Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Bible and the Actor Who Played Jesus

It is Easter Sunday night!  Alleluia!!  Happy Easter!  Now go watch The Bible on History!  Here is a bit on the final crucifixion scene and the experience of the actor who plays Jesus (via Yahoo TV):

Viewers watching the Easter Sunday conclusion of the History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries will find the crucifixion scenes "painful" to watch, producer Mark Burnett says.
They should know that filming the scenes was just as painful, and emotional, an experience for the series' actors.
"I was on that cross for a long time, long hours," says Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, who, as Jesus, has been the breakout star of "The Bible." "We shot the crucifixion sequence in three days. And I don't know how many hours I stood there. But it was really excruciating. By the way, do you know that the word 'excruciating' means 'out of the cross'? Anyway, as I was on the cross, I can tell you that at one point I stopped, and I looked around, and I looked at everybody working, trying to do their best, I looked at their eyes, and suddenly it struck me … I just saw my whole life in a flashback in front of my eyes.
"It's so strong when you feel that you're where you should be, you know, and you feel that this is what you were kind of … that you were born to, at one point, to touch people's hearts. If the goal of an actor is to tell the best story ever, there's no higher story than Jesus Christ. It's the ultimate love story, and the way he can touch people, it's just a privilege, it's just beyond words, having this opportunity of doing this. It was really a personal journey and a spiritual journey. And it touched me, in a way that I'm still digesting. It didn't end with the shooting. It's still alive."
Filming the crucifixion scenes in Morocco was also a powerful experience for "The Bible" co-producer Roma Downey, the "Touched by an Angel" star (and Burnett's wife), who took on the role of Mary in the miniseries.
"We had snakes and scorpions on the set, and we had a snake man whose job it was to clear the set of snakes," Downey says. "Maybe on any given day, he would clear one or two snakes from any given location. On the morning of the crucifixion, when I got up to the set, he called me aside, and he had a writhing bag on the road … he had pulled 48 snakes from the foot of the cross that morning! It was an exhausting few days for everyone involved, and emotionally draining, but it was very important to us that we got that right."

Easter Urbi et Orbi Blessing: Pope calls for peace, denounces human and drug trafficking

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interview with Sr Ana Rosa Sivori, FMA: Cousin of Pope Francis

(ANS – Rome) Sr Ana Rosa Sivori, Argentinian, and Salesian Sister (fma) a missionary in Thailand, is a second degree cousin of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the newly elected Pope Francis. She was invited to Rome for the inaugural Mass of the new Pontificate. In what follows we report an excerpt from the interview which the Sisters in Thailand published on the Institute's website.

What were your emotions when you learned that the new Pope was Cardinal Bergoglio?
I felt very emotional because I did not expect it, I had not considered that the Lord would choose him, knowing how reluctant he is to putting himself forward. But I thanked the Lord for the Pope he has given us and prayed for him, since he has taken up such a huge cross.

What kind of relationship so you have with him; what are your memories?
We are second degree cousins. His and my maternal grandfathers were brothers, so my mother and his father were first degree cousins and that makes us second degree ones. He was very fond of my father and caught up with him whenever he could. The last time I saw him was last year. I returned home to visit my family and went to see him, as I always do when returning to Argentina. We chatted for a while and he gave me some books for myself and the Sisters, and asked me to pray for him as he always does. He always used say: “Ana Rosa, pray for me; do remember to pray for me”.

How would you describe the new Pope?
It is not so simple to describe him,  but briefly, when I think of him I think of austerity, simplicity, humility. He is a very humble person, very reluctant to be in the limelight. He has always lived poorly. Even as a Cardinal he used public transport and lived in a poor and simple dwelling.

What about his service to the Church up till now?
It is many years since I have lived in Argentina, but what I can say is that he always worked for the poor, the marginalised. He always thought of the elderly, children, those who have less of a voice in society; he always did a lot for them.

In your view how will his election be important for Argentina as a nation?
Argentina has been going through a crisis for some time. His election has filled Argentinians with joy and hope. They are very happy at his election and see God's hand in it; they can see a revival of Christianity in the future in a nation that is suffering.

What is your wish for the new Pope?
He needs the light of the Holy Spirit to be able to do the good he intends to do for the Church and the world. He is speaking much of brotherhood in the Church and the whole world, so for Pope Francis I ask the Lord to enlighten and guide him in his mission in the best way possible. Let us continue to accompany him with our prayer
On the FMA website you can see the complete video of the interview.

