Father Julian's Reflections from the Parish Bulletin
Bulletin notes that appear from time to time
(last update - January 2012)
Social media and our parish – As many of you know, the social media have overtaken our lives, in the way we communicate with one another, the way we share information and the way we interact with one another. The world has really become a global village, and of course we have to take advantage of the means of communication that are available to us. We no longer just read newspapers and magazines on paper, or watch a few hours of TV, or run home to call a friend, or wait for the mail to arrive at home. We can call anyone from anywhere, send messages within a few seconds, read just about everything on the Internet and news does not travel fast anymore – news is just in your ears as it happens, within milliseconds! People keep in touch through Facebook and talk to each other around the world through Skype, both of which I have stayed away from, at least for now.
Unfortunately there are people who use these media to disseminate a lot of evil, even against our Catholic church, including against our Diocese and our parish. Bloggers feel they have the right to judge, criticize and pass sarcastic remarks against Bishops, priests and everyone else they don’t like. This is what recent Popes have called the ‘culture of death’ and is to be condemned. There is a lot of beautiful reflections, teachings and images one can share, but to spread evil comments and criticize everything one doesn’t like is nothing but the work of Satan. Shame on these people who are causing so much harm to the church. Young people too have to be careful what they share, because once a message, an image is posted on Facebook or other social media, it’s out there in cyberspace and you cannot retrieve it. It’s always wise to be cautious and careful.
So the Church has to keep up with the advances of the modern media and use it to spread a message of love and hope. As you know we have our parish website which I manage regularly, having the entire Bulletin posted every week, plus plenty of news I share with you and photos I take as I drive around. The website address is in the front of the Bulletin.
I also have my own personal website : http://fatherjulian.homestead.com/fatherjulian.html with links to a tribute to my parents. In January of this year I also started a blog, sharing reflections, some references to my homilies, insights and food for thought, besides of course photos and an occasional watercolor which I paint in my free time. You can check this blog at this address, and there is an entry just about every day, not too long, but something to think about and pray about - http://www.fatherjulian.blogspot.com It is my duty to communicate with you in all the possible means. I know many people check the Bulletin through our website and that’s why I have to keep it updated regularly with correct information. With the invasion and ease of IPhones and IPads nowadays, people keep in touch with incredible ease, and I believe that the church has to keep up with the times. And so does our own parish here at the Cathedral, so does our Baker Diocese, and so do I.
This is a reflection I shared in my Epiphany homily which some people requested. You can also find it in my blog, copy it, and save it.
May Christ Grant You This New Year -
Enough tears to keep you human, warm and sensitive.
Enough humor to laugh at yourself rather than others.
Enough setbacks to keep you humble.
Enough goodness to be called a person of integrity.
Enough accomplishments to keep you confident and eager.
Enough patience to teach you the virtue of waiting.
Enough discipline to be moderate in eating and drinking.
Enough silence in your life that you become more prayerful.
Enough insight in how you see God, but also in how God sees you.
Enough friends to give you life, strength and support.
Enough grief and sorrow to make you both sensitive and loving.
Enough care to comfort the disturbed, but also to disturb the comfortable.
Enough strength from your faith, family and friends to support you.
Enough warm and wonderful memories to give you comfort.
Enough divine and human qualities to forgive oneself and forgive others.
Enough common sense for you to make healthy decisions.
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.
And, enough faith and prayerfulness to arrive in heaven, with Christ smiling and welcoming you with outstretched arms and saying "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the kingdom of heaven."
Major landmarks for the year 1912, a hundred years ago.
January 1 - The Republic of China is established.
January 6 - New Mexico is admitted as the 47th US State.
January 8 - The African National Congress is founded.
January 12 - 30,000 workers walk out of textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts , beginning the so-called Bread and Roses strike, the most dramatic and successful strike in American labor history.
January 17 - British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and a team of four become the second expeditionary group to reach the South Pole.
January 28 - Jackson Pollock, American painter, born.
February 6 - Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s mistress, born.
February 14 - Arizona is admitted as the 48th US State.
March 1 - Albert Berry makes the first parachute jump from a moving airplane.
March 7 - Ronald Amundsen announces his success in reaching the South Pole last December. March 7 - French aviator Henri Seimet makes the first non-stop flight from Paris to London, in three hours.
March 12 -The Girl Scouts of the USA are founded.
March 16 - Pat Nixon, First Lady of the United States, born.
March 22 - Karl Malden, American actor, born.
March 27 - Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gives 3,000 cherry blossom trees to be planted in Washington, D.C., to symbolize the friendship between the two countries.
April 8 - Sonja Henie, Norwegian figure skater, born.
April 10 - The British ocean liner RMS Titanic leaves Southampton in England on her maiden voyage for New York City.
April 11 - RMS Titanic arrives at Queenstown in Ireland , picking up her final complement of passengers before steaming westwards for New York.
April 14 - (11:40 p.m.) – RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
April 15 - (2:20 a.m.) – RMS Titanic sinks, taking with her the lives of more than 1,500 people. April 16 - Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly across the English Channel..
April 18 - The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia arrives in New York with 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster. April 20 - Tiger Stadium in Detroit opens. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, opens.
May 25 – After more than a month and thousands of hours of testimony, the American inquiry into the Titanic disaster concludes, placing the bulk of the blame upon the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, and Captain Edward Smith.
May 27 - Sam Snead, American golfer, born.
June 18 – The Republican National Convention nominates incumbent President William Howard Taft in Chicago, defeating a challenge by former President Theodore Roosevelt, whose delegates bolt the convention.
July 17 - Art Linkletter, American television host, born.
August 5 – Dissident U.S. Republicans form the Progressive or Bull Moose Party, and nominate former President Theodore Roosevelt as their presidential candidate. August 15 - Julia Child, American TV chef, born.
August 23 - Gene Kelly, American actor, born.
September 5 - John Cage, American composer, born.
October 14 – While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, former President Theodore Roosevelt is shot by saloonkeeper John Schrank. With a fresh flesh wound and the bullet still in him, Roosevelt delivers his scheduled speech. After finishing his speech, he went to the hospital, where it was deduced that if he had not had his speech in his breast pocket when he was shot, he most likely would have died.
November 5 – U.S. presidential election, 1912: Democratic challenger Woodrow Wilson wins a landslide victory over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft. Taft's base is undercut by Progressive Party candidate (and former Republican) Theodore Roosevelt, who finishes second, ahead of Taft.
Some interesting websites
Here are some interesting websites that are my favorites:
Fr Julian's Blog http://www.fatherjulian.blogspot.com
Our diocese: http://www.dioceseofbaker.org
Our parish: http://www.saintfranciscathedral.com
Catholic news: http://www.news.va/en
Catholic Lists, etc: http://www.Catholic-hierarchy.org
Front pages: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/default.asp
Baker Museum: http://www.bakerheritagemuseum.com/index.htm
The Bible: http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/
Daily reflection: http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/daily.html
Fr. Julian’s site: http://fatherjulian.homestead.com/fatherjulian.html
And just for fun: http://inoyan.narod.ru/kaleidoskop.swf
(remember no spaces anywhere - just type everything on one line)
Honesty – the best way to go
I came across this beautiful story about honesty, and I share it with you today:
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you". The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach - it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful - in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!"
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. "How could he be the new CEO?" the others said. Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
Jesus in the Bible
I found an interesting quote about Jesus and reference to Him in the books of the Bible, which I share with you today:
In Genesis, Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman.
In Exodus, He is the passover lamb.
In Leviticus, He is our high priest.
In Numbers, He is the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet like unto Moses.
In Joshua, He is the captain of our salvation.
In Judges, He is our judge and lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our kinsman redeemer.
In 1st and 2nd Samuel, He is our trusted prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our reigning king.
In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken walls of human life.
In Esther, He is our Mordecai.
In Job, He is our ever-living redeemer.
In Psalms, He is our shepherd.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is our wisdom.
In the Song of Solomon, He is the loving bridegroom.
In Isaiah, He is the prince of peace.
In Jeremiah, He is the righteous branch.
In Lamentations, He is our weeping prophet.
In Ezekiel, He is the wonderful four-faced man.
In Daniel, He is the fourth man in life's "fiery furnace."
In Hosea, He is the faithful husband, married to the backslider.
In Joel, He is the baptizer with the Holy Ghost and fire.
In Amos, He is our burden-bearer.
In Obadiah, He is the mighty to save.
In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.
In Micah, He is the messenger of beautiful feet.
In Nahum, He is the avenger of God's elect.
In Habakkuk, he is God's evangelist, crying, "revive thy work in the midst of the years."
In Zephaniah, He is our Savior.
In Haggai, He is the restorer of God's lost heritage.
In Zechariah, He is the fountain opened up in the house of David for sin and uncleanness.
In Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness, rising with healing in His wings.
In Matthew, He is King of the Jews.
In Mark, He is the Servant. In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.
In John, He is the Son of God.
In Acts, He is the Savior of the world.
In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.
In I Corinthians, He is the Rock that followed Israel.
In II Corinthians, He is the Triumphant One, giving victory.
In Galatians, He is your liberty; He sets you free.
In Ephesians, He is Head of the Church.
In Philippians, He is your joy.
In Colossians, He is your completeness.
In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, He is your hope.
In I Timothy, He is your faith.
In II Timothy, He is your stability.
In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
In Titus, He is truth.
In Hebrews, He is your perfection.
In James, he is the Power behind your faith.
In I Peter, He is your example.
In II Peter, He is your purity.
In I John, He is your life.
In II John, He is your pattern.
In III John, He is your motivation.
In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.
In Revelation, He is your coming King.
He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be...
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him,
The armies can't defeat Him, The schools can't explain Him, and
The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him, and
The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him, The New Age can't replace Him, and
Oprah can't explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right, His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me.
He is my Redeemer, He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and He is my peace!
He is my Joy, He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every time.
So, if you're wondering why I feel so secure, understand this . . . . . .
GOD said it and that settles it.
This week I share with you some powerful words that were preached by a Christian minister Dr. S. M. Lockeridge, a pastor from San Diego, CA, and these words were delivered in a sermon he gave in Detroit in 1976:
That’s my King!
My King was born King. The Bible says He's a Seven Way King. He's the King of the Jews - that's an Ethnic King. He's the King of Israel - that's a National King. He's the King of righteousness. He's the King of the ages. He's the King of Heaven. He's the King of glory. He's the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that's my King.
Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don't try to mislead me. Do you know my King? David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is the only one of whom there are no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.
He's enduringly strong. He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast. He's immortally graceful. He's imperially powerful. He's impartially merciful. That's my King. He's God's Son. He's the sinner's savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He's honest. He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's supreme. He's pre-eminent. He's the grandest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem in higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. He's the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That's my King.
He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He's the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That's my King.
Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. He's the master of the mighty. He's the captain of the conquerors. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislatures. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of princes. He's the King of kings and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.
His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He's indescribable. He's incomprehensible, He's invincible, and He is irresistible. That's my King.
I'm coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens can't contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off of your hands. You can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King.
He always has been and He always will be. I'm talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He'll have no successor. There's nobody before Him and there'll be nobody after Him. You can't impeach Him and He's not going to resign. That's my King!
Prayer for our country
This prayer may apply to the present state of affairs in our country, as it did when it was offered at the 37th Congress, first session on 4 July 1861:
Almighty and everlasting God, be not angry with us for our sins, which we only confess and deplore; but pardon our offenses and extend to us Your favor. We thank You for Your goodness on this anniversary of the nation a day tenfold more precious by reason of our present troubles, and sacred to the heart for the ever memorable Declaration of our fathers, in which You did begin more openly to give us a name among the nations of the earth. We thank You for all Your manifold and abundant mercies hitherto to make our nation exceedingly great and glorious; but now disasters have befallen us and darkness broods in the land. And now we ask Your mercy as the Senate is convening at a most momentous crisis of our history. Give to Your servants all needed help. Add to their deliberations wisdom and unanimity, and profit and speed to their conclusion. Bless Your servant, the President of the United States, our veteran Commander-in- Chief, and all that have functions in the civil and military power. May the angel of Your presence walk in the Cabinet and in the Congress and in the camp, to go before, to purify, and to direct the now greatly and universally-awakened love of country. And we beseech You to guide us, to overrule and order all things, and so to cause that nothing shall fail, that the disorders of the land may be speedily healed, that peace and concord may prevail, that truth and righteousness may be established, and that Your Church and Kingdom may flourish in a larger peace and prosperity, for Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
About newspapers and bulletins - Although social media is the rage in today's world of communication, one Catholic bishop offered an impassioned speech in support of Catholic print publications. During a panel discussion June 23 at the 2011 Catholic Media Convention, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said Catholic newspapers and magazines continue to be the best way to reach people in the pews. "There has been no greater and more consistent success in Catholic communications in the United States than through the use of print," the bishop said. He cited figures from the Catholic Press Association's official directory, which showed that Catholic newspapers and magazines in the United States and Canada reach almost 13 million households. "That is an extraordinary number and that is still going on today," said Bishop Zubik. "We can and we must use every means of social communications available to us today: television, radio, Twitter, Facebook, Skype. But I believe that it is incumbent on us as bishops and on us as church to maintain a vital Catholic print presence." His remarks were greeted with applause. Bishop Zubik noted that he could not predict whether the printed word would still have the same impact in 20 years, but today, "absolutely and fundamentally the best option ... to evangelize the evangelizers, is through Catholic print." We are grateful for our own bulletin too, which is also placed on line every week. We do a great effort in presenting you with material that is pertinent to your lives, as you can see, week after week.
Vatican news on-line - Pope Benedict XVI himself gave a cyber spark of life to a new Internet portal that gathers all Vatican news into one multimedia website. With a click on a tablet device on the evening of June 28, Pope Benedict officially launched the aggregator of news content from the Vatican's newspaper, radio, television and online outlets, they said. The site, www.news.va was launched on the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict's ordination into the priesthood. The site will streamline news from the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television station CTV; the Vatican Information Service (VIS); the Fides missionary news agency; the Vatican press office; and the main Vatican website. It will offer print, video and audio material in Italian and English. New languages will be added gradually, beginning with Spanish, followed probably by French and Portuguese.
My other website – for those who are interested, I have another personal website with lots of information, family photos and links to my family and some great artwork from Malta. Please check it out at: http://fatherjulian.homestead.com/fatherjulian.html
Happy Father’s Day
What it means to be a father……
- Being a dad means showing your children how to fix stuff. It helps of course if you know how to fix stuff.
- Being a dad means being determined to influence your child’s faith, morals, integrity, and convictions before society does.
- Being a dad means painting your media room pink, because it is now the nursery.
- Being a dad means buying your unborn baby a baseball glove, while everyone else is buying teething toys and baby mobiles.
- Being a dad means trying not to freak out when your baby’s due date comes and goes and there’s no baby. Only 5% actually arrive on time.
- Being a dad means getting the baby out of your room as soon as possible. Then you spend the first night listening to the baby monitor.
- Being a dad means thinking the entire house smells of dirty diapers, so you make a substantial investment in room spray, carpet spray, even spray deodorant. Your wife however, thinks you’ve lost your mind because she doesn’t smell a thing.
- Being a dad means losing hair to little hands pulling on chest hair, head hair, beard hair, and – the most painful, leg hair.
- Being a dad means missing a football game to take your kids to a boring kid’s movie – and having them fall asleep 10 minutes into it.
- Being a dad means staying up late at night practicing your kids’ computer games so you can destroy them the next day.
- Being a dad means after much prayer and mental preparation, teaching your kids to drive. In their mother’s car.
- Being a dad means teaching your children that overnight successes usually take about 20 years.
- Being a dad means that he who pays for college gets to choose.
- Being a dad means listening to your daughter explain about her classes in college, even when she’s trying to explain why organic chemistry and advanced calculus are so cool.
- Being a dad means remembering the big picture: your children won’t remember or care whether they were bottle-fed or breast-fed, whether mom had an epidural or C-section, or whether they made their grand entrance at home or in the hospital. But they will always remember the love in the family and the values their parents taught them.
- Being a dad means learning the hard way to never tell your wife she’s acting like her mother. - Being a dad means putting on the IPod to hear Being a dad means poppwhat your 13 year-old is listening to. And thinking HE’S LISTENING TO THAT ?!?!?
What does it mean actually to be a mother…..
- Being a mom means not crying over spilled milk – but cleaning it up - for years.
- Being a mom means trying to stuff baby food into a tiny mouth that snaps shut at the approach of a spoon.
- Being a mom means being the only one to decipher what your eighteen month old means when he says "Llienghdtfgstyenbgyt"
- Being a mom means not using the words you feel like using because you have a two-year old listening to every word you say.
- Being a mom means installing childproof safety latches that you can never open but that your toddler can open in 2 seconds.
- Being a mom means crying after you drop off your child for the first day of preschool – and then joyfully run over to the manicurist to get your nails done for the first time in several years.
- Being a mom means worrying whether the vacation hotel is nice enough – and then realizing that the only things the kids care about is the swimming pool.
- Being a mom means kissing a dirty, smelly, sticky face when you’d rather not.
- Being a mom means catching something from your child that gave them a fever for 4 hours but lays you flat for 4 days.
- Being a mom means believing your children are hearing impaired since they don’t seem to hear a thing you say.
- Being a mom means smelling your children to make sure they really did bathe.
- Being a mom means searching through back-packs for notes from the teacher.
- Being a mom means spending your best years in a car driving to tennis lessons, gymnastics, piano lessons, T-ball practice, French lessons, not to mention school field trips, stores and playdates.
- Being a mom means working on an overdue science-fair project on bugs and insects at
1 AM, while everyone else is asleep.
- Being a mom means spending Saturdays on a soccer field instead of a spa salon.
- Being a mom means asking your 5 year old to help you download a file, or send an attachment.
- Being a mom means forcing yourself to stay awake at 11:30 PM because that’s when your high schooler wants to talk.
- Being a mom means learning that incidents you’ve completely forgotten are, years later, what your children remember the most.
- Being a mom means listening to other women talking about vacationing in Maui, while you’re trying to budget for a blow up pool.
