Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Solidarity Difference by George Weigel

The following comes from the  Denver Catholic Register site:

Thirty years ago, on Aug. 31, 1980, an electrician named Lech Walesa signed the Gdansk Accords, ending a two-week-old strike at that Hanseatic city’s Lenin Shipyards. Walesa signed with a giant souvenir pen featuring a portrait of Pope John Paul II. The choice of pen was not, as Marxists might have said, an accident. Neither was the distinctive revolution that unfolded in the wake of the Gdansk Accords, which were forged over two weeks of high drama on Poland’s Baltic coast.
The Accords were the pivot between John Paul’s Polish pilgrimage of June 1979 and the rise of the “Independent Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity” in September 1980.  Fourteen months before the strike, John Paul II had ignited a revolution of conscience that had inspired countless numbers of people to “live in the truth,” to live “as if” they were free—as the period’s mottoes had it. “Living in the truth” gave a special texture to the Gdansk Accords, which in turn led to the unique social and political phenomenon that was Solidarity.
There had been labor unrest in Poland in 1953, 1956, 1968, 1970, and 1976. In each instance, the Polish communist regime pacified the workers (in whose name these Marxists putatively ruled) by a combination of divide-and-conquer tactics, economics bribes (usually involving food prices), and brutality. 1980 was different, and the difference that made 1980 different was the John Paul II difference—a moral difference.
I try to capture that difference in “The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy,” which Doubleday will publish on Sept. 14:
“[This] moral difference showed itself almost immediately as the Gdansk shipyard strike broke out on Aug. 14, 1980.  It was an occupation strike, in which the workers took over the entire shipyard complex, thus creating an oasis of free space in the totalitarian system. Rigorous discipline was maintained, aided by an absolute ban on alcohol in the yards. Religious seriousness was manifest, publicly evident in open-air Masses and confessions. Perhaps most crucially from the point of view of what followed, the workers, having been tutored by John Paul II in the larger meaning of their dignity as men and women, refused to settle for the economic concessions the regime quickly offered.
“Thus on the night of Aug. 16-17, the Inter-Factory Strike Committee [MKS] was established to publish a broader set of demands, including the establishment of independent, self-governing trade unions…The famous ’21 Points’ agreed upon by the MKS presidium…emphasized economic change while including a full menu of basic human rights, specifically mentioning, among others, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and an end to discrimination against religious believers ‘of all faiths’ in terms of access to the media. The goals of dissent had been enlarged and deepened; as one worker-poet would put it a few months later, ‘The times are past/when they closed our mouths/with sausage.’”
Solidarity’s tumultuous path over the next nine years paved the way for the Revolution of 1989, the (largely nonviolent) collapse of European communism, and the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. There were endless arguments as Walesa and the Solidarity leadership wrestled with the inevitable turbulence of a new trade union that was also a mass social movement and a de facto political opposition—in a society where the communist party and the state apparatus it controlled tried to occupy every available inch of social space. That the Catholic Church in Poland had tenaciously maintained its independence for 35 years in this suffocating social and political environment helped make Solidarity possible; the Church’s independence also helped provide a protected space in which the movement could continue after Solidarity-the-trade-union was dissolved, under the martial law imposed on Poland on Dec. 13, 1981.
During its epic period, Solidarity was a unique blend of moral and intellectual conviction, economic good sense, political shrewdness, and personal courage, all of which were shaped by the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and the personal witness of John Paul II. Its example should inspire free people, and those who aspire to freedom, everywhere.  

My Own Little World by Matthew West

Cardinal Zen hopeful situation in China will improve for Catholics

The following comes from the CNA:

The Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, said this week he hopes the situation for Catholics in China will improve despite the religious freedom difficulties that exist in the country. He added that the testimony of the faithful amidst widespread repression is fundamental for the future of the Catholic Church there.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Zen recently accompanied a group of nine Chinese Salesian sisters at Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience at Castel Gandolfo. Regarding the situation for Catholics in China he said, “It is important to follow the guidelines laid out by the Pope in this 2007 letter to Catholics in China,” which still has not been widely read due to government repression.

The future of the Church in China depends on the silent but efficacious testimony of Catholics in country, the cardinal continued.

Referring to the Salesian sisters, Cardinal Zen said, “The fact that they live amidst the people and are committed to ordinary tasks gives particular weight to their testimony.”

