Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lost and Found

Brother Tonto lost a contact lens while pulling weeds in the garden. Again.  He looked everywhere: under leaves, under clumps of earth, on himself, etc.  Brother Tonto prayed to Saint Anthony:  Tony, Tony, please come down; my contact lens is lost and must be found.

Then Brother Tonto prayed to St. Jude.

The lens was nowhere to be found.  Brother Tonto finally gave up looking and told the Prior.  The Prior came out and looked around the garden.

After a few minutes, the Prior bent down and picked up the lost lens.  "How did you find it," asked Brother Tonto?

"We weren't looking for the same thing," exclaimed the Prior.  "You were looking for a small plastic circle.  I was looking for $ 150."

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Prayer for Memorial Day

Again, I thank God I'm Catholic.  I love our respect for the dead, and the love we Catholics have for the Mother of God.  Here is my Catholic prayer for today, Memorial Day:

Mary, as Mother of God, I ask you to intercede for those who have died serving their country.  Bring to your Son, my prayers that they may enjoy the fullness of heaven.  I honor with respect these men and women who have died serving in wars, terrorist attacks, peace keeping missions, and other works keeping my country secure.
     Eternal memory be granted to these servants of God.  Forgive them their sins, have mercy on them and bring then into Your loving presence.  Amen

As a Catholic, I've been taught the connection between that lifeless corpse decaying in the ground and the fullness of life that soul has been given, through Jesus' Redemption.  Thank You, Jesus!  Deo Gratias!  Thank God, I'm Catholic!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arli...Image via Wikipedia
On this day of remembrance, it's good to go to Mass.  I was going to say church, but we're having an outdoor Mass in the cemetery.  Memorial Day is to honor all American soldiers who have died defending our country.  This day of remembrance use to be called, Decoration Day.  President Grant started the tradition to honor all who died during the Civil War.

A good website to read and reflect upon is maintained by the descendants of soldiers who died in the Civil War.  It's a reference site that will direct you to other readings.  There's plenty of thought provoking literature.

While I was praying for our brave soldiers, I realized how blessed I am to be Catholic.  Catholic is the best religion to die in.  We are always praying for our dead.  We don't just dedicate one Memorial day to be remembered.  Our souls are constantly being prayed for.  One day I'll be one of those "Holy Souls in Purgatory," that the parish prays for.  My death will be considered a beginning of a new life.  Memorial Masses, All Souls Day, novenas for the dead will be prayed.  My funeral will be a Mass of Christian burial in sacred ground.  And being a Lay Dominican is an extra bonus.  Rosaries will be prayed for the repose of my soul, by my Dominican Family.  I thank God that I belong to the best Order to die in, and the best religion.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Salve Project

This post is for my brothers and sisters in the Dominican Family.  The Salve Project celebrates the many different ways and voices that Dominicans use in our preaching.  A video is being composed of these ways and voices.  This project will highlight the unity and diversity of the Order of Preachers around the world.

You need to record a video of your community singing the Salve Regina and send it to the International Promoter General of the Internet, Father Scott Steinkerchner, O.P. at internet@curia.op.org

Just 20 seconds is enough.  While you are singing and recording the Salve Regina, move the camera around the group so that different angles, areas, people, and scenes show different places.  Don't worry about mistakes, or the singing, only portions of the video will be shown.  Fr. Scott can edit and work around problems.

How about it?  Sounds like fun.  My "cloistered brothers" would do it, if they weren't so "cloistered."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Sudan

The Sudan has suffered devastation by man and nature.  Lord have mercy.  A few years ago I was horrified by the confusing conflicts.  I still have a poster up in my room, that reads, "Stop the Genocide,"  Be a Voice for Darfur.

Presently, I am reading What is the What by Dave Eggers.  Eggers writes of his life as one of the "The Lost Boys."  The setting is the Sudan.  Then today I read in Zenit, that the Church is more than a little worried about the new border line drawn between North and South Sudan.  Violence is always feared.  What will happen to the Christian minority in Muslim North Sudan?  Prayers are needed.

A few years ago, when I first heard of the terrible trouble in Darfur, I wrote this poem.  Today, it all came back to me, as I pray for this poor country.

