Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pope St Pius V

Pope St Pius V (1566-1572)
Born Antony Ghislieri on January 17, 1504, he was raised by poor parents and entered the Dominican Order with whom he was ordained in 1528 and taught philosophy and theology in Dominican colleges . He quickly became bishop and Cardinal and followed his predecessor, the easy-going Pope Pius IV in 1566. He started his Papacy by implementing the reform of the Council of Trent. He cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean – paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation. He also excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I of England and formed the Holy League – a confederation of Catholic armies which eventually defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. Pius V also instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victories.
Pope Pius V also published the catechism of Trent and improved the breviary and the Roman Missal, which was still being used until 1962. He tried to clean Rome from any immorality, forbidding bull fights and even tried to stop bull fighting from Spain, one of the few things he was unsuccessful in. He died on May 1, 1572 and was canonized by Pope Clement XI in 1712. 

Pope Francis visits the tomb of Pope St Pius V

Since he was a Dominican, he frequently kept using the white cassock or habit that Dominicans used, and the custom remained that successive Popes kept using  white, possibly to beat the summer Roman heat. And that is why the Popes still uses white as the color of his cassock. And the first thing Pope Francis did when he was elected Pope was the visit Santa Maria Maggiore and pay tribute to the tomb of Pope St Pius V.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Confirmation celebration

Cathedral Confirmation Class of 2013

Our Cathedral parish celebrated Confirmation for 26 of our young people on Thursday April 25. This was the first Confirmation in our parish led by Bishop Liam Cary. I share with you two photos taken by Chuck Staten of the group of young people with their sponsors and all the ministers and altar-servers taking part. 

Confirmation in the Cathedral - April 25 2013
The second photo shows a side view of the church during the ceremony, while the Bishop was preaching to the candidates. (Click on each photo to enlarge)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

First Holy Communion

June 28, 1958 - my First Holy Communion
We celebrate the First Holy Communion today in our parish, as 13 of our young children will receive Jesus for the first time in their lives. This reminds me of my own First Holy Communion, back on June 29, 1958 as this picture tells the whole story of one of the happiest days of my life. The Mass was still in Latin, and children did not have much participation in the celebration of the Mass at that time, other than receiving communion for the first time, surrounded by family and friends. It is much different today as we try to involve the children in the celebration of the Mass. I practice with the children setting up the altar at the time of the Offertory. They also do the readings as well as the Prayers of the Faithful. In addition, children prepare a banner with pictures of scenes from their lives. They also prepare their blessing cup and a small miniature tabernacle, which are displayed and then the children take them home with them, as a memory of this happy day.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Most important words

The most important sentences and words in our language:
6 words: I was wrong. Please forgive me.
5 words: You did a good job.
4 words: What is your opinion?
3 words: Can I help?
2 words: Thank you
1 word: You
Least important word: I

Friday, April 26, 2013

Remembering my mother

With my mother Mary - August 27, 2006
My mother Mary would have been 84 today, but we celebrate her life in heaven today, after leaving this earth three years ago yesterday on April 25, 2010. It was around 6 AM when she slipped away into eternity while I was praying my Breviary next to her, after a restless night with my sister by her side. But we remember happier times, as this picture shows from August 27th 2006, which was my 54th birthday. I took this photo at my brother Paul's apartment, just after the procession with the statue of St Julian ended, late at night.

In her memory I share with you this reflection written by Cardinal Josef Mindszenty of Hungary: "The most important person on earth....is a Mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any Cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new Saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God's earth is more glorious than being a mother."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Saint Mark

St Mark Icon, crafted by Jennifer Godwin

We celebrate today the feast of one of the Evangelists, and companion to St Paul in many of his missionary voyages - Saint Mark. Last Christmas I was given as a gift a beautiful Icon of St mark, crafted by one of our parishioners, Jennifer Godwin. An Icon is not simple a painting, but is done over a period of time in a prayerful atmosphere.
St Mark is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there. St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark's cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria. St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D.; he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requested by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in this Gospel. In this way the second Gospel is a record of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles.

