Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI: A Love Affair With the Truth

The first in-depth documentary on the life of Pope Benedict XVI. Includes footage of his youth, his priestly ordination, consecration as bishop, elevation to cardinal, time heading the CDF and collaborating with Pope John Paul II, election as pope, & what he has accomplished in the first 3 years of his papacy.


Pope Benedict XVI Requests Prayers for Victims of Natural Disasters in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Italy


Responding to recent natural disasters, Pope Benedict XVI asks us to pray and support the many victims.  "My thought turns," said the Pope, "to the populations of the Pacific and southeast Asia, stricken in recent days by violent natural calamities: the tsunami in the islands of Samoa and Tonga; the typhoon in the Philippines, which then hit Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; and the devastating earthquake in Indonesia."


The Holy Father continued:  "These catastrophes have caused grave losses of human life, numerous missing and homeless persons, and enormous material damage. I invite everyone to join me in prayer for the victims and their loved ones."  The Pope asks our prayers also for "those who are suffering from the floods in Sicily, especially around Messina." 


All Hallows' Eve


All Hallows' Eve

Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days — Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day — illustrate the Communion of Saints. The Church Militant (those on earth, striving to get to heaven) pray for the Church Suffering (those souls in Purgatory) especially on All Souls Day and the month of November. We also rejoice and honor the Church Triumphant (the saints, canonized and uncanonized) in heaven. We also ask the Saints to intercede for us, and for the souls in Purgatory.

Since Vatican II, some liturgical observances have been altered, one example being "fast before the feast" is no longer required. Originally, the days preceding great solemnities, like Christmas and All Saints Day, had a penitential nature, requiring abstinence from meat and fasting and prayer. Although not required by the Church, it is a good practice to prepare spiritually before great feast days.

In England, saints or holy people are called "hallowed," hence the name "All Hallow's Day." The evening, or "e'en" before the feast became popularly known as "All Hallows' Eve" or even shorter, "Hallowe'en."
Since the night before All Saints Day, "All Hallows Eve" (now known as Hallowe'en), was the vigil and required fasting, many recipes and traditions have come down for this evening, such as pancakes, boxty bread and boxty pancakes, barmbrack (Irish fruit bread with hidden charms), colcannon (combination of cabbage and boiled potatoes). This was also known as "Nutcrack Night" in England, where the family gathered around the hearth to enjoy cider and nuts and apples.

Halloween is the preparation and combination of the two upcoming feasts. Although the demonic and witchcraft have no place for a Catholic celebration, some macabre can be incorporated into Halloween. It is good to dwell on our impending death (yes, everyone dies at one point), the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and the Sacrament of the Sick. And tied in with this theme is the saints, canonized and non-canonized. What did they do in their lives that they were able to reach heaven? How can we imitate them? How can we, like these saints, prepare our souls for death at any moment?

Daily Reading & Meditation Saturday (10/31)


Saturday (10/31): "If you sit in the lowest place ...you will be honored in the presence of all"
 
Scripture: Luke 14:1, 7-11
 
1 One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. 7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you  will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Meditation: Who wants to be last? Isn't it only natural to desire respect and esteem from others? Jesus' parable of the guests invited to the marriage feast probes our motives for seeking honor and position. Self-promotion is most often achieved at the expense of others! Jesus' parable reinforces the teaching of Proverbs: Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, "Come up here," than to be put lower in the presence of the prince (Proverbs 25:6-7).

Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to view and judge ourselves correctly, the way God sees us. Humility leads to true self-knowledge, honesty, realism, strength, and dedication to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others selflessly, for their sake, rather than our own. Paul the Apostles, gives us the  greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, ...who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). The Lord Jesus gives grace to those who seek him humbly. Do you want to be a servant as Jesus served?

"Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of sin, selfishness, and conceit. Help me to be humble as you are humble and to love freely and graciously all whom you call me to serve."


Friday, October 30, 2009

Tim Hawkins: A homeschool family.

The Best Costume of All

Daily Reading & Meditation Friday (10/30)


Friday (10/30): "They were watching Jesus" Scripture: Luke 14:1-6 1 

One Sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?" 4 But they were silent. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go. 5 And he said to them, "Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?" 6 And they could not reply to this.

Meditation: How do you approach the commandment to observe the sabbath as a day of rest?

The "Sabbath rest" was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God's goodness and the goodness of his works, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. It was not, however, intended to put a stop to love of God and love of neighbor. The law of love supercedes the law of rest! Jesus shows the fallacy of the Pharisees' legalism by pointing to God's intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to heal. God's word has power to heal and to set us free from ignorance, error, intolerance, and prejudice. Do you honor the Lord's Day with appropriate rest and worship, and do you treat your neighbor with love and compassion at all times?

"Lord Jesus, may I always honor you, both in my work and in my rest, and in the way I treat my neighbor. Fill me with your love and keep me free from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek the good of my neighbor in every situation."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love is a Choice

The life of S. Gianna Beretta Molla.Wife, Mother, Doctor, Lover of Life – St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922- 1962), a heroic woman who chose to sacrifice her life out of love for her unborn child. In an age when marriage, family life, virtue and holiness are under assault from many sides, the life of Gianna is a striking witness of hope and beauty.