Salesians in Pakistan assisting 150,000 impacted by flooding

The following comes from the CNA:

The press office for the Salesians reported this week that the congregation is helping more than 150,000 people in Pakistan affected by the severe flooding that has already taken the lives of 1,500. An additional 20 million Pakistanis are suffering from shortages of drinking water and food.

Fr. Peter Zago, director of the Salesian operations in the city of Quetta, recently told Vatican Radio that while they have been able to assist many families, international aid still has not been able to reach the area. “This morning we received around 100 families and gave them what is essential for at least a month: flour and oil, … some beans and medicine.” The priest added that several of the children they have seen are “presenting symptoms of cholera and other deceases due to non-treated drinking water.”

“Here the U.N. is not yet present,” he continued. “We are a private institution at work. We have 80,000 euros ($101,500) and we are the only ones helping around here, looking after the families most in need.”

Fr. Zago said he realizes that when the funds run out he will have to stop the humanitarian help.
Disease has also become a problem. “The north of the country has been hit by cholera. To my knowledge there are more than 10,000 who have died of cholera, but no one wants to count them as casualties.

There are “25,000 soldiers, who could easily give a helping hand, but are kept in the Swat valley, to stop the Taliban and therefore there are no personnel to help.”

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad set aside August 24 as a day of prayer among Catholics for the 1,500 victims and the more than 20 million Pakistanis who have had to evacuate.

‘We will bury Katrina,’ New Orleans archbishop declares on fifth anniversary

The following comes from the CNA:

Five years after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond remembered the dead and thanked those who have helped recovery work. He noted that the symbolic funeral residents held for Katrina shows that it is time “to let her go.”

“Five years ago Katrina, the unwelcomed guest, did ravage on our city and left incredible destruction,” the archbishop said in a video posted on August 29 at the archdiocese’s website.

“We stand here five years later in a spirit of hope and gratitude, with hope for those who have died. We cannot forget the hundreds who died. We commend them to God’s kingdom and ask God’s blessings on their families as they grieve.”

“On Saturday morning we will bury Katrina,” said the archbishop. “We will have a jazz funeral. We’re hoping she doesn’t resurrect. It is a very symbolic gesture … that it is time to let her go. But we must move on to hope and to the future.”

The archbishop expanded on his remarks in a Sunday reflection.

“It would be easy to allow those feelings of confusion, anxiety, and despair from five years ago to creep back into our heads and spirits, but today, we must ask God to help us to rise above those feelings and allow our loving God to replace them with renewed feelings of faith and hope,” he commented.

Acknowledging that he cannot fully understand the emotions of Katrina’s victims because he was not living in New Orleans at the time of the disaster, he said that the strength of people is “amazing.”

“I am constantly inspired by the stories of those who have rebuilt and those who found solace in their faith and in love of God, family and neighbor. This is what makes New Orleans special. Your faith in God inspires me!”

“There is tremendous hope here,” he added in his video.

He pledged help from the Catholic Church to those who are still rebuilding.

“I promise to do all within our means to help you though your pain and your struggles and to be the heart of Jesus Christ to you in your time of need,” he told the disaster’s victims. “We must not forget Katrina, but must use those experiences to grow and strengthen our families and communities so that we may be an example of God’s hope to our neighbors and the rest of the country.”

In the video, the archbishop also praised the “incredible work” of Catholic charities and reported that the organization had helped provide over $55 million in aid to the hurricane’s victims. He thanked other Catholic bishops and Catholics of other dioceses who contributed to the recovery work.

He noted that Catholic Charities’ relief work recently faced a severe shortfall until a gift of $100,000 came from David Blossman of the Abita Brewing Company to help the relief work continue.

Archbishop Aymond also reported that Tom and Gayle Benson, owners of the New Orleans Saints football team, have recently decided to contribute to Catholic Charities’ relief work for Gulf oil spill victims.

“When we seem not to have enough, with the little bit we have and with God’s blessings, we have plenty,” the Archbishop of New Orleans said.

The archbishop has asked all parishes in the archdiocese to say a special Mass in honor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor to thank her for her prayers and to ask her intercession with Jesus for ongoing protection for the region. He also asked Catholics to join in prayer for New Orleans, asking that Our Lady’s prayers will join them more closely to Jesus.

A Good Teacher

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mary Byrne's X-Factor Audition

She won't be working at the supermarket much longer!