Pope Francis: To live Holy Week we have to learn to 'come out of ourselves'

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Witness: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Look at Pope Francis' Schedule For Next Few Months

Monday, March 25, 2013

Witness: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday with Pope Francis

Interview with Pope Francis: "The Voice of the Pastor"

Hat tip to iPadre on this one:  EWTN did a 15 minute interview with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires just six months ago. In the interview, he talks about the Year of Faith, and people’s false gods.

Pope Francis on his love for the Eucharist

Lifehouse "Everything Skit"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Late in Life by The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers~Late In Life from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Cardinal Bergoglio planned to retire and dedicate himself to prayer and parochial life

Catholics Come Home

The following comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker:

I met Tom Peterson, the founder of the Catholics Come Home project when I was in Atlanta leading a parish mission last month. He gave me a copy of his book, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about his fantastic apostolate, Catholics Come Home--which produces and distributes television ads encouraging Catholics to return to the faith.
Tom tells his own story in this book. Coming from a Catholic family, he graduated from college and jumped straight into a highly paid job in the marketing and advertising industry. Before long he had it made: the wife, the kids, the beautiful house, a garage full of cool cars and a fast paced, successful American executive life style.
Then the Lord got hold of him and turned him around. He began to simplify and deepen his spiritual life. He began to look again at his values and check again what he was really living for. God called him to use his experience, brains and expertise in the advertising industry to beckon Catholics to return to the church. He downsized, learned to live by faith and now works full time spreading the gospel.
With ads going out on television across America the Catholics Come Home enterprise has been a terrific success. Tom’s book, however, does not trumpet that success like a glitzy media celebrity might. His own down to earth, humble style comes through in his writing. Filled with real life stories of how God touched his life and used him to help others, this book is a perfect giveaway to someone you know who is following the American Dream without ever dreaming of anything bigger or better than the American Dream. Tom’s life is an illustration of the point that the problem with many affluent Americans is not that they dream big, but that they don’t dream big enough.
God has greater things for you than the American Dream. Tom shows how a reduction in your lifestyle, new spiritual disciplines and a fresh reliance on prayer and Catholic devotions can transform your life. He calls ordinary Catholics to embark on an extraordinary adventure, and the fact that he has gone on this great adventure himself shows that it can be done.
Tom Peterson witnesses to the world in a way that a priest never can. He shows what great things can be done by laypeople because they have lived the life in the world and can relate to the world and it’s values and witness to something greater in a way that the clergy cannot.
This is a fine little book in the great tradition of humble devotional personal works. There doesn’t seem much that’s new here, but that’s okay. It’s what I call the old, old story–a story that is always new as it comes alive in a real person’s life. Read Tom’s story and allow it to inspire and motivate you to go on that same adventure of following Christ.

Meeting of Popes: Francis and Benedict

(Vatican Radio) Speaking exclusively to Vatican Radio, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., reveals the details of this morning’s historic encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, an encounter he has described as a moment of profound and elevated communion:

“The helicopter landed in Castel Gandolfo heliport, at about 12:15 and the car with the retired Pope approached the helicopter landing site. The Holy Father alighted: he was accompanied by the Substitute [Secretary of State] Msgr. Becciu, by Msgr. Sapienza and Msgr. Alfred Xuereb. As the Pope alighted, the Pope Emeritus approached him and there was a moving embrace between the two. 
Then, there followed brief greetings with those other present- the bishop of Albano and the Director of the Pontifical Villas, Mr. Petrillo – they all got in the car: Pope Francis on the right, then place reserved to the Pope, and the Pope emeritus on the left. Msgr. Georg Gänswein, who is Prefect of the Papal Household, travelled in the same car. And so, the car brought the two protagonists of this historic meeting to the elevators and they went up to the apartments and immediately went to the chapel for a moment of prayer. 

In the chapel, the Pope emeritus offered the place of honor to Pope Francis, but he said: "We are brothers," and wanted them to kneel together in the same pew. After a short moment of prayer, they then went to the private library where, at about 12:30, the private meeting began. This is the Library where the Pope normally receives important guests in Castel Gandolfo. Pope Francis brought a beautiful icon as a gift for the Pope emeritus. It was an icon of Our Lady of Humility, as a gift for Benedict XVI's great humility. Their discussions ended at 13.15, lasting about 45 minutes. It should be noted, with regard to the clothing, which actually - as we mentioned earlier - the Pope emeritus wears a simple cassock white, without a sash and without a mantella: these are the two details which distinguish his clothing from that of Pope Francis who wears a mantella and sash. 

