! I warmly greet Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank in particular Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish Governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ continues to send his disciples into the world in order to proclaim the coming of his Kingdom and to bring his peace into the world, beginning house by house, family by family, town by town. I have come as a herald of that peace to you, the spiritual children of Saint Andrew and to confirm you in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32). It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly thirty years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.

Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit. I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others. Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage. In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (cf. Rom 12:5) and to live in respect and mutual love. In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement. Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God’s word in today’s rapidly changing society.

Among the differing gifts which Saint Paul lists for the building up of the Church is that of teaching (cf. Rom 12:7). The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes. Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation. In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life. This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.

Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelization of this country. That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you. Strive to be worthy of this great tradition! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer” (cf. Rom 12:11-12).

I would now like to address a special word to the bishops of Scotland. Dear brothers, let me encourage you in your pastoral leadership of the Catholics of Scotland. As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7) and to their sanctification. As they are alter Christus to the Catholic community, so you are to them. Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests. Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to his harvest (cf. Lk 10:2). Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church. Engage yourselves personally in forming your priests as a body of men who inspire others to dedicate themselves completely to the service of Almighty God. Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops. Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.

Dear priests of Scotland, you are called to holiness and to serve God’s people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross. Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people. May the example of Saint John Ogilvie, dedicated, selfless and brave, inspire all of you. Similarly, let me encourage you, the monks, nuns and religious of Scotland to be a light on a hilltop, living an authentic Christian life of prayer and action that witnesses in a luminous way to the power of the Gospel.

Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord (cf. Eph 4:1) and of yourselves. There are many temptations placed before you every day - drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol - which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life. This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!

Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sìth agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba. God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Victory for Christine O'Donnell and for all who cherish LIFE !

A victory for Christine O'Donnell and for all who cherish LIFE !

Out of LifeNews...

Washington, DC ( -- Delaware pro-life Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell surprised political pundits Tuesday night by defeating Republican Senate candidate Mike Castle, a longtime pro-abortion congressman whose pro-abortion and pro-embryonic stem cell research funding views clashed with O'Donnell's.

With 86 percent of the Delaware precincts counted, O'Donnell defeated Castle 54 percent to 46 percent.

Now O'Donnell will face pro-abortion Democratic candidate Chris Coons, but the concern for pro-life advocates is getting O'Donnell's numbers back up following a divisive primary because the latest polls show her losing to Coons.

A survey last week from Rasmussen Reports showed Coons leads O’Donnell by a 47% to 36% margin. Given that matchup, eight percent (8%) preferred another candidate, while nine percent (9%) were undecided.

The Susan B. Anthony List, which endorsed O'Donnell, celebrated her victory and urged pro-life advocates to rally around her in the remaining weeks leading up to the general election.

“Christine O’Donnell’s win, combined with the successes of Carly Fiorina and Sharron Angle, continues building momentum for 2010 to be remembered as the ‘Year of the Pro-life Woman,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told “Christine O’Donnell’s come-from-behind victory is evidence that voters across America are hungry for conservative pro-life candidates.”
Meanwhile, in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary, two pro-life candidates are separated by less than one percent in their bid to keep the seat of Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who is pro-life.

>> Link

To the Immaculate Virgin

Lady, the night is falling and the dark
Steals all the blood from the scarred west.
The stars come out and freeze my heart
With drops of untouchable music, frail as ice
And bitter as the new year's cross.

Where in the world has any voice
Prayed to you, Lady, for the peace that's in your power?
In a day of blood and many beatings
I see the governments rise up, behind the steel horizon,
And take their weapons and begin to kill.

Where in the world has any city trusted you?
Out where the soldiers camp the guns begin to thump
And another winter time comes down
To seal our years in ice.
The last train cries out
And runs in terror from this farmer's valley
Where all the little birds are dead.

The roads are white, the fields are mute
There are no voices in the wood
And trees make gallows up against the sharp-eyed stars.
Oh where will Christ be killed again
In the land of these dead men?

Lady, the night has got us by the heart
And the whole world is tumbling down.
Words turn to ice in my dry throat
Praying for a land without prayer,

Walking to you on water all winter
In a year that wants more war.

Thomas Merton

* Stained Glass "Our Lady of the Rosary"
St. Thomas the Apostle Church
Bloomfield, NJ

Monday, September 13, 2010

St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347–407, Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος), Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.

This, then, appears to be the solution of our Trinitarian difficulty; to concentrate our thoughts and our affections on God the Son as He is revealed to us in Christ; to adore Him as the Creator, Preserver, all-wise Ruler and Redeemer of the world; to worship Him as the ever-present King and Head of His Church; and to look forward to the eternal enjoyment of His presence in heaven, as the consummation of our happiness, as "all our salvation and all our desire." "Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto Thee, and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests, fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of Thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen."