Bishops to run in Denver marathon to pay off cathedral debt and boost vocations

The following comes from the CNA:

Two Catholic bishops will take part in a Denver marathon in October. One is running to raise funds to pay off the $2.07 million debt on his diocese’s cathedral, while the other is joining local Catholics to increase prayers for and awareness of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Bishop of Springfield, Ill. Thomas J. Paprocki, a longtime marathon runner, has announced he is training for the Oct. 17 event. In a statement from the Diocese of Springfield, the 58-year-old prelate said he enjoys running and has participated in 16 marathons.

“This year I have decided to dedicate my marathon effort to help pay off the debt of the recent restoration of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield,” said the bishop, who took over the diocese in June.

“Catholics in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois can take rightful pride in our beautiful mother church, especially the many people who have already contributed generously to help pay the restoration costs,” he commented.

However, he explained that “unexpected expenses” had caused the debt and he would like to “retire this debt completely.”

He invited tax-deductible pledge donations and asked for prayer intentions for him to include while he is running and praying.

“As sacred Scripture says, ‘Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us’ (Hebrews 12:1). Your support will be greatly appreciated by me and all Catholics who gather and pray at our magnificent Cathedral,” Bishop Paprocki wrote.

The “Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon” website says that the time limit for the full marathon is six hours, a pace of 13:45 minutes per mile.

Auxiliary Bishop of Denver James Conley will also take part in the event.

Natalia Fletcher, executive assistant in the office of priestly vocations, responded to a CNA inquiry about the bishop’s participation. She reported that Bishop Conley and Bishop Paprocki attended graduate school together in Rome. Conley later told CNA in an e-mail that the two had run together in Rome, but not in a marathon.

The Denver auxiliary bishop will join archdiocesan vocations director Fr. Jim Crisman and two St. John Vianney seminarians as part of a relay team to increase support for and awareness of vocations. He will run 8.9 miles of the course and is following a training regimen of 15 miles per week.

In the past he has run in the Colfax 1/2 Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Rome Marathon, the Monte Carlo Marathon, the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Rome-Ostca 1/2 Marathon.

According to Fletcher, the archdiocese asks other runners and teams of runners to sign up for the event. Rather than seeking financial donations, the archdiocese asks that runners seek pledges of prayers for vocations to holy orders and to the consecrated life within the Archdiocese of Denver.

“There is a great need in the Church and world today for men and women who are willing to lay down their lives in service to others,” Fr. Crisman commented in a press release. “Please pray for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life, and pray for those already living these heroic vocations.”

He encouraged participants to form their teams as soon as possible so they have time to train and to pray.

The Office of Priestly Vocations has set up a section for the marathon in the “Run” section of its websitehttp://www.Priest4Christ.com.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Driving Without Headlights

Pope Benedict: Christ took the lowest place

The following comes from the CNA:

Christ did not limit himself to taking just the lowest place at the table, explained Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday. Jesus, taught the Pope, repeatedly offers humanity “a model of humility and of free giving” and showed the world “radical humility” by accepting the Cross.

Joining the many pilgrims and faithful in attendance in the courtyard at Castel Gandolfo for the Angelus were participants in the annual conference being held for members of the association of the Pope's ex-students. There was also a group from the Pontifical North American College, who were greeted specially by the Holy Father after the Angelus.

In his catechesis prior to the Marian prayer, the Pope reflected on the passage from St. Luke's Gospel read in Sunday's Liturgy. In the reading, Jesus is invited to the house of a leader of the Pharisees for a meal where, based on what he witnesses, he is inspired to tell the parable which teaches of humbling onesself and taking "the lowest place" at the table.

The Lord's words were not meant to be a lesson in etiquette or on the hierarchy of authorities, said Benedict XVI, "He insists rather on a decisive point, which is that of humility: 'everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted'."

The parable can also be read as a perspective of man's position in relation to God, explained the Pope, the "lowest place" representing "the condition of humanity degraded by sin, a condition which can only (be) liberated by the incarnation of the Only-begotten Son."

Citing his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, the Pope taught that "For this, Christ himself 'took the lowest place in the world - the Cross - and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid'."

Turning to Jesus' suggestion at the end of the parable that it should be the poorest and most excluded, those who have no way of repayment, who are invited as guests, Pope Benedict stated that the "true recompense, in fact, in the end, will be given by God, 'who governs the world ... We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength'.

"Once again, then, we look to Christ as a model of humility and of free giving: from him we learn patience in the midst of temptations, meekness amidst offenses, obedience to God in sorrow in the hope that He who invited us might say: "Friend, move up to a higher position.' the true good, in fact, is being close to Him."