St Mark has also my all-time favorite quote in the Bible...when Jesus sent the apostles on their mission, he asked them not to carry any walking stick or a second tunic or money bag..."They were however,  to wear sandals." (Mark 6:9)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two watercolors

"River Scene" watercolor 2013

I share with you today two recent watercolors that I did in my limited free time. Usually the summer months give me more time to dedicate to this new hobby of mine, which is now in its fourth year. With no guidance and self-taught, I just doodle on my own, enjoying the free expression of water on paper, and wait to see how it will react to a little color, time, gravity and sometimes luck, good or bad.  (click on each to enlarge)
"Lake Scene" watercolor 2013

These two scenes are from my own imagination and show probably what is one of my favorite subjects, trees. Maybe there are too many trees, but then again, living in Eastern Oregon, we have millions of them, and the rivers, creeks, lakes and mountains in this area certainly inspire me to create these scenes, in my own simple style.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Card Sean O'Malley's message

Sean Cardinal O'Malley of Boston
Last Sunday the Cardinal of Boston, capuchin Sean O'Malley gave a powerful sermon on the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings. "Forgiveness does not mean that we do not realize the heinousness of the crime. But in our own hearts, when we are unable to forgive, we make ourselves a victim of our own hatred. Jesus said “they will strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”; that is what happened to His disciples after the Crucifixion, as they scattered in fear, doubt and panic. On Easter the Good Shepherd returns to gather the scattered; Mary Magdalene in grief, Thomas in doubt, Peter in betrayal. We too are scattered and need the assurance of the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for us, who comes to gather us in our scattered in our brokenness and pain, scattered by failed marriages, lost employment, estranged children, illness, the death of a loved one, soured relationships, disappointments and frustrations.
It is very difficult to understand what was going on in the young men’s minds, what demons were operative, what ideologies or politics or the perversion of their religion. It was amazing to witness, however, how much goodness and generosity were evidenced in our community as a result of the tragic events they perpetrated.  This past week we have experienced a surge in civic awareness and sense of community. It has been inspiring to see the generous and at times heroic responses to the Patriots Day violence. Our challenge is to keep this spirit of community alive going forward. As people of faith, we must commit ourselves to the task of community building. Jesus teaches us in the Gospel that we must care for each other, especially the most vulnerable; the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the foreigner; all have a special claim on our love. We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge. The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims and against immigrants.

Cardinal O'Malley helping at a soup kitchen in Boston
The individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death. Over a million abortions a year is one indication of how human life has been devalued. Violent entertainment, films and video games have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others. The inability of the Congress to enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture.
When Pope John Paul II visited Madrid in 2003, addressing one million young people, he told them; “Respond to the blind violence and inhuman hatred with the fascinating power of love.”   Like Christ our Good Shepherd, we who aspire to be Jesus’ disciples and to follow His way of life, we too must work to gather the scattered, to draw people into Christ’s community. It is in His Gospel that we find the answers to the questions of life and the challenging ideals that are part of discipleship; mercy, forgiveness, self sacrifice, service, justice and truth.
 John Lennon once said, ‘Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.’ Our faith goes beyond that optimism. Love is stronger than death. We are going to live forever in the Resurrection Christ won for us on the Cross. The innocent victims who perished this week; Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, Officer Sean Collier, will live in eternity. Life is not ended, merely changed – that is the message of Easter. As Martin Luther King expressed, ‘Death is a comma, not a period at the end of a sentence.’"


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sins of humankind

Mohandas K. Gandhi

When he was asked his opinion on the sins of humankind, Mohandas Gandhi insisted that all sin is social. Not long before his assassination, Gandhi wrote what he called the 7 blunders of humanity on a paper, given then to his grandson Arun. According to Arun, the seven blunders were:
1. Wealth without Work,
2. Pleasure without Conscience,
3. Knowledge without Character,
4. Science without Humanity,
5. Worship without Sacrifice,
6. Commerce without Morality,
7. Politics without Principle.
Later Arun added an eighth blunder,
8. “Rights without Responsibility.

