Friday, April 30, 2021

Msgr. William Koenig Named Bishop of Wilmington Delaware-Congrats!!

 I needed some good news this morning and I got it when I looked at my phone and saw the special announcement from the Diocese of Rockville Center. I'm so happy for Msgr. William Koenig who was named by Pope Francis, the 10th Bishop of Wilmington Delaware. 

I knew Bishop-elect Koenig's mother from volunteer work I did at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington. She was also a volunteer there before she passed away some years ago. I attended her funeral Mass, with other volunteers from the Seminary and the way Msgr. Koenig spoke about his mother and family at that Mass was very touching. I also often watch the weekday Masses celebrated at St. Agnes Cathedral via the Catholic Faith Network, and while Msgr. Koenig was the Rector, for many years, I would be a part of that virtual community. (I like to stay up late, I have always been a "night owl," so watching the Mass at midnight when it is re-broadcast is common for me.)

He's a very good choice for a Bishop. As was stated by Bishop Barres and Msgr. Vlaun during the announcement video, Msgr. Koenig has special qualities for a priest and now Bishop-elect. He has a kind, gentle, compassionate presense, and a humble spirit. I would add he has a good sense of humor too, usually starting his homilies with a joke!

I've met him a few times in person, and always that gentle priestly spirit comes across. 

So Congratulations Bishop-elect Msgr. Koenig, you deserve the appointment and the Catholics of Wilmington are greatly blessed and in for a pleasant surprise!


Sunday, April 11, 2021

"Planet Earth Is Not That Special"....Really?

 There are some scientists, among them astronomers who've I've heard being interviewed on podcasts who assert that planet Earth, our beautiful, diverse planet, is not that special. They claim (and these are very smart people) that in our enormous Universe, even our own galaxy, there might be thousands of planets like Earth that can support life (some form of it).  I understand that our sun is one of two billions stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, not to mention the billions of others in the Universe. But we do have the perfect conditions here, as is quite obvious. We, of course, have liquid water, perfect amount of the right gas in our atmosphere to support life (primarily nitrogen and oxygen). The atmosphere protects us from harmful radiation and burns up most of the meteoroids. The temperature is hospitable for life. Earth is sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks planet, meaning its position in the Solar System and movement makes it not too hot and not too cold, just right!

And yet, you have these esteemed scientists saying, "It's not that special." Well, that just drives me crazy, when I hear that. I think it is pretty special, I think the beauty, diversity and complexity of life on Earth is amazing, extremely unique. I can look at a wildflower and be amazed at its uniqueness and beauty. 

Is there life on another hospitable planet, somewhere else in the Universe? is possible. Statistically scientists believe it has to be, even if its some form of microscopic life. Some people even believe that extraterrestrial life will be discovered in the coming years, as technology keeps advancing.

But even so, I would still believe that Earth is a magnificent, special creation and one that was perfected to the last atom, by a good, super intelligent and generous God. Intelligent design is everywhere, if you look with the eyes of faith. 


Thursday, April 1, 2021

"Evil Sneakers" Sell Out Immediately

 You can't make this stuff up! How do people even think of these ideas?.....Crazy world we live in. "Satan shoes," or sneakers advertised as modified Nike Air Max 97's with a single drop of human blood placed in them, (in the soles) as well as a pentagram pendant and a Bible reference about the devil's fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18) sold out immediately at $1,118. Some people just had to have them, at any cost.  But it seems the company selling them has run into trouble, not surprisingly. 

Nike has brought a trademark infringement lawsuit against the company MSCHF. It seems Nike doesn't want anything to do with "evil sneakers," with a drop of human blood in them. You really can't blame them. A judge has now ruled that the company must stop selling the sneakers, which of course makes them more valuable. And now more people want them, are thinking about them.  Have to have them I suppose. 

The release of the evil shoes coincides with a new music they are promoting a music video and using the evil one to do it. All during Holy Week, a company using the most sacred week of the year for Christians, to promote a product that glorifies evil. 

 Holy Week is about Jesus' willingness to save humanity from stupidity and failure and sin by His sacrificial death on a Cross. Jesus's sacrificial gift to us brings grace, forgiveness and a bridge to the Father and establishes his Kingdom on Earth and a path to salvation through the Church....But we as Christians, as believers keep having to deal with the 7 deadly sins which keeps evil "in our face,"...It goes on and on.

Thank God for Easter Sunday. Thank God for the resurrection and hope and springtime. Where would we be without hope and Christ's resurrection? Have a Happy Easter!! 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Very Insensitive Decree and Harsh Statements on Gay Relationships Comes From the Vatican

 I was very close to my brother Arthur, my only sibling. He was brilliant, an esteemed psychiatrist, who worked at a Catholic hospital upstate as well as having a private practice. In later years he became a forensic psychiatrist, who would testify on court cases. When he died of melanoma over twenty years ago on the same day that Princess Diana died, I was heartbroken. I lost my brother, my best friend and my "therapist" all at once. Pretty devastating to say the least. 

When my brother came out as gay when he was in college, my family was shocked. We had no idea as he did have a girlfriend some of the time. We just had no clue. And we were a very close Italian family. 

