Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memorial (From Britain's Rememberance Day)

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans by Harry Connick, Jr.

Pope Benedict: Sign of the cross is reminder of the Trinity dwelling in us

The following comes fromt the CNA:

The sign of the cross reminds us of the Trinity which resides in us, of God's name and of our commitment to the faith from the moment of baptism, said Pope Benedict before Sunday's Angelus. He also noted the essential role of the priest in bringing the “Spirit of Truth” to us.

The first Sunday of ordinary time brought with it a return to the Angelus prayer from the traditional Regina Coeli prayer of the Easter season.

With the arrival of "ordinary time," the Holy Father said, the Christian commitment should not decrease. Rather, "entered into the divine life through the sacraments, we are called daily to be open to the action of Grace, to progress in love towards God and neighbor."

Turning to Trinity Sunday, which "recapitulates" God's revelation concerning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Paschal mysteries, Pope Benedict said that despite the inadequacy of human thought and language to explain the One and Triune God, Church Fathers sought to illustrate His mysteries through their lives and deep faith.

"The Trinity, in fact, finds residence in us the day of our baptism," said the Pope, highlighting the priest's words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

And, he added, we are reminded of God's name, in which we are baptized, every time we make the sign of the cross.

Pope Benedict XVI cited the words of theologian Romano Guardini who taught that the sign of the cross puts us "spiritually in order" both before prayer and afterwards "so that what God has donated to us remains in us."

"In the sign of the cross and the name of the living God the announcement that generates the faith and inspires prayer is therefore contained," he emphasized.

Commenting on Jesus' promise to the Apostles that "when he comes, the Spirit of the truth, he will lead you to every truth," the Holy Father pointed out that this takes place in the Sunday Liturgy "when the priests distribute, week to week, the bread of the Word and of the Eucharist."

As St. Jean Vianney observed, continued the Pope, it is the priest who welcomes the human soul to the world, strengthens it and prepares it for its return to God.

The Holy Father closed his pre-Angelus words by inviting the faithful to recite the prayer of St. Hilary of Poitiers for loyalty to the faith which is professed on the day of our baptism and invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, "the first creature fully inhabited by the Most Holy Trinity," for our continued our pilgrimage on earth.

Feast of the Visitation

Memorial Day Tribute


This is powerful. Let's continue to pray for our men and women serving our country. We especially pray for those who gave all to defend her.
Hat tip to the good Deacon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

D.L. Menard sings The Back Door with L'Angelus

Salesian Cardinal: Attention to Christ helps priests to avoid burnout

Our Salesian Cardinal speaks about what it takes to keep priests renewed. The following comes from the CNA:

"The dignity of their ministry doesn't exempt priests from difficulty, from temptations and from weaknesses that sometimes shake and put their path towards holiness to the test," said Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga on Friday. To avoid "burnout," he said, pastors must center their attention on Christ, but also remain conscious of their own human and psychological needs.

The Honduran cardinal and head of Caritas Internationalis was speaking in Rome at the release of the book, "Ease and hardship in the pastoral service and the mission of the Church. Recognizing and curing 'burnout' in devotion to others."

Reflecting on the content and theme of the new book, the prelate said that priests, overwhelmed by the many challenges, excessive requests and possible difficulties arising within their ministry can become tired, experience psychological harm and eventually suffer from "pastoral burnout."

As their ministry goes beyond just "things to do," requiring their full attention and participation in relations with people of all ages and conditions, explained Cardinal Maradiaga, "if it is not balanced with a healthy interior life, it can cause a sense of uncertainty and inadequacy emerge, or also the fear of failing or feeling judged, thus (making them) lose sight of the very meaning of their work."

To combat the possibility "denaturing" their sense of altruism in loving others, he said, they must "nourish a constant attention to themselves, to their own human and psychological needs. But also a constant attention to He who they are called to serve, Jesus the Good Shepherd ..."

Citing the research of the book's author, Professor Giuseppe Crea, Cardinal Maradiaga explained that to avoid this "wearing spiral," they must be conscious of how to live their devotion to others, noting personal hardships, "but above all the profound motivations of their service."

This requires a lifestyle coherent with the faith, he said, and a love "genuinely oriented to the good and the salvation of those that are entrusted to their pastoral care."

Inexhaustible Source of Life

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Louisiana Saturday Night

Catholics Come Home to launch organization to encourage priests

We priests can use all the prayers and support we can get! God bless the folks who are creating this new site. The following comes from the CNA:

A new Catholic lay organization called EncouragePriests.org launched on Holy Thursday, April 1, to support clergy.

“Countless priests deserve our true gratitude and love, as so many lead sacrificial and humble lives. These noble men of God need our encouragement and could be uplifted by a simple prayer and a gentle word of appreciation from us,” said Tom Peterson, founder of the group.

In a press release EncouragePriests.org said billions of people have witnessed the service and dedication of Catholic priests throughout the centuries.

