Saturday, August 29, 2009

At Kennedy burial, notes to and from pope

One last surprise from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: at his burial service in Washington tonight, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick read excerpts from the exchange of letters between the dying senator and the Vatican. The letters are extremely revealing, both of the importance of Catholic faith and the Catholic church to Kennedy, and of the pastoral response from the pope even to a politician with whom the church had serious disagreements.

Here is the text of Cardinal McCarrick's remarks:

At Kennedy burial, notes to and from pope - Articles of Faith -

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP: Edward M. Kennedy [1932-2009]

We will always, I think, talk about his personal struggles with excess in his storied life. We will always, I think, be disappointed as Catholics in his pro-choice positions that he held strongly to. But, it is hard not to acknowledge that in every other way, he was a man deeply rooted in Catholic social teaching and over the course of his half a century career did more for the poor than anyone else in politics. May he rest in peace.

Beyond Camelot: His shining moments endure - The Boston Globe

Ted Kennedy played a leading role in perhaps the greatest political drama of the 20th century - the dawning of the New Frontier and the soul-crushing assassinations that followed - but he will be remembered by history for his legislative achievements in health care, education, civil rights, and immigration.

The fact that his tangible accomplishments transcended his mythic role in the Kennedy drama attests to the vast extent of his legislative impact. In each of four areas, he dominated legislative politics for more than four decades, spanning ten presidencies, and played a large role in transforming the government’s relationship to the people.

Bill by bill, provision by provision, he expanded government health support to millions of children and the elderly, helped millions more go to college, opened the immigration doors to millions of new Americans from continents other than Europe, and protected the civil rights bulwark of the ’60s through a long period of conservative domination.

And by the time his life ended yesterday, surrounded by loved ones in a gentle scene that contrasted sharply with the violent deaths of his brothers, Ted Kennedy had built a nuts-and-bolts legacy to stand beside that of his presidential brother as a figure of hope and his senatorial brother as a figure of compassion.

Beyond Camelot: His shining moments endure - The Boston Globe

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bottled-water scam finally feels squeeze - The Boston Globe

WE DON’T MISS the water when the cash runs dry. Bottled water, that is. That refreshing news came recently as Nestle reported nearly a 5 percent drop in bottled water sales in North America and Western Europe. That company bottles water under the familiar names of Poland Spring, Perrier, S. Pellegrino, and Deer Park.

Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani reported declining or weakening bottled-water sales as well. The president of Pepsi’s North American bottling group, Rob King, said in a July conference call, “In just a tough economic environment, one of the first things that a shopper can do is consume tap water as opposed to purchasing bottled water.’’

The sad part is that ending the bottled-water fad took a recession, when common sense should have kicked in long ago.

Bottled-water scam finally feels squeeze - The Boston Globe

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Wives be subordinate to your husbands"


“Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.” Now, let me ask you honestly, how many wives poked their husbands as that was read? How many husbands twisted uncomfortably in their seats? This is perhaps the most dangerous passage in all of Scripture to preach on, in fact, most preachers usually try and avoid it. But, I feel a little dangerous today, so let’s give it a try.

How many of you saw the very funny movie, My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, which came out a few years ago now? As you remember, it’s about a large ethnic family focusing on their awkward daughter who pursues her dreams, falls in love and marries. But, there is a scene early on in the film that, I think, gives great insight into our dangerous passage from Ephesians. After years of working in the family restaurant, the daughter decides she wants to go to college. She musters up the courage and asks permission of her father, who immediately turns her down. Crying on her mother’s shoulder the mother responds, “Don’t worry, I will talk to your father.” Feeling the hopelessness of the situation the daughter responds, “He won’t change his mind. He is stubborn. ‘The man is the head of the household.’” The mother strokes her daughter’s hair and smiles, “Yes, the man, he is the head of the household. But the woman? She is the neck. And I can turn that head any way I want.”

That scene gives us a new perspective, and that’s exactly what is needed. The problem with this phrase from Colossians, “Wives be subordinate to your husbands,” is that we tend to isolate that passage out and not look at the rest of the reading. Alone, this passage is troubling and seems to support a subjugation of women, but it is out of context. When we look at the bigger picture, we find not a chauvinistic household, but one that is balanced; not one where husbands lord authority over wives, but one where everyone is subordinate, or the servant, to the other. There are two keys to this reading – the first is the initial words we heard today, “Brothers and sisters, be subordinate to one another.” We are all called to be in that position of subordination to each other, deferring to each other, serving each other. So, if “wives be subordinate to your husbands” is true; then it is also true to say, “husbands be subordinate to your wives,” “children be subordinate to your parents,” “parents be subordinate to your children.” This reading doesn’t want to perpetuate a power dynamic, it wants to eliminate it; leaving in its wake a community of servants.