Manos Unidas: 50 years battling world hunger

Manos Unidas was born 50 years ago, when a group of Spanish women decided to do something About world hunger. Today the Manos Unidas is one of the most significant NGOs that belongs to the Catholic Church in Spain.

Myriam García Abrisqueta
President of Manos Unidas
"A group of women from Catholic Action decided the service to the needy, declare war against hunger and stand up for all needs of people who suffer most.

The work of the NGO focuses on two main issues: education for development and project financing.

Maria Eugenia Diaz
Manos Unidas Communications Director
The sensitization in schools, from day care to go to college, especially for people, ordinary people. Why is sensitization so important? Because we feel people dont love what is not known, and that problems should be talked about.

During the last year, Manos Unidas has launched 774 projects in 59 countries across five continents. These projects focus on the most important aspects: the development of education, health, agriculture, social advancement and the promotion of women.

Myriam García Abrisqueta
President of Manos Unidas
What we are trying to achieve is for them to be the ones to develop their own skills and accompany them in the process. Provide support them while achieving the integral and genuine development which is so necessary and authentic. And that is the only way to achieve peace, reconciliation, justice, and to grow.

For the countries most in need, that support makes them responsible for their own development which is the cornerstone of each one of the organizations projects.

The key to an NGO that was born when some women decided to stop lamenting what was not in the world and join hands to establish Manos Unidas.

Best Halloween Costume EVER!

I want one too!

"The 13th Day" Tells Story of Fatima


SAN FRANCISCO, OCT. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A new film on Mary’s apparitions in Fatima is being offered with an advance screening program for groups before the DVD is available to the public in North America.

"The 13th Day" tells the true story of the May 13 - Oct. 17, 1917, apparitions to Lucia Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The film is based on the memoirs of Lucia after she became a nun.

Ignatius Press, the North American distributor of the film, is offering dioceses, parishes, schools and other organizations an opportunity to show "The 13th Day" before it is available to the public.

Anthony Ryan, director of marketing for Ignatius Press, said that "special viewings of the film are particularly impactful for catechesis and faith formation, as well as for basic, family-friendly entertainment."

Organizations that participate in the advance screening program purchase a one-year license, allowing them to show "The 13th Day" as often as they want over a year. Promotional materials such as posters, event planning guides, customizable postcard invitations, Our Lady of Fatima prayer cards and T-shirts are included. Special features on the DVD include optional Spanish subtitles, a 24-page companion Collector's Booklet, as well as interviews with key Fatima experts.

More information: www.the13thdaymovie.com

WORSHIPPING GOD PROPERLY


The celebration of Sunday Eucharist is so important to Pope Benedict that for several years he has been emphasizing its essential place in the Church. On November 27, 2006 he wrote a letter to Cardinal Arinze for a “study day” that the Congregation for Divine Worship was holding to discuss "Sunday Mass for the sanctification of the Christian People." Here is an excerpt from that letter:

How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord's Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass! The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from "Christ's Passover, Sunday", should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence. 

The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: "On this day Christ's faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who "has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope'" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 106). Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, "the first day of the week", rose and appeared to the disciples (cf. Mt 28: 1; Mk 16: 9; Lk 24: 1; Jn 20: 1, 19; Acts 20: 7; I Cor 16: 2), and appeared to them again "eight days later" (Jn 20: 26). Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly. 

Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the "Lord's Day", I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life. Indeed, at every Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the sanctification of the Christian people takes place as it will take place until the Sunday that never sets, the day of the definitive encounter of God with his creatures.

Daily Reading & Meditation Thursday (10/29)


"How often would I have gathered your children together!"
 
Scripture: Luke 13:31-35
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." 32 And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.' 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

Meditation: When your security is threatened and danger strikes do you flee or stand your ground? When King Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard that thousands of people were coming to Jesus, he decided it was time to eliminate this threat to his influence and power. That is why some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to flee from the wrath of Herod. Jesus, in turn, warned them that they were in greater spiritual danger of losing both soul and body if they refused to listen to God and to his messengers the prophets. Like John the Baptist and all the prophets who preceded him, Jesus posed a threat to the ruling authorities of his day.

The Lord Jesus opens the way for each of us to have direct access to God who adopts us as his children and who makes his home with us. Do you make room for the Lord in your life? The Lord is knocking at the door of your heart (Revelations 3:20) and he wishes to enter into a close personal relationship with you. Receive him who is the giver of expectant faith, unwavering hope, and undying love. And long for the true home which God has prepared for you in his heavenly city, Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2-4).

"Lord Jesus, I place all my trust and hope in you. Come make your home with me and take possession of my heart and will that I may wholly desire what is pleasing to you. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it."

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct29.htm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The True Meaning of Halloween

Muppets



Raymundo Damasceno: the strategy of the church in Latin America

Brazil is the largest country in South America in both size and population. But the beauty of this region contrasts with the tragedy of poverty in Brazil, since half of its inhabitants live in absolute poverty.

Raymundo Damasceno, Archbishop of Aparecida and the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council says that to eradicate poverty and corruption in Latin America, people need basic stability and structure.

