Keep your eyes open!...


June 25, 2004





Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will visit the Vatican at the end of June at the invitation of Pope John-Paul B' to celebrate together the 40th anniversary of the first meeting of the heads of the two Churches held in Jerusalem.

The celebration will take place on the sidelines of the Apostles Peter and Paul feast on June 29.

According to the Thessaloniki newspaper “Macedonia”, the Ecumenical Patriarch will inaugurate a Greek-Orthodox church in Rome dated back to the 6th century, which was offered by the Vatican.

LINK's mission is that of increasing awareness and devotion to our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We also seek to bring the live image of His living Presence to the homebound, the workplace, and to remote areas around the world.

VIA Pegeen: I needed to pause and comment on the topic of abortion from your Trib Times.

I run several Preschool/Child Care Centers and have discovered something very interesting. When I hire new staff, I do not ask if they are pro-choice or pro-life. But this information always becomes apparent. It ends up that the pro-lifers love each and every child unconditionally by what's in their heart. But the pro-choicers have trouble loving children who are flawed by nature--handicapped, emotionally troubled, etc, and even children who are not pleasant all the time. It is built into their thinking.

And these folks do not last in child care.

If I could, I would ask up front when hiring new employees and save them and me a lot of time and trouble. But their is one good thing about training a pro-choicer: perhaps through my unconditionaly love of one of God's children--be they pro-choice, or not--a seed may be planted that life does matters. All of it.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

36. Do not decline when asked to pray for the soul of another, even though you have not yet obtained the gift of prayer; because through contrition the faith of the suppliant also frequently saves the one who prays for him.

June 24, 2004


Mother waits for baby that can't survive By Robyn Riley 20jun04

Teresa Streckfuss will give birth to her fifth child tomorrow.

Her daughter Charlotte Mary will live for just a few hours before her life is claimed by anencephaly, a rare condition that inhibits brain development. Teresa, 27, and her husband Mark, 28, have known of the condition and its certain outcome for six months.

Most babies with anencephaly are aborted, but Teresa and Mark decided to go ahead and give Charlotte life – no matter how fleeting.

The couple, from Creswick, in Victoria's rural northeast, never considered an abortion. They wanted the chance to say hello to their daughter before they had to say goodbye.

"There is no way to avoid the sad fact that Charlotte cannot live long after birth with this condition," Teresa said, "but causing her to die earlier will not stop this happening. Causing her to die earlier will only take from us the beautiful experience of knowing and loving her."

The family will sing to Charlotte, read to her, hold her, treasure her.

"There was never any doubt that we would carry her to term," said Teresa.

"She is not a mistake – Charlotte is a person made in the image and likeness of God."

Sadly, this is not the first time the family has lost a baby to this condition.

On June 25, 2001, Teresa gave birth to a son with anencephaly. He was diagnosed at 18 weeks and carried to term. Teresa and Mark named him Benedict Oliver and he lived just 24 hours.

In that short time the family said they were able to know and love Benedict.

"I don't think I can possibly tell you how beautiful he was, or how sweet he smelled, or how much I wish those hours were frozen in time," said Teresa.

"People may wonder, 'What's the point?' or pity us.

"Others may think we carried Benedict and Charlotte to term because we don't agree with abortion, because we are Catholic, or because our nephew was carried to term after a fatal diagnosis.

"All of these factors probably played a part . . . but this is not what it's all about. It's about love."


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

35. He who is busy with something, and continues it when the hour of prayer comes, is deceived by demons. Those thieves aim at stealing from us one hour after another.

June 23, 2004


Cambridge University said Monday it will open a center for human embryonic stem cell research to develop treatments for currently incurable diseases such as diabetes and spinal cord injuries.

Researchers at the $30 million Stem Cell Institute, described as the world's largest center for this research, said they hope to proceed to human testing within five years.

Roger Pedersen, professor of regenerative medicine at the university, said the institute would use the newest robotics to speed research.

"The mission is to deliver clinical benefits at the earliest possible date," Pedersen said.

Stem cells are master cells capable of becoming every kind of human tissue, and scientists believe they can be used to replace diseased cells in people suffering from spinal cord injury, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and other ailments.

