Monday, December 26, 2011

Peter Kreeft's Talk at the Seminary

On December 11th I attended a lecture by Peter Kreeft, the prolific author and professor from Boston College at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island. The auditorium at the Seminary was packed with laypeople, seminarians, priests, the rector- Msgr. Peter Vaccari and Bishop Murphy was there as well. There were also some young college students from Hofstra University and I wondered how they heard about it. It was good to have them there. As you can imagine, the talk was very interesting. The topic was moral relativism, the belief that moral standards can change with the times and there are no "moral absolutes." Pete Sheehan, a columnist for the Long Island Catholic attended and he noted in an article he wrote on the talk, that Mr. Kreeft made this intriguing comment, "no society in all of human history has ever survived while clinging to moral relativism." Mr. Kreeft also said that at no time in history have so many teachers been moral relativists. He said, "It has become dominant in academic and media circles during the 20th and 21st centuries.
The quote that really stood out in my mind which frightened me a bit (I later asked a question relating to it) was a quote by C.S. Lewis, "Moral relativism will damn our souls and destroy us." At the end of the talk, during the question and answer period, I repeated the quote and asked the following question of Mr. Kreeft, "What do you think the future of humankind is?" He asked me if I wanted his "prophecy." "Yes," I replied. I did want his prophecy. I respected his intelligence and knowledge and I also regard C.S. Lewis as a genius so is there hope for humankind, I wondered.
Sometimes I ask questions that I know the answer to. Deep down inside I knew what the answer would be but it was good to hear it to reinforce my own belief. His answer was brilliant. I can't remember it word for word but it went something like this. There is hope for humankind because of Jesus, because we've been saved by the blood of Christ. The Lamb of God shed his blood for us. He quoted from the Book of Revelation and how the little, meek Lamb did battle with the "evil one" (in the form of a powerful dragon) and was victorious. Christ is victorious across time and space, then and now.
So there is no need to worry. There are problems because of moral relativism and it will create and is already creating problems for humankind and we would be damned and lose our souls if it were not for the Savior of the world. Jesus-"God saves" and that's what Jesus does for humankind. God's mercy and love, needed now more than ever and given as a gift.

A Blessed and Happy New Year! May the light of Christ shine in your life each day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Blessed Christmas

As I begin the preparation for Christmas Eve and all that goes into making that a special evening for my family, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very Blessed Christmas. So blessed are we for believing in the Savior, for giving thanks through our Christian faith for the greatest gift humankind has ever been given-Jesus. Jesus is always calling us forth, into the future, to a future filled with hope. Jesus proclaimed, "Behold, I make all things new.......I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end....." (Revelation 21). To be a Christian is to live in hope and to wait for Christ to bring all things to fulfillment in God, according to God's plan of salvation, in God's time. Faith, hope, love, trust and a willingness to be receptive and open to God's will are crucial on the spiritual journey. Like Mary, we wait with trust, with hope and with sincerity of heart.
As a lay Carmelite, I would like to share some poems from Jessica Powers (1905-1988), a Discalced Carmelite nun who was a member of the Carmel of the Mother of God in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The following poems are from the book, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers (ICS Publications), edited by R. Siegfried and R. Morneau. These poems are very appropriate to dwell on, during the final days of Advent, as we approach the sacred feast of Christmas.
Merry Christmas!!

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary. And on one night when a great star swings free from its high mooring and walks down the sky to be the dot above the Christus i, I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith's walled place, with hope's expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me, guarded and loved me, though I could not see. But only now, with inward jubilee, I come upon earth's most amazing knowledge: someone is hidden in this dark with me. (1948)

In A Cloud Of Angels
I walk in a cloud of angels, God has a throne in the secret of my soul.
I move, encircled by light, blinded by the glowing faces, lost and bewildered in the motion of wings, stricken by music too sublime to bear.
Splendor is everywhere. God is always enthroned on the cherubim, circled by seraphim. Holy, Holy, Holy, wave upon wave of endless adoration.
I walk in a cloud of angels that worship Him.

What a great thing to strive for....that one day we too will walk in a cloud of angels that worship Him..........

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Here We Go Again-More Doomsday Prophecies- 2012

Since May 21st, 2011 passed without the end of the world occurring or any unusual catastrophes (Thank God!) the doomsday believers are gearing up for 2012. This will be bigger and more hyped than Harold Campings failed end of the world predictions.
Why? Well, it has to do with the Mayans. Their calendar suggests that some monumental event will take place in December 2012. At first I read that their calendar ended in December 2012, which led to a lot of speculation and doomsday scenarios. But that's not the case. Apparently their calendar predicts some kind of "symbolic turning point." Now I know this is a Catholic blog and this all sounds very "new age" but, a lot of people will be talking about this, writing articles and blogs about it and the cable networks have already shown TV shows about this.
Anyhow, the latest article I read from titled "Mayans Never Predicted December 2012 Apocalypse, Researchers Say," is more encouraging, "One of history's most famous and foreboding doomsday predictions might never have been made, according to a German researcher. His new interpretation of a 1,300 year old tablet affirms that the ancient Maya regarded December 12, 2012 as a moment of great importance but not as some believe, because they foresaw an apocalypse on that date."
Some believe the ancient writings predict the beginning of a new era or a significant change for humankind but according to the researchers, those who believe in the end of the world prediction have misunderstood the "poorly preserved hieroglyphs."
Since a lot of people are making a lot of money from these predictions, get ready for a year of hype.
John Kehne, a web developer who runs the says that the site receives 5 million page views a month from the curious and concerned, from around the world.
I'm wondering if Advent 2012 will be a time of great spiritual awakening.........Maybe humankind will turn to God fully and trust in God deeply and purely and turn away from sin and war. Maybe the whole world will repent during Advent 2012. That would be monumental!
Perhaps Jesus will come in glory. I'd like to witness that.
Or maybe nothing unusual will happen in December 2012, which is the most likely scenario.
I trust all will be well and all "manner of thing will be well." I'm not worried, I trust in God.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Keeping Fixed On Jesus

This is the holy season of Advent and there is so much activity, background noise and distractions that's it's easy to get caught up in it and lose focus. The focus should always be on Jesus, the Savior and Redeemer and his teachings. Recently, I wrote a blog entry about how saddened I was by the latest atheist billboard campaign which I felt disrespected Jesus by placing his image alongside the Roman god Neptune, Satan and Santa Claus but I didn't like the entry, after reflecting about it and so I removed it. That's the good thing about being the writer, editor and creator of a blog, you can basically be in control, which is what I like. Of course that comes with responsibility.
The latest atheist campaign titled, "37 Million Americans Know A Myth When They See One- What Do You See?" is meant to upset. And it did upset me. I often think of how I pray, asking Jesus to be my Rock, my protector and my shield against evil. But Jesus in my opinion is not being shielded from radical non-believers who are seeking to denigrate and dishonor him. Jesus the second person of the Blessed Trinity is Incarnate God for two billion Christians in the world. I don't think it's right that atheists are placing his sacred image on a billboard with images of the Roman God Neptune, Satan and Santa Claus. Jesus is a historical figure, revered by billions, believed to be fully human and fully divine by Christians throughout the world. The course of human history was changed with the birth of Jesus. The billboard campaign is a "low blow." It's not just, fair or respectful.
But I've decided instead of getting upset, I'm going to pray that the hearts and minds of atheists are touched by God and they realize their point can be made in a less controversial way.
They ask, "What do I see?" I see people who have no respect for the beliefs of others, who lack good taste, who are spending a lot of money to cause discord and controversy, during a holy time for billions. Couldn't the money be better spent on the poor? Why don't atheists use their beliefs for doing good in the world instead of causing more discord and problems?
Once again I think of the Scripture verse, "Don't worry about anything but pray about everything." So I'm going to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and try not to be disturb by those causing confusion and discord. I will imagine in my prayer that I am "shielding" Jesus from those who wish to dishonor and disrespect Him and I will give him the honor, love and reverence He so deserves, through my prayer and works. "Be joyful and sing unto the Lord." Joy is the true mark of a Christian as we live in hope and so I've got to get back to being hopeful and joyful, as I wait to celebrate the great feast of Christmas. What a blessing to be able to celebrate such a magnificent feast and holiday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Exam Cheating Scandal on the Gold Coast of Long Island

An article I read this morning in the New York Times, titled, "Exam Cheating On Long Island Hardly A Secret," by Anderson & Applebome, is one of many articles I've read about the problem of cheating that was exposed at Great Neck North High School in Great Neck. The town of Great Neck was made famous by F. Scott Fitzgerald and his famous novel, "The Great Gatsby." The novel was set in the 1920's on the wealthy North Shore of Long Island. Today Great Neck and neighboring North Shore towns, (often referred to as the Gold Coast), are still very affluent.
Apparently some young, misguided young people thought that money can buy just about everything, even high test grades. Young men from influential and prominent Great Neck families have been accused of cheating by taking tests for others, using fake ID and charging large amounts of money to do so.
Students who were obsessed with getting high scores on SAT and ACT tests were willing to pay thousands of dollars to very intelligent test takers who could guarantee a high score, making access to a good college possible. Competition to get into a prestigious school is fierce and getting worse every year. (It puts incredible stress on students as well as their parents.)
In the end it comes back to greed. The deadly sin, that seems to take root in every age and culture. The desire for prestige and future wealth clouds common sense, decency and good ethics.
According to the article, "In Great Neck, a place where the high-achieving schools are the center of public life and where high-priced tutors and admission consultants are routine advantages for the wealthy, educators and parents are mortified that the community's reputation could be muddled by the SAT scandal. "
Only a small percentage of students cheated, but it apparently was well known in the community that it was taking place.
Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County district attorney said that, "We have to put accountability into the system and there is none right now....If we can't teach 16-,17- and 18 year-olds that cheating is wrong, shame on us."
So true. Young people have to be taught that money cannot buy everything, some things come with hard work and study. And sometimes we can't have it all or be the best or get into the most elite college. Simple truths that eluded some bright students, who had much.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mr. President: How Could You?