Still later, Steve Gilbert, director of technology at the labyrinth-Forum at Maricopa Community College in Tempe, Arizona added 4 more human blunders:
9. Technology without Direction
10. Connection without Community,
11. Teaching without Joy,
12. Learning without Hope.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Shepherd

"The Good Shepherd" at St Stanislaus Kostka, Pleasant Valley, NY

At a gathering of poets, writers, actors and artists as well as some prominent religious figures, the Master of Ceremonies invited a famous actor to read Psalm 23 from the podium. He was of course very dramatic in his interpretation...”The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. He makes me walk in fertile pastures.....” Everyone was impressed by what they just heard and the actor returned to his place getting praises from those around him. Then the MC noticed an elderly priest in the crowd and invited him to read the same passage. The elderly priest walked to the podium with his cane and with a soft but emotional voice started: “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. He makes me walk in fertile pastures, He refreshes my soul...” 
When he had finished, there wasn’t one dry eye in the hall. He went back to his place while the Master of Ceremonies came up, himself with tears in his eyes. Then with a broken voice he told the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, we witnessed something very special today. We heard the actor and the priest read the same passage of Psalm 23. As you could see the actor knew drama, he knew acting, he knew performance...but the priest knew the Shepherd himself!”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

God will provide

There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old shotgun and three bullets.  So, he decided that he would go out and kill something for dinner.  As he went down
the road, he saw a rabbit and he shot at the rabbit and missed it.
Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it.  As he went further, he saw a wild turkey in the tree and he had only one bullet, but a voice came to him and said "pray first, aim and stay focused."
However, at the same time, he saw a deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer.  But, then he saw a rattlesnake at his feet, about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake.  Still, the voice said again to him, "I said, pray, aim high and stay focused."  So, the man decided to listen to the voice. He
prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree and shot the wild turkey.
The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer.  The handle fell off the gun, hit the snake in the head and killed it and, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond.  When he stood to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat.
The snake (Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God.
The moral of the story: Pray first, before you do anything, aim and shoot high for your goals, and stay focused on God.  Never let others discourage you concerning your past. The past is exactly that -- "the past." Live every day one day at a time. And remember that only God knows our future and that He will not put you through any more than you can bear.  Do not look to humans for your blessings, but look to the Lord.  He can open doors for you that only He is able to do. Doors that you will not slip through, but doors that only He has prepared in advance for you, in your favor. Wait, and be still, be patient: Keep God first and everything else will follow.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Praying for those who serve us

These have been trying days for all police officers, firefighters, medical personnel, doctors and nurses, and other volunteers who went beyond their call of duty these past few tragic days. We remember and pray especially for those in Boston, Massachusetts and West, Texas, and everywhere else where conflict and danger has become so common. We offer this prayer in their honor and memory:
Living God,
We pray for police, firefighters, ambulance drivers, the frontline workers of our fraying society, dealing with panic and death.
Give them strength to bear the strain and still be human, just and fair.
God we dare to thank you for the work of traffic wardens:
We know we can't do without them, for our cities would seize up.
Yet many of us love to hate them.
Keep it in their minds, we pray, that they are loved.

God of power and might, we pray for people who have great power,
Those in charge of police and fire services, the armed forces, security organizations.
Let them use their power with humility and justice.
And when they feel vulnerable, lonely, when they have life or death decisions to make,
Or everyone seems out to get them, and nobody is there to help them.
God do not be far from them: be close in caring and love.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our true heritage

Helping others in small simple random acts of kindness
God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
God won't ask the square footage of your house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
God won't ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of those clothes helped the needy.
God won't ask about your social status, but will ask what kind of class you displayed.

God won't ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life.
God won't ask what your highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character to obtain that salary.
God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for your family and loved ones.
God won't ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others.
God won't ask what your job title was, but will ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
God won't ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others. 

"He ain't heavy.....he's my brother."
God won't ask what you did to protect your rights, but will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.
God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but will ask how you treated your neighbors.
God won't ask about the color of your skin, but will ask about the content of your character.
God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words, but will ask how many times they didn't.
God won't ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Adolphe Bouguereau

Adolphe Bouguereau - Holy Family
One of my favorite artists is the French Adolphe Bouguereau who painted a variety of paintings that include the Blessed Mother with Jesus and John the Baptist as infants. He has a lot of paintings with angels and naked cherubs in different postures. These three included in my post today show the Blessed Mother with Jesus and John, a domestic scene painted by many other artists.