Pedersen was formerly at the University of California, San Francisco, but left in 2001 after President Bush banned federally funded laboratories from doing research that involved the creation of any type of human embryo.

In contrast, Britain was the first nation to authorize the cloning of human embryos to produce stem cells for research. Last month, it opened the world's first national stem cell bank, which stores human embryonic stem cells among others.


U.K. Scientists Apply for Cloning License
A farm full of clones
Kerry would lift funds ban on stem cell studies

VATICAN COMMENTARY: On numerous occasions the Catholic Church has expressed its opposition to embryonic stem cell research, whatever the funding source may be. Biomedical research "must fully respect every person's inalienable dignity as a person, his right to life and his substantial physical integrity," stated the concluding communiqué of the 9th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, held at the Vatican in February 2003.

"The attitude some adopt concerning the legitimacy of sacrificing the (physical and genetic) integrity of human beings at the embryonic stage in order to destroy them, if necessary, in order to benefit other human individuals is likewise totally unacceptable," said the communiqué. "It is never morally licit to do evil intentionally in order to achieve ends that are good in themselves." A principle often overlooked by allies of embryonic stem cell research.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

34. Your prayer will show you what condition you are in. Theologians say that prayer is the monk's mirror.

June 22, 2004

(Mat 7:13-14) Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

Letter written by Saint Thomas More from prison to his daughter Margaret:

Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God's grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God.

By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.

I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.

And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let you mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.

MORE ON Saint Thomas Moore: Universalis

OF INTEREST: Growth in Prayer by Brother Craig

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

33. War proves the soldier's love for his king; but the time and discipline of prayer show the monk's love for God.

June 18, 2004


(Luk 2:48-51) And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.


VIA The Daily E-Pistle:The Saturday after the feast of Corpus Christi is devoted to the Blessed Mother and focuses our attention on the mystery of her Immaculate Heart. This feast began to be celebrated during the seventeenth century bringing together centuries of devotion to the heart of Mary. St. John Eudes spent much of his life working to spread devotion to this feast.

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a feast day devoted to Mary and especially examines her life of purity. Many times the heart is used to symbolize the inmost depths of our humanity. This feast emphasizes the fact that Mary's whole being was pure and free of the stain of sin for the whole of her life. Through her love and devotion to God, Mary was chosen as the resting-place of the Holy Spirit mother of the Most High.

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a counterpart of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrated the day before. Both feasts serve as an example to the faithful by showing us fellow human beings so devoted to the love and will of God that they overcame every temptation to sin.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has gained wide appeal in this century. At Mary's apparition at Fatima, this theme was expressed by the Blessed Mother to the three children.

In the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior's Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the whole Church, so as to obtain by her intercession "peace among nations, freedom for the Church, the conversion of sinners, the love of purity and the practice of virtue" (Decree of May 4, 1944).

EXCERPT OF HOMILY POPE JOHN PAUL II: Let us turn our gaze to the Immaculate Virgin of Nazareth, Mother of Fair Love, who accompanies people of all times on their “pilgrimage of faith” to the house of the Father. We are reminded of her not only by today’s liturgical memorial, but also by the magnificent Cathedral Basilica which rises above this city. It bears her name: an eloquent coincidence of time and place. Even the Mother of Jesus, to whom the mystery of Christ’s divine sonship was most fully revealed, had to learn gradually the mystery of the Cross. “Son, why have you treated us so?”, today’s Gospel reports her as saying, “Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously”. And Jesus replies, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” “But they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them” (Lk 2:48-50). For Jesus was speaking to them of his messianic mission.

Before understanding it, man learns “by pain of heart” the meaning of crucified Love. But if, like Mary, “he keeps all these things in his heart” (cf. Lk 2:51) — all that Christ says — and is faithful to God’s call, he will understand at the foot of the Cross the most important thing, namely, that the only true love is love which is united to God, who is Love.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

32. Psalmody in a crowded congregation is accompanied by captivity and wandering of the thoughts; but in solitude, this does not happen. However, those in solitude are liable to be assailed by despondency, whereas in congregation the brethren help each other by their zeal.

June 17, 2004


The Vatican yesterday urged the faithful all over the world to offer their prayers for the sanctification of priests on the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus June 18, Friday.

