Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming Home


On the way home, we saw one more moose. We took our time and stopped and took some more pictures.

Dick especially wanted to go back to Bryant Pond, where he and the Grumpy Old Men were a few days ago. Dick wanted to take pictures. He showed me around the place. I couldn't believe that they hiked up Mt. Christopher. He obviously has very fond memories of the place.

I can see why the guys like it.

On the way home, we passed the birth place of John Greenleaf Whittier. My father had an old joke that he use to say, whenever we drove by. So I thought I'd tell it to Dick.

"See that place (pointing to the sign that read 'Birth place of J.G. Whittier.' Well you think you're pretty smart, but the man that was born there was wittier."

I won't tell you what Dick said. 8-/

Home and Omega


Dick and I left today, a day earlier than planned. Dick has the MFT Convention to go to in Boston tomorrow, and Omega is coming tomorrow, also. Alpha and Omega are going to a Regional Meeting on Saturday, to cover for eLumen.

Alpha and Omega, are Helen and me. I start eLumen, so I'm Alpha. Helen finishes it, so she's Omega.

eLumen is the internet newsletter of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic in the St. Joseph Province, USA.

We've been invited to a dinner Friday night, by one of our writers. Saturday is the Regional Meeting. This is Region One.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Choose Life,

For five years, the group Choose Life Massachusetts has been working to get Choose Life license plates on our roads. To date actual plate registrations have been disappointing. Only 3000 registrations are needed.

If you'd like one you need to go to their web site and download the registration form and send it in with $ 40 for the plate. Do this by May 30th and post date your check to June 30th.

Moose Alert




A few nights ago, the Grumpy Old Men and I spotted a moose. It was dusk, but we saw him all right.

Today, in almost the same spot, but a little further in the woods, we saw him again. I'll correct that to "her," because she had a youngster with her. Here's a couple of pictures. I can barely discern her, but you probably can't. Take my word for it. She's there.

Besides "moose sightings," we also hiked up the beginning of the Appalachian Trail in Grafton Notch. At first, we tried to walk up to "Table Top," but it was too much for us. So we walked back down, picnicked, and then felt rejuvenated, so we tried to walk up "Eagle's Nest." That was too much too, for senior citizens.

Maybe next vacation we'll go to the city where we can take public transportation.
The last picture is Dick making a damn fool of himself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spiritual Direction

Praying softly in the priory night time,
both of us sitting in the dusk,
keeping centering silence
and clearer even than the chime on the clock
in the foyer, my eyes held
the light through the opened French doors
cast shadows of crosses on your white habit.

Maine


The Grumpy Old Men left this morning, so Dick and I went for a walk in Grafton Notch. This picture is just Dick and I fooling around. The other picture is Dick looking at the waterfall drop and then drop and drop some more. We found Moose Cave, so named because a moose slipped and fell in it and couldn't get out. I was afraid that was going to happen to me because, although the temperature was in the 80's, there was still melting ice on some of these rocks, which made walking slippery, at times.

The weather has been perfect. It seems so strange however to be wearing a tank top and you're surrounded by snow and ice in certain places.

We spotted a hiking trail that we saved for tomorrow's excursion, because we were hungry and wanted to go home and eat.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Day Dedicated to Self Indulgence


We're still at the resort. The Grumpy Old Men went hiking and reminiscing about old times at Brandon Pond. I went to the spa.

I had a head, shoulders, and neck massage. I loved it. I thought it was odd though that we didn't talk. Here was someone touching me so intimately and no words were spoken. It's just as well, I fell asleep for a few moments when she just held my head in her hands.

Then I had a manicure and a pedicure. They came out beautiful.

Lunch and a nap.

By that time the guys came home and took me out for dinner. We went to Liam's in Bethel. The parking lot at Liams stunk. It smelled of fertilizer. Nearby fields had just been fertilized. Ugh! Just the thought of food in that smell was nauseous.

There also was a truck there with its radio blaring. No one was in it. When we left, the radio was still on.

