Tuesday, March 31, 2009

“Long Live St. John Bosco!”

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the canonization of St. John Bosco!  I would love to have witnessed that day in Rome myself!  The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

The cry “Long Live St. John Bosco” rang out for the first time on April 1, 1934, at the end of the formula for canonization proclaimed by Pope Pius XI. It was Easter Sunday, the Holy Year for the 19th centennial of the Redemption was coming to an end, and St. Peter’s Square was packed with people.

“It is the most solemn moment. There is an impressive silence throughout the basilica. The Pope standing with the tiara on his head, with the fullness of his sacred magisterium in a loud clear voice pronounces from his throne the formula of the canonization,” is the description in the special edition of the Salesian Bulletin for June-July, describing the moments prior to the proclamation of the sanctity of Don Bosco.

The magazine devoted the previous issues and those after April 1 to the preparation for and the chronicle of the canonization and the celebrations in Rome and Turin.

In the special June-July issue of the Bulletin was a detailed account of that great day on which the Church and the Salesian Family rejoiced.

The choice of the day for the canonization, Easter Sunday, “almost as the culmination of the Holy Year,” as Pius XI said in his homily that day, and the outstanding participation of the Salesian Family, led the Pope to speak of the Jubilee 1933-1934 as “a Salesian Jubilee” and a “Salesian Holy Year.”

The Pontiff, introducing his account of the life and activity of the new Saint in his homily, said: “As We still recall with great joy, he comforted and encouraged Us in our studies in the distant days of Our youth when We admired him deeply for the great works he had accomplished and for his eminent virtues.”

"I was there!"

Bro. Alessandro Novelli, SDB, 101 years of age, in a video interview describes his memories of the canonization of Don Bosco, which took place on April 1, 1934, in Rome.

“St. Peter’s Square was packed, packed with people,” the Salesian centenarian, who was present for the occasion recalls. “There were so many, so many young people; lot’s of families, dads, moms, children.”

Born in March 1908, Bro. Novelli also took part in the transfer of Don Bosco’s body from Valsalice to Valdocco, Turin, on the occasion of the beatification, which took place in 1929. Immediately afterwards transferred to the Roman Province, the Salesian brother was involved in organizing the great event of the canonization.

In the video, which is available on the ANSchannel, Bro. Novelli recalls the solemnity of the celebration and, quite amused, the unexpected downpour that descended on the square: “At the end there was such a downpour, we were are wet through!”
“Rome was taken over by the Salesians,” Bro. Novelli went on. “Groups large and small came in from everywhere … it was quite spectacular, well-worth seeing … really impressive!”

His memories also include the atmosphere of devotion and the frenetic preparations going on at the Salesian house of the Sacred Heart, where Bro. Novelli was working.

“Don Bosco has been something huge in my life,” Bro. Novelli says, concluding the interview.

Great Depression Cooking

These videos with Clara are really good! I think we ate a lot of these meals when I was a kid! We may all be eating this kind of cooking sooner than we think... Here is Clara's website.

For more videos by Clara please click here!

"Sister Prema, whose name means love, is the new superior of the Sisters of Mother Teresa"

The Missionaries of Charity have a new leader. Sister Nirmala has decided to step down after 10 years and will retire to a more contemplative life and the sisters have elected their new leader. Let's pray for all of the sisters and especially for Sister Prema!

The following comes from the Roman Catholic Vocations site:

In Sanskrit “Prema means love,” love that is pure and holy, a name that befits the new superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, Brother Paul told AsiaNews. The 41-year-old British priest is a member of the male branch of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious congregation founded by Mother Teresa.

Sister Prema met the Blessed for the first time in 1980, in Berlin, after reading Something Beautiful for God, a book by BBC journalist Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote about his meeting with Mother Teresa in 1969 when he was making a documentary on the nun from Kolkata that would make her known worldwide.

“I know Sister Prema. She is a visionary, a deeply spiritual person with an implicit trust in God. She has a clear understanding of her mission, with the charism of the Missionaries of Charity implanted in her heart, to serve Jesus by serving the poorest of the poor,” said Brother Paul who has been posted for the past seven years in the Shanti Bhavan, or House of Peace, in Kolkata.

The general chapter of the Missionaries of Charity held in Dum Dum picked the German-born nun to replace Indian-born Sister Nirmala Joshi as the head of the congregation to reflect its international reach, which now includes some 4,500 nuns in 133 countries.

Mgr Lucas Sircar, archbishop of Kolkata, said that Sister Prema was elected on the first round of voting, getting more than two thirds of the votes cast by 163 delegates.

For Brother Paul the new superior general’s country of origin does not represent any change since “God looks not at nationalities, but at hearts.”

Sister Prema’s task now is “to guide the Missionaries of Charity towards the holiness of our Blessed Mother Teresa.”

Monday, March 30, 2009

The diocesan enquiry concerning the Servant of God Fr. Canelli officially opened

The following news comes from the Salesian News Agency in Rome:

The diocesan enquiry in the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Fr. Felice Canelli was launched on March 25 in his former parish of the Holy Cross in San Severo, Italy. Fr. Canelli was a diocesan priest and Salesian Cooperator.

The opening ceremony took place within a celebration of the Word at which Bishop Lucio Renna of San Severo presided. There was a large gathering of the faithful in the parish church, where Fr. Canelli had officiated for several years. They followed the proceedings attentively and devoutly as they were introduced and explained step by step.

In his address Bishop Renna mentioned how Fr. Felice Canelli had succeeded in combining contemplation and action. “Fr. Felice,” he said, “has a gigantic stature as a priest, as a man, and as a citizen: one who became a man of prayer and a man of action. He spoke with the Invisible One and contemplated Him with the eyes of the mind and then opened wide his eyes and his heart to the world around him.” The diocesan priest-Salesian Cooperator worked with everyone and especially with the little ones, young people, and the poor.