“Some recall the heroic and sacrificial example of military chaplains, priests who serve in nursing homes and hospitals, fathers who feed the poor, pastors who serve as peacemakers during marriage counseling, or priests who have celebrated a family wedding or funeral Mass.”

The group claimed that the secular media is “laser-focused” on “a handful of wayward priests who have betrayed Jesus and the teachings of His Church.”

“But millions of faithful priests and bishops serve as heroic shepherds of their flocks, leading rewarding and spirit-filled lives of service to others.”

The EncouragePriests.org website is currently in development. The group says the site will help Catholics offer gifts of prayer, e-cards, printable greeting cards, video messages and blogs to show their gratitude and appreciation for priests.

The effort was established by Catholics Come Home, an organization which encourages lapsed Catholics to return to regular practice of their faith. Like Catholics Come Home, EncouragePriests.org plans to air TV commercials supporting the humanitarian efforts of priests and encouraging more vocations.

The site is scheduled to launch on June 20, Father’s Day.

Spouse of the Holy Spirit

Eucharistic Adoration in Reparation

Hat tip to Deacon Greg on this one. The following comes from the CNS:

The Vatican is hosting two hours of eucharistic adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”

The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.

The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.

So far, however, the Vatican has not publicized the event. Invitations have been forwarded by email and spread by word-of-mouth.
The hour of prayer and meditation will be led by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who deals directly with cases of priests accused of abuse of minors.

In several recent statements, Pope Benedict has said the response to the sex abuse crisis in the church will require openness, adoption of new measures to protect children and spiritual reparation.

In a letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year, he asked that eucharistic adoration be set up in every diocese, so that “through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm.”

Rome discovers its most hidden places

Blessed Joseph Kowalski, Salesian Martyr of Poland

Today we remember in the Salesian Family Blessed Joseph Kowalski. Blessed Joseph was born at Siedliska, Poland, on March 13, 1911, the seventh of nine children. After primary schooling, he entered the Salesian school at Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Joseph immediately distinguished himself for his commitment to study and service, and for his cheerfulness.

As a young student he began to keep a diary, from which we learn of his devotion to Mary Help of Christians and the Eucharist. He made his first profession in 1928 and was ordained a priest on May 29, 1938 at Krakow and was appointed provincial secretary. In the parish he looked after the youth choir and became interested in young people with problems. Poland had been occupied, but the Salesians continued with their educational activity with the young. This was why his dramatic arrest came about on May 23, 1941 along with eleven other Salesians working in Krakow.

They were taken to the prison in Montelupich and then on June 26 to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. He secretly took up an apostolate, strengthening his prison friends with the will to struggle for survival. He underwent suffering and humiliation.

When he was discovered with a rosary, he refused to trample on it, thus hastening his martyrdom, which occurred on July 4, 1942. His body was first thrown into a refuse dump, and then was burned in the camp’s crematorium. His countrymen began to venerate his memory, maintaining that his sacrifice made vocations in Poland more fruitful. Pope John Paul II was of the same opinion, and became interested in the cause of various Polish martyrs. Joseph was beatified in Warsaw on June 13, 1999.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When Your World is Falling Apart























I found this posted at the In God's Company 2 blog and it seems appropriate to the way things are going these days. Please keep praying for the people of the Gulf Coast:

When your world is falling apart

*The consummation of all is close at hand." —1 Peter 4:7
* "above all, let your love for one another be constant" (1 Pt 4:8).
* "put your trust in God" (Mk 11:22), * "do not be perturbed" (1 Pt 4:7),
* "remain calm so that you will be able to pray" (1 Pt 4:7),
* "when you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance" (Mk 11:25),
* "put your gifts at the service of one another" (1 Pt 4:10),
* "do not be surprised, beloved, that a trial by fire is occurring in your midst" (1 Pt 4:12),
* "rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13).

*To summarize, when "the consummation of all is close at hand," that is, when the world is falling apart, love, trust, pray, forgive, serve, and rejoice. Don't be upset or surprised.
*This may seem to be a very unusual way of reacting to the end of the world or of our own world, but we can react this way because of our personal relationship with Jesus.
*When we have totally surrendered our lives to Him, we can confidently say: "I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Rm 8:38-39). "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; Whom should I fear?" (Ps 27:1)
*Prayer: Jesus, may I look forward to the end of the world, even my own world, because of Your final coming.
*"I give you My word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you." —Mk 11

Louisiana: Feel the Nails

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sweet Home Louisiana

Cardinal shares previously unpublished details about beatification of Fatima chlidren


The following comes from the CNA:

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, revealed a series of previously unpublished details about the beatification of the shepherd children of Fatima, such as the creation of a commission which concluded that the two children exercised heroic virtues.

Cardinal Martins said the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, which took place 10 years ago this May, was “a historic event because they were the first children to be raised to the altars who were not martyrs.”

