Saturday, May 31, 2008

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel

I came across this video on Fr. Longenecker's site and was so impressed! I love the California Mission style and am happy to see new Chapels and churches being built in this style.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity chapel is prominently located at the head of the main quadrangle at Thomas Aquinas College. This design for the Thomas Aquinas College chapel is inspired by the churches of Southern California as well as by the Catholic tradition. You can read more about it here.

Ave Maria from Britian's Got Talent

My sister forwarded this link to me and I was so impressed! This 12 year old girl sings really like a pro. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;

As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Aptera Type 1: 300 MPG

I am not a green fanatic, but I do like things that work! I found this on the Futurist blog and thought that it was a cool and hopeful sign of things to come. It sure beats paying the king's ransom for a tank of gas!

Aptera already has an all-electric car due for late 2008 that is priced at just $27,000, while delivering the equivalent of between 200 and 330 mpg. The fact that the vehicle has just three wheels may reduce mainstream appeal to some degree, but the futuristic appearance of the car will attract others. The simultaneous use of Nanosolar's solar panels with the all-electric cars from Aptera may enable automotive driving to be powered by solar generated electricity for the average single-family household. The combination of these two technologies would be the best way of getting off of oil and onto fully renewable energy for cars.

Who I Am Makes A Difference!

I saw this video on Alive and Young a few days ago and thought I would share it with you. The video is very simple but moving. The statistics at the end really make you think. Let's continue to work toward being more encouraging of one another. We need to remember to support our young people in a particular way. Let's pray that they all know the difference they make in our lives! God bless!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lourdes: A Place of Love

I think if there is a place in the world that I really feel called to visit it would have to be Lourdes! I do admit that I enjoy traveling and there are a good many places that I would still like to see, but none of them have the same spiritual pull for me as Lourdes. I suppose it is because my birthday is on her feast day (February 11) and I have always felt a strong connection for that reason. A second reason might be that I was so strongly influenced by the culture of New Orleans which is still very influenced by the French Catholic traditions. Also, I have always been so impressed by the simple peasant girl Bernadette who so sincerely responded to the call of God despite the many sufferings it cost her. Finally there is the mystery of those miraculous waters. Lourdes is a place that calls to mind healing... something all of us need at one level or another. As we continue in this month of May and we remember to honor our Blessed Mother in a special way perhaps we can ask for the gift to be more like that simple girl Bernadette. God willing I will make my way to Lourdes one day. Until then we can go there spiritually any time we choose! Keep smiling and God bless!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Governor Bobby Jindal on Jay Leno

This is another video I stole from Amy Proctor! I do think the Governor would be fantastic... but, I pray Louisiana can keep him for a while! We can use all the help we can get!

Running on an ethics platform, Republican Bobby Jindal became America’s youngest governor at the age of 36 when he won 54% of a 4-way race in Louisiana in 2007. Jindal is also Catholic and the first Indian-American governor in history.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thank You Soldiers!

I found this on the Viking Pundit and had to include it as well! It is actually a beer commercial, but very well done. God bless our troops!

Speak With Authority... Like Ya know?

This is so funny and so true! Like, ya know what I mean?

Monday, May 26, 2008


I found this information on Gateway Pundit and am happy to add it here as well. Thanks to the patriots on wheels for showing support to our troops and vets!

Rolling Thunder Roared Into Washington DC Today.
The pro-veterans and MIA biker group gave President Bush a leather jacket and vest when they stopped by the White House during their annual ride to support veterans.

Bush commended the group for the outstanding work they do supporting veterans and veteran causes.

Rolling Thunder rolled into Washington DC this weekend.
The 21st annual rally is expected to bring about 300,000 motorcyclists into Washington for a ride from the Pentagon to the National Mall.

Rolling Thunder is a national organization that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support, food, clothing and other essentials to sanctioned veterans' groups, veterans and veterans' families in need, homeless veteran programs, women's' crisis centers, and toys for children. It is comprised of men and women with 40-45% being non-veterans with the balance being veterans from all wars and peace-time.

