Sunday, May 17, 2015

Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist and Their Powerful Consecration at Mass

I went to a Eucharistic Retreat Day at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY yesterday. The Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist conducted the retreat. Fr. Sean Davidson, Fr. David Nugent and Deacon Barry Braum facilitated the day. It was a remarkable day, most especially because these priests who now live at the Seminary and conduct Eucharistic retreats there as well as in parishes, celebrated Mass in an extraordinary way. I'm going to find it hard to describe what I mean. During the Mass, these priests incense the altar, each other and the congregation, and though that's not unusual, there is something about the way they do it, that is.  They perform the consecration with a intensity, holiness and focus that is very moving and mystical.  That was the most beautiful part of the day. It's hard to put into words, you'd have to experience it for yourself. It's the way it should be, at every Mass, because you really get a sense of being at the heavenly banquet and in the presence of Christ.
There was adoration throughout the day, talks, an outstanding homily by Fr. Sean. Another highlight was near the end of the day, we were all blessed individually with the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance. The Monstrance was held up to our foreheads as we kneeled before the altar. Very powerful day. If you would like to know more about their retreat days, check out their website at
www.mostholyeucharist.org
NJA

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bishop Murphy Encourages Praying For Peace on Long Island

Bishop William Murphy has asked for the Diocese of Rockville Centre to "become a burning furnace of prayer for peace." What a great idea! People in the diocese, like elsewhere, regularly pray for peace but this is a more intentional, focused effort by the bishop to pray for peace in the Diocese. Bishop Murphy sent a letter to priests of the diocese saying that "while it is easy to get angry and even vengeful due to the violence, terrorism, ethnic and religious battles going on in the world, followers of Christ are called to be peacemakers." Alleluia to that!
The pastor of my parish, published parts of that letter in our Church bulletin and it really has parishioners and the priests of our parish talking about how we can include more prayers for peace, throughout the parish and it's ministries.
Bishop Murphy wrote, "For us disciples of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, there is no choice but to follow his example and become instruments of His peace....That demands first and foremost that we recognize that ultimately peace is a gift from God Who alone can guarantee true and lasting peace. He goes on to say that we must all be a part of this effort and pray daily for peace in the world.
He goes on to say, "Prayer is God's weapon of choice that is always at the ready so long as we exercise it. For this reason, I am issuing a call to peace as Bishop of this Diocese, an urgent invitation to one and all, without exception, to accept the responsibility and to commit ourselves to daily prayer for peace."
Amen. What a Spirit-filled suggestion, what a great undertaking!
The Bishop also asked for every parish to include a prayer for peace in the Prayer of the Faithful at every Sunday Mass and to organize Holy Hours for peace. There are many other suggestions for intentionally praying for peace in Catholic schools, religious education programs and other Church groups. He encouraged everyone to say this prayer daily, "A Prayer for Peace of Pope Saint John XXIII"....
"Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, Who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, Who so often said, 'Peace to you,' Grant us peace!
Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love, Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen. Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!"
I pray that this inspired effort of Bishop Murphy bears much fruit and helps to bring forth a time of peace on this earth. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.
NJA

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quadruple Rainbow on Long Island-A Sign of God's Presence

Yesterday morning after a night of storms, Amanda Curtis captured this rare photo of a Quadruple rainbow as she was waiting for the train in Glen Cove, Long Island. She said, "I didn't realize how rare it was, I just knew it was beautiful." Lucky for her, she didn't miss her train, as she took the photo quickly and then rushed to catch her train. The photo has gone viral and rightly so.......She paused and noticed the beauty of nature, of the natural world and with modern day technology was able to capture that in a blessed moment.
I've always believed that New York is a blessed place......so much good here, so much positive energy, creativity, lots of religiosity and prayer comes out of New York...some might find that strange but I know it to be true. Yes, a quadruple rainbow in the early morning, of an ordinary day,  is a sign that God is here, with us, still providing awesome beauty, still in charge of the vast and amazing Universe, we call home.
NJA

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CNN's Show Highlighted Atheists and the World of Non-Believers