The two Secretaries, and Msgr. Georg and Msgr. Xuereb, are expected to eat lunch with them. Thus the totally private and confidential meeting ended with the discussions in the Library. The Pope Emeritus will also accompany Pope Francis to the heliport, when the time comes for his return. Let us remember that this is not their first meeting: it is their first face-to-face meeting, but Pope Francis had many times already addressed his thoughts to the Pope emeritus, during his first appearance on the central Loggia, and then two personal calls: the night of his election and St. Joseph’s Day. 

Thus, the dialogue had already started, even though the the personal, physical meeting had not yet taken place. Let us also remember that the retired Pope had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his farewell meeting with the Cardinals, February 28, and certainly in this [morning’s] meeting - which was a moment of profound and elevated communion –will have had the opportunity to renew this act of reverence and obedience to his successor, and certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude and that of the whole Church for Pope Benedict’s ministry during his pontificate”. 

Fr. Lombardi excluded the possibility of Pope Francis and Benedict XVI appearing at the balconey together to greet the public.

Vatican publishes public manual with practical advice for priests

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pope Francis, the Salesians and Mary, Help of Christians!

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:
On the afternoon of March 21, the Rector Major and his vicar, Fr. Adriano Bregolin, were received by Pope Francis at the Vatican, in an encounter with all the hallmarks of great familiarity. The Pope spontaneously accepted Fr. Chavez’s letter of homage, indicating that he would be ready to visit Turin in 2015.
“It was a brief meeting: 15 minutes but very intense, in which we handed the Holy Father the letter I had written for the inauguration of his pontificate, and the statue of Mary Help of Christians, which he immediately kissed,” the Rector Major tells us.

“Everything we have seen and felt since that first presentation in St. Peter’s Square, on that unforgettable evening of his election, we re-lived and experienced in person this evening: his attractive congeniality, great simplicity, warmth, and ability to listen and relate. He recognized me, and the embrace with which he welcomed me made me feel his great sense of fatherliness.”
The Pope’s humanity is also shown in his particular attention to Fr. Chavez in person. “He asked me about my health, because he had heard I was not well. He also asked me when I would be finishing my mandate as Rector Major. I told him that, thanks be to God, I had recovered in health to the point where I could continue my service and that I would finish as superior within a year.”
The conversation did not lack reference to Pope Francis’s fellow-feeling for Salesian spirituality and work: “Together,” Fr. Chavez continued, “we recalled a number of events: when asked at Aparecida whether the beatification of Ceferino Namuncurá could take place not in Buenos Aires but Chimpay, he gave his reason thus: ‘In Patagonia the Salesians have done everything’; his time as a past pupil at the Salesian school in Ramos Mejia; his devotion to Mary Help of Christians expressed by going to the shrine at Almagro every 24th of the month to celebrate Mass; he himself reminded me that he had been baptized there by a Salesian, Fr. Enrico Pozzoli; we also spoke of his attachment to the San Lorenzo soccer team, where he holds membership.”
The Rector Major and Fr. Bregolin also presented Pope Francis with a number of invitations, which he accepted most readily: “Introducing to him the director of the Vatican community, Fr. Sergio Pellini, we invited him to visit the [Vatican Polyglot] Press and the community, and he said he would do so. I then renewed the invitation to come to Turin for May 24, 2015, for the feast of Mary Help of Christians, on the occasion of the bicentennial of Don Bosco’s birth. His answer left room for hope: ‘Why not?’ Finally, Fr. Adriano Bregolin asked him to keep the statue of Mary Help of Christians in his study as the Help and Mother of the Church, and again he said, ‘I will do that.’”
The Rector Major and his vicar then took leave of the Pope, and they thanked him for granting this opportunity to greet him personally. They renewed their offer of prayer and closeness on the part of the whole Salesian Family and especially of the Congregation.

Pope Francis: no peace without truth

The following comes from the Catholic World Report:

Today Pope Francis addressed diplomats from around the world accredited to the Holy See. Touching on what can already be considered a main theme of his pontificate—the need to care for the poor and suffering among us—he also discussed a topic that was among the defining points of his predecessor’s pontificate: the hazards of a “dictatorship of relativism,” which Francis described as the “spiritual poverty of our time.”