Coming home we saw a moose on Sunday River Road. We stopped. It was too dark to take a picture. It was big, no antlers. It didn't seem scared of us, at all. It was eating by the side of the road and then ran off.

We came home to watch the Red Sox win.

What a perfect day!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our Lady of the Snows.

This is my second day on vacation in Maine. It wasn't good. I was dragging. I didn't sleep well.

I like to go to church on vacation because Dick goes with me. Outside of Christmas and Easter, it's the only time he goes. So you better believe that attending church is a priority.

Would you believe that that's all we did today? What a drag! And to top it off, we almost didn't go to church because I was too tired and had a head ache.

First of all, it's hot up here. I expected Maine to be cool so I didn't pack any shorts or tank tops. So I was hot, irritable, cranky, and tired.

I fouond two choices for churches. One was St. Catherine of Sienna in Norway, ME and the other was St.Athanasiu & St. John in Rumford, ME. We decided to find the one in Rumford, first.

Why? Because my mother was born there and I was curious about it. It took a long time to get there. About an hour. We found a nice park, Ed Muskie Memorial. There's a power plant there and waterfalls. It reminded me of Lawrence and Lowell, MA because there are a lot of old mills. I took some pictures of that park.

We found St. Athanasius & St. John. We didn't go inside, but it looked beautiful. Then we went to lunch.

I was getting stiff from the ride. We had the sun roof open and the sun was unbearably hot on my head and I had a head ache. I was pretty miserable and asked to stop. I wanted to change my clothes, but since I didn't bring any clothes for hot weather, we had to shop. I hate to shop. I only do it on line, but we found a WALMART and we ran in and bought shorts and tanks. Whew!

That solved my temperature problem, but I still had a head ache and we didn't find St. Catherine of Sienna. I was just too miserable, so we came home.

We were almost home when we passed this little church that we missed. Our Lady of the Snows--a mission attached to St. Athanasius & St. John's. It said to call for Mass time.

I just wanted to go home.

I also was thinking of going to bed, so that would mean no Mass on Sat. because it was around 4 o'clock. Dick would never wake up early to go to church, so I was thinking the whole day was wasted looking for a church, for nothing. I'd never make Mass.

But once home, after a cool drink, and calling Our Lady of the Snows, I felt differently. I found out Mass was at 6:00 PM.

We went. Dick liked it. He said the church was nice. He liked the priest, too--Fr. Angelo LeVasseur.

God is good, all the time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jordan Grand Hotel


We're here. Here is Newry, Maine. We're staying at the Jordan Grand Hotel. We can see the Sunday River Area. Of course it's beautiful. Everything! The hotel, the view, the area, the people, just what a vacation should be.

And, they have wireless connection! Praise God!

What more could anyone possibly want?

Trying to Leave

Torture and water boarding are still in the news.

You don't suppose that the Obama administration would try to cover this up, do you?

Naw.

Governments don't do that.

"B" as in "B" and "S" as in "S".

Now, I'm off to Maine where there are no newspapers, no TV, no radio, and no internet.

AARRRKKKKKKKKK................I'm in withdrawal already.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vacation

Dick and I are off for a week's vacation. We're going to Bethel, Maine. Supposedly there is internet access. If so, I can blog more. On vacation you can do what you like to do, right?

But if you don't hear from me, it's because there's no internet.

Bummer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Torture Plot



This picture comes from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish. The talk radio is full of the torture memorandums. What I honed in on was the planning to pin the abuse on the lesser officers. How often is this done?

To me this is an admission that the people at the top knew they were doing wrong and had devised plan "B" to put the blame on others.

What is it we were taught in history, "Power corrupts."?

The end does not justify the means.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bad Girls Don't Die


There's a web site for a new author, Katie Alender http://katiealender.com/ She writes for young adults. Her new book is Bad Girls Don't Die.

Go over to her web site and enter her contest. You just might win an autograph copy of her book for yourself or a young teen.

The Happy Blogger

I forget what I was originally reading, but from that I linked to something else, then to something else ... you know how it is.

