Keep your eyes open!...


October 26, 2007


(1Th 5:17) Pray without ceasing.


Only Christian TV Station in Bethlehem Folds
Israel Archbishop warns of Christian exodus
Iraqi Archbishop appeals to world to help Iraqi Christians
Kidnapped Catholic priests freed in Iraq

LINK: Send your prayer to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Reflection by Father Ted October 22, 2007

My dearest Lord Jesus, again this weekend and also today You have reminded me as well as others of the importance of praying – and also of the power of prayer.

Both today and last Saturday You allowed many of us to experience of the importance of praying and the power of prayer through the presence of Padre Pio – saint Pio of Pietrelcina.

You reminded us through one of his confreres, who was with us both on Saturday and today, of his call to holiness, of his call to be a man of prayer, of the effects of his prayers in the lives of others.

You allowed us to be blessed with his relics – especially with one of his gloves.

Throughout his life he reminded us of the need to pray.

Yesterday, on World Mission Sunday, in each of the readings You emphasized the need of praying and of the effectiveness of praying.

In the Gospel, You told the parable about the importance of persevering in our prayers – and that the Father does respond to this perseverance in prayer.

In the excerpt from the letter of Saint Paul to his younger brother bishop, Saint Timothy, You implied through the exhortation of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy that he be, first of all, a man of prayer. And then You had Saint Paul remind him of the value of Sacred Scripture “for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness”.

This is just what our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, declared to 100 bishops, who had been ordained during the past year – that they were to be, first of all, men of prayer. Of course, that would enable them effectively to proclaim the Gospel.

In the very first reading, from the Book of Exodus, You reminded us that because Moses was praying – during the battle, Joshua and the Israelites were successful in their conflict with the Amalekites.

Last week, on the 90th anniversary of the final apparition of Your Mother at Fatima, You also reminded us of how she had exhorted the three children to pray daily the Rosary and that they were to exhort others to do likewise.

You also indicated through her powerful messages and mystical experiences of the need for such prayer for the conversion of many – even for their eternal salvation.

You want us today, in this early part of the twenty first century, to become men, women, boys and girls of prayer. You want us to pray like the children of Fatima. You want us to pray like Padre Pio.

Our world needs our prayers today. Lord, through the intercession of Saint Pio, of Blessed Francisco, of Blessed Jacinta, and of Sister Lucia, may we become those men, women, boys and girls that You and Your Mother desire.

May Your Will be done by us, on earth, as it is in heaven by all the Saints and Angels.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

24. A hermit said, 'I never wanted work to be useful to me while causing loss to my brother, for I have this hope that what helps my brother will bring fruit to me.'

October 25, 2007  

(Act 11:29) And the disciples, every man according to his ability, purposed to send relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judea.


As the fires continue to rage in Southern California, local Catholic Charities in the impacted areas are working with their Catholic and disaster response partners to provide relief.

In San Diego, Catholic Charities is providing hot meals, staffing, and technical resources to those sheltering at Qualcomm Stadium--now San Diego County's largest emergency evacuation center where about 12,000 people spent Tuesday night. (View photos of Catholic Charities staff helping out at QualComm Stadium at

Additionally, the agency has organized diocesan priests to provide spiritual and emotional care at the stadium. In the coming days, Catholic Charities of San Diego and its partners will help victims coordinate their transitional housing needs and with completing FEMA and other aid applications.

Based on agreements with their local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) partners, Catholic Charities of San Bernardino/Riverside continues to assess current conditions and possible solutions. The agency anticipates that its initial efforts will focus on providing case management and helping clients access resources, such as FEMA assistance.

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles continues to work closely with local disaster and community leaders to assess and mobilize its efforts. The agency is looking to provide case management services and help clients to apply for FEMA aid and locate other resources.

With the fires in Orange County contained and not affecting populated areas, Catholic Charities of Orange continues to monitor the situation and remains in contact with Catholic Charities USA's Disaster Response Office staff in the event a response is required.



A relief center to behold
Catholic Church at San Diego Indian Reservation Destroyed by Fire
Former LA cathedral now a venue for sexy fashion shows and live, trendy entertainment

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

23. A brother said to a hermit, 'If I see a monk about whom I have heard that he is guilty of a sin, I cannot make myself invite him into my cell. But if I see a good monk, I bring him in gladly.'  The hermit said, 'If you do good to a good brother it is nothing to him, but to the other give double charity, for he is sick.'