Mons. Raymundo Damasceno
President of CELAM
In the favelas the population is abandoned. They have no resources to access education, health or work. Nor are they building in those places. The state must provide education and improved living conditions for those living in favelas. That is the solution.


According to Archbishop Damasceno, the Church in Latin America must respond with what he calls a permanent state of mission.

Mons. Raymundo Damasceno
President of CELAM
We want our parishes to be missionary. We shouldnt have to wait for people to come to us, instead the parishes are going to meet the most most needy, disadvantaged and most distant people.

This sense of "permanent mission" refers to the evangelization the promotion and development of the individual.

Mons. Raymundo Damasceno
President of CELAM
"It is not just to help you live a spiritual life, a supernatural life in communion with God but also to live a life with dignity, carried out all aspects of the person. In the family, social and cultural matters.

In fact that was the message behind Benedict XVI speech at the inaugural session of the V General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007.

The trip marked the Popes first intercontinental voyage of his pontificate.

Mons. Raymundo Damasceno
President of CELAM
This visit was a boost for the whole Church in Latin America to continue working with the missionary spirit.

A solution to end the scourge of poverty. A solution that involves all of Latin America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_PFD0HODMU

Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan

This documentary explores the life of the heroic spiritual leader of Vietnam, Cardinal Van Thuan, who despite thirteen years in a brutal Communist prison, nine of which were in solitary confinement, became a powerful prophet of hope. The powerful film traces the history of Thuan from his privileged upbringing in a powerful political family to decades of war, betrayal and imprisonment—when he would celebrate Mass in secret with three drops of wine in the palm of his hand and the host smuggled inside a flashlight by his faithful. Featuring interviews with those who knew him best, never before seen family videos, and rare archival footage, "Road of Hope" offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a modern day martyr and saint.

Available from Ignatius Press. Call 1-800-651-1531 or go to www.ignatius.com to order

Synod for Africa focused on reconciliation, justice and peace

Failure is not in Africas future. A future that is in its hands, and yet to be written. This message marked the end of three intense weeks in which 244 members of the Synod of Africa have taken part in to take a close look at the issues revolving the Church in the continent.

The 57 interim conclusions of the Second Synod of Bishops for Africa are spelled in a document 7 chapters long. In them-lie the continents main issues from religious and spiritual standpoints. While the document is not considered political the findings revolve around reconciliation, justice and peace.

Members of Synod conclude the only way for justice and peace is through forgiveness.

Joseph Kwaku AFRIFAH AGYFKUM
Ghana
The need of pardon and also the need for reconciliation because without pardon its going to be very difficult to reconself another person. There are many people who have been offended, many people who have suffered discrimination and many people who have been serious troubles.

With the objective of peace in mind, the Synod proposes building an organization that favors the dialogue between the different ethnic groups.

The synod also calls on national governments to support the development of a UN treaty on arms trafficking to curb the global trade.

Another issue is poverty which millions of Africans are facing. The synod has called on governments to end corruption and for dioceses be supportive.

Joachim Kouraleyo Tarounga
Bishop of Maondou (Chad)
We seek reconciliation, justice and peace through cooperation of all members of the Church, from women and men to young.

Synod members also point to the importance of religious education of citizens, especially young people and seminarians, to avoid relativism. On this issue synod members are asking governments to improve living conditions for students to avoid them seeking an education elsewhere and never return.

Isaac Jogues Agbemenya Gaglo
Bishop of Anèho (Togo)
"The bishops are also responsible, the Church must educate citizens, Christians to become the salt of the earth and light of the world. It is important that we go home with the aim of educating people. "

One of the most controversial issues discussed was AIDS, the bishops point to the need for new treatments that improve the quality of life of patients and an increased commitment of the Church in helping those affected. Although, they believe fidelity should be given more importance in order to stop the spread of the disease.

With regard to ecumenical dialogue, the assembled bishops say that a divided Christendom is a scandal. They also call for greater respect and collaboration with other religions such as Islam.

So now after three weeks of meetings, the cardinals and bishops of the Synod of the third largest continent in the world return home more aware of reality in Africa along with support from whole Church.

http://www.youtube.com/user/romereports#p/u/0/ZISnSAL8uCo

OCTOBER 28, 2009 - THE APOSTLES SIMON AND JUDE


As Apostles of Prayer, we strive to be like the early apostles who remained close to Jesus on his missionary journeys and who carried on his work after his life-giving death, resurrection, and ascension. Let us pray that all Catholics may have an apostolic spirit as we reflect on Pope Benedict’s General Audience of October 11, 2006.