The vice postulator of the cause, Sr. Francesca Caggiano, FMA, read the formal letter from the postulator of the Salesian Family, Fr. Enrico dal Covolo, which opened the diocesan enquiry regarding the Servant of God. Then the chancellor of the Diocesan Curia read the letter of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, addressed to Bishop Renna, in which the nihil obstat was given on the part of the Holy See for the introduction of the cause and for the decree of Bishop Renna with which the diocesan enquiry is introduced.

Fr. Felice, inspired with the zeal of Don Bosco’s “Da mihi animas,” lived and worked with “tremendous” dedication to win souls for the Lord and to foster charity in every kind of organization or group and all kinds of activity so that every one, from the smallest to the greatest, might feel part of the Church and of the local area. He worked with Divine Providence to building a more human and Gospel-inspired society.

Southern Ponderings!

This is pretty funny stuff! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why do we believe in God?

Fr. Barron does a great job on his videos and at his site Word on Fire. Check it out!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Salesians Sisters Vocations Video

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jerry Clower and Uncle Percy Ledbetter!

Jerry Clower is too funny! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saint of the day: Margaret Clitherow

Today we remember the saint and martyr Margaret Cltherow. The following is a summary of her life from the Catholic Online site:

St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. Possessed of good looks and full of wit and merriment, she was a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do grazier and butcher (to whom she bore two children), and a few years later entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. Recourse was had to every means in an attempt to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door over laden with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes. The humanity and holiness of this servant of God can be readily glimpsed in her words to a friend when she learned of her condemnation: "The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise." Her feast day is March 26th.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daniel Hannan MEP: The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

Can we bring this guy to our side of the pond!? He hits the nail on the head!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aaron Wilburn Comedy

Aaron Wilburn is really a funny guy! I love his Southern humor!

Navy scientists in possible cold fusion breakthrough

This story could be really huge and change the way we get our power all around the world! Maria Esperanza, the great Catholic mystic of Betania, predicted a scientific breatkthrough that would do just that! She predicted a "wonderful reality" will come if science embraces humility, respects God, and opens itself to the Holy Spirit, Whom she claims will unleash hitherto unimagined inventions, including technology that will eventually neutralize radioactivity. She goes on to say that "there will be a device that will eliminate harmful radiation." You can read more on this from Michael Brown's story here.
Let's pray that these scientist have in fact made real progress on this.

The following story comes from Breitbart.com:

Researchers at a US Navy laboratory have unveiled what they say is "significant" evidence of cold fusion, a potential energy source that has many skeptics in the scientific community.

The scientists on Monday described what they called the first clear visual evidence that low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), or cold fusion devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists say are indicative of nuclear reactions.

"Our finding is very significant," said analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss of the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California.

"To our knowledge, this is the first scientific report of the production of highly energetic neutrons from a LENR device," added the study's co-author in a statement.

The study's results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The city is also the site of an infamous presentation on cold fusion 20 years ago by Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons that sent shockwaves across the world.

Despite their claim to cold fusion discovery, the Fleishmann-Pons study soon fell into discredit after other researchers were unable to reproduce the results.

Scientists have been working for years to produce cold fusion reactions, a potentially cheap, limitless and environmentally-clean source of energy.

Paul Padley, a physicist at Rice University who reviewed Mosier-Boss's published work, said the study did not provide a plausible explanation of how cold fusion could take place in the conditions described.

"It fails to provide a theoretical rationale to explain how fusion could occur at room temperatures. And in its analysis, the research paper fails to exclude other sources for the production of neutrons," he told the Houston Chronicle.

"The whole point of fusion is, you're bringing things of like charge together. As we all know, like things repel, and you have to overcome that repulsion somehow."

But Steven Krivit, editor of the New Energy Times, said the study was "big" and could open a new scientific field.

The neutrons produced in the experiments "may not be caused by fusion but perhaps some new, unknown nuclear process," added Krivit, who has monitored cold fusion studies for the past 20 years.

"We're talking about a new field of science that's a hybrid between chemistry and physics."

Archbishop Sheen: The Glory of the Soldier

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Pope at home with Don Bosco

The following story comes from the Salesian News Agency (ANS):
The second day that Benedict XVI spent in Angola opened with Mass celebrated with the bishops, priests, religious, ecclesial movements, and catechists from Angola and São Tomé, where his arrival had been awaited with great excitement by the church community and the Salesians in the parish of St. Paul in Luanda.

The Mass took place in the Salesian parish of St. Paul in Luanda. The church built by the Capuchin Fathers in 1935 and entrusted to the Salesians in 1982 was recently re-structured in view of the visit by the Pope.

About 3,000 people were present at the Mass. Because of the large number, the faithful were grouped in three sections: one in the church, another in the nearby area beside the church where a large screen had been installed, and a third in the road in front of the church, also with a large screen.

Commenting on the readings for the day, the Pope invited those present to deepen their knowledge of the Lord as St. Paul did when he met the Risen Christ, which gave a new direction to his life: “Far from being merely a stage in Paul’s personal growth, this was a death to himself and a resurrection in Christ: one form of life died in him, and a new form was born, with the Risen One.”

Referring to the history of the people in that country, the first sub-Saharian Christian kingdom, Benedict XVI entrusted to the bishops, religious, and catechists the task of bringing the Risen Christ to their fellow citizens, overcoming difficulties and resistance. “But if we are convinced and have come to experience that without Christ life lacks something, that something real – indeed, the most real thing of all – is missing, we must also be convinced that we do no injustice to anyone if we present Christ to them and thus grant them the opportunity of finding their truest and most authentic selves, the joy of finding life. Indeed, we must do this. It is our duty to offer everyone this possibility of attaining eternal life.”

