Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Clean Start to the New Year

Or, in Catholic terminology, a Plenary indulgence, can be found by reciting the Te Deum tonight, on New Year's Eve, and another by reciting the Veni Creator Spiritus tomorrow, on the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God.
HT A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.

Happy New Year to my Aussie Readers!

G'day, mates!

The Pope Says Homosexuals Destroy Themselves

On to another controversial subject, homosexuality. This time, I'll let the Holy Father do the talking.
"In seeking to emancipate himself from his body (from the 'biological sphere'), [man] ends up by destroying himself," the pope told cardinals, archbishops, bishops and members of the Roman Curia last week in a traditional meeting overlooked by most of the world's press. "Against those who say that 'the Church should not involve herself in these matters,' we can only respond: does man not concern us too? The church and believers must raise their voices to defend man, the creature who, in the inseparable unity of body and spirit, is the image of God."

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Immigration Part III Further Clarification

To clarify my positions on immigration, I must state that this issue leaves me uncomfortably with one foot in each camp. But, as a Catholic first, I sometimes find myself without a true political voice in either political party. You read my position in the last posts, which by the way, is my interpretation of the Church's as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC:2439"Rich nations have a grave moral responsibility toward those which are unable to ensure the means of their development by themselves or have been prevented from doing so by tragic historical events."

Our extension of worker permits to those who are productively employed here, and have no criminal record is a form of aid to those poor countries with histories of malignant dictators, some of which we have actively supported in order to promote a worldwide balance of power.
To quote the liberal icon FDR on these despots, "he may be an SOB, but at least he's our SOB!"This pragmatic approach may be sensible foreign policy, but it is hardly just social teaching.
I don't agree with those signs held at the marches on the West Coast either. They have done more harm than good, arrogantly claiming that the Southwestern US is by rights part of Mexico. They lost the Mexican American War over 150 years ago, and the economy of the Southwest is far better under US control.
However, I honestly feel that these radicals are in the minority, just the liberal leaders who want to hijack this issue for the Democrats. I have worked with immigrants since 1988, and haven't meet immigrants with that bad attitude, just social workers (I used to be one, I know what they're like!).
The worst thing I can say about today's Latino immigrants is that they are easily duped by liberal teachers, and social workers into anti-life positions, so maybe the march leaders convinced the marcher that those signs represented their best interests.
I do support the sovereignty of the US borders, but wish guest workers permits would be issued to those who have been employed here for years. With nearly full employment, who would take these jobs they have? Certainly not the spoiled teenagers in my town!

And I have news for you, with the collapsing birthrate in this nation from non-Latinos, we had better get some new citizens to keep Social Security afloat to pay for my retirement in 21 years!
A pro-life icon, Dr. Charles Rice, of Notre Dame, and EWTN fame, in his must-read book, "The Winning Side", ends by agreeing with the above, saying, in effect that if this country becomes a little Latin America by immigration, then it serves American Catholics of European descent right, for having disobeyed Humanae Vitae (97% of American Catholics contacept, and the abortion rates for Catholics are very similar to those of the general public). We should thank the merciful God that these are Christian immigrants, and make an effort to keep those who are Catholic from being swallowed up by the sects, and the liberals who rush to greet them, and corrupt their family centered morality. Latino immigrants are overwhelmingly pro-life when they enter this country, but, studies show, this is eroded over time.
I worked for years in poor high schools with Latino immigrants. Here is an example of their moral judgement. Once, in a bilingual American History class, I did an exercise with my students on "how a bill becomes a law" by allowing the class to act as Congress, passing any law they wanted. Of course, open immigration was the first law, but the second surprised me. The students, mostly 16 years old, passed a law by a 29-1 margin, making abortion illegal in the US. This wasn't all, they gave the doctor the death penalty, and the mother life in prison for violating the law!! I was still stunned into silence by this, as the debate was progressing between the one negative vote, who, by the way was a European(Spaniard) and the 29 pro-life Latin Americans, One an outspoken Dominican said emphatically to her, "but, Maria, you're an intelligent girl, can't you see abortion is murder?" I told them to stay as pure as they are, and not be influenced by their liberal teachers. I pray they listened.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My Letter to the Editor of the Long Island Catholic June 14,2006

I get uneasy when I see my fellow Catholics, themselves the grandchildren of immigrants, speaking so disparagingly about “illegal aliens.” Let’s just remember, that, for most of U.S. history Catholics, regardless of how they arrived in this nation, were considered suspicious because of their primary allegiance to Rome and the wretched legacy of religious wars in Europe. The Know-Nothing political party, which had a majority in Congress in 1860s, had anti-Catholicism as its platform. This anti-Catholic bigotry lasted until the JFK presidential campaign and may still be seen today.

We Catholics are to give a better example to our nation. Hispanic immigrants are our sisters and brothers in Christ, not hostile invaders bent upon our destruction. By the year 2030, they will comprise 50 percent of our Church. If that frightens you, then you know how my Irish ancestors felt to see the great numbers of my Italian and Polish ancestors arriving in New York. Regulation of immigration, including learning English, yes, but prohibition and deportation, no.

Who else will pay into our Social Security System, since we no longer want to have large families? Whose hard labor will build our towns? Whose enthusiasm at becoming citizens will remind us of our blessings? Who will remind us our our often neglected devotion to the Blessed Mother, by their fervent piety and colorful feast days?

