Friday, December 05, 2008

From Yahoo

Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II dies

MOSCOW – In his nearly two decades at the head of the world's largest Orthodox church, Patriarch Alexy II oversaw a religious revivalin Russia and healed a major church rift, but his death leaves a long-running dispute with the Vatican unresolved.

Alexy's death Friday at age 79 deprives the Russian Orthodox Churchof its dominant figure, whose stern, bearded mien gave him an almost medieval aura of inflexible righteousness. He often complained thatRoman Catholics were poaching adherents among a people who traditionally would have been Orthodox if atheistic Soviet rule had not impeded them.

Yet he and the church held many discussions with the Vatican, aiming to reach an agreement that would allow the church to accept a papal visit to Russia.

Without Alexy at the helm, the church's initiatives on that question may go dormant for several months. The church's Holy Synod is to choose a placeholder leader on Saturday, but election of a new patriarch is likely to take six months. Metropolitan Kirill, the church's foreign relations chief who has had extensive contact with the Vatican, appears to be one of the top candidates.

The Moscow Patriarchate said Alexy died at his residence outsideMoscow, but did not give a cause of death. Alexy had long suffered from a heart ailment, although on Thursday he had appeared comparatively well while conducting services.

His funeral was tentatively slated for Tuesday, according to Russian news agency Interfax, which cited his spokesman Vladimir Vigilyansky.

Alexy became leader of the church in 1990, as the officially atheist Soviet Union was loosening its restrictions on religion. After the Soviet Union collapsed the following year, the church's popularity surged. Church domes that had been stripped of their gold under the Soviets were regilded, churches that had been converted into warehouses or left to rot in neglect were painstakingly restored, and hours-long services on major religious holidays were broadcast live on national television.

By the time of Alexy's death, the church's flock was estimated to include about two-thirds of Russia's 142 million people, making it the world's largest Orthodox church.

But Alexy often complained that Russia's new religious freedom put the church under severe pressure and he bitterly resented what he said were attempts by other Christian churches to build their flocks. These complaints focused on the Roman Catholic Church.

Those tensions aside, Pope Benedict XVI praised Alexy on Friday.

"I am pleased to recall the efforts of the late patriarch for the rebirth of the church after the severe ideological oppression which led to the martyrdom of so many witnesses to the Christian faith. I also recall his courageous battle for the defense of human and Gospel values," the pope said in a message of condolence to the Russian church.

Alexy lived long enough to see another major religious dispute resolved. In 2007, he signed a pact with Metropolitan Laurus, the leader of the breakaway Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, to bring the churches closer together. The U.S.-based Church Outside Russia had split off in 1927, after the Moscow church's leader declared loyalty to the Communist government.

Alexy successfully lobbied for the 1997 passage of a religion law that places restrictions on the activities of religions other than Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Under his leadership, the church also vehemently opposed schismatic Orthodox churches in neighboring Ukraine, claiming the Ukrainian church should remain under Moscow's control.

A top representative of Russia's Muslims praised Alexy's efforts to restore religion's prominence in post-Soviet Russia.

"All the activities of this man were devoted to unifying our country, developing state-religion relations and the dialogue of Russia's traditional faiths," said Albir Krangov, a deputy chairman of the Muslim Central Spiritual Administration, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.

In a demonstration of the close relations between church and state, President Dmitry Medvedev canceled plans to travel from India to Italy, so he can return for the funeral.

"He was a great citizen of Russia. A man in whose destiny the whole difficult experience of our country's changes in the 20th century are reflected," Medvedev said.

President George W. Bush offered his condolences, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

"The president's heart is with the community of Russian believers as they continue to rebuild the rich spiritual traditions of Russia," Perino said.

Under Alexy, the church's influence grew strong enough that some public schools instituted mandatory religion courses — a move that human rights advocates criticized as likely to increase xenophobia.

"The church strengthened nationalism, without a doubt," said Alexander Verkhovsky of the Moscow human rights group SOVA. But he also gave the church under Alexy credit for speaking out against violent, radical nationalists.

The patriarch was born Alexei Mikhailovich Ridiger on Feb. 23, 1929 in Tallinn, Estonia. The son of a priest, Alexy often accompanied his parents on pilgrimages to churches and monasteries, and he helped his father minister to prisoners in Nazi concentration camps in Estonia. It was during those visits that Alexy decided to pursue a religious life.

Under Soviet rule, this was not an easy choice. Lenin and Stalin suppressed religion and thousands of churches were destroyed or converted to other uses, such as museums devoted to atheism or, in some cases, stables. Many priests and parishioners were persecuted for their beliefs.

The persecution eased somewhat during World War II, when Stalin discovered that the church could be used as a propaganda tool in the fight against the Nazis. But the Soviet authorities never fully loosened their grip, penetrating the church at the highest levels.

Alexy was ordained in 1950, progressed through the Orthodox hierarchy, and was consecrated Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia in 1961.

