Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Well, this is good news...

"Baldwin pharmacist Lutful Chowdhury thinks Catholicism's leader is dispensing sound advice when he told pharmacists in Rome yesterday to exercise their right to refuse to fill prescriptions of medications that could end a pregnancy, assist in euthanasia or contraception..." (Continued here.)

Check out the latest segment of my "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo

You can listen to my latest segment on "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" in case you missed it yesterday morning. We discussed Halloween, All Saints and All Souls days. Just click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

We are Sinners

Time-lapse photography compresses a series of events into one picture. Such a photo appeared in an issue of National Geographic. Taken from a Rocky Mountain peak during a heavy thunderstorm, the picture captured the brilliant lightning display that had taken place throughout the storm's duration. The time-lapse technique created a fascinating, spaghetti-like web out of the individual bolts. In such a way, our sin presents itself before the eyes of God. Where we see only isolated or individual acts, God sees the overall web of our sinning. What may seem insignificant to us and passes with hardly any notice taken, creates a much more dramatic display from God's panoramic viewpoint.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves. The Lord redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34: 18, 22).

What is sin? Man calls it an accident; God calls it an abomination. Man calls it... (Continued here.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

the Lay Missionaries of Charity

From time to time, people ask me about the lay Missionaries of Charity. Here is a link to find out more.

Abortionist ordered to produce medical records

Hyannis, MA, Oct 25, 2007 / 11:38 am (CNA).- The mother of a woman who died during an abortion has secured a court order requiring an abortionist to release her daughter's medical records.

Eileen Smith's daughter Laura Hope Smith died during an abortion procedure at the Hyannis, Massachusetts office of abortionist Rapin Osathanondh on September 13, 2007.

Mrs. Smith had met with Osathanondh ten days after her daughter's death. He required her to meet him alone in a public place, refusing to allow her husband to accompany her... (continued here.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord...

Today's Psalm is:

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

R. (Ps 40:5) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.


Dear Lord, sometimes my hope in You wains when I see what is going on around this world we live in. But, I must remember - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Lord, my spouse doesn't believe in You which makes our daily lives in the family less than perfect. I will try to remember the words of the psalmist- Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Dear Lord, it seems like nothing ever changes, the struggles continue, but I am reminded - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Lord, it always seems to be the same old "one step forward and several steps back" which wears on my spirit. But I will strive to take these words to heart - Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Dear Lord, fill my heart with Your hope, please as I strive to stay on the narrow path that leads to life. Thank you for Your many blessings and love. Amen

[this prayer is not meant to reflect personal struggles of the author, only written to encourage hope for everyone. :)]

Monday, October 22, 2007

Poverty and Christianity

TUESDAY - Please see the additions to this post added after the original post.

I received this comment this morning from a visitor and I'd like to address it in a post. Normally comments would be addressed in the comment section but this one came in an area of another subject so readers might not have noticed it. Plus it is an important topic. Here is the comment:

Hi Donna-Marie,

I am a Christian from the UK. I came across your blog while surfing Blogland. I wonder if I may ask you a question about a topic that appears frequently on your postings - poverty.
Why is it many Christians praise poverty? Why is it many Christians praise poverty while not living in poverty?
If you, for example, were poor, you would not be able to have a blog, as poor people cannot afford computers, electricity, telephone bills etc, let alone rent for a house.




Dear James,

I'm glad you stopped by and felt comfortable to ask your question which is a very good question indeed. "Why is it many Christians praise poverty?"

There are many reasons why a Christian would want to embrace poverty. But, first of all to answer your comment about "Why is it many Christians praise poverty while not living in poverty? If you, for example, were poor, you would not be able to have a blog, as poor people cannot afford computers, electricity, telephone bills etc, let alone rent for a house."

A poor person can have a blog and use their local library computer to maintain it if they felt inclined to do so. Poverty reaches across all states of life and is not only reserved for the desolate. Christians who believe that it is wise to be poor in spirit are not hypocritical if they own something.

But, back to your original question about "Why is it that many Christians praise poverty? Our Lord Himself was poor. Jesus, who is our King and Savior was paradoxically born into poverty, resting in a wooden manger of hay, hardly what would be expected for a King’s birth. Angels sent simple shepherds to Mary and Joseph to see their holy baby. Mary “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Christians who feel an affinity with poverty may choose to live a little simpler, acquiring less material wealth and certainly sharing their wealth with the poor which can be done in so may ways. Christians can choose to become "detached" from worldly things, wanting to concentrate more on what our Lord is calling them to do and not obsessing over material wealth which will be left at our graves.

Blessed Mother Teresa took care of the poorest of the poor and had seen people every day living in squalor, disease, and dirt in the streets of Calcutta. She never admonished the rich for having riches. She always said that if that is what God called them to, that is fine but asked them to share those riches with the poor. She was upset about the imbalance of wealth in this world - the rich wasting or hoarding their wealth while others died in poverty.

This holy woman also pointed out that poverty is not just the poverty of riches but even more sadly and tragically is the poverty of spirit. People are starving for love and affection right in our affluent countries, right in our neighborhoods; people who may have never known the warmth of an embrace or even acknowledgement from others because of their state in life, such as in the case of a homeless person feeling rejected by society. There are others who may seem to be successful and happy by outward appearances, but are crying inside, hoping for love and acceptance. These are the people we need to smile at, to talk to, to offer a hand to. We are all called to ease the pain of the suffering and the poor.