Memorial Day Tribute

This Memorial Day I pray that Americans will be mindful of the great legacy left to us by so many who gave their all for us. It is a great day to fly your flag, to visit a cemetery or memorial, or to go to Church to pray for those who have made such a profound sacrifice. Also, let's continue to pray for our troops who remain in harms way for our safety, security and freedom.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Colonel George Day and John McCain

Thanks to Amy Proctor for this story on George Day and John McCain. This is very inspiring stuff! COL (RET) George Day is the most decorated serviceman since Douglas McCarther. He was also a POW at the Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam with John McCain and has more than 70 military medals representing his service. Here Day talks about his experiences and torture in captivity with McCain. Great heroes make great sacrifices for freedom! God bless all of our veterans!

Dream of Don Bosco

St. John Bosco was a dynamic saint who founded the Salesians (Society of St. Francis DeSales) in nineteen century Italy. His many prophetic dreams, beginning at age nine, guided his ministry and gave insights on future events.

On May 14, 1862, Don Bosco dreamed about the battles the Church would face in the latter days. A sign of that time, aside from attacks on the the Pope and great adversity against the Church, was a Pope whose election would come almost as quickly: "the news of the death of the Pope coincides with the news of the election of the successor."

The new Pope anchors the 'ship' of the Church between two pillars, one with a statue of Mary (Auxilium Christianorum or 'Help of Christians') and the other with a large Eucharistic Host (Salus Credentium or 'Salvation of the Faithful'). Pope John Paul II's writings and witness anchored the Church to these two pillars and Pope Benedict has done the same. Let's pray that each of us remain anchored to these two great pillars!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Merlin German: American Hero

I found this on Amy Proctor's website and was well inspired and thought I would share it here. Merlin German was a sergeant in the Marine Corps who was hit by an IED in Iraq in 2005. The explosion left him with burns over 97% of his body and nearly dead. Merlin battled back to life through unimaginable physical obstacles, depression, hope and finally resolution that his example could help other people to be inspired in their own lives. His life really did inspire people and let's pray that his Merlin's Miracles continues to touch others. Let's continue to pray for all of those who sacrifice so much for all of us. We might take too much for granted!

Merlin German died unexpectedly on April 11, 2008 after minor surgery that was not life threatening. Before his death, he created Merlin’s Miracles, a charity to help burned children and their families. His legacy and tough spirit live on through this charity.

Ave Maria

Happy Feast of Mary Help of Christians!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Feast of Mary Help of Christians!

Happy Feast of Mary Help of Christians! I received from Peter at Rubrics and Rituals the full trascription from the Salesian Proper of the prayers for Mary Help. You can get those readings here.

On many occasions through the course of history the Christian people have experienced the protection of the Virgin Mary. The title of Help of Christians, which Don Bosco associated with that of Mary, Mother of the Church is an indication of the special intervention of Mary in the most difficult trials of personal human life, of the Church, and of the whole human family.

The liturgical celebration was instituted by Pope Pius VIII in gratitude for Mary’s intervention in a critical period in the history of the Church. Driven out by violence form the See of Rome and held as a prisoner for 5 years, the Pontiff had implored the help of Mary and had invited all Christians to do the same. Contrary to all expectations, he was freed and returned to his See on 24 May, 1814. Devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, was spread far and wide through the work of St. John Bosco and continues to be propagated in the world by the Salesian family which recognizes and invokes Mary, Help of Christians as its principal patroness.

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 9)

May 23: for Young People
May they not allow themselves to be captivated by materialism, by consumerism, by individualism; may they strive to live according to ideals that can build a society that is more just and respectful toward all values, including religious ones.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More on the Miracle of Bella

The producer of the movie Bella introduces the lead actor Eduardo Verástegui, who tells how the life of a child was saved through his involvement in this wonderful film.

Vocations in St. Louis

This is an interesting article that I found on the St. Louis Today website. It is very positive look at the vocation situation in that Archdiocese. Many good things are said about the Archbishop and how he takes a personal interest in the men in formation. Let's pray that more of the clergy and religious take a more active role in supporting vocations! The young people are hungry and ready to serve, but are we inviting them enough!?
Once or twice a year, each student at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary will drop by Archbishop Raymond Burke's residence in the Central West End at 4:30 p.m. From there, they set off down Lindell Avenue and into Forest Park..