Simon was … marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence, for God, his People and divine Law. If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew, who, on the contrary, had an activity behind him as a tax collector that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called his disciples and collaborators, without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds. It was people who interested him, not social classes or labels! And the best thing is that in the group of his followers, despite their differences, they all lived side by side, overcoming imaginable difficulties: indeed, what bound them together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another. This is clearly a lesson for us who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts. …

The Letter [of Jude] ends with these most beautiful words: "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen" (vv. 24-25). It is easy to see that the author of these lines lived to the full his own faith, to which realities as great as moral integrity and joy, trust and lastly praise belong, since it is all motivated solely by the goodness of our one God and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, may both Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith ever anew and to live it without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and at the same time peaceful witness to it.

http://apostleshipofprayer.org/dailyreflections.html

Daily Reading & Meditation Wednesday (10/28)


Jesus called his disciples and chose twelve apostles
 
Scripture: Luke 6:12-19  (alternate reading: Luke 13:22-30)
 
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. 17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea  and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; 18 and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.

Meditation: What is God's call on your life? When Jesus embarked on his mission he chose twelve men to be his friends and apostles. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God's work: Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power. When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself unreservedly to God?

"Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All".

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct28.htm

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiness in a Nutshell


To be changed is conversion.
To be transformed is Holiness.


WHO IS CALLED TO BE HOLY?
All men, women and children of every age, in every state of life, condition, talent and profession.

YOU ARE CALLED TO HOLINESS.
"Be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:15)

WHY?
Because God loves you!
You are precious to Him.
You belong to Him.
He loved you before time began. He is your Father.
You need Him.

HOW TO BE HOLY?


HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS

1. See God in the present moment.
2. Turn every disagreeable situation to the good of your soul.
3. Adapt yourself to your neighbor's temperament.
4. Be united to God's Will.
5. Choose God above yourself.
6. Imitate Jesus.
7. Visit Jesus in the Eucharist often.
8. Practice virtue.
9. Frequent the Sacraments.
10. Try to be aware of His Presence.

"Each of us should think of our neighbors and help them to become stronger Christians." (Rom. 15:2)
by Mother Angelica

OCTOBER 27, 2009 – THE LORD’S DAY


In October, 2005 a Synod of Bishops met in Rome to discuss The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church. Pope Benedict in turn pulled together their thoughts and discussions and wrote an Apostolic Exhortation entitled “Sacramentum Caritatis.” In section 73 he wrote about the importance of participation in Sunday Eucharist and we will reflect on part of that section as we pray that all Catholics may see the need for weekly Sunday Mass in their lives.

The life of faith is endangered when we lose the desire to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and its commemoration of the paschal victory. Participating in the Sunday liturgical assembly with all our brothers and sisters, with whom we form one body in Jesus Christ, is demanded by our Christian conscience and at the same time it forms that conscience. To lose a sense of Sunday as the Lord's Day, a day to be sanctified, is symptomatic of the loss of an authentic sense of Christian freedom, the freedom of the children of God. … 

Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. It gives rise to the Christian meaning of life and a new way of experiencing time, relationships, work, life and death. On the Lord's Day, then, it is fitting that Church groups should organize, around Sunday Mass, the activities of the Christian community: social gatherings, programs for the faith formation of children, young people and adults, pilgrimages, charitable works, and different moments of prayer. For the sake of these important values – while recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled – we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day "empty of God."

Daily Reading & Meditation Tuesday (10/27): "What God's kingdom is like"


Scripture:  Luke 13:18-21
18 He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." 20 And again he said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."

Meditation: What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God's kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God's word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated – the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?


"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autistic Artist draws Manhattan from memory

Oct. 26 - Autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire draws a detailed 20-foot panorama of the Manhattan skyline, all from memory.

Salt + Light Television Promo Video 2009

Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation is a not-for-profit, charitable organization whose goal is to use modern media in its many forms as a tool to connect Catholics to their faith.


40 Days for Life Devotions - October 26 - Day 34


Day 34 - October 26

Intention:
May we come to know that divine life, in relationship, creates human life.

Scripture:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Reflection: John1:1-3
"In the beginning" was God. Always, before all times, there was God. This particular God -- the God of the Bible, the God of St. John's Gospel -- is different from all other gods. This God is alive and full of life. This God is not the picture of deadness and death, aloneness and isolation. This God is the picture of life, relationship, and unity. For within this God, within this one God, there are three divine persons who live, who love, and who work -- together. This is the glorious mystery of the Trinity. The Trinity means divine life. The Trinity means three, living Persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- who relate to each other. The Trinity means mutual love and service among three Persons.

The Word was always with God the Father. This Word was, is, and will be the Trinity's second person. The Word is also the Son of God or, as revealed in time, Jesus Christ. God the Father and God the Son live, love, and work for each other. As one, they create "all things" together: the Father creates all things, including all human life, through the Son.

So the Father, through the Son, creates all human lives. The little one swimming in his mother's womb, the infant smiling in his father's arms, the child crying in pain in a hospital bed, the energetic teen running another mile, the old man gasping for his last breath -- all were created, at their beginning, by the Father through the Son. No exceptions. Divine life creates human life.

Prayer:
O God, may we always be quick to call you Father. And when we call you father, let your Spirit remind us that we, and all people, from their beginning to their last day, are your children. We praise you, Father, that you sent your Son to reveal to the world that all people are His brothers and sisters, that all people are your children. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Rev. Paul Stallsworth
President, Lifewatch (United Methodist Church)

Cardinal Peter Turkson named president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace


Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Peter Turkson as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The announcement was made by Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vaticans press office.