Remembering Sunday's feast of the "greatest among the prophets of Christ," St. John the Baptist, the Pope closed by praying for his intercession and that of Mary "to guide us on the way of humility, to become worthy of the divine recompense."

The Great Banquet

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Would Jesus Do by Big Tent Revival

Pope Benedict exhorts world to follow St. Augustine in not fearing the Truth

The following comes from the CNA:

Addressing all people on their "walk" on Earth, the Holy Father called on Wednesday for a continued search for the "profound truth,"after the example of St. Augustine. Referring to the example of this Church Father, he said that no one should be afraid to encounter the Truth, which could "find us, get hold of us and change our lives." Pope Benedict addressed around 3,500 people between those gathered in the outer square and those in the inner courtyard of the Pontifical Villa at Castel Gandolfo for Wednesday's general audience.

He spoke of the importance of the saints being "travel companions" for all people on their earthly pilgrimage, saying that "everyone should have a saint that is familiar to them, to feel their proximity with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate them."

The saints can be of great help as guides to loving the Lord and aiding human and Christian growth, the Pope said, pointing out his own personal links to Sts. Joseph and Benedict. He explained that he has also had the "great gift of closely knowing" St. Augustine through study and prayer.

Referring to this 5th-century saint as "a good 'travel companion'" in his ministry and life, the Pope said that St. Augustine's "restless and constant search for Truth" is "still current in our age when it seems like relativism is paradoxically the 'truth' that must guide thoughts, choices and behaviors."

Pointing out the lack of superficiality in the saint's life, Benedict XVI explained that he did not seek "pseudo-truths incapable of giving lasting peace to the heart," but rather, he looked for "that Truth that gives meaning to existence and is 'the shelter' in which the heart finds serenity and joy."

While St. Augustine's route was a difficult one, the Pope recalled, an important element of his life was that "he never stopped, he was never contented with that which gave him just a glimmer of light.

"He knew how to look into the intimacy of himself and he realized ... that that Truth, that God that he sought with his strength was more intimate to him than himself, He was always beside him, He had never abandoned him, He was waiting to be able to enter in a definitive way in his life."

Augustine understood that he did not find the truth, but it was "the very Truth, that is God, that sought and found him," the Holy Father specified.

Reaching the core his message, Pope Benedict said, "often we prefer to live just a passing moment, deceiving ourselves that it brings lasting happiness; we prefer to live - because it seems easier - with superficiality, without thinking; indeed, we are scared to seek the truth or maybe we are scared that the Truth might find us, get hold of us and change our lives, as happened for St. Augustine.

"Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to say to everyone, also to those who are in a moment of difficulty on their walk of faith, or also to those who participate little in the life of the Church or to those who live 'as if God didn't exist,' not to be afraid of the Truth, not to ever interrupt the walk towards it, not to ever cease searching for the profound truth about themselves and about the things with 'the interior eye' of the heart."

Concluding his address, he said, "God will not fail to give the Light to show and the Heat to make the heart feel that He loves us and that He desires to be loved."

Never Ever Give Up!

Fr. Robert Barron on the Lord's Prayer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beautiful Things by Gungor

Updated: Mother Teresa's 100th Birthday!

Quotes of Mother Teresa
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Be holy – let us pray."

"I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand."

"When once a chairman of a multinational company came to see me, to offer me a property in Bombay, he first asked: ‘Mother, how do you manage your budget?" I asked him who had sent him here. He replied: ‘I felt an urge inside me.’ I said: other people like you come to see me and say the same. It was clear God sent you, Mr. A, as He sends Mr. X, Mrs. Y, Miss Z, and they provide the material means we need for our work. The grace of God is what moved you. You are my budget. God sees to our needs, as Jesus promised. I accepted the property he gave and named it Asha Dan (Gift of Hope).

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

"Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The White Mountain

The White Mountain from charles on Vimeo.

New Orleans archbishop launches video blog to reach Louisiana Catholics

The following comes from the CNA:

Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond has launched a video blog to deliver weekly messages to area Catholics. His first message reflects on his hopes for the future and what he has learned in his first year an archbishop. His next video will mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

"On most days it's hard to believe it's been a year already," Archbishop Aymond says in his first video. He added that it was his “humble privilege” to serve as archbishop, especially since he is the first native son of New Orleans to hold the office in over 200 years.

He also admitted that he has not been to all the parishes of the archdiocese as he had hoped he would, but he intends to fulfill the promise he made.