- Being a mom means having your heart break when you realize your child is physically or mentally different from other kids. Yet curiously, the difference makes you love them even more.
Trappist Monks - Monastic life isn't for everyone. But there is a small group of men and women who are drawn to such a life - one that balances work, prayer and study. I personally spent 6 months in Spencer, Massachusetts, at St Joseph’s Abbey just before I came to Oregon in March 2003, and during that time I experienced up close the kind of lifestyle that Trappist monks live day after day. I fitted very well with them, and the monks were disappointed that I had to leave them. But vocations to their monastic order are not doing very well. It is a problem that most religious orders as well as the Diocesan priesthood are facing. The Trappist monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist and 16 other Trappist communities in the United States launched a vocation effort recently that aims to attract new monks and nuns to join them in contemplative life. Their efforts also aim to educate people about their way of life. The monks who live at the abbey refrain from speaking during meals and generally live a quiet, contemplative life. They celebrate Mass each day, and they pray (typically chanting) the Liturgy of the Hours at seven intervals throughout the day -- sometimes for just 10 or so minutes at a time. In between, they continue their work. Their work is their main income. At Spencer they crafted very ornate liturgical vesture, as well as package jams and preserves to be shipped all over the world. In other monasteries, they craft caskets, they bake bread, they bake cakes, they bind books, while at another they produce eggs (of course with the help of chicken.) Their motto is “Ora et Labora” (To work is to pray.)
Archbishop Sheen – process of beatification - When Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., presented Pope Benedict XVI with two thick volumes about the life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the pope surprised him by saying he had worked with the late archbishop. Pope Benedict "told me something I hadn't known: he worked on the commission for mission at the Second Vatican Council with Fulton Sheen," The pope served as a theological expert at the council in the 1960s. At the end of the pope's weekly general audience May 25, Bishop Jenky presented the pope with two leather-bound volumes with golden lettering on the side: "Fultonius Ioannes Sheen." The tomes -- totaling close to 2,000 pages -- are the "positio," the official position paper, outlining why the Catholic Church should recognize Archbishop Sheen as a saint. Archbishop Sheen, who was born in Illinois in 1895 and died in New York in 1979, was an Emmy-winning televangelist. His program, "Life is Worth Living," aired in the United States from 1951 to 1957. Bishop Jenky said, "I hope it helps that the pope personally knew Archbishop Sheen,” who was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in 1950-66 and attended every session of Vatican II. For the Peoria bishop, the most impressive thing about Archbishop Sheen was his untiring evangelizing effort, which was addressed not just to radio or television audiences, but to taxi drivers and anyone else he happened to meet. "I don't know how many people he brought to the faith; it must be thousands and thousands," the bishop said. "He never passed by an opportunity to bring someone to the faith. He was a hands-on evangelizer."
Remembering Pope John Paul II – Onn May 1 at the Vatican, the beloved and Great Pope John Paul II will be one step closer to sainthood. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, the first time in over a thousand years that a Pope will be presiding at the beatification of his predecessor. Even though he’s been gone from our midst 6 years, we all have fond memories of the image of John Paul who reigned for 27 years, the third longest reign as Pope in the history of the church. Born in Poland as Karol Wojtyla, he lost his mother and brother at a young age, and his father just before he entered the Seminary. Suffering much hardship during World War II, he proceeded to study and be ordained a priest, eventually serving in various parishes and teaching. He became a Bishop and Cardinal of Krakow, being elected a Pope in October 1978, soon after the deaths of Pope Paul VI and his predecessor of 33 days Pope John Paul I. He traveled world wide to spread the message of the gospel, reaching out to youth, children, families and elderly alike. He wrote many Encyclicals and other letters and proclamations, also beatifying and canonizing many saints. He almost died on May 13 1981 when he was shot inside the Vatican Square, but recovered enough to continue for another 24 years in his Papacy, even though he got very weak towards the end of his life, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses. He will now be known as Blessed John Paul.
Residents at the Vatican - Millions of citizens of countries from all over the world enter Vatican territory every year to visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica or catch a glimpse of the Pope on a Sunday in St. Peter's Square. But only a select 572 souls can claim citizenship of the Vatican itself. Those are the ones carrying what is probably the most exclusive ID card in the world, issued by the Vatican City State. And of that rarefied group, only 32 are women. These facts and figures accompanied copies of Pope Benedict XVI's new regulations for citizenship, residency and access to areas not open to the general public. New Papal laws updated the old rules written in 1929 under the treaty with Italy known as the Lateran Pact. Under the old regulations, residents were obliged to accept citizenship; now some people, such as spouses of employees, can opt out of Vatican citizenship. Who are the citizens of the Vatican? The Pope, naturally, and 73 cardinals who live within the walls or in Rome; 306 members of the papal diplomatic corps; 49 priests and religious brothers; one nun; 86 Swiss Guards; and 25 laymen and 31 laywomen, most of whom are Vatican employees, along with their spouses and children.
A prayer for today - Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!
Vatican Radio – 80 years and running - Eighty years ago, a persistent pope and a scientific pioneer teamed up to create Vatican Radio, launching an evangelization tool that reached virtually every corner of the globe. Today, Vatican Radio is riding the latest wave of digital technology to expand its audience and its services, with an Internet presence in more than 40 languages. The anniversary celebrations kicked off in February with a retrospective Vatican Museums exhibit. Among the items on display was the microphone Pope Pius XI used to broadcast the first radio message to the world -- in Latin, of course -- on Feb. 12, 1931. At that time, radio broadcasting was still in its infancy, but the pope insisted that he wanted his own radio station. He turned the project over to Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor who developed wireless technology, who was only too happy to help. It still stands as one of the most successful collaborative efforts involving the church and modern science. It's a legacy Pope Benedict XVI wants to preserve and build on as the Vatican's media adapt to the digital age. One of the pope's first in-house visits at the Vatican was to Vatican Radio, where employees gave him an iPod nano pre-loaded with classical music.
Praying for the Middle East – it’s very hard for people living in the USA to understand the mentality of a Middle Eastern person or family or tribe. With the unrest that went on recently in Egypt and other Northern African countries, many people watch TV and see throngs of people shouting, screaming, waving flags, throwing stones and showing an all-out belligerent attitude. This certainly does not represent the entire country. Just as there are criminals even here in our State, County and town who make a bad name for every one of us, the trouble-makers are always in the limelight on TV, while creating the chaos that we witness on TV. There are also the largest percentage of civilians, who like you and me, do not want any fighting, any crimes or any bloodshed. My country being in close proximity to North Africa, I have seen many of the people, especially from Libya and other neighboring countries. The Libyan Embassy in Malta is just two blocks away from my family’s house, and so we see many Libyans walking by, and other than my brother’s dog who barks at them every time they pass by in front of his house, in general they are nice people, most of them students who are studying or living in Malta, or working at the Embassy. So when you see all that chaos on TV, remember that what you see is a localized uprising and the entire country is probably experiencing calmness and peace. Unfortunately, as we have seen, much of the trouble is caused because of the obstinacy of some of the leaders. However, we still have to pray for the people in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and other neighboring countries, who in the long run, will suffer because of any unrest, while some semblance of democracy and normalcy eventually prevails.
Happy New Year - Another year is ahead of us with hopes and dreams, plans to work on and projects to implement, friends to embrace and enemies to reconcile with. Life is too short to harbor any grudges and nurse animosities – so do your best and be appreciative of the blessings God gives you, without taking him for granted. This past year has been pretty tough on me and my family, and after losing my mother to cancer in April, very unexpectedly I lost my younger brother Paul on December 8th. The ways of the Lord are truly mysterious, but as I preach so often, especially in the beginning of Advent, we have always to be prepared, for we know not when the Lord will call us home.
A new year gives us the motivation to look ahead with optimism and hope, and in spite of the personal tragedies we all experience from time to time, we have no other choice but to persevere and move on. Officially this New Year starts the second decade of this century and millennium. It will be the 10th anniversary of probably the worst tragedy in American history, and on September 11th we will remember those who lost their lives within a few minutes of each other, valiantly trying to save their lives from the unexpected terrorist attack which devastated many lives, families and communities.
My prayer is the prayer I used at my brother’s funeral last December 15th: “Lord, there is nothing in the world that you and I together cannot handle.” With the Lord on our side, we will move on, doing our best, knowing full well that the Lord will do the rest. I hope and pray that the many families and individuals who showed up in droves on Christmas Eve will find the time to continue to honor us with their presence at our weekend Masses. Otherwise, the joy and enthusiasm they felt during that Mass will fade away. That is why I feel so strongly that the spirit of Christmas and the New Year celebrations should be best spread throughout the entire year. Let us hope this New Year will be better for many of us, especially those who are hurting for various reasons, and those who have suffered so much for various reasons.
More quotes by Blessed Mother Teresa
It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.
We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.
If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
Good works are links that form a chain of love.
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Kindness is a language we all understand. Even the blind can see it and the deaf can hear it.
A smile is the beginning of peace.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Celebrating Marriage – I’d like to share with you this weekend a few quotes and stories on marriage.
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers (Robert Quillen)
To keep a marriage brimming with love: remember – when you’re wrong, admit it, but when you’re right, just shut up!
A couple were talking about their faults to some friends. The woman says her husband “is a gossiper, lazy and careless, a poor provider, does not listen, does not show affection, is jealous, revengeful, intolerant, unappreciative, insensitive, hurtful,
belligerent, sarcastic, unforgiving,” and on and on. Then it was the husband’s turn. “Thankfully my wife’s faults are only two – everything she says, and everything she does!”
Golden jubilarian husband’s advice for a happy marriage: “When your wife isn’t speaking to you, just don’t interrupt.”
When a teacher asked her class to explain the meaning of the word ‘bachelor,’ as a homework assignment, one girl wrote, “A very happy man.” And where did you get that idea?” asked the teacher. And the girl confessed, “Well actually my dad helped me with my homework last night.”
Wife, reading a newspaper, says to her husband: ”It says here that men grow bald because of the intense activity of their brains.” And the husband answers her: “Exactly, and women have no whiskers because of the intense activity of their mouths!”
Dad volunteered to baby-sit one night so the mother could have an evening out with her friends. At bedtime he sent the youngsters to bed and settled down to look at the newspapers. One child kept creeping down the stairs, but Dad kept sending him back. At 9 PM, the doorbell rang; it was the next-door neighbor, Mrs. Smith, asking whether her son was there. The father quickly replied “No!” Just then. A little head appeared over the banister and a voice shouted, “I’m here mom, but he won’t let me go home.”
Our Lady of Czestochowa – known as the Black Madonna, it is an image that is revered and admired in Poland, especially around August 15th, the feast of the Assumption. Early history of the image is unknown, but many believe it was painted by St. Luke himself. Saint Helena in her search for the True Cross in Jerusalem discovered the portrait in 326. Her son, King Constantine, had a shrine built for it in Constantinople where it remained for 500 years. There it is claimed to have saved the city from attacking Saracens while being displayed during a battle. Many years later the Emperor Charlemagne was offered the choice of any of the city's treasures, but he had eyes only for the image of Our Lady. Charlemagne presented the portrait to Prince Leo of Ruthenia and was brought to Kiev, where it remained for nearly 600 years. In 1382 the image was damaged. An arrow from an invading Tartar struck it and left a scar on the neck which is still visible today. Prince Ladislaus Opolski decided to move the portrait to a safer haven. Mary is said to have told Prince Ladislaus in a dream that Jasna Gora near Czestochowa was to be her new resting place.
Eventually the Polish Pauline Fathers became custodians of the icon and it soon became the most famous shrine in Poland. The image has remained at Jasna Gora for 600 years. In 1430 a raider slashed at the image in an effort to claim the adornments of jewels and gold, cutting twice into the right cheek of Mary. The raider attempted a third strike, but then he suddenly dropped dead. Attempts to restore the image have not been successful. It is believed to be the will of Mary that her scars remain as a sign to others who would desecrate her shrine. In 1920 the Polish people beseeched Our Lady to save them from impending Russian invasion. Her image appeared over Warsaw, causing a Russian withdrawal. Once again she showed her support for her people during times of oppression. In 1948 during the Russian occupation of Poland thousands of people demonstrated their faith en masse on the Feast of the Assumption, even while Communist soldiers patrolled the streets. Pope John Paul II, native of Poland, visited the shrine in 1979 and again in 1983, and it was recently revealed that this image is only one of two he kept in his bedroom. The other was the Icon of the Holy Trinity.
Special devotion in Malta – The feast of the Assumption is celebrated in 10 different parishes in Malta with processions held in each church in the evening. Devotion to the Blessed Mother intensified during World War II when people were starving because of lack of food when ships carrying fuel, wheat and other food were hit and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1942, Malta was relentlessly bombed by the Germans and Italians and people prayed to the Blessed Mother for food to arrive. 14 large ships left England for Malta in what is known as “Operation Pedestal” but only 5 of them arrived safely. The largest ship was USS Ohio, an American-built tanker with a British crew, carrying fuel and food. It arrived in the Grand Harbor of Malta barely floating on the morning of August 15, with people and children cheering their happy fate and thanking the Virgin Mary for saving their lives. Among those people were my parents who were teenagers at that time. The attempt to run some fifty ships past bombers, E-boats, minefields and submarines has gone down in military history as one of the most important British strategic victories of the Second World War. However, it was at a cost of more than 400 lives. Malta still commemorates this day where the feast of the Assumption is a public holy day, and special prayers are said in thanksgiving.
Tribute to Trees – in a Spanish park, posted on a tree are these words: I am a tree. You who would pass by me and would raise your hand against me, remember that I am the heat that warms you around your fireplace on a cold day; the friendly shade screening you from the summer heat; the source of refreshing draughts; the beam of your house; the board of your table; the bed on which you lie; the timber of your boat; the handle of your hoe; the wood of your cradle; and the shell of your coffin. Harm me not.
Caring for our gardens – a country pastor was congratulating one of his parishioners on the success with which he had transformed a plot of waste land into a beautiful garden. “It is indeed wonderful,” the pastor told him “what man can achieve with the help of Almighty God.” To which the parishioner replied:” Yes father, but you should have seen the place when only God Almighty was looking after it!”
Admiring and appreciating nature – two men met on a mountain peak. “I came here because I love adventure, and I have an insatiable curiosity,” said one of them. “I like to see the sunrise from new surroundings, and I like to tread where no man has trod before. I like to embrace the universe and admire the beauty of nature from the height and silence of mountain peaks. What about you?” The other man responded sheepishly, “I came here because my daughter is learning to play the violin, my son is learning to play the drums, and my wife is learning how to sing!”
Celebrating Blessed Mother Teresa
This week I’d like to dedicate this entire page in honor and in memory of Blessed Mother Teresa who was born on August 27, 1910, exactly 100 years ago this week. There is a discrepancy between the date of 26 and 27, mainly because in the USA she would have been born on the 26th, but being born in Albania it would have been 9 hours earlier, which would be the 27th. She also considered the 27th as her birthday because on that day she was baptized, which was a much more important day for her. Named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, she was of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, and founded the Missionaries of
Charity in Kolkata, India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Following her death she was beatified on October 19th 2003 by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Her liturgical feastday is celebrated on September 5th.
By the 1970s, she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary and book Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge, who himself converted to Catholicism after seeing the work she was doing. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and
tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.
The version of this prayer is credited to Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace.
Quotes from Blessed Mother Teresa
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.
Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given.
I am a little pencil in the hand of God who is writing a love letter to the world.
God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that we try.
A daily favorite prayer of Mother Teresa -
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.
Mother Teresa composed this prayer for the
United Nations International Year of the Family.
Heavenly Father, you have given us a model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth. Help us, O loving Father to make our family another Nazareth where love, peace and joy reign. May it be deeply contemplative, intensely Eucharistic and vibrant with joy. Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow through family prayer. Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our family especially in their distressing disguise. May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus make our hearts meek and humble like His and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way. May we love one another as God loves each one of us more and more each day, and forgive each other's faults as You forgive our sins. Help us, O loving Father to take whatever You give and to give whatever You take with a big smile. Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us. St. Joseph, pray for us. Holy Guardian Angels be always with us, guide and protect us. Amen.
Andrea Bocelli – you may have heard of him, but more likely, you probably heard him sing beautiful arias from opera and other Italian and religious songs. You may know also that Bocelli is blind and yet he fascinates every concert-goer with his tenor voice. He suffers from congenital glaucoma and at the age of 12, he was hit on his head during a soccer match, and lost his sight completely. Recently, during one of his concerts, while sitting at the piano, he gave tribute to his mother for the choice she made in giving birth to him, and encouraged other mothers to do the same.
Bocelli tells the story of a young pregnant woman who had to be taken to a hospital after an attack of appendicitis. The doctors placed some ice on her belly and when they finished the treatment, they suggested they’ll perform an abortion. But this courageous woman decided not to have an abortion, but continue with her pregnancy. The baby was born, and the mother named him Andrea. Yes it was Andrea Bocelli who was saved and was given the opportunity to live. He says: ”Maybe I’m speaking out of passion, but I can tell you that the choice that my mother made was a very good one. Thanks to that choice I am alive, and I can sing and entertain people.”
Bocelli hopes that this story gives courage to all young mothers who find themselves in difficult situations while trying to save the life of their child. As a devout Catholic, Andrea wants to fight for the gift of life and never despair if one is faced with difficult circumstances. He has faced the burden of blindness, but this has not stopped him from entertaining people all over the world.
A prayer from St Francis of Assisi
My Lord Jesus, two graces I beg of you before I die:
- the first is that in my lifetime I may feel, in my soul and in my body, as far as possible, that sorrow which you, sweet Jesus, endured in the hour of your most bitter passion;
- the second is that I may feel in my heart, as far as possible, that abundance of love with which you, Son of God, were inflamed, so as willingly to endure so great a passion for us sinners……
- Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
- Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance.
- Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither cupidity nor avarice.
- Where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness.
- Where fear of the Lord guards the house, there no enemy can enter.
- Where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness.