Mother Teresa's approach was to help one person at a time - all who were within her reach. She has asked us to do the same. We can all in all of our walks of life reach out and help each other - what a world this would be if we would do that!

Regarding Christians and poverty, we should know that we can pray and ask our dear Lord to help us to embrace a simpler and more loving and giving lifestyle. We can and should ask Him to open our eyes to the poor around us. They may be right beside us and there is no need to run off to a poverty stricken country to find them. Mother Teresa had said quite often. There is Calcutta all over the world for those who have eyes to see." Let's find that Calcutta in our midst and help to ease the suffering of the poor.

So, James, I don't know if I have answered your question. Perhaps someone else may have a better answer or another way to explain it and can leave a comment here. I invite others to please chime in.

God bless!

After posting the above, James wrote this back:

Hi Donna Marie,
Thanks for your reply and including my question as a post.
May I comment on what you said?

I suggested poor people would not have a blog because they could not afford a computer, telephone bill etc. You stated poor people could use their local library to maintain a blog. I know many poor people and none have a blog. The reality is material poverty has an effect spiritually, educationally and on our aspirations.
As for Jesus being poor, I see no evidence in Scripture to support this widely held Christian belief. The Gospel tells us Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn - not because Joseph was too poor to pay. Joseph ran his own construction business, not a lowly carpenter shop as people romantically imagine, so he would have been wealthy. In fact, one of his biggest clients would have been the Roman army. Also, if Jesus was poor, wore poor clothes etc, why did the Roman soldiers gamble for his clothes at the crucifiction? If he dressed like a poor man, they would have been thrown aside.
I'm glad you said Mother Teresa did not admonish the rich. Her calling and that of her order, is very specific and not common amongst Christians. I knew some of her nuns where I used to live, and that was their view.
The problem is when any of us speak of the 'rich' we always think of someone else. So, I think a movie star is rich and the movie star thinks the studio owner is rich and the studio owner thinks the oil billionaire is rich and so on.
I think it is very hard to define "a simpler lifestyle.' To me, a moivie star lives in excess with every luxury. But to someone in the Third World earning $1 a day, my lifestyle (I have a nice house, water, electricity, overseas holidays etc) seems like the lifestyle of a millionaire, but that I certainly am not!
I think Christians of all denominations, have tended to take a mistaken view of poverty and richess and misunderstood Jesus' message here. He convicted one rich young man but not Zacchaeus the tax collector, who even after giving away a lot of his money, would still have been rich.
May I suggest reading an excellent article on poverty written by Eddie Russell who founded the Catholic Charismatic group, Flame Ministries. www.flameministries.org
He gets the right balance between rich and poor - and states that if Jesus came to give the Good News, the Good News for the poor is they don't have to be poor any longer.


Thank you, James for your response. I will invite others to respond to your comments and I will get back to you a bit later on.

God bless!

Please feel free to leave a comment on this subject that James has brought up about poverty and Christianity.

Barb from "SFO Mom" left this comment:

This question particularly hits home with me because as a Secular Franciscan, I take as my model Saint Francis of Assisi, who identified so much with the materially poor that he had absolutely no possessions of his own.

People who are interested in becoming Secular Franciscans often worry that they will have to give up their homes or cars in order to follow a Franciscan life.

And while I much admire Franciscans like the Friars of the Renewal, who truly do not own a thing in this world (but surely are building up many treasures in Heaven), not all of us are called to that kind of life.

In Matthew 5: 3, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." He does not say, "Blessed are the materially poor." Certainly to be materially poor is a difficult life, and most people would not consider it a blessing to be challenged to live that life. But the poor in spirit are the ones who realize that it is not material possessions that matter. They are the ones who are willing to be generous with the resources with which they have been blessed--so they can bless others. They do not hoard up their treasures for their own future selfish use (like the man in today's Gospel) but instead are ready to share their treasures.

In Luke 12:34 we read, "Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be." I believe that one who is poor in spirit is one who knows from where these treasures have come, and looks for opportunities to use these treasures to make life better for even one other person.

In that respect, my husband is a far better Franciscan than I am. He is generous to a degree that I am not courageous enough to imitate. He has brought a homeless woman and baby into our home (when Big Brother was an infant) so that we could give this woman some formula, diapers, baby clothes, and a chance to bathe her little boy. He has bought dinners for soldiers in uniform when he sees them in restaurants. He is far more gentle and generous than I am with Adventure Boy. It seems like he is energized by these actions--I find them stressful and exhausting.

Yes, I believe that he is a wonderful example of what it is to be poor in spirit.


Feel free to visit Barb's blog SFO Mom.

Thank you very much, Barb!


Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii had this to say:

Hi Donna and all:

I don't know that as Christians we embrace poverty. Personally, I don't see it that way. I think we are called to be content in our own station in life, be it rich, poor or middle class.


Thanks, Esther!

Jean at Catholic Fire said this:

I agree with Esther that each of us is called to live according to our station in life.

Jesus Christ did not condemn the possession of worldly goods, or even of great wealth; for He himself had rich friends.

