Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Evening with John Michael Talbot

We have a wonderful musical opportunity in May.

On May 4, The Franciscan Church of the Assumption in Syracuse will host "An Evening with John Michel Talbot" at 7 p.m..

Talbot is himself a lay Franciscan, and a noted musician.

The church is located at 812 Salina Street in Syracuse.

For more information, call Rosemary Costa ofs at 315-288-5395.

Pax et bonum

Stations of the Cross

Last night, my Franciscan fraternity meeting got cancelled. (It was the 50th wedding anniversary of two of our leaders, and the rest of the Fraternity leadership were invited to a surprise party for them.)

But for Lent my parish has scheduled a weekly Stations of the Cross. I suggested it to the good-looking-one, and we went.

What a nice experience.

The numbers were kept down perhaps by a winter storm just kicking in, but there were still a goodly number of people.

We used Everyone's Way of the Cross by Clarence Enzler. As we were praying, I began to wonder, because of the style of the writing and the nature of the prayers, when the book was published, so I looked at the title page. 1970 - as I suspected.

Still, the prayers worked. I got something out of them and the experience. It was good to pray and sing with other people.

Thank you, Lord.

I made sure to thank Father as we left. I'm hoping if he gets positive feedback we'll have even more "traditional" prayer opportunities at the parish.

As for the Stations, I'm likely to show up next Friday night.

Pax et bonum

Blessed Sebastian

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio (1502-1600)
Sebastian’s roads and bridges connected many distant places. His final bridge-building was to help men and women recognize their God-given dignity and destiny.

Sebastian’s parents were Spanish peasants. At the age of 31 he sailed to Mexico, where he began working in the fields. Eventually he built roads to facilitate agricultural trading and other commerce. His 466-mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas took 10 years to build and required careful negotiations with the indigenous peoples along the way.

In time Sebastian was a wealthy farmer and rancher. At the age of 60 he entered a virginal marriage. His wife’s motivation may have been a large inheritance; his was to provide a respectable life for a girl without even a modest marriage dowry. When his first wife died, he entered another virginal marriage for the same reason; his second wife also died young.

At the age of 72 Sebastian distributed his goods among the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother. Assigned to the large (100-member) friary at Puebla de los Angeles south of Mexico City, Sebastian went out collecting alms for the friars for the next 25 years. His charity to all earned him the nickname "Angel of Mexico."

Sebastian was beatified in 1787 and is known as a patron of travelers.


Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birth Control, Infanticide, and Religious Liberty

Republicans Slam Media for Birth Control Question

The Republicans were right to raise questions about the current President's extremist views - and the media obsession with birth control and ghettoizing the GOP.

Pax et bonum

Smile Santorum, Smile

I'm not a supporter of Rick Santorum, though I do agree with him on a number of issues.

I'm not a registered Republican, so I can't vote for him in the NY primary. If he gets the Republican nomination, given the fact that it's a done deal President Obama will win New York's electoral votes in November no matter how I vote, I don't know if I'll vote for Santorum even then. If I have to "waste" my vote on a loser, I might do so with a third party candidate.

But I have to chuckle over the latest attacks on Santorum.

After trying to get him on votes or statements taken out of context, and even distorting his remarks, some MSM commentators are now going after him because on television he sometimes comes across as "angry" or "unsmiling."

Never mind that what they are reacting to is just what the MSM chooses to show of his events - likely ignoring those moments when he smiles, cracks jokes, kisses babies, pets dogs.

But because in selected images he looks angry that becomes grounds to discredit him???

As someone who has been subject to attacks in the past because I seem too serious, I sympathize with him.

And I remember a friend's political campaign many years ago. She had just upset the party's endorsed candidate in a primary, and during a celebration a photographer from the local paper (which backed her opponent, by the way) snapped a shot of her that made her look funny. They ran that picture with a "witty" caption that made her seem somehow goofy or petty, even though she had said nothing petty about her foe. Guess what picture they ran in the paper for the rest of the campaign? The media helped to undermine her credibility. She lost.

So Santorum, my advice is to smile a lot. Put out some happy ads. Pet some puppies. Pose with grinning women supporters. Crack a few jokes. Do anything to make sure the voters see you as friendly and approachable.

Because the media is out to get you.

Pax et bonum

40 Days for Life (a mini version)

My Diocese is not participating in the full 40 Days for Life spring campaign. We have only taken part in the fall campaigns in the past - February/March is usually a snowy time in Rochester, so it's not the best time.

But this year we are taking part on a limited basis: Tuesdays and Thursdays when abortions are being performed at our local Planned Parenthood. If you can't make it then, you can show up any time to pray outside the clinic as well. But there are no sign-ups, no attempt to mount a full campaign.