"The walks," as the seminarians call them, are opportunities for young men to have heart-to-hearts with a man who regularly meets with the pope, a heady prospect for a young priest-in-training. The conversations are usually casual, and the seminarians get to see a more personal, human side of Burke — like when he gets a little skittish around off-leash dogs.

Kenrick officials organize the walks using time sheets. When the sheets are posted, there's a rush to sign on.

"It's like when you throw pellets at the Japanese fish at the Botanical Gardens," said seminarian Edward Nemeth, 26. "Guys falling over each other to get their names on the list."

On Saturday, Nemeth and eight of his colleagues at Kenrick will be ordained as priests in the St. Louis Archdiocese — the largest St. Louis ordination class in 25 years and one of the largest in the U.S. It's also the same number of ordinations in St. Louis as the last three years combined.

Since the 1980s, declining interest in the priesthood has been a growing crisis for the Roman Catholic church in the U.S., a situation that was compounded by the clergy sex-abuse scandal earlier this decade. One church study suggested that 80 percent of parents whose sons are considering the priesthood try to dissuade them, fearing their child is entering a life of loneliness and unhappiness.

Burke is credited for helping to address such concerns at Kenrick. He is active in recruiting priests and knows the seminarians — their names, their life stories, their joys and their fears. He's also a frequent visitor to the seminary, sometimes dropping by unannounced for lunch with the students.

"He's the center and the core of this whole thing," said the Rev. Michael Butler, the vocations director for the archdiocese.

The student body at Kenrick-Glennon, which includes the undergraduate Cardinal Glennon College and graduate-level Kenrick Theological Seminary, is 112 students, the largest enrollment in two decades and a 50 percent increase over last year.

Monsignor Ted Wojcicki, Kenrick-Glennon's president, said he hopes to enroll 120 students next year, which would double the size of the seminary population from a decade ago. Last year, the archdiocese announced plans to expand the seminary.

The archdiocese officially attributes its recent success with vocations — Latin for vocare, which means, to call — to a higher power. More men are hearing God's call to the priesthood, they say. But God has had a hand from Burke, who decided vocations would be a high priority since he arrived in St. Louis in 2004.

"A bishop's principal responsibility is to provide priests for the people in his pastoral care," Burke said in an interview last week from Rome. "Ordinations have to be absolutely right at the top of my priorities."

During a Vatican meeting just months before his death in 2004, Pope John Paul II told Burke and other Midwest bishops to do more to increase the number of men training for the priesthood.

"No one can deny that the decline in priestly vocations represents a stark challenge for the church in the United States," the pope told the bishops.

John Paul was not exaggerating. The number of diocesan priests in the U.S. has declined 22 percent since 1965, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. In the same period, the number of graduate level seminarians has fallen 60 percent.

In 2005, the St. Louis Archdiocese estimated that by the end of 2008 it would have only 230 active diocesan priests, down from 313. The number has decreased, but not as precipitously as predicted three years ago and stands at 286.

At Kenrick, it's not just Burke's involvement that is cited for the turnaround in enrollment. The archbishop's conservatism, too, is an appealing aspect to young seminarians.

"The people who are attracted to the priesthood today tend to be much more conservative than their peers," said the Rev. Thomas Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington. "Even in the 1950s, the people attracted to seminaries were more conservative than their peers, but not to the degree they are today."

Seminarians say Burke's conservatism helps him connect with them. The seminarians openly discuss how they see Burke as a spiritual father and embrace the traditional atmosphere Burke has championed in the archdiocese and the seminary.

Burke, for example, is considered one of the most devoted supporters of the old Latin Mass among U.S. bishops, and last year, Kenrick began celebrating the traditional liturgy on Fridays. More formal vestments are now required at morning and evening prayers. Burke said such "little things" help him "encourage a strong identity among the seminarians, especially with the celebration of the sacred liturgy."