Messages in my own room
One morning I woke up and I asked myself – what are some of the secrets of success in life? And I found the answer in my room.
I looked at the fan in front of me telling me “Stay cool, don’t get hot under the collar.”
I imagined the ceiling telling me “Aim high!”
I imagined the window telling me “Open me wide and see the world in front of you.”
I imagined the clock telling me “Every minute is precious – don’t lose any of them idling or doing nothing.”
I looked at the mirror and she told me “Reflect carefully before making any important decisions.”
I imagined the calendar hanging on the wall reminding me ”Stay up-to-date!”
I could see the shower informing me “Wash off old stains, guilt feelings and move on, with a clean heart and a better disposition.”
I imagined the door challenging me “Push me open and start working, doing the things and projects you had planned to do and never got to doing them.”
I looked down at the carpet on the floor and I received the message loud and clear “Get down on your knees and pray!”
A Morning Prayer
Refreshed from the night’s sleep, I am filled with gratitude as I rise this morning. I pray that I will be strengthened by your grace this day. In the quiet of this moment I ask your blessing
throughout the day. Help me to be mindful of your presence and the needs of those I encounter. Open my heart in generosity, confident that you will give me what I need from moment to moment. Good and gracious God, I know you have blessed me beyond measure throughout all my days. Give me confidence in your care as I strive to fulfill the obligations I face today, those I can now anticipate and those that will come unexpectedly. May I recognize your presence in the people I meet and the opportunities I face. Lord, I don’t feel particularly close to you right now, but I hope and pray for your help in my struggles today. Forgive me for my failings and strengthen me to discover and carry out your will. Give me courage and a lively sense of the possibilities and promises of life. May I grow in faith, hope and love today and every day. Amen.
An Evening Prayer
On a day I am happy to see pass into history, Lord, I ask your mercy for what I failed to do and for the mistakes I made. Thank you for remaining with me in difficulty and for showing me the truth about my life today. You said the truth will set us free, and I hope that will be true for me. In your mercy, Lord, set us free. In quite moments the day recedes like a wave withdrawing from the shore. With sunset the world lets go of the light, and so I ask you now to help me let go of the day. Help me to see that I have done the best I could and to hope in your grace to heal those places where I fell short of the goal. With the rush of activity finally over, Lord, I take a minute to thank you for the blessings of the day, some of which I can see and others I believe are there even though I cannot recognize them. Thank you for being with me, especially when I was unaware of your presence and thoughtless about your will. Draw me close to you in sleep tonight so that I may rise refreshed and better able to serve you and my brothers and sisters tomorrow. Amen.
Prayer for Migrants – Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and the fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst. Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters. Lord Jesus, you call us to welcome the members of God’s family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace –
- To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister.
- To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs.
- To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice.
- To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us.
- To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
By the numbers:
41,406 – number of diocesan and religious priests in the United States.
28,067 – number of diocesan priests in the United States.
13,339 – number of religious priests in the United States.
(Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, etc)
5,029 – total number of seminarians presently enrolled in seminaries in the United States.
3,284 – total number of seminarians in diocesan seminaries.
1,781 – total number enrolled in religious orders seminaries.
Praying for all families in the New Year
Loving Father, we ask for your blessing as we start a New Year, a new decade. We pray for our families, our children in all their innocence, our young people in all their enthusiasm, our seniors in all their wisdom and experience. We pray for all spouses that they will cooperate with each other as they strengthen their families in the midst of a wave of materialism. May they find the strength and motivation to make every day ever more meaningful, especially we remember single parents or young couples with a few children, as well as those looking for adequate jobs. We pray for countries still involved in wars and conflicts, so that people, civilians and service people will not suffer any more. May God bless all the families in our parish and mission churches, that they will continue to collaborate and participate in our religious functions, especially those preparing to receive a special sacrament like Marriage, First Communion and even Confession. Be with us Lord, during the New Year, and we ask your Blessed Mother to protect us from all harm and keep all our families and children safe.
On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, I shared with the congregation this prayer I wrote to the Blessed Mother, in a title I created for her protection of all of us in Baker County….
A Prayer to Our Lady of Baker County
Most Blessed Mother, we pray through your intercession to God Almighty. Keep the people of our beloved county healthy, safe, respectful of each other and helpful towards one another.
We ask your protection on our children, and along with their parents, remind them to honor you by their presence at church and their religion classes. We pray for our youth, and keep them away from any danger that tempts them, driving fast, smoking and drinking alcohol, and especially the drug-oriented culture. In the high-tech world they live in, encourage them to communicate with their parents and friends, not by texting messages and by phone-calls, but by the simple act of talking face-to-face, by playing games that created community spirit and appreciation of the human spirit.
We pray for those who are struggling at this time, single mothers with 2 to 4 children to feed, young people without jobs, for young girls who are premeditating an abortion, heart-broken grandparents who have to care for their grandchildren day and night, discouraged individuals who tragically end their lives to the heartbreak and inconsolable guilt of their loved ones left behind. Give them hope and light in the midst of their darkness.
We ask your protection on those who work outdoors in cold weather, ranchers and farmers, forest service people, loggers and other workers, as well as the cattle, horses and other vulnerable animals. Guide our public service officers and those who serve us so faithfully in our county.
Blessed Mother, you who raised Jesus with St Joseph with so much love and affection, inspire all parents and families to instill in their children a sense of God. May they collaborate with their pastors and religious leaders to be true example to others. Give courage to those who are suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS and other illnesses. Be a source of strength for them and their caregivers. Above everything, be our role model of love, fidelity, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness. AMEN.
I shared this prayer during one of my recent homilies, and many people asked for a copy, which is printed in the Bulletin, and here it is on-line.....
Prayer before bedtime
As my head rests on my pillow, let my soul rest in your mercy.
As my limbs relax on my mattress, let my soul relax in your peace.
As my body finds warmth beneath the blankets, let my soul find warmth in your love.
As my mind is filled with dreams, let my soul be filled with visions of heaven. Thank you Lord, for another day. Make me see another one tomorrow.
Bulletin Pages for April and May
The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units; code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed “Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality," or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.
Some other symptoms include:
1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin and maker
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect. The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. It is free to all who apply!
The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, JESUS, into the heart component.
No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, JESUS will replace it with:
9. Self control
Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers' Instruction Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.
WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free ONLINE Support or emergency service, call on JESUS.
DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. Thank you for your attention! (Signed) GOD
Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by "Kneemail"
THE BIRTH OF THE SONG "PRECIOUS LORD"
Back in 1932, I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's Southside. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go.
Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.
The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.
People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was "Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead." When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an
injustice. I didn't want to serve Him any more or write; gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis Something kept yelling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died. From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, Professor Fry, who seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took me up to Malone's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late
evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head they just seemed to fall into place: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand! I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night lead me on to the light, Take my hand precious Lord, Lead me home.
The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power. And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.
Did you know that Tommy Dorsey wrote this song? I surely didn't. What a wonderful story of how God CAN heal the brokenhearted! Beautiful, isn't it?
The song that silenced the cappuccino machine....
It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.
Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"
"Well. ... do you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."
"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."
"Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?" My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing,
"Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?....." The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.
"I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow. And I know He watches me."
When the last note was sung, the applause crescendo to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!"
But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"
She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone. Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.
Laus Deo - Praise be to God
One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington, D.C. there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument. With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time. This is amazing historical information. On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., are displayed two words:
Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.
These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet,5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America. Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say 'Praise be to God!'
Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo.'Praise be to God!' From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant...a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west. A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on.
How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore ; on the20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God! When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848, deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy 'One Nation, Under God.' I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you ever read it?
Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on! 'Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'
When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of 'Laus Deo', its location, or the architects, but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: 'Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.' (Psalm 127:1)
Congratulations to all my friends who were born in the
1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer. Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonald's , KFC, Subway or Burger King. Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death! We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on Direct TV, no video/DVD films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
Only girls had pierced ears! We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time.
We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays, we rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!
Baseball and Football had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on MERIT.
Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and bullies always ruled the playground at school. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
Our parents didn't invent strange names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla.' They named us names like Michael, Kathleen, Joseph, Mary, Peter and Elizabeth.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL !
And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!
WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN
I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.
Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
The angel then said to me, ' This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.' I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed. 'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.
'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.'
'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.
'Simple,' the angel answered. Just say, ' Thank you, Lord.'
'What blessings should they acknowledge?' I asked.
'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world 's wealthy.'
'And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.'
'If you woke up this morning with more health than illness .... You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.'
'If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation. You are ahead of 700 million people in the world.'
'If you can attend a place of worship without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world.'
'If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare.'
'If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt.'
‘If you can read this reflection, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.’
Dictionary Updates by Oxford
Divorce: Future tense of marriage.
Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a fool on the other.
Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through 'the minds of either'
Conference: The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.
Compromise: The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.
Conference Room: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens and everybody disagrees later on.
Classic: books that people praise, but do not read.
Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.
Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.
Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.
Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.
Committee: Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.
Experience: The name men give to their mistakes.
Atom Bomb: An invention to end all inventions.
Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Opportunist: A person who starts taking a bath if he accidentally falls into a river.
Optimist: A person who while falling from Eiffel tower says in midway 'See, I am not injured yet.'
Miser: A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.
Father: A banker provided by nature.
Criminal: A guy no different from the rest....except that he got caught.
Boss: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.
Doctor: A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills.
Some fascinating epitaphs on old tombstones!
In a Thurmont, Maryland cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.
Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery , Nova Scotia :
Here lies Ezekial Aikle,
Only The Good Die Young.
In a London , England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann.
In a Ribbesford, England cemetery:
Anna Wallace The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Clark Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
In a Ruidoso, New Mexico cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast... Pardon me for not rising.
In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
In a Silver City, Nevada cemetery:
Here lays The Kid. We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger But slow on the draw.
A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England cemetery:
Reader, if cash thou art in want of any, Dig 6 feet deep and thou wilt find a Penny.
Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont:
Here lies the body of our Anna,
Done to death by a banana.
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low,
But the skin of the thing that made her go.
On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts :
Under the sod and under the trees,
lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod.
Pease shelled out and went to God.
In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
as you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be.
Remember this and follow me.
To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:
To follow you I'm not content, until I know which way you went.
Shakespeare and Baseball
There is an ongoing debate as to when baseball was invented and who spoke about it first. Well, the solve this dilemma, we thought of checking with our friend William Shakespeare, and found out that he actually had a few interesting references to this game, way before it was invented here in America. Check these quotes:
“And so I shall catch the fly” (from Henry V, Act V, Scene 2)
“I’ll catch it ere it come to the ground” (Macbeth, Act III, Scene 5)
“A hit, a very palpable hit” (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2)
“You may go walk” (Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene 1)
“Strike” (Richard III, Act I, Scene 4)
“For this relief, much thanks” (Hamlet, Act I Scene 1)
“You have scarce time to steal” (Henry VIII, Act III Scene 2)
“O hateful error” (Julius Caesar, Act V Scene 1)
“Run, run, o run” (King Lear, Act V, Scene 3)
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (Macbeth, Act I Scene 1)
“My arm is sore” (Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, Scene 5)
“I have no joy in this contract” (Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene 2)
Hours of classical music
For the aficionados of classical music, it’s interesting to note how much volume of music our great composers composed in their lifetime. During an estimated composing time of a short 29 years, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed 202 hours of music. The most prolific composer was Franz Joseph Haydn, who composed 340 hours in a span of 77 years. Johan Sebastian bach composed a total of 175 hours in a span of 65 years, while Ludwig Van Beethoven composed a total of 120 hours in 57 years.
Tribute to a Dog
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert him, he remains forever faithful. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
(Senator George Vest, 1870)
A dog has so many friends simple because he wags his tail, instead of his tongue.
Bulletin Pages for January, February, March
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 1)
After my talk with the above title, many parishioners have told me they enjoyed the information I shared with them, but wondered how on earth they are going to remember all the interesting details that I shared during the one-hour talk. So, without any pictures, here is the exact text I put together to help you remember the information about the people, places and paraphernalia of the Catholic Church. This will take 7 parts, but keep every page over the next few weeks, and save them together.
The notes appear here in the website in their entirety - in 7 parts
So many people who are not familiar with the Catholic Church end up with a hundred questions about what they see during a funeral, a wedding or a visit to a church. I hope this general overview answers some of the questions people ask, and clarifies some misconceptions about what we do, why we do it, and so much more.
Whenever a church is built, a momentous occasion is when the foundation stone is laid. It will be forever remembered as being officially the first stone that was placed in the whole structure.
When churches are built, a lot of care is taken to make sure that the place is reverent, welcoming to worship, with the main landmarks visible and well designated and appropriate items used to give worship to God. Blueprints are kept in a safe place, for future reference and any eventual renovations.
Pope Benedict XVI is the present head of the Catholic Church, stationed in the Vatican, Rome. He is the Vicar of Christ and represents Jesus here on earth. The last 6 Popes that preceded him were: Pius XI (1922-1939), Pius XII (1939-1958), Blessed John XXIII (1958-1963), Paul VI (1963-1978), John Paul I (1978, 33 days) and John Paul II (1978-2005.)
Like all Bishops, the Pope carries his crosier, sometimes in the shape of a cross, but most often it is a crooked staff like the one shepherds carry when grazing. All Bishops also wear their miter when functioning in their church, which along with the crosier, they symbolize their role as shepherds. Normally Bishops concelebrate with the Pope or a popular Cardinal when they visit the Vatican. They also concelebrate when attending a function led by another presiding Bishop, like an ordination. Bishops also wear a pectoral cross, which they keep in their chest pocket when not celebrating in Church, with the chain visible under their jacket.
Cardinals are chosen from the Bishops and those below the age of 80 can be elected Pope, when a conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel. Cardinals wear a bright red vestment, with a matching biretta, zucchetto, and red-laced alb or surplice. They are usually responsible of their own Diocese or Archdiocese, which are normally the largest dioceses in big cities. Bishops wear similar vestments to those of Cardinals, but are purple in color. They are responsible for a Diocese which can be as big as an entire country, or as small as a section of a state which happens to be thickly populated. They normally confer the sacrament of Confirmation in their parishes, ordain their priests and celebrate various diocesan functions in their respective churches, normally Cathedrals.
A zucchetto is a skull-cap that a Pope, Cardinal, Bishop or monk uses on his head. It is of course of a different color, depending who wears it. The Pope’s zucchetto is white, a Cardinal’s is red, while a Bishop’s is purple. A monk may wear one that is either brown or black, as do some priests. A biretta is another ornamental hat that Cardinals, Bishops and priests use on some occasions and at special functions. A Cardinal who is chosen for such an honor is symbolically given a biretta by the Pope on the day of their installation.
The pallium is part of the vestment for the Pope, also worn by Cardinals and Archbishops. It is worn around the neck, symbolic of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Vatican. It is woven from lambs raised by Trappists monks, and the lambs and the wool is presented to the Pope on the feast of St Agnes on January 21. It is woven from real wool, with 6 black crosses. Every Archbishop is personally presented with his pallium on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul A galero, or red hat is usually worn by the Pope or Cardinal on special formal occasions.
Whenever a cardinal dies, his ornamental galero is hung from the ceiling in the Cathedral where he had served before
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 2)
Priests are responsible of a parish, and care for the people entrusted to their care, celebrating Mass, funerals, weddings, baptisms and other celebrations in their respective parish churches or missions chapels.
Deacons are ordained to proclaim the Gospel, and also to help the priest in administering the sacraments, especially weddings and baptisms. They are recognizable from the way they were their stole, which is across their chest. There are transitional deacons, who will eventually be ordained priests; and there are the permanent deacons, who are married or single men.
Friars or Monks are priests or brothers who belong to a particular religious order. They are recognized from the habit they use, usually a long brown or gray robe with a cincture. They normally live in a Monastery and take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Monks can be the followers of St Francis of Assisi (called Franciscans or Capuchins,) St. Augustine (Augustinians,) St. Dominic (Dominicans,) St. Ignatius of Loyola (Jesuits,) St. John Baptist De la Salle (Christian Brothers, ) or Carmelites, Vincentians, Marianists, Salesians, Trappists, Benedictines, or other Orders. There are also various Orders of Brothers, who like the monks and friars take the vows of Charity, Chastity and Obedience, live in a Monastery, do a lot of religious and social work, but are never ordained as priests. Yet their work is just as valuable, especially if they live in a Monastery. Some of them may be ordained in later years, but frequently they remain brothers, probably because they are not up to indulge in lots of studies and prefer to use their hands and other talents they are gifted with. Sisters or Nuns are the female counterparts of the monks and they too dedicate their lives to various works of charity, social work, and contemplative way of life. They too take the vows of charity, chastity and obedience, and are recognizable by their habit, although most of them do not use it anymore. They are involved in various ministerial and social work within parishes, in schools and orphanages, hospitals, helping the poor, unwed mothers, abused children and others.
Altar servers have an important role in serving Masses and other functions at the altar. Both boys and girls are allowed to serve, especially in carrying the candlesticks, holding the book for the celebrant, washing the priest’s hands, holding the communion plate and, their favorite role, ringing the bells at the elevation.
Choirs are prominent in every Catholic Church. St Augustine said that whoever sings, prays twice. The choir members embellish the liturgy and add so much to beautify the celebrations, from a children’s choir, Adult Choirs, Folk Groups and even Spanish Folk Groups. A Cantor leads the hymns when there is no choir. The cantor usually sings the Responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia, besides an opening hymn, an offertory hymn, a communion hymn and a recessional hymn, as well as other parts of the Mass.
Sacristans have an important duty to help set up for Masses and other liturgical functions in churches. Some sacristans work full-time, while others just help as volunteers, setting up the altar for the daily and weekend Masses, as well as funerals. Sacristans can be religious, sisters or lay people, and are usually very faithful in their duties, priding themselves in keeping the church as clean and as spotless as possible.