“But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the ‘dictatorship of relativism,’ which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples.

And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace is everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.”

The full text of Francis’ remarks to the diplomatic corps can be read here.

Pope to celebrate Holy Thursday mass at juvenile prison

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Down With The Shine by The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers - "Down With The Shine" (Live Session) from Alex Blumberg on Vimeo.

Magic Clerk Chicks: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Grassroots: The Election of Pope Francis (I dare you not to cry)

Pope will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a juvenile detention center,

Cardinal Salazar: Pope Francis elected in wide consensus

Pope's Cousin: 'He Has Always Asked Us to Pray for Him'

The following comes from Zenit:

A cousin of Pope Francis says that he is a humble, austere man, who has always asked for prayer.

Sister Ana Rosa of the Salesian Congregation of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was in Rome today for Francis' inauguration Mass.
Her father is a cousin of Francis' mother.
Today, Sister Ana Rosa is a missionary in Thailand. "It was 2 o’clock in the morning [in Thailand] when we heard the news [of the Pope's election], and I thought, 'Is it true?' It was overwhelming," she told ZENIT.
The nun spoke of the Holy Father's message of hope and invitation to "work for the neediest, which is the service of the Church. He who has more and can give more should mix with the one who needs more; this is very important."
Sister Ana Rosa described the Pontiff as "a very humble person and very austere. When we are with him, we are as a family. Whenever I go to Buenos Aires from Thailand, I go to visit him."
"Today I was able to speak with him and I was seated next to the altar," she continued. "When the Pope saw me, he said; 'What are you doing here? You came!'"
His sister-in-law has come and 18 nephews and grand-nephews are also in Rome for the celebrations, she reported.
Sister Anna Rosa said that Pope Francis is very much of the family. “Whenever we meet, he always says to me: 'Ana Rosa, pray for me. Ask the elderly sisters also to pray for me.'” 
“If he asked for this before, much more does he now; we must pray a lot for him," she declared.
With St. Peter
Hundreds of faithful accompanied Pope Francis today during the Mass marking the beginning of his Petrine ministry, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. It is estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 people were in St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets. The rain stopped, allowing the sun to shine during the whole Eucharistic celebration.
It was a ceremony rich in symbols and gestures, which was accompanied by the emotion of those present. The Pope came to the Square around 8:50 am in an open white jeep and greeted the people gathered for the Eucharist with joyful gestures and a "thumbs up" on several occasions.
At one point a small child was brought to him, whom he kissed tenderly before getting out of the jeep to kiss a sick person who was in the first row behind one of the barriers.
In addition to the faithful in the Square, the Holy Father was also accompanied by representatives of other religions and other Christian communities, and by delegation from 134 countries. Flags from all over the globe and posters of different movements, parishes and groups added color to the Square.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Laundry Room by The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers~Laundry Room from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Salesian Rector Major’s Letter to Pope Francis

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

Yesterday, 19 March, at the Mass for the beginning of Pope Francis' Petrine Ministry, the Rector Major had a letter delivered to the Pontiff. Herewith the complete text.

Your Holiness,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Salesian Congregation and the entire Salesian Family to express sentiments of tribute and our best wishes at your election as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff. I am writing on this day of the solemn inauguration of your Pontificate; may it be an enduring one, replete with all God's blessings. We knew that we had a great Pastor in Benedict XVI, and we are now grateful to the Lord for having given us another great Pastor in his Successor, in you, Your Holiness and beloved Pope Francis.

As Christians and Salesian Religious, it is our desire now to express our joy at your appointment. We renew our loyalty and assure you of the filial respect for you that we have inherited from Don Bosco. He often expressed this in words full of affection and faith when speaking of Peter's Successor.

“Whoever is united with the Pope is united with Christ!” (MB VIII,567)

“We will be absolutely respectful of the Apostolic See in everything, anywhere, any time, wherever the Lord may call us” (MB XV,249).

“For me the Pope's wish is a command” (MB V,874) “His word must be our rule in everything and for everything” (MB VI,494)

Thus spoke our Founder Don Bosco and this is how we feel in our hearts today.