The British-based Keston Institute, which monitors religious freedom in former Communist countries, has cited research suggesting that Alexy's career may have been aided by assistance he gave the KGB while a young priest in Tallinn. Orthodox Church officials vehemently denied the allegations.


Correspondent Daniella Petroff in Rome contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This week marked the 450th anniversary of the death of Queen Mary I (Mary Tudor), the only legitimate child of King Henry VIII and his his lawful wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon.  Just stop and ponder the different path history would have taken had good old King Henry actually been a faithful Catholic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Little Father Corapi for you all, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fulget Crucis mystérium….
Here shines the mystery of the cross, where Life has suffered death, and his death made life.
On the side, pierced by iron cruel spear, flow, to clear our crimes, blood and water.
So fulfilled the oracle of David saying the nations in his verses inspired: God reigns by The wood.
Tree precious and shining glory, dressed in the purple of the King, was called you in your noble trunk to reach members if saints.
Happy Cross! At your arm is suspended The ransom of the world! You're the scales where Corps was weighed , which has abducted from hell its prey.
this part is sung while kneeling
O Crux, ave, spes única…
Hail, O Cross, our only hope!

O Trinity ,principle of our salvation, that all Spirit glorifies You. You give us the victory by the Cross, add our reward.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today: The Feast of St. Monica

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his Baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine, is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Today, the  Feast Day of St.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

"We bow down before the testimony of the life and death of Edith Stein, an outstanding daughter of Israel and at the same time a daughter of the Carmelite Order, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a personality who united within her rich life a dramatic synthesis of our century. It was the synthesis of a history full of deep wounds that are still hurting ... and also the synthesis of the full truth about man. All this came together in a single heart that remained restless and unfulfilled until it finally found rest in God." These were the words of Pope John Paul II when he beatified Edith Stein in Cologne on 1 May 1987.

Who was this woman?

Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Feast of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother." Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun.

Edith's father, who ran a timber business, died when she had only just turned two. Her mother, a very devout, hard-working, strong-willed and truly wonderful woman, now had to fend for herself and to look after the family and their large business. However, she did not succeed in keeping up a living faith in her children. Edith lost her faith in God. "I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying," she said.

In 1911 she passed her school-leaving exam with flying colors and enrolled at the University of Breslau to study German and history, though this was a mere "bread-and-butter" choice. Her real interest was in philosophy and in women's issues. She became a member of the Prussian Society for Women's Franchise. "When I was at school and during my first years at university," she wrote later, "I was a radical suffragette. Then I lost interest in the whole issue. Now I am looking for purely pragmatic solutions."

In 1913, Edith Stein transferred to Göttingen University, to study under the mentorship of Edmund Husserl. She became his pupil and teaching assistant, and he later tutored her for a doctorate. At the time, anyone who was interested in philosophy was fascinated by Husserl's new view of reality, whereby the world as we perceive it does not merely exist in a Kantian way, in our subjective perception. His pupils saw his philosophy as a return to objects: "back to things". Husserl's phenomenology unwittingly led many of his pupils to the Christian faith. In Göttingen Edith Stein also met the philosopher Max Scheler, who directed her attention to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, she did not neglect her "bread-and-butter" studies and passed her degree with distinction in January 1915, though she did not follow it up with teacher training.

"I no longer have a life of my own," she wrote at the beginning of the First World War, having done a nursing course and gone to serve in an Austrian field hospital. This was a hard time for her, during which she looked after the sick in the typhus ward, worked in an operating theatre, and saw young people die. When the hospital was dissolved, in 1916, she followed Husserl as his assistant to the German city of Freiburg, where she passed her doctorate summa cum laude (with the utmost distinction) in 1917, after writing a thesis on "The Problem of Empathy."

During this period she went to Frankfurt Cathedral and saw a woman with a shopping basket going in to kneel for a brief prayer. "This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot. "Towards the end of her dissertation she wrote: "There have been people who believed that a sudden change had occurred within them and that this was a result of God's grace." How could she come to such a conclusion? 
Edith Stein had been good friends with Husserl's Göttingen assistant, Adolf Reinach, and his wife.

When Reinach fell in Flanders in November 1917, Edith went to Göttingen to visit his widow. The Reinachs had converted to Protestantism. Edith felt uneasy about meeting the young widow at first, but was surprised when she actually met with a woman of faith. "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me - Christ in the mystery of the Cross."

Later, she wrote: "Things were in God's plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that - from God's point of view - there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God's divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God's all-seeing eyes."

In Autumn 1918 Edith Stein gave up her job as Husserl's teaching assistant. She wanted to work independently. It was not until 1930 that she saw Husserl again after her conversion, and she shared with him about her faith, as she would have liked him to become a Christian, too. Then she wrote down the amazing words: "Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust."

Edith Stein wanted to obtain a professorship, a goal that was impossible for a woman at the time. Husserl wrote the following reference: "Should academic careers be opened up to ladies, then I can recommend her whole-heartedly and as my first choice for admission to a professorship." Later, she was refused a professorship on account of her Jewishness.