In his homily the Pope had words of thanks for the local community of St. Paul’s Parish: “Finally, let me offer a particular greeting to the Salesian community and the faithful of this parish of Saint Paul; they have welcomed us to their church, without hesitating to yield the place which is usually theirs in the liturgical assembly. I know that they are gathered in the field next door, and I hope, at the end of this Eucharist, to see them and give them my blessing, but even now I say to them: Many thanks! May God raise up in you, and through you, many apostles modelled on your patron.”

At the end of the Mass, in fact, the Pope went to the nearby area to greet and bless the faithful. Here he met the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement. Coming from all the houses in the Angola Vice Province, they had arrived in the city of Luanda last Wednesday to take part in a period of spiritual preparation and celebration for the visit of the Pope. Yesterday they were present for the arrival of Benedict XVI in the capital. After the Mass in St Paul’s Church, they went to the Dos Coqueiros Stadium, where the Pope met the young people, and tomorrow they will take part in the concluding Mass at Cimangola.

The parish of St. Paul is the first, chronologically, of the four Salesian foundations in Angola’s capital. Arriving in Luanda in 1982, the Don Bosco’s sons immediately became involved in the education and evangelization of the young and of ordinary people. This Salesian community with 5 confreres is engaged in the running of the parish, in a reception center for young people in difficulty, an oratory–youth center, a center for Salesian Cooperators, and a vocational training center also offering informal courses.The Salesians in Luanda are present also in the Valódia district, which is the vice provincial seat, in Palanca, and in Lixeira.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Gloom

Here is another classic from the great Archbishop Sheen:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blue Collar Original: Jerry Clower

Jerry Clower is amazing! He grew up near the town in Mississippi that my grandpa came from and listening to him reminds me of him! Below he describes Clovis the baseball umpire!

And how about the last piece of chicken!

Why I am a Catholic!

Pope decries 'clouds of evil' over Africa at Mass

The following comes from the breitbart.com site:

LUANDA, Angola (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass Sunday with an estimated one million Angolans and decried the "clouds of evil" over Africa that have spawned war, tribalism and ethnic rivalry that reduce poor people to slavery.

The biggest crowd of Benedict's seven day pilgrimage to Africa turned up in sweltering heat for the open-air service on the outskirts of Angola's seaside capital, Luanda, the last major event before the end of the visit on Monday.

"How true it is that war can destroy everything of value", Benedict said mopping his sweaty brow with a white handkerchief.

Evils in Africa have "reduced the poor to slavery and deprived future generations of the resources needed to create a more solid and just society," he said.

Benedict told the crowds clustered in a huge vacant lot near a cement factory that he regretted the deaths of two women who were trampled in a stampede at a stadium Saturday before his address to young Angolans.

He extended his condolences to the victims' families and wished those injured a speedy recovery. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the two 20-year-old women were trampled when gates opened at a Luanda stadium and the died later in hospital.

The spokesman said the Vatican's No. 2 official Cardinal Tarcisio Pertone will visit some 40 injured people in hospital. 

Fiscal Tsunami: Generational Bankruptcy

I pray he is wrong, but Senator Gregg seems to know what he is talking about. Why are we spending money we don't have? What ever happened to common sense?

Senator Gregg:

"Your listeners have to understand how staggering the numbers are. We're talking about a deficit in the trillion-dollar range for as far as the eye can see. We're talking about deficits which are 4% to 5% of GDP - which is not sustainable under any form of government. We're talking about a public debt - this is a debt that people own of the federal government - that will be around 80% of GDP. Historically, it's been around 40% of GDP in the out years. The practical implication of this is bankruptcy for the United States. There's no other way around it."

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit for this!

The Angel of Queens

Since 2004, Jorge Munoz has handed out more than 70,000 meals from his mobile soup kitchen in Queens for free.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rich Mullins: Calling Out Your Name

This is just a wonderful song that I wanted to share. It's a Mullins Classic!

The Future of Food

I have to say this is not something I have given a lot of thought. You might think about trying to eat healthier or trying to cut down on processed food, but what if everything we eat has been processed? What are the long term affects? We have a lot to think and pray about.  I saw the first segment of this at Patrick Madrid, but I wanted to see all of them!  We have a lot to learn.

The Last Monk of Skellig

This is really a beautiful video! Br.John, the last monk of Skellig Island,SW. Ireland. Also known as Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl in Irish ), this is the larger of the two islands, rising to over 230 m above sea level. With a sixth-century Catholic Celtic monastery perched on a ledge close to the top.The monks of St. Fionan's monastery led simple lives and lived in stone, beehive shaped huts around a centrral small stone Oratory.. They would descend the 670 steps early every morning and fish for the morning's breakfast and would spend the rest of the day praying in the church, tending to their gardens and studying. The huts, which are round on the outside and rectangular on the inside, were carefully built so that no drop of rain ever entered between the stones. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century and it became a place of pilgrimage.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Comic Economics!

I found this at the Anchoress site and I had to add it! Maybe the folks in Washington should watch more cartoons!

My retreat with the Hermits of Bethlehem

I mentioned to you on the blog that I would be making a retreat with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ last week and I did have a wonderful retreat! Here are some photos of the place:

Most Holy Trinity: My hermitage for the week!

The oratory inside of my hermitage

The view out of my hermitage

These icons really do draw you in.

The beautiful icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem

I really do love bells!

A beautiful image of Our Lady outside the central house

Archbishop Sheen on Prayer

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

48 Day Fast: One Priests Extreme Lent!

Wow, now that is a fast!  Thanks Deacon Greg for posting that!  