In a letter to the clergy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in the Vatican, reminded priests of their call to holiness.

"The priest is called, in his personal situation and place, to encounter, know, and love Christ in the exercise of his own ministry and identify himself ever more closely with Him," the cardinal said.

Cardinal Hoyos also asked all priests not to seek a comfortable life, but rather live a life of total self-giving.

Using the words of the late Pope Paul VI in explaining the ministerial priesthood, the cardinal said priesthood "is not a profession or an ordinary service done in favor of the ecclesial church community, but a service which shares in a very special way and with an indelible character in the power of Christ’s priesthood because of the sacrament of ordination".

He also asked members of the clergy to be vigilant so that church life in parishes will be alive with Christ’s message.

At the same time, he warned them against the danger of activism where, he said, at times even the best apostolic and pastoral programs failed and where many lives committed in service are not sufficiently watered by the word of God and, in the process, dry up.

REFLECTION BY Father Ted, June 8, 2004

My dearest Jesus, thank You for inviting me to participate in the ordination of four new priests in Birmingham, Alabama this past Saturday.

And thank You for allowing me to participate in the 1st Masses of two of these new priests in Hanceville, Alabama this past Sunday.

On Saturday morning, in preparation for the ordination You allowed me to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the chapel of the Our Lady of Angels where we celebrated not only the 1st Saturday of the month in honor of Our Lady, but we celebrated the martyrdom of the holy bishop, Saint Boniface.

At all of these Masses You reminded me that Your priests are called by You. We are called by You to become "Other You".

We do not choose to become priests. We humbly accept the call from You - which is confirmed by the bishop of the place where are also called to serve.

You chose these men, as You chose me, to become like You and to act in Your Name, using Your power to sanctify Your people.

During the first part of the ordination, in preparation for the awesome power that the newly ordained priests were to receive, they prostrated in the sanctuary asking for the help of our beloved brothers and sisters who are in heaven with You.

Then the ordaining bishop, silently laid his hands upon those to be ordained, and shortly afterwards he called upon the Holy Spirit to ordain them – that they may become just like those whom You ordained on Holy Thursday evening.

They became new men - having received, through the power of the Holy Spirit, a new character, which makes them forever "priests according to the order of Melchisedek".

These newly ordained men, through the laying on of the hands of the bishop and through his prayer to the Holy Spirit are now "Other You" - just as I became "Another You" 43 years ago.

You gave to these men, through the power of the bishop, the same power that Bishop Guilfoyle gave to me on June 10, 1961.

These men can now do three of the greatest things a person can do - to forgive sins, to consecrate the bread and wine into Your Most Holy Body and Blood, and to anoint the sick - all in Your Most Holy Name.

O Jesus, what marvelous love You reveal to us, Your children, through the ordination of such men.

You, through them, sanctify us.

You, through them, enable us to become the holy men, women, boys and girls that You created us to be.

Thank You Jesus, for ordaining these men last Saturday in Birmingham.

Thank You Jesus, for ordaining me on June 10, 1961.

Thank You for the gift of the Holy Priesthood which we share with You - now and forever.

VIA Writings for and about Priests

Chastity: The Gift of Priests for Their People - from Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 1990
Why Did Christ Ordain Only Men? - from Fidelity, 1998
Celibacy Dates Back to the Apostles - pamphlet by Human Life International, 1994
Priestly Ministration in This Life and the Next - from Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 1996

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

31. Prepare yourself for your set times of prayer by unceasing prayer in your soul, and you will soon make progress. I have seen those who shone in obedience and who tried, as far as they could, to keep in mind the remembrance of God, and the moment they stood in prayer they were at once masters of their minds, and shed streams of tears, because they were prepared for this beforehand by holy obedience.

June 16, 2004

LINK: The Great Heresies- Just How Bad Can It Get?


The European Union has rejected the requests of some member nations to recognize Christianity in its new constitution.

Seven nations, including Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, urged the EU to refer to the "Christian roots of Europe" and explicitly mention Christianity and God in the constitution currently being drafted. The Vatican also made clear it wants a reference to Christianity in the Constitution.

However, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tuesday reported Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern decided not to recommend the Christian reference on Monday.

Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing prepared an initial draft of the Constitution that refers only to the "cultural, religious and humanist" traditions of Europe.

The final text could be completed by the end of the week but needs to be officially signed by the heads of state and government to be formalized.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Over a period of centuries, the cultural and spiritual heritage of Europe was formed and defended even at the cost of the lives of those who believed in Christ and those who, in their religious creed, hearkened back to Abraham. A reminder of this seems to be necessary in the context of the constitutional foundations of the European Union, into which Poland has recently been integrated. The blood of our countrymen that was shed at Monte Cassino is, today, a persuasive argument within the discussion about what spiritual form Europe should be given. Poland cannot forget this, and it cannot avoid recalling this to those who, in the name of the secularism of democratic societies, seem to forget Christianity’s contribution to the building of their own identity.”

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

30. A convict does not fear his sentence of punishment so much as a fervent man of prayer fears this duty of prayer. So if he is wise and shrewd, by remembering this he can avoid every reproach, anger, worry, and interruption, afflicton, satiety, temptation, and distracting thought.

June 15, 2004

(Jud 1:17-21) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.


Court approval of same-sex marriage gave extra flair Saturday to the Boston Pride gay and lesbian parade, where men and women gyrated in tuxedos and wedding gowns atop floats and an oom-pah band played "Chapel of Love."

The crowd, which police estimated at between 50,000 and 100,000, grabbed necklaces and trinkets thrown from floats that crept from Copley Square to the Common.

The 34th annual march, which organizers call New England's largest, came almost a month after gay marriage became legal on May 17, following a ruling from the state's highest court last year that denying marriage rights to gays and lesbians violated their civil rights.

"It's always fabulous, but there's this little extra step this year that makes it special," said Tracy Powers, 60, of Boston.

At Powers' first parade about 20 years ago, she wept out of fear that one of her French students might recognize her. This time she waved, smiled and called out to friends as she marched with a social club called Older Lesbian Energy.

Few protesters were to be seen.

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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

29. Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer, that nothing has been gained; for you have already gained something. And what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and persevere in unceasing union with Him.

June 11, 2004

VIA DAVID J SHEEHAN: Back in May 1999, I made friends with a gentleman in Medjugorje named Nedjo Brecic. We were both about the same age (46 years) and he was starting up a website and an internet prayer group. He was already a part of the local prayer group in Medjugorje that included Ivan the visionary and it was Nedjo's vision (or inspiration from God) to use the internet as an extension of that prayer group. We had great correspondence and then I went to see him in June 1999 when St. David's Relief spends its 2nd week of its summer camp in Medjugorje.

I looked up Nedjo and found his house just a little south of apparition hill and right next to the Oasis of Peace. We hit it off; I helped him with a few translations on his website and we continued to communicate when I returned to the States.

He worked very hard on the website and got everything up and going by July 4th, 1999.
That evening he and his local prayer group celebrated 17 years of being together, he went to Mass with his family and then died of a heart attack on the way home.

It was a happy death as he had accomplished everything that Our Lord had set out for him to do.

The prayer group ( he started with a handful of people has now grown to 2,000 members like the proverbial mustard seed.

Nedjo's website,, is still up and running ( I think Steve Shawl is maintaining it); visitors sign his guestbook, many without realizing that he has gone home.  Anyhow, one of the things that Nedjo talked about was a chapel to be built on Apparition Hill ( When I go to Medjugorje this time, I will visit Nedjo's grave, maybe leave a little Texas flag there as a joke between us.

I will look for the spot where he indicates a chapel to be built in the future. If Medjugorje is real (and I think it is), then a chapel of some sort will be built for Our Lady similar to what occurred at Lourdes and Fatima. Anyhow, Doc, I did not mean to get long-winded on this, but it has been on my mind for a while and I thought I would share this with you. If you have a chance, visit Nedjo's website. He calls it myhomemedjugorje but with all the work he had done with the website including the beautiful photos, he has made Medjugorje a home for all of us.

His wife, Mirjana Brecic still lives in Medjugorje at the same house and she takes in pilgrims. Peg and I stayed with her (we went over with Steve Shawl in Dec. 2002) and the hospitality, food, etc. was great. <Nedjo made me put in this "commercial"!>

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

27. We who are passionate must constantly pray to the Lord. For all the dispassionate have progressed from passion to dispassion.