I'm not a political person and I rarely comment on politics but I'll make an exception. I must say I am very disappointed in President Obama for neglecting to thank God in his Thanksgiving address to the nation this year. Apparently in past years, he has mentioned God but not this year. I'm puzzled by that, as are others.
Why? I can't imagine why. President Obama is a believer in God. He has mentioned his belief in God many times and I've heard him say after addresses to the nation, "God bless America." So why leave out God on an important holiday when the majority of Americans are giving thanks for blessings. And of all times in history. I can't think of a time when it would be more important to give thanks and also to ask for God's continued blessings on our country. The majority of Americans believe in God and profess their faith, in one way or another. Only a very small percentage are non-believers.
"To those who are given much, much is expected." The founding fathers of our country were men of faith, deep faith. George Washington, the first president was often seen on his knees praying especially before an important battle. As the general of the Armies, he was not afraid to let it be known that he relied on strength, courage and help from God.
Since Thanksgiving became a recognized holiday in this country people have given thanks for bountiful harvests, for family, for our abundant natural resources, the beauty of nature that exists in our country, for innovation and creativity and for religious freedoms, as well as the other freedoms we enjoy. God is always part of that equation for believers. So what happened, Mr. President? How is it that at this crucial time in history, with economic uncertainty and other ills that we face, that you didn't mention God.

George Washington made the following proclamation on Oct. 3rd, 1789-
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor and whereas both Houses of Congress, have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanks and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.......I do recommend Thursday the 26th day of November to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be..................."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fr. Barron's "Catholicism" Series A Hit

The Church can relax a little. Fr. Robert Barron's "Catholicism" series which is currently being shown on EWTN is doing a lot for the "New Evangelization." Those who are interested in promoting the "New Evangelization" in the Church should pay attention to Fr. Barron's formula for success. The series is written and hosted by him. Fr. Barron is a gift to the Church, a popular speaker, an academic, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and someone who is able to project on television a likable personality. He easily speaks about important Catholic doctrine and spirituality with ease, and without sounding condescending. He seems like a regular person and it's relaxing to watch him travel around the world, visiting religious sites and explaining religious truths.
The first time I ever heard Fr. Barron's name mentioned was a few years ago, at a meeting in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Bishop Frank Caggiano mentioned that he had just finished reading a book by Fr. Barron, "The Strangest Way-Walking the Christian Path," and Bishop Frank said, "It's the best book I've read in a long time." So I decided at that moment, out of curiosity that I would read the book. I also knew I would be hearing more about Fr. Barron in the future.
I recently purchased the DVD- "Untold Blessings-Three Paths to Holiness," from Fr. Barron's website: I enjoyed that.
The last couple of nights I've watched segments of the popular series, "Catholicism," and I was impressed (as you can tell) and I know it will do a lot towards promoting evangelization in our Church, if the series is utilized by parishes for high school and adult education.
I love that he included a part of the segment, shown last evening, on the saints, about St. Therese of Lisieux. All of the women saints that he spoke about were incredible human beings, that put flesh and blood on discipleship in an extraordinary way.
I hope atheists watch the series (wishful thinking) as it would give them a good idea of why billions of people in the world believe in God instead of nothing. God interacts and has established life-giving and enriching relationships with human beings throughout history and even in our modern world and Fr. Barron's natural way of explaining the importance of belief and Christian spirituality is a reason to hope.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hate Surfaces In Brooklyn

I read a statement recently is Brooklyn's diocesan newspaper, The Tablet, which struck me and seemed so true. It was from an article titled, "Assisi is Site of Peace Pilgrimage," by Cindy Wooden. The article was about Pope Benedict's recent trip to Assisi with 300 religious leaders, for a pilgrimage of peace. (Just as an aside, Assisi, Italy is my favorite place on the planet!) The meeting marked the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi interfaith gathering for peace and non-violence which took place in 1986.
During the recent pilgrimage, the Pope condemned violence as Pope John Paul II did in 1986. Yet unfortunately at this time in history, human beings still act violently. Such a waste! Anyhow, the line from the article that struck me and made me think a lot was the following spoken by a Hindu representative from India, he said, "The leaders needed to ask themselves why interreligious dialogue has not had a greater impact on the world situation in the last 25 years. Are we missing the inward part of the journey?"
I wonder, are religious leaders from all the major world religions doing enough to promote religious tolerance and understanding. It should be a priority and money should flow into the cause. It's so important for the future of humankind.
In any event, when I picked up the newspaper on Saturday (the New York Daily News), it was chilling to see the word HATE in large block letters covering the front page. Beneath the word was a photograph of three torched cars, an unusual sight in Brooklyn, caused by such blatant anti-Semitism. Nearby was property that has been defaced. Probably it was caused by beer drinking, intolerant young people. That's what the police think and that makes sense. Sensible, law-abiding individuals do not act that way in New York City. NYC is a tolerant place which is why so many young people opt to live here. People from everywhere in the world live here peaceably ( for the most part).
There was a march on Sunday in the same neighborhood, on Ocean Parkway, where the violence took place, a march for peace, a march against intolerance and hatred.
When will humankind catch on? How many thousands of years have to pass before peace reigns on this Earth? When will the message of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus take root, so that we can use resources to help the marginalized and poor of the world, instead of using violence and hatred to cause havoc and waste resources?

People of different faiths must work together to build on something they all share: 'a hope for the creation of human harmony, justice, prosperity and an improved standard of human life.' (Hasyim Muzadi, general secretary of International Conference of Islamic Scholars)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Uncertain World-Asteroid Speeds By and Other Concerns

Whoever thinks you don't need prayer, religious rituals or belief in God living in the modern world, hasn't been paying attention to the news. As always there has been good news and bad news. The good news is that Asteroid 2005 YU55 that came close to crashing into the Earth stayed far enough away to spare us. (Thank God for that!) This is what I read, "An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier missed the earth by only 200,000 miles as if flew by Tuesday night-the closest an asteroid has been to Earth in 200 hundred years."
Now for the bad news. The global economy is filled with uncertainty and entering a "dangerous phase." Italy is on the verge of economic turmoil (or perhaps is in it already). Since Vatican City is located in Italy it should be of some concern for the Vatican. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but economic instability can cause civil disobedience or worse. I follow business news as I find it interesting and this online article at CNN Money is cause for concern, "Europe is heading for recession. China is battling its own economic demons. And with the U.S. also facing problems at home (9% unemployment anyone?) it's hardly in a position to help. Without a white knight to step in and save the day, will we all go down together? 'The global economy has entered a dangerous and uncertain phase,' cautioned Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde this morning in Beijing." More words of concern from her, "If we do not act and act together we could enter a downward spiral of uncertainty, financial instability and a collapse in global demand."
We have to act together. That's so true. Everyone, in my opinion. Rich, middle class, billionaires, millionaires, politicians, business leaders, CEO's, corporations and religious leaders. Everyone has to work together to bring stability to the economic world situation.
The world needs prayer now more than ever but it also needs leaders who can provide innovative and creative solutions that work, common sense approaches and compassionate leadership.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fr. Barron's Excellent Video on All Saints

The saints have greatly inspired me on my spiritual journey. I have a great devotion and love for many of the Carmelite saints such as St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila. These were extraordinary women, in any time, and their love of God and willingness to do God's will, at all costs inspires me to persevere on the spiritual journey, through good times and bad.
These are trying times we are living through, though each age has had its challenges, the modern world is moving at such a fast pace, it's difficult to keep up, stay close to God and discern God's will at each moment. Without prayer, it would be totally impossible. With God all is possible.
St. Therese, the Little Flower, as she called herself loved Jesus in a mystical way. It was if he was standing next to her and she could sense it. On her profession day she sent out invitations to her wedding, she was "marrying" her Divine Spouse. St. Therese (as Fr. Barron notes about all the saints) is a friend to all who pray for her intercession or study her works. Many devotees have commented that they felt Therese was a friend to them, in some mystical way. Therese's little way of spiritual childhood recognizes that we are all in need of God's mercy and help, everyday of our lives. We all use poor judgment at times, we all could do better. To strive to be like Christ in the world, to be Christ to others is the goal of the spiritual life and yet it is so difficult. The saints provide us with a way to do it, to discern God's will through prayer. Recently, I had to make a difficult decision, in my heart I knew what God's will was, it was very clear to me. So clear I couldn't dismiss it. It went against what I wanted to do, it went against what made sense in the natural realm, but for some reason, God wanted me to do it God's way. I still don't know why, but I'm sure someday it might become clear, or perhaps it won't, this side of heaven. From that experience I learned that going against our wants and doing God's will, in all things, is not easy at all. The human will can be strong but I know God has my best interests in mind, I know that God loves me unconditionally and so I intend to do God's will, to say my prayers and to keep St. Teresa of Avila's words close to me, "So many problems come from imagining Jesus as far away, when he is really near." And of course, these words should never be far from the lips of a Christian, "Jesus, I trust in you."
May the Saints bless our efforts and bring us to holiness.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gambling in Queens, NY