Adolphe Bouguereau - Charity
Bouguereau, also known as William-Adolphe was born in La Rochelle, France in 1825 and died in the same place in 1905. He used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work. Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.
Mary, Jesus and John

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for the Boston marathon victims

The blast of the bomb at the finishing line at 4 hours 9 minutes into the race

It is a day of mourning for the three victims and the over 100 people injured in the bombings that took place yesterday at the finishing line at the annual Boston marathon.
We pray for the families of the victims and those searching for any motives or clues to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Let us pray for the security of our country, for the service men and women, FBI and police officers and all those searching for any clues that led to this heinous crime.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Getting older - or better

A note written by an elderly woman who is getting older, or should I say, getting better! “Remember, old folks are worth a fortune, with silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet, and gas in their stomachs.  I have become a little older now and a few changes have come into my life. Frankly I have become quite a frivolous old gal. I am seeing five gentlemen every day. As soon as I wake up, WILL POWER helps me get out of bed. Then I go down the hall and see JOHN. Next CHARLIE HORSE comes along and takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves ARTHUR RITIS shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day, I’m really tired and glad to relax with BEN GAY. What a life ! The priest came to visit me the other day. He said at my age, I should be thinking about the “hereafter.”
I told him, “Oh I do, all the time. No matter where I am – in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen or down in the basement – I  keep asking myself, ”NOW WHAT AM I HERE AFTER?”

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Prayer to Mary for priests

1854 - Jean AD Ingres - Virgin adoring the Host
Parish Priest's Prayer to Mary Most Holy (quoted by Pope John Paul II in “Priest: Pastor and Leader”)
O Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, Mother of the Church, a priestly people (1 Pet 2,9), Mother of priests, ministers of your Son: accept the humble offering of myself, so that in my pastoral mission the infinite mercy of Eternal High Priest may be proclaimed:
O "Mother of Mercy". You who shared the "priestly obedience" (Heb 10, 5-7; Lk 1, 38), of your Son, and who prepared for him a worthy receptacle by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, keep my priestly life in the ineffable mystery of your divine maternity, "Holy Mother of God".
Grant me strength in the dark hours of this life, support me in the exertions of my ministry entrust me to Jesus, so that, in communion with you, I may fulfill the ministry with fidelity and love.
O Mother of the Eternal Priest, "Queen of Apostles and Help of Priests"
Make me faithful to the flock entrusted to me by the Good Shepherd,
You silently accompanied Jesus on his mission to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. May I always guide it with patience, sweetness  firmness and love, caring for the sick, the weak, the poor and sinners.
O "Mother, Help of the Christian People". I consecrate and entrust myself to you , Mary, who shared in the work of redemption at the Cross of your Son, you who "are inseparably linked to the work of salvation"
Grant that in the exercise of my ministry I may always be aware of the "stupendous and penetrating dimension of your maternal presence" in every moment of my life, in prayer, and action, in joy and sorrow, in weariness and in rest.
O "Mother of Trust". Grant, Holy Mother, than in the celebration of the Mass, source and center of the priestly ministry, that I may live my closeness to Jesus in your maternal closeness to Him, so that as "we celebrate the Holy Mass you will be present with us" and introduce us to the redemptive mystery of your divine Son's offering. "O Mediatrix of all grace flowing from this sacrifice to the Church and to all the faithful"
O "Mother of Our Savior". O Mary: I earnestly desire to place my person and my desire for holiness under your maternal protection and inspiration, so that you may bring me to that "conformation with Christ, Head and Shepherd" which is necessary for the ministry of every parish priest. Make me aware that "you are always close to priests" in your mission of servant of the One Mediator, Jesus Christ:
O "Mother of Priests" "Benefactress and Mediatrix" of all graces. Amen.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My two sisters

Left to right: Josephine, myself and Rosemarie
Going back in time today, I share with you a photo of myself with my two sisters from back in 1956. I was the third in the family after two sisters, Josephine, who will turn 64 on April 23 and Rosemarie who turned 63 yesterday, April 12. Since they were a year apart, they were always close to each other, even though with different personalities. Having a little brother in the family, and eventually two more younger brothers, they had the maternal sense of protection towards those younger than them. Even though they played with each other as young girls, while me and my brothers played also together, it was obvious that in a Catholic household they would play house, while the boys would play church. 
1957 First Holy Communion
Josephine stayed at home and helped faithfully my parents over the years until they left us in 2002 and 2010. Rosemarie got married in 1989 and widowed in 2001, but worked all her life at various jobs, mostly secretarial work. They were both very helpful to our mother, especially towards the end of her earthly life.
My mother Mary, Josephine and Rosemarie in 2006