Les Stroud: Living off the grid

I am a big survivorman fan! I came across Les Stroud's off the grid project and found it to be very interesting and maybe you will too. Is this kind of simple living still possible today?  What do you think?

John Paul II: The Great Communicator

There is a new book coming out on Pope John Paul II as a communicator! I am excited to read this one. One of the authors (Sr. Marie Gannon, FMA) was my eighth grade teacher! The following comes from the Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II's ability to communicate was not primarily a result of his experience as an amateur actor, but was an expression of his theology, said the authors of a new book.

In his speeches and writings, whether the audience was religious or not, the late pope continually emphasized the role of Jesus Christ as both the creator of words and as the embodiment of the Word, the authors said at a round-table discussion launching the book in February.

Sister Christine Mugridge, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and Salesian Sister Marie Gannon wrote "John Paul II: Development of a Theology of Communications," which was published by the Vatican publishing house.

In his almost 27-year pontificate, Pope John Paul "was known for his communicative gifts," the authors wrote.

After analyzing both the pope's work and his communication style, the authors concluded that a principal theme of Pope John Paul's pontificate was "the person of Christ, who not only reveals/communicates the salvific plan of the Father, but reveals/communicates man to himself in the light of this divine revelation."

For Christians, all of salvation history involves social communications, including the relationship of the first disciples with Christ, the authors wrote. The disciples came to know Christ as "not only the bearer of the words of life, but as the Word of life," they wrote.

Communication of the faith is necessary in order to effectively bring others to encounter Christ and to remain in communion with Christ, the authors wrote, and studying the communications of Pope John Paul demonstrates how well he understood that.

Sisters Gannon and Mugridge wrote that Pope John Paul was a model communicator whose work deserves consideration for excellence in social communications.

Archbishop Sheen: Life is Worth Living!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pope Benedict in Africa

The Pope says he will carry to Africa the Good News of the Cross of Christ, whose grace generates an irresistible power of peace and of profound, radical reconciliation. The Pope was speaking in St. Peters Square before praying the Angelus. He leaves for his 11th apostolic journey on Tuesday, March 17th and returns on March 23rd. He will go to Cameron and Angola. With this visit, Pope Benedict says he wants to embrace the entire African continent: its thousands of differences, and its profound religious spirit, its painful wounds, and its enormous possibilities and hopes.

Cardinal George Urges Catholics to Tell Administration: Keep Conscience Protections for Health Care Workers

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George is urging Catholics in the United States to tell the Obama Administration to retain Health and Human Services regulations governing conscience protections for health care workers.

This is vital to keep the government from “moving our country from democracy to despotism,” said Cardinal George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Those who want to protect conscience rights can speak out through an action alert at: http://www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection.

“Respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression. No government should come between an individual person and God—that’s what America is supposed to be about,” Cardinal Francis George said. “This is the true common ground for us as Americans. We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion—including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves.”

“I ask you please to let the government know that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place. In particular, let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington know that you stand for the protection of conscience, especially now for those who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society,” he said.

Cardinal Francis George taped the message after the Obama Administration announced in early March that it was rescinding the regulations which guarantee that health workers cannot be forced to provide services that violate their consciences, including abortions.

His entire statement follows.

Hello. I am Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I’d like to take a moment to speak about two principles or ideas that have been basic to life in our country: religious liberty and the freedom of personal conscience.  On Friday afternoon, February 27, the Obama Administration placed on a federal website the news that it intends to remove a conscience protection rule for the Department of Health and Human Services. That rule is one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers—for doctors, nurses and others—who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith I God.

As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we are deeply concerned that such an action on the government’s part would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism. Respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression. No government should come between an individual person and God—that’s what America is supposed to be about. This is the true common ground for us as Americans. We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion—including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves.

Conscientious objection against many actions is a part of our life. We have a conscientious objection against war for those who cannot fight, even though it’s good to defend your country. We have a conscientious objection for doctors against being involved in administering the death penalty. Why shouldn’t our government and our legal system permit conscientious objection to a morally bad action, the killing of babies in their mother’s womb? People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures—a living member of the human family is killed—that’s what it’s all about—and no one should be forced by the government to act as though he or she were blind to this reality.

I ask you please to let the government know that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place. In particular, let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington know that you stand for the protection of conscience, especially now for those who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society. Thank you and God bless you.

Cardinal calls on Irish to rediscover their faith on St. Patrick's Day

The Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady has issued a St. Patrick’s Day message wishing a “happy and faith-filled” St. Patrick’s Day to celebrants. Noting the importance of the saint’s Christian faith, he expressed hopes that Irish people will rediscover the “joy and love” of faith. Read the whole story here at Catholic News Agency.

Glenn Beck: On The Forgotten Man

Patrick Madrid posted this great video by Glenn Beck. It is worth spending a few minutes to see. "In the blink of an eye..." There is so much going on in the world we really need to remember to trust God and pray!

Vocations TV Ad

I came across this nice ad on the Deacon's Bench site. Evidently it has begun running on tv spots in KC. Well done Kansas City!

"What we have here is a failure to communicate!"

This is a great video that I found posted at Amy Proctor's site. I think it is very interesting to see how confused the new administration has all the experts. Noone knows what end is up. This can't be good!

Stem Cell Sham

It is interesting to see the silence much of the "mainstream media" has given to controversial topics that have been steamrolled by the new administration. You can hear the crickets chirp as it relates to any real coverage of criticism of the left leaning "change" agenda. Where have all the journalists gone? Well, it is good to see that P.J. O'Rourke is paying attention. Read his very blunt review of the current administrations stem cell program. I found this at the Anchoress blogsite:

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

When a Democratic president goes from being wrong to being damn wrong is always an interesting moment: Bay of Pigs, Great Society, Jimmy Carter waking up on the morning after his inauguration, HillaryCare. Barack Obama condemned himself (and a number of human embryos to be determined at a later date) on March 9 when he signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration's restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research.