Another distraction for the faithful. There are so many distractions in the modern world that entice people of good will away from God and prayer. So now right here in New York City, off the Belt Parkway in Queens, in the heart of the Diocese of Brooklyn, at Aqueduct Racetrack a "Racino" has opened. In October 1995 Pope John Paul II, during a historic visit to the United States celebrated Mass on a beautiful, sunny day at Aqueduct Raceway. I was there, along with my son. There were thousands of priests and Religious as well as 75,000 laypeople. It was a remarkable, holy event. That was then, this is now.
Hundreds of people waited on line, opening day to enter the Racino. It presently has 4,525 video slot machines and 475 electronic games and thousands more to come. Now gamblers and people just looking for some excitement will not have to go all the way to Atlantic City, Conneticut or Las Vegas, it's all very close now.
The Church is neutral on gambling. I understand that. I know many people who enjoy gambling and it adds excitement to their life. But according to anti-gambling forces, "the racino will addict millions of people to the detriment of their families...." I wonder how it will affect Church donations, in that area, if at all. Only time will tell.
Aqueduct is the first racino in New York City and probably not the last. There are a lot of tax revenues to be made from legalized gambling and many politicians are in favor of gambling for a variety of reasons.
I went to the website on and it had this to say about gambling......
"The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting or the lottery. Scripture does warn us to stay away from the love of money, attempts to get rich quick. But gambling in moderation is not necessarily evil....." Let's hope people use moderation and don't get addicted and lose control. We can only hope and pray for the best outcome, because gambling in NYC is here to stay.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Desecration of Another Church

When I saw the photograph (check out the Deacon's Bench) of protesters in Rome walking past a shattered statue of the Blessed Mother, it shook me up. There was something very cold and callous about people walking past a desecrated statue of Mary without feeling or remorse. They hardly saw her, which is quite unnerving, to see their disregard. It happened near the Lateran Basilica in Rome on a day in which worldwide protests were planned against greed, poor economic conditions, high joblessness and a loss of hope. Most protests around the world were peaceful and lawful, but in Rome the protests turned violent and destructive. The evil one was present there, causing the usual havoc, discord and violence. The devil's stamp was on it, whenever you have the desecration of holy statues, consecrated religious articles and a crucifix, it's quite obvious that the evil one took part (my opinion, of course). The Vatican condemned the violence and hopefully there will be better security in the future, if any protests are planned. Sacred, religious sites must be well protected.
It's getting a little scary. As I put up Halloween decorations this evening, I thought about what's really frightening in our world. It's not goblins and ghosts but the thousands of discontented, frustrated and feed up people who want change and a better life and a better future for their children. Something is out of whack, hopelessness is a dangerous thing. People have a right to protest and a right to seek a better life, but no one has a right to use violence or to desecrate sacred statues or a crucifix. Let's hope that never happens again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Christopher Hitchens-Famous Unbeliever

I read an article about Christopher Hitchens in the New York Times titled, "A Voice, Still Vibrant Reflects on Mortality," by Charles McGrath. Mr. Hitchens is the "famous" atheist and writer, who recently received an award-"The Freethinker of the Year Award." Though flattered by the award, his response was interesting, "I think being an atheist is something you are, not something you do, I'm not sure we need to be honored. We don't need positive reinforcement. On the other hand we do need to stick up for ourselves especially in a place like Texas, where they have laws, I think, that if you don't believe in Jesus Christ you can't run for sheriff."
Christopher Hitchens has been discussed and blogged about frequently not only because he's a famous atheist but also because he is the author of a controversial book (the title I can't even write) and also he is suffering from esophageal cancer. Having lost a mother to cancer, I know what a dreadful disease it is, so I feel sad for his condition.
I have a few thoughts for Mr. Hitchens, though I doubt he'll ever read them. Just as he can't understand belief in God and the mystery of God's existence, I will never understand atheists. I haven't read Mr. Hitchens book, I'm too busy reading books on spirituality, belief, and Scripture. What puzzles me and disturbs me is the following: I think (it's just my opinion of course) that if Mr. Hitchens had faith and could pray to God, it would make his journey at this time of his life easier and more comforting. That's one of the benefits of belief but atheists choose to reject God and God's invitation. As I have experienced it, faith is a big help when a crisis develops, illness strikes, or life's challenges hit. Prayer helps people deal with the big problems in life, God's presence is comforting in situations such as the one Mr. Hitchens is going through and yet he chooses to hold fast to his unbelief, even when it's hurting him on some level. But, of course, atheists don't see it that way. But the studies support what I'm writing and what I have experienced firsthand: prayer heals and helps, God's presence is nurturing and soothing and building a relationship with God through prayer and rituals is calming for human beings and helps our salvation as well. I have received inner strength and courage for the journey of life, which is filled with disappointments and challenges because of prayer, because of the support I've received from a faith community, at different times in my life. God is real and miraculously willing to be in relationship with those who accept his invitation to love.
I believe that God is reaching out to Mr. Hitchens, (though I don't know why I think that). I believe that God who is merciful and persistant wants to comfort him during these difficult days, God wants to give him the support he needs and the certainty of belief in eternal life. He will face his Creator someday, as we all will and then he will know, what he doesn't know now.
There are some mysteries that we just have to accept as mysteries. We can't fit God or the thought of God or God's ways into our minds, God is much more that that. God is a Supreme Being, hidden, mysterious and more complex than the human mind can handle or figure out. That's why God is God and we are creatures. We don't know everything and that's how it should be. God chooses to remain hidden, that's the way it should be and the older I get, I realize just how much of a genius God is and how hiddeness is most appropriate for a Supreme Being.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me.
And that thou bidd'st me come to thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because thy promise I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
(Charlotte Elliott-19th century)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Protesters of New York City

As most everyone has heard by now, several hundred protesters have been gathered at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, in the financial district for a few weeks. They say they are there for the long haul. Their movement is called, "Occupy Wall Street," though the police will not let them too close to Wall Street for obvious reasons. Several hundred have been arrested for civil disobedience and trying to obstruct traffic. On TV it sometimes looks like its getting out of control. What's going on here?
I'm not a political person but I will comment about this because it has to do with social justice. These protesters are reading the same articles and listening to the same commentary that I am. Some of it is infuriating. Recently I read the following and I can see how it would upset people who've lost jobs or homes to foreclosure. The article stated something like this.....CEO's of major corporations lay off hundreds of people and then those CEO's are given a large raise within the next year. The very rich, CEO's included are buying summer homes in expensive areas for millions of dollars, while middle class people are falling out of the middle class at a rapid rate.
Don't get me wrong, I like capitalism, I think it helped make our country great, but something is obviously wrong here. People need good jobs with a fair wage to support their families and give them dignity and purpose in life. Students need to be able to pay off their student loans without resorting to prostitution (which I was shocked to read at Huffington Post is actually happening in our country and it's not only a few cases). The title of the article, "Seeking Arrangement Using 'Sugar Daddies" To Pay Off Loan Debt," by Amanda Fairbanks sent me into a tailspin.
It comes back to greed, which is one of the seven deadly sins. Yes, that is one of the sins that the protesters are protesting against-corporate greed.
So the protests will continue and perhaps grow until corporations become more compassionate, a good jobs plan is passed and jobs stop being outsourced and more products are made in the USA and purchased by Americans. Common sense approaches that work to give people back their dignity and an opportunity for a better life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Celebrate Our Seminarians"

Last evening I attended a great event at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island titled, "Celebrate Our Seminarians." It began with a Holy Hour which included Eucharistic Exposition, Benediction and Evening Prayer. Bishop Murphy, the bishop of Rockville Centre presided and it was sacred and reverent. Bishop Murphy spoke during his homily about the need for prayer. He said, "We can choose anxiety/worry or we can choose prayer...." I liked the way he put it and I'll remember that. It's something I believe very strongly in-the power of prayer and the need for it in the modern world we live in, which sadly is filled with so much uncertainty. (The Scripture from yesterday's Mass comes to mind from St. Paul, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything." (I often share that quote with children and adults when I speak and I have it placed into my "Magnificat.") But anyhow, another thing that Bishop Murphy did was during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament he spoke directly to God, looking at the monstrance, as if no one else was present. I can't remember the exact words he used, but those words were filled with praise and love and it moved me. I told him so afterwards. He replied, "You can do that too." And that's true, of course, but it takes a certain amount of confidence to do it in public prayer.
After the holy hour, the cocktail hour began in the Cloister area outside the Seminary overlooking the beautiful grounds. The dinner in a big tent on the grounds, came next.
The seminarians who are a talented bunch of guys from both the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre provided the entertainment which was very good. There was a great spirit of fun, as well as some serious moments when a seminarian shared his vocation story. God kept calling him until he answered God's call. God never gave up. It was uplifting. I thought afterwards, if only more responded yes to God.....if only more were truly listening and attentive to God...........
A great time was had by all. I was glad that S. Alice Michael, my friend and guest for the evening enjoyed herself. She works so hard for the Diocese of Brooklyn, in an administrative position that she deserved a nice evening of relaxation. Msgr. Peter Vaccari, the rector of the Seminary worked hard to ensure it was a great evening, as did Beverly Malone, the Director of Development. It was a success!
It was an evening of Catholicism at its best-prayer, reverence, praise and worship to God, fellowship, friendship, good food, a wonderful spirit, and support of a good cause.