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pieta' at Retreat Center

Pieta' by Michelangelo
All this week all the priests were on Retreat at the Powell Butte Retreat Center in Central Oregon. For this reason I could not post any photos during the past 4 days, but now we're back on track with reflections and pictures to embellish each post. This photo is actually a picture I took in the retreat center of the image of the Pieta' by Michelangelo. It is of course a replica, but a beautiful image nonetheless, mounted on a plaque. Incidentally April is the only month that the Blessed Mother does not feature in any liturgical feast, although the Pieta' or the Sorrowful Mother is frequently remembered on the Friday before Good Friday, which frequently falls in April. However this year another feast was transposed to April, which is the feast of the Annunciation, from March 25 (which was Holy Week) to this past Monday April 8. And of course the whole month of May is dedicated to Mary, as we crown her with flowers and say the Rosary daily in her honor.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Memories - part 3

Remember when the words "I do" meant that you really did, 
And not just temporarily 'til someone blows their lid.
T'was no such thing as "no one's fault; we just made a mistake," 
There was a time when married life was built on give and take.
There was a time when just one glance was all that it would take, 
And you would know the kind of car, the model and the make.
They didn't look like turtles trying to squeeze out every mile; 
They were streamlined, white walls, fins, and really had some style.
One time the music that you played whenever you would jive, 
Was from a vinyl, big-holed record called a forty-five.
The record player had a post to keep them all in line, 
And then the records would drop down and play one at a time.
Oh sure, we had our problems then, just like we do today,
And always we were striving, trying for a better way.
And every year that passed us by brought new and greater things, 
We now can even program phones with music or with rings.
Oh, the simple life we lived still seems like so much fun,
How can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?
And why would boys put baseball cards between bicycle spokes, 
And for a nickel red machines had little bottled Cokes?
This life seemed so much easier and slower in some ways,
I love the new technology but I sure miss those days.
So time moves on and so do we, and nothing stays the same,
But I sure love to reminisce and walk down memory lane.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Memories - part 2

Then there were the picnics at the peak of summer season,
Pack a lunch and find some trees and never need a reason.
Get a baseball game together with all the friends you know,
Have real action playing ball -- and no game video.
Remember when the doctor used to be the family friend,
And didn't need insurance or a lawyer to defend?
The way that he took care of you or what he had to do,
Because he took an oath and strived to do the best for you.
Remember going to the store and shopping casually, 
And when you went to pay for it you used your own money?
Nothing that you had to swipe or punch in some amount,
Remember when the cashier person had to really count?
Remember when we breathed the air; it smelled so fresh and clean, 
And chemicals were not used on the grass to keep it green.
The milkman used to go from door to door, 
And it was just a few cents more than going to the store.
There was a time when mailed letters came right to your door, 
Without a lot of junk mail ads sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name and knew where it was sent;
There were not loads of mail addressed to "present occupant."
To be continued......

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Memories - part 1

Remember when....
A little house with three bedrooms and one car on the street,
A mower that you had to push to make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall we only had one phone, 
And no need for recording things, someone was always home.
We only had a living room where we would congregate,
Unless it was at mealtime in the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms or extra rooms to dine,
When meeting as a family those two rooms would work out fine.
We only had one TV set, and channels maybe two, 
But always there was one of them with something worth the view.
For snacks we had potato chips that tasted like a chip,
And if you wanted flavor there was Lipton's onion dip.
Store-bought snacks were rare because my mother liked to cook, 
And nothing can compare to snacks in Betty Crocker's book.
The snacks were even healthy with the best ingredients,
No labels with a hundred things that make not a bit of  sense.
Weekends were for family trips or staying home to play,
We all did things together -- even go to church to pray.
When we did our weekend trips depending on the weather,
No one stayed at home because we liked to be together.
Sometimes we would separate to do things on our own,
But we knew where the others were without our own cell phone.
Then there were the movies with your favorite movie star,
And nothing can compare to watching movies in your car.

To be continued.......

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tit-bits for the week

During this week, I will be on Retreat and so it will not be easy to add posts, but I will do my best. I will ad some tit-bits to reflect on and think about, but probably without any photos or pictures.