What does this subordination or servanthood look like? Just a few lines before today’s passage, St. Paul details this: “Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” This is the point that St. Paul wants to make, we are not called to be powerful in relation to each other, but powerless; not lords, but servants. I think this is a good image to have in mind when thinking about vocations in the Church.

This is the heart of what men and women try to do in pursuing a vocation from God to serve as a priest, deacon or consecrated religious woman or man. We strive to be subordinate, to be the servant, of all. We strive to live as St. Paul says, with “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” The Church needs a few good men; and a few good women; who are ready and willing to give their lives to be the servant of all.

I want to counter a popular notion in the Church today. We often hear about the vocation crisis. I want to tell you, from my own experience, that I don’t believe there is a Vocation Crisis because to say that there is a vocation crisis is to say that God has somehow failed to do His job; that somehow, God has stopped calling young people to live lives dedicated fully to Him as priests, deacons or consecrated religious. Our crisis is one of Vocation Awareness. God always calls, but we often don’t take the time to listen; and we as a people don’t often encourage our young people to consider vocation. People regularly respond to someone thinking of a vocation with the question, “Why would you want to do that?”

My friends, it is up to us to encourage our youth to consider this way of life just as they consider the myriad other ways of life presented to them every day. Ultimately it is about doing what God wants you to do. It isn’t that religious and priests never wanted a relationship or marriage or children or a nice big house and a fancy car; rather, it is that we are called to something else. Each way of life is full of challenges – as any married person can attest to. But, when it is what you are called to, you cannot imagine doing anything else. We have to encourage people to be open to the possibility. To open their hearts to listen to Jesus.

Does this mean that if every young person opens their heart to Jesus, if they really and truly listen to Jesus that they will want to become a brother, a priest or a nun? It might, but what it will mean is that they will be open to whatever God has planned for them – whether religious, married, single, or priest. When we make Jesus, manifested in our world, manifested in the Eucharist, Reconciliation and all the sacraments, the center of our life, we look at life differently. You see, it is a domino effect. When we are open to the presence of Jesus, we become the presence of Jesus in the world; we become His servants to a world that needs His message.

So, what can each of us do to encourage greater awareness of vocations? First and foremost, we can talk about it, we can talk about a life given fully to God, we can stop being afraid of raising the subject with someone; we can be encouragers.

A word to the young people here who might be sensing a call from God. First, talk to someone about it. You can talk to me; you can talk to Fr. Frank, or any other priest or religious you may know. Pray. Ask God to show you what He has in store for you. Attend Mass more often, daily if you can. He will reveal His will to you there. I’m here all weekend to talk about Vocations, so please see me after Mass. I will make you this guarantee – you will never be happier in your life than if you are doing what God calls you to do.

In all of my work with young people, I encounter many young men and women who I believe are being touched by God for a special role of service in the Church. I always, always tell them that; and so should you. Ask them to consider the possibility. There may even be some of these young people right here in this church today.

Here is my challenge for everyone here – have you ever thought about someone that they would make a good priest, or a good religious sister, or a good religious brother? If you haven’t done it already, tell them. I have some prayer cards with me today. I invite you to take one after Mass and make it your goal to put it in the hands of someone you think might have a vocation to serve the Church in this way.

Especially in this Year for Priests declared by our Holy Father, let us pledge to be open to God’s call; and to be supporters and encouragers of vocations. Let me end with a prayer written by Pope John Paul II:

Lord Jesus, as You once called the first disciples to make them fishers of men,
let your sweet invitation continue to resound: Come, follow Me!
Give young men and women the grace of responding quickly to Your voice.
Support your bishops, priests and consecrated people in their apostolic labor.
Grant perseverance to our seminarians and to all those
who are carrying out the ideal of a life totally consecrated to Your service.
Awaken in our community a missionary eagerness.
Lord, send workers to your harvest and do not allow humanity to be lost
for the lack of pastors, missionaries and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.
Mary, Mother of the Church, the model of every vocation,
help us to say "yes" to the Lord Who calls us to cooperate in the divine plan of salvation.