Noah Waldman, 39, a former architect, was studying with a traditionalist group of priests a number of years ago. Eventually, he felt called to be a diocesan priest rather than part of an order. The problem, he thought, was that most bishops would think he was too conservative.

"I was told there were two bishops in the U.S. who would be interested in me," he said.

Burke, at that time the bishop of La Crosse, Wis., took Waldman in. The architect entered the seminary but decided Wisconsin was not a good fit and applied to a philosophy program in England. Burke "told me I was making a big mistake," Waldman recalled.

After the death of Pope John Paul II, Waldman decided the priesthood was indeed his calling, and Burke, since installed in St. Louis, invited Waldman to Kenrick. "Because of his support, I was able to make it through," said Waldman, who will be ordained on Saturday.

Burke, however, plays down the notion that he's the main attraction. "More traditionalist men have come on their own; it's not that I've gone out to look for them," he said. "When men say they feel very confident in my leadership, I tell them that they have to come to the archdiocese of St. Louis because they're devoted to the archdiocese, not me."

Michael Houser, 26, began considering the priesthood when he was 13. He is the oldest of 10 children born to parents in Chesterfield who took their children to Mass every Sunday and prayed the rosary together as a family every night.

The Housers were part of a lay group tied to the conservative Legion of Christ congregation of priests. Houser attended elementary school at Gateway Academy, run by the Legion of Christ in Chesterfield, then attended the Legion's seminary high school in New Hampshire.

Houser decided the life of a diocesan priest fit him best. "It appealed to me a lot to be able to have a connection to a particular diocese — there's more stability in diocesan priesthood," Houser said. "When Archbishop Burke came to St. Louis, I was in my first year (at seminary), and he was a real godsend to me."

Butler, the head of the archdiocese's vocations office, said he doesn't like to think of the call to the priesthood in terms of numbers, but the future of the archdiocese necessitates it. Based on priests' rate of retiring and advancing age, the archdiocese needs to ordain about 10 to 12 men each year, Butler said.

To reach that goal, Butler said, the archdiocese needs to bring in 20 to 24 men each year. That's about double the current level. Next year, the seminary expects a more typical ordination class of five, though with larger entering classes, the days of five-member ordination ceremonies might be a thing of the past.

Nemeth remembered when Burke first got to St. Louis, the archbishop promised to make the seminary the heart of the diocese. Nemeth believes Burke has made good on that promise, and in doing so, has become "like a father" to the seminarians.

Nemeth said his most difficult moment at Kenrick-Glennon was when he was a college sophomore during the clergy sexual abuse crisis that emerged in 2002. "I remember being so angry at priests," Nemeth said. "Anywhere I went I felt like I was under a microscope with people thinking, 'Is he one of them?'"

Strength, Nemeth said, came from watching Burke deal with controversy in the succeeding years, an example the archbishop continues to set for future seminarians.

"He stands for truth when he knows that's not going to be easy," Nemeth said, "so we know he'll support us when we have to do the same."

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 8)

May 22: for the Catholic Faithful
May they be aware that they can be good citizens while striving to be true Christians; may they commit themselves more and more to spreading moral values and the Gospel among their many fellow citizens who do not yet know Christ.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

St. Christopher Magallanes and the Cristeros of Mexico

Today is the feast of Christopher Magallanes, priest, and companions, martyrs.

St. Christopher Magallanes was joined in martyrdom by twenty-one diocesan priests and three devout laymen, all members of the Cristeros movement, who rose up in rebellion against the anti-Catholic Mexican government during the 1920s. Having erected a seminary at Totatiche, he secretly spread the Gospel and ministered to the people. Captured by government authorities, he was heard to shout from his jail cell: "I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico."

The Cristero War of 1926 to 1929 was an uprising against the anti-Catholic Mexican government of the time, set off specifically by the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917.

After a period of peaceful resistance, a number of skirmishes took place in 1926. The formal rebellions began on January 1, 1927 with the rebels calling themselves Cristeros because they felt they were fighting for Christ himself.

Pope Benedict Speaks to Youth at Genoa

To be young means to have discovered the things that do not pass away with the passing of the years. If a young person discovers the great and true values, then he will never grow old, even if the body follows its own laws.