As a bilingual catechist, I brought four Hispanic teens to the March for Life and watched their enthusiasm for the cause of the rights of the unborn take hold. I feel optimistic, that with our expression of Catholic solidarity, they can be, as all immigrants have been, an invaluable asset to the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Leticia C. Velasquez

Why Immigration is Good for America

My critic hoodlum, who has come from his usual haunt at the Curt Jester, to keep me intellectually honest, has challenged me in the last post on the birth stats in NYC, saying that Third World immigration is a good thing, escpecially since most of them are Catholic. And to his surprise, I agree with him.
Pope John Paul II when he came to the US for World Youth Day in Colorado in 1993, entreated us to welcome the stranger. He never stipulated that they be carrying visas. So, I welcome immigrants to our shores, and hope now that Congress is Democrat that they can allow President Bush to pass true immigration reform with guest worker provisions for those who are here illegally(proving there's a silver lining to every disaster!).
Illegal immigration is unfair to the immigrant who is exploited, as well as dangerous for a country in the terrorist crosshairs, and we must protect our borders from those who would harm us, while allowing in the laborers we need.
Besides justice for the poor, largely Hispanic, immigrant trying to feed large families back home, I have more personal interests in immigrants. You see, I married a Salvadorean refugee in 1992, and we have three daughters. A part of our income has gone to support his 12 siblings and their families there, send them to college, and bring them here. Four of his siblings are here, raising families, working legally, and adjusting to this culture. Three of his sisters are currently awaiting green cards. They are nurses, and an architect(he attended his sister Juana's graduation from nursing school in El Salvador this August, see photo here).
This would not have been possible without 20 years of sending money home to them. My husband fled during the US intervention in the civil war in El Salvador, which, by the way, he supported. He just didn't want to be recruited into either side by force, and had to provide for his family.
He loves this country, obtained citizenship in 1998, and is working in the internet technology field. He worked his way there from a construction job, going to night school, and finally obtaining his Associates Degree online.His story is not singular. I teach in a Community College English as a Second Language
Program, and see hundreds of immigrants in the same path. They had to take circuitous routes to final exams last spring because of immigration raids here on Long Island which reportedly took parents into custody without regard to their children at home.
This is a topic which shouldn't be discussed with slogans and soundbites, or with emotional name calling. You now know what perspective I come from. Let's discuss this as Catholics.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Grim Statistics of the New York City Birthrate

So few people in America realize that children are our future as a nation, and, that, without immigrants, our population would be plummeting like that of Europe. Look at the article in the New York Sun about the low birthrate, due largely to abortions in the city.
Gerald Augustinus at The Cafeteria is Closed has a lively discussion on this topic.

Pro-Life March on the Feast of the Holy Innocents II

Fr. Groeschel gave my friends and I his blessing, and I asked him to repeat the last line of one of his best stories, the old Jewish grandma whose grandson told her that the Red Sea didn't part for Moses and the Israelites, the water simply went out with the tide. Annoyed, the grandma asked, "you were THERE?!"

Here is the book of shrine of the children who died unborn, opened by our beloved late Cardinal John O'Connor.
The girls are asking their three unborn siblings in Heaven to intercede for their family on Earth.
The sisters looked like so many 'angels among us'. Among them was fellow Long Islander Virginia Sanglimbini, whose brother is in our seminary. A Recent article about the new type of nuns('todays nun has a veil, and a blog!')
in Time Magazine featured Virginia, who was very interested in watching the Sisters of Life play volleyball on the beach on the campus of her college, SUNY at Ft. Schuyler in the Bronx. Her boyfriend quipped, "well, if you're so interested in them, why don't you become a nun?" Virginia answered, "maybe I will".

Pro-Life March on the Feast of the Holy Innocents I

I woke up late this morning, and flew into the city in a record hour 15 minutes, very disappointed to have missed Mass with Fr. Groeschel. We arrived just as the Mass was ending, and joined the march to a local abortion mill, praying the rosary and singing hymns as we went. I'll let the pictures tell the story of what the sight of dozens of beautiful younng religious in full habit does to worldly wise New Yorkers.

Fr. Groeschel giving the marchers the good news that there had been 5 turnarounds, or women who decided NOT to abort their children that day.
We celebrated over lunch provided by a couple of former New York restaurant owners who traveled 100 miles to provide lunch for us today. When Fr. Groeschel commended them, he said," I do it for the unborn". I had the feeling all day that I was walking in the company of saints.

The killing center, 800 Second Avenue, with over a hundred praying Catholics outside. Former abortion mill employees tell us that when people are praying outside, the whole atmosphere changes inside, and the workers get nervous and irritable. Our prayers are indeed felt, and make a difference, although, those who change their minds about having an abortion are usually sent out the back door, to avoid encouraging us.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today the Church remembers the innocent babies who died by Herod's sword, as he murdered boys under the age of 2 in Bethlehem, to protect his throne from the Messiah. Absolute power, terrified of a little baby. Why does this sound familiar? Is there anything as shrill as the voice of the pro-abortion crowd trying to silence the pro-life voice?
I'll be seeing that tomorrow, as I march with Fr. Groeschel and his Friars. Pray for us, that hearts of stone may be converted to hearts of flesh, and babies and women saved.
"A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation; Rachel, weeping for her children, but she would not be consoled, because they were no more." St. Matthew 3:18

Is God Calling you to Start an EWTN radio affiliate?