A Window into Darfur or a study of Complacency*

Ann's retirement home was idyllic:
water view, temperate climate, close to nature.
Stories of deer crossing through and salt licks,
co-hogging, bass fishing, trapping lobsters,
and a tale of predator and prey that'll
always walk inside and around my head.

She tells of putting up a bird feeder
placed high on the large dining room window.
Clever arrangement, don't you think, to watch
and dine and let nature entertain?
Sparrows would gently land and peck at seeds.
Map of Darfur, Sudan ("Shamal" means...Image via Wikipedia
First one, then two and more would come to feast.

A veritable convention!
A union meeting of laborers, A.F.B.U.
Amalgamated Feather Bearers' Union.
Noisy, all clamoring for position.
It made her laugh, such raucous behavior.
No Robert Rules ruled here, just pure chaos.

Soon, the sparrows that came often became
individuals with familiar markings.
There was Bossy Bertha and Tiny Tim...
you get the idea, they became pets.
It became a study of comparison
between us and them, skin and feathers.

But in the Garden of Eden roamed
an insidious serpent.  Ann's didn't crawl
on its belly, rather it flew from high
and swooped down swiftly snatching smaller prey.
Hawks!  Yes, hawks invaded Ann's domain.
A veritable feast for predators.

Imagine the dining table that night--
conversation stopped with a thud.
a thud on the window and a red
feathered smear dripping down into steamers and broth.
What the hell?  Yes, what the hell.  What the hell!
The sparrows were gone, scattered in a shriek.

But sparrows have short memories and came back.
Only to be snatched up in grasping talons
and smashed against the idyllic opening.
The water view, the temperate clime so close
to nature, too close too much nature.
Naivety lured the innocent.

What started with such promise, a good idea;
even a mutual beneficial deal:
people provide food, and birds entertain,
ended with a twist from Mother Nature.
A cruel lesson on human interference:
an indictment of indifference.

That's just like the janjaweed,
who swooped down on the farmers,
killing, raping, looting a path;
shocking complacent diners who
are repulsed, but turn a blind eye and
yawn indifference and shrug helplessly.

After all, only the strong survive.
Ethnic cleansing is an exaggeration.
Genocide's not possible, states the UN.
What can one do against hawks, or
devils riding on horseback, leaving
trails of dripping blood and feathers?

*The Preacher Poets, ed. Mr. Robert Curtis, O.P., pp. 12-14.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

P & P Day

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Pray and Play Day today!  Here is a slide show of the play part, which was spent at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburn Falls, MA.  The pray part was spent tonight in Dominican Study Group, where we wrote psalms.

The wicked's tattoos scream outrage
An abomination upon themselves.

That's the best they could come up with....???????.........

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Translation ?

Radiograph of the remains of Saint Dominic; Ch...Image via Wikipedia
Oh, I get it.  Today is the Feast of the Translation of the body of Saint Dominic.  A translation to me is moving from one language to another.  So a translation of a body would be to change the language written on the grave.


How about to move the body from one place to another?


Can I pray in Latin while picking the body up, and then move to pray in English to put the body in its new chosen resting place?

To read about the Translation of the Body of Saint Dominic without any nonsense, I recommend my fellow blogger, the Specious Pedestrian.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Difference Between a Blessed and a Saint

If you ever had a chance to look at the Order of Preacher's Liturgical Calendar, you'd see a lot of people with the title Blessed.  You most probably have never heard of any of them.  They're certainly not on the Church's calendar of saints.

Why?  That's the difference between "blessed" and "saint."  A "blessed" is for a local community; a "saint" is for the universal church.  In the explanation of the process, Sanctorum Mater, you'd read that a "blessed" has to have an approved miracle, and is honored in his cult, or community.  Such is the case with Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P.