June 10, 2004


Iran has registered at least 10,000 young volunteers for "martyrdom operations," against US forces in Iraq and Israel, according to the recruitment group, the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign.

Salman Rushdie the author of "The Satanic Verses," and the recipient of a death warrant in absentia by Iran's former leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khumeini, has also been targeted by the nascent brigade of terrorists calling itself the "Army of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign."

The London based Arabic daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat reported last week that the "Army of Martyrs," is operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards [IRG also known as the Pasdaran], and IRG's sub-agencies tasked with intelligence gathering and the planning of terrorist attacks.

The recruitment of what the "Army of Martyrs," leaders say are thousands of future "martyrs," i.e.  suicide attackers, racked up 10,000 registered volunteers in its first week, Mohammad Ali Samadi, a spokesman for the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign was quoted by Reuters.

The calls to join the "Army of Martyrs," began at Mosques after Friday prayer two weeks ago, after which registration forms were distributed by the tens of thousands at local Islamic Universities to prospective male and female suicide attackers.

A senior Israeli intelligence source told the Jerusalem Post Monday that complementing Iran's imminent nuclear capability are its efforts to infiltrate terrorists, weapons, or information into the West Bank and Gaza.  "There is no way to over-emphasize this danger.  Iran is involved intimately in almost every Hizbullah action." The IRG also pay-rolls Tanzim and Islamic Jihad cells all over the West Bank and Gaza, said the Israeli official.

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Northeast Intelligence Network

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

26. Faith gives wings to prayer, and without it we cannot fly up to Heaven.

June 9, 2004


“Dear young friends – Pope John Paul said – know that the Pope loves you and that he accompanies you with his daily prayer and counts on your collaboration for the sake of the Gospel and encourages you with trust in the way of Christian life.

He invited all Christians, but especially the youth, to rediscover a living faith in Jesus Christ: “What is the truth? Jesus said one day: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn 14:6). The real question therefore is not,‘what is the truth,’ rather it is, ‘Who is the truth?’ Humanity in the Third Millennium asks the same question. Dear Brothers and Sisters, we cannot remain silent because we know the answer! The truth is Jesus Christ, who came into the world to reveal and to give the love of the Father to us. We are called to be witnesses to this truth with our words and especially with out lives!

Dear young people, the Church is mission. Today she still needs ‘prophets’ who are able to wake up the community of faith in the Word which reveals the God who is rich in mercy (cf. Eph 2:4). The time has come to prepare young generations of apostles who are not afraid to proclaim the gospel. For every baptized person, it is necessary to pass from a habitual faith to a mature faith that expresses itself in clear, convinced, and courageous personal decisions.

Only this kind of faith that is celebrated and shared in the liturgy and in fraternal love can nourish and strengthen the community of the disciples of the Lord and build a missionary Church that is free from false fears because it is secure in the love of the Father.”


In an effort to encourage Christians to venture to ‘pilgrimages of peace,’ Pope John Paul II in an address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference in Vatican City called upon Christians from around the world to support the Christian Community in Israel through tourism. In an address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference in Vatican City, the Pope urged Christians to visit the Holy Land, and commended the Roman Society for Pilgrimages and the Italian dioceses in general for their fruitful efforts to increase travel to Israel.

Pope John Paul II said: “Many of you have visited personally those places, taking numerous pilgrims with you. It is also a strong sign of closeness and solidarity for the Christian communities that live there and that are in great need of your help.” In a rare show of solidarity, bearing a torch blessed by the Pope, 15 Italian athletes, 15 Israelis, and 15 Palestinians participated in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem Peace Marathon on April 23.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism stated: “They spanned the distance between Jerusalem, the eternal capital of faith for Christians, Muslims and Jews, and Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.The event was touted by the Vicar of Rome both as a testament to Israel’s safety and its enduring allure for Christians. “ Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Ruini, told tourism officials: “We came here to the Holy Land and we found a situation not as tense as described by the media. We are aware of the fact that many Christians would like to come on a pilgrimage to the Holy Sites and we say to these people: Come without fear, there is no reason to be afraid.”