Father Federico Lombardi
Director, Vatican Press Office
"I present to His Eminence Cardinal Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, the relator general of the synod and now president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace."

The announcement caught Cardinal Turkson off guard and in the middle of the laughter that filled the room all he could do was thank the Pope for his new post.

Card. Peter Turkson
President Pontifical Concil for Justice and Peace
The first news that greeted us was the news of another assignment. So, let me avail myself of your questions to express gratitude to the Holy Father for this latest appointment. And I suppose with the help of all of you hope to be able to fulfill it.

Cardinal Turkson will take over for Cardinal Renato Martino, who headed the council for 7 years.

A few weeks ago Cardinal Turkson made headlines when he was asked a question over the possibility of a black pope.

Cardinal Peter Turkson
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"Why not? If God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God!"

Cardinal Turkson is the first cardinal in the history of Ghana and one of the players in the pacification of the country in recent years.



The Vatican describes talks with lefebvrists as cordials

The Vatican described the first study meeting between representatives of the Catholic Church and traditional Lefebvrists as "cordial, respectful and constructive.

FEDERICO LOMBARDI
The novelty of this meeting is that the discussion of doctrinal issues by authorized representatives of both parties, at an approved venue has finally begun.

Traditional Lefebvrists want to return to the Catholic Church and the Vatican has agreed to start to discuss the conditions for their potential come back.

In the first meeting, a study commission which will meet every 15 days, was established.

The Lefebvrists dont accept certain points of the teachings of recent popes nor some principles of the Second Vatican Council, like religious freedom, the possibility of dialogue with other religions and churches and collegiality among bishops.

In January, Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the bishops ordained irregularly by Marcel Lefebvre.
But since their status is still unclear theyre not considered part of the Catholic hierarchy.

According to their data, Lefebvrists have more than 400 priests, several hundred religious and seminarians and about 100,000 followers worldwide.


FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE


FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE  

These three infused supernatural virtues, given to me at Baptism, are interwoven in my life like the petals of a flower. Faith tells me that what I believe in is true; Hope tells me the One I believe in is faithful; Love tells me the One I believe in is mine.  


FAITH is the virtue of the threshold; it makes me see in darkness now what I shall see by vision in eternity.  


HOPE is the virtue of the road; it assures me that I posses NOW what I shall possess in eternity.  


LOVE is the virtue of the goal; it permits me to experience NOW what I shall delight in for all eternity.

by Mother M. Angelica

THIS FREE TIME IS EMPTY IF GOD IS NOT PRESENT


Pope Benedict, sharing Pope John Paul’s concern, has stressed the importance of Sunday Mass throughout his pontificate. He challenged the young people gathered at World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005 not to spend their Sundays as just another part of the weekend. As we accept his challenge and pray that the Sunday Eucharist may be celebrated by all Catholics, we reflect on his words.

The Eucharist must become the center of our lives. If the Church tells us that the Eucharist is an essential part of Sunday, this is no mere positivism or thirst for power. On Easter morning, first the women and then the disciples had the grace of seeing the Lord. From that moment on, they knew that the first day of the week, Sunday, would be his day, the day of Christ the Lord. The day when creation began became the day when creation was renewed. Creation and redemption belong together. That is why Sunday is so important. 

It is good that today, in many cultures, Sunday is a free day, and is often combined with Saturday so as to constitute a "week-end" of free time. Yet this free time is empty if God is not present. Dear friends! Sometimes, our initial impression is that having to include time for Mass on a Sunday is rather inconvenient. But if you make the effort, you will realize that this is what gives a proper focus to your free time. Do not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others to discover it too. This is because the Eucharist releases the joy that we need so much, and we must learn to grasp it ever more deeply, we must learn to love it. Let us pledge ourselves to do this - it is worth the effort! Let us discover the intimate riches of the Church's liturgy and its true greatness: it is not we who are celebrating for ourselves, but it is the living God himself who is preparing a banquet for us.



Daily Reading & Meditation Monday (10/26)



Monday (10/26):  "Ought not this woman, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed?"
Scripture:  Luke 13:10-17
 
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." 13 And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 15 Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away  to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" 17 As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

Meditation: Is there anything that keeps you bound up or oppressed? Infirmity, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, can befall us for a variety of reasons and God can use it for some purpose that we do not understand. When Jesus encountered an elderly woman who was spent of her strength and unable to stand upright, he gave her words of faith and freedom and he restored her to health. She must have suffered much, both physically and spiritually for eighteen years, since Jesus remarked that Satan had bound her. How can Satan do this? The scriptures indicate that Satan can act in the world with malice and can cause injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature. Satan's power, however, is not infinite. He cannot prevent the building up of God's kingdom or reign in our lives. Jesus demonstrates the power and authority of God's kingdom in releasing people who are oppressed by physical and emotional sickness, by personal weakness and sin, and by the harrassment of the evil one in their lives. It took only one word from Jesus to release this woman instantly of her infirmity. Do you believe in the power of Jesus to release you from affliction and oppression?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pope: let no African go without daily bread!