What is Beatification?
Beatification is an official declaration by the Pope that a person (called a Servant of God) practiced the Christian virtues to a heroic degree during his or her sojourn on earth. Before the Servant of God under consideration is beatified, a thorough examination of his or her life, virtues, and reputation for holiness is conducted. If the Servant of God did not die a martyr’s death, there must also be one confirmed miracle attributed to his or her intercession. Beatified persons are called Blesseds. They may receive the veneration of the faithful within certain limits set by the Church, but may not be venerated in an organized public manner throughout the whole Church.
From Blessed to Saint
A Blessed may be canonized after the occurrence of one more miracle attributed to his or her intercession. Mother Teresa will always remain Mother for those who knew her, hence many people call her “Blessed Mother Teresa,” but officially she is now known as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” and later, God willing, as “Saint Teresa of Calcutta.”

So Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. has always been thought of as a saint.  To us, he is the Apostle of Prisons.  Later, God willing, he will be declared a saint, but he still is the Apostle of Prisons, whether venerable, blessed, or saint.  He is truly a servant of God.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bl. Hyacinth Marie Cormier, O.P.

Bl. Hyacinth Marie Cormier, O.P.
It's late.  I just got in from a meeting, but I just have to write down my thoughts.  Today, in the Dominican Liturgical Calendar, is the Feast Day of Blessed Hyacinth Marie Cormier, O.P.  I just love his life story because of the way he allowed the Holy Spirit to move.  He just stepped out of the way and let God do His stuff.

Bl. Hyacinth was of such delicate health that he was given the religious name of "Hyacinth."  It seemed that he was always hemorrhaging.  In fact, his hemorrhaging kept him from being professed as a Dominican friar.  The friars didn't want to do it.  Hyacinth appealed to the Pope.  The Pope said that if Hyacinth could stay hemorrhage free for a month -- 30 -- days, he would be professed.  And Hyacinth almost made it.  He was perfectly healthy for 29 days.  Then on the 30th day he hemorrhaged.  It was so bad a hemorrhage, that he was close to death.  As he lay dying, the friars finally professed him.

Then he got well.  Ha!  The Holy Spirit wanted Hyacinth to be a Dominican friar.  Not only was Hyacinth a friar; he was ordained a priest; he was elected prior; he was elected prior provincial; he was elected Master General of the Dominican Order.  You just can't stop the Holy Spirit.

Bl. Hyacinth Marie Cormier founded the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas in Rome, known as the Angelicum.  Not bad for a sickly kid.

I'm telling you, the Holy Spirit moves as it wills.  You might as well yield to it; it always wins.

h/t Moniales     and   the   Dominicans in Australia

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Spirit is willing...

Easy meditation today: I was watching my 10 month old granddaughter.  She's an expert crawler.  A good stander.  But the balance between the two haven't connected yet.  In other words, she's not walking.

She wants to.  You can see that she really, really wants to walk into your arms.  She'd love to please you and clap with everybody.  Hooray!

She wants to -- her spirit is willing.

But her physical body just can't.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Like everyone else, she'll have to keep trying.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Apostle of Prisons

LatasteImage via Wikipedia
Why have I been so discombobulated, today?  It's because my mind's been on the Apostle of Prisons.  Every since I've learned that Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, OP has been favorably considered for beatification, I can't wipe the smile off my face.  I'm so happy!  All we "Latasties" are celebrating.

My "cloistered brothers," and others who follow the spirituality of Pere Lataste are thrilled.  The Dominican Sisters of Bethany, (Lataste founded them) I'm sure, are planning a party.  And I want to go.

Who is he?  Pere M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. was a French Dominican Friar who lived in the nineteenth century.  He had a vision for the rehabilitation of prisoners through God's love.  He saw something marvelous happen during the first retreat that he gave at Cadillac prison in 1865.  He saw redemption, not as an abstract concept, but right in front of him.  The Holy Spirit not only touched the women prisoners, but also his own heart.  You can see the tone of his retreat change, as he nears the middle of his talk.  He was one of the converts, himself!  

Since the time was the nineteenth century, his converts had a hard time finding work, once released from prison.  What jobs could women do then?  They didn't want to go back to the old ways of life that had landed them in prison.  They needed a community for support.  Hence, the Dominican Sisters of Bethany was born.  And it wasn't easy.  I can just imagine the look on the Dominican friars' faces, at Lataste's proposal: "What!  You want to put a prostitute in a Dominican habit!"  Pere Lataste had what my "cloistered brothers" would call "theological cojones."