October 24, 2007  


New Jersey Catholics who attended Mass in the past few weeks saw a change in the routine. Instead of the priest giving a homily, or sermon, parishioners were shown a video about stem-cell research.

Not coincidentally, Garden State voters will be asked in the Nov. 6 election to approve $450 million in funding for stem-cell research. Some groups have challenged the ballot question in court, but the Catholic Church in New Jersey is taking a different approach.

"It's Respect Life Month in the church, so there is a focus throughout the month on life issues," including abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research, Andrew Walton, a spokesman for the Diocese of Camden said Monday.

The video, titled "The Science of Stem Cells: Finding Cures and Protecting Lives," was shown in most parishes in New Jersey, including most of the 124 in the Camden diocese, Walton said. It was produced by the Kansas Catholic Conference and sponsored by the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the Respect Life offices of the five dioceses in New Jersey and the Knights of Columbus.

The Catholic church supports stem-cell research, as long as the cells are taken from an adult, a umbilical cord or similar sources, Walton said. But it does not sanction taking cells from embryos, because it destroys the organism that the church believes is a human being.

"When we use one person for the benefit of another, no matter how good the intention might be, we violate the dignity of human life, which is not ours to give away," Cardinal Justin Rigali says in the introduction to the 14-minute video.

People interviewed in the video call embryonic stem-cell research "iffy and not very promising," and say that women can be harmed in harvesting the eggs needed to create the research embryos.

Adult stem-cell research has already helped many patients, and "in contrast, embryonic stem-cell research has yet to provide a single successful clinical treatment," Bishop Joseph A. Galante wrote in a letter to the parishes in the diocese. "We speak out against embryonic stem-cell research and the allocation of monies for research which, in our judgement, fails to respect the sacredness of human life at its beginning."

RELATED: Don't use embryos in stem cell research, Pope says


Abortion robs everyone of their future, the heads of the Roman Catholic Church in England Wales and Scotland said today, but they acknowledged that it would never be abolished altogether from British law.

In an open letter, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and his Scottish counterpart, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, plead for “a change in minds and hearts” in British attitudes towards termination of pregnancy.

The call marks the 40th anniversary this week of the Abortion Act, which made abortion in the UK legal up to 28 weeks.

The cardinals said that a change in attitudes towards support for young mothers, along with greater emphasis on sexual relations within marriage, could lead to a decrease in the number of abortions without any change to the existing law. In the letter, they stated: “The 1967 Act was intended to solve the problem of illegal abortion, on the basis that it was a major cause of death in pregnant women. Yet our countries now perform nearly 200,000 abortions every year.

“Whatever our religious creed or political conviction, abortion on this scale can only be a source of distress and profound anguish for us all...Abortion robs everyone of their future. Individually and as a society we believe we have another choice: to give birth to life.”


The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

18. A brother asked a hermit, 'Suppose there are two monks: one stays quietly in his cell, fasting for six days at a time, laying many hardships on himself: and the other ministers to the sick. Which of them is more pleasing to God?' He replied, 'Even if the brother who fasts six days hung himself up by his nose, he wouldn't be the equal of him who ministers to the sick.'

October 23, 2007  

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "In a world wounded by conflicts, where violence is justified in God's name, it's important to repeat that religion can never become a vehicle of hatred, it can never be used in God's name to justify violence. On the contrary, religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity, because they speak about peace in the heart of man."

IN THE NEWS: Muslims Apologize After Desecrating Village’s Christian Church

: The Muslim Letter to the Pope

The Vatican responded Friday to the open letter sent at the end of Ramadan by 138 Muslim scholars to Pope Benedict XVI and a wide array of other Christian leaders. The response was somewhat deflating, given the mainstream media’s enthusiasm over the Muslim letter -- an enthusiasm which the senders must have anticipated. Noting the Muslim scholars’ declaration that “the future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians,” the Telegraph‘s headline was typical of the coverage: “Muslim scholars’ olive branch to Christians.” Reuters burbled about an “Unprecedented Muslim call for peace with Christians.” But was it really?

This week’s response from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, hardly seemed sporting. Tauran observed that the possibility of serious dialogue between Muslims and Christians was limited by the traditional Islamic understanding of the Muslim holy book: “Muslims,” he said, “do not accept that one can discuss the Koran in depth, because they say it was written by dictation from God. With such an absolute interpretation, it is difficult to discuss the contents of faith.”