Pope Benedict XVI closed the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa today with Mass in St. Peters Basilica. In his Homily, the Holy Father said the global development model should be renewed so that it is able "to include all peoples and not only those already adequately equipped." The Pope said globalization "is a human reality" that may be modified, and that the Church "works with its personalist and communitarian vision to guide the process in terms of real authentically human relations, of fraternity and sharing." The Church, said Pope Benedict, is also committed to working with all available means to see that no African goes without his daily bread.

40 Days for Life Devotions - October 24 - Day 33


Day 33 - October 25

Intention:
May we absorb the truth that God is paying attention to us, and to each human life, personally and individually.

Scripture:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.
-- Psalm 8:3-9
Reflection:Psalm8:3-9
How often we ignore the phrase, "stop and smell the roses" and instead submit to the all too "urgent" task at hand. Is this tendency what keeps us, at least in part, from acknowledging that God's care for His sacred creation is paramount in His own mind?

The Psalmist speaks of God's handiwork: the heavens, the work of his "fingers," and then points to God's masterpiece - human life. He declares to us that God is mindful of us. God keeps His masterpiece in His thoughts.

God, the creator of the awe-inspiring heavens, is not distracted by the tasks before Him. He is not pulled away, as we might be, by thoughts of something "more important." God is paying attention to and attending to His crowning glory, His masterpiece of creation, which cannot be duplicated or replaced, which surpasses the beauty of all other created things - the human being.

There is no way to adequately describe how God feels about us as human beings. There are no words to fully portray His love, compassion or desire to be in communion with us. Perhaps, the closest we can come, is to contemplate the thoughts of a mother as she gazes for the first time at her newborn child. God cares for Life. We, as His followers, should take time to consider the life He has created and called upon us to love and protect.

Prayer:
Lord, you are the creator of all things. Guide my thoughts to consider your creation in all of its majesty, beauty and holiness. Guide my heart especially to your creation of precious human life. Help me to comprehend how essential life is in your own heart. Teach me to appreciate, love and protect all human life through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Terry Gensemer
National Director, Charismatic Episcopal Church for Life

Caritas Asks for Millions of Dollars in Aid for Sudanese Crisis


VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Caritas Internationalis launched an appeal for $ 3.4 million in aid to feed 35,000 Sudanese people who have suffered through violent conflict and years of drought.

"Violence in South Sudan is now worse than in Darfur," said Alistair Dutton, Caritas' humanitarian director, in an Oct. 21 statement. Earlier in this decade, Darfur, in western Sudan, was the site of an armed conflict that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

"If the current peace deal unravels, we will be headed toward a major catastrophe," Dutton said. Sudan is recovering from 22 years of civil war that ended in 2005 with a comprehensive peace agreement between the northern-based government and separatist forces in the South.

Caritas said that an upsurge of violence in the southern state of Western Equatoria has forced 68,000 people from their homes. The Vatican-based umbrella organization of Catholic charities said it plans to bring aid to 25,000 people who are in need of immediate care. Violence in the region has worsened since the arrival of members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a militia force formerly based in Uganda, Caritas said.

In addition, in the southern state of Eastern Equatoria, two years of drought have left hundreds of thousands of people in need, Caritas said. The organization pledged to provide 10,000 people with food aid and planting materials, and to train farmers to improve farming techniques. The aim is to support people until the 2010 harvest.

"People caught in drought or conflict in South Sudan need urgent food aid, Dutton said, adding that "Caritas is able to reach isolated villages and communities."




OCTOBER 25, 2009 - THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME


The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is ending today. We pray that the results of this meeting may advance the work of evangelization throughout Africa and the world. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s homily for the opening Mass of the Synod.

Although the first duty of evangelization remains valid and timely, there is need of a new evangelization that takes into account the rapid social changes of our epoch and of the phenomenon of world globalization. The same can be said of the pastoral decision to build the Church as God's family. In this broad wake comes the Second Assembly whose theme is: "The Church in Africa at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace: ‘You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world’ (Mt 5: 13, 14)". In recent years the Catholic Church in Africa has experienced great dynamism and the Synodal Meeting is an opportunity to thank the Lord. … In order to become the light of the world and the salt of the earth it is therefore always necessary to aim at the "high standard" of Christian living, in other words, at holiness. Pastors and all the members of the ecclesial community are called to be holy; the lay faithful are called to spread the fragrance of holiness in the family, in the work place, at school and in every other social and political context. May the Church in Africa always be a family of authentic disciples of Christ where the difference between ethnic groups becomes a cause and an incentive for reciprocal human and spiritual enrichment.

With her work of evangelization and human advancement, the Church can certainly make a great contribution in Africa to the whole of society which, unfortunately, is experiencing poverty, injustice, violence and war in various countries. The vocation of the Church, a community of people who are reconciled with God and with one another, is that of being a prophesy and a leaven of reconciliation between the different ethnic, linguistic and even religious groups, within single nations and throughout the continent. Reconciliation, a gift of God that men and women must implore and receive, is a stable basis on which to build peace, an indispensable condition for the authentic progress of people and of society, in accordance with the project of justice wanted by God. Open to the redeeming grace of the Risen Lord, Africa will thus be illuminated increasingly by his light and, letting itself be guided by the Holy Spirit, will become a blessing for the universal Church, making its own qualified contribution to building a more just and fraternal world. 