But you know, if it's the work of the Holy Spirit, it will happen.  And so it did.

My "cloistered brothers" tell the same story when they tried to set up a Lay Dominican Chapter.   They still have the "cease and desist" letter from the Archdiocese of Boston, in their archives.  There's an online book about my brothers' journey called A Word of Hope, if your interested.

Everyone who follows Pere Lataste's teachings is known as a Latastie.  We Latasties are celebrating now.  We have been praying for Pere's beatification for awhile.  He already was made venerable in 2007.  In fact, I made up a prayer, for his beatification   

O Lord of all that is good and holy. You see those of us who love and serve You faithfully. If it be Your Will, I ask you to glorify Your faithful friar, Father Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. He exemplified Jesus' teachings on mercy, forgiveness, and love. He taught the forgotten, the poor, the marginalized, and the imprisoned, that all Your people are loved equally by You. Pere Lataste said that the prisoner was loved the same as a priest, in Your eyes. His clear and courageous preaching of Your Truths converted many hardened hearts to embrace the Faith. His love for the Blessed Mother moved many to love Your Son. He inspired the lives of the women prisoners in Cadillac, France, to establish the Dominican Sisters of Bethany. He gave his all for You, zealously bringing people to You. His will was to do Your Will.
Lord, if it be Your Divine Will, I ask you to glorify Your loving and faithful servant, Father Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord and Savior. Amen

Deo Gratias!  It is God's Will.

Providentially, the Dominican Sisters of Bethany have constructed a new chapel for Fr. Lataste's remains.  He is buried there and pilgrims can visit.  MMmmmmm.......wouldn't that be the perfect place for a celebratory ceremony?
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Glorious NEWS!!!!!

Sister Ruth sent this email, this morning:

dear Ruth and dear brothers of Norfolk
I don't know if you receive the great news from Rome, yesterday : trial on miracle for the beatification of our father Lataste is finished, cardinals voted yes ! We have to wait the pope's decree and to organize the bigest feast of Bethany's story !
yours sincerely
fr. Jean Marie Gueullette, o.p.
Couvent de la Tourette
B.P. 105
69591 L'Arbresle Cedex
Tél direct : 04 72 19 15 24

Thank you Lord!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Common Good May Not Be So Good

The Marxist school of economic thought comes f...Image via Wikipedia
It always rubs me the wrong way when a leader claims that his decision was for the "good of the whole."
And I don't know why.  
That is, until I read Acts 6: 1-7.

Acts 6: 1-7 is the first reading for this Sunday--the Fifth Sunday of Easter.  In this reading, we don't see the Apostles telling the Hellenists that "for the good of the whole" you have to do what we say; "for the good of the community, you have to behave like we tell you."  They did something different.  They listened.  The Apostles listened to the Hellenists.

"...the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected..."

Not only did they listen, but they heard, and they understood.  The Apostles also didn't say that they determined that this particular solution is best.  They had the Hellenists work out their own problem, their own way.  

Look at the names of the men that were chosen to serve the widows: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas.  These Greek names show that the Hellenists were solving their own problem.  They are each called by name.
That's Christianity for you, and that's what bothers me about "for the good of the whole."  It's Marx, Engels, Lenin, Castro, and other atheists that tout "for the common good." It's Christianity that teaches us that each individual is important.  Each individual's worth and dignity are valued.  Each is listened to and has a say in shaping their own life.  That's suppose to be the blessing about having a free will, whereas, commands imposed by an administration "for the common good," are not taking into consideration the lost sheep, the one hair on the head, each child of God, the individual.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Grace through Suffering

I'm home sick today with a cold.  It's rattling around in my chest, and I thought I'd rest up, drink plenty of fluids and consider it a "P and P Day."  "P & P" stands for "Pray and Play."  Today the "Play" translates into "Read" since I don't feel like Playing.

And the Prayer has become Lectio Divina.  That's because yesterday in Chapter, we  discussed Grace through Suffering.  Specifically, accepting suffering as uniting ourselves with Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit suffering is transformed into resurrection.


Yeah, you see instead of simply suffering and bitching about it, lumping it, enduring, sucking it up...all bad, accept  it and what you perceive as the "bad," returns as grace.       Think about it.

