Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coffee with Jesus

This is pretty funny, but maybe a little too true!


The Saints and the State of Louisiana have reached a deal!!!

The AP reports that New Orleans Saints have agreed to a lease extension that will keep the NFL team playing home games in an improved Louisiana Superdome through the 2025 season.  

An announcement by Saints owner Tom Benson and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Superdome.

A person with direct knowledge of lease negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press that a general agreement has been reached and was expected to be signed later in the week after final details have been worked out. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team and governor had yet to make the announcement.

The New Orleans Saints and the state have reached a deal for the team to stay in the Superdome through 2025
Benson and Jindal wanted a long-term extension in place by this spring to improve New Orleans' bid to host the 2013 Super Bowl.

It would be the city's 10th Super Bowl and the seventh in the Superdome, an iconic, 34-year-old structure that has hosted some of the nation's most memorable sporting events, world famous musical acts and even the late Pope John Paul II.

On Wednesday, a video presentation of the proposed deal was shown in Baton Rouge to state legislators, who will have to approve the new lease. Afterward, state Sen. John Alario said the complex deal would cap direct state cash payments to the NFL team at about $6 million a year.

George Weigel: On What does it mean to be a Catholic in Public Life

The esteemed writer and theologian George Weigel was a guest on "In the Arena" this past weekend, and he had some interesting things to say about Obama, abortion, and Catholics in America.  He was joined by a panel that included Elizabeth Scalia,  the Anchoress.

Hat tip to Deacon Greg on this one!

God bless Mary Ann Glendon!

God bless Mary Ann Glendon!

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.

Hat Tip to the Friendship of Lazarus blog on this one!

Saints and Founders of the Salesian Family

The following is from Fr. Pascual Chavez, SDB. Fr. Chavez is the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Family. He speaks on the beauty of holiness manifested in the Salesian Family:

In this way was born a true school of holiness which continues in our own time. From Don Bosco the founder, subsequent founders of new groups drew inspiration and guidance, spirituality, and pastoral method (Charter of Salesian Identity, 1).

“A good tree does not give bad fruit” (Luke 6:43). This verse from St. Luke is significant for the history of the development of the Salesian charism. Don Bosco gave his life a gospel meaning by putting it at the service of the young to help them to be holy and to be upright citizens. He stands for the good seed which became a good tree whose fruit is excellent. He was the pattern on which saints were modeled.

Don Bosco’s first successor, Blessed Michael Rua, was seen as a new Don Bosco; he made fidelity to the Founder his own plan of life and action, and under him the Salesians grew from 773 to 4,000, the houses (schools, youth centers, and missions) from 57 to 345, the provinces from 6 to 34, in 33 countries. Paul VI beatified him in 1972, saying, “He made the spring a stream, a river.”

Blessed Philip Rinaldi, Don Bosco’s third successor, gave a new impetus to the interior life of the Salesians, putting absolute trust in God and in Mary Help of Christians; he sent 1,800 Salesians to the missions, founded the Don Bosco Volunteers movement, who live consecrated lives without leaving their families or workplaces.

Saint Mary Mazzarello was the co-foundress of the Salesian Sisters (FMAs) with Don Bosco, intelligent, strong-willed, endowed with great emotional balance. After a period of illness she devoted her life to the education of the girls in Mornese, through a sewing and dressmaking workshop, a feastday oratory, and a home for little girls without parents. A meeting with Don Bosco (1864) was decisive as he suggested to her a way of broadening her desire for the apostolate. So together on August 5, 1872, they founded a new religious family for the benefit of the young. From this splendid fruit grew a great new apostolic enterprise which today numbers about 15,000 sisters with such splendid examples of holiness as the three blesseds Madeleine Morano, Maria Romero, and Eusebia Palomino and many other women of God.

Among the Salesian Cooperators is Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, whose life was marked by the serious accident she had from escaping a violent attack that left her immobile for over 30 years, sustained spiritually but also physically by the Holy Eucharist; for 13 years her only food was the consecrated host. She made her promise as a Cooperator and offered her sufferings for the Salesian mission to the young.

Then there is the Servant of God Attilio Giordani, who decided to leave for Brazil with his wife, and with his children devoted his life to voluntary service; and again Cardinal Joseph Guarino, who welcomed the first Salesians to Sicily and gave them an inheritance that enabled them to open the houses at Alì for the FMAs and Messina for the SDBs, and with a Salesian spirit in 1889 founded the Apostles of the Holy Family.

Blessed Louis Variara, a Salesian dedicated to the welfare of the least fortunate, especially the lepers in the Agua de Dios colony, transformed the lives of the 800 sick people and the other inhabitants, helping them in a way that was both full of cheerfulness and deeply spiritual. Then he gathered together from among the lepers a group of young women to share his apostolic passion and founded in 1905 the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Also highly significant was the life of Bishop Joseph Cognata of Bova Marina, founder of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart. The indescribable suffering brought about by the calumnies which led to his having to put aside his role as bishop for 22 years did not weaken his faith. He was rehabilitated, and now work is in progress to move forward the cause of his beatification.