I would like to tell you, Your Holiness, that immediately after your election was announced I spontaneously and joyfully recalled the beautiful and unforgettable experience of Church at Aparecida, in May 2007, where I had the grace of knowing you and greeting you personally. Together we took part in the work there, the celebrations and meetings at the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops; we met again at the meeting of Argentine Bishops, which you presided at, so we could establish the place and arrangements for the Beatification of the then Venerable Ceferino Namuncurá.  I will never forget your words, full of esteem for the work of our Salesian confreres in Patagonia, and your intervention so that Chimpay could be the place for the celebration.

I am well aware of your closeness and affection for the Salesians, especially at the Almagro community where Fr Enrique Pozzoli, who was your spiritual director, lived; and for Fr Lorenzo Massa, founder of the San Lorenzo Football Team. I was very much appreciative of your testimony on behalf of our Coadjutor Brother, Blessed Artemides Zatti, when you were the Jesuit Provincial, and for your fatherly concern, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, for our confreres. I have always experienced much joy at your well-known devotion to Mary Help of Christians which so many of our confreres recall.  

From the moment of your election and when you presented yourself, we have been fascinated by the name you took as Pontiff, a name that picks up many of your own characteristics and which proclaims a programme of renewal in the Church, returning it to its true identity and to the Gospel through simplicity, austerity, and keeping its gaze fixed on the Lord Jesus.

Your Holiness, we welcome and make our own your wish to have “the courage, yes the courage to walk in the Lord's presence, with his Cross; to build the Church on the blood of the Lord poured out on the Cross and to confess his glory: Christ Crucified. And so the Church will move on ahead.”

In fidelity to the Church and our Founder Don Bosco, we accept this invitation of yours, Your Holiness, and we promise that we will always keep it present in our personal lives, our pastoral choices and our apostolic programmes.

We assure you of our prayers. May the Holy Spirit assist you in the delicate task Providence has entrusted to you and may the Virgin Mary always be your Help in your ministry.

Along with this letter we are sending you, as a sign of our closeness, a statue of Mary Help of Christians. It would be a great gift for us if we could present it to you one 24th of May, in Turin in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which Don Bosco built with so much love. Perhaps in 2015, when we celebrate the second centenary of his birth.

In a spirit of filial obedience, today and always we assure you of our devotion and affection.

Where is the Church Growing Fastest?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Francis’ Coat of Arms and Motto

Yesterday, 18 March, the vigil of the Mass with which Pope Francis begins his Petrine ministry, the Vatican Press Office presented his Coat of Arms and the motto he has chosen from St Bede “miserando atque eligendo”.

The Shield
Pope Francis has decided to keep the essential elements of his earlier coat of arms, chosen at the time of his episcopal consecration and essentially a simple one.

The blue shield is surmounted by the symbols of pontifical dignity, the same as the one used by his predecessor, Benedict XVI (mitre and three keys in gold and silver, with a red cord). Standing out above is the emblem of the Pope's Order, the Jesuits or Company of Jesus: a flaming sun with letters in red, IHS, monogram of Christ. The letter H includes a cross; this has three nails in black immediately below it.

Below is a star and a grape-like plant (nardo). The star, according to ancient heraldic tradition, represents the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ and the Church; the other plant, which flowers like a lily, represents St Joseph, patron of the Universal Church. In Spanish iconographic tradition, St Joseph carries what looks like a lily in his hands. By including these images on his shield, the Pope has understood how best to display his devotion to Our Lady and to St Joseph.

The Motto
The Holy Father, Francis' motto comes fro a homily by the Venerable Bede, a priest (Om. 21; CCL 122, 149-151), commenting on the Gospel passage of St Matthew's call, where he writes "Vidit ergo lesus publicanum et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi Sequere me" (Jesus saw a publican, looked upon him with love and feeling and said to him: follow me).

The homily is a tribute to divine mercy and can be found in the Liturgy of the Hours for St Matthew's feast day. It takes on a special role in the spiritual life of the Pope. It was on St Matthew's Feast in 1953, that the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio experienced, when he was but 17, the special loving presence of God in his life. Following confession, he felt his heart touched by Gods mercy, and that God was looking at him lovingly, calling him to religious life, following the example of St Ignatius of Loyola.

When chosen as a Bishop, Bishop Bergoglio recalled this moment of the beginning of his special consecration in the Church and decided to choose St Bede's expression as his motto and programme for life: “miserando atque eligendo” (he showed mercy on him and called him), which is now in the Papal Coat of Arms.