Back in Breslau, Edith Stein began to write articles about the philosophical foundation of psychology. However, she also read the New Testament, Kierkegaard and Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. She felt that one could not just read a book like that, but had to put it into practice.

In the summer of 1921. she spent several weeks in Bergzabern (in the Palatinate) on the country estate of Hedwig Conrad-Martius, another pupil of Husserl's. Hedwig had converted to Protestantism with her husband. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: "My longing for truth was a single prayer."

On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. It was the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham. Edith Stein stood by the baptismal font, wearing Hedwig Conrad-Martius' white wedding cloak. Hedwig washer godmother. "I had given up practising my Jewish religion when I was a 14-year-old girl and did not begin to feel Jewish again until I had returned to God." From this moment on she was continually aware that she belonged to Christ not only spiritually, but also through her blood. At the Feast of the Purification of Mary - another day with an Old Testament reference - she was confirmed by the Bishop of Speyer in his private chapel.

After her conversion she went straight to Breslau: "Mother," she said, "I am a Catholic." The two women cried. Hedwig Conrad Martius wrote: "Behold, two Israelites indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (cf. John 1:47).

Immediately after her conversion she wanted to join a Carmelite convent. However, her spiritual mentors, Vicar-General Schwind of Speyer, and Erich Przywara SJ, stopped her from doing so. Until Easter 1931 she held a position teaching German and history at the Dominican Sisters' school and teacher training college of St. Magdalen's Convent in Speyer. At the same time she was encouraged by Arch-Abbot Raphael Walzer of Beuron Abbey to accept extensive speaking engagements, mainly on women's issues. "During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I ... thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one's mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world... I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to `get beyond himself' in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it."

She worked enormously hard, translating the letters and diaries of Cardinal Newman from his pre-Catholic period as well as Thomas Aquinas' Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate. The latter was a very free translation, for the sake of dialogue with modern philosophy. Erich Przywara also encouraged her to write her own philosophical works. She learnt that it was possible to "pursue scholarship as a service to God... It was not until I had understood this that I seriously began to approach academic work again." To gain strength for her life and work, she frequently went to the Benedictine Monastery of Beuron, to celebrate the great festivals of the Church year.

In 1931 Edith Stein left the convent school in Speyer and devoted herself to working for a professorship again, this time in Breslau and Freiburg, though her endeavours were in vain. It was then that she wrote Potency and Act, a study of the central concepts developed by Thomas Aquinas. Later, at the Carmelite Convent in Cologne, she rewrote this study to produce her main philosophical and theological oeuvre, Finite and Eternal Being. By then, however, it was no longer possible to print the book.

In 1932 she accepted a lectureship position at the Roman Catholic division of the German Institute for Educational Studies at the University of Munster, where she developed her anthropology. She successfully combined scholarship and faith in her work and her teaching, seeking to be a "tool of the Lord" in everything she taught. "If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him."

In 1933 darkness broke out over Germany. "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine." The Aryan Law of the Nazis made it impossible for Edith Stein to continue teaching. "If I can't go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany," she wrote; "I had become a stranger in the world."

The Arch-Abbot of Beuron, Walzer, now no longer stopped her from entering a Carmelite convent. While in Speyer, she had already taken a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1933 she met with the prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne. "Human activities cannot help us, but only the suffering of Christ. It is my desire to share in it."

Edith Stein went to Breslau for the last time, to say good-bye to her mother and her family. Her last day at home was her birthday, 12 October, which was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Edith went to the synagogue with her mother. It was a hard day for the two women. "Why did you get to know it [Christianity]?" her mother asked, "I don't want to say anything against him. He may have been a very good person. But why did he make himself God?" Edith's mother cried. The following day Edith was on the train to Cologne. "I did not feel any passionate joy. What I had just experienced was too terrible. But I felt a profound peace - in the safe haven of God's will." From now on she wrote to her mother every week, though she never received any replies. Instead, her sister Rosa sent her news from Breslau.

Edith joined the Carmelite Convent of Cologne on 14 October, and her investiture took place on 15 April, 1934. The mass was celebrated by the Arch-Abbot of Beuron. Edith Stein was now known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce - Teresa, Blessed of the Cross. In 1938 she wrote: "I understood the cross as the destiny of God's people, which was beginning to be apparent at the time (1933). I felt that those who understood the Cross of Christ should take it upon themselves on everybody's behalf. Of course, I know better now what it means to be wedded to the Lord in the sign of the cross. However, one can never comprehend it, because it is a mystery." On 21 April 1935 she took her temporary vows. On 14 September 1936, the renewal of her vows coincided with her mother's death in Breslau. "My mother held on to her faith to the last moment. But as her faith and her firm trust in her God ... were the last thing that was still alive in the throes of her death, I am confident that she will have met a very merciful judge and that she is now my most faithful helper, so that I can reach the goal as well."