The few lines of an article are not enough to speak about Salesian holiness; the list is a long one: Blessed Artemides Zatti, Ceferino Namuncurá, Laura Vicuña,  Simon Srugi, Maria Troncatti; Fr. Joseph Quadrio, Bishop Stephen Ferrando, Fr. Charles dalla Torre, St. Louis Versiglia, St. Callistus Caravario, Fr. Vincent Cimatti, the martyrs in Spain and in Poland. The tiny seed has indeed become a large tree “weighed down” with good fruit!

I should like to finish, however, with one of the Volunteers with Don Bosco, Nino Baglieri, who died two years ago: a life considered worthy of a future process of beatification. A builder, at 17 years of age he fell from a scaffold and was totally paralyzed. At first he lived in a mood of rebellion, but then the Spirit entered his heart. He began to make of his situation an intense offering and prayer, becoming for many people a spiritual focal point. He learned to write using his mouth, and this enabled him to leave behind some precious testimonies: “No one is excluded from holiness; it depends on us, on how we say our ‘Yes’ to the Lord. And if someone hears in his heart the voice of the Lord calling him to follow Him in consecrated life, don’t be afraid to say your own complete ‘Yes.’ A yes to life!”

Today the Salesian Family has 8 saints, 110 blesseds, 8 venerables, and 28 servants of God. Holiness is waiting for us.

More Proof that Contraception and Abortion are Killing Our Culture

Patrick Madrid added this video and I think he has a good point. Clearly the Muslims of Europe believe in a future and in family life. What do we Christians believe? Why are we not looking at life as a gift from God? This video should make us wake up and realize that the Christian culture that we have inherited is in danger of being lost if Christian family life is not strengthened. Let's pray that we move toward building a culture of life and hope that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been calling us to!  George Weigel wrote a great book on the need to get into a greater dialogue between Christianity and Islam.  It is well worth reading!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Amazing Song: Darryl Worley's "Sounds like life to me"

I think in our culture of whining it's good to hear a song just say "suck it up!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Budget cuts? I don't think so!

Can you imagine trying to manage your household budget this way?  This whole economic mess could get very ugly.  Let's pray common sense makes a comeback!

Monday, April 27, 2009

President Lukashenko invites Pope Benedict XVI to Belarus

On April 27th, Benedict XVI held a 25 minute encounter at the Vatican with the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. The audience was followed by an encounter between the Belarusian delegation and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.The Pope gave a pontifical gold medal to Lukashenko, who, in turn, offered a wood and straw image of Jesus, manufactured according to traditional techniques.During the encounter, they reviewed major international issues and talked about the importance of collaboration between church and state and within the sphere of ecumenical relations in Belarus. The Belarusian President invited the Pope to visit the country.
Hat tip to the Let's Get it Right site for this video!

Alan Jackson: Sissy's Song

Archbishop Dolan interviewed by the New York Post

Steelers draft best friends in same round

2 football stars from New Orleans who grew up together get drafted onto the same team! Very cool! The following comes from yahoo sports:

They were teammates in Pop Warner and high school, best friends who planned to attend college together before a coaching change intervened. When it became evident that both would be NFL draft picks, they kept wondering where each would go.

How about to the same team on the same round, and to the Super Bowl champions no less?

Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis couldn’t script this any better, together again in the NFL—just as they were when they lined up as kickoff returners at O. Perry Walker High in New Orleans. This kind of story usually occurs only in movie scripts or works of fiction, yet it happened Sunday when Wallace and Lewis were drafted 12 picks apart in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The first person Wallace called when the Steelers chose the Mississippi wide receiver was his best buddy Lewis, the Oregon State cornerback. So imagine Wallace’s surprise when, a few minutes later, Lewis called back to say he was going to Pittsburgh. too.

As Lewis was driving to Wallace’s house for a mutual draft day celebration, he couldn’t help but wonder: How lucky can we be?

“It’s a blessing. It has always been my dream to play in the NFL,” Lewis said. “It’s also a dream to play with one of my best friends. Since the age of 6 we played Pop Warner together, and we have played together ever since.”

Except for college. Both signed with Oregon State but, when their high school coach was hired as a Mississippi assistant, Wallace changed his mind and went there, losing a season of eligibility.

They’ve gone through hardships together, too, including Hurricane Katrina, which swept through their New Orleans neighborhood, tearing the roof off Wallace’s family home and temporarily displacing both families.

“I thought I was going to be taken first (in the draft),” Lewis said. “My name was one that popped up first on the draft lists before his. When he got picked, it was a relief for me because he has been my best friend for a long time.”

To read more please click here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A sign from God over Russia?

I found this video on the In God's Company 2 blog and it is pretty amazing! What do you think about it? Let me know!

"An inhabitant of the city of Sharya, Russia, became a witness of this strange phenomenon: in the sky right above his house he saw a glowing cross. Vladimir Rostovcev shot a video on his camera. Early in the morning he was going to work, but he found that he could`t start the engine of his car. At this moment his attention was attracted by incredible sight... A cross was hanging in the middle of the sky for a few minutes. Then it dissolved.

Vladimir says: "It is strange, but after the cross dissolved my car was off without problems..."