President Obama went to hell not with the stroke of a pen, but with the cluck of a tongue. His executive order was an error. His statement at the executive order signing ceremony was a mortal error: "In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values."

A false choice is no choice at all--Tweedledee/Tweedledum, Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL, Joe Biden/Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Is there really no difference "between sound science and moral values"? Webster's Third New International Dictionary states that science is, definition one, "possession of knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding."

Let's look at the various things science has "known" in the past 3,000 years.

Lightning is the sneeze of Thor.

The periodic table consists of Earth, Wind, and Fire and a recording of "Got To Get You into My Life."

The world is flat with signs saying "Here Be Democrats" near the edges.

You can turn lead into gold without first selling your Citibank stock at a huge loss.

We're the center of the universe and the Sun revolves around us (and shines out of Uranus, Mr. President, if I may be allowed a moment of utter sophomoricism).

But, lest anyone think I'm not serious, let me quote with serious revulsion the following passages from the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911)--that great compendium of all the knowledge science possessed, carefully distinguished from ignorance and misunderstanding, as of a hundred years ago:

[T]he negro would appear to stand on a lower evolutionary plane than the white man, and to be more closely related to the highest anthropoids.

Mentally the negro is inferior to the white.

[A]fter puberty sexual matters take the first place in the negro's life and thought.

The above are quoted--not out of context--from the article titled "Negro" written by Dr. Walter Francis Willcox, chief statistician of the U.S. Census Bureau and professor of social science and statistics at Cornell. I trust I've made my point.

Now let's look at the things morality has known. The Ten Commandments are holding up pretty well. I suppose the "graven image" bit could be considered culturally insensitive. But the moralists got nine out of ten--a lot better than the scientists are doing. (And, to digress, the Obama administration should take an extra look at the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," before going into nonkosher pork production with redistributive tax and spend policies.)

A false choice means there's no choosing. The president of the United States tells us that sound science and moral values are united, in bed together. As many a coed has been assured, "Let's just get naked under the covers, we don't have to make love." Or, as the president puts it, "Many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view."

Mr. President, sir, if this is your respect, I'd rather have your contempt or your waistline or something other than what you're giving me here. The more so because in the next sentence you say,

But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans--from across the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs--have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research.

Mr. President, you're lying. There is no consensus. And you are not only wrong about the relationship between facts and morals, you are wrong about the facts of democracy. In America we have a process called voting--I seem to remember you were once very interested in it. We the citizens determine whether and how to spend the proceeds of taxation, which we alone are empowered to impose upon ourselves through our elected representatives in Congress, not the White House. If you want to kill little, bitty babies, get Congress to pass a law to kill little, bitty babies, if you can. I'm not going to bother arguing with you about whether it's wrong. Surely you too gazed at the sonogram screen and saw a thumb-sized daughter tumbling in the womb, having the time of her life. And a short life it will be, in a Petri dish. But we've already established that you don't know wrong from right.

The question is not about federal funding for stem cell research, the question is are you a knave or a fool? I'm inclined to take the more charitable view. For one thing you have a foolish notion that science does not progress without the assistance of government.

Philosophy was once considered science. After Alexander the Great had accepted the surrender of Athens, he found Diogenes the Cynic living in a barrel.

"What can I do for you?" Alexander asked.

"Get out of my light," Diogenes said.

On the other hand, you, Mr. President, said that scientific progress "result from painstaking and costly research, from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit, and from a government willing to support that work."

Thus it was that without King George's courtiers winding kite string for Ben Franklin and splitting firewood and flipping eye charts to advance his painstaking and costly research into electricity, stoves, and bifocals, Ben's years of lonely trial and error never would have borne fruit. To this day we would think the bright flash in a stormy summer sky is God having an allergy attack. We would heat our homes by burning piles of pithy sayings from Poor Richard's Almanac in the middle of the floor. And we would stare at our knitting through the bottoms of old Coke bottles.

We'd probably have telephones and light bulbs if President Rutherford B. Hayes (a Republican) had been willing to support the work of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. As you say, Mr. President, "When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed." (Although the light bulbs would now have to be replaced by flickering, squiggly fluorescent devices anyway, to reverse global warming.)

Also, Mr. President, you make a piss poor argument in favor of embarking on what you yourself admit is an uncertain course of action. You say, "At this moment, the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown, and it should not be overstated." And you find it necessary to say, "I can also promise you that we will never undertake this research lightly."

As your reasons for this research--which we are to perform with heavy hearts--you name a few misty hopes: "to regenerate a severed spinal cord," "lift someone from a wheelchair," "spare a child from a lifetime of needles." Then you undercut yourself by introducing a whole new fear. "And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society." Because cloning cells to make a human life is so much worse than cloning cells from a human life that's already been destroyed. Why, it's as dangerous, as profoundly wrong, and has as little place in our society as being pro-life.

Mr. President, any high school debate team could do better. Even debate teams from those terrible inner-city public high schools that your ideology demands that you champion no matter how little knowledge they provide. And I particularly enjoyed the part of your speech where you said that "we make decisions based on facts, not ideology."

Jackie Parkes has a new blog!

The Catholic mom of 10 is back at it with a new blog! Check it out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Year for Priests!

This should be a great blessing for the Church and for vocations! God bless our Holy Father:

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is proclaiming a Year for Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars.

The Pope announced this today during an audience granted to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy, a Vatican communiqué reported.

The theme for the priestly year is "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests." The Pope is scheduled to open the year with a celebration of vespers June 19, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the presence of the relic of the Curé of Ars, to be brought to Rome by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, the press release stated.