Daily Reading & Meditation Sunday (10/25): "Your faith has made you well"


Scripture: Mark 10:46-52
46 And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae'us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae'us, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, he is calling you." 50 And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight." 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Meditation: Have you ever encountered a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man, named Bartimaeus. He was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah. It took a lot of "guts" and persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man's persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting Jesus' discourse. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.

This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus' attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or rebuffed him because he was disturbing his talk and his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desperate need and Jesus was ready, not only to empathize with his suffering, but to relieve it as well. A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well.

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct25.htm

Saturday, October 24, 2009

40 Days for Life Devotions - October 24 - Day 32


Day 32 - October 24

Intention:
Pray that we display an attitude of humility as we stand in peaceful vigil, as we fast, as we knock on doors in our communities. Though we proudly proclaim Christ's truth, may our boasting be only in His grace.

Scripture:
These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

Reflection: Proverbs 6:16-19

The Lord who made us knows us well. I can't help but think that perhaps as He inspired these words, He knew that our tendency might be to make the judgment call on which sins should be labeled as detestable. He wants us to be absolutely clear, however, that the sinfulness of man encompasses much more than the external sins that we easily identify.

Lest we assign a particular sin as that of an abortionist, or a worker in an abortion facility, or an abortion activist, the Holy Spirit insured that our sin of pride would be listed first. In this passage that speaks of eyes, tongue, hands, heart, and feet we realize than every part of our being is subject to the curse of sin.
We all need Jesus Christ who saved us from the penalty of sin, saves us from the practice of sin as we abide in Him, and will one day remove us from the presence of sin. Praise His Holy name!

Proper self-esteem in a follower of Christ is a matter of recognizing and confronting yourself in your humanity, including the tendency to sin. It is also a matter of embracing Jesus' work on the cross --- His grace that covers a multitude of sins. The Apostle Paul sums it up best in 2 Corinthians 10:17-18: "But he who glories let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends."

Prayer:
Dear Father, Guard my heart. Prick my conscience and may I be receptive to your rebuke at any moment I drift towards pride. May I remember in fear and trembling that You cause the proud to fall, but the humble You raise up. Lord, may I never forget my true identity is in Christ and that apart from Him I am nothing. By His grace, I pray, amen.

Carmen Pate
Co-host, "Point of View" Talk Show

Beautiful Stained Glass - Nativity





According to the book "The Mystical City of God" by Ven. Mary of Agreda Mary received her Son in her arms from the hands of the holy angels and said:  

“My sweetest love and light of my eyes, Thou hast arrived in good hour into this world as the Sun of justice, in order to disperse the darkness of sin and death! True God of the true God, save thy servants, and let all flesh see him, who shall draw upon it salvation.”

http://stainedglasssplendor.blogspot.com/

Minute Meditations


Confession

Confession helps us think more clearly about our sins, recognize our need for God’s grace to live in a way that pleases him and strengthen our resolve to resist the temptation to sin.

Voices of the Saints Quiz: Which One are You?



Here’s a fun and engaging activity you can enjoy either by yourself or, if you have Internet capability in your classroom, with your students. It’s called the Voices of the Saints Quiz: Which One Are You?

Daily Reading & Meditation Saturday (10/24):


Saturday (10/24): "Do you think they were worse offenders than all the others?"

Scripture:  Luke 13:1-9
 
1 There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Silo'am fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." 6 And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why  should it use up the ground?'  8 And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. 9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"


Meditation: Why does God judge his people? He judges to purify and cleanse us of all sin that we might grow in his holiness and righteousness. And he disciplines us for our own good, to inspire a godly fear and reverence for him and his word. God is patient, but for those who persistently and stubbornly rebel against him and refuse to repent, there is the consequence that they will lose their soul to hell. Are God's judgments unjust or unloving? When God's judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce God's judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent.

God, in his mercy, gives us time to get right with him, but that time is now. We must not assume that there is no hurry. A sudden and unexpected death leaves one no time to prepare to settle one's accounts when he or she must stand before the Lord on the day of judgment. Jesus warns us that we must be ready at all times. Tolerating sinful habits and excusing unrepentant sin will result in bad fruit and eventual destruction. The Lord in his mercy gives us both grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a day, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you hunger for the Lord's righteousness and holiness?

"Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you that I may grow in righteousness and holiness. May I not squander the grace of the present moment to say "yes" to you and to your will and plan for my life."'

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct24.htm

St. Anthony Claret


Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848). After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.

In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.

Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi

Patron: Catholic press; Claretians; Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; weavers; savings banks; foundations

Friday, October 23, 2009

ASTRUM: An exhibition on the solar system and Galileos disc


For the very first time, nearly 400 years ago, Galileo Galilei, was able to see the sky using a telescope just like this. That's when the physicist and philosopher, discovered the earth revolves around the sun.