- A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fr. Mychal Judge

Reminders of 9/11 were all around us yesterday - on the net, newspapers and TV. We used the day as a time of prayer for the victims, their families, all the heroes who came to New York to save lives, and our country. Deacon Keith Fournier has written an article about that horrific day and about his hero, Father Mychal Judge - a holy priest who lost his life "laying it down for his friends." The article is well worth your read.

Ground Zero September, 10, 2010: Remembering my Ground Zero Hero

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - I landed in the Norfolk, Virginia airport early this morning, September 11, 2010. When I walked outside, all of the flags were appropriately at Half Staff. I had to change planes in New Jersey and the television screens in the airport were filled with reports on the events which have forever changed our Nation and every American. Those are the events which occurred on September 11, 2001 when we experienced as a Nation both our vulnerability and our strength.

When I awakened early this morning, I had my time of prayer in the Hotel Room. After praying the hours I reflected on the day. I remembered the priest who was one of the casualties of Ground Zero and is one of so many "Ground Zero Heroes. I share with our readers my experience of meeting him and my of that day, when he, along with so many others, became a Ground Zero Hero. His name is Fr. Mychal Judge.

I met Fr. Mychal Judge at LaGuardia Airport in 1999. I was out of breath, sweating and irritated. He was at peace.It was an unusually hot day, and I was literally running to make the plane. I almost missed the flight on Ireland's finest, Aer Lingus. Fr. Mike greeted me with that gregarious manner and those smiling Irish eyes that I would soon come to cherish because they revealed the essence of this wonderful priest of God.

"Glad to finally meet you, I have heard much about you," he said. "Cool down, you have made it." With those few words he calmed my spirit and seemed to lower my body temperature at least twenty degrees.I felt immediately comfortable in his presence. It was those smiling eyes and the presence of the God whom he served so well. Joy and peace seemed to emanate from those eyes.

We began a trip together that would forever change my view of life, the Church, the world and my own sense of a call to promote reconciliation in the Body of Christ, the Christian community and through her, to the world.I had been invited to be a part of a mission team to Northern Ireland called "Project Reconciliation" by Dennis Lynch, a friend and a true patriot.At the time I was serving the Presidential campaign of Steve Forbes. The mission (entirely funded by an anonymous gift from another great American whom I will now name-Steve Forbes) was a peace mission led by a contemporary hero of mine, Detective Steven McDonald.

Steven's story has been told and retold. I believe that it should be required reading for all who over the next few weeks seek to make sense out of the horrible violence that has besieged our beloved country.A police officer with a great career ahead of him, Steven had been on duty years ago as one of New York's finest. We have all experienced the quality of New York Officers over these last weeks.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link ( to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Amazing Bishop!

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo

This short article about an amazing Bishop is out of

Bishop urges priests to pray outside abortion clinic September 10, 2010

A bishop already known for his pro-life activism is taking the further step of exhorting his priests to pray outside the state’s sole abortion clinic.

“The 40 Days for Life North Dakota campaign will soon begin again, running from Sept. 22 through Oct. 31,” Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo wrote in a recent letter to priests. “I know what a busy time this is for you in the parishes, yet I ask that you schedule one more very important thing on your calendar: your hour of prayer outside the abortion facility. I encourage you to tell your parishioners when that hour will be so that they may join you, or pray in union with you from wherever they may be at that time.”


Thursday, September 9, 2010

St. Peter Claver

Saint Peter Claver (Spanish: San Pedro Claver Corberó) (26 June 1581 – 8 September 1654) was a Jesuit who, due to his life and work, became the patron saint of slaves, of Colombia and of African Americans. He was beatified 16 July, 1850, Pius IX, and canonized 15 January, 1888, by Leo XIII. His feast is celebrated on the ninth of September.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Gospel of Life Revisited

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as "good news" to the people of every age and culture. At the dawn of salvation, it is the Birth of a Child which is proclaimed as joyful news: "I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:10-11). The source of this "great joy" is the Birth of the Saviour; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the Birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfilment of joy at every child born into the world (cf. Jn 16:21). When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10). In truth, he is referring to that "new" and "eternal" life which consists in communion with the Father, to which every person is freely called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying Spirit. It is precisely in this "life" that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their full significance. Evangelium vitae

September has arrived. The children are back in school, vacations are mostly complete. Hopefully we all enjoyed a well deserved rest - and now we are ready to begin a new work year - our secular work and our spiritual work. I recently read the article in by Kathy Gilbert concerning the New Jersey abortionist who headed a four state abortion ring. The details of the story are gruesome. You can read the story HERE. This story brings to light again the importance of the pro-life struggle. Now is the time for us to begin again the good fight - to end "the culture of death" in our time. Let us not be afraid to tell everyone we meet the truth. If we are bishops, priests and deacons - those who blessed with the preaching ministry, let us tell the truth. We must not be afraid.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Walk through the Woods on Labor Day

After weeks of intense summer heat here in New Jersey, Labor Day finally brought with it some fresh fall weather. Although it is a bit too early for cool mornings, we welcome it and thank God for the gift. Labor Day morning I drove up to the Mills Reservation. I walked the path through the woods and enjoyed the cool breeze, the singing birds, the silence. These walks always remind me of Robert Frost. How these walks of silence stirred up something in his heart that provided him with the grace to write - and to write well. An amazing gift. Here is a good poem by Martin Swords.

