Friday, February 27, 2009

Powerful story about the airplane crash survivors in the Hudson River

Charlotte, N.C., Feb 27, 2009 / 04:09 am (CNA).- "The odds were against us but God was with us," said Fred Berretta, a survivor of US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River Jan. 15. He was flying home that day from a business trip in New York when the plane struck a flock of birds, causing both engines to fail.

"We had a phenomenal flight crew, but God was our air traffic controller," he said.

Berretta, one of several Charlotte-area Catholics aboard the flight, is a parishioner at St. Matthew Church.

All 155 people aboard the flight survived the emergency landing.

Berretta said he believes it is "a testimony to God’s mercy."

"I believe it was miraculous that all the things came together that allowed us to survive," said Berretta, himself a pilot.

Just hours after the crash, he was asked in an interview with a national television network if he was a religious man. His answer was honest, "I try to be."

"Quite a long time ago I had a conversion type of experience back to the Catholic faith," Berretta said in an interview with The Catholic News & Herald.

He had been away from the Catholic faith since childhood, but began attending Mass again on a weekly basis during his mid-20s.

"When I look back on that part of my life, I can say that I was trying, trying but struggling to live the Catholic faith more fully," he said.

More recently, however, Berretta had experienced a deeper draw to devotional prayer.

In the weeks leading up to the plane crash, he began praying the Rosary on a daily basis.

And the day before the crash he had prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

"That was a prayer that I hadn’t said in a long time," said Berretta, as he recalled reading about a message that Jesus gave to St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun who said she had a vision of Jesus in which he asked for devotions to divine mercy.

"I remember reading in that little booklet that Jesus said to Sister Faustina that the 3 p.m. hour is the hour of mercy, and whatever you ask of the Father in virtue of my passion during this hour will be granted.

"It sort of hit me as we were going into the water that it was in the 3 o’clock hour. So I asked God to be merciful to us and I said a few Hail Marys and I reconciled myself to the fact that I might not live through it," he said... (Continued here)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pope Benedict and Lent

"Dear Brothers and Sisters!

At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition – prayer, almsgiving, fasting – to prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God’s power that, as we shall hear in the Paschal Vigil, “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride” (Paschal Præconium). For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to focus my reflections especially on the value and meaning of fasting. Indeed, Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord’s fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public ministry. We read in the Gospel: “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry” (Mt 4,1-2). Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34,28) and Elijah’s fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings 19,8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter..."
(Continued here)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Mother's Lenten Strategies

Check out my Lenten article over at These Forty Days

I'll be posting excerpts from my book, "The Domestic Church: Room by Room" throughout Lent over at "These Forty Days."

God bless you as you prepare for Lent.


"Mom's Corner" on beginning our Lenten Journey

Here's the link to this morning's radio segment about starting our Lenten journeys with Teresa Tomeo and me. Just click here.

God bless!


Good to know for Lent...

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Penitential Practices for Today’s Catholics:

“Fridays During Lent — In the United States, the tradition of abstaining from meat on each Friday during Lent is maintained.

“Fridays Throughout the Year — In memory of Christ’s suffering and death, the Church prescribes making each Friday throughout the year a penitential day. All of us are urged to prepare appropriately for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday.”

Ash Wednesday, Good Friday

Canon 1251: “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless (nisi) they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Canon 1252: “All persons who have completed their 14th year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their 60th year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.”

Canon 1253: “It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.”

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Penitential Practices for Today’s Catholics:

“Traditionally, the canonical obligation of fasting has been understood in the Church as the taking of only one full meal a day.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tune in on Tuesday morning to my "Mom's Corner" segment

Go on over to my "Embracing Motherhood" blog to find out details about Tuesday morning's radio show with Teresa Tomeo on Catholic Connection. I hope you can join us. :) Click here for details.

God bless!


Come on! Seriously??

Check out Fr. Tom's blog for an article about a poll on who is the most popular. Jesus? Obama? Mother Teresa? just click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope Benedict reaffirmed Church teaching against abortion with Nancy Pelosi

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2009 / 10:18 am (CNA).- House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI turned sour when the Pontiff used the 15-minute meeting to reaffirm the teachings of the Catholic Church on the right to life and the duty to protect the unborn.

No photo of Nancy Pelosi and the Pope will be forthcoming, since the meeting was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room in the Vatican just after the Pope's weekly public audience.

Immediately after the meeting, the Holy See’s press office released a statement saying, "following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage."

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

A significant number of Catholic and pro-life organizations expressed concern over how Pelosi would use the meeting with Pope Benedict to further her position that it is possible to be Catholic and pro-abortion... (Continued here)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama's next anti-life move

Washington D.C., Feb 17, 2009 / 06:56 am (CNA).- White House adviser David Axelrod announced on "Fox News Sunday" that President Barack Obama is about to announce his next anti-life decision: erasing every limitation President George W. Bush placed on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).

Under the previous administration, federal money for ESCR was limited to those stem cell lines that were created before Aug. 9, 2001, while no federal dollars could be used on research with cell lines from embryos destroyed from that point forward.

Obama "right now is considering an executive order lifting the federal ban on funding" for ESCR, Axelrod told Fox News.

Even though President Obama’s election was hailed by people everywhere as a victory against discrimination, Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk Education Director for the National Catholic Bioethics Center observes that if Obama funds research on embryos, he'll be subjecting them to discrimination.

(Continued here)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pope Benedict stands stong in defense of the Jews

Vatican City, Feb 12, 2009 / 11:36 am (CNA).- The Church is “profoundly and irrevocably committed” to rejecting “all anti-Semitism” and to building better relations with the Jews, Pope Benedict insisted on Thursday as he spoke to a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Given the deluge of negative reactions after he removed the excommunication of four Pius X Society bishops, one of whom denies the extent of the Holocaust, Pope Benedict used today’s meeting as an opportunity to once again reaffirm the Church’s commitment to Jewish relations.

