Friday, October 2, 2015

Good Versus Evil-"In Our Face"

Last week, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were filled with sunshine and the best of living faith, living hope, living goodness with the visit of Pope Francis. In an interesting article I just read at the New York Times website, it seems that Pope Francis' first visit to the United States, impressed a lot of people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He took America by a "holy storm", his genuineness, his holiness and his goodness permeated the visit and has created an invigoration for Catholicism. That's great.
And so we saw God's goodness and glory last week with the Pope's visit and the Pope's generosity of spirit and his great message of mercy and forgiveness. It gave us hope and for those of us who love the Church, it was a well needed boost of positive energy and news.

But this week, we saw the work of the devil in America. We saw the devil show his ugly face in Roseburg, Oregon, in the horrific killing of innocent college students and a teacher. It's sickening that mentally disturbed people (those with evil thoughts and plans) can get guns and do such damage to innocent lives and families. Those families will never be the same, they will wake up each day to a nightmare that never ends.

The news was such a pleasure to watch when Pope Francis was in America. The news was uplifting, the images pure and good. The Pope kissing babies, hugging people, hanging out with adoring schoolchildren, and worshipping God at Mass, was a joy to behold.

But this week we see the devil at work, in a tragic mass killing of young, bright people. Those innocent victims had hopes and dreams. Those dreams have been destroyed, their lives have been robbed from them.
It doesn't make any sense.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis in America-The Right Pope For This Time in History

Watching TV this morning and absorbing the magnificent images of Pope Francis being welcomed to the White House by President Obama and Michelle and thousands of others, with all the pomp and circumstance, was awe-inspiring. President Obama began by stating, "What a beautiful day the Lord has made." Yes it is a beautiful day, a fitting quote by the President and a morning filled with abundant hope and God's glory shining through. The welcome that the U.S.A. has given to Pope Francis with President Obama and his family, the Vice President, his wife, as well as schoolchildren and others welcoming him to America as his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews was a reminder of how well liked and admired Pope Francis is, not only in America, but in the world. It's all good.
Pope Francis spoke in English when he addressed the American people for the first time at the White House, on a glorious sunny day in the Northeast. That was helpful that he spoke in English and he spoke about important issues that matter.
Once again, I applaud this Pope/Pastor for tackling a controversial issue, that of climate change. The science backs his claims that we need to protect the Earth better, to do more, to reduce waste and reduce pollution. Care for the Earth is a part of Catholic social teaching, it is not new, but this Pope has written an encyclical and spoken forcefully about world powers addressing this issue, sooner than later.
So this is a great day in America and the next few days will be inspiring as we see positive, hopeful images, flashed across TV screens and newspapers, of a Pope who is a good, humble pastor, who is respected and loved by most.
As I continue to watch TV, the love, good will and admiration for Pope Francis that is pouring freely in Washington, D.C., along the parade route as well as in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is incredible to watch. With joy, I continue to watch the Outdoor Canonization Mass.......What a blessed day!  God Bless him and God Bless the great country of America!

This quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to Pope Francis on this special day in America....
"All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures-their truth, their goodness, their beauty-all reflect the infinite perfection of God"  (CCC 40-41)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Should I Go To Central Park to See Pope Francis? (Well, I Didn't!)

I haven't written a blog entry in awhile. Not sure why, perhaps it was writer's block. But anyhow, here I am facing a religious dilemna. My son was thoughtful enough to get me an unusal birthday present. He entered a lottery and won us both a ticket to view Pope Francis' motorcade through Central Park on September 25th. He was so excited to tell me that he had won and that we would be going. And I was excited too, at first, until I thought about it. I've been very blessed in that I was able to see Pope John Paul II on his two trips to New York City. I attended the Mass at Shea Stadium in October 1979 and the Mass at Aqueduct Raceway in Queens in 1995.  Then I saw Pope Benedict at the Farewell Ceremony at John F. Kennedy Airport in 2008. They were all remarkable experiences, that filled me with joy.  But I had a seat at each of those events and though you had to wait a long time and be seated well in advance it was well worth it, of course.
But I'm older now and the thought of being in Central Park among thousands of people unnerves me a bit. I'm not sure what I will do. I would love to see Pope Francis in person, love to be there to receive his blessing, which I'm sure he will do as his motorcade drives by but.......
I will be watching television, for other Papal events, which provides the greatest viewing, but I will have to pray about going to Central Park.
I entered another lottery for tickets for Madison Square Garden to attend a Mass with Pope Francis, which I would love to go to, but there have been so many entries, I'm not sure I would be lucky enough to win.
So right now my only option if I want to see Pope Francis in person, in New York,  is Central Park and I'm not sure what to do. I guess I should pray about it.
What a blessing to have Pope Francis in New York! What a blessing he is to the Church!

*UPDATE: I didn't go to see the Pope in Central Park, but my son did and he said I missed a lot. (Though he admitted it was chaotic at times, on the line to get in and it probably wasn't for me.) Not only did I miss seeing Pope Francis but I also missed the beautiful rainbow that suddenly appeared within a cloud, right before the Pope began the motorcade through the park. Clearly, God is with Pope Francis! Pope Francis' trip to the United States was a great success and renewed the faith of many. Alleluia!!

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.

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.  

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.

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!

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)