Archbishop Richard Smith discusses Pope Francis

Pope Francis and the Salesians

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

As the days pass, new episodes and aspects of interest regarding Pope Francis emerge. Amongst them, a number tied in with the Salesian world. As well as his special devotion to Mary Help of Christians – displayed every 24th of the month at the Marian shrine at Almagro in Buenos Aires – there are others. The new Pope is also a Salesian past pupil.

In 1949 Jorge Mario Bergolio attended “Wilfrid Barón” Salesian College in Ramos Mejía, along with his brother. Jorge was in class 6B. From the list of prize-winners that year we see he got first prize for conduct, religion and the Gospel.

A detailed biography published by the Argentine Daily “La Nación”, also reports that the Pope, when he was 17 had Fr Enrico Pozzoli as his spiritual director, from the Almagro community. This priest, before bringing Don Bosco's charism to Tierra del Fuego – the ends of the world – left an indelible mark on him. It was Fr Pozzoli who suggested to the young Bergoglio to go to the Tandil mountains to overcome an attack of pneumonia; it was he who helped the future Pope apply for the seminary at Villa Devoto; and Card. Bergoglio included a reference to him in the preface to his first book – Meditations for Religious – referring to the “strong impact” this Salesian had on his life, and the “example of ecclesial service and religious consecration” he gave.

At Tandil, when he was 18 anni, Bergoglio met Roberto Musante, two years older than him, who he then met in more complex circumstances later. Like when Bergoglio, during the dictatorship, took in three seminarians belonging to Bishop Enrique Angelelli.

At Tandil, Fr Musante recalls, the two got to know each other and talk, and Bergoglio “was rather quiet and humble”. The two young men then took different paths. Today, Fr Musante, a Salesian, work in Angola where he looks after hundreds of youngsters at Lixeira, “rubbish dump” in Portuguese. Bergoglio, instead, chose to follow St Ignatius Loyola.

Pope's Homily during Inauguration Mass: Protect one Another

The following comes from

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church.  It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful.  I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence.  My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24).  These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector.  The protector of whom?  Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector?  Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand.  From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care.  As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church?  By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own.  This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading.  God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan.  It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit.  Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions.  In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ!  Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone.  It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us.  It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.  It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents.  It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness.  In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it.  Be protectors of God’s gifts!
Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.   Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.  Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world!  But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves!  Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives!  Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down!  We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness.  In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love.  We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!
Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power.  Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it?  Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep.  Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.  He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46).  Only those who serve with love are able to protect!
In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18).  Hoping against hope!  Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.  To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope!  For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ.  It is a hope built on the rock which is God.
To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly.  Let us protect with love all that God has given us!
I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me!  Amen.

Nearly 200 political and religious delegations expected for Inauguration Mass at St. Peter's Square

Monday, March 18, 2013

CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization Preview

Mystery Train by Washboard Chaz and Roberto Luti

Mystery Train | Playing For Change from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

Archbishop Chaput: Pope Francis’s election is ‘huge benefit for the Church’

The following comes from the Catholic Culture site:

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia sees the election of Pope Francis as “a great gift, a huge benefit for the Church, and also a candid recognition of the new Catholic reality worldwide. I think it will have a wonderful energizing effect on Latino Catholics in the United States who already contribute so much to American Catholic life in great numbers.”
“I was struck by how keenly he listened to the synod’s speakers, and how well he understood the issues facing the Church in both North and South America,” Archbishop Chaput said as he recalled meeting the future Pope in 1997. “But mainly I remember the warmth of his personality and how generously he greeted me as a brother.”
“He liked my Synod intervention because I referenced Charles Borromeo, one of his favorite saints,” he added. “The portrait he gave me is Mary, the Virgin of Desatanudos, an Argentine devotion that originally began in Germany. In the portrait, Mary is seen untying knots, and the knots are the difficulties in our life as a Church.”