Speaking of the state of the archdiocese, he said “the Catholic Church is alive and well” and continues to be a “strong, strong presence” in New Orleans and beyond.

The archbishop has said he has been “overwhelmed” by the fraternity of the priests and by the “wonderful welcome” he has received from the priests, religious and laity.

Turning to the challenges facing the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Aymond cited rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina, responding to the effects of the Gulf oil spill, and addressing those hurt by the archdiocese’s pastoral plan to reorganize its churches.

Discussing his goals for the future, the archbishop said he would like to “tweak” the pastoral governance structure better to serve parishes and Catholic institutions and would like to build on the “wonderful relationships” he has formed.

He added that he would like the archdiocese to have a local synod.

The archbishop also advocated continued outreach to those who are away from the Church, noting the “Catholics Come Home” campaign planned for Lent 2011. In the archbishop’s words, this campaign provides the opportunity to say to absent Catholics “We’re sorry the Church hurt you. How can we welcome you back?”

Discussing young adults and youth, the archbishop said he was “very impressed” with these “leaders of tomorrow.” Noting how many young people want to combine their faith with their professional lives, he said they make him “very, very hopeful” about the future.

A new video blog entry from Archbishop Aymond will be published weekly at the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ web site, the archdiocese said. The website is located at http://www.arch-no.org

Fire Fall Down by Hillsong United

We are beginning a new school year here at Don Bosco Residence.  We have 24 men in formation here this year!  We have a full house!  Please pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us to have a blessed school year.  I am excited to see God work in our young men!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Build a Civilisation of Love

The following comes from the CNA:

Benedict XVI made a special plea to Mary for her intercession for peace in the world on Sunday, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Explaining her role as Queen of the world and her participation in her Son's mystery, he asked for the Blessed Virgin's help to persuade men to build a "civilization of love."
Among the many groups in attendance for the Marian prayer with the Pope at Castel Gandolfo were a contingent of Orthodox Christians from Galilee and a number of priests from the Legionaries of Christ. At the end of the audience, a youth band played a brief piece and was complimented for their "good music" by the Pope himself.

Speaking of the significance of the Marian feast before the Angelus, Benedict XVI explained that on this day the Church contemplates the Mother of Christ crowned by her Son, a crown which represents her role in "universal sovereignty." The fact that this year's feast, like the Assumption last week, falls on the Sabbath gives it a "greater light from the word of God," said the Pope.

"In particular," he explained, "the icon of the Virgin Mary Queen finds a significant confirmation in today's Gospel, where Jesus asserts, 'behold, those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last'."

This "typical" expression of Christ can be found phrased in different ways throughout the Gospels, observed the Pope, so it "clearly reflects a theme dear to his prophetic preaching."

And, he pointed out, "the Madonna is the perfect example of this evangelical truth ... that God lowers the proud and the powerful of this world and raises the humble.

"The small and simple girl of Nazareth became the Queen of the world! This is one of the marvels that reveal the heart of God."

The "sovereignty of Mary" is "completely relative to that of Christ," who was exalted by the Father above every creature, the Pope explained. "(B)y the design of grace, the Immaculate Mother was fully associated with the mystery of the Son … (She) shared with the Son not only the human aspects of this mystery, but, through the work of the Holy Spirit in her, also the profound intention, the divine will, in a way that all her existence, poor and humble, was elevated, transformed, glorified, passing through the 'narrow gate' that is Jesus himself.”

"Yes," said the Pope, "Mary was the first to pass through the open 'way' of Christ to enter into the Kingdom of God, a way accessible to all men, to all who trust the Word of God and work to put it into practice."

Throughout Christian history, he concluded, there has been public veneration of the Virgin Mary and "today we wish more than anything to renew, as children of the Church, our devotion to her whom Jesus left us as Mother and Queen.

"We entrust to her intercession the daily prayer for peace, especially where the absurd logic of violence is most rampant; so that all men are persuaded that in this world we must help each other as brothers to build a civilization of love.

"Maria, Regina pacis, ora pro nobis!" the Pope exclaimed before leading the Angelus prayer.

"Can Anything Good Come from Nazareth?"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lift Up Your Face by Third Day

The Catholic Workout

Health, fitness and weight loss expert Michael Carrera has written an exercise book that will workout your body and your soul!  Check out the Catholic Workout:

From Fitness Expert and a once starved Catholic comes an unprecedented method of building your body and your faith. The Catholic Workout invites you to use your body as an expression of love for Christ and as an opportunity to renew your belief in God, others and yourself.