Let us now return to our communities and explore the many types of churches and places of worship that we see around us. There are 4 major basilicas in Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is by far the most recognizable church in Christianity. But the Mother Church is actually the Lateran Basilica also in Rome. St Paul outside the walls and St Mary Major are the other two Basilicas in Rome. A Basilica is an honor given to some important and illustrious churches. Another title given to churches is ‘Sanctuary.’ A Cathedral is the mother church of any Diocese, where the Bishop usually lives and celebrates important functions. Your typical American church has pews on each side of the middle aisle, with the main altar visible from everywhere. The offertory table in the center aisle, situated towards the back is for the gifts which will be brought up at the offertory.
Most churches would have a crucifix hanging in the middle, above the altar, and the tabernacle in the center, behind the altar of sacrifice. Baker City Cathedral has an apse, which is like an alcove, and since most churches are designed in the shape of a cross, the apse is like the head of the cross. The Tabernacle is the most prominent and most important place in any church, where Jesus resides, and which should be given its due respect, reverence and recognition. Some churches still have an altar rail, as they used to have before the changes that occurred after the Second Vatican Council. The altar rail is not required anymore. Some churches also have a baldacchino under which the tabernacle or the main altar is positioned. It is a form of a canopy or mini cupola. The baldacchino is also the name given to the canopy held above the Blessed Sacrament during processions like the feast of Corpus Christi.
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 3)
Missallettes are used in most churches, so that people can follow the readings during Mass. Other people carry their own prayer books, like the Magnificat series, also available for children. Confessionals are another common presence in any Catholic church, where people go to confess their sins. In most cases, people have the option to go behind the screen or face to face with the priest. Communal Penitential Services are also held usually during Advent and Lent, but the common practice of individual confession is kept in every church.
The Presidential chair is where the priest or celebrant sits in the sanctuary area during the Mass, at least during the readings and after communion. The Bishop who celebrates Masses in his Cathedral, usually has a special chair reserved for him, sometimes placed under a canopy or in a place by itself. This chair is also called a cathedra.
The altar of sacrifice is the main altar where the Liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated. It can be very elaborate, as is the case in St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican, or simple and plain as is found in some Mission churches.
Other shapes and designs of altars may be used, made of marble, wood, and wrought iron, sculpted or other artistic designs that still look reverent and conducive to prayer.
When the Offertory starts, a corporal is placed in the middle of the altar. The word corporal comes from the Latin corpus (meaning body,) because the Body of Christ will be placed there during the Mass. It is a square shaped piece of linen cloth, with a small red cross embroidered in the middle. It is folded into nine smaller squares. A pall is occasionally used over the chalice. Some priests do not use it at all, but it was originally used to keep flies or bugs away from the chalice with the wine/Precious Blood. The Chalice is made of gold or any good precious metal, but the inside of the cup has to be gilded in gold. The paten goes with the chalice, and that’s where the host is placed, although recently the priest’s host as well as the people’s hosts are placed in a ciborium. Purificators are made of linen, and are used by the priests or Eucharistic Ministers to wipe the chalice after people receive the Precious Blood from the chalice. They are washed by volunteers of the parish or members of the Altar Society, who clean them regularly and return them to the Sacristy.
A ciborium is a container for the hosts, usually a large ornamental container to hold enough hosts for a large congregation. Left-over hosts are placed and kept inside it covered with a lid, and placed in the tabernacle. Other modern types of ciborium (plural ciboria) are also used, and especially if a church has many communion stations, they are usually stacked up on each other inside the tabernacle. The credence table is not usually visible around the altar, but is an important item where all the Mass paraphernalia are placed before and during the Mass. On it are placed the chalices, as well as other Eucharistic cups to be used for the Precious Blood, the communion plates, the wash basin and finger towel, and the cruets, if not brought up in a procession at the offertory. The wash basin is used during the offertory (known as the Lavabo) when the priest washes his hands or fingers, and dries them with a towel or a small napkin. A larger bowl and pitcher may be also used when a Bishop is celebrating.
The two elements of the Eucharist are bread and wine, and when they are blessed on the altar during Mass, they become the real Body and Blood of Jesus. They are not just symbols, but the real presence of Jesus in each of the species. Various types of water/wine cruets are used during the Mass, and are usually brought up to the altar at the offertory procession. Quite a selection of wine is used around the world, but it has to be approved by the local Bishop, and many wineries specialize in what is called sacramental wine, made especially for churches.
The processional Cross is carried by an acolyte or altar-server at the beginning of Mass, along with the candle-sticks, and again at the end of the Mass.
The Communion plates are used by the altar-servers during communion, to prevent from any consecrated host from falling on the ground. The altar servers usually hold the plate under the chin of the communicant when receiving on their tongue, and under the hands of the communicant when receiving in the hand. The priest or ministers wipes clean the communion plate as soon as communion is over, so that any flakes from the Body of Christ that may have fallen on them will be purified instantly.
The Pyx is the container which priests and Eucharistic Ministers use to carry the Sacred Hosts, when visiting the sick and the homebound at home, nursing homes or hospitals. The Pyx can be also carried in a burse, which ministers can carry around their necks.
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 4)
The Sacramentary has a lot of markers and bookmarks to be used during the Mass and other functions. The main parts of the Mass, like the Eucharistic Prayers are marked with special tags, as are the Eucharistic prayers for Masses with children, and for Masses of reconciliation. Altar-severs have another important role during the Liturgy of the Word, when they hold the book for the bishop or priests during the Introductory Rites, opening and concluding prayers, read from the Sacramentary.
The Lectionary is the other important book that is used during the celebration of Mass, and has all the readings that are read during the 3-year cycle on Sundays (Years A, B, C,) and the two-year rotation on weekdays (Year 1 and Year 2.) The Lectionary is placed on the pulpit.
Lectors or Readers use the pulpit or lectern to read the 1st and 2nd readings on any Sunday Liturgy. They also sometimes read the Prayers of the Faithful, when a Deacon is not present. The Deacon proclaims the Gospel from the same pulpit, and then the priest or deacon preaches the homily from the same place. The entire Liturgy of the Word centers around the pulpit.
A special Book of the Gospels is sometimes used for the proclamation of the Gospels. The Deacon or the Lector carries the Book processionally towards the altar and places it on the altar until the reading of the Gospel, when the Deacon or priest picks it up and takes it to the pulpit from where he proclaims the Gospel.
A Prie-Dieu or kneeler is used for an individual person to kneel on. Prie-Dieu is French for “before God.”
Albs are used by Priests and Deacons, usually tied at the waist by a cincture. Stoles are worn around the neck, or diagonally for deacons. Chasubles or vestments are used by Priests during the celebration of the Mass. Priests who con-celebrate at a Mass may use a chasuble or a stole, corresponding with the liturgical color of the day.
Chasubles come in 4 different colors. White is used for Christmas and Easter, other feasts of holy people or Marian celebrations. Purple is used during Advent and Lent, and in some countries for funerals. Red is used for the feasts of the apostles and martyrs, Palm Sunday and Good Friday, as well as Pentecost and Masses of the Holy Spirit as well as during confirmations. Green is used during Ordinary time. Many old ornamental chasubles are seen in Museums, also called fiddle-backs. They have intricate embroidery and are usually much heavier than the modern ones.
The deacon on the other hand can use a dalmatic, which is worn on top of the alb and stole. Usually there are matching vestments so that the priest and deacon will have the same ‘look’ and style of design.
A Sanctuary Lamp is used near the tabernacle to show that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there. It is lit continuously to show that Jesus is present. The sanctuary lamp is normally a large candle that lasts for a whole week, and is covered with a red glass cover. It can be hanging or standing, depending on the space available.
The thurible or censor is used during Solemn Masses, funerals, processions, and Benediction. A charcoal is burned and placed inside the thurible, held by the thurifer. During processions, it is held by swinging the thurible on the side. Once the charcoal is burned in the thurifer, some of the incense is placed on it, creating smoke and also a nice fragrance, depending on the quality of the incense. Various companies and especially monasteries make their own incense, most of them pretty expensive.
A Monstrance is used during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Adoration and Benediction. It is an ornamental reliquary where the Sacred Host is placed in a lunette in the center, for solemn adoration. Monstrance comes from the Latin ‘monstrare’ meaning to show off or display. When Solemn Benediction is given, the priest wears a cope, which in a way is similar to a cape. During the act of Benediction with the Monstrance, the priest also wears a humeral veil to hold the Blessed Sacrament with. It is usually placed on his shoulders by an Acolyte or an altar-server.
The Aspergillum is the holy water sprinkler, which is frequently used in various blessings. Most of them have a container of holy water, which the altar-server carries, but others are easier to carry, almost like a pen filled with Holy Water, which a priest can carry in his pocket.
Candle-sticks used to be ornamental and placed on the altar during the Mass. Nowadays, frequently they are carried by acolytes or servers, and placed closed to the altar during Mass.
Candles and candelabras are frequently used for decorative purposes near the altar and to further accentuate the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The Paschal Candle represents the presence of the Risen Christ, and is used during the Easter season, as well as during Masses of Baptism and Christian Burial. It is blessed every year at the Easter Vigil, and is incensed as an old tradition.
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 5)
Votive candles are an important item in any Catholic Church, as people frequently come in a church to pray for a particular intention and to light a candle before their favorite statue. While leaving a suggested donation, they light a small candle that may light up to 10 hours, or even longer, sometimes for an entire week, depending how large the candle is. Most often these candles are red or white, but nowadays they come in a variety of colors.
The Advent wreath is a popular tradition using 4 or 5 candles, lit during the four Sundays of Advent. Three purple candles are lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent, with the themes Watch, Prepare and Behold. A rose or pink colored candle is used for the third Sunday, which has as a theme Rejoice! Sometimes a white candle is added on Christmas. The Advent wreath started in the Scandinavian countries when farmers brought in their carts for the winter, and decorated them with greens. Eventually they placed candles around them.
The Ambry is a special place where the oils are kept in the sanctuary area. It is a small cabinet with three glass containers that hold the oils that are blessed by the Bishop in the Cathedral on Holy Thursday. The containers are marked:
O.I. Oleum Infirmorum – Oil of the Sick
O.C. – Oleum Catechumenorum – Oil of Catechumens
S.C – Sacra Chrisma – Sacred Chrism
A priest would carry a small container with the holy oils, especially the Oil of the Sick, in case of emergency.
The Oil of Chrism is used for Baptisms, Confirmations and the consecration of priests and Bishops at their ordination or consecration.
The Oil of Catechumens is used during Baptisms of newborn babies, as well as the reception of new adult Catholics at the Easter Vigil.
The Chrism Mass is held annually on Holy Thursday in the Cathedral of each Diocese. In some areas, where traveling for a priest is a problem or difficult, the Mass is held earlier in the week. During the Mass, the priests of the Diocese concelebrate with their Bishop, and towards the end, the Bishop blesses the oils that will be used in the parishes. The oils are later distributed into small bottles or containers and given to the priests to use in their parishes for the respective sacraments.
Many churches have the symbols of the 4 Evangelists as a painting, stained glass window or sculpture. The 4 Evangelists who wrote the 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each have a symbol, which are an angel, a lion, a bull and an eagle.
The symbolism of each creature is described as such:
St. Matthew’s symbol is a human angel, showing the manhood of Christ. Matthew starts his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus, showing the human descent of Jesus from Old Testament characters.
St Mark is symbolized by a winged lion, showing royalty and courage. His Gospel starts with John the Baptist roaring in the desert like a lion.
St Luke is symbolized by an ox or bull, symbolic of the sacrifice, service and strength. Christians should sacrifice themselves for Christ.
St John has an eagle, and since his Gospel is of a higher theological nature, he soars like an eagle. His Gospel show’s Christ’s divine nature.
The 4 symbols are mentioned in the book of Ezekiel: “Figures resembling four living creatures; their form was human, but they had four faces and wings. On one side was the face of a man, on the right side was the face of a lion, on the left side the face of a lion, and on the back the face of an eagle“ (Ezekiel 1: 4-10)
Bells are used frequently in churches. Some are used to call the people for worship, large bronze ornamental bells hanging in belfries, like the ones in Maltese churches. Others are rung just before a Mass starts, to let the people know that the priest is processing towards the altar, although nowadays a hymn announces this. Altar-servers ring the bells three times during a Mass. The first time is when the priests blesses the hosts and wine, placing his hands on them, becoming the Body and Blood of Christ. The second time is when the priests elevates the Body of Christ, and the third time is when the priest elevates the Precious Blood of Jesus.
The Anointing of the sick is given to people who are sick, near death, but also before a surgery or in cases of mental distress. The patient is anointed on the forehead and the palms of the hand with the Oil of the Sick.
Special Masses are also held in Hospital Chapels or Nursing Homes when the residents or patients are anointed by the priest.
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 6)
Reliquaries or Relics are revered by the church as very unique decorations where the relics of the saints are preserved.
There are three kinds of relics:
First class relic – a piece of a bone fragment of a particular saint.
Second class relic - a piece of clothing which that saint used in his/her lifetime.
Third class relic – a piece of cloth touched with a first class relic.
Statues are a prominent and important item in any Catholic Church, which are displayed inside and outside any church. Many of them are taken out in a procession once a year. Statues are more popular in some countries, where even smaller replicas of the larger originals are for sale, and so people venerate them even in their homes, placing flowers and candles in front of them, and even show them off in windows when the feast of a particular saint is being celebrated.
Processions are very popular, especially in Christian countries, where access to public streets is easy and possible. In Malta, Spain, Italy and other South and Central American countries processions with statues are frequent in parishes, as well as on Corpus Christi, Good Friday and Our Lady of the Rosary.
The collection which is taken up during the Mass is a way showing the people’s support of the work of the church. Many people use the weekly envelopes while others donate cash, but it is a way of showing their appreciation for all that the church does for them. People collaborate with their pastor through their giving of their time, talent and treasure. People are also very generous during earthquake or flood relief collections.
Ushers are ready to take up the collection after the Prayers of the Faithful and the Liturgy of the Word ends. The collection is normally taken up before the Offertory, and the money is brought up with the gifts of water, wine and hosts.
Ashes are used on Ash Wednesday as people are marked with the sign of the cross, reminding them to repent and believe in the Gospel. Various forms are used by the priest, deacon or minister while imposing ashes on people’s foreheads: Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.
Or Turn away from sin, and believe in the Gospel Or Repent and believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ
A pall is placed on the casket during a Mass of Christian burial. It is symbolic of the white baptismal garment that a baby wears on his or her baptism day.
When the person deceased is a veteran, before the casket is brought into the church, as well as after the Mass, the casket is usually draped with the national flag of that particular country. The flag is then folded ceremoniously and given to an immediate member of the family.
Sacristies are special places close the altar where priests, ministers and servers are vested before a celebration.
Vestments are stored, as are books, thuribles are lit, candlesticks adjusted, chalices and ciboria stored, and much more is done. Plenty of drawers and cabinets imply that things have to be organized and kept in order.
The Stations of the Cross are a must in every Catholic Church. The 14 stations, made from plaster, wood, paintings or other material are usually hung on the side walls, usually 7 on each side. Stations are prayed usually during the Fridays of Lent. Stations are also placed outdoors, in prayer gardens, retreat houses and outdoor chapels.
The Stations started when people wanted to visit the Holy Land, but couldn’t because of the distance, and so the 14 stations were erected in churches, allowing people to pray and reflect on the passion of Christ.
The Brown Scapular is known to have been traditionally given to St Simon Stock in the 13th century. It is worn by devotees of the Blessed Mother as a protection and as a way to show filial affiliation with her.
The Chi Rho is an old symbol that has appeared on many tombstones, altars and other Christian landmarks.
The Chi Rho is actually the first two letters of the name of Christ in Greek (Christos.) Chi Rho looks like an X and a P but is actually a Ch and R
The Fish Symbol (Greek: Ichtus) is an acronym for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. This is another popular symbol engraved on many altars and monuments from the time of Christ
IHS is a monogram of the name of Jesus in Greek – IHSOUS. The letters also represent the phrase Iesus Hominum Salvator It is also used to symbolize In Hoc Signo (In this sign of the cross, we shall conquer) used by King Constantine. English translators have also used I Have Suffered, and In His Service.
People, Places and Paraphernalia of the Catholic Church (part 7)
The Easter Lily is a very popular flower during the Easter Season, mainly because it blooms during the month of April, when Easter usually occurs every year. The Easter Lily was discovered by an English missionary on Ryukyu island off the coast of Japan. He took some bulbs with him and they bloomed on Easter week, and have since become known as the Easter Lily.
The Christmas poinsettia was discovered in 1828 by the Ambassador of the USA to Mexico, General Joel Poinsett, who found out that the Aztecs were using this flower for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. He took some of the plants to South Carolina and the poinsettia became an instant hit with Americans.
The Fleur-de-Lys is a stylized flower that is used for decorative purpose. Fleur means flower, and Lys means Iris. The three petals of heraldic design have been frequently associated with the Trinity. Moreover, there has also been an association to Mary, starting with the Song of Solomon’s “lily among thorns,” a direct reference to Mary. It was also used in relation to the virtues of purity and chastity.
The Jerusalem Cross is an interesting interpretation of the Gospel cross, with the four crosses, one in each quadrant, representing the four Gospels. It is also known as the Crusaders’ Cross, because it was on the banner that Pope Urban II gave to the crusaders at the beginning of the First Crusade
The Tau Cross is of ancient origin although it is mostly associated with the Franciscans. It is also called the Egyptian Cross, the Advent Cross or the St Francis Cross. St Francis had proclaimed to his monks that their habit should resemble the image of Christ on the cross, especially when their arms are open.
The keys of St. Peter are symbolic of authority, especially those given by Jesus to St. Peter as the first Pope of the church. The keys are frequently included in the coat-of-arms of the Popes, as well as the Vatican flag.
Palm branches are distributed on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, to symbolize what the people in Jerusalem did 2000 years ago to welcome Jesus. Many people use the palm branches to make crosses, which they keep in a prominent place in their homes, or they place them on gravesites in the cemetery, as a sign or respect and remembrance.
European countries, like Malta, Italy and others do not have many palm trees, and so use olive branches instead.
The Greek Orthodox on the other hand use pussy-willow branches instead of palm branches.