Salt and Light: What does Pope Francis mean for the Church?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fr. Robert Barron: Rome Report #7

The First Angelus Address of Pope Francis

Homily of Pope Francis: Sunday, March 17

Pope Francis greets St. Anne parishioners after mass - Sunday, March 17

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ireland's Call by Celtic Thunder

Archbishop Chaput: A New Holy Father and the Legacy of a Name

The following comes from Archbishop Chaput at Catholic Philly:

Francis is the name of several extraordinary saints.  Francis Xavier, cofounder of the Jesuits, is one of history’s greatest missionaries.  Francis Borgia, a member of one of the most famous (and infamous) families of the Renaissance, turned away from wealth and privilege, joined the Society of Jesus and rose to become its superior general.  And Francis De Sales, the great mystical writer, ascetic and bishop, founded a religious order of women with St. Jane De Chantal.  He also worked closely with the Capuchin Franciscans to preach a renewed Catholic faith in his diocese in the wake of the Reformation.
But the Francis most people remember when they hear the name, including many non-Christians and non-believers, is the Poverello, “the poor one” – St. Francis of Assisi.  This is the saint whose name our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, has chosen.  So it’s good to know a little bit about him.
St. Francis once said that “the saints lived lives of heroic virtue, [but] we are satisfied to talk about them.”  Francis himself wasn’t satisfied with pious words.  He wanted to act on the things he believed.  He called his brothers to live the Gospel with simplicity and honesty.  And that’s why he used the words sine glossa – “without gloss” — in his Testament.  He saw that the Gospel wasn’t complicated, but it was demanding and difficult.  The scholars and Church lawyers of his day in the 13th century had written commentaries called glosses.  And these glosses were very good at either explaining away the hard parts of the Gospel, or diminishing our need to follow Christ’s demands.  Francis wanted none of that.  He was a radical in the truest sense.  He wanted to experience discipleship at its root.
Francis lived in a time as troubled as our own.  It was an age of Christians killing Christians, Muslims and Christians killing each other, wars between cities and states, and corruption both within and outside the Church.  Views of society and the Church were changing.  The feudal system was falling apart.  For much of his life, Francis was lost in the confusion.  But in his experience of faith and prayer, he came to some basic insights that gave him a very powerful inner freedom.  And this enabled him to live the Gospel with simplicity and clarity in such a way that he not only was converted himself, but also became the leader of a movement of conversion in the Church and society at large.
Today the Church seems to be in similar disarray.  We have all sorts of factions fighting each other, among priests, among bishops, and certainly among our laypeople.  We’re humiliated and shaken by the criminal sexual behavior of some of our clergy.  And this has led, even for some who are deeply loyal to the Church, to a lack of confidence in our bishops, in the Church and her future, and even sometimes to a lack of confidence in Jesus Christ.  We wonder if the Gospel is really true or if the Church is just another fraud.
Francis felt many of the same sentiments, and he faced many of the same questions.  And yet a very clear part of his spirituality was his love for the Church, his obedience to her pastors, his unwillingness to be critical of the Church.  Instead of tearing her down because of the sins of her leaders, Francis chose to love the Church and serve her — and because of that love and by his simple living of the Gospel without compromise, he became the means God used for the renewal of a whole age of faith.
When God spoke to Francis from the cross of San Damiano – “Repair my house, which is falling into ruin” — Francis heard it literally.  He thought he was supposed to repair the chapel of San Damiano near Assisi.  But of course the real call was to repair the larger Church with an interior revolution, by the personal witness of a pure and basic living of the Gospel.
The Franciscan tradition tells us that often in his life, Francis would meet with his community, and this man who was one of history’s greatest saints would say to them, “Brothers, up to now we have done nothing.  Let us begin.”  And I think that even though we’ve accomplished many wonderful things in the Church in Philadelphia and throughout the United States, if we want to be what God calls us to be in the years that lie ahead, we need to be like St. Francis.
Francis wasn’t the only Church reformer of his day.  Plenty of other men and women saw the problems in the Church and tried to do something about it.  Francis wasn’t even the smartest or the most talented – but he was almost certainly the most faithful, the most honest, the most humble, the most single-minded in his mission, and the most zealous in his love for Jesus Christ.  And I’d argue that these marks of authentic Church renewal haven’t really changed at all in 800 years.
Throughout my life, I’ve often turned to the Prayer of St. Francis before the Crucifix.  It goes like this:
Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, so that I may carry out your holy and true command.
It’s always easier to talk about reform when the target of the reform is “out there,” rather than in here.  The Church does need reform.  She always needs reform, which means she needs scholars and committed laypeople to help guide her, and pastors who know how to lead with humility, courage and love.  But what she needs more than anything else isholiness – holy priests and holy people who love Jesus Christ and love His Church more than they love their own ideas.
Today, just like 800 years ago, the structures of the Church are so much easier to tinker with than a stubborn heart, or an empty hole where our faith should be.  Reforming the Church, renewing the Church, begins with our own repentance, our own humility and willingness to serve — and that’s the really hard work, which is why sometimes so little of it seems to get done.  But as our new Holy Father understands so well, it can be done.  Francis showed us how.  Now it’s up to us to do something about it.