“Before them, it was not, in fact, the practice of the Church to canonize children: it was thought that because of their age, they did not have the capability of practicing Christian virtue to a heroic degree, which is the first condition for beatification. I recall that, in their case, something very interesting was witnessed: thousands of letters from around the world were received in Rome—not only from the faithful but also from bishops and cardinals—that requested the children be beatified,” the cardinal said.

This large number of requests “led to reflection within the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. John Paul II named a commission of experts—theologians, psychologists, teachers—to study the issue. After a profound study, the conclusion was that children are capable of practicing the Christian virtues, of course in a manner that is possible for them. Thanks to that conclusion, we were able to proceed with the beatification,” he said.

Speaking about the signs of holiness in Jacinta and Francisco, Cardinal Martins underscored that they displayed “profound piety, fervent devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist. Regarding their heroism, they were willing to give up their lives rather than lie. They were threatened, in fact, and pressured to say that the visions were false, but they did not yield to the pressure.”

Referring to the beatification process of Sister Lucia, the third seer who died several years ago, Cardinal Martins said it is still in the diocesan phase, after the five-year waiting period for opening the cause was waived.

Miracles

Cardinal Martins also noted that regarding the investigation of miracles in the beatification process, in order for a miracle to be recognized as such, the cure must be “instantaneous, complete and lasting. If doctors conclude there is no scientific explanation, the documents are then sent to the theologians. They must then determine if there is any link between the cure and the prayer of intercession before God by the candidate for beatification.”

“It’s the theologians, not the doctors, who can then speak of miracles. Their conclusions are later sent to the cardinals for study and eventual approval."

Then, he continued, the Pope "is the one who ultimately has the last word: the miracle is approved and everything is ready for the beatification."

Fr. Robert Barron on The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ


The Power of the True God

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pope Benedict: Priestly authority comes only from Jesus


The following comes from the CNA:

In his last catechesis on the priesthood, Pope Benedict dedicated his Wednesday audience address to the authority that priests receive from Jesus, emphasizing that it must be used in service of people, not as an end in itself. He also asked for prayers to conclude the Year for Priests for all the ordained, including himself.

In the company of 25,000 ticket-holding attendees and hundreds more people who showed up besides, Benedict XVI dedicated his last catechesis on the essential tasks of priests to the necessity of priests working in service of the "true, ultimate good" of the person through his exercise of the priestly authority given him by Christ.

Pope Benedict explained to the crowd of pilgrims that today he wanted to look at what priestly authority means in the contemporary context, focusing specifically on how it comes from “the Lord's command to feed His sheep."

"The regimes which spread death and terror last century are a powerful reminder that authority, in all fields, when exercised without reference to the transcendent, when it ignores the supreme authority that is God Himself, inevitably ends up by turning against man,” the Holy Father said.

“It is important, then, to recognize that human authority is never an end but always and only a means, and that, necessarily and at all times, the end is always the person."

This authority, said the Holy Father, is "a precious help" towards the full realization of Christ and salvation.

Pope Benedict also touched on the Church's hierarchy, noting that the public often thinks it is of "an element of subordination, ... and for many people this contrasts with the flexibility and vitality of pastoral service.”

But this is “an erroneous interpretation which has its origins in the abuses of history," he explained. "The true meaning is of a sacred origin, it is an authority that comes from another, and subjects the person to the mystery of Christ, making him His servant. Only as His servant can he govern and guide, for Christ and with Christ."

"Exercised in the Lord's name, it is an expression of the constant presence and care of the Good Shepherd."

He went on to say that it is through the ministry of the priest that the Lord loves humankind, reaching souls through them in order to instruct, safeguard and guide them. This ministry, he taught, in addition to its foundation on the sacrament of Holy Orders, requires "above all, the continuous and progressive willingness to let Christ himself govern the priestly existence."

"In fact," the Pope added no one is really capable of nourishing the flock of Christ, if he doesn't live a profound and real obedience to Christ and the Church … "

This authority, then, through faith "remains a service to the building up of the church in holiness unity and truth." And, said Pope Benedict, the only place a priest can find the strength to carry out such a total devotion to the flock is Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI called for priests to be fearless in guiding every individual to Christ, through obedience to Christ's will, with the "solid certainty that the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest service that one can do for man."

He concluded by inviting everyone to pray for priests, bishops and also for him as the Successor of St. Peter, who has "a specific duty in governing the Church of Christ."

"Pray that we might know how to take care of all of the sheep in the flock entrusted to us, also those who are lost."

The Holy Father also renewed his invitation to all priests of the world to attend the concluding celebrations for the Year for Priests, set to take place in Rome from June 9-11. During the convention, he said, they will meditate on aspects of their ministry and renew their priestly vows.

Empty Me by Chris Sligh

Brother Roger of Taize: "All of us are seekers"

Brother Roger : All of us are seekers from Taizé on Vimeo.


