Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cardinal Dolan and Mayor De Blasio Brainstorm To Do God's Work in NYC

I read some good news this week, about much needed affordable housing in New York City. Cardinal Dolan met with Mayor De Blasio to discuss making available "properties in the archdiocese's portfolio for affordable housing and emergency shelters." Cardinal Dolan was quoted as saying, "We want them to be used for the mission of the Church-namely for teaching, education, health care, housing, charity-and this fits in." Speaking of Mayor De Blasio he said, "He and I work for the same people, namely God's people, the people of this city and they've told us this is an urgent need. Let's do it."
Mayor De Blasio is a non-practicing Catholic but considers himself to be a spiritual person, who admires Pope Francis.
Mayor De Blasio has consistently said that he wants to do something about the housing crisis in NYC. Something must be done. Poor people as well as middle class working people can no longer afford to live in New York City and the surrounding areas. Prices of apartments, even to rent have soared in the last 10 years. Prices to buy a home or condo are steadily becoming out of reach for most working class New Yorkers.

In the neighborhood in Brooklyn where I grew up, hard working teachers, police officers, firemen, transit workers, merchants and others were able to buy a starter home (as my parents did) and give their families a good life in the city. That is becoming less and less realistic as prices continue to rise out of the reach of the lower and middle classes. It's a shame, because its all of those people who give NYC the ethnic and cultural diversity which makes it such a vibrant place to live.
And so the partnership between the city and the church, working together to give New Yorkers the opportunity to live in affordable housing is a very good thing. Certainly God's work.
I saw a program on TV about a year ago, about families living in shelters and what they go through. It saddened my heart. I wrote an e-mail/letter to Mayor De Blasio, asking him to address this growing crisis. I was surprised to get a reply. He promised he was going to do something to get families out of shelters and into decent homes.  He said it was a priority of his administration.
So obviously this was good news I read this week,  very uplifting and promising.
NJA

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pope Francis Recognizes The Importance of Protecting the Environment-World Day of Prayer For Creation

I am very grateful that Pope Francis is aware of the importance of protecting the environment and caring for the Earth. The Pope recently announced that he has instituted a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to be celebrated annually on September 1st.  Praise God! That is great news.
In a letter published by the Holy See Press Office, the Pope wrote the following words of wisdom, "As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through.....for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, 'the life of the Spirit is not disassociated from the body or from nature, or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.'" Amen to that!
Many climate scientists believe there is still time to turn the situation around, but nations must act quickly, intelligently and responsibly.   The Earth's temperature is already rising, and if this continues there will be food shortages, risks to water supplies,  rising seas, increased flooding in low lying areas and erratic weather patterns.  These impacts are already being felt in some parts of the world and in the U.S.
California's historic and serious drought will impact food supplies in the U.S. and elsewhere, if the drought doesn't end soon. The Pope is taking a brave and much needed stance to "wake" people up because it's a reality and it's happening already.
Coming from Pope Francis who is a moral authority, the call to action, to protect the environment and to make it a priority to care for the earth and its resources, is serious. The Pope recognizes our role as Christians in protecting God's beautiful and abundant Creation.  I applaud his efforts on behalf of the environment.
May God magnify the Pope's efforts and may pastors in local parishes (especially those near oceans on the coasts of the United States or those experiencing extreme drought) preach on the importance of taking the issue seriously and finding ways to help.  
NJA

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bishop-elect Robert Barron's Challenging Appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

I am one of the thousands ( probably millions) of Catholics who hold Fr. Robert Barron in high regard. He is a great blessing to the Catholic Church.  His YouTube video's, popular website (Word on Fire) and his books as well as his priestly vocation have been a blessing to millions, throughout the world. His Catholicism film series is an award- winning series on the Catholic faith that is a must see for all Catholics. It is a great catechetical tool and I'm always surprised when I meet church- going Catholics who have not seen it. It should be shown in all parishes, with discussion afterwards, as was done in my parish a couple of years ago.
I was amazed to read that next to Pope Francis, he is the "most followed Catholic leader on social media." What an accomplishment, in the modern world!
 I was pleasantly surprised to read that Pope Francis appointed Fr. Barron an auxiliary bishop of  the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. That means that he will be leaving his position as Rector/President of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary, which is located outside of Chicago. So he is definitely going to an area of the country with warmer winters, that's for sure, but California has its share of problems right now and that could be a challenging environment to be in.
Fr. Barron acknowledged that Los Angeles is "an energetic, diverse and creative" Archdiocese and so it seems his own creativity and energy will be an asset to the Church there.  But Los Angeles is a place  where unfortunately some of that creativity has been used to disrespect and dishonor God. What I mean by that is that when I go to the movies, I often hear the name of God being taken in vain and there is no need for that. God has said through the Scriptures that there will be repercussions for dishonoring the name of God. Hollywood doesn't seem to care or perhaps those who make decisions regarding scripts, don't realize what they are doing. I wish they would be more respectful of God's name.
But in any event, I wish Fr. Barron the best of luck and God's blessings in his new assignment.
Let's hope he can be a blessing and a bridge in that creative place he is going to.
NJA


Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Blessed Is The Nation"...July 4th, 2015.......