Christ constantly pointed out the danger of riches, which, He says, are the thorns that choke up the good seed of the word (Matthew 13:22). Because of His poverty as well as of His constant journeying, necessitated by persecution, He could say: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).

While poverty has no intrinsic goodness, it is good only because it is useful to remove the obstacles which stand in the way of the pursuit of spiritual perfection.

As Christians, we are called to share our material goods with others.
In the acts of corporal mercy, to feed the hungry: "For I was hungry and you gave me to eat." Mt. 25:35, to give drink to the thirsty "...I was thirsty and you gave me to drink..." Mt. 25:35, to clothe the naked: "I was...naked and you clothed me..." Mt. 25:36, and to shelter the homeless: "...I was a stranger and you took me in..." Mt. 25:35.

As an Oblate with the Community of St. John, I made a promise of poverty, which basically focuses on poverty of spirit as Barb has described above.

Jesus tells us in the Eight Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I have witnessed in my lifetime Christians who have been extremely generous to others living in poverty because this is what the Lord has called us to do: Christians who have invited complete strangers into their homes to live for a period of time; Christians who have provided food, the clothing off their backs, and rent or house payments to the unemployed and the poor.

Our own small Community has raised thousands of dollars
for those in third world countries and have assisted those who were affected by the tsunami. Some in our Community have worked with Mother Teresa and have physically and spiritually assisted the poor.

Here in Kansas, the state where I live, Christians have taken time off from their own jobs to assist those who were affected by the tragedy in New Orleans.
Man here are involved in Habitat for humanity and others in the community build homes for them.

Poverty is not a good thing in itself, but when we give of what we have to others and care for their corporal and spiritual needs, we are following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

God can bring good out of these situations of suffering and trial - that is the grace and the miracle that occurs.

Jesus never praised nor promoted wealth, but He did teach us how important it was to love one another.

Having a blog or three TV's per household or a brand new car are not necessities in this life, but food, clothing, and shelter are and should never be denied anyone.

God gives us each a free will. If there are those among us who waste our resources and do not give God his due by assisting others in this area, then they will have to answer to Him on judgement day.

I, for one, have difficulty understanding how some Hollywood celebrities can spend so much money on their animals(purchasing diamond collars, sending them to pet spas, feeding them gourmet food, etc,) when there are so many people starving in the world. I love animals, but people are much more important.

I hope you understand what I am trying to say. Christ commanded us to love others as we love ourselves. If everyone would follow this teaching, poverty in this world would be eradicated.

God bless you!


Thanks, Jean!

Feel free to visit Jean's blog at Catholic Fire.


Jane said:

Based on James' response, it seems like maybe he already knows the answer to his question.

As a mother of six, with two adopted from the developing world (where the average annual family income is about $120USD); I can tell you that we knew that my husband and I felt confident that we would be able to financially provide for our Ethiopian children at a level far more secure than their first family was able.

What is more important, however, is our ability to provide security for their eternal souls. And our "developed" nation, that is a much less certain thing. We don't worry nearly as much about the poverty of their bodies as we do their souls now that they are here.

Poverty is everywhere. Sometimes we just need to look a little harder to see it.



Thanks, Jane!


James came back to say:

Hi All,
If I may, I'd like to post the comments I sent to Barb for her awesome answer on the poverty and riches debate. All you folks have supplied amazing answers and are obviously Spirit-filled people who know their Scripture. Other Christians I ask about poverty, have a muddled understanding. Its been a great debate, and I'll leave it now. Maybe I can drop by later and pose another simple question - like 'why pray to saints?"
Blessing to everyone from an Evangelical Scotsman in the UK,


Hi Barb,
James Hastings here, the UK Christian who posed the poverty question on Donna Marie's page. It is a question I have posted on many Christian blogs and yours is the only answer which is correct.
It is not money or wealth that are wrong, but the love of these or how we go about getting them or wanting them too much. It is about being good stewards and tithing, not hoarding. It is about understanding from where our wealth comes, (the Father), not believing we are the primary source.
Understand that, and you'll see it is perfectly possible to get into heaven wearing a Rolex watch.
Your husband is an awesome example of poor in Spirit. Of course, he could not buy soldier's dinners or help a homeless woman and her baby if he was materially poor. What a guy.
I'd refer you to a great article on being poor in Spirit at www.flameministries.org which is the home of the Catholic charismatic group, Flame Ministries in Australia. I am a big supporter of theirs, and I'm not even a Catholic.




Margaret Mary said:

Jesus told us to trust in God, through the story of the lilies of the field. I think this is the kind of "poverty" that many of us need to embrace today, as misfortunes come our way. It isn't easy to learn that we are not "in control" (due to job loss, business failure, natural disaster). It isn't easy to have to give up a lifestyle we were accustomed to; but to offer that to God and trust in Him for what we need is - in my opinion - one of the ways that we live in a "spirit of poverty", not seeking poverty, but seeking to turn lovingly, patiently, and trustingly to God in all things. (check out her blog here.)


Thanks, Margaret Mary!


Well, that was fun! Thank you everyone for taking the time to enter into this conversation. Thank you, James for stopping by to meet up with all of us who chimed in and who are all scattered around the globe.