May the Lord give you peace.

Friday, August 21, 2009

U.S. bishops launch website on new Mass translation

Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2009 / 11:14 am (CNA).- After years in the making, the English translation of the new Roman Missal is nearing its completion and is now awaiting the final approval of the bishops and the Vatican. In an effort to begin educating the faithful and clergy on the new translation, the U.S. bishops have launched a website.

The new website, which was launched on August 21, includes background material on the process of the development of liturgical texts, sample texts from the Missal, a glossary of terms and answers to frequently asked questions.

A press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says that content will be added to the website on a regular basis over the next several months.

U.S. bishops launch website on new Mass translation

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gynecologists in Spain plan to choose jail before performing an abortion

Madrid, Spain, Aug 20, 2009 / 01:55 pm (CNA).- Dr. Esteban Rodriguez, spokesman for the organization Right to Life (Derecho a Vivir) in Spain, responded yesterday to comments by the country’s Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamano, who said there was no room for a conscience clause in the new law on abortion.

“We are willing to go to jail rather than following a criminal law, Rodriguez said, “and we are willing to commit the supposed crime of disobedience before the crime of abortion.”

Gynecologists in Spain plan to choose jail before performing an abortion

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Franciscan Virtues Worthy of Imitation

Cardinal Recalls Feast of Pardon of Assisi

ASSISI, Italy, AUG. 18, 2009 ( The former major penitentiary is urging Christians to imitate the virtues of St. Francis and his followers, rejecting envy and malice while giving praise and thanks to God.

Cardinal James Stafford affirmed this in a homily at Rivo Torto, Assisi, on the feast of the Pardon of Assisi, Aug. 2.

This feast commemorates the day in 1216 when St. Francis of Assisi received from Pope Honorius III the approval of a plenary indulgence for all those who would pray on this day in the church of the Portiuncula.

In an Aug. 2 public audience, Benedict XVI noted: "Having received papal approval, the saint did not wait for any written document but hastened to Assisi and when he reached the Portiuncula announced the good news: 'Friends, the Lord wants to have us all in Heaven!'

"Since then, from noon on Aug. 1 to midnight on the second, it has been possible to obtain, on the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence, also for the dead, on visiting a parish church or a Franciscan one."

The cardinal recalled the saint's special form of addressing his followers: "Fratelli minori" or "lesser brothers."

By choosing this phrase to describe the community, the prelate explained, St. Francis was "placing it squarely within the mystery of the kenosis, the self-emptying, of Jesus."

The saint "chose that he and all his followers would be identified with the humble of the earth," the cardinal added.

Springboard to heaven

He told the story of an example of "being a lesser brother" that took place in Rivo Torto, in a cowshed's "unprepossessing shelter from rain and sun."

Cardinal Stafford said: "After their return from Rome through Orte back to Assisi in the summer of 1209, the small band of brothers needed a place to sleep and pray.

"Francis chose this hut beside a stream bed, which in the springtime became a dangerous torrent of water. It barely was large enough for the small group of young men.

"With his usual humor Francis joked that, as a springboard to heaven, this was better than a palace."

During the night, the prelate said, "one of the brothers unexpectedly cried out in the darkness, 'I'm dying.'"

The saint "realized that being a lesser brother meant to have the gift of love especially in the awkward darkness of the night," Cardinal Stafford said.

He continued: "Francis asked him what was wrong. 'I'm dying of hunger,' [he responded].

"'Quick, everyone up,' [said the saint]. 'Prepare a meal, for the whole company. A brother must not die of hunger, but neither should he be embarrassed by having to eat alone.'"

The cardinal encouraged his audience to reflect on their own community life.

He urged them to "assess life within your family at home and community experience" faced to the "virtues of the first Franciscans here at Rivo Torto."

Cardinal Stafford quoted Thomas of Celano, a biographer of St. Francis, who described the "virtues of this band of lesser but radically joyful brothers."

He continued: "No envy, no malice, no rancor, no abusive speech, no suspicion, no bitterness found any place in them; but great concord, continual quiet, thanksgiving, and the voice of praise were in them."

© Innovative Media, Inc.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A nun and a gun

Catholic sister chases rifle-toting burglary suspect in Missouri

Independence, Mo., Aug 15, 2009 / 10:32 am (CNA).- Police in Independence, Missouri have arrested a rifle-toting teenage burglary suspect who was chased into the woods by a religious sister on Thursday morning.