When she made her eternal profession on 21 April 1938, she had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: "Henceforth my only vocation is to love." Her final work was to be devoted to this author.

Edith Stein's entry into the Carmelite Order was not escapism. "Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede to God for everyone." In particular, she interceded to God for her people: "I keep thinking of Queen Esther who was taken away from her people precisely because God wanted her to plead with the king on behalf of her nation. I am a very poor and powerless little Esther, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful. This is great comfort." (31 October 1938)

On 9 November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world.

Synagogues were burnt, and the Jewish people were subjected to terror. The prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne did her utmost to take Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce abroad. On New Year's Eve 1938 she was smuggled across the border into the Netherlands, to the Carmelite Convent in Echt in the Province of Limburg. This is where she wrote her will on 9 June 1939: "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death ... so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world."

While in the Cologne convent, Edith Stein had been given permission to start her academic studies again. Among other things, she wrote about "The Life of a Jewish Family" (that is, her own family): "I simply want to report what I experienced as part of Jewish humanity," she said, pointing out that "we who grew up in Judaism have a duty to bear witness ... to the young generation who are brought up in racial hatred from early childhood."

In Echt, Edith Stein hurriedly completed her study of "The Church's Teacher of Mysticism and the Father of the Carmelites, John of the Cross, on the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of His Birth, 1542-1942." In 1941 she wrote to a friend, who was also a member of her order: "One can only gain a scientia crucis (knowledge of the cross) if one has thoroughly experienced the cross. I have been convinced of this from the first moment onwards and have said with all my heart: 'Ave, Crux, Spes unica' (I welcome you, Cross, our only hope)." Her study on St. John of the Cross is entitled: "Kreuzeswissenschaft" (The Science of the Cross).

Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people."

Together with many other Jewish Christians, the two women were taken to a transit camp in Amersfoort and then to Westerbork. This was an act of retaliation against the letter of protest written by the Dutch Roman Catholic Bishops against the pogroms and deportations of Jews. Edith commented, "I never knew that people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this. ... I pray for them every hour. Will God hear my prayers? He will certainly hear them in their distress." Prof. Jan Nota, who was greatly attached to her, wrote later: "She is a witness to God's presence in a world where God is absent."

On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, her sister and many other of her people were gassed.

When Edith Stein was beatified in Cologne on 1 May 1987, the Church honoured "a daughter of Israel", as Pope John Paul II put it, who, as a Catholic during Nazi persecution, remained faithful to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ and, as a Jew, to her people in loving faithfulness."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary!  Go READ THIS NOW! (and take good notes)

The Vindication of Humanae Vitae

by Mary Eberstadt

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So I turn 30 today, I could reflect on the last 30 years or I could look forward to the next 30.  I shall do neither, but I will post a prayer about life and how we should all go about living it.  Read, pray, take it to heart.  God Bless my family and friends and may His Grace and Peace be with everyone.

Respect everyone - Christ resides in everyone. Be sensitive to others - they are your brothers and sisters.

Think well of everyone - think ill of no one. Try to find something good even in the worst of circumstances.

Always speak well of others - do not cast a slur on anyone. Repair any harm resulting from an uttered word. Do not provoke strife between people.

Speak to everyone in the language of love. Do not raise your voice. Do not swear. Do not vex others. Do not provoke tears. Reassure others. Show a kind heart.

Forgive everyone everything. Do not hold grudges. Always be the first to extend your hand as a sign of reconciliation.

Act always to your neighbor's advantage. Do good things to others, as you would like them done to you. Never give a thought to what others owe you, but always to what you owe them.

Be actively compassionate in time of suffering. Be quick to offer consolation, counsel, assistance, kindness.

Work conscientiously - others benefit from the fruits of your labor, just as you benefit from the labors of others.

Be active in your community. Be open to the poor and the sick. Share your goods. Try to see the needs of those around you.

Pray for everyone, even your enemies.

Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'll have something tomorrow, but for now this about sums it up:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why So Serious?