Boogie through life
Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened.
Pain and Suffering is inevitable but Misery is optional.
A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.
Life is what you make of it...kinda like Play-Doh
The bubbling brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.
Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
Everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end.
If all my friends jumped off a cliff, I wouldn't jump with them.
I would be at the bottom to catch them.
A girl on the street is pointing up at the sky.
'Look an Angel!' she yells.
Passerby laughs, 'You fool, that is only a cloud.'
How wonderful it would be to see Angels where there are are only clouds. How sad it would beto see clouds where there are Angels.
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
If you're alive, it isn't.
So be happy!
Don't let anything burst your balloon!
Boogie through life!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jack Hoffman - a touching story

Jack Hoffman scrambling with the football

Jack Hoffman just might go down as the biggest star of the Nebraska spring game. And he's only 7 years old. Hoffman, of Atkinson, Nebraska, has won the hearts of fans and everyone in the football program for his courageous bout with brain cancer. Star running back Rex Burkhead befriended Jack last year and is the captain of the support network known as "Team Jack."

7 year-old Jack Hoffman with his parents in the hospital
Wearing a miniature Burkhead uniform complete with a No. 22 jersey, Jack ran onto the field late in Saturday's scrimmage. The Cornhusker fan and friend of the football team led the Huskers in rushing yards on the day. “Obviously, Jack’s a young man who has touched the hearts of a lot of people,” coach Bo Pelini said. “Our football team and the student body have gotten behind him, and he’s become a big part of the team. We weren’t sure if he was going to want to do it. We brought the idea to his dad, and I thought it was a pretty special thing.”
Hoffman scored on a 69-yard run for the Red team. Taylor Martinez and Joe Ganz drew up a play with him on the sideline. “That was awesome for the team and for Jack,” Martinez said. “He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life and so will I. It was awesome for him to score that touchdown.”

Jack Hoffman scoring a touchdown for the Nebraska football team
The play call was spontaneous according to senior fullback C.J. Zimmerer, but the Red team put some serious thought into giving Hoffman a clear path to the end zone and letting him run. Zimmerer said. “I was telling some of the other reporters that he did a great job. We wanted to get him around the edge, giving him a nice lane to the end zone. He did a great job running his little legs there. He’s fast for a little guy. He did a great job for the pressure of 60,000 fans. I’m sure it was not very easy for a 7-year-old.”

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rosary Beads at Baptism

The above photo shows the moment a baby is being baptized. We had three baptisms last Saturday at the Easter Vigil, and I'm sure hundreds more were baptized around the country as new converts were received into the Catholic church. I have three more baptism today and a few others coming up in the next few weeks. I always encourage the parents to take seriously the commitment of raising their children in a healthy religious environment. Unfortunately it happens often that parents never return to church, at least not before their children are 7, and want them to receive their First Holy Communion. I will never refrain from challenging parents to live up to their responsibility, especially since they teach best by example.I've always said that children have never been known to obey their parents, but they never fail to imitate them.
Going back to the photo accompanying this post, you may notice that the trickle of water is in the form of a Rosary beads. And so we pray that the Blessed Mother also protects these children being baptized, and may the Rosary be an important part of their religious upbringing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Women in the church

Ever since Vatican Council II, the role of women in the church has gained ever more importance. Obviously in our own Cathedral, we see women serve as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Cantors, members of the Folk Group, Religious Ed coordinator, Secretaries, assistants to sacristans, Religious Ed teachers, serving in the Hispanic Ministry, as sanctuary decorators, altar-servers and other roles, not to mention the work that the Altar Society does in so many areas. These are positions one sees in just about every Catholic church nowadays. Other parishes involve women in social work, hospital work and many other areas. We are blessed to have women serve in so many ministries, and our community is richer because of their presence and their involvement.
Pope Francis three times hinted at the valuable role women have in our churches, and on Holy Saturday he dedicated his Easter Vigil Homily to the women as the first witnesses to the novelty of the Resurrection. During Easter week he spoke of the tears of the Magdalene and how we should follow her example of faith in our life’s journey. On Wednesday’s audience he expanded his reflections to the women of the world, whom he said have a special and fundamental role in the Church and the transmission of the faith . Departing from his scripted text, as is now his very own tradition, he appealed: “Mothers go forward with this witness to the Risen Christ!”
Pope Francis continues: “This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however! Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his hands. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fractio Panis