Tauran went on to call for reciprocity between the treatment of Christians in Islamic lands and the treatment of Muslims in the West, decrying the fact that Muslims are permitted to build mosques freely in Europe, but Christians face difficulties or outright bans when trying to build churches in Muslim lands. “In a dialogue among believers, it is fundamental to say what is good for one is good for the other.”

UPDATE: Muslim scholars urge Benedict to back dialogue appeal

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

15. One of the fathers said, 'If anyone asks you for something, and you give it to him, even if you are forced to give it, let your heart go with the gift, as it is written, "If a man forces you to go with him one mile, go with him two" (Matt. 5:41). This means that if you are asked for anything, give it with a willing heart.'

October 19, 2007  


(2Co 6:2) For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation.

EXCERPT: What's So Great about Christianity: This is not a time for Christians to turn the other cheek. Rather, it is a time to drive the money-changers out of the temple. The atheists no longer want to be tolerated. They want to monopolize the public square and to expel Christians from it. They want political questions like abortion to be divorced from religious and moral claims. They want to control the school curricula, so that they can promote a secular ideology and undermine Christianity. They want to discredit the factual claims of religion, and they want to convince the rest of society that Christianity is not only mistaken but also evil. They blame religion for the crimes of history and for the ongoing conflicts in the world today. In short, they want to make religion—and especially the Christian religion—disappear from the face of the earth.

The Bible in Matthew 5:13-14 calls Christians to be the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world." Christians are called to make the world a better place. Today that means confronting the challenge of modern atheism and secularism.


Christians in Barbados need to stand up and be counted, a leading Roman Catholic priest proclaimed yesterday.

Reverend Harcourt Blackett made the call during a special memorial service to mark the 31st anniversary of the bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight off Barbados' shores.

"People in Barbados are tired of the lot of long talk. They want action," Blackett told a congregation at the St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. "Everyone in Barbados can quote from the Bible. People are tired of Christians coming around doing just that. It has become boring," he added.

One of the country's most outspoken clerics, Blackett said it was time Christians stopped sacrementalising people, and started evangelising them.

"The Word of God is more than just talk from the Bible. We as Christians must transform, challenge and engage every institution in society. We can't be afraid of offending people when it comes to proclaiming the Word of God, otherwise we are doing a disservice to the Word of God," Blackett said.

The priest noted that now, more than ever, Barbadians need to be evangelised. "If there ever was a time in the history of Barbados for the proclamation of the Word of God, that time is now. Now is the hour."

Saying that Barbadians were oppressed with fear from the recent happenings around them, Blackett urged Christians to renew their efforts in teaching God's Word. "The good news is that proclamation of the Word has a powerful effect on the conscience of man."

Blackett said that to have a powerful effect, proclamation, however, should come from persons who live an authentic Christian life given totally to God and in communion with Jesus Christ.

"The fact that people are tired of the lot of long talk has become a challenge for those who proclaim the Word of God. We live in a world where people are not listening," Blackett warned. "We need to get Barbadians to live a life of commitment and dedication to Jesus Christ.

He said because of that, the Word of God must be proclaimed powerfully, so those who do listen may be transformed.

RELATED: Nebraska Priest brings enthusiasm for Word to parishioners

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

9. Poemen said, 'Try, so far as you can, to wrong no man, and keep your heart pure towards everyone.'

October 18, 2007  

LINK: Prophecies of Saint Malachy- the Last Five Mentioned Popes

ARCHIVES: Saint Malachi Predicts the Election of Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI announced the names of the new cardinals following today’s general audience. The Holy Father’s newest selections contain a couple surprises: the first US cardinal from a Texas diocese and a break with the precedent set by Paul VI to keep the number of papal electors limited to 120 cardinals.

Pope Benedict announced the names of 23 prelates who will be created cardinals in a consistory due to be held on November 24, the eve of the Feast of Christ the King. Of the 23 new cardinals, 18 will be under the age of 80, thus bringing the total number of electors to 121.

"The new cardinals come from various parts of the world," said the Holy Father. "And the universality of the Church, with the multiplicity of her ministries, is clearly reflected in them. Alongside deserving prelates who work for the Holy See are pastors who dedicate their energies to direct contact with the faithful."

Two Americans are among the cardinals-designate, Archbishops John Foley and Daniel DiNardo. Their selection brings to 17 the number of U.S. cardinals; after the November consistory, 13 of the U.S. group will be possible papal electors.