Ileana Chinnici
Asturm 2009 Commissioner
"The Church has played an important role in the development of astronomy, because, in fact, many astronomers of the past were men of the church, which belonged to religious institutions. Despite the conflict with Galileo, many churchmen continued to study the cosmos and nature. "

To mark the International Year of Astronomy, the Vatican is presenting the tools that have accompanied the evolution of this science and is paying special tribute to Galileo.

The first instruments used to observe the sky were only able to measure the angle of the stars. But in the early 17th century, Galileo, used the telescope to observe the stars and revolutionized astronomy.

The advance of technology also led to improved maps of the sky but it wasnt until1801 when a full representation of all the constellations was possible. This exhibit allows visitors to see them all together for the first time.

Ileana Chinnici
Asturm 2009 Commissioner
"Through book of that time period, we can see the changes gradually, the conception of the world moving from a system which saw the earth the center of the universe to another in which the Sun is the center of the universe and the rest planets rotate around it. "

Another important element in astronomy that can be seen in this exhibit is the 1898 Charter of heaven, which is the first photographic catalog of stars and the first astronomical project with international collaboration.

From the Magi who followed the star that led them to Jesus to the discovery of 32 new planets outside our solar system, 21 centuries have gone by, but interest in the galaxy is still alive today. A passion that the Vatican Museums celebrate with this celestial exhibit.



Dating online: How Catholics find love on the Internet


Lets face it. At some point in our lives we all find ourselves looking for love. Some meet the love of their life in their everyday routine, at work or through other friends. Others decide to go online.

Bob and Linda Bochniarz Met on Catholicsingles.com
I just think its a way to connect with someone with the same values and the same faith.Bob and Linda are one of the many couples who met on the internet through sites like Catholicsingles.com.

Its a non-conventional way for single Catholics who are searching for love to find that perfect someone. With a simple search, singles can look for potential matches that share the same values and interests.

It works by matching couples through their characteristics, like physical appearance and location listed on each members profile.

Jonathan and Meg Velte Met on Catholicsingles.com
Even though were both local and there were many a days when I was within five minutes of her house, you could go through your entire life without actually meeting that person even though youre so geographically close together. And, Catholic singles provided us the opportunity to actually find each other.

As the old saying goes, love has no age. Even on the internet.

Bob & Linda
Met on Catholicsingles.com
Im convinced that without catholicsingles.com I would not have been able to meet the love of my life. And further grow as we have together in our walk.

Joe & Anne DeMaria
Met on Catholicsingles.com
It really helped me find someone who had, you know, similar values as I did in upbringing, favorites. Everything was pertinent. So, it really helped me narrow down and figure out who I wanted to talk to.

Catholicsingles.com offers special features like chat rooms, Catholic news and even relationship advice from religious leaders.

Everything a Catholic bachelor or bachelorette needs to find that perfect someone.



Secretary of Spanish bishops praises massive turnout at pro-life march


Madrid, Spain, Oct 22, 2009 / 11:55 pm (CNA).- Secretary of the Spanish bishops' conference, Msgr. Juan Antonio Martinez Camino noted this week that the massive turnout at the pro-life march in Madrid last Saturday was a “vigorous expression” of “popular outcry in defense of life.”

According to various Spanish media outlets, Msgr. Martinez Camino said that the October 17 march “has shown that Spanish society is alive in its ethical perception of the basic principles of living together in peace.”
He went on to explain that the Spanish government’s proposal to change the country’s abortion laws “is dangerous for the legal system and for a society to live together in peace on the basis of true rights-based principles, not on principles of force.”

“True equality between human beings demands that we all be equal in the fundamental right to life,” Msgr. Martinez Camino noted, as human dignity “includes the intangibility of life as one of its fundamental elements.
“This is true for all human beings.”

The spokesman said he hoped the measure would not be approved by Congress as it would constitute a step backwards in the protection of the unborn and of motherhood.

Minute Meditations


Being Needed

Being needed is more important than being noticed. Value the time you have in your “hidden life,” regardless of whether or not your family notices your sacrifices.

St. John of Capistrano

St. John was born in 1386 at Capistrano in the Italian Province of the Abruzzi. His father was a German knight and died when he was still young. St. John became a lawyer and attained the position of governor of Perugia. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, St. John tried to broker a peace. Unfortunately, his opponents ignored the truce and St. John became a prisoner of war. On the death of his wife he entered the order of Friars Minor, was ordained and began to lead a very penitential life. John became a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena and a noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. The world at the time was in need of strong men to work for salvation of souls. Thirty percent of the population was killed by the Black Plague, the Church was split in schism and there were several men claiming to be pope. As an Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, St. John preached to tens of thousands and established communities of Franciscan renewal. He reportedly healed the sick by making the Sign of the Cross over them. He also wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

He was successful in reconciling heretics. After the fall of Constantinople, he preached a crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Moslems.

Patron: chaplains; jurists; judges; military chaplains.

Symbols: man with a crucifix and lance, treading a turban underfoot; Franciscan with cross on his breast and carrying banner of the cross; Franciscan preaching, angels with rosaries and IHS above him; Franciscan pointing to a crucifix which he holds; crucifix; IHS banner; red cross; star.