The 17-year-old suspect had broken into one home around 6:00 and another at about 6:30 in the morning, authorities told Missouri’s NBC Action News. Both houses were occupied at the time of the break-ins but no one was injured.

However, a gun was reported missing from the second home.

Sister Catarina of the Sisters of St. Francis Convent told NBC Action News that she saw the suspect through a convent window. He was holding a rifle and walking through a nearby field.

She and another sister named Sister Connie went out to approach the suspect, who they first thought may have been an illegal hunter.

At first the young man was pleasant to speak with, Sister Catarina reported. When the two sisters started asking questions about what he was doing, he ran away through the woods.

Sister Catarina chased the teenager but could not keep up with him. The suspect was later apprehended and was expected to be charged on Friday.

Catholic sister chases rifle-toting burglary suspect in Missouri

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U.S. bishops launch website on health care reform

Washington D.C., Aug 15, 2009 / 05:25 pm (CNA).- As the American health care debate continues, the U.S. Catholic bishops have launched a webpage to promote support for a “truly universal” health policy that respects human dignity.

The page on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) includes letters for bishops to Congress, videos, facts and statistics, frequently asked questions, and links for contacting members of Congress

U.S. bishops launch website on health care reform

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

We become what we receive


“The Jews quarreled among themselves saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’”

There was an interesting story this past Monday in the Boston Globe. Maybe you saw it? It was front page, above the fold. It was a story about the fact that St. Clements Church here in the city was beginning Perpetual (or continual) Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This is a wonderful development for us here in the city to know that at any time of day or night we can go and pray in adoration before the very Body and Blood of Jesus.

But, much like those in today’s Gospel passage who couldn’t understand what Jesus was talking about; what He was offering in the Eucharist; the Globe author also doesn’t quite understand when it comes to the Eucharist. The article began, “The adorers sit in silence before the wafer.” It went on to call Eucharistic Adoration an “unusual Catholic ritual” and to say that adoration “reflects an embrace of the teaching of Catholicism that many find hardest to understand: the belief that, during Mass, bread and wine are literally transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.”

As you and I know, the Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus – isn’t a wafer; it isn’t unusual, and it isn’t hard to understand. Rather, it is the very core of who we are and what we are called to be.

This time of year always leads me to reflect on that question of what we are called to be; the question of identity. Sixteen years ago tomorrow (today), marks the day when I first professed my vows as a religious along with 14 of my brothers. Together we professed to live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a member of the Franciscan Order. As I reflect on the last 16 years, which have gone by far too quickly, I realize that what happened on that day of my religious profession was an embrace of my identity before God. Before entering religious life I did many different things – I was a mall security guard, owned a florist shop, was a prep chef in a restaurant, worked on an apple and peach orchard, did painting and wallpapering, worked in retail, was a family crisis counselor, and for the longest period of time was an investigative news reporter for 6 years. In the midst of all of those things, I was most definitely someone in search of their identity. Who was I supposed to be? Who did God want me to be?

And, what lead me to religious life and to discovering my truest identity in the sight of God – as a religious and as a priest – was the Eucharist. After struggling with faith in my teens and early 20s, I eventually met Jesus – the real, living, present Jesus – in the Eucharist. Once that had happened, all of the fogginess of a youth spent searching for something cleared and my identity – who and what God wanted me to be; my vocation – was staring me in the face. There was no decision to be made at that point except the decision to follow. You see, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist acts as a mirror to our souls, helping us to see who we have been created to be.

We have been reflecting on the Eucharist most of the summer in our Scriptural readings. In today’s Gospel passage Jesus speaks of His own identity in the Eucharist. He speaks of the Eucharist, not only in the ordinary terms of bread and wine, but even more powerfully, He speaks of this bread and wine as being His flesh and His blood. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”

Flesh and blood. We use that phrase all the time – usually to refer to the whole person. And so does Jesus. He reminds us even that this Eucharist is Him – flesh and blood, the whole person. If there were any doubt remaining, He states boldly and plainly, “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven.” Jesus equates the bread from Heaven with Himself totality. This is not a part of Jesus. This truly is Jesus – flesh and blood, so to speak.