Far from a typical fitness-oriented book, The Catholic Workout involves performing five specific resistance exercises while meditating on important events in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Michael Carrera leads by example, offering guidance through his touching stories and confessions. All you need is a Rosary, a set of dumbbells, and thirty minutes, three times a week to get the body and life you always wanted!

"A very personal, convincing model to a healthier and happier life under every aspect. The author takes you where you are at, and by a novel approach to the Rosary shows you step by step the way to human and Christian maturity." (Father Joseph M. Occhio, SDB, STL, Ph.D.)


BBC Newsnight Report on Medjugorje

Follow Christ! Pope John Paul II in Boston, 1979

This is a classic moment of our late Holy Father in Boston... "Follow Christ!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Winters of My Life

Winters of My Life from Jonathan Burhop on Vimeo.

Winters of My Life is a portrait of Howard Weamer. For the past 35 years he has spent his winters as a hutkeeper in Yosemite's backcountry. He fills his days writing, reading, photographing, and being an ambassador to mountain culture. This is a brief look into his world and why he chooses to stay.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Needtobreathe- You are here from danspatacean on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Your Love is a Song by Switchfoot

Your Love Is A Song from Bill Lindner on Vimeo.

Thomas Merton on St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Fr. Thomas Merton (1915-1968) in a lecture on the theology of St. Bernard of Clairvaux to novice monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky. Merton was 'master' (the title of the monk responsible to educate novice monks) at the Abbey in the early 1960's.

Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg and Daily Mass

I came across this article at the Spirit Daily site:  It came originally from here.

Hollywood actor and former rap star Mark Wahlberg has attended Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, taking time out of the Australian promotional tour of his new film The Other Guys.

Wahlberg, 39, was at Mass on Monday, wearing his golf clothes after a game with co-star Will Ferrell, reports the Herald Sun.

"I love golf and I love church. I do both every day,'' the committed Catholic and Calvin Klein underwear model said as he entered the cathedral.

Wahlberg, who was raised a Roman Catholic in Boston, is a former drug addict who had several run-ins with police as a teenager.

But he cleaned up his image and has settled down wife Rhea Durham and their four children.

The actor, formerly known as Marky Mark during his earlier years as a rap musician, arrived in Sydney on Sunday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster

Castles and Ruins in Spain

Island of Reichenau

Lake Boden is located in southern Germany close to the Swiss border.
A long tree-lined road stretching from the lakeshore leads to the Island of Reichenau.

Reichenau means Blessed land and the entire island with its monasteries are inscribed as a World Heritage. The island served as an important base of the Order of Saint Benedict during medieval times.

110 Young people from the Salesian Youth Movement at Santiago de Compostela

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

The pilgrimage of young people from the Salesian Youth Movement from the Lombardy-Emiliana (ILE) province reached its climax at the festivities for the Feast of the Assumption at Santiago de Compostela. The most important moment, marking the arrival at Santiago, was Mass in the Cathedral, at the altar of St James.
On this occasion of the Jacobean holy year, 110 young people from the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM), coming from Salesian works in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, completed the pilgrimage, the famous “Santiago Walk” along the route coming from France. The group, which left on 5 August from Saint Jean Pied de Port, arrived on 15 August in Santiago, covering 180 kilometres by foot – split across the main stages of the Walk – and used a bus to cover the remaining 600 kilometres.

But those who took part were able to experience the pi8lgrims` sense of poverty and reducing things to essentials: the overnight stays were in Salesian houses or public buildings, while lunch and supper was prepared by a “kitchen group” who used a field kitchen to prepare meals.

The spiritual intensity of the pilgrimage was strong, organised as it was by Fr Elio Cesari, delegate for Youth Ministry in the province. He had proposed an approach for the youngsters, in fact, which they could use as a tool once back home again: every day had morning prayer, evening prayer, mass, two opportunities for meditation while they were walking, with a commentary on a Gospel passage and the telling of the life of a Saint.

To foster the community dimension, at the end of each section of the walk, each one shared with a companion on the journey, a different one each time. This allowed them to create a strong spirit of sharing and bonds of friendship which will certainly last beyond the 10 intense days of the walk.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Power of Your Name by Lincoln Brewster

A Surprise at the Confessional.