RELATED: The new Custos of the Holy Land enters Jerusalem


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

25. Rise from love of the world and love of pleasure, lay aside cares, strip your mind, renounce your body; because prayer is nothing other than estrangement from the world, visible and invisible. For what have I in heaven? Nothing. And what have I desired on earth beside Thee? Nothing, but to cling continually to Thee in prayer without distraction. To some, wealth is pleasant; to others, glory; to others, possessions; but my wish is to cling to God, and to put the hope (Cf. Ps 72, 26-28) of my dispassion in Him.

June 8, 2004


The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.

A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you're Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life. One affects the other. The churches of America do not exist by the grace of the state; the churches of America are not mere citizens of the state. The churches of America exist apart; they have their own vantage point, their own authority. Religion is its own realm; it makes its own claims.

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.

I submit to you that the tolerant society is open to and encouraging of all religions. And this does not weaken us; it strengthens us, it makes us strong. You know, if we look back through history to all those great civilizations, those great nations that rose up to even world dominance and then deteriorated, declined, and fell, we find they all had one thing in common. One of the significant forerunners of their fall was their turning away from their God or gods.

Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

If I could just make a personal statement of my own -- in these 3 1/2 years I have understood and known better than ever before the words of Lincoln, when he said that he would be the greatest fool on this footstool called Earth if he ever thought that for one moment he could perform the duties of that office without help from One who is stronger than all.

RELATED: Pope honors Reagan, prays for 'eternal rest'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

24. For everyone, and especially for those who have come to the King in order to receive remission of their debt, unutterable contrition is necessary. As long as we are still in prison, let us listen to Him who speaks to Peter (Vid. Acts 12:8): Put on the garment of obedience, cast off your own wishes and, stripped of them, approach the Lord in your prayer, invoking His will alone. Then you will receive God, Who guides the helm of your soul and pilots you safely.

June 4, 2004

(Psa 103:11-12) For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


John Paul II's latest book shows that his "interest is not focused on the past but on the future," says a Vatican spokesman.

Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, gave that assessment Wednesday during the presentation of the Pope's book, "Arise! Let Us Go!"

The presentation took place in the Apostolic Nunciature, attended by Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, papal nuncio in Spain, who said that when reading the book "we feel a vibrating testimony of Christ's love for every man."

The book is a collection of memories and reflections, recounted since Karol Wojtyla's episcopal ordination in 1958. Navarro Valls believes that "the Pope uses memories to elaborate a reflection that might serve for the present and the future."

The book is "tremendously optimistic, although not naive," he added. "It stems from the conviction that the human being is far superior to all the hypotheses given by culture."

In "the cultural moment in which we are living, language has lost its unanimous meaning, and one no longer knows the meaning of words like human love or family because the value of the concepts has been lost," the spokesman said. Yet, the Pope seems to say: "'All right, I am aware of all those deficiencies, now, 'Arise, Let Us Go!'"

VIA Nadine: Leaving The City of Regret

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterdays. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be cancelled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can find it -- it's in your own heart -- please look me up. I live on I Can Do It street.

SEE ALSO: The Sea Of Forgetfulness

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

23. If we are not alone at the time of prayer, then let us imprint within ourselves the character of one who prays.  But if the ministers of praise are not with us, we may make even our outward attitude conform to a state of prayer.  For in the case of the imperfect, the mind often conforms to the body.

June 3, 2004

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Thanks to the charismatic movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life,". "I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation".


Reflection by Father Ted, May 30, 2004

My dearest Lord Jesus, the night before You died You promised to give to Your Apostles the Holy Spirit - the other Advocate.

On Easter Sunday night, when You first appeared to the Apostles, You gave to them the Holy Spirit. For You breathed upon them and declared: "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, are forgiven them."

Yet on the day that You returned to Heaven, You told them to await "the promise of the Father" when they would "be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Then they would "receive power" - the power of the Holy Spirit.

They prepared for this newer outpouring of the Holy Spirit when they joined Mary in the Upper Room where You had first given to them the power to share in Your Priesthood and where they received for the first time Your "Body and Blood".