NYC's new archbishop hits the ground running

The Salesian Sisters celebrated their 100 years of service in the USA yesterday with a mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with the new Archbishop! Congrats to the sisters and may they be richly blessed with another 100 years of blessed service to the Church and young people here in the US. I was able to concelebrate for the mass and enjoyed a moment with Archbishop Dolan following the mass. He is an amazing person and reminds me of the pastor of my church when I was a kid, the late Fr. Charles Pagluighi. Here is a recent article on the new Archbishop from the AP:

In his first days as head of the Roman Catholic Church in New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass in prison, talked baseball in the Yankees and Mets broadcast booths, visited the World Trade Center site and nibbled matzo at a symbolic Seder.

Everywhere he went, the cleric was quick with a smile, a joke and a hug.

To a youngster at the Seder he quipped, "I know you'd rather be in math class!" He told inmates at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility that he loves ministering to prisoners because, "You're the only people who never leave Mass early." He also obligingly autographed a Bible for an inmate.

Observers say the extroverted, media-savvy Dolan is a good fit for the media capital of the world, and his arrival comes at a crucial time for the church. Dolan's job is the most visible Catholic post in the country, and he is taking on the high-profile job at a time when the church is struggling to recruit priests and to beef up attendance at Mass.

"He's just a very friendly guy," said the Rev. David O'Connell, president of the Catholic University of America. "He's right out of central casting for this role."

Dolan, 59, was installed as head of the New York Archdiocese on April 15 after leading the Milwaukee Archdiocese since 2002.

He succeeds Cardinal Edward Egan, an austere figure who is hard to picture wearing a Mets jersey over his clerical garb.

O'Connell said Egan's main priority had been to put the Archdiocese's finances in order.

"And he did," he said. "He was not the gladhander, and he was not the bon vivant. Now that that work has been done, the time has come for someone who can engage people, who can give people a sense of the joy of the gospel."

Like Egan, Dolan is a firm advocate for the church on hot-button topics like abortion and the all-male, celibate priesthood.

He vowed at a news conference before his installation in St. Patrick's Cathedral to fight efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

But he beamed as he greeted Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. David Paterson and other elected officials who support gay marriage and abortion rights.

Those who know Dolan say the private man matches the public persona.

"He always has that smile on his face," said Julie Wolf, communications director for the Milwaukee Archdiocese. "He just enjoys being with people."

The New York Archdiocese encompasses 2.5 million parishioners and nearly 400 churches in parts of New York City and its northern suburbs. It is the nation's second-largest diocese after Los Angeles.

Like other archdioceses around the country, New York has been struggling to find priests while closing a handful of parishes for economic reasons.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, there were 3,141 Catholic parishes in the U.S. without a resident priest last year, and just 36 percent of adult Catholics said they attend Mass weekly.

O'Connell said Dolan will seek to inspire young men to enter the priesthood through his own upbeat example. "He's going to make people say, 'It's great to be a priest. It's great to be part of the church,'" O'Connell said.

At his April 20 visit to Bedford Hills, New York State's only maximum-security women's prison, Dolan celebrated Mass for 150 inmates and then hugged them individually. A white-robed Dolan was pictured in the Daily News the next day with one hand on a prisoner's shoulder and the other hoisting his ceremonial staff, the very image of the good shepherd.

"The inmates were very moved that he visited," said Erik Kriss, a spokesman for the prison system.

At the post-Passover symbolic Seder, an interfaith service for middle schoolers from a Catholic school and a Jewish day school, Dolan exhorted the Catholic students to "learn from today."

"We love our Jewish brothers and sisters," he told them. "They are our older brothers and sisters in the faith."

The event was hosted by the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director, Abraham Foxman, said he still was "on a high" from meeting Dolan the next day.

"He'd make a great politician, but he's a representative of God, so that's good," Foxman said. "It will go beyond him shepherding his own flock. His magnetism will reach out to other communities. By doing that he has the opportunity to bring this city together."

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Wasting Your Life

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Pope Prays That Priests Be Men of Truth, Love and God"

I found the following Zenit article on the Roman Catholic Vocation site:

Says Consecration Is Sacrifice and Immersion in Christ

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 9, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is urging priests to be holy by living the essence of their vocation, as reflected in the prayer of Christ, that his followers be consecrated in truth.

The Pope said this in the homily of today's Chrism Mass, which he concelebrated this morning with the cardinals, bishops and priests of Rome.

He told the ordained ministers, who renewed their priestly vows during the Mass, "The Lord asks for our sanctification, sanctification in truth."

The Pontiff recalled the words of Jesus in his prayer for the Apostles and all priests: "For their sake I consecrate myself."

"To consecrate something or someone," he explained, means "to give that thing or person to God as his property, to take it out of the context of what is ours and to insert it in his milieu, so that it no longer belongs to our affairs, but is totally of God."

He continued: "The thing or person no longer belongs to us, or even to itself, but is immersed in God. Such a giving up of something in order to give it over to God, we also call a sacrifice: this thing will no longer be my property, but his property."

In this way, the Holy Father said, the priest is "charged to represent others," and, "removed from worldly bonds and given over to God, […] he is available for others, for everyone."