The Pope began his address to the Jewish leaders by recalling his first visit to a synagogue, in the German city of Cologne in August 2005. Also on his mind was a trip he made to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in May of 2006.

"As I walked through the entrance to that place of horror, the scene of such untold suffering," he said, "I meditated on the countless number of prisoners, so many of them Jews, who had trodden that same path into captivity at Auschwitz and in all the other prison camps."

"How can we begin to grasp the enormity of what took place in those infamous prisons? The entire human race feels deep shame at the savage brutality shown to your people at that time," Pope Benedict told the delegation.

The American Jewish leaders are paying a visit to Italy as part of their annual Leadership Mission to Israel, a trip that the Holy Father explained he will also be making soon.

“I too am preparing to visit Israel, a land which is holy for Christians as well as Jews, since the roots of our faith are to be found there," he said.

Thinking about the upcoming visit in May brought to mind an image the represents the Church’s commitment to rejecting anti-Semitism that is seared into Pope Benedict’s memory. "If there is one particular image which encapsulates this commitment, it is the moment when my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II stood at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, pleading for God's forgiveness after all the injustice that the Jewish people have had to suffer," he recalled.

(Continued here)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Archbishop Chaput and the pro-life movement

Dublin, Feb 9, 2009 / 05:34 am (CNA).- During a trip to Ireland this past weekend, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver delivered a talk to the Irish chapter of Human Life International that outlined the “dos and don’ts” for the pro-life movement. Those who claim pro-lifers should avoid the “divisive” issue of ending legalized abortion and focus on providing better support for pregnant mothers are creating a false division, the archbishop insisted.

Following the theme “An American view on how to build a culture of life,” Archbishop Chaput explained that his goal was “to offer some lessons from the American experience that Irish Christians might find useful.”

More than three decades after the legalization of abortion in the U.S., Archbishop Chaput diagnosed Americans’ beliefs on abortion as schizophrenic as he gave an overview of the current situation. “Most believe abortion is wrong. But most also want it legal under some limited circumstances,” he said.

The consequences of holding two such divergent views are that the U.S. has “a large and well-funded abortion industry” and that a “very vigorous prolife movement” has grown up “right alongside the abortion industry,” Chaput observed.

“American pro-lifers have had many setbacks. They never have enough money. They don't get treated fairly by the media. Too many of their leaders argue with each other too much of the time. But they just won't give up or die. And so they've won quite a few modest but important legal victories. Meanwhile they continue to work toward the strategic goal of overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision.”

With all of this in mind, Archbishop Chaput offered what he sees as six “don’ts” and five “dos” that pro-lifers around the world should learn from their American counterparts.

“First,” he recommended, “don't let yourselves be tricked into an inferiority complex.” Drawing on a point made in his book “Render Unto Caesar,” he told his Irish audience: (Continued here)

Monday, February 9, 2009

View From The Pews: Prayers For Australia

View From The Pews: Prayers For Australia

My review of the movie, FIREPROOF at the National Catholic Register

Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) and his wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) are engulfed in more than a mere “seven-year itch” in their marriage in the movie Fireproof.

The couple’s frigid demeanors are keenly felt through the screen as the first scene opened. Coming in from work, the couple passes by one another in the kitchen, avoiding eye contact, and speaking only when necessary.

Without a doubt, the flame of their devoted love had extinguished with no sign of stray embers to be stoked. As the movie dramatically and realistically unfolds, the couple is forced to decide if what they once had is at all worth saving.

On Jan. 27, Fireproof the DVD hit stores and will be available in English and Spanish, complete with bonus features that include ministry tools. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, chairman of the Committee on Marriage and Family for the U.S. bishops’ conference, said, “Fireproof is an excellent film that makes marriage commitment real and attainable with Christ’s grace.”

I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with the producer of Fireproof, Stephen Kendrick, about the making of the movie, behind the scenes scoop, and how he has experienced God’s hand in all of it. The storyline for the movie Fireproof came as an inspiration to Stephen’s brother, Alex Kendrick. The brothers who both hold ministry roles in the Baptist church are co-producers and writers with Sherwood Pictures.

(Continued by clicking here)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Boycott of Pepsi

WASHINGTON, February 2, 2009 ( - After giving major financial contributions to homosexualist organizations, Pepsi is now using its TV spots to promote the homosexual lifestyle. In a recent spot aired in the UK, a man is shown in a bar being urged to ask out a girl that appears to be interested in him. He drinks a Pepsi Max to find courage, but then passes up two attractive women sitting at the bar and instead expresses interest in a man.

The American Family Association has urged a boycott of the company after asking Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war. Pepsi, however, refused, telling AFA that it will continue major financial support of homosexual organizations seeking to legalize homosexual marriage.

Pepsi has given $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest and most powerful homosexual lobbying group in America. The company also gave $500,000 to Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The total gift of $1,000,000 to the two homosexual activist groups was to help promote the homosexual lifestyle in the workplace.

AFA notes that Pepsi also forces its employees to attend sexual orientation and gender identity diversity training, where they are taught to accept homosexuality.

To view the ad and join the boycott visit:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Helping the Welborn-Dubruiels

Go on over to Lisa Hendey's blog at Catholic Mom.Com to see how you can help. Lisa suggested that we bring Michael Dubruiel's (the beloved husband and father who died suddenly yesterday at the gym) ranking at Amazon sky high! He was a fine Catholic author and was married to Amy Welborn.

Thanks for your help and prayers especially,