Eventually, I landed on an article "Can Blogging Make You Happier?" by John M. Grohol. Of course, I read it. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/16/can-blogging-make-you-happier/

None of the findings were new to me. I've experienced everything except one thing. The article said that most people who read personal blogs are a person's own friends and family. ROFLOL!!!!!!

Most of my friends don't have a computer. As for family, don't you know, Faith is an embarrassment, a "character," no one interesting enough to bother with. That's why I blog. I write my thoughts down because no one else is interested. It's on the internet so I am connected to the rest of the world, whether they're interested or not. This gives me a sense of integration. I feel connected to others outside my immediate sphere.

Blogging is the best kind of personal journal because I do get the occassional comment. What's funny is people will send me an email, but don't want to comment on the blog. OK. This bit of social interaction can only result from a blog, not my private diary.

It's also a big kick to hear or read people discussing my entries and they're unaware that the author is present.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boston Catholic Women's Conference

WOW! That about sums it up.

The parish arranged for a bus to take us in. It didn't take long and it was much more convenient. We arrived in plenty of time to get coffee and seats and meet friends and socialize. The only thing wrong was the temperature. It was freezing. I don't think it ever warmed up. We were in BC's hockey rink. We were sitting where there usually is ice and I think the temperature was set to keep water frozen. Brrrrrr.

The first speaker was Sister Nancy Kellar, SC. She was an excellent choice to open. She said she was charismatic, and one of the other speakers said she was too. Maybe the key to getting good speakers is to pick the ones in the Charismatic movement. She spoke about trusting the Lord. Trust and hope are really the same.

I'll have to remember Sister's definition of Faith. Faith is when a tightrope walker stretches a line across a deep ravine and then rides a bicycle across it. The tightrope walker asks, "Do you think I can ride back the same way?" Someone answers "Yes, because you did it once, already." "Good", the tightrope walker says. "Now hop on my back and let's go." Now that takes Faith.

The second speaker was Kim Caviezel. She was a surprise. Her credentials were that she was married to the actor Jim Caviezel. So does that make her a good speaker? No, she was an excellent speaker, unto herself! I was wishing my daughters could have heard her speak. She spoke of marriage and what makes a good marriage.

Then we had a break for lunch. I was hoping for a hot dinner, but all we had was our choice of three kinds of sandwiches, tonic, chips and fruit. Worse, there really was no where to eat it. Some people stood around and slumped against a wall and munched out. Some plopped themselves down on the floor and spread out. Most went back into the stands and ate there. If I knew BC better, I would have gone to the cafeteria.

The next speaker was Dr. Mary Healy. She talked about the importance of Scripture. She also talked about the commentary she wrote on the Gospel of Mark. I bought it as a gift for AQ.

The last speaker was Johnnette Benkovic. I could relate to her because we're the same age and I could easily identify with her college years. She was a charismatic speaker.

Everyone was fantastic. I just wished we could have been warmer and had a real sit down lunch.

I just offerred it up; it was Mercy Sunday. I managed to go to Confession and Adoration. We also had Mass with Cardinal Sean Patrick. That completed all the requirements for a plenary indulgence.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

People Who Ignore People

Could someone please explain to me why some people refuse to respond? Are they so self centered that they think everyone knows what they're thinking? And what gets me, is when I nag because I don't know whether they received my message or not, they laugh AT me! Like I'm the ignorant lout that ignores people!

Grrrrrr.

It's not that I expect a "yes" answer. In fact, 99.9% of the time, I expect that the answer is "no", but don't ignore me.

I just think that not RSVPing, or just not responding to a letter is so rude, inexcusable, un Christian, and even unconsciousable.