They prepared with her, now also their mother, for the coming of the Holy Spirit, her spouse, through prayer.

They prayed for ten days.

And on the tenth day, as they prayed, You and the Father sent Your Holy Spirit upon them and upon all the others who were present - 120 in all.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit.

They were filled with Your Love.

They were filled with Your Truth.

They praised You and the Father who had sent to them such an awesome gift - the very Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.

And they were ecstatic.

You and the Father had filled them, just as You had promised.

They were filled to the fullest.

Such joy they felt.

Such love they felt.

Such peace they felt.

And because they had received such a precious gift, they boldly did what You empowered them to do - to proclaim the "Good New" and to give to others what they had received from You and the Father.

On that day, we know that 3,000 men, women and children were baptized - and were filled with Your Life.

Thank You Jesus, for what You did that Pentecost morning.

Now do in our time, what You did then. Send forth the fullness of Your Spirit upon us that we too may be filled with Your Love, with Your Truth, with Your Life - and that we may renew the face of the earth.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

22. Soiled prayer is one thing, its disappearance is another, robbery another, and blemish another.  Prayer is soiled when we stand before God and picture to ourselves irrevelant and inopportune thoughts.  Prayer is lost when we are captured by useless cares.  Prayer is stolen from us when our thoughts wander before we realize it.  Prayer is blemished by any kind of attack or interruption that comes to us at the time of prayer.

June 2, 2004


In a ruling with coast-to-coast effect, a federal judge declared the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional Tuesday, saying it infringes on a woman's right to choose.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton's ruling came in one of three lawsuits challenging the legislation President Bush signed last year.

She agreed with abortion rights activists that a woman's right to choose is paramount, and that is therefore "irrelevant" whether a fetus suffers pain, as abortion foes contend.

"The act poses an undue burden on a woman's right to choose an abortion," the judge wrote.
Justice Department spokeswoman Monica Goodling said the government "will continue to devote all resources necessary to defend this act of Congress, which President Bush has said 'will end an abhorrent practice and continue to build a culture of life in America."' The law, signed in November, represented the first substantial federal legislation limiting a woman's right to choose an abortion. Abortion rights activists said it ran counter to three decades of Supreme Court precedent.

It a banned procedure known to doctors as intact dilation and extraction, but called "partial-birth abortion" by foes of abortion. During the banned procedure, the living fetus is partially removed from the womb, and its skull is punctured or crushed.


Catholics who enable phony pro-life careerist politicians have a grave culpability on their souls for their participation in a cynical political game calculated to achieve only one thing: electoral survival and thus the retention of raw political power. When are pro-life Catholics going to realize the following:

1.. We need to plant the seeds for the Catholicization of the United States of America.
2.. We must think and speak and act as Catholics at all times.
3.. No one who supports one abortion under cover of law is pro-life.
4.. It is unjust and misleading to call a politician who supports even one abortion under cover of law as being "pro-life."
5.. No one who supports contraception and/or funding for same is pro-life or can be called "pro-life."
6.. No one who supports sex-instruction (under any of its various guises)
and/or funding for same can be called "pro-life."
7.. No one who supports "civil unions" while opposing sodomite marriages is pro-family or can be called "pro-family."
8.. No one who supports a candidate for public office who supports abortion on demand or who is simply less pro-abortion than other candidates is pro-life or is interested in doing anything substantive to restore complete legal protection to all innocent human life from the first moment of fertilization through all subsequent stages until natural death.

VIA Mission Moments: As received by Darrell Bennett

September 20, 1992

Let this word go far and wide.
Let those who have faith, pray and prepare.
Let people get ready now.
Without prayer, all preparations are useless.

April 24, 2004

My child convey this admonition of my son Jesus.
Amen! Amen!
You, who love God, do not be afraid.
You, who do not love God, heed the call to conversion. Repent! Reform your lives!
Be reconciled with God and with one another. Open wide your hearts to receive the love and mercy of God.
You, who deny and renounce God; You, who reject God’s Truth and Love, and refuse His mercy; You bring great evil upon yourselves.
You, sons of perdition, you apostates and heretics, do you think you can obstinately persist in sin and iniquity and escape the just wrath of God?
My children, Forsake sin and the darkness of death and return to the Light of the Love of God. For the hour is late, Indeed the Hour of Decision is upon you.