As we celebrate this 4th of July 2015 let us ever be mindful of the great country we live in, (if America is your home).  In this great country,  my family was given opportunities to live and thrive in freedom. I am ever grateful for the blessing I received when I was born in America to Italian-American parents. My grandparents came from Italy and they crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the hope they would have a better life for themselves and future generations and that has come to be. Thank You Lord!
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 33:12). Our nation is in need of blessings, so that we can continue to thrive and grow.  God has to remain part of the equation. The founding fathers of this great land always believed that God would greatly bless us and that too has come to be. But to forget God or ignore God's power, goodness and generosity would be opening ourselves to more problems than we need at this time in history or any time for that matter.
And so I pray on this Independence Day that we will continue to recognize the place God has in our democracy and to give God glory and praise for this great country of America and also remember the great Americans who have gone before us, who have helped maintain our freedom,  peace and greatness. God Bless America!
NJA

Abraham Lincoln  (16th President of the United States) ....
" We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own."  ((1863)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Brave and Enlightened Pope Francis and the Climate Change Encyclical

"Praise Be To You"- ("Laudato Si") the environmental encyclical,  is a brave and courageous undertaking by Pope Francis to wake up the world to the dangers of climate change and global warming. Alleluia-Praise be to God for this encyclical by Pope Francis. There must be rejoicing in Heaven and St. Francis of Assisi must be leading the joyful celebration!
I quote from the New York Times, "The vision that Francis outlined in a 184 page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He described relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and said apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits,  excessive faith in technology and shortsightedness was to blame." He said, the world's poorest people are being "dislocated and disregarded." Very sad.
All I can say and write is "Wow!" That took guts to write that. I was never more proud to be Catholic.
Interestingly, though poor people will suffer tremendously from the effects of global warming and climate change, even rich people will be affected. For instance, Los Angeles, California has some very expensive real estate and some very wealthy people live there and they are already feeling the effects of global warming, as California is having a drought of historic proportions. And that drought could get worse. Many climate scientists believe that global warming will cause some parts of the Earth to experience extreme droughts while other parts will have stormy weather with frequent downpours. We see that happening already. So the poor and the rich will be affected but everyone else as well. California produces much of the fruits and vegetables in our country and we will soon see rising food prices, if the drought doesn't end soon.
I haven't read the encyclical yet but I will. But I am very happy that the Pope is trying to wake people up, especially people who have the power to change things, before it's too late. One of my fears is that it is already too late and we just don't know it yet.
NJA

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Msgr. McCann's 50th Anniversary of Priesthood and Retirement from St. Mary's Parish-Manhasset

Msgr. John McCann, the pastor of St. Mary's in Manhasset, Long Island is retiring as well as celebrating 50 fruitful years of priesthood. The parish had two celebrations and a beautiful Mass to honor their pastor. On Friday evening May 29th a party was held at North Hills Country Club which was very special. As Msgr. wrote in the bulletin afterwards, "It was an evening I will always remember." Msgr. James McDonald, pastor of St. Aidan's in Williston Park, who was at the party along with many other priests, remarked that he had never seen a retirement party quite like it. It was rather grand. I was fortunate enough to be there as well.
At a Mass in his honor last Sunday he asked Fr. Nick Zientarski (Dean of Seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, who celebrates weekend Masses at St. Mary's) to preach. Fr. Nick gave an extraordinary homily. Preaching on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, he spoke about communion, the importance of communion in the Blessed Trinity and Msgr. McCann's ability to create a communion in the parish. It was a dynamic homily, obviously very well thought out.  It was so good that Msgr. said after the homily he was going to hire Fr. Nick, ahead of time,  to preach at his funeral Mass. Quite funny! But yes, the homily was that good. I told Fr. Nick afterwards that since there were two Bishops in attendance at the Mass (and he knew that ahead of time), he will probably be made a Bishop someday because of that homily! (Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre as well as Bishop Robert Coyle -Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services concelebrated as well as many other priests. )
Here are some pictures from the Procession at the beginning of Mass. After the Mass, there was another celebration in a large tent on the premises, which was very well attended.
NJA

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