Life at Taizé from Taizé on Vimeo.

Saint of the day: Philip Neri


St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him. Philip went to Rome as a teenager, studied theology and philosophy for three years and was a good student. Above all, Philip was a very active Christian who lived simply and worked hard. But he also did much good for the people around him. He helped poor children and donated his time to the sick. He was a friend to people who were troubled and lonely. In fact, Philip reached out to everybody he could for the love of Jesus.

Philip helped start an organization of lay people to take care of needy pilgrims. That ministry gradually continued as a famous Roman hospital. The priest who guided him realized that Philip was doing so much to help the Christians of Rome become fervent again. But it became obvious when Philip was thirty-six that he had the call to be a priest. It was then that he began his most wonderful ministry for others. He started to hear confessions. He was available for the sacrament of Reconciliation for several hours every day. The lines of people who came to him grew longer. But Father Philip was never in a hurry. He never ran out of patience and gentleness.

People began to notice that he could read their minds at times. He could, in some circumstances, foretell the future. The Lord even worked miracles through him. But all Philip wanted to do was bring Jesus to the people. To avoid their admiration, he acted silly once in a while. He wanted people to laugh and forget that they thought he was holy.

St. Philip was making a difference, though. Because of him, the whole city of Rome was becoming better. Once he started to think about being a missionary to far-off lands. He was very impressed by the life of St. Francis Xavier, who had died in 1552 at the gate of China. Philip had just been one year a priest at the time of St. Xavier's death. Should he leave Rome and volunteer for the missions? A holy Cistercian monk told him "Rome is to be your mission land." After that, Father Philip was at peace.

St. Philip spent the last five years of his life offering the sacrament of Reconciliation to the people. He died at the age of eighty in 1595. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

How can we become more cheerful and generous? Isn't that what we all really want to be?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You're Not Shaken by Phil Stacey

Meeting of Salesian Bishops and Cardinals Concludes


The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

The last day of the meeting of the Salesian Bishops began with Mass in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians at which Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa presided.

In introducing the celebration, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga thanked the Rector Major and his Council for having had the idea for the meeting enabling the Salesian Bishops not only to meet each other but also to study some issues and to take part in various events such as the veneration of the Shroud, the celebration at Colle Don Bosco, and not least the Feast of Mary Help of Christians.

“Ordinary” time which in Catholic liturgy comes after Pentecost, is a time in which everyday actions, illuminated by the Spirit, ought to become extraordinary, was what Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga pointed out in his homily which was full of hope and enthusiasm. The grace of the meeting in Turin ought to help the Salesian Bishops as they return to their dioceses, to be like the disciples of Emmaus who communicate their beautiful and joyful experience.

At the end of the Mass the Salesian Bishops and Cardinals went to Don Bosco’s altar. Here Fr Pascual Chávez invited the Bishops to return to their own places with the pastoral heart of Don Bosco, who beyond his wildest dreams had become the Father of an immense family. The Rector Major made his own the three lessons of Don Bosco: believe in the young, offer them the precious gift of education and evangelisation and help them to experience the strength and the sweetness of the Preventive System. With emotion and with their eyes fixed on the casket of the saint of youth, they sang the hymn “Giù dai colli”.

The 24 May to which Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga referred did not have for them any specific appointment other than the general programme for the Feast of Mary Help of Christians. In the morning some Salesian Bishops concelebrated with Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of Turin, and some with the Rector Major in the afternoon. In the evening they took part in the solemn procession of Mary Help of Christians. Over 20 thousand of the faithful also took part in the procession and a large number assisted at the Masses celebrated during the day.

At the end of the Mass gathered in the Sangalli Hall the Bishops considered the fifth topic: “Areas for a better form of communication between Salesian Bishops and the Congregation.” Speaking on this question were Bishop Tarcisio Scaramussa auxiliary bishop of San Paolo, Brazil, Bishop Patricio A. Buzon of Kabankalan, in the Philippines and Archbishop Tito Solari Cochabamba, in Bolivia. A short discussion followed which also dealt with some youth and social issues. It was clear that the Bishops see and are carrying out their pastoral ministry with dedication and in a Salesian spirit; concern for the situation of the young emerged to a considerable extent.

At the end of the meeting the Rector Major spoke. “It has been a time for the Congregation, of fraternity and for ongoing formation.” Valdocco and what it has to say, the shared experiences of the four days lived with simplicity and intensity, the celebration and other events created an opportunity to get to know each other and of spiritual refreshment. Memorable were the experience of visiting the Shroud, of celebrating Pentecost and the Feast of Mary Help of Christians.

The texts of the various talks and of some of the homilies are available on sdb.org.

On ANSchannel there is a video summarising the final day as well as of the others for the meeting of the Salesian Bishops.