The Holy Father also mentioned that he wished to honor a Polish bishop who died on Tuesday. "Among these, I had also intended to confer the dignity of cardinal upon the elderly Bishop Ignacy Jez of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Poland, a worthy prelate who died suddenly yesterday. We offer a prayer for the repose of his soul."

He continued: "There are other persons, very dear to me who, for their dedication to the service of the Church, well deserve promotion to the dignity of cardinal. In the future I hope to have the opportunity to express, also in this way, my esteem and affection to them and to their countries of origin."

Benedict entrusted the future cardinals "to the protection of Mary Most Holy asking her to help each of them in their new tasks, that they may know how to bear courageous witness in all circumstances to their love for Christ and for the Church."


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Disabled Travel to Rome, Italy

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

6. Agatho said, "I tried never to go to sleep while I kept a grievance against anyone. Nor did I let anyone go to sleep while he had a grievance against me.'

October 16, 2007  

LINK: John Henry Newman- Advent Sermons on Antichrist

Cardinal Newman: sainted after US 'miracle'

The Vatican is close to attributing a miracle to Cardinal Newman that would pave the way for Britain's most famous convert to Roman Catholicism to become this country's first saint for 40 years.

Insiders in Rome believe that the Vatican will announce a decision within months, meaning that the former Anglican whose conversion shocked Victorian England could be beatified as early as next year.

The controversial theologian and writer of the hymn Lead Kindly Light, who converted in 1845 and died in 1890, would then be declared "Blessed" and be one step from canonisation, for which a second miracle would be needed.

The profile of John Henry Newman was boosted when Tony Blair gave Pope Benedict XVI three signed photographs of him at their meeting in Rome in June.

At the time the gesture was widely interpreted as symbolising Mr Blair's own intention to convert to Catholicism after he stepped down as Prime Minister.

But Vatican sources pointed out as that, a young student, the Pope studied Newman and has been a devotee ever since. The cause of the 19th century priest was given priority treatment when his case was sent to Rome a year ago, partly because of the Pope's personal interest.

The Vatican's Congregation for Saints normally takes years to sift such cases, but medical experts are already scrutinising evidence that a 69-year-old American was inexplicably cured of a crippling spinal condition after praying to the cardinal.

One Vatican source said: "The approval of the miracle is expected to be the last significant hurdle. The congregation's experts are well advanced in their work, and all the signs look positive. We could even have a decision by Christmas."

If the cardinals who make up the congregation then approve the case and the Pope gives his assent, Cardinal Newman could be beatified by the end of next year.


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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

5. Mark said to Arsenius, 'Why do you go away from us?' He replied, 'God knows I love you. But I cannot be with God and with men. The countless hosts of angels have only a single will, while men have many wills. So I cannot leave God, and be with men.'

October 13, 2007  


REVIEW: Fatima 2007- 90 Years After the Sun Danced

Reflection by Father Ted October 8, 2007

My dearest Lord Jesus, help us to be the holy men that You desire us to be.

You want us to be the leaders of Your people. You want us to show them by our example how to become holy.

For You want all of us to be holy.

That is why ninety years ago You sent Your Mother to the 3 children at Fatima. You wanted to teach them further how to become holy.

You had prepared them for her visitation by sending Your Archangel Michael to them the previous year. He taught them how to pray. He taught them two basic prayers.

During his third visit to them he brought You to them – in order to nourish them through Your Most Precious Body and Blood.

He prepared them to be the prayerful children that they needed to be so that they would respond to Your Mother’s call to them to become more prayerful and more self-sacrificing.

When she first appeared she exhorted them to pray the Most Holy Rosary each day. In fact, every time she appeared to them, she exhorted them to pray the Rosary.

She urged them to add a very special prayer at the end of each mystery - asking You to forgive us our sins; to save us from the fires of hell – especially those in most need.

During her third visit with them she took them to view hell – for she and You wanted these little ones to pray for others who would choose to go to hell without the benefit of their loving prayers.

On her last visit to these precious little ones, while the on-lookers witness the incredible miracle of the sun, You, Saint Joseph and Your Mother appeared to them.

You want us all to become like these three – like Lucia, like Jacinta, like Francisco.

You want us who are Your priests and Your bishops to inspire all Your children to become like these three.