The Maltese Cross is the famous 8-pointed cross adopted by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights of Malta. It is used as a symbol of heraldry, and worn as jewelry, symbol of fire-fighters and there is also a flower known as the Maltese cross.
The 8 points of the Maltese cross symbolize the 8 Beatitudes Jesus preached about in his Sermon on the Mount. They also represent the 8 obligations the Knights profess as their sacred duty to the Order:
1. To live in truth 2. To have faith
3. To repent of sins 4. To give proof of humility
5. To love justice 6. To be merciful
7. To be sincere and whole-hearted 8. To endure persecution
The Claddagh Ring comes from the town of Claddagh in Ireland and is frequently exchanged as a wedding ring or used as item of jewelry. The three symbols are: the Heart, symbolizing LOVE, the Crown symbolizing LOYALTY and the Hands, symbolizing FRIENDSHIP.
Known as the Passion Flower, (passiflora coerulea) this flower is frequently mentioned as the ideal flower representing the passion of Christ. The 10 petals represent the 10 faithful apostles (excluding Judas and Peter,) the 3 stigmata represent the nails, and the tendrils represent the whips used for the flagellation.
The thin purple petals make up the crown of thorns, while the pointed tips of the leaves represent the lance used to pierce Christ’s side. The color of blue and white represent heaven and purity. The flower grows everywhere except for the Antarctica and Africa.
End of Series – Father Julian
I hope you were able to keep all these 7 parts of my overview of people, places and paraphernalia of the Catholic Church. There may be other things and objects that we use, but I shared with you the most popular and most common things you may see in any Catholic Church.
Bulletin Page for January 17, 2010
NOW THAT'S GOD
It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.
Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods.
He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort ... trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walking carefully to the woods, running back to the house.
Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them ... maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site.
Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground; obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.
I followed him back to the house to a spigot to which we had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me: The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him.
His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, other drops...and more drops...and more suddenly joined them. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.
Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. Those miracles don't really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that... I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another.
I had to share this to honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon... But not before showing me the true face of God, in a little, sunburned body.
A Grateful Mother
Bulletin Page for January 10, 2010
Being Optimistic in 2010
We should mark the start of a new year — a new decade, no less — with a pause in our daily lives. Yes, it’s been a tough year with the economic problems, with the ongoing threat of terrorism, and with many people, even in our own neighborhoods, reaching a poverty level never experienced before. Many of us have bad stories to tell, but let’s look towards the future with a little dose of optimism.
The best way to get over a bad event is to "look suffering straight in the eye, acknowledge and respect its presence, and then to get busy as soon as possible focusing on things we choose to focus on," according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book "Finding Flow." I know that it’s easier said than done, but why should we be optimistic? If for no other reason than because sitting around moping will not get us anywhere — and neither will blaming everything that's gone wrong on the person who came before. What does work is optimism, a belief that the future will be better, that we can affect our future and that, with hard work, we can change our lives individually, as families, as communities, as parishes, and as a nation.
Such optimism allows us to set positive goals, concentrate, focus, work hard,
and never ever give up on our dreams.
In the century before the birth of Christ, the Roman poet Juvenal wrote about the Roman people as longing for only "bread and circuses." His view was that the people who once were involved in creating the future of their nation cared then only for the day's food and their entertainment. We have to understand that our lives are part of a greater story. As part of this greater story, we are the link between our nation's incredible history and our nation's possibly bright future. The question we might want to ask ourselves is: Are we using all of the talents and blessings God has given us to serve him and improve the lives of our families, our communities, our nation and our world?
God wants so much more for us and from us than simple bread and circuses. He wants us to use all the gifts that he has given us, to serve him, serve our nation and improve the world. If we all used our gifts and talents — what a year — what a decade it could become. Some people look only for what’s interesting, and not for what’s important in life. Sacrifice and work for them are words that exist only in the dictionary. So let’s make this year special, by looking positively on everything we plan to accomplish.
May God grant you this New Year -----
Enough tears to keep you human, warm and sensitive.
Enough humor to laugh at yourself rather than others. Enough setbacks to keep you humble. Enough goodness to be called a person of integrity. Enough accomplishments to keep you confident and eager. Enough patience to teach you the virtue of waiting. Enough discipline to be moderate in eating and drinking.
Enough silence in your life that you become more prayerful.
Enough insight in how you see God, but also in how God sees you. Enough friends to give you life, strength and support. Enough grief and sorrow to make you both sensitive and loving. Enough hope to teach you to trust God. Enough care to comfort the disturbed, but also to disturb the comfortable. Enough strength from your faith, family and friends to support you. Enough warm and wonderful memories to give you comfort.
Enough divine and human qualities to forgive oneself and forgive others.
Enough common sense for you to make healthy decisions.
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.
Bulletin Page for January 3, 2010
Resolutions for the New Year
Take full responsibility for your life. Stop blaming others. See yourself as the cause of what happens to you.
Do things you like to do. Don't stay in a job you don't like. Participate in life at the highest level you can.
Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. Be gentle and kind and patient with yourself.
Watch what you say. Avoid self put-downs. Stop being critical of yourself and others.
Take care of your body. Give it exercise and good food.
Be willing to create a life-style that generates and nourishes self-esteem. Associate with others with high esteem. Acknowledge yourself frequently. Keep a diary of your successes and accomplishments.
Avoid comparing yourself with others. Remember that it's who we are, not what we do, that's important.
Give yourself permission to do nothing periodically. Schedule time by yourself.
Frequently take deep breaths. Discover the benefit and pleasure of breathing fully.
Eat first class frequently. Don't look at the right side of the menu.
Stop trying to change others. Focus your attention on being the way you want others to be.
Stop feeling guilty and saying "I'm sorry". See mistakes as valuable lessons and avoid judging yourself.
Consciously generate positive thoughts and feelings of self-love in place of old thoughts of inadequacy.
Be willing to laugh at yourself and at life. Stop taking yourself so seriously.
Accept compliments from others without embarrassment. Don't invalidate their positive thoughts about you.
Be kind to your mind. Don't hate yourself for having negative thoughts. Gently change your thoughts.
Keep your awareness and your thoughts focused in present time instead of living in the past or future.
Acknowledge others frequently. Tell them what you like and appreciate in them. Invest money in yourself. Go to seminars, workshops and courses that develop your talents.
Make a list of 10 things you love doing and do them frequently.
Treat yourself as you would treat someone you really loved. Praise yourself.
During this New Year, always remember. . . . .
The most satisfying work ...... Helping Others
The most endangered species ...... Dedicated Leaders
The greatest natural resource ...... Our Youth
The greatest shot in the arm ...... Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome ...... Fear
The most effective sleeping pill ...... Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease ...... Excuses
The most powerful force in life ...... Love
The worlds most incredible computer ...... The Brain
The worst thing to be without ...... Hope
The most powerful relationship tool ...... The Tongue
The two most power-filled words ...... "I Can"
The most powerful communication …... Prayer
The greatest asset ...... Faith
The most worthless emotion ...... Self-pity
The most prized possession ...... Self-esteem
The most contagious spirit ...... Enthusiasm
The most beautiful attire …... SMILE
Wishing everyone a blessed,
peace-filled and healthy New Year
Bulletin Page for December 27, 2009
To end this decade, let’s go back to the Year 1909
The year is 1909, 100 years ago. And what a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the year 1909:
The average life expectancy was 47 years.
Fuel for the few cars that were around was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 % of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 % of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars in the USA, and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most big cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.
The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.
A dentist could earn $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95% of all births took place at home.
90% of all doctors had no college education! Instead they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and the government labeled them ‘substandard.”
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering their country for any reason.
The 5 leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza, 2. Tuberculosis, 3 Diarrhea, 4. Heart Disease, 5. Stroke.
The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas was only 30 people.
Crossword Puzzles, canned beer and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.
There was no Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Two out of every ten adults couldn’t read or write.
Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local drugstore. Back then, pharmacists would say: “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is in fact, a perfect guardian of health.”
18% of all households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the entire USA.
95 % of the taxes we have now did not exist in 1909.
A New Year’s Day Blessing
(from a poem of the first Native American Indians)
May the Lord bless your sight: that it will always be as clear as the full moon.
May the Lord bless your thoughts: that they may be pure and fresh as ice on a lake.
May the Lord bless the work of your hands: that it may be as fruitful as corn that ripens in the fields.
May the Lord bless your family: that they may be as carefree as otters and as industrious as bees.
May the Lord bless your days on earth: that they may flow calmly as a river after the rapids.
May the Lord bless your tears: that they may be soft as maple trees when the birds return to their nests.
May the Lord bless your life and your death: that you may spend your days protected by His powerful and generous hands.
We wish you all a HAPPY AND HOLY NEW YEAR !
Bulletin Page for December 20, 2009
Cherishing and Living Christmas
Do you believe that Christmas was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681? If caught doing any kind of celebrating at Christmas time, the fine was 5 shillings, that’s the equivalent of a dollar, an exorbitant fine at that time. In fact it was only around the 1850s that Christmas became legal in all the US states.
Stephen Nissenbaum, in his 1996 book entitled "The Battle for Christmas," claims that the Puritans were behind this strange legalization abolishing the celebration of Christmas, and those who did defy the law and celebrate, were involved in rowdy behavior, excessive eating and drinking, the mockery of established authority and aggressive begging which involved threats and violence! Two classic works helped change the trend 150 years ago, precisely "The Visit from St. Nicholas," written in 1822 by Clement Clare Moore, and "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, published in 1843. These two works truly helped reshape the image of Christmas from an excuse for raucous behavior to a symbol of wholesome, family love.
Moreover, the origin of the Christmas Tree can be traced to more than 200 years ago, precisely the year of the French revolution, when Napoleon invaded the rest of Europe. It was actually the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who was visiting a family in Ratzeburg, Germany. He wrote later in a magazine that what he saw was "a custom worth imitating that pleased and interested him" - a small evergreen tree placed on a table in a parlor. What surprised him even more is what he saw underneath the tree - presents from the children to the parents! You’ve read it correctly, handmade presents made by the children themselves, and kept as a surprise until Christmas Eve, at which time they were presented to the parents "with kisses and embraces.".
Nowadays Christmas has become our most celebrated festivity, and a major economic indicator since many stores need the Christmas season to make their yearly sales projections. As Christians we celebrate first and foremost the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, and pastors, priests and ministers scratch their heads every year how to best celebrate a Christian spirit in the midst of the worldly commercialism that has inundated the way we live like a tidal tsunami.
Of course the Nativity story goes back to 2000 years ago, and the first presepio or Nativity scene was created by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century. Many Christmas hymns and Gregorian chants were written hundreds of years ago, while Silent Night was written in 1846. The first Christmas card was created in 1846, while the poinsettia was discovered in 1828. These traditions are very meaningful and they form the backbone of any Christmas celebration. The stories behind these traditions give us a sense of history. Even secular symbols have a religious connection, like the holly, the candy cane and Santa Claus.
Yet, as we hear familiar quotes like "Keep Christ in Christmas" and "Jesus, the Reason for the Season," it is important that we share the meaning behind our Christian symbols with our children, this way they can share them with their own children, years from now. It is our duty to cherish Christmas and to live its spirit every day of our lives. I remember two stories from my years in New York that shocked me to no end. The first one is seeing Christmas Trees thrown out on December 26th! Couldn’t they keep it at least until New Year’s Day? The second situation happened at a huge CD store and as was my custom, 2 days after Christmas I headed to New York City to take pictures and stroll around the stores. When I headed for the Christmas CDs section, I see the owner telling an employer…."Now get this junk out of here, as quickly as you can." I was so offended and even though I complained to the owner, it got me nowhere. So, let’s remember to keep the Christmas spirit for as long as we can. Cherish Christmas and live its spirit throughout 2010.
Bulletin Page for December 13, 2009
A Brooklyn Christmas miracle
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted table cloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church. By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. 'Pastor,' she asked, 'where did you get that tablecloth?' The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, which was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job. What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike. He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid - Who says God does not work in mysterious ways.
Bulletin Page for December 6, 2009
On November 20th, 2009, a group of prominent Catholic and Christian clergy, ministry leaders and scholars released the Manhattan Declaration, which addresses the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty. The 4,700-word declaration issues a call to Christians to adhere to their convictions and informs civil authorities that the signers will not—under any circumstance—abandon their Christian consciences. The Declaration was signed by more than 150 Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders and it is worth reading and reflecting on.
This is a summary of the Manhattan Declaration, devised and signed by prominent Catholic and Christian leaders, affirming their belief in life, in marriage and religious liberty. For the entire Declaration go to www.manhattandeclaration.org
Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family. We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Human Life - The lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are ever more threatened. While public opinion has moved in a pro-life direction, powerful and determined forces are working to expand abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Although the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the first obligation of government, the power of government is today often enlisted in the cause of promoting what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.” We pledge to work unceasingly for the equal protection of every innocent human being at every stage of development and in every condition. We will refuse to permit ourselves or our institutions to be implicated in the taking of human life and we will support in every possible way those who, in conscience, take the same stand.
Marriage - The institution of marriage, already wounded by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is at risk of being redefined and thus subverted. Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise. The impulse to redefine marriage is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil law as well as our religious traditions. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. Marriage is not a ‘social construction,’ but is rather an objective reality ‘the covenantal union of husband and wife’ that it is the duty of the law to recognize, honor, and protect.
Religious Liberty - Freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized. The threat to these fundamental principles of justice is evident in efforts to weaken or eliminate conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, and in antidiscrimination statutes that are used as weapons to force religious institutions, charities, businesses, and service providers either to accept (and even facilitate) activities and relationships they judge to be immoral, or go out of business. Attacks on religious liberty are dire threats not only to individuals, but also to the institutions of civil society including families, charities, and religious communities. The health and well-being of such institutions provide an indispensable buffer against the overweening power of government and is essential to the flourishing of every other institution - including government itself - on which society depends.
Unjust Laws - As Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers. We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust. And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral. Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will.
Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.
Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family.
Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
Bulletin Page for November 29, 2009
The Pastor and his son
Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the Pastor and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out Bibles. This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and his son to go to the streets with their Bibles, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring down rain. The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, 'OK, dad, I'm ready.'
His Pastor dad asked, 'Ready for what?'
'Dad, it's time we gather our Bibles together and go out.'
Dad responds, 'Son, it's very cold outside and it's pouring down rain.'
The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, 'But Dad, aren't people still going to Hell, even though it's raining?'
Dad answers, 'Son, I am not going out in this weather.'
Despondently, the boy asks, 'Dad, can I go? Please?'
His father hesitated for a moment then said, 'Son, you can go. Here are the Bibles, be careful son.' 'Thanks Dad!'
And with that, he was off and out into the rain. This eleven year old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing everybody he met in the street a Bible. After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled wet and down to his VERY LAST Bible. He stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand the Bible to, but the streets were totally deserted.. Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the door bell. He rang the bell, but nobody answered.
He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer. Finally, this eleven year old trooper turned to leave, but something stopped him. Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front porch! He rang again and this time the door slowly opened.
Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady.. She softly asked, 'What can I do for you, son?' With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that * JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU * and I came to give you my very last Bible which will tell you all about JESUS and His great LOVE.' With that, he handed her his last Bible and turned to leave. She called to him as he departed. 'Thank you, son! And God Bless You!'
Well, the following Sunday morning in church Pastor Dad was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, 'Does anybody have testimony or want to say anything?'
Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her feet. As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her face, 'No one in this church knows me. I've never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live. So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck.. Standing on that chair, so lonely and brokenhearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, 'I'll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.' I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly... I thought to myself again, 'Who on earth could this be? Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me.' I loosened the rope from my neck and started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder.
When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His SMILE, oh, I could never describe it to you! The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead, TO LEAP TO LIFE as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, 'Ma'am, I just came to tell you that JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU.' Then he gave me this Bible that I now hold in my hand.
As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this Gospel Tract. Then I went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn't need them any more. You see, I am now a Happy Child of the KING. Since the address of your church was on the back of this Bible, I have come here to personally say THANK YOU to God's little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell.' There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and honor to THE KING resounded off the very rafters of the building, Pastor Dad descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was seated. He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably. Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably this universe has never seen a Papa that was more filled with love and honor for his son... Except for One. Our Father also allowed His Son to go out into a cold and dark world. He received His Son back with unspeakable joy, and as all of heaven shouted praises and honor to The King, the Father sat His beloved Son on a throne far above all principality and power and every name that is named.
Bulletin Page for November 22, 2009
What we should be grateful for
As people living amidst this incredible beauty here in the Northwest, there is so much to be thankful for as we approach the season of Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine my life if I had not come to the USA in 1981, and even to Oregon in 2003. New York had its own charm and peculiarities, while the Northeast was just about spectacularly beautiful in the fall with the maple trees turning all shades of yellow, orange and flaming red. But here in Oregon we get the sparkling tamaracks and birch trees which turn everything into gold. But there is so much more to be grateful for at this time of the year…
- For newborn babies who are given a chance to live, hoping that one of them 50 years from now will find a cure for cancer…
-For young people who are so enthusiastic about sports, drama, cell-phones, texting and much more that the technological age has produced, that they will never forget the love their parents share with them, the education they received from their teachers, and the faith they find in their churches….
- For our seniors who remember the painful past, that we will never forget the sacrifices they made when they were living at an age when their luxury item was an outhouse, a warm pair of shoes, crayons, comics and if you’re lucky, a typewriter.
- For many couples who sacrifice their lives for their children, without getting as much as a Thank You, while they appreciate any gifts that strange fictitious bearded man brings to them with quotes like ...."I know for sure that Santa exists, because my parents cannot possibly afford all these gifts!"
- For hospitals and schools, for cars and bicycles, for computers and IPhones, for air-conditioners and heaters, for traffic lights and pedestrian crossing, for life guards and search-and-rescue helicopters, for pets we keep at home and for animals we can admire at zoos.
- For places of worship, for gorgeous Cathedrals and mission chapels, for nurses and sisters who dedicate their lives to teach, nurse wounds and help the needy, for missionary priests who leave their families and homeland to minister to people in the USA who have no priests of their own, and for those who are studying for the priesthood, that they will persevere in their vocation.
