Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seek Peace President Obama

I'm not a political person but I'll weigh in on this anyway. "On Wednesday, President Obama said U.S intelligence had linked Syrian President Assad's regime to the lethal chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out and if so , then there needs to be international consequences." If it's true (and it certainly seems to be a fact) and the Syrian government used chemical weapons, going against international norms, laws and decency, killing innocent people (children included) then something must be done by the international community to say this must never happen again. But if the United States and some of its allies, respond with limited bombing its not going to be much of a deterrent (according to the experts I've listened to). So what's the point then if it's not going to accomplish anything but "a slap on the hand," to President Assad? Why not form a coalition of all world leaders (why can't we get China and Russia on board?) to say to Assad these crazy and inhuman acts must stop. Why doesn't the U. N. condemn these actions and send a clear message that the entire world will not accept this kind of atrocity? (I'm sure in time they will.)
But bombing, a limited bombing, isn't going to do much but inflame the Middle East and send a "weak" message that this won't be tolerated. But there must be a peaceful way to accomplish that. Without bombs, without destabilizing the area. What about an international coalition that tries to help Syria end this brutal civil war?
"Seek peace and pursue it" is what it says in the Bible. When will all people act according to laws of decency, love, compassion and stop senseless killing. It boggles my mind that at this time in history, in the 21st century this is still going on.  The pain of God, it must pain God to see such atrocities.......and a lack of love and compassion.

"Dialogue and negotiations are the only option for putting an end to the conflict and violence in Syria"
(Pope Francis concurring with Jordan's King Abdullan II and Queen Rania who met on Aug. 29 at the Vatican)

If President Obama has no other choice but to act then I pray that this psalm will be fulfilled-
"Happy the man who considers the poor and the weak, The Lord will save him in the day of evil, will guard him, give him life, make him happy in the land and will not give him up to the will of his foes.....
(Psalm 41)

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Celebrate Our Newly Ordained"-Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, NY

One of the worthwhile things that I do is volunteering at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island.  I belong to a group of dedicated men and women called "The Friends of the Seminary" who volunteer and fund raise to help the Seminary and seminarians.
Today I attended a couple of meetings regarding different events we are planning, along with the Director of Development-Beverly Malone.  One special event will take place on Sunday, Sept. 15th at the Seminary titled, "Celebrate Our Newly Ordained." The event will honor Fr. Michael Edathil (ordained in the Syro-Malankara rite), Fr. Jason Grisafi, Fr. Fortunatus Mugisha, Fr. Vian Ntegerej'lmana,  and Fr. Brandon O'Brien.  The event will begin with vespers at 4:00 PM in the chapel. Bishop William Murphy (Bishop of Rockville Centre) will preside. It will be  followed by a cocktail reception and buffet. The reception will take place in the beautiful Rose Garden.
It will be a wonderful evening. Prayer, adoration, contemplation, celebration and recognizing the enormous gift these men are making to the Church, to the community of believers, to God and to themselves. They've chosen a very meaningful, enriched, fulfilling path to follow in life. Thank God for these men and others like them, who are willing to sacrifice and make the commitment to serve the Lord, to give witness to the goodness and love of God and to give of themselves to God's people. The best of Catholicism- all rolled into one event.
If you live in NYC or Long Island you should try to attend. It will be a great time. I'll be there, enjoying every minute of it. I love vespers, I am fortunate in that I love all forms of prayer. But I also like celebration. For information, you can email Beverly Malone at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Yo-Yo Economic Recovery/How It Affects Churches

Here in New York where I live, store owners are complaining that people are coming into stores to look and browse but they're not buying too much. Macy's described it as a "reluctance to spend." Walmart is even complaining about customers not spending as much. Could it be the high cost of living and the exorbitant amounts people are paying for rent and to own, not to mention real estate taxes which are very high in the suburbs of NYC? I think so. In New York City with all its trendy neighborhoods, prices for condos, apartments and houses have gone through the roof, they've reached the absurd level in my opinion. New York City is a unique place, with great cultural diversity, excitement and creativity but with rising rents and the high cost to own, it will become a place for the rich and the rich only, if prices keep rising.  The middle class is hurting and stores are starting to see that. It's a real problem.
Middle class families are crucial to the well being and financial stability of Churches in the Northeast. And there are so many beautiful churches here. So that concerns me.   There is a great need for affordable housing in New York City and its suburbs and there is a lot of talk about doing something about it, but I'm not sure how much is actually getting done.
I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Brooklyn. The neighborhood was filled with people of different backgrounds and religions and they made their living as police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses, government, city, and state workers, as well as construction workers, electricians and transit workers. My father worked for the transit authority. People worked hard, saved their money, bought houses and raised their families. There were good schools and great parishes. Middle class families with  strong ties to their extended families, their faith and community helped make New York City the unique place it is. The story is changing rapidly. Demographic changes will impact our Churches, there is no doubt about that. Churches should be on the forefront of helping to get affordable housing into New York City neighborhoods.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Preachers Handling Poisonous Snakes The Will of God? Doubt it!

Just when you think you've heard it all, comes a strange religion story on HuffPost about  Protestant Christian pastors from Tennessee who believe that God has instructed them (through Scripture) to 'take up serpents' in the literal sense.  Andrew Hamblin is a Protestant pastor from Tennessee who, along with other pastors take the biblical Scripture seriously and literally ("They will be able to handle snakes with safety and if they drink anything poisonous it won't hurt them"-Mk 16:18) The practice of handling venomous snakes during religious services has been outlawed in Tennessee since 1947 after 5 people died from snake bites, within two years.  Aren't Christians suppose to obey laws? And also I want to know how the National Geographic Channel can film this strange and dangerous behavior even though it is illegal. Apparently these snake handling pastors are getting a reality show. These are strange times we are living through........These pastors say they want to deepen faith by going on TV, with their poisonous snakes, but is that their only motivation for blatantly breaking the law on a reality show.
I'm sure God did not mean these pastors should literally handle dangerous snakes during religious services, putting themselves and others at risk and putting God to the test.  God desires praise and adoration and God wants us to deepen faith through prayer and deep reflection and Communion.  Singing and praising God, is good for the soul, but handling snakes during services, I can say with certainty this is not God's will. Sorry but I couldn't be more sure of this. And the National Geographic Channel should not be allowed to go along with this. It is poor judgment on their part.

UPDATED 2/17/14