In this sense, he added, the "consecration" of the priest also becomes his "sacrifice," mirroring "the priestly act by which Jesus -- the Man Jesus, who is one with the Son of God -- gives himself over to the Father for us."

Benedict XVI affirmed that the disciples are sanctified, "drawn deep within God," by "being immersed in the word of God."

He urged his listeners to also be "pervaded by the word of God," noting that for the Apostles this word is "the bath which purifies them, the creative power which transforms them into God’s own being."

Humility and obedience

The Pope noted the existence of a "destructive pride and a presumption that tear every community apart and result in violence," and thus he urged his listeners to "learn from Christ the correct humility which corresponds to the truth of our being, and the obedience which submits to truth, to the will of God."

He exhorted the ordained ministers to shape their criteria by Gospel values rather than popular opinion, and to "become ever anew disciples of that truth which is revealed in the word of God."

"Our being priests," affirmed the Pontiff, "is simply a new way of being united to Christ."

He continued: "Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us."

At our priestly ordination, the Holy Father said, "we made this fundamental renunciation of our desire to be independent, 'self-made.'"

He added: "But day by day this great 'yes' has to be lived out in the many little 'yeses' and small sacrifices. This 'yes' made up of tiny steps which together make up the great 'yes,' can be lived out without bitterness and self-pity only if Christ is truly the center of our lives."

"Then indeed we experience," he noted, "amid sacrifices which can at first be painful, the growing joy of friendship with him, and all the small and sometimes great signs of his love, which he is constantly showing us."


Benedict XVI noted that this friendship with Christ is cultivated in prayer, which is "a journey in personal communion with Christ, setting before him our daily life, our successes and failures, our struggles and our joys -- in a word, it is to stand in front of him."

He continued: "But if this is not to become a form of self-contemplation, it is important that we constantly learn to pray by praying with the Church. Celebrating the Eucharist means praying.

"We celebrate the Eucharist rightly if with our thoughts and our being we enter into the words which the Church sets before us. There we find the prayer of all generations, which accompany us along the way towards the Lord.

"As priests, in the Eucharistic celebration we are those who by their prayer blaze a trail for the prayer of today's Christians. If we are inwardly united to the words of prayer, if we let ourselves be guided and transformed by them, then the faithful will also enter into those words."

And then all of us will become truly “one body, one spirit” in Christ.

The Pope noted that being immersed in God's truth and holiness means "to acknowledge that the truth makes demands, to stand up, in matters great and small, to the lie which in so many different ways is present in the world; accepting the struggles associated with the truth, because its inmost joy is present within us."

He affirmed that it also means "being immersed in his goodness, in true love." He added: "True love does not come cheap, it can also prove quite costly. It resists evil in order to bring men true good."

The Pontiff affirmed that Christ prays for all priests, for the "true sanctification which transforms their being," and that it be "translated day by day in our lives."

He explained that priestly ordination means being immersed in Christ, in the Truth. He concluded, "Dear friends, in this hour of the renewal of promises, we want to pray to the Lord to make us men of truth, men of love, men of God."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Archbishop Sheen's cause for beatification 'on track'

This is great news! The following comes from the CNA:

The famous Catholic evangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen's reputation for holiness and his impact on Catholics and non-Catholics alike has led to his cause for beatification being opened. Bill Engelbrecht, a member of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation’s board of directors, told CNA recently that the cause is progressing “quite well.”

The foundation, Engelbrecht explained, is kept informed of the beatification cause’s progress in Rome, and it is “on track.”

“The process is lengthy and it is undetermined. It can take from a few years to a few hundred years. It’s very difficult to actually assess one’s progress,” he said.

Engelbrecht related that several “significant” events had taken place in New Jersey, Texas, and other states. Upcoming events are planned for Georgia, Oklahoma City, and in Peoria, Illinois, Sheen’s birthplace.

“Everything has been moving in the right direction,” he said, adding that the foundation is promoting ways to make Archbishop Sheen better known to clergy and to younger generations, such as mp3 audio files, Facebook, the micro-blogging site Twitter and other new media.

“If you read Archbishop Sheen, he was able to strike a chord with almost every generation from the very young to the very old,” Engelbrecht said. “He was eminently accessible, he was charismatic, people liked him, people listened to him.”

One of his great lessons was about “how to live your life.”

“Obviously that was captured in his program “Life is Worth Living.” That’s a perfect title for what he had to say to us.”

He said that people touched by Archbishop Sheen exist everywhere.

“Go anywhere a large group of Catholics are assembled and bring up Archbishop Sheen. You’ll have somebody say how he affected them, or somebody close to them. He just touched so many people that it’s just amazing. It just repeats itself everywhere you go.”

He noted how one man, a recovering addict and alcoholic, drove nine hours to an Archbishop Sheen Foundation event to tell how one of the archbishop’s books affected him.

“He never met him. Someone by accident asked him to read a book of [Sheen’s]. He believes this man changed his life.”

Asked how Catholics might participate in advancing Archbishop Sheen’s cause, Engelbrecht said there would be a significant event at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in December.

He encouraged people to expose themselves to Archbishop Sheen’s books and to his writings.