Through the intercession of Your Mother, our Lady of the Rosary, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, through the intercession of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco, and through the intercession of Sister Lucia, may we become the men, the women, the boys and girls of prayer that You desire us to be.

Through their intercession may we become the saints that You desire us to be.

Through Your love may we inspire others to become the saints that You desire them to be.

Holy Mary, pray for us. Saint Michel, pray for us. Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta pray for us. Holy Sister Lucia, pray for us.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

3. Amoun of Nitria came to Antony, and said to him, 'I see that I have more to suffer than you; how is it that your reputation among men is greater than mine?' Antony said, 'It is because I love God more than you do.'

October 11, 2007  

(2Th 2:15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

COMMENTARY: The Reemergence of Global Catholic identity! by Hugh McNichol

In a recent interview, Cardinal Avery Dulles alluded to what he considered the greatest difficulty the Catholic Church will face in the 21st century…that is the growing trend towards the lack of Catholic identity within our own Catholic Church. Perhaps the reason for this malaise is the fact that over the past four decades Catholic popular trends moved towards making all of our external signs and symbols…quite frankly generically Catholic neutral. What I mean by this is that in the 1960’s and the 1970’s there was a large movement to replace traditional Catholic modes of worship and celebration with somewhat “ecumenical” expressions of universal faith and global brotherhood, as opposed to Catholic Sacraments of richly imbued moments of theological signs and symbols of the Catholic Church’s anciently rooted ceremonies. It seemed that no matter where one went to Mass, there was an attempt to subtly “neutralize” Catholic ritual and traditions in not only the Sacraments, but also in Catholic art and architecture as well. The result was often a bland cornucopia of ritual symbolism that often one had a hard time comprehending the sacredness of the actions, let alone the Catholicity of the celebration. Perhaps, the worst fear of the Catholic Church had been realized, even after great strides to avoid it…Modernism in its most revolutionary sense invaded and permeated our Catholic Sacraments and Liturgies. The modernization of the Roman Church as foreseen by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council was compromised with institutional and sacramental barbarism that equaled the “sacking” of Rome centuries before. Catholic institutional strength and universal conformity since the Council of Trent was compromised and all of the forces of the liberal left took equal opportunities to dismantle the visible manifestations of Catholic traditional signs and symbols, actions and responses that made our faith uniquely independent from the generic celebrations of other faiths and denominations.

The fascination with liturgical space and its “renewal” according to the norms of the Second Vatican Council was instant…within a few years after the Council; parishes replaced their Altars, removed their Communion rails, silenced great organs and replaced them with strumming guitars and tambourines. Gregorian chant was replaced with refrains from Peter, Paul and Mary’s latest hits, the priest celebrant became the “presider,” and the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass became commonly referred to as a “communal meal!” No wonder the threat of loosing our Catholic identity is so large a problem in the 21st century, we spent over 40 years dismantling our historically rooted notion of Church, only to replace it with Modernist examples of generic art and architecture that reflected the generic chaos of the contempory period and neglected to appreciate the transcendent nature of all of our Catholic signs and symbols.

The growing awakening and awareness of our Catholic history and ritual traditions is in this authors mind a great rebirth of the Catholic Church’s awareness of it’s need to uniquely herald the Gospel message through our sacred and transcendent signs and symbols, our eschatological mission to sanctify a temporal world that deeply needs and desires the inclusion of sacred rituals into global daily life. The modern Catholic in my estimation needs to boldly proclaim in sacramental words and ritual actions the presence of Jesus Christ in the world…and be visibly identified through our visibly Catholic sacraments and actions. One of the greatest dilemmas for the modern world is the conflict that is rising between Catholics and Moslems. This conflict is nothing new, but rather the resurgence of Islamic desire for theological dominance in the Western world. The Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from 711-1492, the rise of the Spanish Inquisition and the spread of European colonialism all stem from the perpetual struggle that exists between the theological nuances of East versus West. Islamic radicalism that threatens to engulf Europe, the Middle East and even the Western hemisphere now more than ever requires a strong Catholic restoration of it’s sacramental identity and social purposes. Our Catholic Church is awakening from a slumber imposed by Modernism in the 20th century, and the need for Catholic resurgence of identity is perhaps the best cure for our global Catholic Church in the 21st century. The need to restore Catholic identity goes far beyond just the institutional signs and symbols of our ancient faith, there is a need for a rekindling of internal evangelization within Catholicism that hopefully will result in not only a global reevangelization of the non-Catholic world, but will provide an apologetical platform from which Catholic sacramental, social and ethical moral teachings will prevail in an increasing world of secularism and cultural homogeneity. Benedict XVI it seems understands the need for internal evangelization within the Catholic Church. His outreaching messages to youth in the Church make it plainly clear that the future of theological conversion within Catholicism is rooted deeply in a historically rooted appreciation of the radical call that the Gospel message and Catholic sacraments signify for the global development of the Western world.