Stay young in your heart and you will radiate youth, which is to say, goodness. Yes, because goodness escapes the grip of time. That is why we can say that only he who is good and generous is truly young.

I wish you all to remain young, but not as fashion goes. Fashions fizzle out in a heartbeat, they burn out in frenetic pointless succession. But youth - the youth born of goodness - will remain. Indeed, it will be perfect and resplendent in Heaven, with God.

It is beautiful to be young. Today, everyone wants to be young, to remain young, and many masquerade as young people, even if their youth has gone - visibly gone. But why is it beautiful to be young? Why this dream of perennial youth?

I think there are two decisive elements. One is that youth still has all of the future ahead. Everything is the future - the time of hope. And the future is full of promise, although today, it is also full of threats, especially the threat of great emptiness.

That is why many want to stop time, out of fear for a future of emptiness. They would want to consume all at once everything that is ‘beautiful’ in life - and so they burn out the candle at both ends even if their life has just begun.

It is important to choose the true promises, those that will open up the future, even if it means renouncing certain things. Whoever chooses God will have, even in old age, a future without an end, and will fear no threats ahead.

So choose well - do not destroy your future. And the first choice should be God, who revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the light of this choice which offers us a reliable companion on our journey, one can find the criteria for the other choices that one must make.

To be young, as I said, means being good and generous. But once again: the true goodness is Jesus, the Jesus you know or that your heart is searching for. He alone is the friend who will never betray. He was faithful up to giving his life on the Cross. Surrender to his love!

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 7)

May 21: for the Chinese Government
May it be ever more open to the values and respect for human rights; not be afraid of Christ; and commit itself to building harmony and permitting everyone to live and practice their faith in peace.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

George Strait : I Saw God Today!

I heard this on the radio and just wanted to share it. I have been in the Country free zone of northern New Jersey and have not heard this before. Being in Maryland this week has given me a chance to catch up on Country radio! Keep smiling and enjoy the song!


Is it just me or is everyone else tired of this entire group of people!? We need to cha-cha-cha-change the channel! Keep smiling and God bless!

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 6)

May 20: for the “Underground” Catholic Communities
May they be aware of the significance of the decision to be underground, without ever closing themselves off from the official communities, but seeking to be the promoters of reconciliation and unity, in charity and in the truth.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Rosary Can Change Your Life

The Rosary Can Change Your Life is a beautiful meditation on the rosary by Steve Silvia. I found the video at Catholic Fire. As we draw nearer to the Feast of Mary Help of Christians lets continue to entrust ourselves more profoundly to her!

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 5)

May 19: for the “Official” Catholic Communities
May they know how to carry out the mission entrusted to them, “giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” but without compromising what belongs to God and to his Church.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, is faithful to the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary through her appearances on the American continent in 1531, and serves the spiritual needs of those who suffer poverty in body and soul. It's mission statement states that it is a place of prayer for the corporal and spiritual welfare of God's children, especially those in most need. It looks like it will be a beautiful place to pray and honor Our Lady! Visiting this Shrine is another thing on my things to do list!

Feast of The Holy Trinity

O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You...even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to "clothe me with Yourself," to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me," and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little crature; "cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased."

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.
-Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, 21 November 1904

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 4)

May 18: for Seminarians and for Vocations
May they be faithful to the call of the Divine Master, ready to serve the world without being of the world.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Update on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

I wanted to give an update on Prince Caspian since I just got back from the movie! It was really fantastic! The action and the story were excellent and the acting exceptional. It is always better to go back to the books, but the movies have been a great success in my view. For a much more thorough review of the film please check out this link here! Below is also a quiz: which Narnia character are you? I am Prince Caspian! The quiz tells me that as Prince Caspian you are a noble, goodhearted but mischievous scallywag! Fun loving, you are admired for your easy going nature.