  Dark, brooding and fun had by all.  Is it possible to have a hero so dark that it becomes an almost impossibility to find a villain any darker?  And is it possible for a villain to have no motive and still the best motive of all?   Oh it most certainly is and the result is simply delicious.  A film of epic proportions and perhaps the greatest performance by a screen villain of all time.  Better than Vader in the memorable character department and dare I say more crazy and smart than Lechter.
   I am of course talking about The Dark Knight, the new Batman film that opened today in theaters across the USA.  I went and saw a matinee showing after work and am very tempted to go again tomorrow or Sunday.  It was amazing.  Christian Bale turned the dark and brooding Batman into an even darker more brooding character.  We also catch glimpses of why Batman is often called the world's greatest detective, for he works in the gray of morality.  Doing what the powers in charge can not or are unwilling to do.  
   Now, what did I think of Heath Ledger, the last role he completed before his untimely death last January.  I was about 10 or 11 when Jack played the campy Joker... this is not Jack's Joker.  This is the Joker of such a dark and crazy nature, you can't help but love.  He even performs magic, making a pencil disappear with grotesque results.  I like Ledger as an actor, The Patriot, A Knight's Tale, this was his break out role.  If we never see him any more movies (there was some unfinished work left when he died), let this role stand as a monument to his great talents as an actor.  He didn't just play the Joker, he was and will forever be the Joker.  I know everyone seems to be saying the same thing, but yes it is OSCAR worthy.  At least a nomination is in order, though I say he deserves to win one.  He was amazing in the role and took it to a place that even I didn't think possible for an actor.  Anthony Hopkins wishes he could take Lecter to where Ledger went in the role of the Joker.
    I see no way the Joker could be given to another actor, it wouldn't be right.  Johnny Depp may be a choice, but I say retire the Joker to the Narrows and Arkham for ever.  The specter lurking in the shadows always teasing us around the corner, in another film, but just out of reach.  Perhaps the Riddler or the Penguin is next.  Maybe Catwoman.  But you know, if they end the Batman series here, it is fine with me.  I don't think any future films could even come up to the boot soles of the film.
    Go see it... now!  And why so serious?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy Independence Weekend loyal readers!  I am relaxing after playing four hockey games in the 39 hours at my rink's annual 4th of July Tournament.  This year was a bit more hotly contested for various reason, a few fights sadly, but fun to play in again.  Capped off with the ice cream sundae breakfast, so thank you Ben & Jerry's!

So here I sit realizing I haven't posted since last month, but I've been very busy.  Work has me overseeing 7 projects which are taking up a lot of my energy.  Which leads to longer hours. Granted I'm not hauling down the 70 hour weeks I used to pull when I worked in the Boston area, but just enough hours to be a bit of a pain.  I find that I'm having to stay just late enough to be unable to make the daily 5:30 Mass in the evenings as frequently as I would prefer.  It makes a noticeable difference in the day to day routine.

Now some of you are wondering, how can it be that big of deal?  It's just 30 minutes out of the day?  Why does it matter?  Well, it's simple really.  It all comes down to the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, the source and summit of the Christian faith.  It is those moments of prayer before the tabernacle before and after Mass and the reception of the Eucharist during Mass that make all the difference.  Entering into God's eternalness, into that mysterious way in which we are transported back to the foot of the cross and that moment is brought forward to us.   It is not us who take Christ in, but rather He who takes us in and further conforms us as working parts of His body.  I love that, I find a calming there when all the outside stuff that is just the fluff of life can be shaken off and we can realize that the most important thing we can do everyday is to be in His presence. 

Anyway, I'm going to go lie down and read and pray that St. Thomas' website is correct with the 5:30 Mass tonight.  If not, off to St. Mary's for the 7:30.

Have a great one!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello world!  

Simple Math of the Day:  131-92=17,  How about them Boston Celtics...2008 NBA Champions with their 17th NBA CHampionship!

Secondly, added another icon on the left:  St. Maximilian Kolbe  for a quick summary:

St. Maximilian was born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, January 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.

In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a "martyr of charity" in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jun 07 - Special Homily - Fr Ignatius: First Saturday, Immaculate Heart of Mary

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Pope Benedict reflecting on the closing of the month of May, a Marian Month:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Democrats Give Discount to Planned Parenthood


Thanks to a Democrat maneuver, Planned Parenthood will receive a discount from drug manufacturers in a bill designed to fund our troops.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted on an amendment to the War Supplemental Appropriations Bill.  Democrats, led by Sen. Barack Obama, had inserted language to help Planned Parenthood into the domestic-spending portion of this troop-funding bill. The Senate passed the amendment 75-22.

The provision allows for groups like Planned Parenthood and university health centers to receive discounted prices from drug manufacturers for drugs like the morning-after pill, which may cause an early abortion.

"Planned Parenthood should not be receiving any federal assistance, and certainly not in a bill that’s designed to help our troops," said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action.

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, received $330 million in taxpayer money last year.

Yet another reason to not support the Democrats.  It will be a great day when every last abortion mill in this country is finally closed down.  It's a child, not a choice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI and welcome to the United States of America!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So the Frozen Four concludes tonight in Denver as the NCAA Men's Division I National Champion will be crowned.   The only question I have is....can we invite Pope Benedict XVI?


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Sox got their rings and finally returned to Fenway after being on a 3 country road trip of 16,000 miles since March 19.

And to top it off.....this uplifting moment for the first pitch:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul the Great.
A very great man of God and inspiration to many across the world.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It is an interesting world we live in, we have gadgets and the internet that provide us with headaches, communication and even surprises.  The last few days have been a surpise.  