I recently heard the ad, as I'm sure many of you have, on EWTN, on to apply for an FCC license to begin a not-for-profit FM radio station affiliate of EWTN in your area. I have just contacted the Catholic Radio Association , and there may be, upon further investigation, a possibility of an FM affiliate in my area.
My only qualification is zeal for spreading the Gospel, and a husband who is on board with this. We have no funds to spare, but we do have many wonderful Catholic friends who are excited about the opportunity to pierce the darkness with the light of EWTN radio. If God wants to use us to bring His Eternal Word to His people, we figure, He's got the money (that was the line both Mothers used; Teresa and Angelica, and look what they accomplished from nothing!)

I want you to pray for this endeavor, what really excites me is, not only could we broadcast the wonderful programming of EWTN in English 24/7, but also in Spanish, as my husband and I are both fluent. Double the results for the same investment. Only God can make this happen, so pray that we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, and, since it would be hard to be less qualified than we are to begin a radio station, why don't you go to their website, and ask the Catholic Radio Association if your area qualifies as well?

Feast of St. John the Evangelist

This beloved disciple was the only man who didn't run out on Jesus during his Crucifixion, and thus earned the double blessing of living to old age (ie, NOT dying a martyr) and accompanying the Blessed Virgin through the rest of her life. He also wrote the Gospel of John, two letters, and received the vision of the book of Revelations while on the Greek Island of Patmos.

Now, you'd think I would learn from his example, if you stand by Christ when the going gets rough, your life will produce greatness and be a blessing to others.
Sigh, don't give up on me, Lord, I'm a slow learner!

What's so Terrible About Down Syndrome?

The UK Times has published a great piece by Simon Barnes about raising a child with Down Syndrome. In it he says, "The never-disputed terribleness of Down’s syndrome is used as one of the great justifications for abortion: abortion has to exist so that we don’t people the world with monsters. I am not here to talk about abortion — but I am here to tell you that Down’s syndrome is not an insupportable horror for either the sufferer or the parents. I’ll go further: human beings are not better off without Down’s syndrome."
--Simon Barnes, sports writer
HT Mary meets Dolly

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why do we have Christmas Trees?

Fr. Martin Fox, explains the origins of the Christmas tree, and what it represents, none other than the Tree of Life.
Enjoy your Christmas Tree, and keep it up for the enitire 12 days of Christmas, until Epiphany.
We certainly are!

The Holy Father's Christmas Eve Homily

Moneybags has done a great job summarizing Pope Benedict's words to the faithful this Christmas.

What does the Church teach about the Eucharist?

Here is a great resource page to become informed, or to pass on to those family members who challenged our faith yesterday. . .

How has the culture of 'drive-by abortion' hurt us?

The Part Time Pundit has the answers.

St Stephen, the First Martyr

(d. 36 A.D.?)

All we know of Stephen is found in Acts of the Apostles, chapters six and seven. It is enough to tell us what kind of man he was:
At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.... (Acts 6:1-5)
Acts says that Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders among the people. Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.
In his speech, Stephen recalled God’s guidance through Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).
His speech brought anger from the crowd. “But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God....’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him....As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit....Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b).
Hat Tip Catholic Online

God Rest You Me- Stop the Caroling or you're under arrest!!

Many times people laugh at us for getting involved in squirmishes like this, but they are actually test cases for the ACLU; if Ms Baldwin can bring a cop to threaten Christmas carolers, perhaps a lawsuit could be found here. . . and our religious freedom is further curtailed.
Hitler didn't become a dictator overnight, it was an incremental erosion of the German citizen's rights, with their permission, that led to the horror of totalitarianism.
"BUT, we have the Constitution!" you argue, however, as a law professor of my father's once said, "the constitution only means what the Supreme Court says it means". And the courts rule this country, in case you've been sleeping this past decade. We need more Judge Roy Moore-type heroes who stand up for the underlying Judeo-Christianity of this nation, despite what the prevailing liberal legal trends dictate.
This battle will be continued next Christmas, and the next, and the next. . .

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Carnival of Christmas is up

How Will you receive Our Lord this Christmas?

I agreed with this Yalie about not wanting to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Here is our position, as well as general guidelines to receiving the Holy Eucharist.

It hurts me deeply how some of us receive the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ so cavalierly. Remember Whom you are receiving, and what it cost Him.

A friend of mine once saw an incident where the Host was dropped on the floor by an Extraordinary Minister. The Ordinary Minister, who was my pastor, Monsignor McDonald, fell to his knees, and, after consuming the Host, licked the church floor to consume any particles that may have remained on the floor, before they were trampled on. A Jewish man saw this, and thought, "WOW, he REALLY believes that is the Body of Christ." He became a Catholic.

The Christmas Novena

If you, like me, missed saying the Christmas Novena, you can catch up with it via You Tube on Nunblog. Those Daughters of St. Paul are really up-to-the-minute in technology!

The Birth of the Creche

Francis, recalling a visit he had made years before to Bethlehem, resolved to create the manger he had seen there. The ideal spot was a cave in nearby Greccio. He would find a baby (we’re not sure if it was a live infant or the carved image of a baby), hay upon which to lay him, an ox and an ass to stand beside the manger. Word went out to the people of the town. At the appointed time they arrived carrying torches and candles.
One of the friars began celebrating Mass. Francis himself gave the sermon. His biographer, Thomas of Celano, recalls that Francis “stood before the manger…overcome with love and filled with a wonderful happiness…” For Francis, the simple celebration was meant to recall the hardships Jesus suffered even as an infant, a savior who chose to become poor for our sake, a truly human Jesus.