The Douglas Gresham interview is very interesting and it presents the overview of the making of this wonderful movie. Mr. Gresham is the stepson of C.S. Lewis and he has a unique perspective to share on the book and the movie. The interview was given for the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministers and is very good.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a film based on Prince Caspian, the second published novel in C. S. Lewis' children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. It will be the second film in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walt Disney Pictures, following The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in2005. The four Pevensie children return to Narnia to aid a young prince (Ben Barnes) in his struggle for the throne against his corrupt uncle King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). Work on the script began before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released, so filming could begin before the actors grew too old for their parts.The movie will be released on May 16, 2008! It should be a lot of fun and worth seeing!

Livin' Large!

Drew Carey is amazing and funny, and in this case I think he hits the nail right on the head. The media have been telling us how bad we should feel for years! So everyone just falls in line and expects that life is bad... if not for them then for someone else. America needs to lighten up and realize how good we have it. We live in the best country in the world and we are blessed! So smile and quit complaining! God bless

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 3)

May 17: for Religious Women
May they be witnesses to the values of consecrated life and to the Kingdom already present among the people of God, and ardent flames of charity, contemplatives in action.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mother Teresa's Legacy

Watching these video's of Mother Teresa are like mini retreats! God bless her sisters and the many poor that they serve throughout the world!

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 2)

May 16: for Priests
May they be guides of the people of God through the example of an evangelical life and the witness of their attachment to the Apostolic See.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You Could Hear a Pin Drop

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.

You could have heard a pin drop

Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims.

What does he intend to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, 'whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.

' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.

You could have heard a pin drop.

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'

The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.'


Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!'

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look.

Then he quietly explained. 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach

on D-Day in 1944, I couldn't find a Frenchman to show it to.'

Mary Help of Christians Novena (Day 1)

May 15: for the Bishops of China
May they be shining signs of communion and unity, zealous pastors and animators of the church community, and untiring promoters of the work of evangelization among non-believers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The video above is a preview of Ironman. If you haven't seen it... Go see it! It was really a great movie. I think Robert Downey, Jr. is a great actor and seemed perfect for the role. The character goes through a meaningful conversion of heart that Downey makes believable. It is an action packed, fun movie that has only one really questionable scene that I think they put in there just to establish the character as a superficial womanizer. The theme of conversion and redemption is evident... as are the really cool special effects! An inside look at the history of superhero armor can be seen below. It is interesting and fun as well!

And here is a quick review of the film below. Needless to say I give it a thumbs up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Salesian Cardinal Tercisio Bertone Receives a New Honor

I was tipped off to this news by one of our Salesian Sister postulants. Brittney has a cool site that gives the inside scoop on her formation experience! The story is wonderful for our Salesian Family and for Cardinal Bertone in particular. He was given a new honor by the Vatican. Here is the Zenit news story:

VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2008 ( Benedict XVI's secretary of state was given the dignity of cardinal-bishop, a role held by only a few cardinals.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was assigned the historical dignity with the titular see of Frascati. The see was left vacant with the death of Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo on April 19.

Cardinal-bishops are members of the highest order within the College of Cardinals. The dean of the college is elected from among their number.

The dignity is a historical reference to the roles formerly played by cardinals in certain major ecclesiastical offices associated with the See of Rome.

Today, cardinal-bishops are associated with one of the seven suburbicarian dioceses that make up the ecclesiastical province of Rome. These sees correspond to only six cardinal-bishops because the dean of the College of Cardinals takes the See of Ostia as well as the see he was assigned before his election to the rank of dean.

In addition to these cardinal bishops, certain patriarchs of Eastern Churches hold the rank.

Cardinal Bertone has been the Pope's secretary of state since September 2006. Last July, he was sworn in as the chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church -- the cardinal who oversees the affairs of the Church between the death of a pope and the election of a successor.

Tarcisio Bertone was born in 1934. He is a member of the Congregation of the Salesians of St. John Bosco. He was secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1995 to 2002 and archbishop of Genoa from 2002 to 2006.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Vocation Video

This is very well done! It is good to see the witness of a happy young priest! Let's continue to pray for more and more of them! God bless!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Carmelite Monks of Wyoming!