The Church of Don Bosco is now a Minor Basilica


The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

On Pentecost Sunday the Salesian Bishops made a short pilgrimage to Colle Don Bosco. Here among other things in a beautiful but busy day full of the Salesian spirit, they had a meeting with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.

In the Upper Church at Colle Don Bosco over a thousand people welcomed the Cardinal Bertone. Accompanying him were other Salesian Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez and the members of his Council. Among those present were the Mayors and representatives of the neighbouring local authorities. The Cardinal entered the church carrying the pastoral staff of Cardinal John Cagliero, the first Salesian Bishop and Cardinal whose 125 anniversary of episcopal consecration is being celebrated.

Before Mass began Cardinal Bertone read a Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by which the Church of Don Bosco at the Colle has been raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica. The virtues and apostolic zeal of Don Bosco, who was born and lived his first years at the Becchi, are the reason for this privilege granted to this large church which is the goal of many pilgrimages especially by young people.

The Rector Major had requested this privilege for the Church of Don Bosco for 2015, the year in which the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco will be celebrated.

Among themes touched on in his homily by Cardinal Bertone were the fact that Pentecost is not only an event in the past, since the Holy Spirit is like a breath of wind which communicates “the power of a word of fire which proclaims the mystery of Jesus crucified and risen in many languages. It is a message of the God Who is Love, which all can understand and is addressed to the whole world.” It is an event which “was the beginning of a work of evangelisation without limits aimed at ‘every nation under the heavens.’”

“I turn to you my dear Salesian Confreres Bishops and Cardinals! Why has the Lord Jesus called us today to this hill?” The Secretary of State invited the Bishops, his confreres, to re-enforce their initial vocation and with the strength of the Holy Spirit to give new force to their desire to be those who proclaim the Gospel especially to the young as Don Bosco did. “Following in the footsteps of his shining example, taken up by so many holy bishops, priests and lay people, let us too open ourselves to the breath of the Holy Spirit, making a gift to the Church of our personal holiness before that of our service and ministry. When, with pride we sing ‘Don Bosco ritorna…’ that holy priest, that spiritual father of the young, that zealous apostle, that example of total fidelity to the Church and to the Pope has to be us.”

The service to which he has been called at the side of Benedict XVI, has led him “to share concern for all the children of the Church, both those who fill her with glory though their holiness and also those who crucify her through their sins.” Again, speaking about the Pope he said: “he governs with strength, but his fatherliness towards all is full of sweetness and love. Benedict XVI is tireless in pointing out the beauty of the Christian faith.” The recent pilgrimage to Fatima bore witness to the force with which he reminded the Church of the need for conversion, for prayer and for penance. “The difficulties of the Church, persecuted and opposed in so many places; the light and shades of a Church holy and sinful in her children; the anxieties of a Church in need of help because she is made up of men and women who are facing up to the dangers and the challenges of the society in which they are living, require an ardent pastoral charity and examples of holiness.”

At the end of the Mass the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Pascual Chávez, read and handed to the Vatican Secretary of State a letter to the Pope in which are expressed “the affection, the closeness and the total availability which Don Bosco has taught us to live from the very beginning of his charismatic experience, with regard to the Holy Father and to the whole Church.”

Afterwards in the theatre of the ”Bernardi Semeria” Institute, there was a short meeting between the Salesian Bishops and Cardinal Bertone. “As a Salesian, I carry with me a special love for the young and all the experience and thoughts accumulated in the years of teaching at the Salesian Pontifical University a veritable human and cultural training ground.”

Gulf Oil Disaster Update


God bless our wonderful Governor and God bless the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Region. Hat tip to Gateway Pundit:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said the state will not waiting for federal approval to begin building sand barriers to protect the coastline from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Oil has pushed at least 12 miles into Louisiana’s marshes, with two major pelican rookeries awash in crude.

Gov. Jindal was critical of the amount of boom his state received to ward off the oil seeping toward the coastline. But his major gripe comes at the expense of the Army Corps of Engineers, who have yet to give the go-ahead for the building of sand booms to protect the Louisiana wetlands. He used photographic evidence of oil breaking through hard booms, soft booms and another layer of protection, before being finally being corralled by a sand boom built by the National Guard.

“It is so much better for us. We don’t want oil on one inch of Louisiana’s coastline, but we’d much rather fight this oil off of a hard coast, off of an island, off of an island, off of a sandy beach on our coastal islands, rather than having to fight it inside in these wetlands,” Gov. Jindal said, making the case for sand booms.

The governor said he has been forced to protect Louisiana without the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is weighing the ecological impact of the construction of more sand booms.

Archbishop Hannan has seen it all with the New Orleans Saints

Peter Finney writes a great story at NOLA.com on Archbiship Hannan! I can remember serving mass for the Archbishop at Immaculate Conception Parish in Marrero. God bless him and God bless the city of New Orleans! Here is the NOLA story:

"The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots."