Facebook, a bane on life, but a great way for keeping in touch with friends dropped a present off the last two days.  A reuniting of the band so to speak.  Two every good friends popped back on the grid, as I am sure I popped back on theirs.  Two of my best friends in high school, who I haven't talked to in years because we lost touch and our lives got busy resurfaced.  Though I have not seen or talked to them in quite awhile I keep them in my prayers, along with other friends who have fallen off the radar, always.   I have much love for these two ladies, and they are ladies in every sense of the word.  The respect I have for them knows no limits.  When you have almost every class with folks for 6 years you learn a lot about friendship and getting through the good and the bad.  I am overjoyed to have beeen given some means of catching up after all this time.

Facebook you may be a bane, but you also bring joy when it is unexpected.  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blurry Reflections of the Easter Vigil

   So I came through my first eye surgery well.  Now to wait for one eye to heal and to get the other eye operated upon.  Right now I can see clearly out of one eye, but not the other.  My left eye is amazingly clear, you don't know what you are missing until you get it back. My right eye, which is also my dominant eye, is even more fuzzy, or at least more noticeable.  This means reading and typing are kind of strange for now.
   However, I feel compelled to reflect a bit on last night's Easter Vigil, which started at 8:30 PM and ended at 11:55PM.  That was then, this is now.  We enter the Church for the vigil in much the same way the Mary's and the Apsotles entered the tomb.  It was dark and Jesus was not there.  We expect to find Him there in the taberacle when we enter, much as the those coming to the tomb expected to find His body.  Like those coming to the tomb, we find the Body of Christ to not be present.  Unexpected and unnerving in a sense.  Everyday you can enter the Church, but on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Church is empty.  Jesus is not there.
In this sense, the Church represents the tomb, we expect the Body to be there when we enter and yet it is not.  What has happened?  Where has it gone?  Like those who came to the tomb, we don't quite get it, we're not used to it, something is out of place.  It is dark, it is empty, and we await the sunrise to learn of the ressurection.  Just like those who went to the tomb.
As Father David mentioned, that was then and this is now.  And like God, it doesn't matter because He is outside time.  So the feelings then and the feeling now are very much the same.  Somehow I know there is a point to it being so.  A continual link to the beginnings of the Church experienced by all then and now.  An experience that will be had by all at the end of the world, something we can all look forward on that joyous day.  This is now, that is then.  When will then be now?  Soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day!

That's right folks, not only was yesterday St. Joseph's Day but it was also St. Patrick's Day!  Due to March 17th, the traditional date of St.  Patrick's Day falling during Holy Week, St. Patrick's Day was moved to the 15th.  So all you fools drinking your green beer on the 17th are two days late to the feast.

Corn beef and cabbage, meatballs and pasta. Beer and red wine and zepole's for dessert with green cherries should have been on the menu.

So for the rest of you...sorry you missed all the fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So, I have eye surgery next Tuesday.  It turns out I have, somehow, developed cataracts in both eyes.  Simply stated, I have a cloudy zone on the lens in both eyes that is right behind my pupil.  This cloudiness has resulted in fuzzy vision, difficulty reading and the appearance of haziness/fog in brght light.  Usually, folks don't develop these until their 50s and 60s, but they can happen younger than that.  That's my case.  So I go Tuesday, they'll drug me up, go into my left eyeball and remove my lens and replace it with an artificial one.  It will put me out commission for for a day or so.  Most unfortunately is no hockey for 10 days.  Fortunately, my next league game is scheduled for day 13.   I may get the right eye done on day 14.  my next game being on day 28.  So it may work out.  Plus it gives me a chance to wait on and install my new face cage and shield before then.  I am abandoning my cage for a cage/visor combo which will shield the eyes from anything that could get in them and irritate them while they heal.  I can skate though, just no hockey practice or games.   

I start eye drops Saturday and will find out tomorrow what time I am getting "cut on".   I'm a bit nervous but excited that this eye trouble that's been bothering me for awhile will finally be cleared up (pun intended)!

Another great thing, I'll be out and about in time for Holy Thursday!  

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tonight I watched the sequel to Going My Way a film entitled The Bells of St. Mary's.
Another wonderful film and a piece of cinema history.  Bing Crosby revives his role as Father Chuck O'Malley and was nominated for Best Actor, an award he won for playing the same character the year before.  This marked the first, and I believe the only time, the same actor has been nominated for a Best Actor award for playing the same character.   I found this little preview on youtube.  Also, why didn't the nuns at my school growing up look like Ingrid Bergman?  Even in a habit she's beautiful.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I found this review of Going My Way, it was published in the New York Times way back when the film was released in 1944.

Going My Way,' Comedy-Drama With Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald, at Paramount -- New Film at Palace

Published: May 3, 1944

Having hit about as high in his profession as any average man would hope to hit—and that to say the top notes in the musical comedy league—Bing Crosby has switched his batting technique (or had it switched for him) in his latest film, "Going My Way." And—would you believe it?—old Bing is giving the best show of his career. That's saying a lot for a performer who has been one of the steadiest joys of the screen. But, in this Leo McCarey film, now at the Paramount, he has definitely found his sturdiest role to date.