I watched most of the CNN special last night, "Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers," about atheists in America. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the people (and ministers) who had lost their faith. It was so sad to see the parents of a young adult atheist, struggle with their son's atheism.
Personally, I couldn't live a meaningful life without faith in God and a relationship with Jesus. I'm baffled by anyone who can live without faith. But there are a lot of people in America who have lost their faith, or were never raised with it. It's frightening that so many millennials are giving up on God. They're losing so much hope, meaningfulness, connectedness to the Divine and spiritual benefits.
I suggest that since atheists are so fascinated with science (as many believers are too!) they should read the Wall Street Journal article published a few months ago titled, "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God." It seems many astrophysicists now believe that "the appearance of design is overwhelming" (in the Universe)........Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox ( I assume he's very, very smart and isn't living in some fairy tale world!) is quoted as saying, "the more we get to know about our Universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator..gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here...." Thank You Dr. Lennox!
Well, atheists can believe what they want to believe but its not the truth. It's pride that makes them think they are smarter, that they don't need mystery or God.
No one knows why not every prayer is answered or why Jesus had to suffer, or why God remains silent at times,  but as a believer I know God exists, I have eyes of faith and with eyes of faith I can see the workings of God in the world. I also know I am loved by God and that is priceless!
NJA

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bishop Barros of Southern Chile Should Resign For The Good of the Church

Catholic bloggers have questioned the appointment and the silence from Rome.  Why would Pope Francis insist on appointing Rev. Juan Barros, Bishop of Osorno, Chile when the appointment was controversial from the start? Whoever advised Pope Francis on this decision, missed the mark.
In today's New York Times it stated that, "Hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black barged into a cathedral in a city in southern Chile on Saturday and interrupted the installation ceremony for the city's
new Roman Catholic bishop, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of complicity in a notorious case of clerical sexual abuse, blocking his passage and shouting, 'Barros, get out of the city.'"
There was a chaotic scene in the cathedral with demonstrators as well as the media and Barros' supporters as well. Outside the cathedral over 3,000 people chanted that he should resign.
Demonstrators were claiming that they received a "slap in the face from Pope Francis himself," with the unpopular appointment.
The article claims that Pope Francis was well aware of the controversy surrounding the Rev. Juan Barros but my question is was the Pope well advised, was he made aware of the public outcry and the amount of upsetness this appointment caused the Catholic population of Chile?
How can this Bishop be effective in his role? In my humble opinion, and for the good of the Church, Bishop Barros should humbly resign and do other work in the Church where he can be more effective. I'm not judging him because I don't know all the circumstances but I do know that the Protestant ministers in that area of Chile will only be too happy to welcome all the disenchanted Catholics who decide to leave the Church over this appointment.
NJA

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Will Pope Francis Resign One Day? Resigning Popes-The New Normal?

It seems like Pope Francis has opened the door for the possibility that he might resign one day, as Pope Benedict did in 2013. That resignation was a shock for everyone, including Cardinals and Bishops, who were caught by surprise.  In a recent interview Pope Francis said, "I have a feeling that my pontificate will be brief-four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed. It's a somewhat strange sensation. I feel the Lord has placed me here for a short time."
That's a fascinating statement. For one, it makes you think that Pope Francis had a premonition that his pontificate will be short. Though the Pope is a healthy 78 years old, he is obviously considering retiring at some point, before he dies. He said, "I share the idea of what Pope Benedict did."
It's amazing that Pope Francis has the stamina he does at 78 years old. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, he is very well liked and has great popularity (as most people realize). Who could possibly fill his shoes and connect as well with the people as he does? Who else can preach the importance of God's mercy, as convincingly as he does? He's the right Pope for this time.
And so it seems like Pope Benedict changed things by resigning.  It seems likely that other Popes, when they feel they can no longer fulfill the role because of age or illness, or they lack the energy, will consider resigning.  I think that's a good thing, it puts less stress on the Pontiffs of the future.
NJA

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Good News About Pope Francis

Who doesn't need a little good news with the weather we've been having in the Northeast?  I certainly do as it's just been another day of being snowed in, shut in the house.  This winter just keeps hanging on, when everyone just wants it to be over. Actually, I shouldn't complain.  We did travel to Florida for a week. That was very nice,  but it's weird when you hear some Floridians complain about 65 degree weather being too cold for them.  And they're serious.
I needed to read something uplifting and so when I read an NBC news story online about how Pope Francis' popularity just keeps growing, it did just that.
Apparently (and it's no surprise), Pope Francis is more popular than ever in the United States. "With ninety-five percent of Catholics who go to Church every week giving him high marks and 7 in 10 of  Americans of all faiths rating him favorably in a new survey.....His popularity puts him on par with Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s." He's even respected by non-believers and that's saying much. And to have achieved the popularity of St. John Paul II is truly amazing and no small feat.
So it seems Pope Francis was the right choice for this age and his kindness, compassion and humility was just what was needed at this time in history. The Cardinals who elected him Pope, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit got it right.
Thank God it's all turned out so well. Something to be happy about as the mounds of snow have to be faced tomorrow.
NJA