HT American

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thou Art Peter, and Upon This Rock I Shall Build My Church

Going to Confession Tonight? We did!

It's time to clean house for Christmas. Literally, and internally. If you have been away for a long time, don't worry. The priests LOVE to hear from you! It gives them a deep sense of accomplishment for bringing a lost sheep into the fold. You haven't done anything they haven't heard many times before.
If it hasn't been so long, but you are reluctant to confess something like me, "I lost patience and screamed at the kids AGAIN", read this article.
Go anyway, you need the grace of the sacrament to keep fighting the good fight.

Firm purpose of ammendment doesn't mean overcoming sins as a Lone Ranger, toughing it out alone before you are worthy to come back to confession.
It's more like a little child, with a hurt finger which he got while touching the hot stove Daddy had just warned him about, running to him for comfort in his pain nonetheless. Does Daddy refuse to pick him up, and, shaking a long finger at him say, "I told you so!" No, he scoops up the little one, kisses the burnt finger, and then says it. With tears in his eyes at the hurt he sees.

Come home to the sacraments for Christmas. You can give no greater gift to yourself, your family, and your God.
HT Danielle Bean

Killer Tiller Escapes 30 Charges Against Him

This happens all the time in abortion business, and I do mean business. Henious crimes are pardoned, because of cronyism. Abortionists make big bucks, and their large campaign contributions pay off. Only hours after District Attorney Phil Kline filed 30 charges against abortionist Dr. Tiller,of Witchita, KS, he slithered away unscathed. The charges are quite serious, they include witholding the names of child rapists from authorities(so he could abort their children, and leave them free to rape again)and performing thousands of illegal late term abortions.
See my link to the interview with a young woman, who as a 13 year old girl who had her 20 week old unborn child killed at Tiller's mill. One wonders why her parents were so keen to have their grandchild aborted, that they drove to Kansas from Maryland. No rapist was named to authorities in Kelly Dickerson's case. This is a crime under Kansas law.

In Kansas, late term abortions may be performed only if there is a risk to the mother's health. To those with experience in the pro-life movement, we know that this is the loophole you can drive a truck through. Each and every one of these late term abortions had, written in Tiller's had, "depression of the mother" listed as the health risk.
What I'm going to say now proves I love my enemies: pray for George Tiller's immortal soul.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sacreligious Sunday Planned for Christmas Eve

Comedy Central, no stranger to Catholic-bashing, is now taking a day, the vigil of the Lord's birth, to defame Christmas.

I Live Near the Abortion Capital of the World

So, I plan to visit New York City with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Fr. Groeschel's Order, and attend 8AM Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents on December 28th, the feast of the Holy Innocents, to pray, and to march to protest this terrible notoriety.
This shrine is famous for it's Book of Life, where you can enter the name of an unborn child who died before birth, and receive monthly masses in their honor and for your comfort. My three miscarried babies, Simeon, Theodore and Patrick are listed there. Just click on the link above, and you can list your unborn babies online. It's such a comfort to me to know they are remembered here in such a beautiful way.
Join with us spiritually, if not physically, and perhaps we can turn New York, and our country around to the Culture of Life. It happened to Rome!

The Pope Engourages Nativity Scenes in Our Homes

He(Pope Benedict XVI) also encouraged the custom of setting up nativity scenes in the home.
"It is my hope that such an important element (of Christmas) not only part of our spirituality, but also of our culture and art continue to be a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ."
The home nativity scene is the traditional focal point of the Italian Christmas, with families working for days on elaborate settings which, along with the main figures, often include village scenes, artistic lighting and even fountains with running water.

I guess my Fontaninni Nativity Scene qualifies me as an Italian. Good. I am half Italian. My Nana was born in the heart of little Italy in New York City, Mulberry Street, and my Grandfather was born in Pietrelcina, the birthplace of Padre Pio. They were baptized in the same church, Santa Maria del Angeli, ten years apart. That may be as close as I'll get to sainthood. Padre Pio, pray for us.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Good News on Long Island! St. Anthony's High School is Planning a New Chapel

I got this from Shrine of the Holy Whapping It seems the chapel will be modelled on the Romanesque Chapel at the Cloisters Museum in Manhattan. I can't wait to see it!

The Pizza Man is backing Brownback for President

I found a great post from Jay Anderson on Dominoes Pizza magnate, Tom Monaghan's support of Senator Sam Brownback's presidential bid. As a Catholic pro-life mother, I most enthusiastically support Senator Brownback's candidacy. It's a long shot, but we're still two years out and if we Catholics can finally organize ourselves, we are 20% of this country, and could easily bring about a cultural shift within this country towards the Culture of Life. If we put life issues first, the rest will fall into place.
How can we ask God to bless an America that kills it's most vulnerable citizens? Mother Teresa said, at the Catholic Prayer Breakfast, where she stood a few feet from Hillary and Bill Clinton, "the biggest destroyer of peace is abortion".