Can you tell I'm angry at the Master?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Faith Sharing, Learning, Love, and Friends

Not necessarily in that order, either. I'm musing that's all. One of the comments on the evaluations from the parish's Arise program expressed a desire for more "education" for adults. And! They said that although they enjoyed their group, they weren't going to sign up for the next session because they wanted something more educational.
IOW, he's outgrown the group.
IOW, Arise is fluff. He's looking for meat and potatoes.
IOW, Arise isn't worth any more of his time.
IOW, He wants better.
What is wrong with "faith sharing?"
It's not study.
It's not psycotherapy.
It doesn't pretend to be anything except developing community by sharing. What is so wrong with just that? Isn't developing community important? Isn't love and friendship important? You bet. Elie Wiesel once said, "Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession. Friendship is never anything but sharing.
And I say, "faith sharing" includes both community and friendship. The love of both is important enough to commit oneself to. It's not less than Bible Study or any other "educational" endeavor. It's its own entity, seperate, and even perhaps equal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Running Sestina

Running Sestina
Working for the mob, he once was a scoundrel,
a runner, traveling from here to there,
Providence to Boston. Scrapes with the law
were frequent and numerous. He’d escape
somehow to run again. When his luck ran
out he knew he was facing some hard time.

One night a battle of bullets stopped time.
The dead weren’t talking; still one scoundrel
had to take the fall, and out of luck ran
into the law. Charges and bargains and there-
in lies the sentence. Star wishing to escape
did no good; no choice ‘cept to face the law.

The judge called for the heavy hand of the law
to be laid on and he was in for a long, long time.
The Charles Street jail was not an easy escape,
but from scoundrel guard to original scoundrel
passed a saw. That’s all it took to get out of there.
Once free and with new I.D. he took off and ran

to California. As Louis Montfort he ran
three thousand miles away from the law,
or so he thought. He thought he was safe there
and manage to lead a double life, but time
ran out again, as it does for every scoundrel
and this time he had no help or means to escape.

False ID, new wife, new name, but no new escape,
he was caught but good. No where to turn he ran
into God. Sounds funny I know, but a scoundrel
can turn around, for there’s a higher law
that commanded his attention and this time
he was still enough to listen. In prison, there

was Cursillo and Father Lataste, the Rosary, and there
was preaching, praying, and learning, but no escape.
He had met a Dominican Sister and this one time
he heard her story and didn’t want to escape. He ran
out of excuses and schemes and chose to obey the law
because Father Lataste said that once a scoundrel

didn’t always have to be a scoundrel. There
was the law of love and he didn’t need to escape.
He ran into St. Dominic and time stood still.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Bright Darkness

I'm reading I Loved Jesus in the Night, by Fr. Paul Murray, OP. I was surprised to find out that she had that feeling of the loss of God's presence for the rest of her life. I thought she came out of it. She's smart, though. She uses her "dark" feelings to unite herself to her people and offer her torment to God.

" The physical situation of my poor left in the streets unwanted, unloved, unclaimed -- are the true picture of my own spiritual life."

I wonder though. Was she clinically depressed? Was that why she felt that way? She talked to many spiritual directors, but there's no mention of talking to a psychiatrist. Poor woman, poor tortured soul, at least she had the consolation of seeing that her work for God was suceeding. That's more than some people have.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Service of Light

I spent Easter Vigil with my "cloistered brothers." It was tri-lingual: English, Vietnamese and Spanish. We had three baptisms. One of the men was Vietnamese. We had two Mass celebrants: one Fr. Lenny and the other I don't know his name--a Vietnamese Jesuit.

There were too many people to fit in the chapel, so we had services in the auditorium. That was pretty full, too. The Spanish, Bethany, and the Echos of Truth Choirs, sang.

I liked the bells ringing all during the gloria. But I didn't like the fire alarm bell that rang, just as we were departing. That must have been a scheduled alarm because we were told to be out of there by 8:15 PM.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Catholic Identity Card

Press Release
9th April 2009

Catholic Identity Card Launches at Easter
to Proclaim Personal Faith & Promote the Priesthood

NEW YORK—Worldpriest, a group of committed Catholic communications lay people, will launch their latest initiative to promote the Priesthood—a Catholic Identity Card—on Easter Sunday, 12th April 2009.

Based in both the United States and Ireland Worldpriest is made up of a group of communications professionals who love and cherish the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and employ their skills to promote the Priesthood.