It's a new book, the life story of Philip Hannan, who went from serving as the parachute-jumping chaplain of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II, to the "say-a-prayer-for-us" chaplain of the New Orleans Saints during their journey from pro football's laughingstock to Super Bowl champions.

hannan022.jpgArchbishop Hannan has seen the New Orleans Saints rise to the top of pro football, and is the subject of a new book.

It's the story of someone who grew up an avid baseball fan of the Washington Senators, who gave the eulogy at the funeral of his friend, President John Kennedy, before arriving here in 1965, on the winds of Hurricane Betsy, then later found himself, wearing overalls and his old combat boots, offering help and comfort to hundreds following visits by Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

At 97, Archbishop Hannan is still with us, perhaps the only living member of a fan club that rooted for Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.

"They called him 'The Big Train' because he was so fast and overpowering," Archbishop Hannan recalled. "One sports writer wrote he could throw three strikes at a time. He was my hero. When I was 11, I wrote him a letter, praising his pitching and sportsmanship. When he sent back a quick response, I couldn't believe it. He wrote: 'Dear Philip, I'm very grateful for your kind letter and appreciate your support.'"

In the seventh game of the 1924 World Series against the New York Giants, Hannan was in the stands at Griffith Stadium, watching Johnson come in to pitch four scoreless innings in relief to close out the championship.

"It was one of the greatest days of my young life," he said. "I remember my dad say batters, hampered by nightfall, saw only his release, not delivery. They knew they struck out only after hearing the ball pop into the catcher's mitt."

It didn't take baseball fanatic Philip Hannan long to realize, when it came to sports, New Orleans was a different cup of tea.

"As a religion," he said, "I found out football ranked just behind Catholicism."

hartley_hannan.jpgArchbishop Philip Hannan, with New Orleans Saints owner Rita Benson LeBlanc and President George H. Bush, wish kicker Garrett Hartley well before the NFC championship game at the Superdome.On Nov. 1, 1966, All Saints Day, he was looking at the size of the headline in The Times-Picayune on page one - "N.O. GOES PRO'' - wondering if World War III had been declared.

Soon after, he was receiving a call from Gov. John McKeithen, who told him they wanted to name the team "Saints" because of the song, "When the Saints Go Marching In."

"Would that be sacrilegious?"

"I told the governor I'd have no objection. But I quickly added, from the viewpoint of the Church, most of the Saints were martyrs."

Considering what was to come, it was highly appropriate.

So was the archbishop's prayer for the expansion Saints of 1967, preparing to face the Los Angeles Rams in the opening game before a sellout crowd of 80,879 in Tulane Stadium:

"God, we ask your blessing upon all who participate in this event, and all who have supported our Saints. Our Heavenly Father, who has instructed us that the saints by faith conquered kingdoms and overcame lions, grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the Lions, but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants, and even those awesome people in Green Bay.

"May they continue to tame the Redskins and fetter the Falcons as well as the Eagles. Give our owners and coaches the continued ability to be as wise as serpents and simple as doves, so that no good talent will dodge our draft. Grant to our fans perseverance in their devotion and unlimited lungpower, tempered with a sense of charity to all, including the referees.

"May our beloved Bedlam Bowl be a source of good fellowship and may the 'Saints Come Marching In' be a victory march for all, now and in eternity."

Well, as we all know, John Gilliam would return the opening kickoff 94 yards, something the archbishop compared to "Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea."

But did you know this? Because the archbishop had to meet a class later in the day, he was not around to see his Saints lose the first of many games.

Let the record show, thanks to owner Tom Benson, Archbishop Hannan would be around, 43 years later, for every moment of the closest thing to a football miracle the Big Easy ever experienced.

At a game-day Mass, as the football world prepared to witness a 31-17 victory against the Colts, Benson was reminded what the word was in Las Vegas: Never bet against the prayers of a 96-year-old archbishop.

"Archbishop Hannan," Benson said, "was heaven sent. He had more impact on our city than any individual I could name. He was front and center post-Katrina. He did so much to help lift and repair the spirits of everyone in our community."

His time as head of the archdiocese was highlighted by a 1987 visit by Pope John Paul II, no doubt the finest athlete to ever hold that position. He grew up playing soccer. He skied, jogged, hiked, played tennis, paddled a kayak.

The archbishop was awed by the pope's energy, by the way he "created an intimacy" at a youth rally that drew a crowd of 80,000 to the Superdome. "Pope John Paul," Hannan said, "drew on his strengths as an actor and communicator."

And then there was Edwin Edwards, someone the archbishop described as gifted, intelligent, flawed, with a great sense of humor. This was a governor elected to his fourth term with the bumper-sticker message, "Vote for the Crook, It's Important," in his campaign against Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

"We would have meetings with Edwards at the governor's mansion and he would bring up some question about Scripture to prove he knew something about it," Hannan said. "Usually, it was a complete misuse of Scripture.''

