Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pope Francis in the Holy Land-Bringing Hope Through Words, Gestures, Prayers and an Invitation

When I watched the video of Pope Francis in the Holy Land leaving his vehicle to pray at the concrete wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, I was deeply moved.  That gesture took courage, boldness and deep faith. It's a powerful image seeing the Pope praying against that graffiti-filled wall that divides and inflames feelings. It's an historic image.
As if that wasn't enough of an amazing gesture, the Pope invited to a prayer summit, at the Vatican, both the Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Both accepted the invitation which will take place in June.  Who knows what miracle can come of this? Perhaps what man has been unable to do, in bringing peace to this troubled land, God can accomplish, through joint prayer.  It's a start, a beginning that is desperately needed.  With prayer and openness to the will of God,  perhaps a process to bring a peaceful, negotiated, just settlement  to that region of the world will begin again.
I hope and I imagine it will happen that the Pope will ask people all over the world to pray at the time of the prayer summit. Prayers from the people of the world's three major world religions, all praying at once for peace, that would be a miracle in itself.
This is a Pope full of surprises who is not afraid to be himself, to stand up for what he believes is right and he just keeps winning more and more respect.
What a gift during the Easter Season!

...The Upper Room reminds us of friendship. 'No longer do I call you servants, (Jesus said to the Twelve), but I have called you friends' (John 15:15). The Lord makes us His friends, he reveals God's will to us and he gives us his very self........(Pope Francis-Upper Room-Jerusalem-5/26) 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Twenty-Three Priests of Rockville Centre Diocese Send Bold Letter To the Pope

In an interesting and somewhat puzzling article I read in NY Newsday titled, "Choosing Long Island's Next Bishop," by Bob Keeler apparently 23 priests of the Diocese of Rockville Centre have signed and sent a letter to Pope Francis (with a copy to Bishop Murphy) asking how the priests can have "concrete guidance about how we and others here can meaningfully participate" in helping to choose Bishop Murphy's successor when he retires. Next year Bishop Murphy will reach the retirement age of 75, at which time he will submit his retirement letter to the Pope.
Firstly I don't understand why the priests didn't wait until next year. Seems like they are rushing things a bit, and perhaps I don't get it but I do think it's a little disrespectful to Bishop Murphy, but that's just my opinion.
I think the idea that priests, nuns and laypeople of a Diocese can offer suggestions as to the state of the Diocese and potential bishops who would be a good fit, is worthy of consideration, but timing is everything. It seems like the timing is off on this letter.
In the letter it stated, "We're looking to understand how the process works and how, not just us priests, how other groups in the diocese, like sisters and lay people, can insert themselves in the process."
Since Pope Francis might not accept the Bishop's retirement immediately, which has happened in other Dioceses' in the past, the letter seems premature. But to each his own.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Senator Rubio--How Can You Deny Human Activity Is Tied To Global Warming?

I don't mean this post to be political. This is not a political statement.  I am an environmentalist who cares about God's beautiful creation and hopes humankind has enough sense to protect it, before things spiral out of control As reported in the news, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida on Sunday in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC said that he doesn't believe that human activity is causing the dramatic changes to the climate as climate scientists are suggesting. I find that baffling. There is so much scientific evidence that global warming is caused by human activity and that the situation is worsening.
What I think Senator Rubio should do (and I don't mean any disrespect) is to turn on his TV, like I just did. I saw horrific and frightening images of wildfires across Southern California which is also in a severe drought. They have had unusual record breaking heat for the last week and combined with severe drought and wind, wildfires are spreading, destroying homes and businesses.
Scientists keep saying that global warming will create droughts in some places and heavy downpours and rainstorms in others. That's happening already, not in some distant future, but now.
People who are standing in front of their burned out homes, who are confronting severe drought and record high temperatures are standing in the future and the future has come upon them, in an apocalyptic-type scenario.
All politicians and all business leaders must confront that global warming is real and everyone must do their part, because no one is going to flee the disastrous effects of global warming, once the scale is tipped.
Senator Rubio said that "I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy."
Well I think the drought in California, where so much produce is grown could threaten our economy as food prices rise.
I think what could destroy our economy is wildfires, drought, floods, water restrictions, high food prices and rising sea levels which will effect coastal areas.
But I'm not an economist, just someone who reads a lot and pays attention to the signs of the times. I also respect intelligence and if the majority of climate scientists say that action is needed and soon, I believe them. I turn on my TV and I see homes up in flames and I see what the scientists have been predicting becoming a reality in real time. How can you deny what is already in front of our eyes?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. Preacher-Like Style

I went to Cure of Ars Church in Merrick, LI for the past two evenings to hear Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P., speak during a Parish Mission.  I've also seen his program on Telecare-"Live With Passion." Fr. Cedric is an excellent speaker, he connects with the congregation or audience and has a preacher like style. He travels throughout the U.S. and Canada giving Parish Missions and if he comes to a parish near you, I suggest you go.
He has written 17 books and on Monday evening he sold over $2,000 worth of books. He said that he uses the money from the sale of his books to help his TV ministry. There was also a collection which was for his Passionist community and their works in Houston, Texas. Fr. Cedric has a likable personality and he tells some funny jokes.  He has a good message and some catchy phrases that are easy to remember such as -"Trust is a must," Doubt your doubts," and "We inherit the promise through faith and patience." He also spoke about the Divine Mercy and had us repeat a few times, "Jesus I trust in you." Such powerful words.
He also talks about believing in yourself, never giving up and about not giving up on your dreams.  He's like a Catholic priest version of Joel Osteen.
The adoration chapel in Cure of Ars is just beautiful and I spent sometime in the chapel admiring it's beauty and the peace within.
Fr. Cedric was signing books on Monday night and talking to participants and I went up to him and spoke for a few minutes. I suggested to him (as if he's not doing enough already!) that he should consider helping priests become better speakers and perhaps he should work with Fr. Robert Barron on an endeavor to help priests prepare more engaging homilies.
He said he had been thinking about it and I hope he does some work in the future with priests, I think it would be helpful to them. (It wasn't until the next day that I realized that St. John Vianney is the patron saint of priests, so perhaps he put me up to the suggestion!)
He will be returning to Long Island in a few months and I hope to go again to his parish mission. He's worth listening to.

"You have to endure. Don't give up on your dreams"  Fr. Cedric

UPDATE: Fr. Cedric sent a thank you note to the parish of Cure of Ars, which was published in their bulletin. I've taken the liberty to print some of it here. It said the following:
I want to thank all of you who attended the mission I preached.....On behalf of my Passionist community thank you for the $6,500 that was so generously donated to us.  Also you bought $10,000 worth of my resources....Thank you from the bottom of my heart." Fr. Cedric
(That is truly amazing and goes to show that when people's hearts are touched and they are given Christian truth with love and enthusiasm, they respond generously and appreciatively! )