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)