I agree whole heartedly with the diagnosis that the constant thread of loosing our Catholic identity is perhaps the greatest difficulty that the Church of the 21st century will encounter. Thankfully, the direction we are taking as an institution now permits Catholics worldwide to experience Catholicism for not only it’s historically significant contributions to the life and education of the world in the past, but the continuing contemporary message of Catholic moral, social and ethical teachings that will guide an ever needing society towards strong Catholic principles of moral certitude in a world that increasingly needs a strong Catholic expression of identity in an increasingly nihilistic world and society.

RELATED: US Bishops to consider revisions for regulating liturgical music

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

2. He also said, 'Our life and our death are with our neighbour. If we do good to our neighbour, we do good to God; if we cause our neighbour to stumble, we sin against Christ.'

October 10, 2007  

(Lk. 1.42) "Blessed is the fruit of your womb"

Dawn: "When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine.

But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!'"

Congressman Henry Hyde

MUST READ COMMENTARY: A Prayer For Parents On Respect Life Sunday

EXCERPT: This month, every month, we are called to be pro-life

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said it well, "America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has shown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships."

Since its inception 35 years ago, people have come to think of Respect Life Month as a 31-day anti-abortion campaign. However we now know that Respect Life Month means something more. It is about preserving and valuing life at all its stages. Unfortunately as time has gone on, America it seems, has sometimes forgotten the fundamentals. Society as a whole appears to have a blasé attitude about protecting the lives of the unborn, the sickly, the elderly and the imprisoned.

It is true that given the chance, we would all choose to be born healthy and wanted, live a long fruitful life, maintain all our mental capabilities and then quietly pass away at a ripe old age. However, life and death are seldom that easy. Tragedies, senility and terminal illness happen - disrupting our best-laid plans.

When we as Catholics have trouble sorting through the rubble of complicated moral issues, we can always look to our religious leaders for help. We can listen to our current pope, we can consult with our priests and bishops, and we can read the writings of people like Blessed Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II.

RELATED: Marriage, family life are under attack, says Vatican official

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Charity

1. Antony said, 'Now I no longer fear God, I love him, for love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).'

October 9, 2007

LINK: Pope: the Rosary and the mission for peace in the family and in the world

LINK: Month of the Rosary

LINK: The Rosary, Brown Scapular and The Sabbatine Privilege

Dave: Report on Youth's Holy Hour led by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal for which rosaries were requested (see Archives, Sept.26):

The Friars gave a beautiful gift to the children, families, the world and to our Lady that evening! We are still taking it all in. I have a photolink I am going to send to you soon that has all the pictures of the event that were taken so anyone can access them (I pray if I can do it right).

We all appreciate all the help, support, and prayers that were poured out on the event and the children that evening. The amount of food, rosaries and support was incredible! We are now trying to come back together to assess and finish up what we need to do and to make notes for next year (God willing). We ask every"one" who attended the event to please send Bishop Kevin Vann a "thank you" for allowing us to have this event in our Diocese. We have heard so much about how much the event meant to everyone, and while we love to hear of the blessings received that we can pass on to the Friars, our Bishop needs to know as well so he will allow it to be a yearly blessing.

His address is:

Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann
800 West Loop 820
South Fort Worth, Texas 76108-2919

We believe it will continue to grow as our Lady works hard for the souls of the children and families in our Diocese.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Patience

11. Someone who saw a religious person carrying a corpse on a bed, said, 'Are you carrying dead men? Go and carry the living.'

October 5, 2007   


(Joel 1:14) Sanctify ye a fast, call an assembly, gather together the ancients, all the inhabitants of the land into the house of your God: and cry ye to the Lord:

LINK: 15th Annual International Week of Prayer and Fasting


God often turns to unlikely human instruments to convey his divine will.  In St.  Maria Faustina he chose a quiet young woman who spent most of her 33 years working at behind-the-scenes tasks that many might view as unimportant.