This is a powerful story about the power of the sacraments!  The following comes from In God's Company 2:

In the beginning of May 2010, an Italian family from Naples arrived at Medjugorje in a state of profound distress: on a spiritual level they had no peace, on a physical level they were carrying a heavy cross: not only was their 5 year old almost completely deaf since birth, but their 8 year old son, Antonio, suffered from epilepsy. His seizures multiplied day by day and occurred more and more frequently. His parents couldn’t bear to see him suffer like this anymore! One evening, they were able to go with the other pilgrims to pray on Apparition Hill with Ivan, and they recited the Rosary under the stars as they awaited the coming of Our Lady. There, they placed everything into Her motherly hands. They hoped for a powerful, heavenly assistance during this pilgrimage.

The next day, the father went to share with the responsible of their group the painful situation of his family, hoping for a comforting word from her part. But she simply said to him, "Go to confession!" Surprised by this seemingly harsh word, the man made a solid examination of conscience. Actually, he was living in sin and had not been to confession in years! Seeing within that word an invitation to make his peace with God, he decided to make a good confession and he sincerely renounced his sins.

To everyone's amazement, his son Antonio (ignorant of this confession) had no longer any seizures since then! As for the little 5 year old girl, upon returning from the pilgrimage, she began to speak, pronouncing intelligible words for the first time...
The father concludes his beautiful testimony in this way: "I am changed! My wife and I see life with different eyes. It is a great comfort for me to have found peace again, and to rediscover the optimism of my wife. Since that confession at Medjugorje, I can touch with my own hands the benefits of a life lived in the light of God."

Yes, the Blessed Mother knows why she asks for monthly Confession.

"When there is sin”, she says, “there is no peace". "Monthly Confession shall be a remedy for the Church of the West". (1982)

“I desire to lead all of you to my Son, your Savior. You are not aware that without Him you do not have joy and peace, nor a future or eternal life. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time of joyful prayer and surrender.” (07/25/2010)

“I ask of you to sincerely look into your hearts and to see how much you love Him (the Father). Is He the last to be loved? Surrounded by material goods, how many times have you betrayed, denied and forgotten Him? My children, do not deceive yourselves with worldly goods. Think of your soul because it is more important than the body: cleanse it. Invoke the Father, He is waiting for you.” (11/2/2009)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beautiful Minds: Stephen Wiltshire

Saint Tarcisius

Monday, August 16, 2010

If We've Ever Needed You by Casting Crowns

Fr. Robert Barron comments on New Media and Evangelization

Pope Benedict speaks of Christian promise of eternal life in heaven

The following comes from the CNA:

The destination of Mary assumed is a reality founded on the love of God, taught the Pope on Sunday. The Christian promise of heaven, he said, brings great joy and encourages believers to work for the construction of the "world of God."

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the intimate atmosphere of the pontifical parish of St. Thomas of Villanova for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the town of Castel Gandolfo. During the celebration, attended by parishioners and a select few military, civil and religious leaders, the Holy Father spoke of the destination of Mary as she was taken from earth.

He explained that in the Assumption, "we believe that Mary, as Christ her Son, defeated death and triumphs already in the celestial glory in the totality of her being, 'in body and soul'."

Expanding on the idea of the "celestial glory" to which Mary arrived, Pope Benedict noted that people today are conscious that by "'heaven' we are not referring to just any place in the universe, to a star or something similiar" but "to something much bigger and more difficult to define with our limited human concepts.

"With this term 'heaven'," he said, "we wish to assert that God, the God made close to us, does not abandon us even after death, but has a place for us and gives us eternity…”

He explained that in order to understand this we can look to our own lives and the way loved ones live on in our hearts after they die but only as a "shadow" because also this memory is destined to expire with the death of those who conserve it.

"God, on the other hand," he taught, "does not ever pass and we all exist in accordance with His love. We exist because he loves us, because he has thought of us and he called us to life. We exist in the thoughts and in the love of God. We exist in all of our reality, not only in our 'shadow'."

The serenity, hope and peace of man is founded on God's thought and love, Benedict XVI explained, "he does not survive just in a 'shadow' of ourselves, but in Him, in His creative love, we are protected and introduced with all our life, with our being in eternity."

"It is His love that defeats death and gives us eternity, and it is this love that we call 'heaven' ..."

This is a truth, concluded the Pope, "that should always fill us with profound joy:" the Christian promise of eternal life in heaven, "not just any salvation of the soul in an imprecise beyond."

This gives Christians "a strong hope in a bright future and opens the way towards the realization of this future," he added.