“Simply go to the Archbishop Sheen Foundation website,” he said, explaining that there were opportunities to receive prayer cards, relic cards, information about the beatification process and information about how to support his cause.

The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation’s web site is located at

Field of Dreams Baseball

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Your humble blogger and some of the prenovices had a chance to visit the Sean Hannity Show a few weeks back! Very cool!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Catholic Child Martyr: Iqbal Masih

At four years of age, Iqbal Masih was sold into debt slavery. In order to work off the 600 rupee ($12) loan given to his father, Iqbal tied tiny knots on a carpet loom for fourteen hours a day, six days a week. After six years, Iqbal was freed. He was shot at 12 years of age for speaking out against child slavery.

In January 2009, the United States Congress established the annual Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor.

Iqbal's work and subsequent death inspired a 12 year old Canadian boy, Craig Kielburger to devote his life to Iqbal's cause and organize Free The Children.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

U.S. ordination class of 2009 trending younger

For those of us who work in vocation ministry this story won't be a big surprise. Those responding to vocations are coming in younger! Let's continue to pray that God will bless us with more and more good and holy vocations. The following comes from the Catholic News Agency:

Priests to be ordained in 2009 tend to be younger than those of recent years and come from a variety of different backgrounds, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports.

Several dioceses will ordain large numbers of men this year. The Archdiocese of Newark will ordain 13 men for either the archdiocese or for the Neo-Catechumenal way. The Chicago Archdiocese will ordain ten men, while the Washington Archdiocese will ordain eight. The Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee will ordain six men. Cincinnati, which has averaged five ordinations a year since 2000, will ordain seven in 2009.

The Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon will ordain seven, its largest class since the early seventies.

The median age of 2009 ordinands is 33, younger than in recent years. Allen Offa, one of three to be ordained for the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is 25. Two of the five men to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit are 26, while the oldest is 36.

There are several converts among the 2009 ordination class. Benjamin Roberts, of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, considered ordination in the Lutheran Church but converted to Catholicism in 1999. The Washington Archdiocese’s Daniel Gallaugher was raised as an Evangelical Protestant. Two ordinands from the Archdiocese of Detroit were Baptists.

Daniel Maxwell, an ordinand from the Diocese of Baker, Oregon who entered the Catholic Church at 17, is from a family who hasn’t had a Catholic blood relative for 200 years.

Some ordinands come from notably large families. Jacob Runyon, from Fort Wayne-South Bend, is oldest of 11. Matthew Mason of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire is the oldest of seven. The Philippines-born Giopre Pardo of Oakland is one of seven brothers, one of whom is a priest and seminary spiritual director in the Philippines.

Several other ordinands were foreign-born, the USCCB reports.

Justin Minh Nguyen of the Diocese of Austin was a skilled tailor and a refugee from Vietnam. He is one of five to be ordained for the diocese. Quy Vo, a refugee from the Philippines, is being ordained for the Diocese of Albany.

Joel Bugas, a 43-year-old to be ordained or the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, was a three-term mayor in his home town in the Philippines.

The foreign-born Fernando Jimenez will be the first Hispanic to be ordained for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, while Peruvian native Pablo Migone will be ordained for the Diocese of Savannah.

Pawel Sass, a native of Poland, will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington. Budi Wardhana, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be the third native Indonesian-born priest ordained to serve in the United States.

Monday, April 20, 2009

God's love unites humanity into a single family, Pope Benedict says

The following comes from the CNA:

At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, which he recited with pilgrims at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI focused on the themes of the Divine Mercy and the unity of the Church. The “merciful love of God,” he said, “firmly unites the Church” and makes humanity “a single family.”

Pope Benedict also recalled that it was John Paul II who pointed out "to all the risen Christ as the source of trust and hope, accepting the spiritual message transmitted by the Lord to Saint Faustina Kowalska, synthesized in the invocation 'Jesus, I trust in you!'"

The Holy Father began by expressing his thanks for the greetings he had received for his birthday on April 16 and for the anniversary of his election as pontiff on April 19, 2005. "In the atmosphere of joy that comes from faith in the risen Christ," he said, "I desire to express a most cordial 'thank you' to all those, and they are truly many, who have sent me a sign of affection and spiritual closeness in these days, both for the Easter celebrations and for my birthday, April 16, and also for the fourth anniversary of my election to the see of Peter, which falls today. I thank the Lord for all of this sincere affection.”

“As I had the opportunity to say recently, I never feel alone,” he continued. “Even more during this extraordinary week, which in terms of the liturgy constitutes a single day, I have experienced the communion that surrounds and supports me: a spiritual solidarity, essentially nourished by prayer, which is manifested in a thousand ways.”

“From my co-workers in the Roman curia to the parishes that are geographically farthest away, we Catholics form and must feel ourselves to be a single family, animated by the same sentiments as the first Christian community, about which the text of the Acts of the Apostles that is read this Sunday says: 'the multitude of those who had become believers had one heart and one soul'.”

"The communion of the first Christians had the risen Christ as its true center and foundation," the Pope explained. "The Gospel says, in fact, that at the moment of the passion, when the divine Teacher was arrested and condemned to death, the disciples fled.”