In Honor of the Feast Day on October 1st of St. Therese (couldn't leave her out!)

My little way is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender.

Always do everything in order to please Jesus.

Love Jesus who is Love itself.

A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.
St. Therese, the Little Flower- Saint and Doctor Extraordinaire

Monday, September 26, 2011

New York-A Walkable City-Filled with Art

Walking is good for the mind, body and soul. Many great writers were avid walkers, including spiritual writers. Walking clears the mind and inspires too. It's a great form of exercise and a good way to relax and reduce stress. It has many benefits which is why I was happy to read that New York City was listed as number one in a list of most walkable cities for 2011. According to an online article from titled, "Ten Most Walkable Cities for 2011," by Jason Notte, "Manhattan's 16 miles long and two miles wide and has been walkable since the days when the only other transportation option involved an animal. Densely packed areas such as Brooklyn's Fort Green, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens and Bay Ridge, Queens' Sunnyside and Astoria/Long Island City and the South Bronx, University Heights and Fordham neighborhoods in the Bronx are giving Manhattan a run for the money thanks to tightly packed areas that are only increasing in density..."
I recently took a walking tour of Central Park which was incredibly interesting. The tour group coincidentally walked "right into" the Parks Commissioner of NY, who was on his way to his office in Central Park. The tour guide knew him personally and waved hello and he was very pleasant and welcomed us to Central Park. A true New York experience....
Yesterday I walked around the magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Ave. Walking outdoors or indoors in NYC can be an amazing cultural experience. The MET has so many masterpieces that it is overwhelming to view them one after another. It's hard to take it all in and though I've been there many times, I'm always inspired by the creativity and beauty of the art exhibited there.
Pope Benedict has spoken many times about his wish to "renew the Church's friendship with the world of art." He has said, "Beauty....can become a path toward the transcendent, toward ultimate Mystery, toward God." This past summer at Castel Gandolfo he told pilgrims, "Dear friends, I invite you to be open to beauty and to allow it to move you to prayer and praise of the Lord." He explained how the "path of beauty can be an open door on the infinite and is something experienced by all people, not merely those who regard themselves as cultured."
The beauty of art and the beauty of nature has always moved me toward the transcendent.

The world is a mirror of infinite beauty...It is a temple of majesty..It is a region of light and peace. It is the place of angels and the gate of heaven. Thomas Traherne

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bishop Libasci Will Be A Blessing!

As reported in the Catholic press, Rockville Centre diocesan auxiliary bishop, Bishop Peter Libasci has been appointed by Pope Benedict to lead the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. He will be the bishop of the entire state of New Hampshire. That New England state is lucky to have Bishop Libasci. Long Island is losing a very good and kind auxiliary bishop. Bishop Murphy, the bishop of Rockville Centre was quoted as saying, "While I will greatly miss his wise counsel and tireless apostolic spirit, I rejoice that the Holy Father has chosen one of the priests of this diocese to lead the Diocese of Manchester."
I've met Bishop Libasci a few times and each time, I was very impressed with him. The first time I met Bishop Libasci, I was looking for something in the library at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens. I didn't recognize the bishop though I had probably seen his photograph in the Long Island Catholic. But anyway, I remember it was late in the afternoon of Ash Wednesday because I had a large ash cross on my forehead, it was a rather dramatic cross as it covered my entire forehead. Before I was introduced to him by the librarian, he gave me a warm and kind smile. That tells me a lot about a person. After being introduced, he asked me what parish I belonged to and we then discussed my pastor who wasn't feeling well at the time. He knew that already and said he was glad I reminded him as he was going to call him. He just has a nice way about him.
About a year later, I would have the opportunity to attend a Communion Breakfast at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island and Bishop Libasci was the speaker for that event and he celebrated Mass as well. I was struck by him during the entrance procession at Mass. I could tell he was praying as he entered the chapel. That was evident to me. He's a holy priest and bishop and that's obvious. (Praise God! That's what the Church needs more than anything.) Later on in his talk on the Eucharist, which was excellent he spoke about how he was praying as he entered the chapel (I knew it!) and how humbled he was to be a bishop. He also mentioned how seriously he took that responsibility and how important it was to him to live up to the expectations of the people who counted on him and how he prayed to be a blessing to others and to the Church.
I know Bishop Libasci will be a blessing to the state of New Hampshire and the Diocese of Manchester. I know he will provide the healing and graces that are needed there, at this time in history. Many blessings Bishop, go with Christ!

I desire so much to meet all of you and to see Christ so alive and so present in you. I desire to share in this work that is ours: to be true to and thus carry on the mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Bishop Libasci to the people of his new Diocese)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Crumbling American Dream?

When my grandparents came to America in the 1920's from Italy, they came with hope, to the land of good fortune, where dreams came true. America was a storied land of freedom and opportunity. At the Ellis Island website I was able to see how much money my grandparents came to America with. It was humbling to see. Like other immigrants they came to America with hope, faith in God and a belief in a better life ahead, with a little bit of money in their pockets-$10.00 to be exact. (They also had to have a sponsor in America.) When I thought about my grandparents traveling such a long distance, across an ocean, in difficult circumstances, with so little money (naturally $10.00 was worth much more at that time), I can't even imagine the sacrifices they made in leaving their country and loved ones. Through hard work, faith in God, prayer, family ties and sacrifice they were able to lift themselves up, over time, into the middle class in America, as other immigrants have done as well.
But now many families in America are facing hard times. Many are slipping out of the middle class. Without good paying jobs and real opportunity, the American dream is starting to fade and vanish for too many. A new study by the Census Bureau stated that, "Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty last year, a development that is ensnaring growing numbers of children in poverty and offering vivid proof of the devastating impacts of the recession.....The Report portrays a nation where many people are slipping backward in the wake of a downturn that left 14 million people out of work and pushed unemployment to levels not seen in decades."
So sadly this is where our country is in 2011. More and more children are slipping into poverty, some go hungry and others experience anxiety from losing their homes and seeing their parents under great stress.
The Church has always supported workers and a just wage. Our country must put people back to work, to give them back their dignity and their opportunity for a better life. Not just for themselves but for the children in America, who deserve better.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 8th-A Carmelite Would Know......

I think a Carmelite would know that if I wrote I was born on Mary's nativity, that even though that is a great grace, that gift or grace would come with "strings attached." Oh yes, a great gift comes with strings and sometimes those "strings" are trials. Carmelites would know that from their studies, others might know that from experience. I found that out long before I became a Lay Carmelite.
I'm pleased to be born on a feast day of Mary-September 8th. It would be many years after I was born, when I would realize the significance of the day of my birth. I probably heard it or read about it in catechism class. My parents were very good Christians (and parents), kind and generous people, but not the type to know the date of Mary's nativity or the feast day it was celebrated on. So I would stumble upon that fact on my own, and I thought it was interesting, but little did I know as a child, that a gift is more than it seems ( more complicated), in the spiritual realm and in spiritual terms.
I have a great devotion to Mary. I should hope so. I recently gave a talk about her, and said, "We're really like Mary in many ways. Catholics tend to exalt Mary and that's natural and fitting, as she is the Mother of God, but you too have answered God's call and said "yes" to God's invitation. You have responded to God and so you are more like Mary than you think or imagine. (Basically that is what I said and you can understand the point I was trying to make.)