For in this, Mr. Crosby's first picture with a comparatively serious dramatic theme—and also the first in which his singing is not heavily depended upon—he has been beautifully presented by Mr. McCarey, who produced and directed the film. And he has been stunningly supported by Barry Fitzgerald, who plays one of the warmest characters the screen has ever known. As a matter of fact, it is a cruel slight to suggest that this is Mr. Crosby's show. It is his and Mr. Fitzgerald's together. And they make it one of the rare delights of the year.

For "Going My Way" is the story—rich, warm and human to the core—of a progressive young Catholic priest who matches his wits and his ideas with those of the elderly pastor of a poor parish—a parish which the young priest is tacitly sent to conduct. It is the story of new versus old customs, of traditional age versus youth. And it is a story of human relations in a simple, sentimental, honest vein.

But it is far from a serious story—in the telling, anyhow. It is as humored and full of modern crackle as a Bing Crosby film has got to be. From the moment that Mr. Crosby shows up at St. Dominic's Church in a faded athletic costume to face the breathless skepticism of Mr. Fitzgerald until the final (and somewhat obvious) fadeout, when Mr. Crosby goes away in the night — the parish's treasury replenished and Mr. Fitzgerald comfortably wrapped in his old mother's arms—it is a delightful and witty case of sparring, with perfect dignity, between the two men.

There is the beautiful moment when Mr. Fitzgerald, while displaying his parish garden to the young priest, exclaims that it is a wonderful place to meditate and then adds, slyly, "You do—meditate?" There is the charming scene in which Mr. Crosby escorts the weary old gentleman to his bed, and then is surprised to discover that the reverent ancient likes "a drop of the craiture" now and then. And there is that simply exquisite sequence in which Mr. Fitzgerald goes off in a huff because Mr. Crosby is testing the neighborhood roughnecks in a vocal rendering of "Three Blind Mice."

Yes, there are musical passages in the picture. They come when Mr. Crosby occasionally sings a modern song bearing the title of the picture, another new air and a couple of old timers. They also come—and more magnificently—when Risé Stevens, who is trickily worked in, sings an aria from "Carmen," "Ave Maria" and the title song, too. And Mr. Crosby and the Robert Mitchell Boy Choir (dressed up like neighborhood kids) do very amusingly by a number called "Swinging on a Star."

The only criticism of the production—and of the excellent script which Frank Butler and Frank Cavett wrote—is that it runs to an excess. It is more than two hours long. And in that time there are certain stretches when the momentum somewhat lags. But otherwise no exceptions are taken. In addition to Mr. Crosby and Mr. Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh, Miss Stevens, Jean Heather and Stanley Clements—especially the latter as a genial tough — give thoroughly good performances. They enrich this already top-notch film with a vigorous glow of good spirit. "Going My Way" is a tonic delight.

GOING MY WAY, screen play by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett; from a story by Leo McCarey; produced and directed by Mr. McCarey for Paramount; songs by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen. At the Paramount. 
Father Chuck O'Malley . . . . . Bing Crosby 
Jenny Linden . . . . . Rise Stevens 
Father Fitzgibbon . . . . . Barry Fitzgerald 
Ted Haines Jr . . . . . James Brown 
Carol James . . . . . Jean Heather 
Mrs. Carmody . . . . . Eily Malyon 
Father O'Dowd . . . . . Frank McHugh 
Tony Scaponi . . . . . Stanley Clements 
Haines Sr. . . . . . Gene Lockhart 
Mr. Belknap . . . . . Porter Hall 
Tomaso Bozanni . . . . . Fortunio Bonanova 
The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Going My Way?

   Tonight I watched a wonderful film.  Winner of 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Bing Crosby) in 1944, Going My Way.   They just don't make films like this anymore.  Having never seen it all the way through, I loved it and the twist at the end of film was amazing.  Foreshadowed throughout, but a wonderful surprise.  In a very real sense, it was just what I needed tonight.   
   It's been a very long week for me, lot's of unknowns that were out there just hanging over me.  Literally fuzzy and cloudy and not clearly seen.  Questions, what if's, where to go from this point type stuff.   Today some answers, a direction and a path laid out.  I'll know a little more to be determined Monday.   Now before you start asking, why am I being cryptic...well I don't know a whole heck of a lot at the moment either, just that it looks likely that I have become a rare medical anomally for my age and will probably have to undergo some routine surgery to correct a problem.   I'll keep you updated as I can.  In the meantime....who's "Going My Way?"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Well it finally happened, for the first time since April 2002 I have been ill and had to miss work.  Thursday morning at about 3AM I awoke to a mild fever, aches, chills and a cough that could and probably did wake the dead, given the direct line of sound now existing between my bedroom and a small graveyard.   So I was out yesterday and again today.  I'm at about 80% efficiency right now and I credit that will lot's of sleep, gatorade, water and of course great drugs.   I don't like being ill.  It makes me crankier than normal.  I get into a really foul mood and am really unsufferable to be around.  Luckily, I live alone.