“Only Mary and the women, together with the apostle John, stayed together and followed him all the way to Calvary,” he continued. “Once he had risen, Jesus gave his followers a new unity, stronger than the kind they had before, invincible, because it was founded not on human resources, but on the divine mercy, which made them feel they were all loved and forgiven by him.”

“It is therefore the merciful love of God that firmly unites the Church, today as yesterday, and makes humanity a single family; the divine love, which through Jesus crucified and risen forgives our sins and renews us from within," he concluded.

Immediately after the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father greeted Orthodox Christians who celebrated Easter on Sunday according to the Julian calendar. 

"I extend a cordial greeting and best wishes to the brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches which, following the Julian calendar, celebrate Easter today,” Pope Benedict said. “May the risen Lord renew in all the light of faith, and give an abundance of joy and peace."

Speaking to the pilgrims, Benedict XVI also spoke about the United Nations conference beginning tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland, reviewing the 2001 Durban Declaration against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Benedict XVI expressed his hope for common, constructive work to put an end to every form of racism with education.

"The Durban Declaration recognizes that 'all peoples and persons form a human family, rich in diversity,” he said. “They have contributed to the progress of the civilization and the cultures that constitute the common heritage of humanity.”

“On the basis of these affirmations, firm and concrete action is required on the national and international level, to prevent and eliminate every form of discrimination and intolerance,” he continued. “Above all, a vast work of education is required, to uphold the dignity of the person and protect his fundamental rights.”

“The Church,” he explained “for its part, reiterates that only the recognition of the dignity of man, created in the image and likeness of God, can constitute a sure point of reference for this effort.”

“This common origin, in fact, gives rise to a common destiny of humanity, which should bring forth in each and in all a strong sense of solidarity and responsibility,” he added. “I express my sincere hope that the delegates at the Geneva conference may work together in the spirit of dialogue and mutual acceptance to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance, marking a fundamental step toward the affirmation of the universal value of the dignity of man and his rights, in a context of respect and justice for every person and people."

Kathy Ireland talks about how she became pro-life

I found this video at the Cathoic Fire site. Former supermodel Kathy Ireland tells Mike Huckabee about how she became pro-life after reading what the science books have to say.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More on Irena Sendler: Don't forget to watch tonight at 9 PM on CBS

CBS to air movie on 'courageous' Polish Catholic who rescued Jewish children

This is really an amazing story and I am really surprised that it has made it to the mainstream. It is airing tonight at 9 PM Eastern:

On Sunday evening CBS will broadcast a movie about the heroic efforts and “courageous heart” of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker who created and led an underground group that rescued Jewish children from Nazi persecution.

It is even more amazing that this is being shown on Divine Mercy Sunday! God is good!

Here is more on Irena from one of my previous posts:

I found this at the Rural Revolution site. Rural Revolution is the site of Patrice Lewis and is very well worth visiting!

Irena Sendler passed away last year and her story is one everyone should hear about:

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. She KNEW what the Nazis' plans were for the Jews (being German). Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kid/infant noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms, and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most of course had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.

Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

The picture below is of Irena and some of her "children" from the war.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Susan Boyle: Gifted singer and woman of faith

The world has taken notice of the wonderful voice of Susan Boyle! Here is more on her from CNS:

The audience snickered and the judges of "Britain's Got Talent" either rolled their eyes or allowed their blank expressions to betray their bemused skepticism as the awkward-looking middle-aged woman told them she wanted to be as famous as the popular British actress and singer Elaine Paige.

Then Susan Boyle began to sing, and they were spellbound and shocked by the beauty of her voice and rose to their feet in applause.

But Father Basil Clark, who watched the show on television at his home in Broxburn, Scotland, was not surprised.

He has seen the situation unfold many times before, having regularly accompanied Boyle, 47, on the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Knock, Ireland.

"When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing -- absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice," said Father Clark, dean of West Lothian, the district that covers Boyle's home village of Blackburn."

Anyone who sees her for the first time behaves the same way. I have never heard her sing badly, though she might lose the words if the stress gets too much," he told Catholic News Service in an April 16 telephone interview.

Boyle first appeared before judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden on the ITV1 sister show of "America's Got Talent"; it was broadcast April 11.

Her fame spread on the Internet, and in just five days she had attracted more than 15 million YouTube viewings of her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," from the musical "Les Miserables."

Part of Boyle's attraction is that she appears to be such an unlikely candidate for stardom. She said on TV that she has "never been kissed" and has lived alone with her cat since her mother died in 2007.

According to British media, she has learning disabilities as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth. She is unemployed and, as a churchgoing Catholic, her social life revolves around her family and her parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. She also enjoys karaoke in her local pub.

Father Clark said, "When she gets up to sing it can either be wonderful or you can get the unpredictable eccentric behavior, but it is to do with the fact that she has learning difficulties.

"In a sense, there is a beautiful voice trapped in this damaged body," he said. "It is an absolute contrast. There she was on television acting very peculiarly and the audience was expecting peculiar things to happen and then a voice of an angel comes out -- and that's Susan.