I'm glad that we are taking part on a limited basis at least. Since I'm off from school this week, I'm going to be heading down to Planned Parenthood this morning.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spiritual Pilgrims

My diocese, the Diocese of Rochester (NY), has created a site called The Spiritual Pilgrim.

The site describes itself in this way:
Roman Catholics believe that our spiritual journey begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are never alone on this journey - we find others who will walk with us, pray with us, and challenge us.
This site offers spiritual pilgrims a place to explore the way Catholics find Jesus in the Gospels, in the Community and in the Teachings & Traditions of the Catholic church.

There will be regular videos (such as the one above), witnesses, essays, and ways to connect with folks who can help.

I applaud this effort. It fits in with the call for evangelization the Pope has issued - and that is part of our Catholic calling.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rick Santorum is right

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is taking criticism for saying that birth control hurts women. He is being called an extremist, and the MSM is using this as a way to attack him and undermine his credibility.

What's being ignored is - he's right.

He was addressing more the social consequences: the cheapening of sex, the separation of sex from family and marriage, increased exploitation of women, and the rise in the number of single parent homes being among some of those effects.

That's reality.

But there are also psychological effects, including the lowering of self esteem, later regrets about not having children, and a decrease in the ability to commit to and sustain relationships.

And then there are the physical effects. It's not a coincidence that the "sexual revolution" that accompanied the availability of birth control has coincided with a dramatic rise is venereal diseases, for example. Some methods of birth control provided some protection from these - the myth of "safe sex" - but the increased sexual activity and in the number of partners ironically leads to increased chances of infection.

And when it comes to the pill, the long term effects are proving deadly.

Even Planned Parenthood acknowledges that the pill leads to increased risk form blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, liver tumors, gallstones, and jaundice.

Meanwhile, more and more studies are showing that the pill is linked to increased chances of developing cancer, particularly breast cancer. Doctors now include it as one of the significant factors for cancer. The World Health Organization lists the pill as a Class 1 carcinogen.

You don't see a lot of this in the MSM. Women are not being informed: Not a great sign of concern or respect for them.

I'd like to see Santorum cite some of the medical statistics when he talks about birth control, otherwise the media will continue to label him as extremist.

Because, I suspect, they are terrified at the thought of having to call him "President"

Pax et bonum

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lent is almost here

With Ash Wednesday coming next week, I've been thinking about what I'll do for Lent this year.

Traditionally, people make sacrifices - giving up something they like. Chocolate, coffee, television, whatever.

Nothing wrong with that - and sometimes giving up those things is really good and needed. I once used Lent as a way to begin a diet. (Hmm, maybe I need to think about doing that again!)

Years ago I also heard of a different approach: Taking on something new to help with spiritual growth. That's how I got in the habit of saying the rosary, for example.

This year, I'm going to try a combination.

I'm giving up Facebook for Lent. I spend too much time reading posts, responding to posts, composing my own posts, and so on. Plus, sometimes the things I see or read make me angry, and I find myself if not responding unkindly - though I sometimes do - at least thinking unkind thoughts.

Instead, I will use some of that time to become more regular about my Bible and spiritual reading. So in the morning, instead of turning on the computer after walking the dog I will sit down and begin my day with the Bible. And when I get home from work, I will grab some spiritual work and read for a few minutes.

Pax et bonum

Friday, February 10, 2012

Franciscan meeting: Growth

Tonight, two people began formation, and we had a visitor, a Catholic revert, who seems interested in continuing.


It is good to see new growth or potential growth in the group. I believe that in these troubled times we need the prayers of groups like my little Franciscan Fraternity to help our nation and out world.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Obama vs. Catholics

Back in 2008, I warned my fellow Catholics about Barack Obama's positions on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and other moral issues. Given his track record, there was little doubt about what he was going to do - except on the part of some Catholics co-opted and deluded by Obama and his promises.

At the time, I said I can't imagine how any Catholic could in good conscience vote for him.

Sadly, the majority of Catholics who voted did vote for him.

We have in the three years since he took office seen him implement more and more of the Culture of Death. This HHS mandate is just the latest - and it won't be the last. I'm optimistic that when the HHS decision gets into the courts it will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional. But it will take a fight, and there will likely be other rulings by this administration that will challenge people of conscience.

As for this fall, I repeat my 2008 observation even more emphatically: I can't see how any Catholic can vote for him this year. But there will be Catholics who are not paying attention, who don't care, who are Catholic in name only who will still vote for him.

Hopefully, this latest move - and the resulting backlash - will open enough Catholic voters' eyes that he will lose the Catholic vote and the election. (Keeping in mind that I'm not a fan of the man who appears on track to be the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.)

Or maybe the reaction will open Obama's eyes enough that he will repent and change his policies.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gandhi's Seven Deadly Social Sins

Should he be considered an honorary Franciscan?

Pax et bonum