The closing ceremony will take place exactly one year later, with a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peter's Square.

During this year, a directory for confessors and spiritual directors will be published, along with a compilation of texts by the Pope on the core issues of the life and mission of priests in the modern times. As well, Benedict XVI will officially proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as "patron saint of all the priests of the world."

The congregation will aim in this year to promote initiatives that will "highlight the role and mission of the clergy in the Church and in modern society."

Another goal will be to address "the need to intensify the permanent formation of priests, associating it with that of seminarians."

Cause of Salesian Missionary Francesco Convertini moves forward

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency in Rome:

The “Positio,” just printed, for the Servant of God Fr. Francesco Convertini (1898-1976), a heroic pioneer of the Salesian mission in Bengal, was formally deposited at the offices of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 11.

The Positio, that is, the dossier which has to show as well as possible the heroicity of the life and virtues of the Servant of God, was prepared by Fr. Luciano Colussi, SDB, vicar general of the diocese of Krishnagar, where Fr. Convertini is buried. It is a single large volume of 474 pages, plus twenty sets of photographs. After the Preface by Father Cristoforo Bove, OFM Conv., relator of the cause, the Positio – as the norms require -- brings together ”information” about the life and virtue of the Servant of God and the “summary” of procedures and documents.
Now the Positio will be read and studied by the theological experts and members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It is possible that ten or more years will pass before it is approved, unless in the meantime a miraculous event were to occur that could speed up the normal process.

Of the 28 Servants of God in the Salesian Family, four others are in the same situation as Fr. Convertini. These are: Fr. Giuseppe Quadrio, Sr. Laura Meozzi, Attilio Giordani, and Cardinal August Hlond. It is expected that before the end of the year the Positio of Fr. Quadrio could be approved and the Salesian priest become Venerable. At present there are nine members of the Salesian Family who are Venerable. The Positiones of three other Servants of God are almost ready for the press: those of Fr. Elia Comini, Bp. Antonio Lustosa de Almeida, and Bp. Stefano Ferrando.

"I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't him!"

So I said to him, "Barak, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't him."
A great painting by Andy Thomas!

Rich Mullins: The Color Green

Well tomorrow IS St. Pat's...!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Phil Vassar: This is God

This is a cool country song and a beautiful message.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Conscience

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

The Highwaymen: City of New Orleans

This is the coolest! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oldest Catholic Priest in History

I came across this story on Spirit Daily and wanted to share it. I can't imagine making it until 110, but it would help the vocation crisis if every priest did!

Father Nicholas Kao Se Tseien, the world's oldest Catholic priest, died this year in Hong Kong at the age of 110.

Kao's gospel for a long life combines common sense and religious devotion. Eschew tobacco, intoxication, gluttony, anger and rudeness in favor of exercise, humility, charity, goodness, prayer, patience and piety.

"My life has been marked by two words: patience and death," he said through a translator. "Patience in the struggle for excellence of conduct, in learning from Jesus' patience on the cross. Death in learning to die without fear and to die in innocence."

Born into a Buddhist family, Father Kao converted to Catholicism as a teenager during the reign of the last Pope Benedict (Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922). In common with the present Pope Benedict, Kao has a great fondness for cats - an affinity he credits with lengthening his life.

Scott Hahn's Journey to Catholicism

Dr. Scott Hahn discusses his journey to become a Catholic convert after being a Presbyterian minister.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Proud to be Catholic!

Father LaFleur and a muscular form of Christianity

The following is a great story of a Catholic priest from Louisiana named Fr. Lafleur. I found this excellent post at American Catholic:

Joseph Verbis Lafleur was born into a large Cajun family in Ville Platte, Louisiana on January 24, 1912. From early childhood his ambition was to be a priest. Entering Saint Joseph’s Minor Seminary in Saint Benedict, Louisiana he quickly became noted for his good humor, quick wit and athletic prowess. He also had a marked interest in French military history and would recite the last words of Marshal Michel Ney before his execution by the restored Bourbons after the Hundred Days: “Come see how a soldier dies in battle, but he dies not.”

Ordained in 1938 he was assigned as assistant pastor at Saint Mary Magdalene in Abbeville, Louisiana. Depression era Louisiana knew poverty that people today would find hard to believe. Father Lafleur supplied balls, bats and gloves to the boys in his parish and helped organize baseball games. After his death some of the boys learned that Father Lafleur had purchased the equipment by pawning his wristwatch.

Father LaFleur joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 over six months before Pearl Harbor. Four months later Lieutenant LaFleur was sent with the 19th Bombardment Group to Clark Field in the Philippines. The new chaplain was popular with the men: he helped organize a baseball team, founded a discussion group and his door was always open to them.

On December 8, 1941 the Japanese attacked Clark Field and Chaplain LaFleur sprang into action. Ignoring exploding bombs and flying shrapnel he helped treat the wounded and administered the Last Rites to those beyond human help. For his actions that day he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

As the Philippines were conquered by the Japanese Father LaFleur passed up an opportunity for evacuation, stating that his place was with the men.

Over one-third of all Allied POWs in Japanese hands died. Death from starvation, at the hands of the brutal guards or disease was a constant fact of life for every prisoner of the Rising Sun. Into this hell on earth Chaplain Lafleur brought Christ. So long as he had a little bread and wine he said mass for his fellow prisoners. While in captivity at Davoa Father Lafleur built a makeshift chapel which he called Saint Peter in Chairs. His fellow POWs flocked to his services, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

As best he could Father LaFleur also ministered to the physical needs of his flock. He would continually visit and assist the many sick. He would often exchange his clothes for those worn by another prisoner if Father LaFleur thought that the other prisoner would benefit by the exchange. Most movingly, in a setting where all the prisoners were being slowly starved to death, the Chaplain would give away some of his own food to help out men who seemed to need it. Moved by this superhuman charity, other prisoners began to give to Father LaFleur pieces of their own clothing and scraps of their own food for him to distribute.