- For doctors and medical scientists who keep experimenting in trying to find new medicines, create new vaccines and perform painless surgeries.
- For inventors who invent new gadgets, so that our life can be easier to go through, faster when we travel and more comfortable in our daily lives.
- And for all of us to be grateful for the many blessings we frequently take for granted.
Bulletin page for November 15, 2009
At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Hondorf. I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. I've always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons - something I've done for over 30 years. Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I've never had the pleasure of having a prodigy though I have taught some talented students. However I've also had my share of what I call "musically challenged" pupils. One such student was Robby. He was 11 years old when his mother (a single Mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano. So I took him as a student. Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor.
As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play someday." But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling him but assumed because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still practicing. "Miss Hondorf . . . I've just got to play!" he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would be all right. The night for the recital came. The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece myself. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my "curtain closer."
Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he'd run an eggbeater through it. "Why didn't he dress up like the other students?" I thought. "Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?" Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo....from allegro to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age. After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild applause. Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy. "I've never heard you play like that Robby! How'd you do it?
"Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well Miss Hondorf . . . remember I told you my Mom was sick? Well, actually she had cancer and passed away this morning. And well . . . she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special." There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil. No, I've never had a prodigy but that night I became a prodigy. ... of Robby's. He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.
Unfortunately Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.
Bulletin Page for November 8, 2009
The Value of a Soldier
I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family surrounded by nothing but death and carnage of war. He stands though, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this......
“I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it.
I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote
and you stay at home because it rains.
I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business.
I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.
It's the soldier not the reporter who gives you the freedom of the press.
It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech.
It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate.
It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!”
Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either. He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.
He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.
He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime. He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.
Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years. He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.
Bulletin Page for November 1, 2009
Saints and married couples
In almost 27 years, Pope John Paul II canonized 482 people and beatified 1,338 men and women, many of them the first canonized saints or blesseds in their countries. All 482 of those saints were martyrs, clerics or members of religious communities when they died—except St. Gianna Beretta Molla (married) and St. Giuseppe Moscati (single).
Of the 1,338 people whom Pope John Paul II beatified, all were martyrs, clerics or members of religious communities when they died—except for 14 single people and the married Frederic Ozanam, Lazlo Batthyany-Strattmenn, Charles of Austria, Giuseppe Tovini, Gianna Beretta Molla and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini (husband and wife). The latter were also parents of two priests, one nun and another daughter.
By October 12, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI will have canonized 28 people— but no one who was married when he or she died. By mid-August 2009, Pope Benedict XVI had approved the beatifications of 191 women and men—all reflecting the categories mentioned above except for Eurosia Fabris (Mamma Rosa) and Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin (parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and four other nuns).
Among these by the way, was the first saint from my home country of Malta, St. George Preca, beatified by John Paul II in 2000 and canonized by Benedict XVI in 2008. For the Church's first 300 years, most of the saints whom it recognized were martyrs—with exceptions such as the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.
The early church canonized apostles, Popes and Bishops. Later, the Church began recognizing hermits (Anthony of Egypt), virgins (Macrina the Younger, who died in 379), monks (Benedict of Nursia), bishops (Martin of Tours), founders of religious communities (Francis of Assisi and Dominic, for example) and missionaries (Francis Xavier). People who were married when they died have been overlooked for centuries!
John Fink's 1999 book Married Saints (Alba House) concentrates mostly on 23 married saints in the worldwide liturgical calendar. Except for four married couples (Mary/Joseph, Elizabeth/ Zachary, Ann/Joachim and Isidore/ Maria de la Cabeza), only five of these 23 saints were married when they died. Fink's other book, from 2009, Future American Saints? Men and Women Whose Causes Are Being Considered describes 51 people with a U.S. connection who have completed the diocesan level of review and are one miracle away from being beatified.
All were clerics or members of religious communities when they died, except Pierre Toussaint, Virginia Merrick, Dorothy Day and Catherine de Hueck Doherty. Only Toussaint was married when he died. The two American-born saints are St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Katharine Drexel, the former married and eventually, when widowed became a nun. But let us not forget many other couples who were married, widowed and became religious, like St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Helen, the mother of King Constantine who ended the persecutions, St Rita of Cascia, and even St Elizabeth of Hungary, having three children of her own.
Let us pray for more married couples to be canonized. I know of many holy people who were married, lived a very holy and devout life, sacrificed so much for their children, and we remember them all on All Saints day, but should be honored with a feast in their own right.
Bulletin Page for October 25, 2009
More inspirational gems
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. (Winston Churchill)
Marriages may be made in heaven,
but a lot of the details have to be worked our here on Earth.
A Winner is big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.
Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.
A true commitment is a heart-felt promise to yourself from which you will not back down.
Our words reveal our thoughts; manners mirror our self-esteem; our actions reflect our character; our habits predict the future.
God never consults your past to determine your future.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Many things will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart….pursue those.
The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.
You have to catch up with it yourself.
Success is not measured by what a person accomplishes, but by the opposition they have encountered, and the courage with which they have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.
Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.
Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
(St. Francis De Sales)
It is better to be divided by truth that to be united by error.
Men and women are limited not by the place of their birth, not by the color of their skin,
but by the size of their hope.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.
The greatest use we can make of our life is to spend it on something that outlasts it.
What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure.
Bulletin Page for October 18, 2009
45 Lessons Life Taught Me
I thought you would enjoy this list of lessons that were written by a 95 year-old woman, who kept writing these lessons she learned in life over her long life. I am sure there are quite a few that you can apply to your life.
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
Bulletin Page for October 11, 2009
The First of Everything
The arrival of the first snowflakes every September or October reminds me of many firsts in my life, including the first time I saw snow in December 1981 when I was in New York, precisely at a Christmas Altar Society Dinner, where all the 150 women present went crazy when they saw me so excited at the sight of snow.
Now looking back at 28 years of ploughing, shoveling, sloshing through tons of snow, I still rejoice when I see those Elkhorn and Wallowa peaks don their winter outfit as they show off their antimacassars for everyone to see. If you’ve never heard this word before, it’s a very descriptive work that happens to contain my last name in it....Cassar! It actually describes the covering one would put on a couch where the head or arms rest, to protect couches and sofas from unnecessary stains and unsightly soiling. It also refers to the white sprinkling you see on mountain tops, especially when the first snow falls. Now I’m sure everyone will think of me whenever you look at those snow-covered peaks, called antimacassars.
As you journey with me in this recollection, try to recollect your own firsts. The earliest I remember of my own childhood is at age 4 when I started nursery school. My first day of school was very special as I attended a school run by nuns, who used to pull me out of class during the lunch break and take me with them to the refectory. Later I found out that this was not because I was a trouble-maker, but because some of the nuns had a crush on me! Being an altar-boy for the first time happened in 1956 when I was only 4, where I had to carry the boat with the incense during a Corpus Christi procession. Unfortunately, touching the charcoal that the thurifer had placed in the boat turned my surplice from snow white to chimneysweep black, causing my mother to turn…..well, at least gray. Serving my first Mass was a few years later, after learning all the responses in Latin, of course before Vatican II.
My first trip outside Malta took place in 1966 when I was chosen as an altar-boy to serve at the Vatican during the summer months. Of course I treasure the photo they took of me kissing the ring of the fisherman, Pope Paul VI. My first day in the Minor Seminary in 1966 saw me being seated on the same bench of another boy who would become the Prime Minister of Malta since 2004. My first days in the Major Seminary and the University of Malta were in 1970, leading to my Ordination in June 1977. My first parish was my own home parish, dedicated to St Julian, and my first trip to the USA was in the summer of 1979, where I served as a supply priest in Massapequa Park, Long Island, New York. From this time on, I experienced many other firsts.
Riding a bike to get around was a novelty for me, as was watching color TV, going to New York City, seeing the Twin Towers and the Empire State Building, watching baseball, saying Mass in English, preaching in English, riding a speedboat, riding a car at 55 mph, riding on a Jumbo Jet across the Atlantic, all of which happened in that summer of 1979. Then returning for good to the USA in 1981, many other firsts took place over the years, like teaching myself to play the flute in 1981, getting my drivers license in February 1984, driving 100 miles non-stop in 1985, doing a little cross-country skiing in 1987, teaching myself calligraphy in 1988, coming to Oregon in 2003, becoming a Pastor at the same time, learning to cook, buying a digital camera in 2006, learning water coloring in 2009, and so many other firsts. So many things are now taken for granted, but I remember the exuberance I felt when I saw the first mountain, the first river, the first deer, even other novelty milestones like riding a horse in 2004, shooting a gun in 2005 and milking a cow in 2006.
These are just some that pop into my head - may I suggest you all make a list of a few landmark firsts in your lives, especially couples who are married, cherishing the birth of a baby, buying a new house, getting a first job. Of course my fondest memories goes back to 2003 when I came for the first Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, and was mesmerized with the stained-glass windows…..until I saw that wall. Little did I know that 4 years later I would be responsible for taking it down!
Bulletin Page for October 4, 2009
The Rosary Beads
Jim Castle was tired when he boarded his plane in Cincinnati , Ohio, that night in 1981.The 45-year-old management consultant had put on a week long series of business meetings and seminars, and now he sank gratefully into his seat ready for the flight home to Kansas City, Kansas . As more passengers entered, the place hummed with conversation, mixed with the sound of bags being stowed. Then, suddenly, people fell silent. The quiet moved slowly up the aisle like an invisible wake behind a boat. Jim craned his head to see what was happening, and his mouth dropped open. Walking up the aisle were two nuns clad in simple white habits bordered in blue. He recognized the familiar face of one at once, the wrinkled skin, and the eyes warmly intent. This was a face he'd seen in newscasts and on the cover of TIME. The two nuns halted, and Jim realized that his seat companion was going to be Mother Teresa! As the last few passengers settled in, Mother Teresa and her companion pulled out rosaries.
Each decade of the beads was a different color, Jim noticed. "The decades represented various areas of the world," Mother Teresa told him later, and added, "I pray for the poor and dying on each continent." The airplane taxied to the runway and the two women began to pray, their voices a low murmur. Though Jim considered himself not a very religious Catholic who went to church mostly out of habit, inexplicably he found himself joining in. By the time they murmured the final prayer, the plane had reached cruising altitude. Mother Teresa turned toward him.
For the first time in his life, Jim understood what people meant when they spoke of a person possessing an 'aura'. As she gazed at him, a sense of peace filled him; he could no more see it than he could see the wind but he felt it, just as surely as he felt a warm summer breeze. "Young man," she inquired, "do you say the rosary often?"
"No, not really," he admitted. She took his hand, while her eyes probed his. Then she smiled. "Well, you will now." And she dropped her rosary into his palm. An hour later, Jim entered the Kansas City airport where he was met by his wife, Ruth.
"What in the world?" Ruth asked when she noticed the rosary in his hand. They kissed and Jim described his encounter. Driving home, he said. "I feel as if I met a true sister of God." Nine months later, Jim and Ruth visited Connie, a friend of theirs for several years. Connie confessed that she'd been told she had ovarian cancer. "The doctor says it's a tough case," said Connie, "but I'm going to fight it. I won't give up." Jim clasped her hand. Then, after reaching into his pocket, he gently twined Mother Teresa's rosary around her fingers. He told her the story and said, "Keep it with you, Connie. It may help." Although Connie wasn't Catholic, her hand closed willingly around the small plastic beads. "Thank you," she whispered. "I hope I can return it." More than a year passed before Jim saw Connie again. This time her face was glowing, she hurried toward him and handed him the rosary. "I carried it with me all year," she said. "I've had surgery and have been on chemotherapy, too. Last month, the doctors did second-look surgery, and the tumor's gone. Completely!" Her eyes met Jim's. "I knew it was time to give the rosary back."
In the fall of 1987, Ruth's sister, Liz, fell into a deep depression after her divorce. She asked Jim if she could borrow the rosary, and when he sent it, she hung it over her bedpost in a small velvet bag. "At night I held on to it, just physically held on. I was so lonely and afraid," she says, "yet when I gripped that rosary, I felt as if I held a loving hand." Gradually, Liz pulled her life together, and she mailed the rosary back. "Someone else may need it," she said. Then one night in 1988, a stranger telephoned Ruth. She'd heard about the rosary from a neighbor and asked if she could borrow it to take to the hospital where her mother lay in a coma. The family hoped the rosary might help their mother die peacefully. A few days later, the woman returned the beads.
"The nurses told me a coma patient can still hear," she said, "so I explained to my mother that I had Mother Teresa's rosary and that when I gave it to her, she could let go; it would be all rosary in her hand." "Right away, we saw her face relaxed. The lines smoothed out until she looked so peaceful, so young. A few minutes later, she was gone." Fervently, the woman gripped Ruth's hands. "Thank you."
Is there special power in those humble beads? Or is the power of the human spirit simply renewed in each person who borrows the rosary? Jim only knows that requests continue to come, often unexpectedly. He always responds though, whenever he lends the rosary, "When you're through needing it, send it back. Someone else may need it."
Jim's own life has changed, too, since his unexpected meeting on the airplane. When he realized Mother Teresa carries everything she owns in a small bag, he made an effort to simplify his own life. "I try to remember what really counts - not money or titles or possessions, but the way we love others," he says. May God bless you abundantly. May Mother Mary ask her Son Jesus to shower you with grace. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Please join us every Sunday at 9 AM, when we recite the Rosary as a parish community before the 9:30 AM Mass.
Bulletin Page for September 27, 2009
More Words of Wisdom
The core problem is not that we are too passionate about bad things, but that we are not passionate enough about good things.
Seek to do good ad you will find that happiness will run after you.
There is only one way to succeed at anything, and that is to give everything. (Vince Lombardi)
In your hands you hold the seeds of failure or the potential for greatness. Your hands are capable, but they must be used and for the right things to reap the rewards you are capable of attaining. The choice is yours.
The only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is extraordinary determination. (Mary Kay Ash)
I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties. (J. C. Penney)
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. (Denis Waitley)
Four short words sum up what lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and….a little bit more.
Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. (Helen Keller)
Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. (George Washington Carver)
Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. (Thomas Edison)
Do a little more than you’re paid to. Give a little more than you have to. Try a little harder than you want to. Aim a little higher than you think possible, and give a lot of thanks to God for health, family and friends. (Art Linkletter)
Hope never dies where faith is strong, and faith grows strong in the presence of hope.
The message is clear: plan with attitude, prepare with aptitude, participate with servitude, receive with gratitude, and this should be enough to separate you from the multitudes.
Real optimism is aware of problems but recognizes solutions’ knows about difficulties but believes they can be overcome; sees the negatives, but accentuates the positives, is exposed to the worst but expects the best; has reason to complain, but chooses to smile.
(William Arthur Ward)
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. (Winston Churchill)
Marriages may be made in heaven, but a lot of the details have to be worked out
here on Earth.
Bulletin Page for September 20, 2009
The pros and cons of Mass Media
Back in the 1970s, when I was still in the Seminary, a famous book came out from Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan, entitled "Understanding Media." It was a revolutionary book at that time, as he analyzed how the mass media prevalent at that time will be taking over the entire world, turning the world into a global village. We marveled at the fact that what was happening in China on a specific day will be visible on the same day in the USA. The media, especially newspapers, radio and TV will be revolutionizing the world. Little did we know of what was to come in the next 30 years.
All of these names developed in the last 30 years, and even though some of them may sound prehistoric, believe it or not, they are a product of the last 30 years....CNN, Home Computers, lap-tops, the Internet, e-mail, cell-phones, digital TV, Remote controls, Compact Discs, DVDs, Blackberries, Iphones, Ipods, Twitter, Web-Cams, digital cameras, downloading movies, XM radio, Sirius, Facebook, MySpace, You Tube, PowerPoint, and on and on.
Of course we all know how beneficial these inventions are, and if used properly, could help connect us to one another, making our world even smaller than a global village. However on the other hand, if and when used improperly, these gadgets can be detrimental to our society, to families and individuals, destroying friendships and relationships. Pope John Paul II issued an interesting letter on the use and the ethics of the Internet, in which he encouraged everyone to use the Internet for spreading the Gospel of Christ. Pope Benedict issued recently an encyclical on social issues in which he repeated the dangers of these means of communication if used irresponsibly.
I can personally testify how much my life has improved with having all my articles catalogued in different folders on my computer. I truly appreciate the ease of writing an e-mail to a friend in Malta, New Zealand or Timbuktu, and having it read a few minutes later. I cherish the incredible joy of taking hundreds of digital photos of nature, wildlife, scenery, etc, and seeing them on a screen, while sharing them with others around the world within a few seconds. I truly am fascinated with the possibility of creating illustrated informative talks with my PowerPoint presentations, and with a simple lap-top and projector, taking them with me wherever I want to go.
However, there are also many pitfalls and dangers that these gadgets have created. The lack of privacy, the mischief created by hackers and the availability of improper websites are creating havoc in many families. Communications between members of each family has drastically decreased as individuals indulge themselves into hours of surfing on the web, while blocking other family members completely from their lives. Facebook and MySpace are recent innovations sharing personal information and welcoming exclusive friends to read all about your life. And yet, there is other information that is shared, which at times may be indecent, improper and scandalous.
Cell phone technology is another incredible invention. I read recently that in Malta there are more cell-phones than people, which of course means that some people have two or more. Without underestimating their ease of use and their beneficial presence, they can also be a deadly weapon when used while driving. Our young people especially use them to send text messages and this has produced a new way of communicating with each other, not to mention Twitter which exploded with popularity in 2009. Yet the popularity of cell phones is causing havoc within families as wives want to know who their husbands are calling, who’s sending e–mails to whom, who’s sharing private pictures with whom....in other words, privacy and confidentiality are out of the window, and so much subtle damage is being done with these gadgets. With mounted web-cams you can eaves-drop on friends and who knows what else. Computers can tell you which websites your spouse was looking at a week ago, three days ago......and I’m afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg. I pray and hope that our technological world will slow down a bit.
Bulletin Page for September 13, 2009
Words of Wisdom
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Faith believes in spite of the circumstances and acts in spite of the consequences.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly – until you learn to do it well.