Born into a large, poor Polish family, she had only three years of formal schooling.  By her teens she was working as a housekeeper but she knew there was more she wanted to do with her life.  At age 20 she entered the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, taking the name Faustina.

For the next 13 years she worked quietly as a cook, gardener and porter.  It appeared her days were routine, even monotonous.  But as Faustina went about her ordinary tasks she was developing a rich interior life.  Like the other sisters, she spent hours in prayer and contemplation.  But God singled her out—appearing to her and urging her to convey his plan of mercy for the world.

The God who revealed himself to Sister Faustina was not the strict judge so many had come to know, but a God of mercy and forgiveness.  Many of the words of hope and comfort he spoke to her are contained in her diary, later translated into many languages.  Among the words of Jesus she recorded in her own hand: "I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart."

Sister Faustina died of tuberculosis in 1938 at the age of 33.  Pope John Paul II canonized her on April 30, 2000, calling Poland's first female saint "a gift of God to our time" and "to the whole Church." Since then, the Second Sunday of Easter is celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday.  St.  Faustina's feast day is October 5. 


Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska
The Diary of Sister M.  Faustina Kowalska
Five Devotions Given to Saint Faustina
The 'Hour of Great Mercy'

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Patience

9. Poemen said, 'Whatever hardship comes upon you, it can be overcome by silence.'

October 4, 2007   

(Eph 6:12) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

MUST READ: The Signs of our Times — and What they Require from Priests by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

ANOTHER: Christianity 'banished' from Canadian public life


Skulking in the dead of night in the remote and overgrown Las Pavas section of the Southern Municipal Cemetery, robbers armed with crowbars and sledgehammers shattered the tomb's concrete vault and the granite marker that read, "To our dear wife and mother in heaven, Maria de la Cruz Aguero."

Then they lifted the coffin lid and stole leg bones and the skull of the woman who had died Sept.  9, 1993.  They sold the bones for $20 each, the skull for as much as $300, said Father Atilio Gonzalez, the cemetery's resident Roman Catholic priest.

Sometimes entire skeletons, particularly those of children, are stolen from crypts in this final resting place of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, including three former presidents.

"These unscrupulous people are insulting God and committing a mortal sin," said Gonzalez, who says that graves in the city's largest cemetery are robbed every night, and it's getting worse.  "They have perfect liberty to desecrate the tombs because the government does nothing to stop it."

The desecration of the woman's tomb was part of a ghoulish crime wave, including assaults, rapes and dope deals, that has made the cemetery so dangerous that funeral home workers say they carry weapons whenever they have to go there.  Parts of the cemetery, particularly the remote hillside sections reserved for the poor, are in ruins and choked with weeds, providing perfect cover for thugs and the homeless.

In the past when graves were robbed, the primary objective was to steal personal effects such as jewelry or gold dental fillings, said Odalys Caldera, an investigator in the city's judicial police.  Today, thieves are pillaging the graves for darker reasons.

The buyers of the bones are paleros, the practitioners of a black magic cult related to Santeria whose rise in popularity here is fueled by a brew of faith and politics.

"Santeria, witchcraft and black magic are much more out in the open now.  That's the reason," Caldera said.  "Of course the state is aware of the robberies but hasn't taken the necessary steps to impede them."

Father Manuel Diaz is a parish priest in the El Hatillo suburb of Caracas where three Santeria babalaos, or shamans, recently have opened centers.  He says the government of leftist President Hugo Chavez is encouraging the rise of Santeria to counter the authority of the Catholic Church, which Chavez has viewed as his enemy.

In a pastoral letter to his parishioners in August, Diaz said the government has a "concrete objective, to undermine the authority of the church and align its faithful with certain ideologies." In the letter, he wrote that leaders of the movement to discredit the church were coming from an unnamed "Caribbean country," presumably Cuba.

LINK: The Church must speak about the devil By Cardinal Georges Cottier, O.P.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Patience

5. They said of Isidore, the priest in Scetis, that if anyone had a monk who was sick or weak or insolent and wanted to send him away, he would say, 'Bring him to me.' Then he would take him, and cure him by his patience.'

October 3, 2007   

(Rev 2:4-5) But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity. Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance and do the first works. Or else I come to thee and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.


EXCERPT: Bishop David A.  Zubik said that every journey he takes, whether by plane, car or on foot, begins with a recitation of the rosary.

On one plane trip, a fellow passenger looked at Zubik as he held his rosaries, and asked, "Don't fly much?"