'Fractio Panis' fresco at the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome (2nd Cent AD)
Fractio Panis (Latin: Breaking of Bread) is the name given to a fresco in the Greek Chapel in the Catacomb of Priscilla, situated on the Via Salaria Nova in Rome. The fresco depicts seven persons at a table, six men and a woman. Like the whole of the decorations of the chapel, the fresco dates from the first half of the 2nd century. This is the earliest depiction of the way a Mass was celebrated in the first centuries. By chance this particular fresco, having been covered by a thick crust of stalactites, escaped the notice of the early explorers of the catacombs. In 1893, Jesuit art historian Joseph Wilpert, one of a band of young scholars, arrived at the conclusion that the roof and arches of this chapel were decorated with frescoes. Chemical reagents were used to remove the crust which covered the surface, and by the patient care of Wilpert this delicate operation was attended with complete success.
The earlier origin of the Mass was called ‘Breaking of Bread’ or Fractio Panis, as Christians gathered underground to celebrate, to sing hymns, to pray and share their wealth with the poor of their community. This was done mainly in catacombs, for fear that the Christians would be arrested if found by the Romans and other antagonists. 

One of the most meaningful parts of the Mass is just before communion, when the priest breaks the host, then shows it to the people as he says “Behold the Lamb of God....” It is a re-enactment of what Jesus did at the Last Supper when He gave the bread to the apostles, symbolic of His Body, and likewise the wine, symbolic of His Precious Blood.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

He is Jesus

The Risen Christ by Emvin Cremona, St Gregory's church, Sliema, Malta

Who is he?
In Chemistry, He turned water into wine.
In Biology, He was born without the normal conception.
In Physics, He disproved the laws of gravity when He ascended into Heaven.
In Economics, he disproved the law of diminishing return by feeding 5,000 men with two fishes and 5 loaves of bread.
In Medicine He cured the sick, the lame and the blind without administering a single dose of drugs.
In History He is the beginning and the end.
In Government, He said that He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace.
In Religion, He said no one comes to the Father except through Him.
So, who is He? - He is Jesus Christ.

The Greatest Man in History
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Noli Me Tangere

"Noli Me Tangere" by Ciro Ferri
These are the words Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene when He appeared to her after His resurrection. In fact at first she thought He was the gardener, because the new image of the Risen Christ was now different from what He looked like before. But after calling her name, she recognized Him and responded by the affectionate words “Rabbouni” (Teacher - Rabbi.) Many artists painted this touching scene, and in every one of them I noticed that Jesus is seen pushing Mary away from Him, thereby the title and the words He uttered to her “Noli me Tangere” - Do not touch me, because I have not as yet gone to my Father. 
"Noli Me Tangere" ivory sculpture from Spain 1090

Mary Magdalene was honored that she was the very first person to whom Jesus appeared. He could have waited to show himself to Peter or John who were running towards the empty tomb together. He could have even chosen to show Himself to His mother Mary, who was probably with the 11 apostles, waiting to hear any further news of his disappearance. But instead, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, the woman disciple who loved Him so much, because He had forgiven her so much of her past.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Risen Christ - modern images

Marco Cremona's Resurrection at St Julian's church
As we continue our celebration of Easter, the image of the Risen Christ is presented to us in various forms. Unlike Christmas where the nativity is painted, sculptured and created in so many various forms, the Resurrection has a limited palette so to speak, and other than the empty tomb, Christ with the visible wounds, a few surprised soldiers and Mary Magdalene greeting him hesitatingly, not much more can be portrayed to symbolize this miraculous event. However, various churches have a clever way of depicting this image. My home native parish of Saint Julian’s in Malta has a fibre-glass bronzed representation of the Risen Christ behind the main altar. This was designed by Marco Cremona, the son of Emvin, the famed Maltese artist. It was set in place in the late 1970s, to complement the stations of the cross encircling the same church. Three years ago I took the picture below of the white wrappings around the cross, and the just yesterday, another way of wrapping was employed as you can see in the above photo from the parish Facebook page. Either way, it describes the verse from the Gospel of St John, chapter 20, ...”John and Peter arrived and saw the burial clothes there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.”
The Risen Christ at St Julian's church, Malta in 2010