On another note, my heart and prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones on September 11th, 2001. What a sad anniversary we mark this Sunday. I think especially of the 3,051 children who lost a parent on that day. I watched a TV special on those children last evening and it made me realize just what those children have gone through these past 10 years. May God be with them. For all the heroes and the good, hard working people who lost their lives that horrific day, there are no words, just hope in eternal life.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Surviving Hurricane Irene

Four days without electricity from Hurricane Irene. Our power just came on tonight. The other day we met workers in our neighborhood who came all the way from Michigan to try and help restore power. They couldn't make any promises. They told us they left home to help us in NY but with so many fallen trees and damaged power lines, it was going to take time. And it did. Many people in the Northeast are still without power, I hope they soon feel the excitement of having the power switch on.
I know people deal with much greater problems and I tried to keep it in perspective. I'm accustomed to having electricity and the comforts it provides. (I know I'm spoiled, as many of us are.) I tried to tell myself it was like home. I have fond memories of going camping. I liked going camping, when I was younger, much younger.......Electricity is a wondrous invention and so quiet and efficient. It's an amazing convenience when you think about it.
Trees fell all over my neighborhood, on houses, cars, roads and lawns. But thank God the huge tree in front of my house stayed put. Naturally, before the storm hit I walked around my house praying for protection and a "God-shield", that was a given.
My sons called the morning after the storm from Manhattan to check in and tell me they were fine. Thank God! My son said he didn't know what to expect, because of all the warnings (even from the President), the evacuations of Battery Park City and other NY neighborhoods and then there were all my updates and concerns for their safety. (I'm a typical Italian mother.) But he said they slept through the storm. When one of my sons woke up, the morning after the storm, he didn't know what to expect, but when he looked out the window, he saw a young man walk by in a t-shirt and flip flops. He knew it wasn't too bad in Manhattan.
And so having to throw out food is not the worst of it. At least my basement didn't flood, where all my beloved religion books and newspapers are. So I have a lot to be grateful for.
I'm sorry for the farmers in Upstate NY and all the other people in Vermont, New Jersey and New York who have lost so much. It's a difficult time for many, especially those who've lost loved ones, from this natural disaster. That is the saddest part of this story and the most tragic. I'm so sorry for their loss.
It's been said over and over again but it's true. When faced with loss of any kind, prayer, meditation, and Bible reading are comforting and really help. My copy of Magnificat was so helpful to me during the days without electricity. Walking and praying and exercising kept me focused and calm. Prayer heals, there is no question about that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Other Uncertainties

I called my cousin, who lives in Virginia with her family, the day the earthquake struck to see how they were doing. I didn't feel a thing in New York but of course many New Yorkers did and were shaken from the experience. My cousin said that when the earthquake struck her area, it felt and sounded like a truck was going into her house. She screamed for her two teenage children to jump into the bathtub and that's what they all did. It was an unnerving experience for them and understandably so. The ground was literally shaking beneath them and what could be more unsettling than that.
Now in the most recent news reports, there is another rare event happening on the East Coast. A powerful and damaging hurricane named Irene is menacing the East Coast of the United States and worrying everyone in its path. Since I tend to worry and my house is surrounded by huge trees, being at home is really not that safe but what choice do I have. I can only wait and pray for the best as many others are doing. Everyday is a gift to be enjoyed and savored, if only I could remember that all the time.
When it says in the Bible to be spiritually ready at all times, since no one knows the day or hour of the end of the world or the end of our own fragile life, it's good to be spiritually prepared for anything, at all times. We so often forget that when things are going well.
Life can "throw" anything at us, at any time. We're seeing that unfold this week. The obvious ways to be prepared spiritually by saying our prayers, being attentive to one's relationship with God, being a good Christian and following Jesus' advice for living rightly and justly with others are good ways to sail through any "storm" in life.
My cousins from Virginia are good, caring people, who are active in their Church. My cousin's husband is a convert to Catholicism and he joined the Knights of Columbus as soon as he converted. They try to live rightly and justly and they were ready for anything. Thank God nothing happened to them, but in my opinion, spiritually they were ready.
Another thing I value very highly besides prayer and living according to Jesus' words is common sense. Using common sense can provide safety in this uncertain world we live in. I've written this before and I'll write it again because I think it's important and I think it's only common sense. I hope and pray that someday, in the near future, the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant which is so close to NYC and it's suburbs will be closed and other energy sources will be found to supply our needs. Why? The answer is just plain, old common sense. The unusual earthquake that struck Virginia measured 5.8 in intensity. Indian Point can only withstand a 6.1 earthquake and one or more of its reactors was built on fault line. (Hello, who builds a nuclear power plant close to NYC on a fault line??) And though this was a rare seismic event, a geologist on CNN the other evening said, "We could see another earthquake, a large one on the East Coast of the United States, in the future. I can't rule it out." (I'm paraphrasing but he said something like that.)
Using prayer and common sense would tell me, tell anyone who is thinking straight that Indian Point has to close at sometime in the future. Find alternative energy sources and put those people who presently work at Indian Pt. to work on other sources, but let's be realistic about the future and the safety of over 12 million people.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

World Youth Day-2011-Hope From The Young

I looked in the secular press this morning and yesterday morning and in the two New York newspapers I read there was not an article, not even a small one in international news about World Youth Day. In today's Sunday NY Times, not a word (unless it was so small I missed it!) That's puzzling to me. A million or more young people from 193 countries from around the world gather in Madrid, Spain for an event and not a word. Incredible! On the front page of the Sunday NY Times there's a photograph of the turmoil in Libya, (a depressing photograph),which is, of course, important news, but not a word about one million young people gathering in peace to demonstrate faith, peace and hope. It's absurd that one million young people gathering in Spain is not news, (to some editors) no one should know about it, unless you read a Catholic newspaper, visit a Catholic website or blog or watch Catholic television??
On a more joyful note, I've been watching EWTN's coverage of World Youth Day and of Pope Benedict in Spain meeting and praying with the young pilgrims and I have been uplifted by their faith and joy. Smiling, faith-filled, joyful young people waving flags, jumping for joy and having a good time expressing their faith was cause for hope. I was particularly moved when I participated (from home) in the solemn praying of the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening. It was very moving. When the marginalized young people, with disabilities, picked up the cross and carried it so reverently I was moved to tears. (I noticed a young man with Down's Syndrome carrying the Cross so proudly, it was touching.)
It seems to me the Church gets this so right, WYD is planned with precision and it's amazing to watch it unfold thousands of miles away. What a great, inspiring Catholic event this is. This is something the Church can be proud of.
John Allen in an article called these faith-filled young people-Evangelical Catholics. I don't doubt that the future Church rests on their shoulders and others like them. Most have traveled from all parts of the globe, they are withstanding heat, discomfort and even a rainstorm on Saturday night. And still they wave their flags, they pray, and smile while giving a positive witness to us all.
From what I've observed so far on TV and from the blog posts I've read, these young people have given me hope, not only me but I'm sure all the bishops, priests, nuns and laypeople who are there as well. And of course the Pope himself. These young people are filled with the light of Christ, I'm grateful for their enthusiasm and faith. God Bless them all!

Seeing you gathered here in such great numbers, from all parts of the world, fills my heart with joy. I think of the special love with which Jesus is looking upon you. Yes, the Lord loves you and calls you His friends. He goes out to meet you and He wants to accompany you on your journey, to open the door to a life of fulfillment and to give you a share in His own closeness to the Father"..........Pope Benedict-Closing Mass-WYD-2011

**Update-Finally, on Monday, Aug. 22nd an article appeared in the New York Times about World Youth Day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Baptism and a Flood

I attended my cousin's baptism on Sunday afternoon at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside, Long Island. It wasn't easy for my family to get there. Major roads were closed because of the record rainfall in NYC and Long Island and we had to maneuver through closed and flooded roads. I was just alittle stressed thinking we would miss the baptism rite. We finally arrived only a few minutes late and the Deacon who was presiding waved us in, as he caught sight of us at the side door, nearest the altar. Even though he had started, he was most welcoming, "Come in, it's all good" I remember him saying to us. A nice way to be welcomed into Church after navigating through a rainstorm. We made our way into the pew near the rest of our family. I later found out the Deacon's name, Mike Monahan. He was enthusiastic, well spoken and he did a great job speaking to the parents and godparents who were present. He helped them understand the responsibility entrusted to them in raising a good Christian. He was assisted by his wife at the baptism. I thought that was wonderful, that she was able to help him in his ministry and be present as well. I thanked him at the end of the baptism, telling the Deacon he had done a good job. There is so much to be said for enthusiasm, an upbeat attitude, combined with knowledge of the faith, good preaching and a well planned ritual. That's the formula needed to fill up our churches, in my opinion.
Many guests did not show up for the dinner party following the baptism. Unfortunately, some were home cleaning up flooded basements in the city and Long Island. Others couldn't make it from New Jersey because of the flooding. What a day! Yet there was grace in the midst of chaos.
Record rainfall amounts might be the new norm (though I hope not). Ironically, on Sunday, the day of the flooding an article appeared in NY Newsday that morning titled, "Global Warming Turns Up the Heat on Long Island" by Jennifer Smith. It turned out to be a timely article. The article told how global warming is affecting Long Island already. According to scientists, "Be in no doubt, the world is warming" (Peter Thorne, scientist). And in what may be related, "Heavy downpours, the kind that flood streets, soak basements and sweep pollutants into bays-increased 67 percent in the Northeast from 1958-2007, a federal report found." One report I read months ago stated that some areas of the world would experience droughts due to global warming and other areas would experience record rainfall. That's what seems to be happening already. It's unnerving.
We should all be trying to conserve energy and do our best to prevent any further damage to the environment. Let's hope future generations take this threat seriously. I pray that they do!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It All Falls Down