Let's hope and pray that we all truly give of ourselves in so many ways to "feed" the poor, whether it be in offering a hand, a piece of bread or a listening ear. God calls us all to holiness in all of our states of life and asks us to give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty. He wants us to visit the sick and lonely. We should be utterly comforted knowing that when we offer ourselves to the poor we are offering ourselves to Him who gives us life.

When we draw our dying breath, we hope to hear those magnificent words, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me..." (Matthew 25:34-41)

God bless!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My interview with Catholic Mom's Lisa Hendey

Go on over to my other blog, Embracing Motherhood to listen to my conversation with Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom.Com on her podcast. You can listen from your computer.

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

An unknown Confederate soldier once wrote this prayer: “I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked God for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for--but everything I had hoped for... Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men most richly blessed”.

This Sunday’s Gospel narrative reminds us that we are to trust in God and be close to him through a life of prayer.

Prayer is very powerful. A number of years ago research at San Francisco General Hospital has revealed that victims of heart attack, heart failure and other cardiac problems who were remembered in prayers fared better than those who were not. Cardiologist Randy Byrd assigned 192 patients to the "prayed-for" group and 201 patients to the "not-prayed-for" group. All patients were in the coronary intensive care unit. Patients, doctors and nurses did not know which group patients were in. Prayer group members were scattered around the nation and given only the first names, diagnoses and prognoses of patients. The researcher said that the results were dramatic. The prayed-for group had significantly fewer complications than the unremembered group. And fewer members of the former died. The latter group was five times more likely to develop infections requiring antibiotics, and three times more likely to develop a lung condition, leading to heart failure. (Continued here)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pope Benedict appointed two archbishops in Canada

Vatican City, Oct 18, 2007 / 11:41 am (CNA).- On Thursday, the Holy Father appointed two archbishops in Canada, Bishop Anthony Mancini, as the Archbishop of Halifax, and Bishop Martin William Currie to lead the Archdiocese of Saint John’s, Newfoundland.

Bishop Mancini was ordained a priest in 1970, and was consecrated a bishop in 1999. As Archbishop of Halifax, he will serve 161,125 Catholics plus an additional 37,105 as the apostolic administrator of Yarmouth. (Continued here)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pope Benedict to announce a consistory to create new cardinals

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2007 / 03:10 pm (CNA).- Sources at the Vatican have informed CNA that Pope Benedict XVI will announce during tomorrow’s General Audience that he will convene a consistory to create new cardinals in November.

Currently there are 105 cardinals under the age of 80 that are a part of the College of Cardinals, which leaves 15 vacancies to reach the normal total of 120. This month the former Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano and the American cardinal Edmund Szoka will both turn 80, bringing the total number of open spots to 17.

The candidates considered likely to receive the red hat are the Archbishops of Sao Paulo, Odilo Scherer; París, André Vingt-Trois; Washington DC, Donald William Wuerl; Warsaw, Kazimierz Nycz; and of Genoa, the current president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference—Angelo Bagnasco.

According to traditional Vatican practice... (Continued here)

Monday, October 15, 2007

You be the judge

Recently I posted an article about the Archbishop in San Francisco who allegedly did not know that he was giving Holy Communion at Mass to blasphemers and then later apologized. Here is the story complete with photos of the people receiving Holy Communion filmed by outraged parishioners. You be the judge after reading this article here.


The Miller Brewing Company has sponsored the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Graphic photographs of nearly nude homosexuals strutting the streets of San Francisco are being made available to tens of thousands of Catholics in Milwaukee, the beer company's hometown. "Catholic League" president Bill Donohue released the following statement regarding the league’s protest of Miller beer:

“Last week I announced that all 211 parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee were being mailed a memo and some photos of the Miller-sponsored Folsom Street Fair; this was the first of many mailings that would occur weekly. Today I am pleased to say that all the pastors of the 166 Protestant churches in Milwaukee are being mailed the same packet of information. Here is an excerpt of my memo:

The enclosed pictures offer a glimpse of the Christian-bashing antics, and the sadomasochistic practices, that characterize this Miller-sponsored event. I apologize in advance for shocking your sensibilities, but it is important for you to know that... (See article here.)


Take a moment to check this out for insight.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Gratitude Is The Rarest Of Virtues

Cicero, the famous Roman senator and orator once wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others”. This Sunday’s gospel narrative reminds us that gratitude is a rare virtue indeed.

“And one of the them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him” (Luke 17: 15-16).

The virtue of gratitude is the ability to express our thankful appreciation in word or deed, to the person whose words or actions have benefitted us in some way. The truly humble and noble person will always be grateful for the benefits received. Ingratitude is an ugly sin.

How can the virtue of gratitude be acquired? Fundamentally, cultivating the spirit of gratitude requires us to develop humility. We need to understand that everything that we have and everything that we are is a gift. We might begin by taking out a pad of paper and a pen and making a list of all of the wonderful gifts that we receive each day of our entire life.

We could start with life. We have been given the gift of life. Consider the air that we breathe. We take such things as air, water and even good health all for granted. We need to consider our families, the houses that we live in, the food that we eat each day, our education, our jobs, and the fact that we live in a free country.