Margaret Haughery of New Orleans

The following comes from the Old NOLA Journal:

Where Camp and Prytania Streets meet in New Orleans is a small park called"Margaret Place." On it is a statue of a middle aged woman seated in a chair with a small child nearby. The plaque on the statue has only one word: "Margaret."
When the statue was built, after the death of the woman in the chair, everyone in New Orleans knew who she was. I wonder how many people, sad to say, remember who she was today?

We often forget our history, and this is a tragedy. One of the reasons for this blog is to help us remember the important but often over-looked stories of Old New Orleans.

Margaret Haughery (pronounced as HAW -a- ree) is someone we should remember for all time. In her day she was called the "Bread Woman of New Orleans" because she gave freely to the poor and hungry from her own bakery. In addition to feeding the poor, she helped fund and build many orphanages throughout the city.

When she died in 1882 thousands, including prominent politicians, businessmen, and members of the clergy, attended her funeral. Her obituary was printed on the front page of the Picayune newspaper, the main paper in the city. The citizens of the city, who adored her, raised the funds to build a statue to her. (See the photo I took above pre-Katrina). It is believed by many historians to be the very first -- or certainly among the very first-- public statues ever built to honor a woman in the USA. But many people today do not even know the statue exists.

Margaret Gaffney Haughery was born into poverty possibly in County Cavan, Ireland in 1813. (Note: Most older sources say that Cavan was the place of Margaret's birth. Some sources claim, however, that she was  born elsewhere in Ireland, such as in Tully, Carrigallen, County Leitrim. See the "comments" at the end of this story for more information and discussion on this.) 

When she was five years old, her parents left Ireland --which was a land plagued by destitution, political turmoil, and oppression under British rule -- and came to America. But within a few years, Margaret was left an orphan as both her parents died of disease. She was cared for by a neighbor and later married at 21. Her husband, Charles Haughery, was not a well man. To escape the cold climate up north, the couple moved to New Orleans in 1835. Here, however, they -- like other New Orleanians -- suffered from rampant epidemics of yellow fever and cholera. Soon her husband died as did her newborn child. So, within a period of a few years, she had lost every single person in her life that she loved.

Despite these tragedies, or because of them, Margaret was determined to do something in her life to help the condition of widows and orphans -- something she understood very well. However, now she was destitute, totally uneducated and illiterate, and totally alone in essentially a foreign country.

She found work in the laundry of the St. Charles Hotel, a very fine establishment in the French Quarter which no longer exists. Then she worked for a dairy, selling fresh milk in the Vieux Carre' (French Quarter). She became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity and worked with them, specifically with a nun named Sr. Regis Barrett. It was at this point that her business experience combined with her philanthropic goals. She and the nun would work together for many years helping neglected orphans and widows in the city. Although a Catholic, Margaret made certain that all her charity work was opened to people of all religions and backgrounds.

Eventually, Margaret worked for a bakery and became the owner of businesses. She helped open the St. Teresa's Orphan Asylum on Camp Street. One of her businesses called "Margaret's Steam and Mechanical Bakery" became very popular, and she advertised her products by her first name. (Hence as in the plaque on her statue years later, everybody knew her by her first name). The bakery sold "Margaret's Bread," and she became the "Bread Woman of New Orleans." Eventually, she owned a popular store in the city called the Klotz Cracker Factory.

Some of the orphanages she built were St. Elizabeth Orphan Asylum on Napoleon Ave., the Louise Home on Clio Street for girls, St. Vincent Infant Asylum (at Race and Magazine Streets) , and an asylum and church on Erato Street that became St. Teresa of Avila Church. She donated to the Protestant Episcopal Home as well and gave to Jewish charities in New Orleans. In her will she gave to the Seventh Street Protestant Orphan Asylum, the German Protestant Orphan Asylum, the German Orphan Catholic Asylum, the Widows and Orphans of Jews Asylum, and to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and many others.

In her will she left everything to charities, without distinction of religion, for widows, orphans, and the elderly.

I first learned of Margaret Haughery -- as I learned about all the Irish things in this city -- from my mother and my sister. The story of Margaret is truly remarkable, and it is no accident that I chose it as the first historical story on this blog. It is a GREAT story of Old New Orleans.