As a Christian, I can believe it; I can see it.

That was yesterday's Chapter.  Last night, I finished reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.  Now, there's a book about suffering.  Wait a minute, upon reflection I'll rephrase that; now there's a book about grace.

Yes, there's untold suffering throughout the book.  I used quite a few tissues--but then I do have a cold.  With every cruel, evil occurrence, there was always a moment of grace.  The very first heart rendering death of Liesel's brother resulted in Liesel's redemption--a book.  That's how the story goes.  The grace is there.

Today, I finished reading The Death of Magister Aycardus, by Fr. Michael Demkovich, O.P.  This is a mystery about Meister Eckhart.  Near the end, Gianna tells everyone, "Only a woman who has given birth truly knows the mystery of suffering."  There you go!  Money quote!  Perfect example of Grace through Suffering.

Oh yeah, also being home sick has givin me this opportunity to post about Grace through Suffering.

God is Good.  All the Time!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Song of Redemption Angels Can't Sing

My brothers pray for their victims
     singing a harpists' new song
a new hymn before the throne,
    before mankind, before God,
before the four living creatures,
     and before the elders.

They sing a hymn not learned
    by all except by those
following the Lamb.  They
   are the ransomed, forgiven,
absolved, and have the Father's
  name written on their foreheads.

h/t The Preacher Poets, 4th Annual OPrize p. 91

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Portion Control

All food is good.  Don't deny yourself.  Why sacrifice what you love?  Eat it.

No, this isn't Eve talking to Adam.  It's what I learned today at a T.O.P.S. Inspiration Workshop.  T.O.P.S. is a health support group.  Some may call it a weight loss support group, but when I was almost wasting away, I used T.O.P.S. to gain weight, because it's about healthy eating.    Unfortunately, now I can't reverse the trend.  I needed to gain weight then and got in the habit of stuffing myself, so now I'm finding it hard to stop.

Besides, after my experience with Cronkhite Canada Syndrome, I recommend that everyone be ten pounds over weight, because if you ever get sick, you'll need the reserves.

Still, that's ten pounds over weight, not twenty+.

What did I learn today?  "There is no bad food, only bad portion control."

Take your plate.  Divide it in half, now on one of the halves, divide that in half.  Half of your plate should be vegetable.  One quarter of your plate should be meat.  One quarter should be starch.

I think this is doable.  I like vegetables.  I also like meat.  And starch.  And sugar.  And grains.  And fruit.  And  beer.  And dairy.  And new foods.  And old favorites.  And...um...and now I'm hungry.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Lady of Fatima

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  I live near Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA.  I've been there quite often to pray.  It's a quiet place and pleasant to walk around.  It probably has the world's largest Rosary.  It's made out of boulders attached by the types of chains you see on ocean liners--huge, big things.  On the single beads (boulders)  are plaque of the Hail Mary in different languages.  It's a prayerful place.

The religious order that takes care of the shrine are Xaverian Missionaries.  They're good guys.  I like them all.  They are known for the many activities that the Shrine offers to raise money: Christmas lights, fairs, concerts, and from May 13th -- Oct 13th, their Our Lady of Fatima Processions.  I had never been to their Fatima Procession.  I went tonight.

I was surprised at all the people from my parish that were there.  I saw lots of friends.  The place was mobbed.  I had a hard time finding a parking spot.  We had Mass and then a procession around the Rosary Boulders.  As we walked and prayed, we all held candles in cups.  These cups were just drinking cups--waxy paper cups with a hole in the bottom.  A candle was stuck through the hold.  The candles weren't very stable. You had to be careful, or your cup would catch on fire.  I saw two that did just that.

Afterwards, we sat in the benches and prayed Hail Mary in different languages for special intentions.  Especially, poignant was a couple of men from Libya who prayed for the safety of those fleeing from the violence in Libya.   There really is no end for needs to pray for.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

I've got that Nagging Feeling

Master General of the Dominican Order
in prayer
Since I've been praying like a pirate, I read with interest the Zenit article reflecting on "humanity's innate religious sense."  Pope Benedict urges us to spend more time in prayer, which he said was an expression of man's profound need for meaning.