Once we consider the obvious gifts that we have received, we can go deeper... (Continued here.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

San Francisco Archbishop apologizes

San Francisco, Oct 12, 2007 / 09:15 am (CNA).- In a column to appear on Sunday, October 19 on "Catholic San Francisco," Archbishop George H. Niederauer apologizes for giving communion to two members of the militant anti-Catholic homosexual group "Sister of Perpetual Indulgence".

The Archbishop of San Francisco says in his column that "a recent event that greatly concerns me needs some additional explanation -- and with it an apology."

"On Sunday, October 7, 2007, I celebrated Mass at Most Holy Redeemer Parish here in San Francisco, during my first visit there. The congregation was devout and the liturgy was celebrated with reverence. I noticed no demonstration, no protest, no disruption of the Eucharist."

"At Communion time, toward the end of the line, two strangely dressed persons came to receive Communion. As I recall one of them wore a large flowered hat or garland. I did not recognize either of them as wearing mock religious garb." ( See entire article here)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My recent radio segment with Teresa Tomeo

To listen to the recent radio segment on my "Mom's Corner" segment on Ave Maria Radio, click here. Teresa Tomeo and I discussed the pressures on our girls on Teresa's show on "Catholic Connection."

Feast of Blessed John XXIII

"Today is the feast of Blessed John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, best known for convening the Second Vatican Council. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000. His feast is assigned to the day on which the first session of Vatican II opened in 1962. His feast is not on the General Roman Calendar, but can be celebrated locally.

Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was the feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The theological controversies regarding the divinity of Christ which disturbed the Church during the fourth and fifth centuries led to a denial of the divine maternity of Mary. The heretics refused to honor Mary as Mother of God. The Council of Ephesus in 431 declared that the Blessed Virgin "brought forth according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh" and that in consequence she is the Mother of God. Thus she is rightly given the title of divine maternity. In 1931, on the fifteenth centenary of this great Council, Pius XI instituted today's feast. By this act the pope wished to emphasize not only Mary's divine maternity, but also her motherhood of all the members of Christ's Mystical Body..." (See more at Catholic Culture here.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tune in to "Mom's Corner" Tuesday morning!

Tune in tomorrow morning at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time to hear the newest segment of my Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio. We will be discussing a timely and urgent topic for parents regarding our "tween age" and teen age girls and the pressures on them from our culture. Join us and feel free to call in with a question or comment. You can listen in at this link from your computer!

View From The Pews: Bloggers Praying For World Peace

View From The Pews: Bloggers Praying For World Peace

UNICEF is a sponsor to an initiative which will support legal abortion!

From Catholic News Agency:

"New York, Oct 8, 2007 / 10:53 am (CNA).- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a sponsor to an initiative that includes support for legal abortion.

The initiative, titled "Deliver Now for Women and Children," was launched in New York last week by various United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. UNICEF has persistently denied that it supports abortion in any way, shape, or form.

The "Deliver Now" campaign's stated objective is the improvement of maternal and child health. It lists a number of severe maladies that affect maternal health, concluding “most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to and could use professional care.” The campaign defines quality care as including “services before and during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, as well as safe abortion.” "Safe abortion" is often a synonym for legal abortion..." (See entire article here.)

"You will rescue my life..."

From our Readings today:

"You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

Out of my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me;
From the midst of the nether world I cried for help,
and you heard my voice.

"You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

for you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea,
and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows
passed over me.

"You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

Then I said, "I am banished from your sight!
yet would I again look upon your holy temple."

"You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
My prayer reached you
in your holy temple.

"You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
(Responsorial Psalm - Jon 2 - from today's Mass)


O Lord, please hear my prayer and rescue me from the "pit" of this culture of death that we as Christians must contend with. Please rescue the lives of all of the unborn babies who may be destined for the "pit" because their mothers have been convinced that they should abort them. Please rescue the mothers from the pressure of society and grant them the grace to see clearly so that they will not kill their own offspring! Please rescue us all from the "pit" and help us to seek You in all things, loving our neighbor as You have loved us. Thank you, Lord for all of your many blessings. Amen.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily


A number of years ago, a young woman worked as an executive for a growing company. Her work required that she travel frequently in the small private jet owned by her employer. Everyone in the office knew that she dreaded traveling by air.

One day as she was flying back to Minneapolis, a very serious thunderstorm began to develop directly in the path of the jet. The pilot told everyone to be seated and warned them the approaching turbulence would be severe.

The woman tightened her seatbelt, closed her eyes, breathed deeply, and began to recall a verse from the Bible that she had memorized long ago, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1: 7).

Suddenly the plane began to shake violently. Some of the passengers began to scream as luggage fell from the overhead compartments. As the commotion continued, the plane began losing altitude and continued to drop as if there were no end in sight. At this point, the passengers completely panicked fearing that the death of all would be the outcome. Throughout the ordeal, the woman, her eyes closed, continued reflecting on the Bible verse. She even began to recite it aloud numerous times: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control”.

As the pilot struggled to bring the small jet under control, the company president got word about the situation. He immediately left his office and went to the airport. As the plane landed he went out on the flight apron to greet his employee. He had expected to find her in very bad shape. Instead, he was pleasantly surprised to find her calm and confident as she left the plane and walked onto the tarmac.

