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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bill O'Reilly Has His Catholic Faith To Sustain Him During Controversy

Bill O'Reilly who is the Fox News host of "The O'Reilly Factor, political commentator, best selling author and media star has been swirling in controversy recently over alleged exaggerations and distortions in his reporting. I don't know all the details nor do I know if it's true that the "liberal media" is out to get him, but what I do know is that Bill O'Reilly is a person of faith, he goes to Church, he prays and his relationship with God will be a source of comfort and support to him during this trying time. It's very plausible that people with a political agenda are trying to ruin him, and he certainly believes that, but he also believes that God will help him and see him through this. I saw on a video clip where he mentions his faith in God and how he believes in God and miracles.
I often tell people how important it is to have deep faith because you never know when a crisis will strike in life and it can come in many forms. When you have faith and when you nurture that faith through the sacraments and prayer, it will always be available to you as a source of inner strength and courage. Jesus said, "As they persecute me they will persecute you," and that can come in many ways, at different times in life. But if you stand firm in your belief in God, if you pray and humble yourself then as the great St. Julian of Norwich said, "All will be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing will be well."
I have no doubt that Bill O'Reilly will overcome this present trial and the accusations against him. And until the controversy passes, he will have his deep faith and his relationship with God to sustain him.
NJA

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our Celebrity-Obsessed Culture and the Young

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, a culture that influences young people and drives what's fashionable and "in." Social media is also a powerful driving force in our culture. And that's both good and bad. But some things are out of control and there's nothing anyone can do about it.  I watched some of the Grammys the other night, the music was enjoyable. But when you look at what some female entertainers and movie stars wear, and how much cleavage they show, with slits as high as can be in designer dresses they wear, it's a lot to process. The shock of it all isn't so much a shock because it's become commonplace now for movie stars to dress like porn stars. And everyone just accepts it. And some young people emulate it and think it's cool.
 People of faith always have to have hope and in reality, people will always turn to God for the benefits of prayer, for comfort, for blessings, and to be in a life-giving relationship with God. But unfortunately moral decay, greed and immodesty is everywhere is our society. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year is proof of that. Some people interviewed on news programs say, "What's the big deal?" But it is a big deal when a mainstream magazine puts "soft porn" on their cover and gets away with it.
Thank God there is a lot of common sense and goodness in our world too. I saw that on Sunday morning in a presentation I gave to young Catholic students. Their sense of right and wrong, their innate goodness in wanting to be good and stay good, inspired me. Children always do. They want to get it right. They believe in the power of prayer and goodness. Let's pray that amidst parts of the modern culture that promotes immodesty, young people will seek out the true, the beautiful, the decent, the good and a genuine search for God.
NJA

Monday, February 2, 2015

Spirituality and Blessings Surrounding Super Bowl XLIX-2015

I watched with millions of others as Malcolm Butler, a little known player for the New England Patriots, intercepted a pass with 20 seconds left and gave New England the championship. Malcolm was interviewed after the amazing catch and he said, "  I just had a vision I was going to make a big play." It will probably go down in football history as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, so his "feeling or vision," came to be.  Afterwards the rookie player said, "I'm very blessed." Well that's quite obvious to anyone who watched the game.  Good that he was grateful for the blessings he received.
I was reading an article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine section titled, "Tom Brady Cannot Stop," and I was surprised to read that Tom Brady's father spent seven years in a Catholic seminary before deciding that the priesthood was not for him, as he wanted to marry. Tom and his father remain very close, according to the article. Tom Brady attended an all boys Catholic high school, Junipero Serra in California.
According to the article Tom's friend, coach and "spiritual guide," and godfather to his younger son, is Alex Guerrero. They work closely together to keep Tom, "physically fit, emotionally stable and spiritually sound." Their mantra which they repeat often is, "Where your concentration goes, your energy flows and that's what grows." I thought that was interesting.
So blessings, positive thinking, concentration, hard work and I'm sure prayer, went into the amazing Super Bowl victory for the Patriots. It just had that unusual quality to it.
NJA

P.S. In reality, God doesn't take sides in football games, I know that, and probably some fans, family members and players were praying for their team to win, on both teams..........but it was an extraordinary win nonetheless.......

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

No Blizzard Apocalypse for New York City-But Make Peace With God Anyway!

New Yorkers love to complain and so it's no surprise that people are complaining that the weather forecasters got it wrong. The blizzard that was forecasted to be a near record breaker spared the city, for the most part.  (Maybe God heard my prayers, because I was praying that "Prayer Against Storms" that I found on Deacon Greg Kandra's blog!)  My house is surrounded by huge trees and a windy blizzard is something I fear......for good reason. I already had a tree fall on my roof from Hurricane Sandy and it's not a sound I want to hear again!
On Tuesday morning the meteorologists were apologizing for their "big forecast miss."
Actually where I live, we got about 12 inches of snow and parts of Suffolk County, Long Island got 28-30 inches of snow and unfortunately two people died.  So the forecasters weren't off totally.  And it was a disastrous blizzard for parts of coastal New England.
Governor Cuomo, took the unusual step of shutting down the NYC subway system (which has never been done in its 110-year history). Mayor de Blasio  had to admit that "it was nothing like we feared it would be." The funniest thing I've read which I have to share, is the satirical report that "The Onion" wrote and which Mayor de Blasio (like a good sport) read at City Hall.
NEW YORK—As a major winter storm continued its advance toward New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio advised residents Monday to make peace with whatever higher power they call God, for all shall meet their death in the coming tempest. “The furious hoarfrost bearing down upon us knows neither mercy nor reason, and all within the five boroughs will perish, cowering in their brittle dwellings,” said de Blasio, adding that none would find succor from the gale save those favored by providence to pass quietly in their sleep. “This shall be a tempest the likes of which has never been glimpsed by man or beast. Clutch your babes close to your breast and take small comfort in knowing that they will howl for but a few hours before death becalms them forever.”  (The Onion)
That is really funny! But in truth we should always be at peace with God because we don't know the day or hour........
NJA

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist Arrive At the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception-Huntington

This is great news! Msgr. Richard Henning, the Rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY recently sent out a letter to the Friends of the Seminary announcing the arrival of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist. The letter gave this information about the new arrivals, "Fathers Sean Davidson and David Nugent belong to a new community of priests, established in the Diocese of Toulon in France. That diocese has become a center for the New Evangelization. As the number of English-speaking vocations has grown in their community, the Missionaries have decided to establish a presence in the United States. I am pleased and grateful to God that they will reside and work here at the Seminary."
Fr. Sean and Fr. David grew up in Ireland. They have recently arrived from the Missionaries residence in France. They have traveled around the world and now they will be conducting retreats, days of recollection and Eucharistic Adoration within the Seminary as well as in parishes. During the Sundays of Lent, the Missionaries will provide Eucharistic Adoration during the day and also be available to hear Confessions, at the Seminary. All are welcome.
This is great news for the Seminary. There have been many innovative, educational programs and retreats at the Seminary which was greatly needed, since the seminarians themselves now study in Dunwoodie in Yonkers at St. Joseph's Seminary.
This new partnership with the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist will bring new life to the Seminary and add to the existing programs that are already offered.
Come, Holy Spirit Come!
NJA

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Cutest Drawing of the Holy Family! Mary's Holding a Cell Phone

This has to be the cutest drawing of the Holy Family. It was drawn by my 7-year-old cousin's friend, who received First Penance (along with my cousin and other 2nd graders) on Saturday, in a Long Island Parish. What makes this drawing unique is that if you look closely Mary is holding a cell phone. A little girl can't imagine that someone as important as Mary wouldn't of had one! I love the hearts too!