The archbishop tells a story suggesting it's a shame the pope never got to meet the governor.
In preparing for the historic visit by John Paul II, security concerns were vital, the total budget for the trip estimated at close to $2 million that included pay for state police and city police.

"This was in the midst of the oil collapse and the state's massive fiscal woes," Hannan said. "But, ever the showman, Edwards insisted he wasn't worried in the least.

"If we have to," the governor promised, "we'll just rob Peter to pay for John Paul."

Principle of all perfection

... "The monk in hiding himself from the world becomes not less than himself, not less of a person, but more of a person, more truly and perfectly himself: for his personality and individuality are perfected in their true order, the spiritual, interior order, of union with God, the principle of all perfection."

Thomas Merton

Don Bosco’s Missionary Dream


The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

Sunday afternoon 23 May reflected the missionary and international flavour of the Salesian Congregation.

Early in the afternoon the Rector Major blessed a large cross on the Hill of the Beatitudes in front of the large church which today has become a Minor Basilica. This hill was the site of the fifth and last missionary dream which Don Bosco had in Barcelona, Spain, on the night between 9 and 10 April 1886. Immediately transcribed by Fr Charles Viglietti, the text was sent to Turin to Fr Lemoyne so that “it might be read to all the Superiors at the Oratory since [Don Bosco] hopes it will serve as an encouragement for a good start to a great work.”

In this dream Don Bosco “saw” the missionary expansion of his growing Congregation. A shepherdess appeared in the dream and invited the priest to look towards the horizon, and turning him around in various directions she showed him the continents and the nations in which the Salesians would arrive.

The large cross surrounded by a circle of small trees, represents something like a wind vane a “Salesian Missionary Vane”. Fr Egidio Deiana, Rector of the new Basilica gave a brief explanation. The Salesian Bishops, gathered under or near the trees placed in the directions from which they come, joined in the simple rite of blessing. At the end, inside the concrete base a brick was placed from the Cascina Biglione which used to stand where the church now rises and where on 16 August 1815 John Melchior Bosco was born.

The world-wide dimension was the theme of the meeting held in the theatre of the Salesian Institute. The topic – “The views of the Bishops to guide the Salesian Congregation at the present moment after the GC26. The stimuli and challenges of the Continental Synods” – was presented in short reports by some of the Cardinals and Bishops, one for each continent. Those who spoke were: Bishop Gaston Ruvezi, of Sakania-Kipushi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras; Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, of Guwahati, in India; Bishop Adrianus van Luyn of Rotterdam, in Holland and Cardinal Joseph Zen, former Bishop of Hong Kong.

In their contributions they highlighted some the thorny issues, the crises and the challenges which form part of life in various cultures and societies. The pastoral experience of the speakers and above all the guidelines of the various continental Synods helped those present to understand better the current struggles of some of the countries and local churches.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two Hands by Jars of Clay

Jars Of Clay - Two Hands (Duas Mãos) from Ro marin on Vimeo.

The Letter of the Salesian Rector Major to Pope Benedict

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

Yesterday, 23 May at the conclusion of the Mass celebrated in the new Minor Basilica of Colle Don Bosco, the Rector Major of the Salesians read and then gave to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a letter for the Holy Father. It was signed in addition to the members of the General Council, by the Bishops and Cardinals gathered together for their meeting in Turin.

After having explained to the Pope the circumstances which gave rise to the meeting of the Salesian Bishops, the Rector Major presented the reasons which led him to write the letter. The main one “is that of expressing to your Holiness the affection, the closeness and the total availability which Don Bosco has taught us to live from the very beginning of his charismatic experience, with regard to the Holy Father and to the whole Church.”

This devotion to the Pope is also expressed in their being close to him at this difficult hour for the Church. “With Your Holiness we share the concerns of the present moment, asking the Lord to purify our lives and to purify the Church so as to be able worthily to proclaim the Gospel, especially to the young, to the poor, to the least, to those who still do not know the Good News.”

“In the second place, Your Holiness, we want to assure you of our desire to cultivate in the Congregation and in these Brothers of ours who are Bishops a profound spiritual renewal.”

“As Sons of Don Bosco, is to assure Your Holiness of our concern for the young people of today, who often appear to be “sheep without a shepherd.”” Recognising the need pointed out by Benedict XVI himself, Fr Chávez renews the commitment of the Salesians to respond to the “educational emergency” which has arisen in today’s societies and cultures.