B16 said if we listen in silence God will reveal Himself.  We will learn to recognize His voice and open ourselves up to a relationship with Jesus.  The Holy Father explained that man is as much a "homo religiosus," as he is "homo sapiens" and "homo faber."

I liked the part when the Pope said that prayer is a mindset, not words.  It's a way of being before God, rather than worship.  That's different.

Interestingly, the Holy Father agrees with me, that it is difficult to pray.  It can be a challenge for anyone, especially during different periods of one's life.  But it is a grace for everyone, to seek.

Pope Benedict mentioned the gesture of kneeling.  He called it a "dynamic of prayer."  It is a position of supplication, like a man asking a woman to marry him.  It's a typical expression of one seeking.

What are we seeking?  What everyone seeks -- love, relationship, a feeling of worthiness.

But I know some who would deny this "innate need for meaning."  Personally, I think they do feel that desire, but don't pay attention to it.  Like some who are sick and try to ignore it.  With grace they do seek help.

Let us pray.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


They came wailing to the tomb
    His voice commands
      The stone obeys
And out walks Lazarus

They came wailing to prison
    The Spirit touches
    Hearts wrapped tight
Are unbound and finally freed.

h/t  Justitia, Poetry from the Second Annual OPrize for Poetry

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Pastor's Lament

If I express myself on a subject, I'm trying to run things.

If I'm silent, I'm dumb or have lost interest.

If I'm often at my office (preparing sermons or studying), why don't I get out and learn what's going on.

If I'm out when they call, why am I not tending to business, or studying for a sermon.

If I'm not at home at night, I'm out having a good time.

If I'm home, I'm neglecting important outside contacts and activities.

If I don't agree with people, I'm bullheaded.

If I do agree, I don't have any ideas of my own.

If I don't do what I'm asked, I'm a poor pastor.

If I do agree, well, that's what I'm paid for.

If I give someone a short answer, I'm "too big for my britches."

If I attempt to explain the pros and cons of an issue, I'm a know it all.

If I'm well dressed, I'm a big shot.

If I'm not, I'm a poor representative of my office.

If I'm on the job a short time, I'm inexperienced.

If I've been there a long time, It's time for a change.

h/t to my Lutheran friends

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teen Angst

Granted, I've been around the block a few times, but I have a good memory.  And I remember being a teen.  And dating.  Back then the pressure was to stay a virgin until you married.  Or at least pretend you were a virgin, because you were considered a whore, damaged goods, less than desirable, if you weren't.  That being said, the pressure to have sex was great, nigh near impossible.  At times it seemed that every date with a new guy was going to be a wrestling match.  It seems that all boys were animals.

The world has turned on its head.  Now, being a virgin implies you're damaged--what's wrong with you?  How come no one wants you?  It's actually a disgrace to be a virgin.

I put a lot of the change of attitudes on "Hollywood."  I don't think Hollywood mimics the culture; I think Hollywood shapes the culture.  Magazines, books, now the net, constantly drive sex into our minds.  And bringing up teens in this culture is difficult to shield them from this influence.

And what doesn't help are state funded programs aimed to supposedly help teens with coping in our sex saturated culture.  I'm talking about the Maria Talks website, put out by Boston's AIDS Action Group.  What strikes me first, is the assumption that all, everyone, everybody, all in all, high and low, throughout, all round...have sex.  I expected (foolish ?) that a group dedicated to health and addressing teens would talk about the value of NOT jumping into sex.  NOooooo, they just assume that all, everyone, everybody, all in all, high and low, throughout, all round...are having sex.

They blew it.  Here was the chance to stand up to the Hollywood culture.  Here was the opportunity to explain that sex is something special.  It's not part of the dating relationship. That kids should think for themselves and stand up to the cultural influences.  That teens don't have to have sex.  It's not cool.  It's just following "Hollywood."  Teach teens to think for themselves.