A Walk In The Woods With Robert Frost

Overcast but warm,
The day dry, unusually.
Walking the woods with the dogs
As many times before.
Lucy and Tig, away in the rough dark deep,
Yipping with the scent of deer, excited.
Ruby, river scrambling, biting
At the bogwater, wagging, from the shoulders back

Along the old familiar track, into
The clearing where the roads diverge.
I stopped and stood. Which way to go?
Think of another Poet, and roads not taken.
Yes, I’ve been here before. This way I came.
That way I saw a squirrel once.

And down that way a badger
Straight on, the Mill Pond where ducks dabble.
Behind me then a stag, stares my way, and
Startled, slips into the wood.
I think again of Robert Frost and look a different way.
I stand a while. I turn, retrace my steps, recall, relive,
I’ll write this down, and this will be
The road I’ve taken.

Martin Swords June ‘07

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mother's Teresa's Feast Day

Prayer of Cardinal Newman

Dear Jesus,
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may
feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine.
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
by shining on those around me.

Let me preach You without preaching,
not by my words but by my example,
by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mother's 100th Birthday Celebration in Newark New Jersey

On Saturday August 28th at St. Augustine Church in Newark New Jersey, Mother Teresa's 100th birthday was celebrated with Holy Mass and a beautiful reception. This was all coordinated by the Missionaries of Charity. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha. In attendance were many priests and religious, the Lay Missionaries of Charity, MC volunteers from all over the Tri-State area, and so many who came to show their love for Mother. Mr. Mitsu Yasukawa, a photographer with the Newark Star Ledger newspaper, took many pictures of the event, including the one posted here.

You can enjoy the pictures by clicking HERE

Surfing Nuns

Sister James Dolores, 73, gives her best surfer-girl pose in Stone Harbor, NJ, where her Pennsylvania convent owns a beachfront retreat called Villa Maria by the Sea.

“I’m really getting the hang of this,” said the spritely, no-nonsense nun. “No one ever thought they’d see me on a board.”

Though Sister James, of Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, doesn’t actually hang 10, the nun has a special relationship with local surfers, and her mother house will host its 15th annual Nun’s Beach Surf Invitational on Sept. 11. The proceeds go to the maintenance of the breathtaking, 6½-acre, 150-bedroom waterfront complex. (New York Post)

I found this interesting post in CNCathNews. We need to have some light reading here once in a while - so enjoy!

US nuns to host surfing contest

American nuns are to host a Nun's Beach Surf Invitational in New Jersey, to raise funds for the maintenance of their mother house.

Sister James Dolores, 73, from the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, says: "I'm really getting the hang of this. No one ever thought they'd see me on a board."

Pictured in the New York Post posing on a surfboard on the beach, the nun has a special relationship with local surfers, said the report. It was forged more than 60 years ago when local surfers approached the nuns' beach-front retreat asking if they could ride its waves.

The nuns warmly greeted the beach bums, and the swath of surf was soon dubbed "Nun's Beach." The sisters often sit on the beach and even draw spiritual inspiration watching the wave-riders.

"It's very peaceful," said Sister James, the retreat's property manager. "You see how the water holds them up, balances them and if you ride with the water, it will get you where you want to go. That's how it is with the grace of God."

Bill Deger, now 64, and his surfing buddies once coaxed an 83-year-old nun onto a surfboard.

"One of her life's dreams was to be able to surf," Deger, 64, said of the late Sister Loyola. "So we got her out in knee-deep water and held her on. She loved it. It was an incredible experience."

But in 1996, a small group of surfers led by Larry Gehrke and Deger decided it was time to give back to the nuns - by running a contest to help fund the retreat's upkeep.

The event has got ten so popular that the staff has capped the number of contestants at about 100, though hundreds of spectators attend. All money -- from the $35 entry fees to the hot dogs and sodas sold by the nuns -- go to the convent, which uses the proceeds to fix plumbing, replace tile and update bedrooms and exteriors.

"The surf contest is the single most important event for raising awareness of our presence here and who and what we are about," said Sister James.

The $15 T-shirts are the biggest money-maker. They are redesigned every year and tourists snag shirts with images of nuns praying on boards, hanging 10 Hawaiian-style, and surfing over an American flag. All the images are based on Sister James.

"The only time I've ever been surfing is on these T-shirts," she quipped.

But will Sister James finally hit the waves this year?

"I keep telling them, one day I'm going to paddle out on a board and surprise them all."