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You Tube Silent Night by Bing Crosby

I believe that this single was the number one greatest hit for decades. I can understand why. It's awesome. How many of you like to see "Going my Way" or "The Bells of St. Mary's" as your favorite Christmas movie? I already saw "Going my Way" and "It's a Wonderful Life" this year to set the mood. I'm in the Christmas spirit!

Bella, the movie

This pro-life movie won acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are featuring it at their monthly gathering, called the Catholic Underground in Manhattan on January 5th. Take a look at the trailer.

Catholic Heroes: Monsignor James McDonald

The good news is our seminary rector, Msgr. James McDonald. He was my pastor, and the reason I moved to St. John's in Center Moriches, and though gone now 6 years, he has left a legacy in our parish. We still have First Saturday Devotions, 10 hours of Adoration on Thursdays with nearly continual group prayers for life and priestly vocations, and long lines in the confessionals.Is there any wonder that, under his able guidance, vocations are surging in this diocese?!National Catholic Register interviewed Monsignor this summer, and apty nicknamed him "the priestmaker".Bishop Murphy exercised excellent pastoral judgement in chosing Msgr. McDonald as seminary rector. I was at the Eucharist Youth Congress last summer when he called "Monsignor McDonald is the priest I most admire, he is a mixture of father and grandfather figure to all the youth of this diocese". Yes, I AM optimistic that this diocese is coming out of the woods!

Fr McCartney Speaks to a Youth 2000 Retreat at his Parish

"So often today youth ministry makes the mistake of watering down the Catholic faith in an attempt to make it more attractive to teenagers,” said Father John McCartney, pastor of St. Matthew’s Church. “What young people really long for is the Catholic faith, pure and undiluted. This is the great secret behind the success of Youth 2000: bring young people together from different parishes and different backgrounds, place them in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, have priests, religious and laity zealously speak to them of the truths of the Catholic faith, challenge them to live it, and then step back and be amazed at what happens.”
The retreat is run at different parishes around the country by Fr. Benedict Groschel's order, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, an orthodox YOUNG order based in New York, which is bursting with vibrant vocations.
Doesn't this give you hope for the future of the Church?!

Carholic Carnival 98 is up

Go over and be inspired by your fellow Catholics at Theological Calculus.

This Quote Saved the Day for Me

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii posted this quote, which was well needed as some of the pre-Christmas madness had started to get to me.

One who is anchored in God does not suffer any loss, even if attacked by a thousand waves and a thousand storms. On the contrary, he emerges stronger.
St. John Chrysostom

It reminded me of the vision of St. John Bosco.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What does the Vatican think of "The Nativity Story"?

Amid many specious rumors about the Holy Father boycotting the Vatican screening of the film, the truth can be found at the above link, from Catholic News Service.
Here's my two cents. Catholics can get stuck in a boycott mentality. I always try to shop where my morality is respected, (for example I was planning to boycott Walmart last weekend for supporting the gay agenda, until they announced they will no longer be giving them funds)
So, let's get it straight, boycotts work, and have their place when groups or companies are deliberately supporting anti-Christian agendas, but they're not the only way to bring about cultural change.
There are some Catholics who want to boycott "The Nativity Story" because the girl who plays Mary has gotten pregnant at 16 and hasn't any shame about it. With 40% of births in this country to unwed mothers, not to mention the unreported pregnancies that end in abortion, Keisha Castle-Hughes has plenty of company. Who could blame her for thinking this is normal if her parents didn't raise her in a faith tradition? I would much rather that the Immaculate Virgin be played by a girl of higher morals, but that doesn't necessarily mean her performance had no merit.
Director Catherine Hardwicke, a Presbyterian may not have our Catholic perspective in mind when she filmed certain scenes (the recital of the Magnificat comes at the end of the film) but she doesn't offend Catholic doctrine by implying that Mary and Joseph were physically husband and wife after the birth of Christ. Let's see what she does capture in terms of an increased role for St. Joseph compared to previous films, like my favorite "Jesus of Nazareth" where he hardly spoke.
St. Joseph is played by Oscar Isaac who has had a "very Christian" upbringing, and Producer Mary Bowen a Catholic felt that the heroism of St. Joseph is a significant theme in the Christmas story.
The "National Catholic Register" film critic Steven D. Greydanus states, "in the three years since "The Passion's" debut, "The Nativity Story" may be the only big-studio religious film". "Perhaps "The Nativity Story" may even open more doors in Hollywood for future Bible films, especially if it achieves success without "Passion"like controversy.
Let's get out there, see the movie, and send Hollywood a positive message for a change. If not a resounding response like the magnificent "The Passion of the Christ" then at least a 'nice try, let's see some more films like this'.

How Young Women Ruin Their Lives

They do it by believing the radical feminist lie that you can give to complete strangers what belongs to your husband alone, and find fulfillment.

Have you compared your celebration of Christmas with that of the rest of the world?

The Catholic Housewife has.

Dr James Dobson in Time Editorial about Mary Cheney's Pregnancy

Longtime traditional morality warrior, Dr. James Dobson comments in a Time Magazine Editorial on Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary's pregnancy. He dares to suggest the child should have a father.
Dr. Dobson has based his Editorial on this documentation from respected researchers, however some of those whose research he used are now crying, "foul". It seems they are part of the liberal groupthink which dominates academia, censoring those with traditional morality.
Don't worry, Dr. Dobson, the more the left snipes at you, the greater the powerful truth of your message.

