Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pope Offers Prayers For Hurricane Victims

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our series of catecheses for the Year of Faith, we have seen that faith is something intensely personal: a gift of God which transforms and enriches our life. At the same time, the gift of faith is given in and through the community of the Church. In Baptism I receive and appropriate the faith of the Church; my personal faith finds expression in the recitation of the Creed and in the communal celebration of the sacraments. The new life I live in Christ through the gift of his Spirit is received and nourished within the Church’s communion. In this sense, the Church is our Mother. As Saint Cyprian says, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother”. Dwelling in the Church’s living Tradition, may we mature in the faith we have received and, by putting it into practice, become beacons of Christ’s light and peace in our world.
* * *
Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding. I now greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Ireland, Sweden, Malaysia, Canada and the United States. My greetings go in particular to the group of elders from Nigeria visiting Rome on pilgrimage, and to the members of the Vox Clara Committee. Upon all of you I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.

-- General Audience 10/31/12

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Bloomfield New Jersey

As you know, New Jersey was hit last night by Hurricane Sandy. The wind was frightening. The sound was like a train running through our back yard. Thanks be to God, my family members are all well, with little damage to our homes. Not everyone fared so well. Let us pray for the well being and safety for all who experienced this terrible storm. The wind has slowed down now, but the rain is falling hard.

I just returned home from a drive around the neighborhood. Here are some images I shot.

Thank God no one was hurt !

downed power line on fire

Brookdale Park - Parking Lot

 Ridgewood Ave in Glen Ridge, NJ

Hopefully no one hurt - and up-to-date insurance
Leaving Brookdale Park. Had to drive up the walk, road blocked.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homily for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A few weeks ago two friends and I made a trip to Ireland – to County Kerry, the land of St. Patrick and St. Brendan.  When you make a trip to Ireland, you always hope for good weather, and we received what we asked for. Rain - EVERY day, with hints of sun.  And when it shone, the sky was a brilliant steel blue and the land, as they say, forty shades of green.  Kerry is a lovely county where we went hiking in Killarney National Park, and drove, on the wrong side of the road mind you, over the high Conor Pass down to the tip of the Dingle Peninsula to Slea Head, where for a time the rain came down so hard that you thought the car was under water. When the weather broke, we could see the beautiful Blasket islands two miles off shore. For all our trouble, we had lunch every day with a Guinness, a hot bowl of mushroom soup, and a nice piece of brown bread. 

 Yes – Ireland is extremely beautiful. Yet, beneath that beauty there is an underlying sadness that goes back to the time of the “great hunger”, more than 150 years ago, when blight moved over the land, leaving most of the potato crop, black, rotten, and leaves withered. Poor Irish speaking Catholic farmers and laborers were forced to become beggars on their own land, with nothing to eat, living life in torn and tattered clothes. A tragedy – some say a holocaust. Without the potato, their main source of food, and the appalling living conditions already exacerbated by English domination, the people were left with a choice - to stay and suffer, die, or emigrate. Emigration would be for many their only opportunity. Many would decide to leave – but it was high risk. The heartbreak of saying goodbye to a family you most likely would never see again, a 70pct chance of survival on a “coffin ship”, and arriving at a destination unlike any you had ever known – for sure an up-hill struggle. It would take courage AND a strong embrace of faith in God, as the Prophet Jeremiah said, “They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them.”

Our Gospel reading today is about “opportunity” and a reversal of misfortune – about a man who lived in Jericho named Bartimaeus. Though he was physically blind – he saw better with his heart than those around him.  He stands for all of us who suffer from spiritual blindness. He is a beggar who knows he needs the help of others to survive. Aren’t we all beggars? - For without God’s help, we can do nothing. Bartimaeus has staked out a place on the roadside that leads UP to Jerusalem - prime real estate. It’s almost Passover; many are walking this road on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He sits in his poverty, covered by his cloak, which he not only uses to keep warm, but to catch the coins tossed by the passersby.  A crowd approaches his station. He hears a name mentioned. Can it be Him? Yes, it’s Jesus - the rabbi – the miracle worker. Bartimaeus will not miss THIS opportunity.