You can’t be a smart cookie if you have a crummy attitude. (John Maxwell)
We are free up to the point of choice; then the choice controls the chooser.
Most people who fail in their dreams fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing (Albert Schweitzer)
It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.
Reputation is what others think about you; character is what God knows about you.
A nation is destroyed when people try to:
- get rich without wanting to work,
- seek pleasure while overlooking their conscience,
- show off without having a character,
- Sell and buy without reference to the 10 commandments,
- love God without doing any sacrifice. (Gandhi)
Input influences outlook, outlook influences output and output determines outcome.
Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life, not by our standard of living; by our measure of giving, not by our measure of wealth; by our simple goodness, not by our seeming greatness. (William Arthur Ward)
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us (Helen Keller)
It’s the little things that make the big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.
Wealth is not measured by just what we have, but rather by what we have for which we would not take money.
A good marriage is when you’re married not to someone you can live with, but to someone you really cannot live without. (Dr. Howard Hendricks)
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Until you make peace with who you are you will never be content with what you have.
Bulletin Page for September 6, 2009
60 Years back
I was reflecting on how things have changed in the past 60 or so years. Of course I wasn’t born yet in 1949, but from what I hear my parents talk about as I was growing up, in Malta things were much different than they were here in the USA. This is in no way a comparison between the USA and Malta, but you have to understand that 4 years earlier Malta was being bombarded from all sides by the Germans and the Italians during World War II. My parents were teenagers during the war and suffered a lot like many of the natives there. They were married in 1948, and had 3 children within 3 years, my first sister born in 1949, my second sister in 1950 and myself in 1952. Two more were to follow in 1955 and 1964. We had a simple home which was filled with love, faith and hope in a future which gave us many blessings.
Malta is part of Europe, and became independent in 1964, and joined the European Union in 2004. Linguistically we have our own language, and culturally we are part of Europe. An island 18 miles by 8, there are presently 400,00 people living on this tiny island, 60 miles south of Sicily, all of whom are Roman Catholic.
When I look at my two nephews and realize how lucky for them to be living in this day and age, I flashback and see how life was in 1949. Then compare life with what it was like here in the USA 60 years ago. Some households did not have running water and there were still communal water or water fountains from which people could get running water. Electricity was something fairly new and innovative as were telephone, a luxury my father could afford in 1957, mainly because he was a policeman. I remember many neighbors coming to make a phone-call to doctors from our house at all hours of the day. Television was only introduced in 1958 and of course it was black and white, and the few stations we had were all in Italian. Even Mr. Ed spoke Italian, as did Beaver, Lucy, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and the boys who owned Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie. Again my father bought a TV set in 1958 and so many men used to come and watch soccer matches at our house, especially on weekends. Color TV was introduced in Malta in 1981.
A typewriter was a great luxury back then, and if you wanted to make copies, you had to use those carbon papers. If you were lucky enough to put in 6 copies at once, the 6th copy usually comes out so blurred that you couldn’t decipher an a from a z. But we managed, and we survived. Of course in this age of computers, children have no idea what a typewriter is used for. Ovens were becoming more popular too, but many people in Malta used to take their Sunday meal to the local bakery to be placed in the large bread oven, and then you’ll pick it up after three hours or so. Washing machines were non-existent back then and were only introduced in the 1960s. Driers still do not exist, because people just hang their clothes on line on our flat roofs, and they dry within an hour since the sun is so hot, especially in the summer. Most houses have flat roofs and we of course walk on them, and as children we use to play on them, and the hanging of clothes to dry was always an annoyance to us children. The when the rainy season arrived in September, we had to make sure that the roofs were kept clean and tidy as the rain that falls percolates into a well, built under each house. The water stays there until we use it for washing, watering plants, and if the well is kept very clean, it could be used also for drinking, as if you’re drinking Perrier or Evian.
60 years back is not that far, but oh how much has changed! Imagine going back to 1949 and mentioning the words e-mail, Internet, Ipod, Blackberry, Cyberspace, Twitter, CDs, and so much more that we cannot live without in 2009. If only we can go back in time and realize how happier we were. Especially because we did not have what we have today, and we didn’t need what we must have today.
Bulletin Page for August 30, 2009
EVEN MORE GEMS IN A SENTENCE
Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry at day time, and too sleepy to worry at night.
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent
Do not quarrel the first time with your husband. If you do, it will never end.
If you don’t, it will never begin.
To keep your marriage brimming with love….whenever you’re wrong, admit it; but whenever you’re right, shut up!
I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.
There is no limit to what a man can do, or where he can go, if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.
Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of the Lord.
God never asks us about our abilities or inabilities, but always about our availability.
The 7 ages of man: SPILLS, DRILLS, THRILLS, BILLS, ILLS, PILLS and WILLS.
Life is a mixed bag of blessings and disasters. Living is the art of storing enough Joy to tide us over the rough spots.
Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one makes you but even with him; forgiving him sends you and sets you above him. (Benjamin Franklin)
The reason a dog has so many friends: he wags his tail, instead of his tongue.
In youth, death is an enemy to be feared; in middle age, death is a fact to be faced; in old age, death is a friend to be greeted.
The pessimist is one who sees a difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist is one who sees an opportunity in every difficulty.
There is nothing that develops character in a young boy like a pat on the back, as long as it’s given often enough, hard enough and low enough. (Bishop Fulton Sheen)
There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened.
There is a story about 4 people: EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY and NOBODY. There was an important job to be done. EVERYBODY was asked to do it. EVERYBODY was sure SOMEBODY would do it. ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it. SOMEBODY got angry about that because it was EVERYBODY’s job. EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn’t do it. It ended up that EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when actually NOBODY asked ANYBODY.
Bulletin Page for August 23, 2009
MORE GEMS IN A SENTENCE
In written English, 12 most used words are, in order of frequency:
the, of, and, to, a, in, that, is, I, it, for, as.
The word most used in conversation is I. The most frequently written letter is e; the most frequently used initial letter is T.
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
When you want something down, well done, give it to a busy person.
Much harm may be done by indiscreet praise. But the chief harm is always done by blame.
Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.
You’ll only double trouble, and trouble others too.
There are only 2 rules for good manners. One is always think of others, and the other is never think of yourself.
The biggest source of man’s unhappiness is his ignorance of Nature.
One great thing about vacations is that they make you feel good enough to go back to work, and poor enough so that you have to.
There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding,
and that which is lost by not trying.
One ought every day to hear a little music, read a good poem, see a picture, and if possible, speak a few reasonable words. (Wolfgang Goethe)
If all the trees were pens, and all the oceans full of ink, they would not suffice to describe the wonders of the Almighty.
A sharp tongue, a dull mind, haughty eyes and inattentive ears are usually found
in the same head.
Can anyone explain to me why is it that goods sent by a car is called a shipment, while goods sent by a ship is called a cargo?
For the interested, everything is interesting. For the bored, everything is boring.
I noticed that the wicked people of this world usually hang out together, even when they hate each other – and this is their strength. Good people on the other hand, are scattered – and this is their weakness. (Yevgeny Yevtuschenko)
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount (Gen. Omar Bradley)
The most gleaming trophy a great man can claim in his life is the discovery of a few truths, and the destruction of a few errors.
A man who works with his hands is a laborer; one who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; and he who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist.
Bulletin Page for August 16, 2009
Cold and Hot
I recently borrowed from the library a funny movie "Some like it hot" with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, and until I watched the movie I thought that "Some like it hot" was only a proverb. For those who live in Eastern Oregon, their time is here to enjoy two full months of hot weather, mainly in July and August, although parts of June and September may be just as warm. I am grateful to be in Eastern Oregon, mainly because I like it cold. I love the colder temperatures, the snow, even though we have to shovel those endless steps in front of the Cathedral, I certainly prefer the winter than the summer. Mainly because in Malta, growing up, it was very hot in the summer months, and I gathered enough heat in my body to keep me warm for at least a hundred years. But for us who love the cold weather, we can’t really complain, because the warm season is very brief, while for those who love the warmer temperatures, they only have two months to relish, rejoice and relax in the warmth.
You may have noticed me that I rarely wear sweaters, am always in short sleeves, even in the winter months, and obviously you all know what my favorite footwear is - sandals. Maybe partly because of the monastic heritage where monks wear sandals, or because in Malta just about everyone wears sandals, they are comfortable, and in imitating the many saints, every time you look at a picture or a stained-glass window, they’re always wearing sandals or are in bare feet. But I also know that the harsh winters here in Oregon can be brutal, and you will freeze if you’re not wearing enough clothing, hats, gloves, etc. In my home country, houses are not heated. We actually do not need heat, because the coldest temperatures ever recorded were between 35 to 40 degrees. However, when the temperature is 40 degrees outside, (which is very rare,) inside a house, it can plummet to 45 or 50 degrees, and the only way to stay warm is to put more sweaters on, use an electric heater (which could be expensive) or simply just keep moving.
Inside the Cathedral, summer is no fun at all, as the temperatures can go up to 90 degrees in the afternoon. That is why we halted the 6 PM Mass on Saturday in mid-June until early September. I remember when we were doing the renovation 2 years ago that it was pretty warm between 5 and 8 PM, but we survived. To help reduce the heat, every Sunday morning, I get up between 3 and 4 AM to open the doors of the Cathedral, to let some cooler air in – it’s nature’s way of air-conditioning Baker City, and it is highly efficient and convenient. Of course I’m always nervous about more pigeons coming inside the Cathedral when the windows and doors are open, but I also learned that they sleep in the dark, and are up and around by daylight. Sometimes all you need is 15 to 30 minutes of open doors to circulate enough cool air and eliminate the oppressive heat that gathers inside the 101-year old Cathedral. But it’s a very effective way to cool off the church for the Sunday morning Masses.
Some people ask me why we don’t air-condition the Cathedral. It really is not necessary because we only have 2 warm months here, and because I cool it every Sunday morning, no one ever complains that it’s stifling hot. The only time that it gets warm is when we have the Mass on August 15 in the evening, a holy day, and whenever we have a wedding, which are becoming rarer than ever, mainly because I tell the bride right away if she requests a summer wedding that it has to be before 10 AM, or otherwise before June or after September. Sometimes they insist that they want it in the afternoon, but when I tell stories of brides with their make-up melting on their wedding dress, and flowers wilting during the service, then they believe me and change their minds. So, if you have a daughter or a son for marriage, plan it between October and May, and it will be beautiful! And if you think it’s hot on Sundays, come with sandals.
Bulletin Page for August 9, 2009
GEMS IN A SENTENCE
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
Most of the world’s useful work is done by people who are pressed for time, or are tired or do not feel well.
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was in the first place.
The problem in America is that there are many sinners who think they are saints, and very few saints who think they are saints.
Teaching kindergarten is like trying to keep 30 pieces of cork underwater
– with one hand, all at the same time!
Our greatest glory consists not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.
Children have never been known to listen and obey their parents,
but they never fail to imitate them.
In the successes and disappointments in life, remember that all passes away. So when you are successful in something, don’t feel superior – and when you fail, don’t despair.
It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, and an even bigger man to keep
his mouth shut when he’s right.
Errors should be reasons for growth, not excuses for discouragement.
If you want your children to improve, let them hear the nice things you say about them to others.
Next to LAZY, the worst label you can have is POTENTIAL,
because people would expect too much of you.
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
Do not follow where the path leads, but rather go where there is no path and leave a trail.
An average person eats 60,000 lbs of food during his lifetime
– that’s the combined weight of 6 elephants!
An average person walks a total equivalent of 4 times around the globe in his lifetime.
Today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
The best wealth is health!
No one can deny this truth: a closed mouth is often evidence of an open mind.
For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible (From the movie “The Song of Bernadette”)
Bulletin Page for August 2, 2009
The character of a person
Pope John Paul I reigned for only 33 days in 1978. If he had reigned for a longer period of time, I’m sure the world would have known and heard about many stories, humorous but didactic nonetheless. Before he became Pope, known as Albino Luciani, he was the Cardinal of Venice, and before that he wrote a few books, including one named “Illustrissimi.” It comprises a series of letters he wrote to fictitious people who are dead, but are well known. In his letter to Hippocrates, he writes this hilarious description of how to check a person’s character.
The best place to discover people’s temperaments is in a cheap restaurant. Or to be exact, in a cheap restaurant where a thirsty man who has ordered a glass of beer has it brought to him with a big fly struggling in it.
Is the customer an Englishman? Phlegmatically he puts the glass down on the table; calmly he rings the bell and orders: “Another glass of beer, cool and clean, please.” Having drunk it he pays and goes out, neither moved nor upset. If anyone is upset it is the waiter, not because of the fly but because of the tip he didn’t get.
Is the glass of beer served to a Frenchman? He sees the fly and goes berserk. He slams down the glass, swears and shouts at the owner and the waiters, goes out slamming the door and in the street carries on ranting against the restaurant, the beer and the fly.
An Italian comes in, looks at the fly, and smilingly flicks his middle finger at it to chase it off the surface of the beer. He jokes with the waiter: “Look, I asked you for a drink and you’ve brought me something to eat,” but he drinks it all the same and leaves, forgetting to pay the bill.
Now it’s the turn of a German: he sees the fly, keeps the glass raised to the height of his nose and frowns, shuts his eyes, puts back his head a little, and being highly disciplined, sends down both beer and fly in a single gulp.
An American comes in. He is much amused to see the fly in the foam of the beer and takes out his glasses. So wholly taken up is he with the sight that he would forgot to drink if the waiter, having noticed the fly, didn’t change the first glass of beer for a second, with effusive apologies.
Last of all is the Eskimo. He’s never seen a fly and thinks that before him is a favorite local dish, a specialty. So he eats the fly and throws away the beer.
What is Charity?
It is SILENCE – when your words would hurt.
It is PATIENCE – when your neighbor is irritable or short.
It is DEAFNESS – when a scandal flows.
It is THOUGHTFULNESS – for the fears and woes of others.
It is PROMPTNESS – when duty calls.
It is COURAGE – when misfortune falls.
12 things to remember
The value of time The success of perseverance The pleasure of working The dignity of simplicity
The worth of character The power of example
The influence of life The obligation of duty
The improvement of talent The wisdom of economy
The virtue of patience The joy of originating
Bulletin Page for July 26, 2009
Memos from your child
- Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for. I’m only testing you.
- Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it - it makes me feel more secure.
- Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
- Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big.”
- Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
- Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
- Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes.
- Don’t be too upset when I say “I hate you.” It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me.
- Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me too much attention I don’t need.
- Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
- Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
- Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
- Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
- Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
- Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
- Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
- Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
- Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm towards you.
- Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding love, but I don’t need to tell you, do I?
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
Doubt sees the obstacles – Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night – Faith sees the light of day.
Doubt dreads to take a step – Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions: “Who believes? - Faith answers “I do.”
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
Because I have received kindness, I have been spurned to be kind.
Because I have caught the smile of another’s lips, I have found myself smiling.
Because I have known the joy of receiving, I rejoice in giving.
Because I have felt pain, I know what pity is.
Because I have tasted humiliations, I know what consideration is.
Because I have seen Christ suffering, I have had the courage to go on.
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
6 most important words: I ADMIT I MADE A MISTAKE
5 most important words: YOU DID A GOOD JOB
4 most important words: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
3 most important words: I LOVE YOU
2 most important words: THANK YOU
1 most important word: YOU
1 least important word: I
Bulletin Page for July 19, 2009
IF JESUS CAME TO YOUR HOUSE TODAY
If Jesus came to your home to spend a day or two –
If he came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored Guest,
And all the food you’d serve Him would be the very best.
And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there –
That serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.
But – when you saw Him coming would you meet Him at the door,
With arms outstretched in welcome to your Heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in,
Or hide some magazine, and put the Bible where they’d been?
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard,
And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder - if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?
Would your family conversation keep its usual pace,
And would you find it hard each meal to say table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go,
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends,
Or would you hope they stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on,
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.
A very useful prayer
Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today,
that you and I together cannot handle.
Six Mistakes to avoid
(written by Cicero, 20 centuries ago)
1. The delusion that individual advancement is made by crushing others.
2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
3. Insisting that a thing is impossible simply because we ourselves cannot do it.
4. Refusing to set aside trivial differences.
5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind, and not acquiring the habit of reading and studying.
6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
Bulletin Page for July 12, 2009
Welcome Jesus into your life…..
When I am filled with pride and stubbornness, let me welcome in the humility of Jesus.
When lying keeps me from Jesus, let me welcome in the Spirit of Truth.
When selfishness hurts another, let me welcome in your compassion, Lord.
When I live in darkness, let me welcome in your spirit of light, Lord.
When I refuse to forgive or ask to be forgiven, let me welcome in your mercy, Lord.
When anger and fighting disturb our family, let me welcome in your peace, Lord.
When I disobey and talk back, let me welcome in your respect for authority, Lord.
When I dislike and talk about others, let me welcome in your love, Lord.
When I fail to use my talents, let me welcome in your generosity, Lord.
When I fail to pray and talk with you, let me welcome in your sacred presence, Lord.
Abraham Lincoln laid down some guidelines for good government, which are being shared with you, because they apply to all facets of our lives. Here they are:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot life the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor y destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security or borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Do this, and everyone will love you…..
If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off when finished.
If you unlock it, lock it up when done.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it from its place, put it back where it belongs.
If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, ask for permission.
If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.
If it ain’t broke don’t break it.
If it will brighten someone’s day…..say it!
Bulletin Page for July 5, 2009
On Good and Evil
To render evil for good – that is to resemble the devil.
To render evil for evil – that is to resemble the animals.
To render good for good – that is to resemble man.
To render good for evil – that is to resemble God.
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
A sorrow that’s shared is but half a trouble.
But a joy that’s shared is a joy made double.
Friendships double our joys and divide our griefs.
From Mother Teresa
Jesus is pleased to come to us –
As a truth to be told,
As a life to be lived,
As a love to be loved,
As a way to be walked,
As a joy to be given,
As a sacrifice to be offered,
As a peace to be spread.