The Carmelites have a new monastery in Wyoming! These monks are living a life of cloistered prayer and are hoping to soon build a new, more permanent monastery. These Carmelite Monks have a profound love and respect for their monastic enclosure. Their form of monastic life is very challenging and difficult. With the exception of extern monks who are allowed to work outside the enclosure wall, the cloistered monks only pass through the gates of the monastery when there is an explicit permission from the Bishop, for medical needs or other serious reasons. The monks live a hidden life of prayer and contemplation in the pursuit of God. The monastery is inundated with young men who seek to leave everything to pray for the world, in a tradition at least a thousand years old. If you would like to learn more about them they have a cool website obviously intended to attract a younger generation. It's fantastic that they have 40 young men discerning a possible monastic vocation! God bless them!

If you would like to support them you might consider buying their coffee! Mystic Monk Coffee is roasted by the Carmelite Monks, a Roman Catholic monastery in the silence and solitude of the Rocky Mountains of northern Wyoming. Every catholic monastery has its own manual labor, a way to support itself by its own hands. Then it usually sells what it makes as its monastery gift item. Coffee is unique in that Catholics everywhere drink coffee daily. So this is a monastery gift for every day of the year! Enjoy the coffee and pray for vocations to the Church!

Friday, May 9, 2008

CFR's and the Catholic Underground

This is a very cool video on the Friars of the Renewal and the music ministry that they offer at Catholic Underground! I hope you take the time to watch this one... it is really good! I enjoy the story of the conversion of Br. Louis and his experience at Medjugorje. Let's pray that more and more of these creative endeavors will continue to grow in the Church that more young people will discover Christ in their lives! God bless!

Home Run!

This story has made its way around the last few days and it is really stiking!
"With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the center-field fence.

But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would count as a single.
Then, members of the Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count — an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Look at Thomas Merton

When things get very busy and I feel frazzled I often think... Hmmm... where is the nearest monastery! I could use a monastic break! This is probably not that uncommon and in the busy world we live in I am sure I am not alone! A cool alternative to going to a monastery is to dive into the writings of some of the great monastic writers. Thomas Merton surely fits the bill. If you haven't read Seven Storey Mountain then I hope you do at some point! It is a book that most Catholics read during the 1960's and 70's and is still powerful today! I hope you look it up and give it a shot. I am sure you will enjoy it! Happy reading! God bless!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Inside the Vatican

This is a short video that takes you to the Vatican and to some of the rich images of a misunderstood but living, solid institution. Let's continue to pray for the well being of our Church and our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI!

Mary's Month

I found this video on The Deacon's Bench and thought it was well done and worth posting! May is Mary's month and we should all develop our love and devotion to the wonderful Mother of God!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Chant: It's Good For You!

I found this story on The Topmost Apple:
Stress levels could be reduced simply by participating in some Gregorian chanting, researchers claimed today.

Dr Alan Watkins, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London, revealed that teaching people to control their breathing and applying the musical structure of chanting can help their emotional state.

He said: "We have recently carried out research that demonstrates that the regular breathing and musical structure of chanting can have a significant and positive physiological impact."

The research involved five monks having their heart rate and blood pressure measured throughout a 24-hour period.

Results showed their heart rate and blood pressure dipped to its lowest point in the day when they were chanting.

Dr Watkins pointed to previous studies that also demonstrated such practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase performance hormone levels as well as reduce anxiety and depression.

The lecturer also runs Cardiac Coherence Ltd, a company that helps executives perform under stressful conditions.

He said: "The control of the breathing, the feelings of wellbeing that communal singing bring, and the simplicity of the melodies, seem to have a powerful effect on reducing blood pressure and therefore stress."

"We have found that teaching individuals to control their breathing, generate more positive emotional states and connect better with those around them – all key aspects of Gregorian chanting – can significantly improve their mental state, reduce tension, and increase their efficiency in the workplace."

Record company Universal recently chose the monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, Vienna to make an album after responding to a public interest in the genre.