 This is his moment of salvation. Voicing the same penitential rite that we all prayed a few minutes ago, he cries out “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Out of their embarrassment, the crowd rebukes him and tells him to be quiet. How many voices today try to silence the Church in its mission to seek the Kingdom?  Bartimaeus cries out all the more. “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus hears “him” and is heart is moved. St. Faustina Kowalska reminds us that God loves “all of us" no matter how great our sins. He wants us to “recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Like Bartimaeus, all will come to share His joy.” Jesus now tells his disciples to “call him.” Here we see that God uses you and me as His instruments, to draw ALL to Himself – this is our vocation as Christians. Bartimaeus throws off his cloak, jumps up, and in his nakedness, runs to Jesus. Unlike our first parents who hid in their nakedness, Bartamaeus moves without shame. We should never let our past shame keep us from seeking the mercy of God. Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you”? This is the same question that Jesus asked James and John in last week’s Gospel reading; only now the answer is different. Bartimaeus says, “I want to see.” He is asking for more than physical sight – he seeks God, the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth and the Life. We need to ask Jesus the same question every day, Lord, I want to see. Jesus’ says, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus asked for and received mercy, his physical sight restored, his spiritual sight strengthened.  He is whole. Jesus also offered Bartimaeus a choice – not to go the way that Jesus chooses, no - the way Bartimaeus chooses. Bartimaeus chooses the Light. Now a disciple, he follows Jesus on the way to Jerusalem – on the way to the cross. 

The Irish who chose to emigrate during those famine years, to America, to Canada, to Australia – they held steadfast to their faith and, like Bartimaeus, took hold of a God given opportunity.  Bartimaeus also seized opportunity - to cry out to Jesus when the Son of God walked by his station. He publicly expressed his belief in who Jesus was and what he could do for him. Then, he accepted the grace of God that allowed him to see again. This opportunity is offered by God to all of us - to seek the Lord by faith in his word, being active member of the Body of Christ by prayer, Sacramental life in His Church, and being like HIM in our acts of love and kindness.

In the words of the Psalmist David; (Psalm 33)

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, Upon those who hope for his kindness, To deliver them from death, And preserve them in spite of Famine.

Deacon Brian J. Murphy

Lord, Most High, Keep Us Safe Through All Dangers

God, our Father,
Eternal and Omnipotent,
Creator and Lord of the Universe,
you have set the earth on its foundation
and all elements of nature obey your command. 
You give food to all flesh,
cover the heavens with clouds,
and provide rain to the earth ─

We humbly beseech you
Lord, Most High,
to keep us safe from all dangers
and to calm all the storms of life that threaten us:
especially the attack of whirlwinds and tornadoes,
the calamity and destruction of hurricanes,
the din and damage of hail storms,
the striking of thunderbolts and lightning,
and the devastation of floods and tidal waves.

May we be secure in your loving protection,
seek your Will in all our experiences,
and serve you always with grateful hearts.
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.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Oppose Question 2

For those of you who live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

Vote NO to Question 2. It is a matter of life.

From Cardinal Seán O'Malley's blog.....

Hello again, and welcome!

We are now just over two weeks away from Election Day, when Massachusetts voters will be asked to vote on a ballot question that could potentially legalize physician assisted suicide in our state. Continuing my series of reflections on this issue, this week I want to offer several points you can share with your families and friends on why this ballot initiative is wrong for Massachusetts.

Ten reasons to oppose Question 2

There are many groups opposing the legalization of assisted suicide in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and that are urging a "No on Question 2" vote this Nov. 6. In total, more than 100 reasons to oppose this ballot measure have been shared with me since we began our educational efforts on this issue. Some arguments are based on principle, others on prudence, and still others on process — and all of them are valid. Today, I want to share with you ten of the most compelling. In turn, I encourage you to share these reasons with all those you know between now and Election Day.

Read the 10 reasons HERE !

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Uruguay's Bishops say Automatic Excommunication If You Collaborate in Abortion

I found this article in CNA today. I wonder, do you think the US Catholic Bishops should follow the bishops in Uruguay ?

Montevideo, Uruguay, (CNA/EWTN News).- Uruguay's bishops say that local lawmakers who recently voted to legalize abortion in the country are automatically excommunicated for separating themselves from the Church's teaching.

“Automatic excommunication is for those who collaborate in the execution of an abortion in a direct way,” said Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, secretary for the Uruguayan bishops' conference.

“If a Catholic votes...with the manifest intention that he thinks the Church is wrong about this, he separates himself from the communion of the Church,” Bishop Bodeant recently told reporters.

“Excommunication means you are not in communion with the ecclesial community to which you openly claim to belong by doing something that puts you outside communion, and therefore you cannot participate in the Eucharist,” he explained.

The Catholic Church teaches – and canon law upholds – that life must be respected from the moment of conception, he said.

If the new law is signed by President Jose Mujica – who vowed support for the measure – the Church will strengthen its work in support of human life to “reinvigorate the law written in the heart of every person that says that a fundamental value exists, which is life.”