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
Help me to guide this child of God,
Whom you have entrusted to me.
Help me to make his life worthwhile,
To give him the ability to see
That beauty abides in the common place
In the things that around him lie,
In the glories of the rising sun,
In the myriad of stars in the night-time sky.
For in the sereneness of night,
When man’s daily work is through
He renews the strength for the morrow
For the tasks he hopes to pursue.
DID is a word of achievement.
WON’T is a word of retreat.
MIGHT is a word of bereavement.
CAN’T is a word of defeat.
OUGHT is a word of duty.
TRY is a word of hour.
WILL is a word of beauty.
CAN is a word of power.
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
Lord, forgive what I have been,
Bless what I am, and direct what I shall be.
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining
I believe in love, even when I feel it not,
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
Bulletin Page for June 28, 2009
A child’s definition of love
Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne, and they go out and smell each other.
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis. That’s love.
When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.
Love is when you go out to eat and you give somebody all your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings.
Love is when Mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure it tastes OK.
Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening the presents and listen.
Love is when you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because they not only still love you, they love you even more.
Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.
My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep every night.
Love is what you first feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way.
Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty, and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.
Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.
Love is when a puppy licks your face, even after you left him alone all day.
You shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it you should say it a lot.
Love is what makes you smile even when you are tired.
Beatitudes for Special People
Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech, for you help us know that if we persevere, we can be understood.
Blessed are you who walk with us in public places, and ignore the stares of strangers, for in your friendship we feel good to be ourselves.
Blessed are you who never bid us to “hurry up”, and more blessed, you who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time rather than help.
Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new and untried ventures, for our hesitancy will be outweighed by the times when we surprise ourselves and you.
Blessed are you who ask for our help and realize our giftedness for our greatest need is to be needed.
Blessed are you who help us with the kindness of Jesus, for often we need the help we cannot ask for.
Blessed are you when you assure us that what makes us individuals is not our particular disability or difficulty, but our beautiful God-given personhood which no handicapping conditions can confine.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for your understanding and love have opened doors for us to enjoy life to its full and you have helped us believe in ourselves as valued and gifted people.
Bulletin Page for June 21, 2009
A Prayer for Fathers
God our Father, we give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.
We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation;
may they find the courage and perseverance to balance work, family,
and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for our own fathers who have supported and challenged us;
may they continue to lead in strong and gentle ways.
We remember fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering;
may they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us
with fatherly love and advice.
We remember fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who are no longer with us, but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their Love. AMEN.
The value of a father
A father is one who……
- Works hard, when others tend to just take it easy…
- Teaches his children patiently, when others can’t handle children at all or
are impatient with them…
- Can bar-B-Cue like a first-class chef, when others can’t even fry an egg or
boil some spaghetti…
- Can fix a bike, a pair of roller-skates, or even a Barbie doll, all while trying to make
a long-distance business call to New York.
- Can teach a four-year old how to play baseball, when others don’t want to be
bothered with any sports…
- Makes sure to remind the family about saying Grace before meals,
when many others just jump right in…
- Has an answer to every question, when others just shrug their shoulders,
saying “I don’t know…”
- Is determined to install that piece of software, when others just give up or
start cursing Microsoft…
- Spends hours helping the children with their homework, when others
brush them off saying they’re tired…
- Loves and cares for his wife and children with unconditional love, when others think only of themselves…
Does God exist?
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: 'I don't believe that God exists.'
'Why do you say that?' asked the customer. 'Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.'
The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.
The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: 'You know what? Barbers do not exist.' 'How can you say that?' asked the surprised barber. 'I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!' 'No!' the customer exclaimed. 'Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.' 'Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me.'
'Exactly!' affirmed the customer. 'That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world.'
Bulletin Page for June 14, 2009
Do not undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Do not set your goals by what other people deem important.
Only you know what is best for you.
Do not take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Do not let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past nor in the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Do not give up when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
It is a fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Do not be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Do not shut love out of your life by saying it is impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly. In addition, the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Do not dismiss your dreams. To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.
Do not run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey, an exciting, creative adventure.
The benefits of struggling
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, and he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress, it appeared as it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body, and small shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he had expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.
Bulletin Page for June 7, 2009
A Tragedy or a Blessing
Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Robert Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their 9 children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family to get on a new liner to the United States.
The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, 7 days before their departure, the youngest son was bitten by a dog. The doctor sewed up the boy but also hung a yellow sheet on the Clark’s front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were quarantined for 14 days.
The family’s dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave – without his family on board. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son, the dog who bit him, and God for their misfortune.
Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland and the world – the mighty Titanic had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it.
The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because the son had been bitten by a dog, they were left behind in Scotland. When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he felt was a tragedy into a blessing.
Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason.
A special recipe
1 part of knowing who you are,
1 part of knowing who you aren’t,
1 part of knowing hat you want,
1 part of knowing who you wish to be,
1 part of knowing what you already have,
1 part of choosing wisely from what you have,
1 part of loving and thanking for ALL you have.
Combine all ingredients together gently and carefully, using faith and vision.
Mix together with strong belief of the outcome until finely blended.
Use thoughts, words and actions for best results. Bake until Blessed. Give thanks again.
It makes sense…..
If the grass is greener on the other side, you can bet that the water bill is higher too.
You have to wonder about humans, they think God is dead and Elvis is alive!
A skeptic is a person who, when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it’s forgery.
Sorrow looks backwards, worry looks around, while faith looks upwards.
The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.
Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be maintained on earth.
A successful marriage isn’t finding the right person – it’s being the right person.
Gods wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!
Bulletin Page for May 31, 2009
It’s never too late to learn something new….or old
If you will take the time to read these, I promise you'll come away with an enlightened perspective on life. Some people were asked to share what they’ve learned in life. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis.
I've learned.... that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned.... that when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned.... that just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' truly makes my day.
I've learned.... that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned.... that being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned.... that you should never say ‘no’ to a gift from a child, no matter how insignificant.
I've learned.... that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned.... that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned.... that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned.... that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned.... that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned.... that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned.... that money doesn't buy class.
I've learned.... that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned.... that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned.... that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned.... that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned.... that love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned.... that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned.... that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned.... that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned.... that life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned.... that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned.... that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned.... that I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I've learned.... that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I've learned.... that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned.... that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned.... that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned.... that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
Try to remember these little gems, and put them to work in your daily lives.
Bulletin Page for May 24, 2009
Priests and Religious
The number of diocesan priests has grown in recent years, unlike the number of priests in religious congregations. This is one statistic to be found in the most recent edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, published in one volume in Latin, English and French. The yearbook actually covers a seven-year span, from 2000 to 2007.
The number of diocesan priests went up 2.5% in that time, increasing from 265,781 to 272,431. The number of religious priests decreased by about that same percentage, such that there were just more than 135,000 in 2007. The American continent accounts for a decrease of 3,000 religious priests. Speaking of percentages, only in Europe is the number of priests clearly in decline. There they went from representing 51% of the worldwide total to 48%. Nevertheless, in some countries of Eastern Europe, especially Poland, the number of priests is markedly growing. Italy, France and Spain still have about half of all European priests, and of these, almost half are in Italy.
Asia and Africa continues to see an increase in the number of priests. In Africa, about half come from just four countries: Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. America and Oceania are holding about stable in their numbers. America has just less than 30% of the worldwide population of priests, while Oceania has less than 1%. The number of permanent deacons saw a marked increase from 2000 to 2007, with 29% more, bringing their number to 35,942.
The number of men religious who are not priests has also gone down slightly, decreasing from 55,057 to 54,956. By continents, this decrease is seen mostly in Europe (a decrease of 13.82%) and in Oceania (a decrease of 15.8%), though in America the numbers have maintained steady and in Asia and Africa, there has been an increase of 31.10% and 9.16%, respectively. Still, the number of men religious in Europe continues to represent 34% of the worldwide number, with notable increases in Ukraine, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Women religious, meanwhile, decreased in number by about 50,000 during that seven-year span, bringing their total number worldwide to approximately 750,000. Almost 42% of those reside in Europe, with the majority in France, Spain and Italy.
The number of priests promises to continue to grow, given that the number of seminarians also went up from 2000 to 2007. The number of those studying for the priesthood increased by some 4.8%, reaching 116,000. This growth is particularly thanks again to Africa and Asia, where the number went up 21.32% and 20.35%, respectively. Nigeria, Congo, India and the Philippines had particularly notable growth. In Europe, on the other hand, the number of seminarians is on the decline, going down 17%. A notable decrease occurred in Spain and Belgium, but also in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia).
Catholics continue to represent about 17% of the world population; in 2007, there were 1.147 billion baptized Catholics, up from 1.045 billion in 2000. Europe is about 40% Catholic, though the number of the baptized there increased only a bit more than 1%. In America and Oceania, the increase in the number of Catholics was less than overall population growth. The opposite was true in Asia and Africa.
Bulletin Page for May 17, 2009
A Prayer for Mothers
All loving God, we give you thanks and praise for mothers young and old.
We pray for young mothers, who give life and count toes and tend to every need; may they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.
We pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us;
may they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways.
We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict;
may they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.
We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion.
We remember mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love. AMEN.
Kindness leads to Happiness
Scatter seeds of kindness everywhere you go;
Scatter bits of courtesy – watch them grow and grow.
Gather buds of friendship; keep them till full-blown;
You will find more happiness than you have ever known.
Let me give
I do not know how long I’ll live - But while I live, Lord, let me give,
Some comfort to someone in need - By smile or nod – kind word or deed,
And let me do what ever I can - To ease things for my fellow man.
I want nothing but to do my part - To “lift” a tired or weary heart,
To change folks’ frowns to smiles again - Then I will not have lived in vain;
And I’ll not care how long I live, - If I can give, and give, and give.
A Retirement Prayer
I am scared, Lord God. Who am I without a title? Without a schedule?
Without my job?
Teach me, Lord God. Show me who I am.
Remind me that I am not my job, nor was I ever so.
Open my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me. Open my heart to the love. Open my arms to family members and friends I was always too busy to embrace. Open my mind to the vast world of knowledge that lies before me.
Open my ears to the cries of those who desperately need my assistance.
Fill me with compassion, Lord God. Let me transform these doubts of mine into acts of goodness and charity. Calm my fears, Lord God. Remind me that I am vital, that I am needed, that I matter, that I am loved. Teach me to embrace this precious freedom I have been granted. For the first time in a long time I can choose to spend my days as I wish, to explore whatever I wish, to travel wherever I wish. Help me live this time wisely, Lord God. Lead me on the path to meaning, to satisfaction, to joy, to peace. Stay with me, Lord God. Let me know You are near. Amen.
Rules for a Happy Marriage
1. Never both be angry at the same time.
2. Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.
3. If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.
4. If you have to criticize, do it lovingly.
5. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
6. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
7. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
8. At least once a day try to say one complimentary or kind thing to your life’s partner.
9. When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness.
10. It takes two to make a quarrel, and the one in the wrong is the one who does the most talking.
Bulletin Page for May 10, 2009
BEING A MOTHER...
After 17 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, 'I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.'
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been alone for 20 years, but the demands of my work and my two boys had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
'What's wrong, aren't you well,' she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.
'I thought it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,' I responded. 'Just the two of us.'
She thought about it for a moment, and then said, 'I would like that very much.'
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last birthday on November 19th.
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. 'I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,' she said, as she got into that new white van. 'They can't wait to hear about our date'.
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. 'It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,' she said. 'Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor,' I responded.
During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation - nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.
As we arrived at her house later, she said, 'I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.' I agreed.
'How was your dinner date?' asked my wife when I got home.
'Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,' I answered.
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.
Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: 'I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.'
At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: 'I LOVE YOU' and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till 'some other time.'
- Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby.... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history.
- Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ….somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.
- Somebody said being a mother is boring ....somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.
- Somebody said if you're a 'good' mother, your child will 'turn out good'....somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.
-Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother.... somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.
- Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first ....somebody doesn't have two children.
- Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery....somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten …or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.'
- Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married....somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.
- Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home.... somebody never had grandchildren.
- Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her.... somebody isn't a mother.
Bulletin Page for May 3, 2009
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!" All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!" When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!"
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. "How could he be the new CEO?" the others said. Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
* If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest.
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
"Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back"
Remembering the Basics
In the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you some of the basic prayers and devotions of our Catholic Faith. I know that some of these prayers are popular and well-know by many, but I’m including them just the same.
The Sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The Our Father. Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary. Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.
Glory Be. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The 7 Sacraments – Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Marriage, Anointing of the sick.
The 10 Commandments
- I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Lord's day
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
- You shall not covet you neighbor's goods.
The Great Commandment. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)
Act of Contrition O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.
Another version of the Act of Contrition. My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You, whom should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. AMEN.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday)
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
- The Nativity of Jesus
- The presentation in the temple
- Jesus is lost and found in the temple
Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday)
- The Agony in the Garden
- The flogging at the pillar
- The crowning of thorns
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus dies on the cross
Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday and Sunday)
- The Resurrection of Jesus
- The Ascension of Jesus
- The Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles
- The Assumption of Mary
- Mary is crowned Queen of heaven and earth
Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
- The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River
- The first miracle at the Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
Soul of Christ, make me holy.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, fill me with love.
Water from Christ's side, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Never let me be parted from you.
From the evil enemy, protect me.
At the hour of my death, call me.
And tell me to come to you.
That with your saints I may praise you.
Through all eternity. Amen.
Corporal Works of Mercy
- To feed the hungry
- To give drinks to the thirsty
- To clothe the naked
- To visit the imprisoned
- To shelter the homeless
- To visit the sick
- To bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- To admonish the sinner
- To instruct the ignorant
- To counsel the doubtful
- To comfort the sorrowing
- To bear wrongs patiently
- To forgive all injuries
- To pray for the living and the dead
The 7 Precepts of the Church
- Take part in Sunday masses and on Holy Days. Don’t do unnecessary work on Sundays.
- Receive the sacraments frequently.
- Study the Good News of Jesus.
- Follow the marriage laws of the Church.
- Support the people of God with your contributions
- Do penance at certain times
- Support the missionary efforts of the Church
Blessing before meals: Bless us o Lord, and these thy gifts, which we have received from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. AMEN.
Grace after meals: We give you thanks, almighty God, for all your blessings, which we have received from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.
The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1. Wisdom 2 Understanding 3. Counsel
4. Fortitude 5. Knowledge 6. Piety 7. Fear of the Lord
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control
(as quoted in Galatians 5:22)
Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina) - Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Pray for us, o Holy Mother of God; that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
The Apostles Creed - I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Act of Faith - O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy catholic Church teaches, because in revealing them you can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Act of Hope - O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Act of Love - O my God, I love you above all things with my whole heart and soul because you are all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you.
I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.
Act of Resignation - O Lord, my God, from this day I accept from your hand willingly and with submission, the kind of death that it may please you to send me, with all its sorrows, pains, and anguish. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
A Daily Offering - Eternal father, I offer you everything I do this day: my work, my prayers, my apostolic efforts; my time with family and friends; my hours of relaxation; my difficulties, problems, distress which I shall try to bear with patience. Join these, my gifts, to the unique offering which Jesus Christ, Your Son, renews today in the Eucharist. Amen.
Prayer before a Crucifix - Behold, O Kind and most sweet Jesus, before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with the most fervent desire of soul, I pray and beseech Thee to impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment. With deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself, mentally contemplating Thy five wounds, having before my eyes the words which David the Prophet spoke concerning Thee: "They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones."
Stations of the Cross
- Jesus is condemned to death on the Cross.
- Jesus accepts his cross.
- Jesus falls for the first time.
- Jesus meets his sorrowful Mother.
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross.
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
- Jesus falls the second time.
- Jesus meets and speaks to the women of Jerusalem.
- Jesus falls the third time.
- Jesus is tripped of his garments.
- Jesus is nailed to the cross.
- Jesus dies on the cross.
- Jesus is taken down from the cross.
- Jesus is buried in the tomb.
THE DIVINE PRAISES
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.
The Memorare - Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. AMEN.
Prayer to Your Guardian Angel - Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, ever this day (night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. AMEN.
Prayer to the faithful departed - Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. AMEN.
Prayer of St. Patrick
Christ be with me
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me
Christ above me,
Christ on my right
Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie
Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
Prayer of St. Theresa of Avila – Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patient endurance attains all things. Whoever possesses God lacks nothing – God alone is sufficient.
Come Holy Spirit - Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth. Let us pray: O God, you have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit. Grant that through the same Holy Spirit we may always be truly wise and rejoice in his consolation. Through the same Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Angelus (Prayer recited at Sunrise, Noon and Sunset)
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. (Hail Mary)
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done according to your will. (Hail Mary)
And the word was made flesh.
And dwelt among us. (Hail Mary)
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech you, o Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Your Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may be brought by His Passion and Cross to the Glory of the Resurrection, through the same Christ, our Lord. AMEN.
Rosary – Fatima Prayer - Prayer recited during the Rosary, between each decade, suggested by the Blessed Mother during her apparition in Fatima, Portugal in 1917: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of Your mercy.”
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Lord said to Blessed Faustina: "You will recite this chaplet on the beads of the Rosary in the following manner:"
First of all, you will say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed.
Then: On the Our Father Beads you will say the following words:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
On the Hail Mary Beads you will say the following words:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
In conclusion three times you will recite these words:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Prayer for Life - O God, our Creator, all life is in your hands from conception until death. Help us to cherish our children and to reverence the awesome privilege of our share in creation. May all people live and die in dignity and love. Bless all those who defend the rights of the unborn, the handicapped and the aged. Enlighten and be merciful toward those who fail to love, and give them peace. Let freedom be tempered by responsibility, integrity and morality. Amen.
Prayer for the sick - Father of goodness and love, hear our prayers for the sick members of our community and for all who are in need. Amid mental and physical suffering may they find consolation in your healing presence. Show your mercy as you close wounds, cure illness, make broken bodies whole and free downcast spirits. May these special people find lasting health and deliverance, and so join us in thanking you for all your gifts. We ask this through the Lord Jesus who healed those who believed. Amen.