As you probably know, there has been recent rioting and civil unrest in England that has ravaged parts of London and other major cities. My son has a good friend who lives in London, so I asked my son if he had spoken to him to see how he's doing. His friend Mike, just got back from China, where he was spending some much needed time with his family. Now back in London he's dealing with the depressing and unsettling events happening in England. Though he is not directly affected, he's unnerved as are other Londoners. But he's fine and he appreciated that we were concerned about him. Mike is a fine young man, who was kind enough to pick me and my husband up from the airport a few years ago, when we visited London. My son who was working in London at the time, for a few months, did not have a car and Mike volunteered to pick us up at the airport. We arrived in London very early in the morning. I was quite impressed by that show of kindness. Mike is a hard-working young man, respectful, kind and totally unlike the unruly and destructive youths who are setting fires, breaking the law and looting in England. (There are some reports that some of them are laughing while they are being destructive, which is scary to me.) It is a truly appalling situation, and like other situations around the world, such as the financial crisis and the horrific famine in Somalia, things just seem to be spinning out of control, at times. The 2012 end of the world believers must be thinking, "We were right, it's coming!"
It just makes you wonder.......Europeans in large numbers have turned away from religion, from belief in God, from religious traditions and rituals and some believe there is a moral decline in society. Is there a connection? I wonder......The reality is in 2011 you have thousands of young men and women turning to violence in Britain, to bring attention to their plight. Their frustrations with high unemployment, lack of opportunities, wealth disparity in their faces, and their inability to find meaning work are understandable, their way of dealing with it, is horribly wrong, unlawful and sinful.
Prime Minister, David Cameron put it this way and I would agree:
The sight of those young people running down streets, smashing windows, taking property, looting, laughing as they go, the problem of that is a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals. (August 2011)
One of the benefits of belief in God and adhering to religious beliefs and doctrines is following a proper moral code, such as the Ten Commandments. When religion or the foundational beliefs and moral code of religions (all the major world religions have them) are removed from society, in my opinion, you are playing "with fire."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Helping the Downtrodden in New York City

With so much uncertainty in the news and with the prospect of a global economic downturn looming (or God forbid worse!), it was good to read some uplifting and positive news. I applaud a new initiative in New York City to help disadvantaged, "undereducated, incarcerated and unemployed" young black and Latino men in NYC. As explained in a NY Times article I read yesterday titled, "City Campaign Seeks To Lift Young Black and Latino Men," by Michael Barbaro and Fernanda Santos, "Starting this fall, the administration said it would place job-recruitment centers in public housing complexes where many young black and Latino men live, retrain probation officers......establish new fatherhood classes and assess schools on the academic progress of male black and Latino students." What's so interesting about this new program is that Mayor Bloomberg who is a billionaire and also the mayor of NYC, is using some of his personal wealth to cover part of the cost of the program. The mayor can well afford it, but it is still very generous of him and he deserves praise for doing it. (He seems to be spending a lot of money lately, he also just purchased a magnificent estate in Southhampton, Long Island).
Mr. Bloomberg is a very wealthy man. It seems to me that the billionaires of the world are going to have to step up and share their wealth with others, following the good example of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. They are philanthropists who use large parts of their fortunes for the good of humankind. Through their generosity and goodness, they encourage others to do so, which I think is very noble.
Unfortunately, many of the world economies are in trouble and it's a fact that individual billionaires throughout the world hold vast amounts of wealth. I hope and pray they will follow the good examples of rich philanthropists and give to good causes to help lift the downtrodden and those who are suffering from famine as well.
They will receive many blessings for their generosity. It's true the more you give, the more blessings that come back to you. I've seen that happen over and over again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Needing A Dose of Optimism

Optimistic people are happier people. They look to the future with hope. Optimism and hope are necessary for Christians and people of all faiths, because we live in a fallen world, where it seems evil has a strong foothold. After reading the headline stories at, for Catholic world news, over the weekend, it was easy to fall into despair. One headline story after another about failures in the Church, at all levels. It is really disheartening for those of us who love the Church and know the treasure and gift that the Church can be. But something is out of whack. Some of the accusations I read in one story, are something out of a bad, crude, scandalous novel, they are almost unbelievable.
There are those of us whose lives have been enriched by the Church and the teachings of Jesus, who know it is a force for good in the world. But it's time (in my humble opinion) for Church leaders to meet to discuss the challenges the Church is facing in the modern world. We live in a fast-paced, quickly changing world, due to modern technology. These are challenges the Church has never faced before. The internet has changed the world forever. Making an effort to use modern technology for good and to promote Church teachings and the teachings of Jesus is important but it's more important for the Church to realistically look at the problems it's facing and act wisely, constructively and realistically while invoking God's Holy Spirit for guidance. Prayer is needed, but action is needed too. Headlines such as "Germans Leaving the Church in Record Numbers," or the problems happening in Ireland or Australia should be a wake-up call.
Getting back to optimism, I read this from an online article titled, "The Importance of Optimism," by Dan Floros, "Optimism allows us to move on, despite our setbacks, despite our bruises. There are no failures if we learn and decide to bounce back from such obstacles. Failures are only failures if we decide to remain defeated. The word 'optimism' gives us some clues here. 'Opt' equates to choice. Each one of us has a choice, to see things pessimistically (glass half empty) or optimistically (half full)."
I'm trying to be optimistic. I know the Church has a divine head-Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God. I have total faith in the power of God and the Holy Spirit. But human beings who have positions of authority in the Church need to do something substantial because something is out of whack, when so many articles about Cahtolic world news deal with disturbing revelations and reports which harm the Church and disappoint the faithful.

Veni Sanctus Spiritus

Friday, July 22, 2011

Archbishop Charles Chaput and September 8th

I read with interest that Archbishop Charles Chaput will be installed as the ninth archbishop of Philadelphia at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, on September 8th, a feast day of Mary, her nativity. It's a date very close to my heart since I was born on that day too, either by coincidence or divine design. Someday I'll find that out. Archbishop Chaput is a Capuchin Franciscan with an American Indian heritage. That's a rather interesting mix. He is a member of the Potawatomi Prairie Band tribe and as he explained at a news conference, he has two Indian names. One name from the Potawatomi meaning "he who makes the leaves rustle like the wind." Apparently, his late mother called him, at times, "Windy," because of that meaning. The other name from the Lakota tribe meaning, "good eagle." Coming to the East Coast, and most especially to Philadelphia, to be the Archbishop of Philadelphia at this time in history, he will need the strength and courage of an Indian warrior and the majesty, accuracy and strength of an eagle. He will have to learn quickly that the East Coast is a very fast paced, "sharp-edged," part of the country. It's a place like no other, since you have three major cities here- NYC, Boston and Philadelphia (not too far from each other) and then of course Washington, DC. It's a pretty intense atmosphere. I'm sure he's up for the task as long as he understands how the East Coast operates.
The Archbishop's American Indian name probably came from the fact that it was windy when he was born. (I know a little about Indian culture as I have always been fascinated by the American Indian's love and respect for nature.) Perhaps the wind was the movement of the Holy Spirit, since he was destined to become an archbishop and an influential one at that.
In my living room I have a collector's plate of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha holding a lamb. It's a beautiful piece, hand signed by the artist who made the image. I'm sure Kateri will pray for the Archbishop's success in Philadelphia and for healing for that city and I'm sure the Archbishop is praying for Kateri as well.
It seems to me, the Holy Spirit was at work, in a powerful way, in the choosing of the archbishop for his new role in Philly. I read that his name was not on the original list given to Pope Benedict for consideration. Pope Benedict, I assume encouraged by the Spirit, decided that Archbishop Chaput was the leader needed for Philadelphia at this time. I like the idea that the Pope was urged by the Spirit to make another choice, other than the ones presented to him, that's a good sign for the future Church.
God's blessings on Philadelphia and their incoming Archbishop. It's such a great city, so much American history, I've always enjoyed my visits there. While there, I loved seeing the Liberty Bell in person, it's such a great symbol of the greatness of our country.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cafe Basilica- St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in Manhattan

I was in the city yesterday with my family and we went to Mass at The Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street. I had never been there before. I placed a visit there on my "bucket list" after reading that the Church had been designated a basilica. Old St. Patrick's was the first Cathedral Church in the city and the cornerstone was laid in 1809. It was called at that time, "one of the greatest ornaments of our city." I was impressed with what I saw and heard. They have realistic Mass times there for the many young adults who live in the area. We attended the 12:45 PM Mass and there is a last chance Mass at 7:00 PM. They were having a barbeque after the 7:00 PM Mass with a guest speaker ($5.00 donation- a bargain!). The speaker would be talking about Social Networking and how you can use the internet to bring more "prayer into your daily lives and keep you informed...." In the bulletin, the pastor wrote that the 7:00 PM Mass "has become known in the neighborhood as the 'young peoples' Mass..." Though the historic Church was not air conditoned, they did have fans going and the Mass was thoughtfully done, good music and a well thought out and prepared homily by the Pastor Msgr. Donald Sakano. The homily contained a good message, to the point, something you could remember and take with you......(On exiting the Church I told Msgr. Sakano it was good, he deserved that!)
They have Evening Prayer (Vespers) on the first Sundays at 6:30 PM. (I have read that evening prayer is a great tool for evangelization.....)
Also, the bulletin was filled with good ideas and good ways to attract the young adult population that lives in the area. They have a "Cafe Basilica." From their bulletin, "Our courtyard at 32 Prince St. is dedicated to hospitality with a reminder that God is alive and well and living across the street in the Basilica. On Sunday afternoons we will feature the music of professional musicians from 2:00-4:00 PM." What an amazing idea.........So if you are ever in the city on a Sunday afternoon, stop by the Old St. Patrick's and check out Cafe Basilica.
After Mass, my sons noticed a famous comedian with his family, who were leaving Church. I didn't know him but my sons recognized him, as they are accustomed to running into famous people in Manhattan.
Afterwards, we walked over to Little Italy for an Italian lunch. A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I was uplifted by all the good ideas and actions coming out of that historic Church in a great location in Manhattan. Good evangelization at work in the city of New York!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Deed Rewarded