While laying in bed, well medicated, in one of my more lucid moments I got a thought.  It's not such a bad thing to be home sick.  It's a short walk to the toilet to puke and take care of the other things that get taken care of there.  It's a short walk to the kiitchen to reach my gatorade.  It's a reminder that laying bed all day is not what humans are meant for due the pains in my back.   It reminds me that I'm home, alone and can only on focus the moment.  I have to be patient or end up worse off than when things started.  I have to wait on God's timing to recover fully.  In a sense I'm totally dependent on His work in the healing process.   

See I hate being sick.  But I guess I can learn from it and that isn't such a bad thing afterall.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I don't really follow politics that much, though I try to stay aware of just what is going on around the country and around the world.  I don't belong to any political party, but I do tend to lean one way.  I find it difficult to support folks who favor killing the unborn, unfortunately many times the choices don't allow such a clear cut luxury.  However, what about a canidate who supports murdering the unborn and also supports killing the born, if they are born during a state sanctioned murder.  Wake up America, one of the four big Presidential canidates is such a person.  He is a man who in the past has supported measures that hinder the rights of the born human person if they were born during a state sanctioned execution.

Tip of the Biretta to Gerald over at The Cafeteria is Closed.  The story can be read here

Wake up America, the so called "golden boy" is very tarnished and not a man worthy of even being nominated for President, much less being President.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Congratulations to the New York Giants for a great victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. It was a fantastic game and the Giants executed a great game plan to beat the previously undeafeated Patriots.

Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Meyers in a few weeks and Lent begins on Wednesday. Yes folks, this Wednesday. Easter falls early this year.

I am prepared for ribbing in the office tomorrow, though I suspect Cowboy fans will understand the feeling of getting knocked off by the Giants.

That's all for now. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

So it comes down to this, the road to a perfect season for New England runs through New York. For New York a shot at a championship runs through New England. Boston and New York again squaring off for a championship. All is right in the world.

And did anyone catch those girls at the Packers game wearing bikini tops? I want to but those girls some good jackets so they can dress properly for the frozen tundra in Green Bay.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Must See Film

This evening I watched a nice film, note a film and not a movie, entitled Into Great Silence.
If you have about 3 hours to kill, I highly reccomend this film. Granted, the film could have easily just been 3 hours of the monks at the night office, but that would have been pretty dark with not much to see, but it is obvious that the night office is a centerpiece to their community.

"Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This week I have been enjoying the CBS miniseries, Comanche Moon, the final filming in the Lonesome Dove saga.  Based on the book of the same name, Comanche Moon is the second film (timeline wise in the saga) following Dead Man's Walk and preceding the epic Lonesome Dove and the final chapter, Streets of Laredo.

Granted, it can't compare to Lonesome Dove, it is a good showing on its own.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What is the method by which a Rocket blasts off?

The answer is a controlled explosion, if you buy that kind of oxymoron.  I've kept silent on baseball's Mitchell Report.  That tome that has made us aware of some evidence, some of it strong and some of it amazingly weak, that told us some athletes in the game of baseball used performance enhancing drugs to improve their careers, increase their paydays and perhaps shatter records.

Some former Red Sox were named in the report most note worthy were Mo Vaugh, Paxton Crawford and Roger Clemens.

It is the evidence presented surrounding Roger Clemens that I find weak and bordering on absurd.  I don't think it holds up.  Yet, I must ask myself is this my mind informing me based on what I have read or is it my heart.  The heart of my childhood wanting to believe that one of my childhood heros who kind of continued as one into adulthood cheated.   

Baseball players have always captured our imagination.  Being paid large amounts of money to play a game loved by kids everywhere.   In many cases making more than the President, but as Babe Ruth once said "I had a better a year than him."

I don't think the evidence offered against Clemens is reliable as of now.  Could that change?  Sure it could become worse or it could be blown up and the Rocket could clear his name.  Innocent until PROVEN guilty.  Besides, I caught a quote from The Rocket that makes me hope that one of the games toughest players of his generation is going to the mattresses to save his reputation and he doesn't give a damn what the press has to say about it:

"Do you think I played my career because I'm worried about the damn Hall of Fame?" he told a room filled with many potential voters. "You keep your vote. I don't need the Hall of Fame to justify that I put my butt on the line and I worked my tail off, and I defy anybody to say I did it by cheating or taking any shortcuts, OK?"

That's the competitor and the attitude I loved as a kid and still love today.  Many times in life our heros let us down.  They are afterall only human, only flesh and bone like ourselves.  And maybe if anything, that's the lesson we all need to take away from this whole mess.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

EWTN has the short film "Fishers of Men" in their rotation lately.  A film made to promote vocations to the priesthood.   I saw if for the first time last night and it is very well done and a very powerful presentation.   I found it online at and have imbedded it below for your viewing pleasure.