The Catholic Identity Card concept was devised by Marion Mulhall, President of Worldpriest Inc to allow people the opportunity to confirm their identity as Catholics and acknowledge the integral role of Priests in the Church and in their lives. “Our wallets are filled with plastic cards proclaiming we shop at this store, deal with this bank or are a member of that gym,” Mulhall explains. “In this context, we feel it is surely the right time, in a gentle personal fashion, to make a statement proclaiming that we are Catholic by carrying a Catholic Identity Card”.

The Catholic Identity Card is the culmination of two years work for the group. But according to Marion, the Catholic Identity Card only became possible through the generosity of a ‘kind gentleman’ who saw the value of such a card in daily life thus allowing the project to come to life.

The card serves a dual purpose in that it allows a person to both confirm their identity as a Catholic and ensure that if the cardholder is in need of the sacrament of the sick, they will receive it. “The sacrament of the sick is a very healing one, which can only be administered by a Priest,” says Marion. “In times of great need or crisis, we should feel content to know that we carry a card which will help ensure that a priest, one of God’s representatives on Earth, will be called to give us comfort.”

The launch of the Catholic Identity Card this Easter (the most important date of the Catholic calendar) has a particular significance as 2009 has been dedicated as the Year for Priests, as announced on 16th March 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Catholic Identity Card is available free from www.worldpriest.com with a maximum of 3 cards per order with a contribution towards shipping costs for we are a Not-for-Profit Organisation...

For further Information about the Catholic Identity Card or for comment, please contact: Marion Mulhall, Worldpriest Inc. marion@worldpriest.com

• Worldpriest set up the websites www.worldpriestday.com in 2003 to facilitate the World Day of Prayer for Priests and www.worldpriest.com in 2005 as a central resource website for clergy worldwide

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Last Supper with my Cloistered Brothers

My brothers are such a diverse community. When I think of my parish, I see people like myself. We are alike because we chose to live in that parish and we've assimilated the same cultural, environmental, social and political mores.

Not so with my brothers. Whenever I saw the procession with the South-East Asian Community, the Hispanic Community, the Lay Dominicans, the volunteers, and the Charlestown boys, I was amazed that these gangs were sharing the same space.

I saw a murderer help an elderly lady up the stairs. I shook hands with criminals. I was offered Communion by a drug dealer. I saw a priest wash the feet of 12 men. I heard my favorite songs sung in Spanish. I saw wonders. I witnessed grace ricocheting from metal bars onto an altar.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blame

Facing History and Ourselves III had a lively discussion, tonight. Our group seemed split between whom to blame. The subject was the 60 Minute Video of the "Bad Samaritan". This is the story of 18 year old David Cash witnessing his friend abuse a seven year old girl. David turns away and sits outside waiting for his friend. His friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer assaults, rapes, and murders the little girl, Sherrice Iverson. Jeremy immediately confesses his crimes to David and the two continue playing the machines in the casino and leave and move on to other casinos. The pair act like nothing ever happened.

Everyone agreed that the physical and sexual assault and murder on a little girl was morally reprehensible. Everyone, also thought that not helping the little girl was equally inexcusable. Yes, David Cash was wrong and should be punished in some way, but the laws of the state, at that time were not broken.

Public opinion vilified David Cash.

The discussion seemed to have one theme--blame. The crime was done. David's behavior was the topic of the discussion. Not only his behavior during and after the crime, but his behavior after, in defending his actions, or rather inaction.

Some of my cloistered brothers thought David was a psychopath. Some thought he might have been in shock and afterwards had to defend himself. Milt thought that his intelligence quotient may be high, but his emotional quotient was below average. Bob said that there was a disconnect between his thoughts and feelings. Some said that was the problem--he didn't have feelings.

