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

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