Abstinence is not a dirty word.  It's the only 100% form of protection from STI and HIV.  BTW, Maria Talks advertises that "condoms are the only form of birth control that protect against STI and HIV."  Now that's debatable.  According to the Medical Institute's newsletter:

Condom breakage and slippage is estimated to occur 1-4% of the time. This is known as method failure.  By far the most extensive research on condom effectiveness has been done for HIV. A number of authors have performed meta-analyses (summaries) of other studies. These meta-analyses show that with 100% consistent condom use, condoms reduce the risk of HIV transmission by about 85%. Condom effectiveness against transmission of bacterial diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis is significantly lower than for HIV. Conclusive evidence is lacking for condom effectiveness against transmission of several other specific STIs, such as HPV and trichomoniasis, which each affect over 5 million people annually. Finally effectiveness is seriously limited for the many STIs which are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, since condoms do not cover all the areas of the body which may be the source of transmission.

Actually, I hate quoting statistics because you can always find, or tweek, the numbers to fit your argument.  But I know that blanket statements like "condoms are the only form of birth control that protect...., are false.  Common sense tells you otherwise. 

I just feel that it's such a shame that the teens nowadays are put under such pressure to conform to the culture,  to have to have sex, to walk that walk...  

C'mon parents.  It's up to you.  Teach your children what's right.  Teach them to think and not just follow the crowd.  That's what's right.  What's right is right!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flashing Again!

Flash Mob strikes again!

At MIT.  It was an Open House and about 150 students and faculty opened up and strutted their stuff.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let Us Pray

  • Do you know that today is our country's 60th annual National Day of Prayer?  What a country!  A day set aside for people to pray for our country is wicked awesome.  Imagine, from "sea to shining sea," millions of people will unite in prayer.  This year's theme is, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," Psalm 91:2.  

  • I will say to the Lord, my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.
Are you looking for help to learn how to pray?  There is a Presidential Prayer Team, you know.  Join them in what and how to pray.  There's never a lack for intentions.  Personally, I pray for divine guidance for  our national leaders.  I pray for all the people in my country to be given the grace of religious piety.  I pray for healing for all those hurting.  All this I ask through Jesus Christ, my Lord.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jesus Would Blog

Serious Dominican taken by Phil Ewing
In reading all the posts that I can regarding the Vatican Blog Fest, I had to smile at Zenit's summary: Vatican Stresses Importance of Catholic Bloggers.  Near the end of the article a few quotes from the participants were listed.  I like what Francois Jeanne-Beylot said, "If Christ came to preach today, he would not go up a mountain or get into a boat, but he would go to Twitter or open a blog."
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Catholic Manga Artist

Let me introduce Denita.  She is an artist who loves manga-style drawing and who is also a practicing Roman Catholic. This means that she likes clean manga and anime and will draw nor publish no other. 

She states, "The main thing I'll start with on this blog is share some of my artwork; many will be Catholic subjects drawn and/or painted in the manga style. I may add a few traditional Catholic prayers and devotions later on as well. I'm a HUGE cat lover, even though I can't keep a cat where I currently live(bummer)."  From her first post.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Framing Faith

My grandparents came from the “old country.”  That’s how they referred to Lithuania.  They left behind their family, country, friends, village, home, and everything else familiar--but not their faith.  In this “new country,” they gravitated to their own kind.  This Lithuanian community clustered around their parish church.  Their parish priest became their interpreter, confidant, advisor…their Father.  The Church building became a safe place of refuge.  That Church spire, or cross, or bell, was visible proof that they were “OK.” This was home here in America.  They gave a portion of their wages to build their Church.  And they were proud of it.  Yes, proud of their parish Church.  There, their favorite saints were displayed, familiar hymns, stained glass, and of course, the exact same Mass that was celebrated in the “old country,” and everywhere else in the world where Catholicism exists.  This was the type of parish, and world, I grew up in. 

Looking at, and reading Framing Faith brought back so many memories and emotions.  Even though Framing Faith is about ten churches that are closing in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and my remembrances are from Massachusetts, I can empathize.  When I think of all the sacraments, prayers, funerals, as well as missions, processions, and…..life, I am thankful that the Lakawanna Historical Society, Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, Ivana Pavelka, Sarah Piccini, and all the students, and others, understood.  Churches are more than history, architecture, and places of worship.  They are stories of human lives.  This book, Framing Faith attempts to convey that story.  They did quite a commendable work. 