So happy that Christian Lopez the young man who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and returned the ball to Jeter, saying he wanted to do the right thing, will be rewarded for his good deed. Besides getting a lot of good publicity which he deserves, he'll be getting help with his student loans too. Like many other recent college graduates, Christian has a lot of debt. A few days ago it was reported that he might have to pay taxes on the sports memorabilia he was given by the Yankees for his generosity in giving up the valuable ball. Some newspapers were stating, "No good deed goes unpunished." But as it turns out Christian still wasn't having regrets. He said that parents were coming up to him saying, "My son looks up to you for what you did." That's priceless and that's what Christian thought too. Now it's being reported that good deeds are noticed and rewarded. I read this about Christian, "The recent college graduate with outstanding student loans will get some financial help too. Memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner and sporting goods CEO Mitch Modell said they will make sure Lopez gets at least $50,000 toward his outstanding student loans of $150,000. " That's wonderful! And in another amazing twist to this story, Topps, the manufacturer of sports' cards said it will be making a trading card of Christian Lopez to be included in sets, later this year. For a young man, who collected baseball cards since he was a young boy, this must be like a dream......A good and wholesome story for people of all ages. Christian is a great role model for kids, his selfless act of kindness and generosity made news around the world. It's an uplifting summer story at a time when there is so much negative news.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good vs. Evil-Goodness at Yankee Stadium

My sons and my husband think I watch too much CNN and read too much news. I do like current events, it's one of my hobbies. I love to read and I also like keeping up with what's going on in my community, NYC and the world. My reading served me well this morning as I parked my car in the parking lot of Church. I like to arrive early and as I was walking into Church, a woman ran up to me, out of breath and she began telling a story, which sounded familiar to me. I had read about this woman a few weeks ago, in a community newspaper. "Did I live around here? She needed help. Did I know where a certain place was?" Well, I had read about her and here she was, in the parking lot of my Church, on a Sunday morning, trying to scam me. What was amazing was that her story was exactly what I had read she told others. She stuck to the script perfectly, so I was ready for her, prepared to give her a good stare down. In the past, other people trying to be helpful have given this same woman money, so that she can take a cab to a hospital, for an emergency that she claims has arisen suddenly in her life. In reality it doesn't exist. According to the article I read, the cops are looking for her. I guess the story works, which is why she keeps using it. So sad. I looked at her sadly but sternly and said, "I'm going into Church." I can't imagine what motivates people to lie and try to steal on Church property or any property for that matter.
In Church as I was listening to the gospel being proclaimed, I thought about this woman, who perhaps had heard that gospel at some point in her life. I thought of the words, "The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart." The good news of Jesus Christ, the gospel filled with truth and wisdom did not take root in her lost soul, it seems like the evil one stole it away. Far from the path of righteousness and truth she entered a parking lot on a Sunday morning to try to deceive, lie and steal, instead of choosing the path of virtue and truth.

In contrast, I thought about the noble Christian Lopez (23 years of age) who caught Derek Jeter's homerun ball which scored Jeter's historic 3,000th hit in Yankee Stadium. Lopez could have sold the ball for thousands of dollars and paid off his student loans but instead he gave the ball to Jeter. He did receive some sports memorabilia and seats to future Yankee games, but in no way is that equal to what that ball was worth. But he said, "It was the right thing to do." What a great role model for kids, choosing to do the right thing, the noble thing and not letting the money get in the way of that decision. A great New York story, that will be told over and over again. (Just a thought, it would be nice if the Yankees consider paying off Lopez's student loans, as a reward for doing the right thing.......)

The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July-2011

Firstly, I want to thank all the men and women who serve in the military, at great sacrifice and help in this age and all the ages past, to preserve freedom and liberty, for all who live in the great country of America. Surely our country (as many believe) has been greatly blessed by God. Through the deep faith that is evident and exists in our country, we have mostly responded, yes, to God's blessings and invitation.
Thanks to the book, "Our Country's Founders-A Book of Advice For Young People," Edited with commentary by William Bennett for these important words to ponder on this 4th of July 2011:
The signers of the Declaration of Independence were men of courage. By affixing their names to that document, they risked death by hanging. And they knew it. But some of the signers bravely (or perhaps nervously) laughed in the face of danger: While writing his bold and now famous signature, John Hancock, the first to sign, reportedly said, 'There! His majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!' To encourage the other signers, Hancock would later tell them that they must all hang together. To which Benjamin Franklin quipped: 'We must all hang together, or we most assuredly will hang seperately.' In this letter, Benjamin Rush, a fellow signer of the Declaration, remembers another humorous exchange that took place at the signing. But he also recalls the 'pensive and awful silence' that filled the room as these patriots of '76 prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Dear Old Friend,
The 4th of July has been celebrated in Philadelphia in the manner I expected. The military men, and particularly one of them, ran away with all the glory of the day. Scarcely a word was said of the solicitude and labors and fears and sorrows and sleepless nights of the men who projected, proposed, defended and subscribed the Declaration of Independence. Do you recollect your memorable speech upon the day on which the vote was taken? Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed, by many, at that time to be our own death warrants? The silence and the gloom of the morning were interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Colonel Harrison of Virginia, who said to Mr. Gerry at the table: 'I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead....'" (Benjamin Rush to John Adams-July 20th, 1811)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. (Ps. 33: 12)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rewarding Occupations- Such as the Priesthood

In an interesting article that I read titled, "10 Careers That Can Make You Happier," by Chris Iliades, it states that clergymen rate their occupation as the most rewarding in America. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, conducts a poll titled The General Social Survey and it's considered comprehensive. Its most recent findings show that spiritual caregivers such as priests and ministers report being very satisfied with their work, as a matter of fact, 87% report being very satisfied, which is 7% points higher than anyone else in the survey. That's good news.......Careers that involve caring, helping or protecting others rated high for satisfaction levels. Other rewarding jobs and careers that help people to feel happier included: teachers, doctors, psychologists, firefighters, business owners, those who work outdoors (surrounded by nature), maintenance workers and engineers and architects. Also, anyone in creative fields such as writers and artists report a high level of satisfaction with their work. (It didn't mention bloggers.........)
Developing one's creativity regardless of what occupation you are in, always improves self-esteem and helps you to feel uplifted and happier. The benefits of developing your creativity, whether through journaling, writing or dabbling in art has been well documented. So if you are not in a satisfying job, spend time being creative and it will help your overall satisfaction levels and help you to feel more fulfilled (from what I've read on the subject). Listening to classical music also helps to enhance your creativity. Also, helping others through volunteering is another way to have a more satisfying life and do good at the same time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pride and Greed-The Deadliest Sins of All?

Human beings just don't get it. Pride as well as greed are very grave sins-known as two of the Seven Deadly Sins (also referred to as Capital Sins or vices). In case you've forgotten what the Seven Deadly Sins are: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth (avoiding work).
When I read (with dismay) that "Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2,100 years" or that "Shocking reports tell of alarming rate of mass extinctions in the oceans" have to wonder what kind of news or scientific reports it will take to wake up the human race before pride (we can do anything we want, without consequences), or greed winds up destroying all of creation on this planet, including us. I certainly hope not.......These kinds of news stories (very trending right now on the internet), I find quite disturbing.
Some people don't believe these reports and they choose to ignore them or downplay them. But soon, according to scientists you won't be able to ignore them any longer, as the effects of global warming (starting to show up already), will be in our faces, so to speak. Unless the global community starts to act and act decisively and constructively, I fear the future will hold more bad news for our children and grandchildren.
Where are the geniuses, the innovators, the creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and scientists? Who is listening to them? Who is listening to God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit? There are certainly enough warnings and promptings being communicated to us.
In the Bible the word listen appears 1,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 425 times in the New Testament. When I give talks to adults or children I always mention that. Do you think God wants us to listen? (It's pretty clear in the Bible that God does, for our own good.) Do you think God wants us to be good stewards of the Earth and care for this beautiful and awesome creation and use the resources wisely, for the good of all? I'd say, Yes! Is humankind listening? We can have a good business environment, create jobs, which this country desperately needs, while making good decisions to safeguard the environment. It's time for everyone to work together on this, because not to do so, is going to cost everyone in the future, money as well as security and well being.
The Pope seems to be listening. The Vatican has contracted "Mercedes for the first ever hybrid popemobile. That's some good news.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catholic High School Goes Green!