“What happened? How did you manage to remain so calm?" he asked. "We all know that you're terrified of flying in our small jet.” The woman simply looked at him peacefully, smiled, and then said, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control”. This true story illustrates the power of faith.

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it would obey you” (Luke 17: 5-6).

Faith is a gift that we receive at our Baptism. It is an infused virtue that allows us to see in a superior way. Faith does not contradict reason; rather it enlightens our reason. The gift of faith allows us to see the invisible in the visible world.

Faith allows us to see the loving presence of God in nature. It is the gift that allows us to see Jesus in our neighbor. Faith allows us to hear the voice of God through the Holy Bible. The gift of faith assures us that Jesus is really and truly present in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.

It is true that the adversities of life can challenge our faith. Many times we seek instant solutions for our problems. Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust. God does not have an email address. He is not as fast as a microwave oven. He does not work like instant oatmeal. God is different because he is eternal. Let us recall the words from this Sunday’s first reading: “The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live” (Habakkuk 2: 4).

Of necessity, the gift of faith needs to be cultivated if it is to flourish. We must cultivate our faith through prayer, study, and a well disciplined spiritual life. Moreover, the best way to cultivate the gift of faith is through our daily encounter with our Eucharistic Lord. The Eucharist is the mystery of faith. At each Mass the priest announces, "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith" immediately following the Consecration.

The Eucharist must be the center of our spiritual lives. Daily Mass, adoration, and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament will ignite the fire of faith and provide us with the strength that we need to journey every day towards eternal life.

Moreover, aside from a deep Eucharistic life, a deep life of prayer is essential for us to have. Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real and personal. No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray, and pray daily. Prayer is the air that we breathe.

When I speak to you about a life of prayer, I am not referring to the mere saying of prayers. I am talking about something much deeper. There are different types of prayer. One form of prayer is vocal prayer and another form of prayer is mental prayer. There are two types of mental prayer. One form of mental prayer is meditation and the other form of mental prayer is contemplation.

Meditation and contemplation are quite different. The person who meditates usually uses the Scriptures or some other spiritual book. Contemplation does not employ any books at all. Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind. Contemplative prayer may focus on a word or a mantra or one may simply be in the presence of God.

You do not have to live in a monastery to be a contemplative. Everyone can be a contemplative. No matter what your profession may be, everyone has the possibility of having a deep relationship with Jesus.

One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to see and to listen to God. We are caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God.
Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day. If we fail to incorporate prayer into our schedules, we will be overcome by the difficulties and challenges of life. Prayer feeds faith. St. Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough” (Poesías 30).
A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place. God is moving us away from clinging to things, people, and institutions. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith. He is calling us to cling to him, and only him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love.

My dear friends, this may sound a bit extreme, but I have reached the conclusion that the only way that we will be able to handle the challenges of our times and the difficulties that are to unfold is through the exercise of daily contemplative prayer. This is true because contemplative prayer allows us to experience the peace that only God can give us.

We all need moments of solitude. Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul. In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves.

This Sunday’s liturgy reminds us that a deep spiritual life will feed the gift of faith that has been given to us at our baptism. Faith will always give us peace and serenity. “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.” Faith allows us to be calm and patient, since it is faith that allows us to trust.

“Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough”

Mathetes Award for Excellece in Discipleship

Jean Marie at Catholic Fire has nominated me for the Mathetes Award for Excellence in Discipleship. I am truly honored to receive this award and I hope to live up to it.

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. So the rules for accepting the award are such: Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to, and provide links for:
(1) the originator of the award ( Dan King of management by God),
(2) the person that awarded it to you.
(3) name and sites of the five people that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ. Here are the blogs of those who are discipling me but first of all, I'd like to mention that I would like to have named Jean Marie but since she named me, I must choose 5 others (who are in no particular order and I'm sorry that I am restricted to 5 because there are others that I want to mention!)

My choices are:
1)Lisa Hendey at Catholic Mom
2) Karen Edmisten
3)Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering
4)Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
5)Genevieve at Feminine-Genius

Do we hear His voice today?

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the Lord who made us.
For he is God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock
he guides.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95)


Do we hear our Lord's voice today? Is He calling us through our spouses and our children? Is He speaking to us through our neighbor who wants ten minutes of our time (when we are in a hurry) to vent about a problem, hoping for a loving response? Is our Lord calling us through our duties in our household that sometimes seem to loom over us with a burdensome pressure? Is He calling us in the workplace to smile at those around us - to love those who ridicule our faith? Is our Lord asking us for ten minutes of our time to retreat to our hearts to truly listen to Him? Is our Lord asking us to meet Him in the Blessed Sacrament where He waits for us; wanting to shower us with His love and blessings and tremendous peace? Is our Lord perhaps calling us to reach out to the lonely around us, allowing His love to shine through us to transform their hearts and bring them closer to Him? Where is our Lord calling us? Do we dare ask Him?

Friday, October 5, 2007

From "Our Sunday Visitor Footnotes"

The Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of Mulieris Dignitatem
By Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

This is an exciting time for women in our world. Twenty years ago, our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, wrote the extraordinary letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women." The Pontifical Council for the Laity is now encouraging the lay faithful worldwide to observe a celebration of this Apostolic Letter in the coming year of the twentieth anniversary by reflecting on the meaning of the document. Each continent has its own specific theme regarding the Apostolic Letter.

Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter (given on August 15, 1988) was written to encourage women in their vocations, to highlight the essential feminine genius that they provide to their families and the world, and to restore spiritual and physical motherhood to a culture that was quickly losing sight of the dignity of women and mothers.

Living in an era where the unborn baby may not be safe within his own mother's womb, with debates raging over the nature of marriage, and confusing messages directed at women about where she should find her place in society - all point to the timeliness of this observance.
The Pontifical Council of the Laity has asked the Catholics of North America to consider the document specifically in light of one overarching theme: The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society.
Interestingly, Pope Benedict spoke recently about "the materialist ideologies that say: It is absurd to think about God. It is absurd to observe God's Commandments. It is something from a bygone era.... Only consumerism, selfishness, and fun are worth something. That's life." He said, "Again it seems absurd, impossible to oppose this dominant mentality with all its media and propaganda power. It seems impossible to think about a God who created man, who became a child, the real would-be ruler of the world."
The poignant words to women at the closing of the Second Vatican Council should compel us to do something to help better our understanding of a woman's role and dignity. "The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling."
We know that all of salvation history depended on the faithfulness of one young woman in Nazareth and her courageous "yes" to the Lord. Our Church has held women throughout history with the deepest respect, despite what our world might have us believe. Women of the third millennium have an amazing opportunity to reap the benefit of the graces poured out on them now for a clearer understanding of their dignity and vocation as they reflect upon Pope John Paul II's affirming and beautiful words for them. Women of our time "can do so much to aid humanity in not falling." It's time to open our hearts to God's message to women and act upon it imbued with the spirit of the Gospel, spreading love, understanding, and peace with our own "yes" to a world in desperate need.

A website has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those interested in ways to reflect on this timely anniversary.
Dignityofwomen.com will point to the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, relevant books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while continually integrating suggestions, additions, as well as a bulletin board of events to access over the coming year. The website suggests ways in which to get involved with this Vatican initiative including: procuring a study guide and taking time to discuss the document, compiling book lists related to the document and discuss different aspects or topics relating to the reflection of these authors, planning a day of reflection in the parish or larger community whereby talks and prayers can bring to light the beauty of the Pope John Paul II's understanding of authentic femininity, and a larger project might be the creation of a congress or conference, in which the ordinary is invited to participate. This would reflect the collaborative nature of the Church: joining the hierarchy, or Petrine dimension, with the women, who image Marian dimension, and bear spiritual fruit by means of the spousal reality.
"Through prayer and discussion, women everywhere will reveal their feminine genius in the way they celebrate this anniversary - ultimately giving glory to God, Who delighted in creating women in His image" (from the Dignity of Women website).
You may send your suggestions or submissions of resources to the link provided at the website or to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle at DMCooperOBoyle@aol.com. Please join with us in prayer so that this will be a very fruitful observance. May our Blessed Mother watch over this worldwide celebration for the dignity and vocation of women and bless us with her graces in all of our efforts to understand the richness of the feminine vocation.

St. Faustina Kowalska

From Catholic Culture:
"St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin
Saint Faustina was born in the 20th century, and canonized in the year 2000. Jesus chose her to deliver to the modern world a message as old as eternity. It is the message of his love for all people, especially sinners. Jesus said to Faustina, "Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world." It is his desire to heal the aching world, to draw all people into his merciful heart of love.
On February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina as the King of Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a picture painted of him as she saw him — clothed in white, with red and white rays of light streaming from his heart. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross. Under the image are the words, 'Jesus, I trust in you...'" (Continued here.)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

St.Francis of Assisi

Click here to HEAR beautiful music from St. Francis Mass.

"Father, you helped Saint Francis to reflect the image of Christ
through a life of poverty and humility.
May we follow your Son
by walking in the footsteps of saint Francis of Assisi,
and by imitating his joyful love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."

(the Opening Prayer for today's Mass)

from Catholic Culture:
"St. Francis (1182-1226) was born and died in Assisi. He was the son of a rich merchant, Bernardone, received a good education, and in the beginning followed the ways of the world. He was taken prisoner in the battle between the Assisians and Perugians, and after his release decided to abandon everything for Christ. His father became extremely displeased at his action, and disinherited him. In 1220 he founded a new order which in ten years numbered five thousand brothers. His followers were called Friars Minor because they were to consider themselves as the least among religious. Out of humility Francis never accepted the priesthood but remained a deacon all his life. He had a great love for God's creatures and called them his brothers and sisters. His ardent love of God merited for him the name of Seraphic." (read more here.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reported "Miracle" can be evidence of Mother Teresa's Sainthood

Kohima, Oct 3, 2007 / 09:57 am (CNA).- An Indian priest who worked with Mother Teresa believes she has miraculously interceded to heal him. If the claim is accepted by the Vatican, his evidence could prove her sainthood.

Father V.M. Thomas, a 56-year-old Salesian priest based in the northeastern Indian town of Guwahati, was inexplicably healed of a painful ureter stone the day before he was to undergo surgery. The details were related in a letter he wrote for the dossier of the investigation into the canonization of Mother Teresa.
(Read the story here)

Beautiful Carnival at Sarah's Place!