This “is above all other” rights, the bishop said.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quote for Today

If we refuse to think of anything except what we are doing or the person that we are with, we develop the habit of being present to the present moment. In a way, the present moment becomes as sacred as being in church. Far better to be present to your duty if you are a bartender, than to be present in church and to be thinking about being in a bar. At least you are present to yourself when you are paying attention to what you are doing.

Attention, then, is a way of doing what we are doing. It cracks the crust of the false self (our psychological awareness of daily life) in which we are the center of the universe while everything else is circling around our particular needs or desires. This is an illusion, but unfortunately it is the heritage we all bring with us from early life.
  -   Fr. Thomas Keating, Trappist

* Image "View from my retreat window"@2012 Brian J. Murphy

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cardinal Dolan Speaks at the Al Smith Dinner

I watched and listened to the President and Mitt Romney speak at the Al Smith dinner last night. I have to say it was most entertaining. Of course the most enjoyable speaker was the Cardinal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Dear little brother,

You are experienced enough by now to know that the Enemy’s desire is for His followers to be either hot or cold; that if they are lukewarm He will "vomit" them from His mouth. It follows then that our desire is to make the vermin lukewarm. The lukewarm Christian is sometimes our greatest ally; not for what he does, but for what he does not. He does not commit himself fully to the Enemy’s work: what he does instead is compromise. His words speak louder than his actions. He’d rather not be "too hot" or "too spiritual" lest he offend non-Christians with the Enemy’s weighty message. (What he refuses to see, however, is that it’s this Heat which kills the Infection.) Our responsibility then is to cause the world to see this disordered, hypocritical life of double standards as representative of the Enemy and then reject Him. It is into this state of spirituality that we want you to take your patient; and especially now, seeing that you have foolishly exposed him to the workings of our most efficient 20th century annihilation machine—abortion.  
-  C.S. Lewis "The Screwtape Letters"

"By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother" 1 John 3:10


Monday, October 15, 2012

Quote for the Day

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”    - Thomas Merton

image taken at St. Joseph's Abbey - "Posts"@2012 Brian Murphy

Thursday, October 11, 2012


The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.  BENEDICT XVI PORTA FIDEI

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Doctors of the Church


Opening the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict emphasized that “the Church exists to evangelize” and formally proclaimed St. John of Avila (1500-69) and St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) doctors of the Church.
St. John of Avila, the Pope said during his homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square, was a “profound expert on the sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church.”

Pope Benedict added that St. Hildegard 

 offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and his Church. Discussing the synod’s theme – “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” – Pope Benedict preached that
the Church exists to evangelize. Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command, his disciples went out to the whole world to announce the Good News, spreading Christian communities everywhere. With time, these became well-organized churches with many faithful. At various times in history, divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the Church’s evangelizing activity. We need only think of the evangelization of the Anglo-Saxon peoples or the Slavs, or the transmission of the faith on the continent of America, or the missionary undertakings among the peoples of Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Pope Benedict distinguished two “branches” of evangelization: “the Missio ad Gentes or announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation” and “the New Evangelization, directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life.”
“The Synodal Assembly which opens today is dedicated to this new evangelization, to help these people encounter the Lord, who alone who fills our existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favor the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life,” he continued.
Stating that “there is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage,” the Pope added that “matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the dechristianized world.”
“The fragility, even sin, of many Christians … is a great obstacle to evangelization and to recognizing the force of God that, in faith, meets human weakness,” he continued. “Thus, we cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion. The best path to the new evangelization is to let ourselves be reconciled with God and with each other (cf. 2 Cor 5:20). Solemnly purified, Christians can regain a legitimate pride in their dignity as children of God, created in his image and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and they can experience his joy in order to share it with everyone, both near and far.” 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St. Brendan the Navigator, in Fenit Ireland

I spent the last six days in County Kerry Ireland. On my last day I visited Fenit, where I photographed the Monument of St. Brendan the Navigator. It was here in Fenit where St. Brendan set sail for Paradise. The Monument to Saint Brendan The Navigator was unveiled on Sunday September 19th 2004. by Bishop Bill Murphy, Bishop of Kerry and successor of St. Brendan.

It was difficult to make the shot. The bronze stature is extremely large - and it was very windy - my glasses nearly blew out to sea !

 Here is St. Brendan's Prayer -

Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home? Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?

Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy, without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honor? Shall I throw myself wholly upon You, without sword and shield, without food and drink, without a bed to lie on? 

Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?

Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness, tears streaming down my cheeks? Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach, a record of my final prayer in my native land?

Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict? Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean?

 O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea? O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves?

You can read more about St. Brendan and the statue HERE