Monday, December 18, 2006

All Time Catholic Hero Bill Donohue Ruffles Feathers in Boston

Printed in the Boston Herald Saturday, December 16, 2006
PC on Earth: Merry Christmas from Bill Donohue, Catholic League
By Associated PressNEW YORK - As it is for millions of people, Christmas is Bill Donohue's busy season.

While others spend time wrapping and shopping, Donohue stays busy sniping - at the Kentucky school where Santa Claus was banned. And the assorted colleges where the politics of inclusion keep the word "Christmas" off campus. And the Seattle airport where all the Christmas trees were removed."It's political correctness run amok," says Donohue, president of the watchdog Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. "Every day I'm putting out a statement about the latest absurdity ... This time of year, you can just bank on it."In this time of "Peace On Earth," Donohue does battle with those who - in his words - are part of the "secular crusade scrubbing society free of religion."Donohue's sardonic style mingles comedy with Catholicism, and he rarely holds back. After a variety of colleges offered multi-cultural December celebrations - but failed to mention Christmas, even as one misspelled "Kwanza" - Donohue posed this question: "Why not just start the academic year a month earlier and cancel December?"It's a typical shot from one of the league's ubiquitous press releases, where Donohue serves as Santa to his membership of 350,000 and Scrooge to those who run afoul of him.An example: Inspired by a Zogby poll that showed 95 percent of Americans were not offended by hearing the phrase "Merry Christmas" while shopping, Donohue immediately set out to identify the 5 percent who took umbrage.Ladies and gentlemen, the "Why I Hate Christmas Contest."Ho, ho, ho."When you're dealing with the theater of the absurd, sarcasm is necessary," Donohue said. "How else do you deal with this? It is in the venue of the surreal."Another example: The annual "Breakfast With Santa" held in a suburban New York elementary school. An anonymous complaint led to its rechristening as the "Winter Wonderland Breakfast," where Santa now shares top billing with Frosty the Snowman."Just shut up and don't tell the kids why 'Breakfast with Santa' has been censored and they won't know the difference," Donohue needled. "Just as residents need to know who the child abusers are in their neighborhood, they need to know who among them would abuse the right of children to enjoy Santa."Such over-the-top rants bring out the Donohue detractors. A recent Donohue op-ed piece in the Daily News prompted a series of critical letters to the editor, including one from the Netherlands."Until William Donohue and the rest of the Christmas warriors can show me a case of gangs of secular humanists roving the streets and tearing down Christmas ornaments or nailing shut church doors, I don't want to hear any more about this imaginary war on Christmas," wrote Paul Richard of Bloomfield, N.J.Barry Hammer of Amstelveen, Netherlands, was more succinct: "William Donohue needs to get a grip."The Catholic League was founded in 1973, but it wasn't until Donohue took over two decades later that the organization took off. He has become a constant presence among the television pundits, bringing his blunt comments and booming voice to a national audience.The debate over the separation of Christmas and the holiday season is nothing new. Last year, pressure from conservative groups led Wal-Mart to abandon its use of "happy holidays" in favor of a return to the word "Christmas" in advertising and employee greetings. Battles over the placement of creches and menorahs in public places go back more than two decades.But Donohue, who took over as president of the Catholic League in 1993, focuses much of his "Christmas Watch" attention on the more absurd elements of the season. Each December, Dononhue hones in on a single issue - what he calls "the diluting and dumbing down of the cultural and religious significance of Christmas."To his critics, Donohue offers this bit of holiday - er, Christmas - cheer: "Take a deep breath, and a drink with it. Sit back and relax."

Profile in Christian Courage: Nurse Mary Bauer

After receiving her nursing degree at age 48, Mary Bauer encountered a moral dilemma her very first day of work in a Chicago area hospital. She was asked to assist in the abortion death of a 22nd week pre-born child with Down Syndrome.
She said NO!! And she's right!
Not only legally, but more importantly, in the eyes of God.
Amen, sister!

Another review of "The Nativity Story"

I was beginning to doubt my initial largely positive reaction to "The Nativity Story", as many of my friends refuse to see it because Mary has pain in childbirth, and is portrayed as a typical, not Immaculate young woman. I understand their disappointment, (I wish Mel Gibson had done it) however, the movie has redeeming qualities, and should be seen on the big screen before it's out of the theatres.
Fr. Tom Euteneuer from HLI reviews the movie on Catholic Exchange.
Moneybags puts in his two cents.

Stop the Use of Aborted Babies in Vaccines Now!

+ FDA has issued new guidelines that admit aborted fetal cell lines for the production of various types of vaccines and has invited public response, which must be received by December 28, 2006. Since the FDA has invited the general public to respond through December 28, 2006, we are urging all concerned citizens, medical professionals, pharmacists and pro-life groups to let your voices be heard!
It is imperative that the FDA receives a massive amount of public protest on the use of aborted fetal cell lines. Your response may very well dictate the direction pharmaceutical companies will move in the future! This is for all vaccines, not just ones for children. Please go to the website for Children of God for Life for more information on this action alert

Do you vaccinate your children?

I had an incident in 1997 which has caused me never to vaccinate again. Isabella, at her 6 month old baby visit received the DTP shot, as she has previously. The next morning, she had a high fever. This was not unusual, as it had happened at 3 months to her and at least three times to Gaby at that age, 106 degree temperature, and a hyperventilating baby. This time WAS different, however, because of the cough. Whooping cough. She coughed for three weeks, often vomiting, and had every symptom of what they had vaccinated her against.We spent Christmas Eve in the Emergency Room with 6 different doctors who wouldn't admit she had had a reaction to the shot. We paid $500 cash to be told, "she has a virus" and bather her in cool water ourselves.