Father LaFleur believed in a muscular form of Christianity. Learning that a healthy prisoner was stealing food from the sick, he fought the man, defeated him, and was then carried through the camp by his cheering men.

As the war progressively turned against Japan, orders came out from the Japanese High Command to begin shipping POWs back to Japan to serve as slave labor. Father LaFleur and 749 other prisoners were on board the ship the Shiniyo Maru when the USS Paddlefish torpedoed it off the coast of Mindanao on September 7, 1944. The sinking occurred because the Japanese adamantly refused throughout the war to indicate when a ship was carrying POWs. Father LaFleur, despite the urgings of his fellow captives, refused to leave the ship’s hold, instead holding the ladder so that other men could attempt to climb out of the hold and escape. That was the last anyone ever saw on this Earth of Father LaFleur.

There is a plaque to Father LaFleur at the Notre Dame seminary in New Orleans:  It is inscribed:

“Venez voir comment meurt un pretre en bataille …mais il ne meurt pas.” - “Come, see how a priest dies in battle, but he dies not.”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Retreat with the Hermits of Bethlehem

Please say a prayer for yours truly, your humble blogger! I will be on retreat this week with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ and am looking forward to the prayerful silence! The blog will be updated everyday by posts that I prepared ahead of time, but I won't be back until Sunday. Below is a former post of mine on this Hermitage and folks who live there. Be assured of my prayers for all of you who visit this site! God bless each of you!

Before my ordination I was blessed to spend a week with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ. It is a beautiful secluded spot in northern New Jersey that I had never heard of before. I was a bit nervous to spend a week with "hermits" and had not idea what to expect. It turned out to be a remarkably prayerful experience and a wonder way to prepare myself for ordination. The founder of the community was a diocesan priest from Paterson, NJ named Fr. Eugene Romano. He is a very grandfatherly man who is exceptionally welcoming. His story and the story of Bethlehem Hermitage can be seen on the video. It provides a history of the place and a brief exploration of how the hermits live and why they chose to do so. The program emphasizes that the hermits do not seek to isolate themselves from a suffering humanity. Rather, through prayer and daily sacrifice, they seek to serve the Church and to be a spiritual support for all who are actively involved in carrying out the mission of Jesus. I have occasionally driven up to the hermitage just to make a visit to the chapel and to pray. It reminds me of my ordination retreat and the challenge to live my Salesian priesthood with devotion. I hope you enjoy this half hour in a hermitage!

James Longstreet: Confederate General, and Catholic Convert!

I was at Gettysburg just yesterday and would love to spend a week there! I have always been interested in the Civil War and, naturally, in the South! I was very interested to find out that General Longstreet was a Catholic convert! Very cool! Here is the story as I found it at McNamara's Blog:

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, General James Longstreet (1821-1904) became a scapegoat for the South’s woes. He was remembered as the general who argued with Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, the one that befriended Ulysses S Grant (they were actually lifelong friends), and the one became a Republican. He was also the one that became a Catholic. Today marks the day in 1877 that Longstreet was received into the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans. It was Father Abram J. Ryan, known as “the Poet-Priest of the Confederacy,” who was instrumental in his conversion. Ryan’s poems about the “Lost Cause” were longtime standard reading for southern schoolchildren. In 1904, Longstreet’s funeral was conducted by an ex-Confederate soldier named Benjamin Keiley, who was by then the Bishop of Savannah.


The following is an article that I found at Spirit Daily by Father Dwight Longenecker. I thought it was very timely and worth reading:

Human beings suffer from two huge illusions. First, that life is supposed to be comfortable and second, that someone will make it comfortable for them. We suffer from this illusion because our expectations are determined by our first experiences. If a kid goes to school, and on the first day the class bully picks on him, he loses his lunch, the teacher gives him tough homework and he misses the bus home he's going to expect school to be a bad place to be. His expectations are determined by his first experience.

Our first experience is in the womb. It's safe. It's warm. There are three square meals a day. Then most of us have nine more months of care, warmth, sweet food, comfort and security. After that we usually have even more time in childhood when someone looks after us, feeds us, keeps us warm and safe. Our expectations are determined by our first experiences. So we enter into adult life thinking that life is about finding or maintaining or defending a comfort zone. This is our basic desire. We want to be safe. We want to be warm. We want to have pleasure. We want to have a full tummy. We want to escape from hardship. We want to escape from work. We want to get back to the womb, and we think life is about comfort zones. This is our desire.

But it is an illusion. A huge illusion. That is not what life is for at all. Life is for growth and achievement and most of all soul making. That is why the desert of Lent is important. The desert corrects our desire. When we willingly go out into the desert of Lent and take some hardship and pray more and give more we are willingly correcting the huge two illusions--that life is about being comfortable and that someone else is going to make us comfortable. In Lent, but God's grace, we take responsibility for ourselves. We accept that life (and also our religion) is not about comfort zones, but war zones.

This is why we fast during Lent: to correct the comfort instinct. Instead we embrace hardship. We do this not because we just need to lose weight or break a bad habit or because there is any virtue in suffering, but because we need to correct the comfort instinct. This is why we give alms--not just because the poor need money, but because we need to give. We need to break the instinct for a secure comfort zone and give up some of the money that we would use to buy that security. This is why we pray more--to break the self dependency and acknowledge our need for God.

So this Lent, let's go out with the Lord to the Desert and pray for the natural desire for comfort be replaced with a sober and realistic expectation that this life is not just to feel good, but to become good.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saint of the day: John of God

Today the Church remembers St. John of God. His story is a fascinating one and I have included a good deal of it here. The following comes from the Catholic.org site:

From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship.