Knowing that Jesus equates the Eucharist with His total person, we can see that it is an understatement to say merely that the Eucharistic bread is the Body of Christ. It is certainly more than a “wafer.” And it is even more than the Body of Christ. It is the whole of Christ. Using the traditional expression, it is “the body and blood, soul and divinity” of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only present in the Blessed Sacrament, rather in the Blessed Sacrament the fullness of Jesus is completely revealed.

It is not so much a question of presence as that of identity. Jesus reveals His full and complete identity to us in the Eucharist in the hopes that we will look into that mirror and see our identity. Who we are is never complete unless it is who we are in the sight of Jesus.

And so, we don’t just hear these readings about the Eucharist this summer and say, “Got it! Bread and wine to Body and Blood.” Rather, take a moment and see the Eucharist anew. As the Body and Blood of Jesus are elevated during the Holy Mass today, look into the mirror that is the full and complete presence and identity of Jesus in the Eucharist. What is Jesus reflecting back to you? Who are you – what are you – in the sight of your Lord? What Jesus reflects to you there is the most complete, best, happiest and holiest person you can ever be – the one that you see reflected back to you when you gaze into the face of Jesus.

St. Clare, whose feast we celebrated on Tuesday, instructed her sisters to look into the face of Jesus in the Eucharist. She said, “Gaze upon Christ, consider Christ, contemplate Christ, imitate Christ.” When you gaze upon Christ, and even more powerfully today, receive Christ, He will show you who you truly have been created to be. Have the courage to cast off everything else and embrace your identity in the sight of Jesus.

As we receive Holy Communion today, let us be conscious that we are receiving Jesus Christ Himself – totally, fully, completely – and let us open our hearts to receive the new life that He brings to us. As we learn more about the very identity of Jesus through this Communion, let us remember that Jesus also wants to tell us something about our own identity, who He wants us to be.

May God give you peace.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Katie Couric denounces "fear" and "ignorance" in health debate

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˜Distinctively Catholic" Eunice Kennedy Shriver mourned

Washington D.C., Aug 11, 2009 / 06:05 pm (CNA).- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy, died today at the age of 88. The Knights of Columbus praised her as the founder of the Special Olympics, while pro-life leaders remembered her stand as a prominent Democrat who objected to the party’s increasing support for abortion.

"No one more than Eunice Kennedy Shriver understood better the power held by the most vulnerable in our society,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. “She fought for those hidden in the shadows of life, while acknowledging that they teach us far more than we could ever offer them. She was consistent in her championing of every vulnerable human life.”

"Distinctively Catholic" Eunice Kennedy Shriver mourned

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

N.Y. archbishop takes stock of challenges in the American Catholic Church

Phoenix, Ariz., Aug 13, 2009 / 12:33 am (CNA).- Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York told CNA last week that the Catholic Church is currently facing many challenges, four being: the vocation to marriage, the state of Catholic parishes and schools, the great number of lapsed Catholics and finally the difficulties in a culture desperate to keep the Church and morals out of the public square.

Sitting down with CNA in Phoenix, Arizona during the 127th annual Knights of Columbus convention, the archbishop noted that while he loves his new assignment as the Archbishop of New York, his archdiocese of 2.6 million Catholics, as well as the Church in the United States, is currently facing some serious challenges

N.Y. archbishop takes stock of challenges in the American Catholic Church

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The time of your visitation


During one hot summer day, a priest was conscious to keep his homily brief due to the heat, so after the Gospel he said simply, “Well, we all know it’s hot in here, but it’s even hotter in Hell. So, be good!” Well, my homily today will be a little longer than that, but I’ll try and keep it brief.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Today’s Gospel passage continues our summer reflection on the Eucharist as we hear another part of the Bread of Life monologue from John’s Gospel.

In today’s passage there is a lot of confusion about what Jesus is talking about. We hear that “the Jews murmured” because Jesus had called Himself the Bread from Heaven. They knew who he was, who is parents and family were. How could He say that He came down from heaven? The problem really comes down to the difference between their expectations and the reality they had in front of them. The reality before them, Jesus, differed from their expectations and so they did not recognize the moment of their visitation.

The people expected the Messiah to, literally, come down from heaven. They were waiting for spectacular events and supernatural manifestations in the sky when they would literally see the Anointed of God coming down in the clouds. So when Jesus came forward and claimed that “I am He,” they could not reconcile the reality before them with the expectations in their minds.