My parents who were both alive at the time, but who preceded him in death, were open-minded people. They just accepted it, even at that time. Arthur was the star of our family, the first doctor in our immediate family and he had won awards and scholarships all his life. He was not only smart, he was witty, and a very good person. 

I was sad that I wouldn't have nieces or nephews, but I like my parents loved my brother unconditionally and so little changed in our relationship after he came out as gay. 

I rarely share this story and definitely never on social media but I was so struck by Pope Francis' decision to approve a harsh statement on gay relationships that I thought it was time. The March 15th decree from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith instructed priests not to bless same sex couples. What I found particularly insensitive was the statement, "God does not and cannot bless sin." There certainly could have been a more compassionate way of dealing with the situation. When issuing a decree, of such sensitivity, words have to be chosen carefully and studied and debated and then issued. Some Vatican journalists say that Pope Francis may not have realized what he was approving. I'm not sure. But I do know, going forward, as I've said, more sensitivity needs to be taken, when issuing decrees, especially when speaking for God. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

We Are Living Through Strange Times-Digital Art File Sells for $69 Million

 If you need anymore proof that the modern world we live in is strange and getting stranger by the day, try to get your mind around this.....Someone paid 69.3 million dollars for a digital file, of artwork by an artist named Mike Winkelmann (Beeple). The work of art does not physically's a computer file. It was paid for with cryptocurrency and the online sale was handled by Christie's. The buyer who goes by the name Metakovan thinks he got a bargain....yes, he thinks it was "a steal." 

The work of art is entitled, "Everydays-The First 5000 Days," and it is a collage of images that have been posted online by the artist since 2007. 

I love art and one of the things that I missed doing during the pandemic is going to museums. Hopefully I can start to do that again soon. Art makes people happy, beautiful artworks make me happy.  I especially love religious art.

But a digital file that sells for $69 million, I can't understand it. I don't quite understand cryptocurrency either. 

What I do know is that that amount of money could really have made a difference in helping people in the developing world. That kind of money could have changed lives and lifted people out of poverty and fed many hungry children, in many places in the world. 

The world is just getting too strange and out of whack....and hard to understand.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Doomsday Preppers and Survivalists Go Mainstream For Good Reason

There have been many articles in the last couple of years about preppers or survivalists (people who stockpile food, water and other necessities in case of a calamity, the apocalypse or something like that happens) are no longer fringe groups. People from all walks of life, are interested in being prepared. Preppers have gone mainstream and there are millions of them. When I watched what happened in Texas last week and read about it, (such a sad situation of people losing electricity for days in extreme cold and then water problems) it becomes very evident that in the event of a natural disaster or weather related catastrophe, the government cannot mobilize fast enough or deal with the situation adequately. You are on your own for awhile, that seems to be what happened there. So it seems the preppers have been right all along, it's best to be prepared, even if it means just having plenty of canned foods, first aid kits, a portable generator and battery operated heaters on hand. 

I'm not running out to buy any freeze dried food (which can last for 20 years or more) but I am starting to think about how important it is to be prepared for any scenario. If the climate scientists are correct, we are going to be having more violent and unpredictable storms in the future, because of climate change. (Pope Francis has tried to warn us.) 

What does this all have to do with God? Well, God gave us a beautiful creation, but we keep abusing it. That has consequences as Pope Francis has stated in Laudato si. Environmental degradation is causing terrible problems and this will only get worse if we don't turn the situation around. Human beings tend to be stubborn and self-centered. Pride is a deadly sin for good reason. I hope young people will take this seriously enough, to make a difference. 

Maybe a good thing to do this Lent would be to think about what more we can personally do to help the environment. Think about and work towards reducing your carbon footprint. Churches should have that on the agenda too. I have to do the same. And start thinking about what constructive ideas you can take from the preppers, without retreating to a bunker.  


Sunday, February 14, 2021

According to Genesis, "Be Fruitful and Multiply"- Three Times for Emphasis

 The Church universal has been reading and listening to the Book of Genesis being read at Mass......I also listened to Fr. Mike Schmitz, reading on his podcast, "The Bible In A Year," from the  Book of Genesis. (Fr. Mike's podcast is amazing and I highly recommend it!) It is the first podcast I have listened to everyday! What a great idea!

But getting back to the first book of the Bible, it has struck me that three times in the Book of Genesis, God commands us through God's inspired Word, "Be fruitful and multiply." Be fruitful and multiply-- three times. 

Where do these three demands from God appear? In the first chapter of the Bible, "God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them saying to them, 'Be fertile and multiply', fill the earth and subdue it.."  (Gen.1:28)

According to the Great Flood story in the Bible, Noah and his family and all the animals were on the open waters in the Ark for 150 days and then on dry land (Mt. Ararat) for another 100 days and then...." God said to Noah, 'Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you-all bodily creatures, be they birds or animals or creeping things of the earth and let them abound on the earth, breeding and multiplying on it." ((Gen.8:17)

In Chapter 35 of the same book, God says to Jacob, "Jacob is your name, but your name shall no longer be Jacob, Israel shall be your name. So he named him Israel. And God said to him: 'I am God almighty- 'Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations shall stem from you...." (Gen. 35:11)

I never realized until recently that this command was given three times in Genesis.  I find that interesting. It makes me think......