May 13, 2004

Let this word go far and wide.
Let those who have faith, pray and prepare.
Let people get ready now.
Without prayer, all preparations are useless.
Without conversion, all preparations will fail.
The hour is now suddenly upon you.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

21 (cont.) A great practiser of high and perfect prayer says: 'I had rather speak five words with my understanding', and so on (1 Cor 14:9). But such prayer is foreign to infant souls. Therefore, imperfect as we are, we need not only quality but a considerable time for our prayer, because the latter paves the way for the former. For it is said: 'Giving pure prayer to him who prays resolutely, though it be soiled, yer performed with labour' (Cf. 1 Kings 2:9).

June 1, 2004

(Rev 3:15-16) I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.


Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops Friday that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a "soulless vision of life."

To fight this, the pontiff argued, the U.S. church must study contemporary culture to find a way to appeal to youths. He made his remarks to bishops from Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee who were making a periodic visit to the Vatican.

The American church "is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world," John Paul said.

"Taking up this challenge, however, will require a realistic and comprehensive reading of the 'signs of the times,' in order to develop a persuasive presentation of the Catholic faith and prepare young people especially to dialogue with their contemporaries about the Christian message and its relevance to the building of a more just, humane and peaceful world."

John Paul added: "An effective proclamation of the Gospel in contemporary Western society will need to confront directly the widespread spirit of agnosticism and relativism which has cast doubt on reason's ability to know the truth, which alone satisfies the human heart's restless quest for meaning."

by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus as well as the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday have long-lasting ramifications for the Lord’s true friends. The stunning triumph of the Redeemer over sin and death and the Coming of the Paraclete mean that we possess the opportunity to enjoy Everlasting Life in Heaven. We can become saints thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, thereby experiencing forever the glory of the Risen Christ in Paradise.

A saint, whether man or woman, boy or girl, is “made” by God. No one, strictly-speaking, earns sanctity; however, we can—and must—avail ourselves of the Almighty’s ever-present graces that fortify us in our efforts to receive the unexcelled treasure of unending happiness in the next life.

I came across “Maxims That Have Saints,” a list of 40 short sayings which are tried-and-true ways that lead to Christian holiness. Here are a few of these valuable counsels.

• If possible, attend daily Mass and secure God’s blessing on your work.
• Bear daily annoyances in a spirit of resignation in imitation of the Mother of Sorrows.
• Do good to the souls of others by a kind word of encouragement, or a prayer softly breathed.
• Should you be inclined to make uncharitable remarks, let your words instead be kind and considerate.
• You are tempted to eat and drink between meals. Abstain in honor of your mortified Savior.
• You are impelled to speak and act while excited. Wait, let the storm pass.
• Attend Benediction whenever you can. God’s Blessing should not be slighted.
• Make the Stations of the Cross when you can.
• Are you tempted to anger? Conquer yourself for the love of your meek and gentle Savior.
• When you have time to spare, go before the Blessed Sacrament and make the Holy Hour.
• You are inclined to say your prayers hurriedly. Take time; prolong them.
• Offer an extra Holy Communion for those who are dear to you.
• Bear with the failings of others if you wish Jesus to be patient with you.
• You are disposed to complain when you suffer. Thank Jesus for granting you a splinter of His Cross and endure silently.
• Are you worried about a dear one? Trust the dear Sacred Heart and all will be well.
• Often make the Sign of the Cross and use Holy Water. Give the indulgence to the Souls in Purgatory.
• Present a bouquet of flowers to Jesus: 10 mortifications daily.
• Let no day pass without saying a decade of the Rosary for the conversion of sinners.
• Have your feelings been hurt? Offer the mortification to the Mother of Sorrows.
• If you feel inclined to brood over past sorrows, call to mind the many graces for which you should be grateful God wants us to become saints. And we will if we cooperate with His grace and use the means that He has liberally bestowed on us.

Mary, Queen of All Saints, pray for us!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 28- "On holy and blessed prayer"

21. If you constantly train your mind never to wander, then it will be near you during meals too. But if it wanders unrestrained, then it will never stay beside you.

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