Zubik explained that he wasn't fearful of flying, but had the rosaries "Because I love God."

The traveler went on to explain that he no longer considered himself a Catholic, Zubik said, not because he disagreed with Jesus or his teachings, but that he couldn't find anyone "who was excited in their faith and connection with Jesus."

Zubik said that led to some self-reflection, where he pondered, "How excited are you, how excited am I, how excited are we about God?"

Zubik, with forceful gestures, urged parishioners to "be excited about our faith and to be very proud of our faith, how we live it for ourselves and our Holy Father."

Zubik challenged parishioners not to hesitate to worship, whether it be in the privacy of their homes, or before others, to "stand up for the absolute sacredness of life at the first moment of conception," and to "never turn a deaf ear to the poorest of the poor."

"I dare you to join me in being excited about our faith, not only tomorrow, but today," Zubik said.

Zubik deftly wove humor into his homily as well, mentioning a Monday newspaper article that talked about "sanctified scalping," describing the fact that tickets to Zubik's installation were so hard to come by, they were being scalped.

The thought of that pleased Zubik, saying, "Wow.  If people are scalping tickets to come to church, how much must they be in love with God?"

VIDEO: New bishop challenges Catholics to live their faith


A top Roman Catholic prelate in Cuba said during a visit to Miami's Cuban exile community that religious practice is slowly spreading in the Communist country despite rigid restrictions.

Archbishop Dionisio Guillermo Garcia Ibanez, named earlier this year to lead Catholics in Santiago, Cuba's second-largest city, said the church has been able to expand its reach, though it will be years before it achieves goals of even more openness.

"The faith of our community has manifested, it has been reborn," he said in a recent interview while in Miami.  "The Catholic faith in our community has resurrected."

Garcia would not pin the loosened restrictions on President Fidel Castro's decision to temporarily hand over the government last year to his brother Raul.  He said he has witnessed piecemeal improvements since his ordination in 1985.

Catholics once hoped simply to knock on doors and spread the Gospel, Garcia said, a dream that has since been realized.  They prayed they could hold religious processions in the streets; he says there have now been more than 90.  They pushed for Catholic radio broadcasts, which are now allowed once or twice a year.

RELATED: China Catholics throng to church

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

87. A hermit was asked how it was that some peoplesaid they had seen angels. He answered, 'Blessed is he who always seees his own sins.'

October 2, 2007   

(Mat 5:43-44) You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:


The Vatican on Friday urged a "culture of peace and solidarity" in a greeting addressed to Muslims ahead of the Eid holiday at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in two weeks' time.

"In the troubled times we are passing through, religious believers have...a duty above all to work in favor of peace," Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said in a message.

"A culture of peace and solidarity between men can be built ...  doing everything one can to reject, denounce and refuse every recourse to violence which can never be motivated by religion, since it wounds the very image of God in man," he wrote.

"Dialogue is the tool which can help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies, so that all peoples can live in serenity and peace and with mutual respect and harmony," said Tauran, who heads the Vatican's Council for Interreligious Dialogue.


Nabil Comanny and his family endured the dead bodies left to decompose along the road in their southern Dora neighborhood.

They accepted the criminal gangs that roamed the area, searching for targets to kidnap.

And neither the utility failures nor the mountains of trash in the street could drive them away.

As Christians, the Comannys had learned to keep a low profile.  They even stayed in their house after many Muslim neighbors fled the daily chaos when sectarian bloodshed between Shiite and Sunni militants broke out in 2006, making this one of Baghdad's most embattled districts.

But the hand-scrawled note at their door was the final straw.  The message commanded the family to select one of these options:

1.  Convert to Islam.

2.  Pay a fee of nearly $300 monthly for "protection."

3.  Leave the area.

Failure to comply with one of the three would result in death.

"We don't have weapons, and the government doesn't protect us.  What else can we do?" said Comanny, a 37-year-old journalist whose family abandoned its modest home of 11 years.

Extreme Islamic militants increasingly are targeting Christians in Iraq, especially here in the capital.  As a result, Iraq's Christian community — long the minority in a largely Muslim country — continues to dwindle.

RELATED REVIEW: Muslims persecute Christians; World Looks the Other Way

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Humility

85. A hermit said, 'Do not take much notice of your abba, and do not often go to see him; for you will get confidence from it, and start to want to be a leader yourself.'
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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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