Her pediatrician wouldn't give her the booster, but refused to admit she had had whooping cough. Later, I read the devastating book about the vaccine, "A Shot in the Dark" which described cases like Isabella, and the doctors' lockstep attitude of denial. One wonders how many cases of reaction to vaccines never get reported to the CDC or FDA. Anyway, the vaccine was changed to the Accellular Pertussis vaccine. Must have gotten enough complaints. I lost my faith in doctors forever.
Then, to make matters worse, I found out that many common vaccines use aborted fetal stem cells, which as a Catholic, I find immoral. Read this article, and make up your own mind about the issue, but know that Catholics DO have a basis for religious objection to the vaccine, and Children of God for Life provides one you can download.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bishop LoVerde takes a dim view of pornography

Read this timely article about one of the biggest factors in the corruption of our society. It will give you an urgent new prayer petition this Advent.

Homeschool Leaders Take it to the Vatican

Dr Mary Kay Clark, Virginia Seuffert, and Dr. Catherine Moran recently met with officials at the Vatican to discuss Catholic Home Schooling.The response of the Vatican officials was encouraging and positive. Bishop Karl Josef Romer of the Pontifical Council for the Family thanked the home schoolers: "I would like to thank you for your Catholic home schooling initiative that opens up new horizons for the family. I truly admire parents, the mothers and fathers who take on this great commitment and give their children not only food for their bodies and physical well-being, but also all the necessary formation for their minds and instruction in the Catholic Faith, which before being a doctrine, is the lived example of parents themselves. You are the most perfect model of teachers because you live what must shape the lives of your children."

Quo Vadis?

Edward on To Jesus Through Mary is receiving emails regarding interest in completing a Catholic survey about the direction of the Church. Send him a line, and let your voice be heard.

O Antiphons with the Trapp Family

Most of what I know about celebrating the feasts of the Liturgical Year I learned from "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers". This website takes the best of these traditions, and explains them, and gives ideas on how to celebrate them with your family. Today I especially like singing the hymn, Veni, Veni Emmanuel because of all the references to the O Antiphons.

The Holy Father Celebrates Gaudete Sunday with Children

Go over to Open Book to see what Pope Benedict had to say to the children at the Angelus prayer recently.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Little Sisters of the Poor: the richest ladies in town!

I have just time near Heaven! I went with my 13 year old Gaby to volunteer at the nursing home run by Little Sisters of the Poor in Queens Village, NY. I felt the peace emanating from the site when we first pulled into the parking lot, and couldn't wait to get inside.
We were greeted at the door by a smiling Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit, in her crisp white habit and veil, and walked down ivory corridors were bedecked with the sight of twinkling Christmas trees, and stunning nativity scenes at every turn. Five hours later, I wondered where the time had gone, having spent such a peaceful day, serving the sisters, and their sweet elderly patients (one dear soul is just 102 years young!)
We had attended a quiet, yet full chapel for Mass with sunlight pouring on our backs, where we were exhorted by a holy priest to remember to keep Our Lord as the center of Christmas, and listened to Christmas carols while packing loaves of pumpkin bread the Sisters give to community benefactors, fed the elderly infirm, set cozy tables for a Christmas party, and ate a leisurely lunch enjoying the Sisters company. It's so gratifying to see religious who embrace their work among the poor so fully and with such genuine joy, you can tell they see Christ in their patients, and that the patients sense Christ in the Sisters. We felt as loved as the patients do, and can't wait to come back!
Contrasted to this spiritual beauty are the Christmas-shopping-frenzied faces of the box-store shoppers we encountered as we stopped on the way home. They had plenty of Christmas goodies piled in the carts, yet there were NO smiles. They need some time with the Sisters!
They are certainly the richest ladies in town!

Send Pro-life Christmas Cards

Tenessee Right to Life has a lovely religious Christmas card for sale, as a fundraiser for their Right to Life work. If you haven't finished your gift shopping, there are a variety of pro-life gifts for sale in their online catalogue.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Catholic Carnival 97

Go and visit Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering to see the Catholic Carnival, eggnog edition to read some Christmas thoughts.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

St John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross, author of "Dark Night of the Soul" (sometimes I consider this my biography!) worked closely with St. Teresa of Avila to reform the Carmelite order. He originally wanted to join a more ascetic order, but she told him she wanted him to help her conduct the reform.
For this he was imprisoned and publicly disgraced by his brothers, further serving to detach him from this world.Pope Pius XI declaed him a doctor of the Church in 1926.
"With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?" Excerpted from Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love — St. John of the Cross.

The Hard Truth

Watch this groundbreaking interview video from the O'Reilly Factor TV show Tuesday, and see the heartbreaking story of a Kelly Dickerson whose life was shattered by having a late term abortion(her baby was 20 weeks old, just like the baby pictured here). It's very graphic, not for the faint of heart, but very important for all those interested in the truth.
Fr.Frank Pavone says America will outlaw abortion when America sees abortion. This video is an important step in that direction.