"Father Clark said that local people who knew Boyle, the youngest of nine children of a family descended from Irish migrants, were "enormously proud of her and wish her the best but they are aware of the risks she is running," adding that her behavior has previously drawn cruel taunts from children."

People are slightly worried about what might happen after this bout of fame," he explained.

"I am quite worried for her," he added. "I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult.

"It is a great opportunity for her and as far as I am concerned she should make the best of it, and if it lasts, it lasts, and if it doesn't, then it's still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve," he added. "It is important in sustaining her and making sure this is all a very, very beneficial experience."

He described Boyle as "a woman of great faith" who was often "very gentle and very caring" though she could also be "needy and demanding."

The world's media has camped outside Boyle's home where she grew up and where she still sleeps in the same room as when she was a child.

But Boyle has decided to temporarily escape the limelight to stay with friends as she prepares for the next round of the competition, in which she is expected to sing "Whistle Down the Wind," by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

She did give an interview to "The Early Show" on CBS News in which she said that her instant fame "hasn't really sunk in yet."

She said that she wanted to make her performance "a tribute to my mother" who had encouraged her to sing.

"I knew it was something I had to do," she said. "I had to get on with it. That's where the courage came from, my mother.

"The ones who made fun of me are now nice to me," she said. "So, I think I may have won them 'round."

My Jesus

This is an amazing song... Todd Agnew did a great job on this. The song and the video are wonderful together.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Pilgrimage of Don Bosco's Casket Begins

The following comes from the ANS in Rome:

On 25 April at Valdocco, Turin, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians the casket containing a special relic of Don Bosco will be blessed before setting out to visit in the next few years the countries in which the Salesians are present.
The pilgrimage of the casket which will cross the five continents is the idea of the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva, in preparation for the bi-centenary of the birth of Don Bosco to be celebrated in 2015.

The presentation and the blessing of the casket will take place in conjunction with the celebration of the Thanksgiving Feast-day of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and the Val d’Aosta (ICP). After presiding at Mass Fr Pascual Chávez will bless the casket which will be carried in procession from inside the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians to the courtyard outside.

From the courtyard where the Saint from Turin worked for the benefit of so many boys, the casket will begin its pilgrimage round the world.

The Casket
The casket, the work of the architect Gianpiero Zoncu, has been made of aluminium, bronze and glass. The artists employed were Marco Berrone (blacksmith), Francesco Boglione (carpenter), and the glass is from the Bivetro Company. The De Carli Artistic Foundry produced the metal structures and the Perlaluce Company was responsible for the illumination.

The base of the casket is in the form of a bridge supported by four pillars which bear the dates of the bi-centenary: 1815-2015. They are decorated, on the ends of the casket, with square tiles with the faces of young people from the five continents made by the sculptor Gabriele Garbolino. The coat of arms of the Salesian Congregation which this year is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation and the charismatic motto adopted by Don Bosco himself – Da mihi animas, cetera tolle – complete the decoration of the case.

Including the base, the casket is 253 cm long, 100cm wide and 132cm high with a total weight of 530 kg.

Inside is a statue of Don Bosco similar to the one in the casket preserved in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It was made by the sculptor Garbolino and the Apostolato Liturgico, and Sr Anna Scaglia FMA made the vestments. The face has been reproduced from the mask made by Cellini the day after Don Bosco died.

The pilgrimage
At the end of the short blessing ceremony, the casket will begin its pilgrimage around the world. The logistics for the pilgrimage have been entrusted to the Roberto Bertoli Company and the Missioni Don Bosco in Turin.

The first stage will be in Lazio. After a stop at the Poor Clares Monastery in Città della Pieve, the casket will travel through several cities - Frascati, Latina, Formia, Castelgandolfo, Genzano – and stop at several Salesian houses in the capital. The pilgrimage in the Lazio region will finish at the end of June at the Generalate of the Salesians in via della Pisana and will then head off for Latin America.

The first international phase of the pilgrimage will see the casket in the Salesian Region of America South Cone and it will pass through Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.

The programme of the pilgrimage which will end on 31 January 2014.
* Interamerica, Region between March and October 2010
* East Asia Oceania Region, between November 2010 and April 2011
* South Asia Region, between may and November 2011
* Africa-Madagascar Region, between December 2011 and April 2012, July and August 2012
* West Europe Region, May and June and between September and November 2012
* North Europe Region between December 2012 and August 2013
* Italy MOR Region, between September 2013 and January 2014

Called to be saints!

Catholic Mountain has some really cool videos!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NYC's New Archbishop Aims to Renew Church

God bless him! He did a fantastic job in his first homily to the people of New York! The following comes from The American Papist blog:

Perhaps the most memorable moment of Archbishop Dolan's Installation Homily:
"... the Resurrection goes on, as His Church continues to embrace and protect the dignity of every human person, the sanctity of human life, from the tiny baby in the womb...

[here a deafening applause interupted his delivery, lasting for perhaps 30-45 seconds, and eventually included almost the entire assembly standing]

... to the last moment of natural passing into eternal life. As the Servant of God Terrence Cardinal Cooke wrote, “Human life is no less sacred or worthy of respect because it is tiny, pre-born, poor, sick, fragile, or handicapped.” [note that, in the eyes of the Church, all these conditions are simply unique challenges to protecting human dignity.]