The letter, which concludes with a renewed assurance of the Salesians’ apostolic commitment was signed by the Rector Major, by the members of the General Council and by the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops. Finally it was also signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Fr. Barron & Dr. Scott Hahn: Modern Spirituality & Gnosticism

Father Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn continue their reflection on the modern conception of God and spirituality, revealing the Gnostic overtone of today's common misunderstandings.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

This is a beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit that I found at In God's Company 2. It comes from Fr. Jozo of Medjugorje:

Fr. Jozo's Prayer to the Holy Spirit in Siroki Brijeg October 3, 2000

Come, O Most Holy Spirit, come to us today. We need your love, because we desire to go on the new way to return to the Father, to take the step to the Father. O Come, Holy Spirit, You who makes all things new. Today grant a miracle in us and through us. Change our hearts. Take from us our hearts of stone and give us a new heart, a heart that knows how to love, how to pray, how to forgive. A heart that knows how to embrace the cross and recognize the will of God and carry it to the end. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, You who are our peace, come fill us with peace. You who are love, fill us with love and blessing and salvation. We are not here accidentally. We have been called, that we may be able to recognize our call and our mission. We ask You to come O Most Holy Spirit, that our masks may melt away, that our true face may be revealed before You. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, may a miracle happen today: the beginning of our conversion, the beginning of our true devotion. Come, O Most Holy Spirit pour out Your grace and Your strength on Your Church and convert us. Sanctify us. Change us. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, we are the Church united together in prayer with the Mother. As the disciples at the very beginning, united together with Her in prayer for the gift of Your Spirit, for the gift of love, that we may be freed from selfishness and hatred, that we may be freed from every evil, and that we may start to love, that we may start to forgive and to pray, that we may start to fast. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come bless us. Come, change us. You who are prayer, come and anoint us with prayer that we may become the Church that believes in the power of prayer. Come, Most Holy Spirit, renew prayer in us, that we may become the renewers of family prayer.Come, O Most Holy Spirit, come heal us, come bless us, come convert us. O You who anoints with Your Peace, with Your Joy, with Your Love. Come anoint us.

In the last message O Blessed Mother, You say, that the one who prays, lives joy and peace and love. O Blessed Mother, here is the Church in prayer, here is the Church who desires to renew itself in prayer, firm in prayer, come to fall in love with prayer. O grant that these days may be the renewal of our prayer, of our faith through prayer, of our love through prayer, of a Christian life in prayer. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come, pour Yourself out upon us. The Church united together with the Mother is praying to you, You who make all things new. Grant that this Church may become new. It may become a Church of prayer, a holy Church, a sign amongst nations, your city on the hillside, your light on the way, Your Self. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come and pour Yourself out upon us. Our Father who art in Heaven....Hail Mary, full of grace...Mother and Queen of Peace - pray for us. Mother of the Church - pray for us. Mother and Queen of the family - pray for us. Consolation of the Sorrowful - pray for us, help of Christians - pray for us, help of the sick - pray for us, gate of heaven - pray for us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Come Holy Spirit!


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bankrupting America


Greece is living out a fiscal nightmare. Violent, deadly riots in protest of the Greek government have erupted in the streets of Athens. How did things get so bad? And could it possibly happen in the US?

We answer these critical questions in our new short video “The Greecing of America, Simplified” – which shows how the Greek crisis came to be and how the U.S.’s spending and debt problems compare.


Find out more here.

Pope Benedict: World needs real Christians in politics and society

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI addressed the role of the faithful in politics during an audience with members of the Pontifical Council for Laity on Friday. Not only are true Christian politicians needed for true societal and political change, he said, but a greater need exists for the laity to exercise their influence in the social and political realms.

The audience with the Pope took place with members of the council, led by its president Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko. They council is currently holding its 24th Plenary Assembly, which is focused on "Witnesses of Christ in the Political Community."

Developing on the theme of the three-day assembly, the Holy Father said that it's in the hands of the faithful to provide a concrete witness to the faith in the social, cultural and political spheres. They must witness to the fact "that the faith enables them to read reality in a new and profound way, and to transform it," he said.

The lay faithful participating in political life must act "in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church," said the Holy Father, as they bring solid reasoning and "great ideals" into the democratic debate.

Their presence should be made known by their efforts to build a consensus among those who defend life and freedom, protect truth and good in families, assist those in need and seek the common good, the Pontiff explained.

It's a "demanding challenge," he noted, referring to the situation of present day democracy, which is weakened by "the spread of a confused cultural relativism, and of a utilitarian and hedonistic individualism" that "favors the dominance of strong powers."

In light of this, "There is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who bear witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political community."

The Pope further explained that, although the "technical formation of politicians" is not part of the Church's mission, she reserves the right to "pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it."

He invited the action of all Christians to "recover and reinvigorate authentic political wisdom, to be demanding in what concerns our own sphere of competency, to make discriminating use of scientific research, and to face reality in all its aspects, going beyond any kind of ideological reductionism or utopian dream."

We must "show we are open to true dialogue and collaboration ... never forgetting that the contribution of Christians can be decisive only if knowledge of faith becomes knowledge of reality, the key to judgment and transformation.

"What is needed is a true 'revolution of love,'" he remarked.

Pope Benedict concluded by inviting the new generations to take part in political life with "a commitment founded not on their ideologies or the interests of a few, but on their choice to service man and the common good, in the light of the Gospel."