Friday, October 17, 2014

Economic Inequality Keeps Getting Worse in America-Brooklyn and Queens Are Examples

In an article I read today on Daily Finance, Federal Reserve Chair- Janet Yellen was quoted as saying that, "the growth of economic inequality in the United States wasn't in keeping with American values....The extent of and continuing increase of economic inequality in the U.S. greatly concerns me." She should be concerned, the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. There's nothing wrong with people living the American dream and bettering themselves (my grandparents as Italian immigrants did just that) but the poor need a chance to escape poverty and have the opportunities that money affords. Education is the great equalizer and good educational programs for all is necessary.
As I've observed, no where is economic inequality more evident than in Brooklyn and Queens in NYC. Real estate prices and rents have "gone through the roof."The poor in places like Redhook,  Williamsburg and Bushwick Brooklyn can no longer afford to stay in parts of these neighborhoods (most parts). Expensive high rise buildings and boutique buildings are going up everywhere, and that's not a terrible thing, if affordable housing was also being built for lower class and middle class families. As I've said before on this blog, I was born in Brooklyn and lived most of my life there and part of what made it great then and now, is the lower and middle class families, living in ethnically diverse neighborhoods. There has always been diversity, stimulation, creativity, deep religiosity and best of all great food in Brooklyn and Queens.
But it seems the world has discovered the attraction of all that Brooklyn and Queens has to offer. Lifelong residents of Brooklyn and Queens cannot believe the amount of money some properties are selling for.
As Janet Yellen said, "Income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the past hundred years, much higher than the average during that time span and probably higher than for much of American history before then."
I don't know what the solutions are aside from building more affordable housing but more needs to be done to close this widening gap. People need hope, people need to be rewarded for hard work. Children need a nice home to grow up in, so they can feel proud and part of the fabric of society.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

We Know Jesus Existed And Is Who He Said He Was!

I get upset when I read about nonsense and lies such as the book which is causing controversy because it's filled with distortions and outrageous claims and that's Michael Paulkovich's book, "No Meek Messiah." His so- called research which is being questioned by scholars and even by some atheists, claims that there is no mention of Jesus in 126 historical texts he's studied of people, who lived during or after Jesus. He makes the ridiculous claim that since Jesus wasn't mentioned in those texts he didn't exist and was a "mythical figure." He ignores the gospels and other books of the New Testament and dismisses the mention of Jesus and the early Christians, which are mentioned in some ancient writings. He also ignores archaeological evidence from the early Christian communities, which clearly show that those ancient Christians believed Jesus was the "Anointed One, the Son of God and Savior, and were willing to be tortured and suffer death rather than deny Christ.
Blinded by ignorance, pride and an anti-Christian agenda, he doesn't value the opinion of the majority of scholars and historians who are in "unanimous agreement that a Jewish man named Jesus did live in the early 1st century and was crucified by Pontius Pilate." (Simon Edwards-Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics).
It seems that Mr. Paulkovich, believes that he knows better and is smarter than all those scholars and historians and the early Christian witnesses, the apostles and the martyrs who were willing to give up their lives for Jesus. And millions of Christians who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to this day, through prayer and worship. (Two billion Christian believers in the world and growing.)And all the great saints............and the writings of the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church and all the brilliant biblical scholars and writers..........over the last 2,000 years......
In an article published by "Christian Today," which I read online, titled "New Book Claiming Jesus Did Not Exist Dismissed By Historians", the following is stated and well put,
"Biblical scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona have analyzed over 3,400 hundred scholarly works and articles that have been written on the historical claims surrounding Jesus' life since 1975, so as to determine the minimal facts of history that all serious historians agree on, Edward explains....Their work demonstrates that virtually every serious historian, whether Christian, atheist, agnostic, or otherwise acknowledges the following three minimal facts about Jesus Christ-1-He died by crucifixion, 2-that his disciples genuinely believed that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them on a number of occasions and 3-the early Church exploded in numbers soon after Jesus' death."

Check out the great article written by Carey Lodge that I quoted from in "Christian Today." It's an article well worth reading.

"Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."  (John 1:34)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fr. Cedric Pisegna Returns To Long Island To Preach

Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P., Passionist priest, preacher and television personality returned to Long Island to St. Aiden's parish in Williston Park, for a parish mission this week.  I attended the first night and Fr. Cedric was uplifting, upbeat and inspiring. He has a natural style, he's easy to listen to and he instills hope. What's better than that! Sadly,  he shared that his mother recently died (about 6 weeks ago) and he was still grieving. He's received a lot of condolences and support which he was grateful for.
It was an evening filled with good music and good preaching, with a few jokes thrown in.
His TV show, "Live With Passion," will have new episodes coming out and you can see his show on Telecare and other local stations. He's hoping that EWTN picks up his show as they are considering it.
His talk on Monday evening centered on overcoming obstacles. He said that challenges in life make champions. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" ......"We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us!" He spoke about courageous people such as Helen Keller who overcame great obstacles and limitations and did great things because she persevered and kept going. He said, "Focus on what you can do, don't focus on what you can't do."
He mentioned Robin Roberts book which he recently read, "Everybody's Got Something." He quoted her, "Being optimistic is like a muscle, you have to use it, to strengthen it."
Fr. Cedric also said, "Live passionately, with enthusiasm and push on. Passion is energy, it's enthusiasm."
He himself is a product of his own positive thinking, his great faith in God and his openness to the urgings of the Holy Spirit. What he preached that night is what has worked in his own ministry and life and he keeps bearing great fruit for the Lord and the Church. And he's helping God's people as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Retreat From Marriage for Young Adults-No Surprise to Me!

In an article which appeared in today's New York Times titled, "Financial Security Is Increasingly Trumping Marriage, Report Says," by Claire Miller it states that "Twenty percent of adults older than 25, about 42 million people have never married, up from 9 percent in 1960 according to data in a Pew Research Center report." I know about this trend firsthand as I have two young adult sons, who I'm praying will marry soon. Of course, I want them to be happy and find the right person, to enjoy their future with. Thankfully they both have wonderful girlfriends who I am fond of, but whether it's fear of commitment or the need to be financially secure, or the cost of getting married, which is exorbitant in NY or all of the above, I'm waiting patiently for the day at least one of them tells me they're getting engaged. After all, I want grandchildren to spoil and love while I'm still young enough to enjoy them. Perhaps I want them to get married for selfish reasons but I do believe that marriage provides a stable environment, when filled with love, care and companionship and I want that for my sons.
My friends tell me to be more patient and they'll get married when they're ready but I'm one of those mothers who are a part of the above statistic who wants to see my sons married, sooner than later.
Apparently many young adults say (according to the article) they haven't married yet because they are not financially prepared. Marriage was once "a stepping stone to economic stability," now young adults want to be financially secure first which is difficult in this economic climate. In New York City the cost of renting or owning a property have reached ridiculous and unrealistic levels. One bedroom apartments in trendy NYC neighborhoods are selling for over $400,000 and sometimes much more than that. And rents are soaring too.
So I'll just keep praying that my sons get married in the next couple of years, so I can one day experience the joy of having grandchildren.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Newly Ordained Priests of Rockville Centre-Celebrating at The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, NY-2014

On a warm summer evening in September, on the vigil of Mary's birthday,  the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY held a special event called, "Celebrate the Newly Ordained." The newly ordained priests of the Diocese of Rockville Centre (six in total) were honored with a dinner in the beautiful Rose Garden. Before the dinner,  Vespers were held in the glorious chapel.   Also honored this evening was retired Monsignor Thomas Colgan, who was praised by many, especially Bishop William Murphy who led the Vesper service. Msgr. Colgan was awarded the inaugural Immaculate Conception Medal. He was very grateful.
It was truly a beautiful evening and the rector, Msgr. Richard Henning, along with the Director of Development-Beverly Malone always makes sure everything is just perfect. And so it was....just a few pictures below........Do you recognize anyone you know? Below is newly ordained Fr. David and Fr. Daniel. Also Fr. James is pictured with his mother (3rd picture). Fr. Nick Zientarski, currently the Dean of Seminarians and Professor at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers is in the 4th picture. The newly ordained were given gifts of kneelers as shown. Fr. Tom is shown being very helpful and serving food in the 6th photo. If you look close enough you can see a picture of the rector, Msgr. Henning and Bishop Murphy. The last picture shows the glory of God, ever present if only you have eyes to see.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Are Physicists Looking for God? (At Least Some of Them!)