They knew this Jesus all too well, or at least they thought they did. They wouldn’t allow their minds and hearts be open to a reality that was different than what they expected. The result was that they missed the very presence of God, the Word made Flesh, in their midst. The message is that when we insist that God must meet our expectations and our reasoning before we can believe, we are in for a big surprise.

So, how does God come down from heaven? How does God come into our lives? Well, God comes to us in very ordinary ways. Today, God will come to us by transforming ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of His Son. If we are looking up to the sky for the clouds to part and that Bread to descend dramatically, we too will miss the reality of God’s presence on our very altar.

God also comes to us in the ordinary people we meet in our everyday lives. Today let us take a second look at those people we know all too well — or at least we think we do — those people we often take for granted. These men, women and children may indeed be the messengers that God has sent to us to speak a message to us and prepare us for eternal life.

The question is not whether God comes to us or not but whether we are able to recognize God at work in our lives. The Presence of God in word and sacrament should lead us to a recognition of the presence of God all around us. Let us pray that God will continue to open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to a greater recognition of His presence in our midst.

“Amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”

May God give you peace.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Church will have no part in health care that destroys life, New York archbishop insists

Archbishop Dolan puts words to what I've been thinking. I'm tired of Catholics who say poor people, all people, having health care is a bad thing! But, Archbishop Dolan makes the distinction well - health care is a good thing!!! But, we must be on guard against any program that would also include abortion or other threats to life. Read on...

Phoenix, Ariz., Aug 6, 2009 / 02:52 pm (CNA).- “Health care reform is a good thing,” New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan told CNA on Wednesday during in interview in Phoenix, Arizona. However, if it “leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all - it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”

Responding to a question about the Catholic Church’s view health care reform, Archbishop Dolan explained to CNA that the Church regards health care reform as a good thing. “The Catholic Church has been saying that for a long time,” he explained, adding that because of our human dignity, “means that one has access to quality affordable first rate health care.”

Church will have no part in health care that destroys life, New York archbishop insists

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

St. Jean Vianney shows priests how to reach modern society, Pope teaches

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 5, 2009 / 10:26 am (CNA).- In his first general audience at Castel Gandolfo this summer, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the example of St. Jean Marie Vianney, who provides priests with an example of how to minister in a culture under the influence of moral relativism.

The Holy Father began by noting that yesterday the Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of his “birth into Heaven.”

He then spoke about the childhood of the CurĂ© d’Ars, his illiteracy as a child and his struggles with his seminary studies

St. Jean Vianney shows priests how to reach modern society, Pope teaches

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Year for the Priest: St. John Vianney, patron of priests

St. John Vianney

A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.
His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.

Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.)

With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.

His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.

Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.

Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.


Indifference toward religion, coupled with a love for material comfort, seem to be common signs of our times. A person from another planet observing us would not likely judge us to be pilgrim people, on our way to somewhere else. John Vianney, on the other hand, was a man on a journey with his goal before him at all times.


Recommending liturgical prayer, John Vianney would say, “Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there: If you set it on fire it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that.”

This entry appears in the print edition of Saint of the Day

Monday, August 3, 2009

Benedict XVI points priests to August saints for inspiration

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 2, 2009 / 10:18 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI led the Angelus prayer for faithful gathered on Sunday in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. He spoke to those present about the numerous saints whose feasts are celebrated in August and how their lives can serve as models for priests in the Year for Priests.

Thinking of the just-initiated Year for Priests, Pope Benedict called it a “precious occasion to deepen the value of the priestly mission in the Church and in the world.”

As priests seek to grow deeper in their vocation, Pope Benedict pointed to the examples of several saints, whose feast days are celebrated in August

Benedict XVI points priests to August saints for inspiration

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College football star Tim Tebow says he is ˜saving himself for marriage"

Hoover, Ala., Aug 2, 2009 / 06:32 pm (CNA).- Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow brought chastity and college sports together at a press conference last week at U.S. college football’s SEC Media Days when one reporter asked him if he was “saving himself for marriage.”

The question, asked by reporter Clay Travis, prompted laughter from Tebow and other media members in the audience before the University of Florida athlete replied:

“Yes I am.”

Smiling and noting the reporters’ reactions, he added: “I think y'all were stunned by that… first time ever! Wow…”

College football star Tim Tebow says he is "saving himself for marriage"

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Changing the impossible

HOMILY FOR THE 2nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, January 20, 2019: When my parents got married more than 50 years ago, my Mom came from a pract...