Yes, the Church is a loving mother who has a zest for life and serves life everywhere, but she can become a protective “mamma bear” when the life of her innocent, helpless cubs is threatened...

[here, for a second time, strong sustained applause]

... Everyone in this mega-community is a somebody with an extraordinary destiny. Everyone is a somebody in whom God has invested an infinite love. That is why the Church reaches out to the unborn, the suffering, the poor, our elders, the physically and emotionally challenged, those caught in the web of addictions..."

Updated again: I dreamed a dream... Amazing!

What can I say... amazing!  I have to say this video made me smile.  Thanks Deacon Greg!
Here is more on Susan Boyle from the Anchoress!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Is Archbishop Dolan the new Sheen?

The New York Times is an odd place to find this comparison, but it is a good one! The paper compares the new Archbishop of New York to the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen! Here is an excerpt from the Times:

In his first homily as the new leader of New York’s Roman Catholics, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan managed Wednesday to tuck in a single but telling mention of a church leader who is one of his personal heroes.

That figure is Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who is buried in the crypt below St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Archbishop Sheen, who once headed the Diocese of Rochester and was an auxiliary bishop in New York, never ascended to the heights of the church’s hierarchy as Archbishop Dolan now has. But because of his popular, pioneering radio and television broadcasts, Archbishop Sheen was the public face of Catholicism for many Americans from the 1930s through the ’60s, projecting the church’s message on everything from politics to prayer.

Archbishop Dolan, a church historian whose studies have focused on the contemporary American Catholic experience, made it clear on Wednesday that he understands he was chosen for his formidable skills at communications and public relations, and that he intends to use them.

A bear of a man with a round, open face and ready smile, he has already hugged countless New York priests, parishioners, seminarians and staff at church headquarters, who seem to light up at his warm attention. He swept into a morning news conference with his hand outstretched, stopping to shake reporters’ hands and make connections, as if working a cocktail party.

Before taking questions, he thanked the journalists — a disarming move that immediately set a tone different from that of his predecessor, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who often had a prickly relationship with the news media.

“Part of the business of being a bishop is to be a communicator,” Archbishop Dolan said, “and you have allowed me to work through you to be a communicator.”

Before he arrived in New York this week from Milwaukee, where he headed the archdiocese for seven years, he was the host of a weekly television program; his brother, Bob, is a former radio talk show host. Archbishop Dolan told Milwaukee’s archdiocesan paper, The Catholic Herald, that he would welcome an invitation to appear on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” Maybe, he mused, people would remember not just his jokes, but also a bit of catechism.

Tom Keaney, a spokesman for the show, said, “We’re honored to be on the archbishop’s radar screen.”

Peter V. Handal, president and chief executive of Dale Carnegie & Associates, the communications curriculum used by generations of business and civic leaders, said Wednesday from his aisle seat as he awaited the procession into St. Patrick’s that he had seen Archbishop Dolan only on television so far, but was impressed with his capacity to project himself.

“He smiles, which is one of the Dale Carnegie principles,” Mr. Handal said. “He is expressive and enthusiastic, which is also one of the Dale Carnegie principles. He must have taken one of our courses.”

Hat tip to the Deacon's Bench for this one!

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict!

Happy 82nd Birthday Pope Benedict! The Anchoress has some nice thoughts on the subject!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The New Pastor of New York

The following is an excerpt from Archbishop Dolan's homily today:

For three weeks in July, 1992, I was on pilgrimage in Israel. I had a wonderful Franciscan guide who made sure I saw all the sacred places in the Holy Land. The day before I departed, he asked, “Is there anything left you want to see?”

“Yes,” I replied, “I would like to walk the road to Emmaus.”

“That we cannot do,” he told me, “You see, no one really knows where that village of Emmaus actually was, so there is no more road to Emmaus.”

Sensing my disappointment, he remarked, “Maybe that’s part of God’s providence, because we can now make every journey we undertake a walk down the Road to Emmaus.”

My new friends of this great archdiocese, would you join your new pastor on an “adventure in fidelity,” as we turn the Staten Island Expressway, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Broadway, the FDR, the Major Deegan, and the New York State Thruway into the Road to Emmaus, as we witness a real “miracle on 34th street” and turn that into the road to Emmaus?

For, dare to believe, that:
From Staten Island to Sullivan County
From the Bowery, to the Bronx, to Newburgh,
From White Plains to Poughkeepsie…

He is walking right alongside us.

“For why do we look for the living among the dead?”

“For He is risen as He said, alleluia, alleluia!”

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”

Rocco has the entire homily here.

President Obama Says He Is "Unaware of Tea Parties"

There is a ton of info at Gateway Pundit on the Tea Parties across the country.

Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi message

Pope Benedict said during his Urbi et Orbi message that ever since the dawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has filled the world. He said the Resurrection is not a theory or a myth, but a historical reality, a singular unrepeatable event.

He said The proclamation of the Lords Resurrection lightens up the dark regions of the world in which we live.

Pope Benedict added that it is true that death no longer has power over man and over the world, there still remain very many, in fact too many signs of its former dominion.