Go on over to Sarah's place at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" to see the beautiful Catholic Carnival that she has put together with the title, "Celebration of Life." I know what she's thinking about as she's soon to give birth! There are so many submissions and topics that you do NOT want to miss! You had better grab a cup of coffee or tea and plan to stay a while. :)

'Mom's Corner" Coming Up...

Hello Everyone!

I will be on my "Mom's Corner" segment with Teresa Tomeo on her "Catholic Connection" radio show next Tuesday, October 9th at 9:15 AM Eastern Standard Time. I hope that you will tune in and perhaps call in to the show. Our topic will be "Our Culture's Pressure on Our Teen and 'Tween' Girls." Feel free to leave me a comment if you'd like to tell me anything on the subject or to let me know what you would like answered on the air. The show is LIVE. You can tune in to Ave Maria Radio any time at this link right from your computer! Just click on the "Listen live" button at the top of the Ave Maria page. On Tuesday, I hope you'll tune in at 9:15 AM EST! :)

God bless!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Catholic Culture tells us,

"Every person on earth has a guardian angel who watches over him and helps him to attain his salvation. Angelical guardianship begins at the moment of birth; prior to this, the child is protected by the mother's guardian angel. It continues throughout our whole life and ceases only when our probation on earth ends, namely, at the moment of death. Our guardian angel accompanies the soul to purgatory or heaven, and becomes our coheir in the heavenly kingdom."


We learn from St. Bernard, "According to the teaching of the Roman catechism, we must remember how admirable was the intention of divine Providence in entrusting to the angels the mission of watching over all mankind, and over individual human beings, lest they should fall victims to the grave dangers which they encounter. In this earthly life, when children have to make their way along a path beset with obstacles and snares, their fathers take care to call upon the help of those who can look after them and come to their aid in adversity. In the same way our Father in heaven has charged his angels to come to our assistance during our earthly journey which leads us to our blessed fatherland, so that, protected by the angels' help and care, we may avoid the snares upon our path, subdue our passions and, under this angelic guidance, follow always the straight and sure road which leads to Paradise..." (Continued here.)


Pope John XXIII has said, "Be alert in your every action as one should be who is accompanied by angels in all your ways, for that mission has been enjoined upon them. In whatever lodging, in whatever nook or corner you may find yourself, cherish a reverence for your guardian angel. In his presence do not dare to do anything you would not do in mine. Or do you doubt his presence because you do not see him? Would it really help if you did hear him, or touch him, or smell him? Remember, there are realities whose existence has not been proven by mere sight.

"Brethren, we will love God's angels with a most affectionate love; for they will be our heavenly co-heirs some day, these spirits who now are sent by the Father to be our protectors and our guides. With such bodyguards, what are we to fear? They can neither be subdued nor deceived; nor is there any possibility at all that they should go astray who are to guard us in all our ways. They are trustworthy, they are intelligent, they are strong — why, then, do we tremble? We need only to follow them, remain close to them, and we will dwell in the protection of the Most High God. So as often as you sense the approach of any grave temptation or some crushing sorrow hangs over you, invoke your protector, your leader, your helper in every situation. Call out to him and say: Lord, save us, we are perishing." (more here.)


"God planted the vineyard," [the shepherd] said. "That is, He created the people, and gave them over to His Son. And the Son appointed the angels to guard over them; and He Himself..." Catholic Exchange has this today.


"Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father..." (American Catholic)


Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day (or night), be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.


This prayer can easily be taught to children and they will pray it throughout their lives. I say this prayer with my children at least twice a day - morning and evening. A partial indulgence is attached to those who pray this prayer. Parents should introduce their children to their Guardian Angels early in life. Teach them to call upon their Angels often -- they are beloved friends and protectors!

October: The Month of the Rosary


Pope John Paul II has said,

"From my youthful years this prayer has held an important place in my spiritual life. The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns: in it I have always found comfort." We will find comfort, too in this beautiful prayer of the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother will draw us closer to her Son.

He has also instructed us,

"I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives. May this appeal of mine not go unheard!"

Let us pick up those beads and use them often throughout the day. Miracles will take place in human hearts with our fervent use of the Rosary!

(Lisa Hendey over at Catholic Mom.Com has a section of books on the Rosary. Go take a look!)

Monday, October 1, 2007

The October Sky

"October's sky highlight is a spectacular dawn grouping of Venus, Saturn and Regulus — visited by the crescent Moon at just the right time. At dusk, Jupiter is sinking low in the southwest. And Mars is a brightening fire rising later in the night." ( See more here.)

Happy Feast of St. Therese!

“Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude…See, then, all that Jesus lays claim to from us; He has no need of our works but only of our love.”

St. Therese is one of my absolute favorite saints - a real friend and intercessor! She can teach us how to remain simple and uncomplicated. She teaches us that all that matters is to LOVE! I pray that she showers you with roses today on this special day!


"Today is the memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, more popularly known as "the Little Flower." Although just an obscure cloistered Carmelite nun, she has had universal appeal since her death in 1897. St. Thérèse is the patroness of all foreign missions and patroness of France. Her feast day was formerly October 3." (from Catholic Culture) See more here.

Jean Marie at Catholic Fire has a wonderful post today which includes personal reflections on St. Therese. Click here to read.