I read an uplifting article in New York Newsday titled, Kellenberg To Expand Its Solar System (6/14/11) by Nicholas Spangler which tells how Kellenberg Catholic High School in Uniondale, Long Island, NY will be expanding a program that they've had in place for two years. Beginning in September, "there will be many more of those tubes: 3,450 to be precise, facing south at a 45 degree angle to catch the sun's rays. In colder months, the tubes will help heat the school's water and warm its classrooms; in summer, they will help cool them down.....An official from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, Dale Zatlin, said she believed it would be the first 'solar thermal' system in the state that both heats and cools.
What great news! Kellenberg is a well respected school, with a fantastic reputation. I know a teacher who works there and the students are truly remarkable. I've been to events there on the weekends, when students are willingly giving time to serve and help out. It's that kind of school. And now this terrific news that they're trying to go green, by harnessing the sun's energy while saving money too.
The project is being led by Brother Gary Eck, a Kellenberg math teacher, who was quoted as saying, "Renewable energy has benefits beyond dollars and cents. We are participating in God's creative activity. Using energy well is part of that."
I hope this creative and innovative idea catches on in other schools around the country. It's greatly needed. It's a practical way to use a renewable energy source while following the Church's mandate to be good stewards of the earth and its resources.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Perils of Sexting

I recently gave a Confirmation retreat (with the help of a DRE) and one of the things I asked permission to speak about was sexting. Now this is a different world we live in, because years ago there wasn't even such a word, no less an action such as sexting. But given that there was a front page article in the New York Times a couple of months ago about the perils and problems associated with sexting, I thought it was important to bring up the subject. Young people don't realize that sexting can be a crime, depending on the age of those involved, it can fall under child pornography laws. I framed the talk emphasizing how important it is to stay on the right path in life, to avoid temptation and sin. I mentioned how the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the graces received in the sacraments and the anointing at Confirmation (and of course prayer), helps to strengthen us to make the right decisions in life.
I spoke about the NY Times article. I even brought it with me to show them that when the Times devotes a front page and two other full pages to a news subject, it's usuallly important, very important. Perhaps you saw the article, it's certainly worth reading. They were very interested in the story. They wanted to know the age of the young girl who made a big mistake and used poor judgment by sending a revealing photograph of herself to her boyfriend. Well, it didn't end there because he sent it to someone else (after they broke up), and that girl sent it to many of her friends. Before long, the photograph was everywhere in her town and elsewhere. It's a sad story of a reputation being ruined in minutes......They weren't surprised by the story. They've heard similiar stories. They shared with me that they knew children (preteens and teens) who are sexting, who have been in trouble for it. It's going on in schools and in homes and it's a big problem, though many young people think it's no big deal. But it is a very big deal and the students were very receptive to my message. I told them something they already knew, the mere pressing of a send button on a phone or a computer can destroy someone's reputation (even their own) in minutes. There are serious consequences to sexting, it's no joke.
Those Confirmandi understood what I was saying to them and they appreciated my blunt talk. It was straight-forward and clear--listen to Jesus' words, stay on the right path in life, avoid evil and sin and self-defeating, destructive behavior. God wants us to have fullness of life and that's why the Bible is filled with wise sayings, wisdom, and commandments to follow. Ultimately, it's all for our own good. Lying never works, lying is sinful and they know that.
Straight talk for kids living and growing up in New York City. They knew what I was saying was the truth. They got it and I was grateful for that. I prayed for them on the day of their Confirmation that the Holy Spirit would descend upon them in a powerful, transformative way and give them courage and strength for the journey of life and the challenges they'll face as a Christian.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Yorkers-Busy, Culturally Stimulated and Reaching Out to God

Some good news coming out of New York. For those of us who live here we know that New York is a culturally rich and religiously rich and stimulating place to live. If you are bored in New York, it's no one's fault but your own. There's a lot to do, throughout New York State and of course in the city as well. I recently went on a day trip to The Cloisters, located in Fort Tyron Park in NYC. It is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. God bless John D. Rockefeller Jr. for his generosity and vision in promoting and establishing this museum through his charitable work. He donated his collection of medieval art to the museum that he endowed as well. I had been there many years ago, but during this visit I was awestruck by the beauty of the medieval cloisters, that have been reconstructed in the museum, as well as the art from medieval Europe. After visiting The Cloisters, which provided enough cultural stimulation for a week for me, there was more. The day trip included a guided tour of Central Park, another gem in the city.
So I wasn't surprised when I read an article recently that New York suicide rates are the lowest in the country. There are states that rank higher in levels of well being or happiness but when it comes to suicide, apparently we're the lowest. There's a lot of diversity, stimulation and things to do here, which I'm not sure has anything to do with the statistics, but I know if someone is depressed, there's certainly a lot to take their mind off their problems here.
Also, there are a lot of houses of worship here, with Masses, prayer services and religious services throughout the day. All the major world religions are well represented in New York and it's a well known fact that belief, prayer and belonging to a faith community helps people feel better and lessens anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. (According to studies I've read, people who believe in God and pray also live longer.) Believing in God and praying helps people to feel better and also gives people a sense of purpose and hope, even in the midst of problems and despair. So perhaps that has something to do with it as well. Also, of course, prayer connects us to God and opens us to grace and blessings. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, we're created for fullness of life and joy, it's so sad when people fall into despair and don't realize that.

Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rapture Busted!

I know exactly why the Rapture and devastating earthquakes predicted by Harold Camping and believed by so many of his followers did not happen. Those billboards and that expensive end of the world campaign and all those diligent volunteers (some of whom quit their jobs), caused so many thousands of people to pray (extra hard) that May 21st would be a non-event, which thank God it was. There was no unusual earthquake activity on the planet for that day. Many thousands I suspect (including myself) prayed that worldwide destruction wouldn't happen. The prayers were some added insurance. Of course I knew and wrote that it wasn't going to happen as Harold Camping had predicted. The calculations didn't make any sense to me, if they did I might have been alittle nervous. So I prayed as I often do for God's mercy, love and faithfulness for all people of good will and deep faith. Where would we be without God's mercy, forgiveness, love and creative, divine input? Where would we be without the Holy Spirit? Nowhere. Sensible believers of all faiths, who prayed for calm and peace that day and fervently lifted their prayers to God, outweighed the negativity, negative talk and false thinking and predictions.
In reality, I knew there wouldn't be a Rapture, because, first of all Catholics don't believe in the Rapture and second of all, God is a merciful God, a God who is always trying to help us at all times. God wants our salvation, peace, and wholeness. God desires justice and peace for the world and has given us the means to achieve it. I hope and pray the doomsday predictions never come true and that Judgment Day is a figurative scenario (not meant to be taken literally), in the Book of Revelation. Many well respected theologians believe what is written in the Book of Revelation about the end times is figurative.
Let's keep praying for that. God is love. It says that over and over again in the Bible and in different ways it demonstrates that truth.
I believe if there is ever an end time scenario, (God forbid!), we will most likely cause it ourselves through ignorance and greed. It will not come as a Judgment Day from God.
God is love. It's simple to understand, it needs no interpretation or calculation. God loves each of us more than we can imagine and certainly more than we can fit into our brains.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Parade of Fools-Believing in the May 21st Date

I was in Westbury, Long Island on Sunday afternoon and a parade of vans, cars and buses passed me on Old Country Road covered with signs and posters warning of the end of the world on May 21st, which happens to be this Saturday. I have to say they were getting attention. I've already written a blog entry titled, May 21st-The End of the World? Not! which explains why I think this whole thing is ridiculous, as do most others. These false warnings and the amount of media coverage they've received is absurd. I don't blame the media for covering the story. Yet, I'm concerned that this misleading, frightening information about the world coming to an end beginning with a catastrophic earthquake, is being placed on billboards, where it upsets and confuses people and disturbs children. All the money that is being wasted on this end time campaign could have been used for better purposes. Perhaps Harold Camping will one day acknowledge that before God. I imagine he'll be on his knees when he does so.
At a Communion Party I attended on Saturday, someone asked me what I thought about this latest apocalyptic scare. "I'm not worried," was my response. Firstly I said, "When the Pope tells me that things don't look good and we're in for some rough times and perhaps living through the end times, then I'll start to worry. Until then, I'm not concerned." Someone at the table, (who happens to be Jewish and related to me through marriage) replied, "I agree with that!" Of course it says in the Bible, that no one knows the day or hour of the end of this world as we know it or Jesus' return in glory. As one professor pointed out, "If Jesus didn't know the date of his return, when he was questioned about it, why would Harold Camping have that information? Does Harold Camping know more than Jesus?" Of course not! What I find fascinating is how many people believe in this absurd warning and feel they have to join this "movement", and invest large sums of money in it. Camping has done this before and incorrectly chosen an apocalyptic date on which nothing happened.
There is a website I found titled, "Refute Camping," which you can check out. I don't understand why he was able to put up billboards of this type. I think it's wrong that he was "allowed" to pay to put up this type of inflammatory, frightening, misleading information which makes people nervous. That doesn't make sense to me. Why should he be allowed to mislead the public, because of his erroneous thinking and calculations?
The Church should realize that next year in the year 2012 these end time scenarios and warnings will be everywhere. The Church should address this and help people deal with all these end time scares, as children are talking about this stuff and it's unnerving some of them. Some people are taking the 2012 date more seriously. People are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the building of underground shelters and making millions selling "equipment" and life saving gear for the end time.