Some physicists think the universe is actually a two dimensional hologram instead of three dimensions as we believe now.  They're  doing all kinds of academic and scientific experiments using a sensitive device called a holometer trying to decipher whether "space time is a quantum system just like matter is." I'm not comfortable writing about science since its not my area of expertise but I've thought for sometime now that physicists might one day be able to figure out the actual dimensions that exist in the universe and I don't think they are two but more than three. I believe that God exists in another dimension along with heaven. That's just my belief and it makes perfect sense to me. Anyhow,  it makes me nervous to think that someday physicists might stumble onto that (the God dimension) and then what?  God will have to figure that out or maybe God already has. Crazy that I should even think about such things.......
I found a very interesting quote from a Huffington Post article (which started me thinking about this again) titled, "Freaky Physics Experiment May Prove Our Universe is a Two-Dimensional Hologram." The article quotes  Dr. Aaron Chou,  who is the experiments lead scientist and project manager for the Holometer. This is the quote, "I have always believed that if indeed there is a creator, then the mechanism by which the world was created is not necessarily unknowable and if we delve deeply enough we might reach some very interesting and inescapable conclusions..........This topic brings up all sorts of interesting philosophical and theological questions......."
I'd say..... and I'd also say that it seems to me that Dr. Chou is looking for some theological answers with his Holometer.
Dr. Chou are you looking for God? Are you looking for the Creator? Because God does exist and God is very, very smart,  (obviously) so I don't think this dimensional thing can be figured out, even with a Holometer (whatever that is).  But who knows.... wouldn't it be amazing if its the physicists who someday state that it seems certain an intelligent Creator created the Universe because there is simply too much intelligent design, accuracy, diversity and exact mathematical calculations for it to be an accident.  I'd like to see that day.........

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fr. James Martin's Incredible Book- "Jesus-A Pilgrimage"

The Bible study class in my parish, that I attend, usually meets throughout the year except for the summer months. This summer some of us in that class decided to meet during the summer to read uplifting, spiritual books and discuss them once a week.  The first book that someone suggested was not that uplifting but it was fascinating. I had never heard of it until the group mentioned it and it was written by a rabbi who happens to be a Messianic Jew (he believes in Jesus as Messiah). The book is a best seller and it is quite intriguing.  The book is "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn.
The next book we read was Scott Hahn's masterpiece, "The Lamb's Supper-The Mass as Heaven on Earth." It should be required reading for all Catholic high school students and RCIA participants. We recommended it for everyone in the parish to read though I'm not sure how many actually did.
The final book is a large one and it took us over five weeks to read but it is a truly amazing work and a great book. I highly recommend it. It's Fr. James Martin's "Jesus-A Pilgrimage." We are on the final 100 pages which we will complete discussing next Monday.
I've been reading religious, spiritual books my whole adult life (I've been on this journey a long time). But Fr. James' book is special, he pulls from so many good sources in his reflections and analysis. The book tells of his experiences as he makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his priest-friend George. As a Jesuit, Fr. James shares a lot of his own experiences and thoughts as well as other Scripture scholars that he has either read or studied with.  It's easy reading though the pilgrimage covers the serious subject and experiences of Jesus' life, his travels throughout the Holy Land, (his hidden life as well as his public ministry), his preaching, his relationship with his apostles and disciples and of course his intimate relationship with His Father.
The book is very good.  If you get a chance to read it, don't rush through it. I'm now reading what is for me the most difficult part of Jesus' life to read about and that is the end of his life and his tragic and painful death. It is not easy for me to think about it and reflect upon it.
Fr. Martin is a great writer and all the praying he did in the Holy Land while taking notes for the book, seems to have paid off.  His prayerfulness comes through the work.