St. Mary of the Assumption, River Street, Scranton  -----  Irish then German

St. John the Evangelist, Pittston Avenue, Scranton  -----  Irish

Holy Family, N. Washington Ave. & E. Gibson Street, Scranton -----  Slovak, Multi-National

St. Joseph, North Main Avenue, Scranton  -----  Lithuanian

Immaculate Conception, Church Street, Taylor  -----  German/Irish

St. John The Baptist, North Main Avenue, Taylor -----  Slovak

St. Mary of Czestochowa, Greenwood Avenue, Scranton  ----- Polish

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Hudson Street, Mayfield  -----  Polish, Multi-National

St. Michael, Vine Street, Old Forge  -----  Polish

St.  Anthony of Padua, Wood Street, Scranton  -----  Italian

I imagine the closing of these churches brought about a mixture of emotions.  The parishioners somehow dealt with “letting go.”  However, “sacrifice” is part of Catholicism.  Many of them were brought up with “offering it up.”  Not that that helps, but they knew the concept.  These people, whose grandparents were so hard working, were also practical, by nature.  They could see the obvious: declining parishioners, shortage of priests, and needs not being met. 
These closed churches have Framing Faith as a memorial.  That’s a blessing!  Framing Faith by Sarah Piccini is a pictorial history of these 10 parishes.  http://framingfaith.blogspot.com/search/label/About%20the%20Book  It is a fine tribute to the hardworking parishioners.  Ivana  Pavelka is the photographer.  The pictures are spectacular.  This is a PICTORIAL history and the pictures are works of art.

 I enjoyed the book because it brought back memories of my own grandparents.  I would think that the people in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania would love and keep this book as a keepsake from history.  It’s a history of life in these ethnic parishes in the twentieth century---their history---our history---universal Catholic history. 

On the right is a picture of a Lithuanian Wayside Cross.  This is from St. Joseph’s Church in Scranton, PA., but it is a typical Lithuanian Cross.  You may say, where’s the cross?  But the cross starts with a post that may be marking direction, where someone died, a battle, a memorial to an event, etc.  On that post will be a cross covered with a small roof for protection.  There will be other ornamental statues or symbolic decorations.  You may consider the entire post a shrine, but this is typical of what is known as a Lithuanian Wayside Cross.  You can see the cross is under the small roof on the top.  Under the larger roof is a saint, probably Saint Joseph since this is the name of the church.  This Lithuanian Wayside Cross is my favorite picture in Framing Faith.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Franciscans and Dominicans

Brother Tonto, O.P. was doing the yard work around the priory.  Brother Diotrophes, o.s.f., saw Brother Tonto mowing the lawn.  When Brother Tonto finished the lawn, Brother Diotrophes crossed the street and asked Brother Tonto if he could borrow his lawn mower to mow the lawn around the Franciscan friary.

"Of course, Neighbor", said Brother Tonto, and Brother Diotrophes pushed the mower across the street.

Later, Brother Tonto saw that the Franciscan was yanking and pulling on the engine starter rope.  Br. Tonto watched for awhile and went over and asked Br. Diotrophes, "What's wrong?"

Br. Diotrophes cried out, "I can't get this mower started, what's wrong?"

Br. Tonto calmly told the him, "You have to cuss it."

Indignant, the Franciscan friar said, "Now you listen here, I am a Franciscan and if I ever did cuss, and I'm not saying I have, I've put all those words behind me, and I've forgotten what to say."

Brother Tonto smiled as he walked away, saying, "Keep on pulling on that chain and it'll all come back to ya."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Catholics Know How to Celebrate

Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver ...Image via Wikipedia
The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate was beautiful.  But the beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II was spectacular!  I was flipping from CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and  EWTN, not wanting to miss anything.  The ceremony and pomp were awesome.  Rome and cities all around the world cheered and applauded JPII's beatification--this is the second step to possible sainthood.  Now that JPII is beatified, he may be considered a holy man.  He is now designated as Blessed Pope John Paul II.
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A Priest's Day

Here is the book review I promised on Monday, for Death Comes for the Archbishop , by Willa Cather.  She really gets into the nitty-grit...