It's perhaps the first of it's kind in this country on a major news outlet. And it came out on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Unborn.
Thank you, mother, for opening our eyes to the horrors happening in our own nation. Give us courage to work to end this slaughter of the innocents, before too many more babies die and mothers suffer.

Thank you, and God Bless you, Bill O'Reilly!

Wish a Wounded Soldier a Merry Christmas

Here's an address to send a few Christmas cards written out to recovering wounded soldiers, telling them thank you for their service to our country, and wishing them Merry Christmas:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

The Moon Under Her Feet

As a devoted listener of Fr. Corapi on EWTN, I am used to his strong preaching style, and take-no-prisoners approach to Catholic morality. That's why I listen to him! I'm sick of non-committal homilies about 'being nice'. Charity sometime looks harsh at the outset, but it always has the eternal destiny of the soul in mind.
In this series, Fr. Corapi relates a series of facts regarding the Muslim connection to two of the most popular Marian apparitions in history, Fatima and Guadalupe. Both had connections to the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.
The very name "Fatima" is the name of Mohammed's daughter.Today, the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima has thousands of Muslim visitors.
The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a bit more complex. A revered icon of Our Lady, was hidden during the Moorish occupation of Spain for centuries, and discovered around 1500 in a place with an Arabic name, meaning 'hidden river', or Guadalupe. The icon became known in Spain as "Our Lady of Guadalupe" and a shrine in Spain dedicated to her honor. Bishop Zumarraga, the bishop to whom Juan Diego reported his apparitions of Our Lady, didn't understand the name "she who stands in front of the sun"(an Aztec word) and mistakenly used the name of the popular Spanish shrine to describe the apparitiong, thus "Our Lady of Guadalupe" has a Muslim name!
These are surely not accidents, and Our Lady clearly is calling her children there so she can lead them to her Son.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Feast of St. Lucy

St. Lucy, virgin, and martyr, pray that we may always have the courage to defend the Holy Catholic Church.

Moms for Modesty

Laura Ingraham had a great discussion on modesty on her radio show last night, touched off by her mention of those horrible "Bratz" dolls. It's an important topic, considering the shocking statistics which surfaced recently, that 40% of children in this country are born out of wedlock, and that less than 50% of American households consist of a traditional family with both parents. This is where the lack of morality since the 1960's has brought us.
Just where are we headed as a nation?
Let's get involved, parents! The group Moms for Modesty is organizing to protect the innocence of our children, particularly our daughters. Click on the button, send a comment, and post your own.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, Pray for Us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe is Patroness of the Unborn because, the Aztec religion required human sacrifice, and her apparition put an end to this practice in Mexico. May she put an end to the practice of modern child sacrifice, abortion, in the rest of the world.

The battle for the lives of the unborn takes place on so many fronts, so I keep current via daily email updates from Life Site. I learned there that our brothers and sisters in Portugal are fighting to keep abortion illegal in this predominately Catholic nation, but, foreigners, mostly American are involved in trying to force this horrible practice on one of only three European nations to ban it. The others are, of course, Ireland and Poland.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for Portgual!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I've got a new parish!

The webmaster at St. Blog's Parish Directory has added me to this distinguished online 'parish' with a review that makes me blush. Thank you.

Blessed Adolph Kolping 1913-1865

While Advent is full of beloved, well known saints, here's a newcomer. Blessed Adolph had a similar ministry to St. John Bosco to single men adrift in cities during the Industrial Revolution in Germany. He started the Young Workmen's or Kolping Society to sanctify family life, to improve work conditions, and to keep them in the Catholic Faith.
It just occured to me that this could be one of the main reasons Europeans(and Americans) have largely left the Faith, fast-paced city life, more leisure time and disposable income in a city full of temptations, and distance from family and traditional mores.

Father Kolping once said, “The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possess, even if he does not realize it, is family life.”This is where we learn the Faith, grow in love, and revceive love not for what we earn, but for who we are, faults and all. Homeschoolers know this, and try to build children a strong basis in the Faith before the ravages of modern life teach the child his worth is something less, like his buying power, or his ill-used sexuality. We hope that like a young tree, tied to stakes while it's vulnerable, and untied when it can withstand storms, our young ones, by the time they leave home, will resist the evils of the world, while accepting the goodness, and work to bring about the kingdom of God.

Adolph Kolping gathered skilled workers and factory laborers together. Thus he overcame their isolation and defeatism. A faith society gave them the strength to go out into their everyday lives as Christ’s witnesses before God and the world. To come together, to become strengthened in the assembly, and thus to scatter again is and still remains our duty today. We are not Christians for ourselves alone, but always for others too” (Pope John Paul II, beatification homily)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Celebration of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Singing "Las Mananitas" is the traditional serenade for the vigil of Our Lady of Guadalupe sung in the Basilica where the tilma with her miraculous image is revered by thousands.
A troupe of actors travel Long Island to spread devotion to Our Lady in her various apparitions. Our Lady is first appearing to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac.
Here, St. Juan Diego and Bishop Zumarraga discover the miraculous image Our Lady herself 'painted' on the tilma (or poncho) of Juan Diego.
The little ones enjoyed the mariachis!

A Marian Feast and Procession

The girls made ornaments with the Holy Family, had pizza, fruit and cookies, and processed into the chapel at our homeschool co-op at St. Michael the Archangel, while we sang "Salve Regina". It was simple,and innocent, just as our Blessed Mother would love it.