At eight years old, John heard a visiting priest speak of adventures that were waiting in the age of 1503 with new worlds being opened up. That very night he ran away from home to travel with the priest and never saw his parents again. They begged their way from village to village until John fell sick. The man who nursed him back to health, the manager of a large estate, adopted John. John worked as a shepherd in the mountains until he was 27. Feeling pressure to marry the manager's daughter, whom he loved as a sister, John took off to join the Spanish army in the war against France. As a soldier, he was hardly a model of holiness, taking part in the gambling, drinking, and pillaging that his comrades enjoyed. One day, he was thrown from a stolen horse near French lines. Frightened that he would be captured or killed, he reviewed his life and vowed impulsively to make a change.

When he returned he kept his spur of the moment vow, made a confession, and immediately changed his life. His comrades didn't mind so much that John was repenting but hated that he wanted them to give up their pleasures too. So they used his impulsive nature to trick him into leaving his post on the pretext of helping someone in need. He was rescued from hanging at the last minute and thrown out of the army after being beaten and stripped. He begged his way back to his foster-home where he worked as a shepherd until he heard of a new war with Moslems invading Europe. Off he went but after the war was over, he decided to try to find his real parents. To his grief he discovered both had died in his absence.

As a shepherd he had plenty of time to contemplate what God might want of his life. When he decided at 38 that he should go to Africa to ransom Christian captives, he quit immediately and set off for the port of Gibraltar. He was on the dock waiting for his ship when he saw a family obviously upset and grieving. When he discovered they were a noble family being exiled to Africa after political intrigues, he abandoned his original plan and volunteered to be their servant. The family fell sick when they reached their exile and John kept them alive not only by nursing them but by earning money to feed them. His job building fortifications was grueling, inhuman work and the workers were beaten and mistreated by people who called themselves Catholics. Seeing Christians act this way so disturbed John that it shook his faith. A priest advised him not to blame the Church for their actions and to leave for Spain at once. John did go back home -- but only after he learned that his newly adopted family had received pardons.
In Spain he spent his days unloading ship cargoes and his nights visiting churches and reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. A vision at age 41 brought him to Granada where he sold books from a little shop.

After hearing a sermon from the famous John of Avila on repentance, he was so overcome by the thought of his sins that the whole town thought the little bookseller had gone from simple eccentricity to madness. After the sermon John rushed back to his shop, tore up any secular books he had, gave away all his religious books and all his money. Clothes torn and weeping, he was the target of insults, jokes, and even stones and mud from the townspeople and their children.

Friends took the distraught John to the Royal Hospital where he was interned with the lunatics. John suffered the standard treatment of the time -- being tied down and daily whipping. John of Avila came to visit him there and told him his penance had gone on long enough -- forty days, the same amount as the Lord's suffering the desert -- and had John moved to a better part of the hospital.

John of God could never see suffering without trying to do something about it. And now that he was free to move, although still a patient, he immediately got up and began to help the other sick people around him. The hospital was glad to have his unpaid nursing help and were not happy to release him when one day he walked in to announce he was going to start his own hospital.
John may have been positive that God wanted him to start a hospital for the poor who got bad treatment, if any, from the other hospitals, but everyone else still thought of him as a madman. It didn't help that he decided to try to finance his plan by selling wood in the square. At night he took what little money he earned and brought food and comfort to the poor living in abandoned buildings and under bridges. Thus his first hospital was the streets of Granada.

Within an hour after seeing a sign in a window saying "House to let for lodging of the poor" he had rented the house in order to move his nursing indoors. Of course he rented it without money for furnishings, medicine, or help. After he begged money for beds, he went out in the streets again and carried his ill patients back on the same shoulders that had carried stones, wood, and books. Once there he cleaned them, dressed their wounds, and mended their clothes at night while he prayed. He used his old experience as a peddler to beg alms, crying through the streets in his peddler's voice, "Do good to yourselves! For the love of God, Brothers, do good!" Instead of selling goods, he took anything given -- scraps of good, clothing, a coin here and there.

Throughout his life he was criticized by people who didn't like the fact that his impulsive love embraced anyone in need without asking for credentials or character witnesses. When he was able to move his hospital to an old Carmelite monastery, he opened a homeless shelter in the monastery hall. Immediately critics tried to close him down saying he was pampering troublemakers. His answer to this criticism always was that he knew of only one bad character in the hospital and that was himself. His urge to act immediately when he saw need got him into trouble more than a few times. Once, when he encountered a group of starving people, he rushed into a house, stole a pot of food, and gave it to them. He was almost arrested for that charity! Another time, on finding a group of children in rags, he marched them into a clothing shop and bought them all new clothes. Since he had no money, he paid for it all on credit!]

Yet his impulsive wish to help saved many people in one emergency. The alarm went out that the Royal Hospital was on fire. When he dropped everything to run there, he found that the crowd was just standing around watching the hospital -- and its patients -- go up in flames. He rushed into the blazing building and carried or led the patients out. When all the patients were rescued, he started throwing blankets, sheets, and mattresses out the windows -- how well he knew from his own hard work how important these things were. At that point a cannon was brought to destroy the burning part of the building in order to save the rest. John stopped them, ran up the roof, and separated the burning portion with an axe. He succeeded but fell through the burning roof. All thought they had lost their hero until John of God appeared miraculously out of smoke.

John was ill himself when he heard that a flood was bringing precious driftwood near the town. He jumped out of bed to gather the wood from the raging river. Then when one of his companions fell into the river, John without thought for his illness or safety jumped in after him. He failed to save the boy and caught pneumonia. He died on March 8, his fifty-fifth birthday, of the same impulsive love that had guided his whole life.