"We are called, as Christians, to edify this new world," he said, "to work so that it might become one day the 'world of God,' a world that surpasses all that we ourselves can build. In Mary assumed in heaven, fully participating in the resurrection of the Son, we contemplate the realization of the human creature according to the 'world of God.'

"We pray that the Lord makes us understand how much our life is precious to His eyes; (that He) reinforces our faith in eternal life; that he makes us men of hope, who work to build a world open to God, men full of joy, who know how to see the beauty of the future world among the worries of daily life and live, believe and hope in this certainty."

Happy Birthday St. John Bosco!

Find more videos like this on Salesians of Don Bosco

For more information on Don Bosco and the Salesian Vocation please click here!
The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Son of Venerable Margaret Bosco. John’s father died when the boy was two years old; and as soon as he was old enough to do odd jobs, John did so to helps support his family. Bosco would go to circuses, fairs and carnivals, practice the tricks that he saw magicians perform, and then put on one-boy shows. After his performance, while he still had an audience of boys, he would repeat the homily he had heard earlier that day in church.

He worked as a tailor, baker, shoemaker, and carpenter while attending college and seminary. Ordained in 1841. A teacher, he worked constantly with young people, finding places where they could meet, play and pray, teaching catechism to orphans and apprentices. Chaplain in a hospice for girls. Wrote short treatises aimed at explaining the faith to children, and then taught children how to print them. Friend of Saint Joseph Cafasso, whose biography he wrote, and confessor to Blessed Joseph Allamano. Founded the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in 1859, priests who work with and educate boys, under the protection of Our Lady, Help of Chistians, and Saint Francis de Sales. Founded the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians in 1872, and Union of Cooperator Salesians in 1875.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brother's Keeper by Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker

The Journey's Destination

Ave Maria by Luciano Pavarotti

I am back from my retreat at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, NY. Thanks for the prayers!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Taize Celebrates Anniversaries

The Taize community is remembering its founding and the death of Brother Roger its founder. The following comes from the CNA:

The Taize community in central France will mark two important anniversaries on Saturday with a prayerful celebration. Five years after their founder's murder, the community works to carry out his vision of reaching out to those seeking to live every day as "a day for God."

Taize community's spokesman, Brother David, told CNA that 5,000 people will be with them for Saturday's celebration of the double anniversary of Br. Roger Schutz' death in 2005 and the 70th year of the community he founded.

Four thousand young people have been there since last Sunday, spending their days taking part in community activities, reflecting on bible verses, praying in a large group three times daily and also completing practical tasks to keep the place running. This is the normal routine for visitors, who come for a week at a time.

Br. David said that while July and August are their busiest months, they host visitors from all Christian backgrounds every week of the year except for the week after Christmas, when they host a celebration in a major city. "For us," he said, "it's kind of a mystery that they come week after week." But, he noted, by word-of-mouth, experiences get passed on and people keep showing up, many to return.

About 1,000 more people from the area will join the 4,000 temporary residents for Saturday's celebration. Beginning evening prayer at 7:30 p.m. in fields close to the village, the participants will make a pilgrimage to the community's Church of the Reconciliation, passing by the Brother Roger's grave on the way. Once at the church they will read and reflect on the Gospel of the resurrection.

Recalling the founder's legacy, the Taize spokesman said, "we are very thankful what Brother Roger gave us. His desire to search ... he hosted many people who came on a search."

He began the community in 1940 as World War II raged, leaving many refugees in need of care and direction. The community, now with around 100 brothers, maintains his original vision of providing a place of reflection for people of all faiths and backgrounds both in Taize and at their five other houses around the globe.

"The point," explained Br. David, "is to help them on this search, listen, answer questions. What we would like is to help them to meet Christ, to discover Christ. ... that they will find for themselves the answers for the questions they bring (with them)."

He remembered that Br. Roger used to stress the importance of remaining rooted in the "essential - in our vocation - and to see the reality, not to be closed in the way we do things, be too formal in the things we do ... to remain faithful to it and live it in the place we are."

The founder would often ask aloud how to better live their faith, being aware of the present and their surroundings to live every day "as a day for God," Br. David described.

"There's a continuity that things not remain locked in place, that every day we can search and his perspective is very important for us," said the spokesman. "The world changes, people change but Christ remains the same."

Lead Kindly Light

Jackie has a new blog over on the other side of the pond! Please check out Lead Kindly Light. Here was her first post back in July:

Welcome to " Lead Kindly Light "

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom,
lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will: remember not past years!

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Words: John Henry Newman, 1833