Others, like Ron thought that the self-righteousness indignation of David's accusers were typical of today's hypocrisy, In fact, Dr. Pope said David's behavior was an indictment of today's society. (See my poem, A Window into Darfur:http://oprize.com/_wsn/page2.html
) Nowadays people love violent video games. Good news is usurped by bad news. Children are shooting up their schools. People solve their problems by shooting the people they think are responsible. The public acts shocked, but the truth is they love to see, hear, and be a witness to violence. They lust for it.

Comparing the Good Samaritan with the Bad Samaritan was very thought provoking. Did the priests in the Good Samaritan act any differently than David Case? Weren't both the priests and David thinking only of themselves--the trouble helping would cause? Aren't both stories of prejudice? Couldn't the Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley be called a "Good Samaritan" because he didn't cave under the "mob" opinion. He stated the school's policy. Period.

Finally, we had WWJD. Everyone is a child of God. Everyone deserves our love and forgiveness. It is easy for us to be judgemental, after the fact. "Judge not, less you be judged." Both Jeremy and David need forgiveness. The Kingdom of God is in each of us and in the midst of us.

Most memorable stories of the night are Steve Pope's homophobia and Ron's forgiveness. Dr. Pope told of his being homophobic until he met a "gay man." Upon self examination of the reasons why he was homophobic, Steve blamed himself. Fr. Lataste would say that the minute he realized he was wrong, he was forgiven. I would say that he wasn't at fault. He was formed to think that way. Steve seems to suffer from scrupulosity.

Ron's story was moving. Ron spoke of his 5 year old sister's murder and his having written a letter to her murderer forgiving him.

WWJD?

Franklin's Recycling


I thought I'd give my co-worker a pat on the back. He's trying to get residents to recycle. The Milford Daily News wrote an article on him--front page no less. Well, poor Chris has been ribbed about it all day, and some nasty comments have been made on the newspaper's blog. http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/x481146373/Franklin-man-tosses-out-recycling-tips

Chris is doing a GREAT job. He is serious and hardworking, even zealous (he tagged me)! He deserves praise and not the nasty remarks some people have put on the blog. Way to go Chris!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sestina

I'm working on writing a sestina about one of my "cloistered brothers." The sestina is a 39-line form, constructed of six sestets (six-line stanzas) and a final three-line envoi bringing the poem to a close. The words that end each of the lines within the sestet are the same for each of the poem's stanzas, and they repeat in a very particular pattern, as follows:

123456 615243 364125 532614 451362 246531 + envoi (25/43/61)

This is a very strict pattern. Each stanza is based upon the stanza directly preceding it. The order for a stanza uses the lines of the prior stanza.

I'm having difficulty with the meter. I want iambic pentameter. It's work, but it's fun. Hey, some people do crossword puzzles, some suduku, I write sestinas.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Pastor

I made it through the Passion. I was suppose to be the Narrator and John was the Speaker. But I have such a head cold that my voice wasn't clear. John graciously took the Narrator part and I was the Speaker. We did it.

Fr. Tom announced who we were getting for a new pastor. His name is Father Brian Manning. I googled him and saw his picture. He looks very amiable. He been at his current parish for a long time. So they must like him.

I think we will too. He takes over May 12, 2009.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Conscience Protections Rule

Conscience Protection

You have until April 9 to write to the U.S. Dept. of Helath and Human Services to comment on its rescinding the regulation giving federal protection to the conscience rights of health care providers.

Write to www.Regulations.gov and enter 0991-AB49 in the search box.
Or e-mail proposedrescission@hhs.gov.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Prayer

Fr. Johannes Tauler, OP, is one of the Rhineland Mystics. I was just reading about him in the Central Province's newsletter, Challenge. What I like about what I'm reading is Tauler's assessment of the best way to pray. Tauler says, "Don't imitate the prayer style of others, concentrate on the style that brings you closer to the Holy One." (ser. 73.
As one who can't get into the Ignatian steps, or falls asleep in centering prayer, I like what Tauler says. Constant prayer, like the Jesus prayer, is good. I do that often. The Lord's Prayer is our model and I often meditate and pray with that in mind.
I certainly hope that intentions count as prayer, because I intend to pray, or have my work be prayer, or remember to pray before, but...