The company also believes the Halo computer game series, available on PCs and Xbox consoles, sparked a resurgence in the music traditionally sung in male church choirs, as Gregorian chant-like melodies form the main soundtrack of the games.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

John Michael Talbot’s monastery destroyed by fire

Catholic musician John Michael Talbot and his community of lay monastics suffered a great loss this week:

The home of The Brothers and Sisters of Charity founded by Dove Award-winning musician John Michael Talbot suffered a swift and vicious fire close to midnight on April 29. There was no loss of life, although members of the community, including Talbot, are suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

The fire began in the chapel and spread to the community’s Common Center which housed the kitchen, offices, library, classrooms and dining space. All are a total loss. It is unknown how the fire started, but has been declared “no fault” by the fire inspector, says Talbot. Various awards melted in the heat or were burned along with the community archives, inventory and tour equipment. Living areas, studio and instruments were unharmed.

Talbot said that he was up late recording and heard some odd popping noises before noticing a glow in the windows of his hermitage home facing the chapel. He and his wife, Viola, ran to the chapel and found the hoses insufficient to fight the fire, already reaching high into the sky. Talbot said he pounded and screamed at the doors of the other hermitages. Some in the community went into the fire in an attempt to save valuables. Talbot said the smoke was thick and blinding and that all he could see was “black.” When it became clear that the battle was lost, the brothers, sisters and families of the community watched the buildings burn while waiting for the fire department. Talbot says that the fire department put all of their resources into aggressively fighting the fire, but could not save the building. The wood construction contributed to the speed of the fire which burned the chapel to the ground in an hour.

At the wish of the community, Talbot’s Canadian Tour will continue as planned beginning in Great Falls, Montana with a number of stops in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Tour dates and information may be found at his website, Founder, Spiritual Father and General Minister of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity since 1980, Talbot credits monastic life in the community as key for the Christian worship songs he writes and records.

While the damage is covered by insurance, donations are helping bridge the financial gap as the community awaits, reorganizes and prepares to rebuild, “this time in stone,” says Talbot. Little Portion Hermitage is located in Berryville, in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. For more information about the community, see Let's continue to pray for the folks at Little Portion and for the rebuilding of the Monastary! Check out his video "Holy is His Name"!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pope John Paul Speaks to Seminarians

Pope John Paul II had such a way of drawing vocations... He had such a way of drawing out youthful holiness! In this regard we might say he was a figure like Don Bosco! Let's pray through his intercession for more and more good and holy vocations to priesthood and religious life!
“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But He asks you to trust Him. True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle. Christ holds the secret of this victory. (...) It is by walking with Christ that we can achieve joy, true joy! Precisely for this reason He again repeats the proclamation of joy to you today: ‘Blessed are they...’ Pope John Paul II (World Youth Day, Toronto)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Director's Meeting in Quito

This past week I was able to go to a Director's meeting in Quito, Ecuador! The picture above is Fr. Tim Zak from St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago, Fr. Santa-Bibiana from Belle Glade, Florida and myself as we prepared to celebrate the liturgy. We shared the week with 25 other Salesians from 9 different countries from our region. Our region includes Salesian provinces from Canada to Peru. The week was a great blessing as we heard talks on the role of the Salesian Director in the community. A special emphasis was given to Don Bosco and Jesus, the Good Shepherd as role models for the Salesian Director to follow. We had lot's of opportunities to share our experiences and our hopes with Directors involved in similar works. The week was a beautiful example of the rich cultural diversity of our Provinces and our region! Don Bosco is alive and well and his charism is being shared with young people all over the world! We are so blessed to be Salesians! Below are some other photo's of the week!

Fr. Santa and I at the Equator!

Fr. Tim and I along with some our Salesian friends from Venezuela in front of Cotopaxi Volcano. We made it to the base of the snow at 15,800 feet! Cotopaxi mountain is Ecuador’s highest active volcano - as well as being one of the most active volcanoes anywhere in Ecuador. It has a perfectly symmetrical shape and is just beautiful to see close up. On a clear day you could see the volcano from the Salesian Center in downtown Quito. The last really big eruption was in 1906 and the last minor eruption was in 1976. Thankfully there were no eruptions while we were there!

Up on the side of Cotopaxi I was really moved to just pray for my family, my community and the Salesian congregation! Being there was really like an invitation to pray. I couldn't help but think of Moses on the Mountain and his encounter with God! There was something so beautiful about it that it put you right away into contact with God!