Friday, November 27, 2015

Pope Francis goes to and walks among Kenya's poorest

What you have is worth more than money – the Pope to Kenya's poor

Pope Francis meets with members and beneficiaries of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Nairobi Kenya on Nov. 26, 2015. Photo courtesy: Community of Sant'Egidio.
Pope Francis meets with members and beneficiaries of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Nairobi Kenya on Nov. 26, 2015. Photo courtesy: Community of Sant'Egidio.
.- During his tri-nation visit to Africa this week, Pope Francis made a stop at a slum in Nairobi and praised those he met for their love of and emphasis on community and relationships – over what he called a vacuous, “unbridled consumption” that often plagues the West.
“I want in first place to uphold these values which you practice, values which are not quoted in the stock exchange, are not subject to speculation, and have no market price,” the Pope said during the Nov. 27 meeting at a Jesuit church in the Kangemi neighborhood.
“I congratulate you, I accompany you and I want you to know that the Lord never forgets you. The path of Jesus began on the peripheries, it goes from the poor and with the poor, towards others.”
Your values, he added, are "grounded in the fact each human being is more important than the god of money. Thank you for reminding us that another type of culture is possible.”
The Pope was in Kenya Nov. 25-27 as part of a larger African tour that will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic later this week.
In addition to addressing the United Nations office in Nairobi during his stay in the country, the Pope also visited local priests, seminarians and religious. Tossing his prepared remarks to the latter aside, he issued a frank warning to them that if anything disgusts God, it’s the attitude of indifference.
He also gave some practical advice, such as keeping the Lord at the center of their lives through prayer and the sacraments, and stressed that the Church is not a business, but rather a mystery intended to serve others.
On the afternoon of Nov. 26, Pope Francis attended a gathering at the football field of the local St. Mary's School, where representatives of Community of Sant'Egidio came with those who've benefitted from the organization in different cities throughout Kenya.
The community has helped fight AIDS in the country, treating more than 11,000 people. According to Sant'Egidio, Pope Francis wanted to personally greet all of the children present who'd been born healthy, thanks to the program.
In his talk with the neighborhood on Friday, the Pope clarified that his praise for their valuing the most important things in life in “no way entails a disregard for the dreadful injustice of urban exclusion.”

“These are wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and run-down peripheries,” he said.
“One very serious problem in this regard is the lack of access to infrastructures and basic services,” the Pope added.
“By this I mean toilets, sewers, drains, refuse collection, electricity, roads, as well as schools, hospitals, recreational and sport centers, studios and workshops for artists and craftsmen. I refer in particular to access to drinking water.”
“To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need,” he said.
Pope Francis also lamented the “situation of indifference and hostility” experienced by poor neighborhoods, which he said is “aggravated when violence spreads and criminal organizations, serving economic or political interests, use children and young people as 'canon fodder' for their ruthless business affairs.”
“These realities which I have just mentioned are not a random combination of unrelated problems,” he noted. “They are a consequence of new forms of colonialism.”
In response to this, “we need to go beyond the mere proclamation of rights which are not respected in practice, to implementing concrete and systematic initiatives capable of improving the overall living situation, and planning new urban developments of good quality for housing future generations.”
“The social and environmental debt owed to the poor of cities can be paid by respecting their sacred right to the 'three Ls': Land, Lodging, Labour,” he emphasized. “This is not a question of philanthropy; rather it is a duty incumbent upon all of us.”
Francis then called for practical provision for every family, including: “dignified housing, access to drinking water, a toilet, reliable sources of energy for lighting, cooking and improving their homes.”
He also insisted “that every neighborhood has streets, squares, schools, hospitals, areas for sport, recreation and art; that basic services are provided to each of you.”
Pope Francis then concluded his remarks by calling on “all Christians, and their pastors in particular, to renew their missionary zeal, to take initiative in the face of so many situations of injustice, to be involved in their neighbours’ problems, to accompany them in their struggles, to protect the fruits of their communitarian labour and to celebrate together each victory, large or small.”

Pope Francis challenges Kenya's youth to live life fully

Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?

Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya's Young People If They'll Allow Difficulties Destroy or Use Them As Opportunities

Nairobi, ( Deborah Castellano Lubov              

Pope Francis has asked Kenya's young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of bad tribalism, corruption, and desperation.
Speaking to tens of thousands of young people gathered in Nairobi's Fanaticism Stadium, this morning, the Pope listened to the questions of a young man and woman and said that he asks himself something on the basis of all the questions they asked:"Why do divisions, wars and deaths occur? Fanatism, and divisions among young people? Why is there that desire to destroy?"
He recalled that in the first page of the Bible, after all those wonderful things that the Lord had done, a brother kills another brother, and observed that the spirit of evil takes us to destruction, lack of unity, tribalism, corruption and drugs. "It takes us to a destruction out of fanatism," he said.
The Pope underscored that a man or a woman loses the worst of their humanity when they forget how to pray," because they feel powerful, because they don’t feel the need to ask the Lord for help in the face of so many tragedies."
The Choice
Francis stressed that there are different ways of looking at life's many difficulties, noting you can see them as something that destroys or stops you, or as a real opportunity to overcome the difficulty.
"To all of you," he said, "the choice is open," calling on them to reflect, "'For me, is this a path of destruction or is it an opportunity to overcome this difficulty, for me, for a member of my family and for this country?'"
"Young people, we don’t live in heaven, we live on earth and earth is full of difficulties and not only of opportunities but sometimes invitations that will lead you astray towards evil. But there is something that all of you have which is big, the capacity to choose. Which path do you want to choose? Which of these two do I want? To choose the path of difficulty and division or the path of opportunity, opportunity to overcome myself and overcome difficulties."
"Do you want to overcome challenges or be overcome by them?" he said, stressing, "You have to choose."

We Are a Nation

The Pope acknowledged the difficulties of bad tribalism, and noted that it destroys, when it involves violence and power, rather than an ear, heart, and hand. “If you don’t dialogue with each other, if you don’t listen to each other, then you’re going to have the division like dust, like a worm that grows in society."

The Pontiff mentioned that yesterday was pronounced as a day of prayer and reconciliation. Francis then invited all gathered to hold each other’s hands, including those who had just spoken, to stand up as a sign against bad tribalism. In English, he said, ‘We’re all a nation.”
“We are all a nation! That’s how are hearts must be. Tribalism isn’t just raising our hearts today, it’s an expression of our desire, of our hearts and this tribalism is a work that we must carry out every day against this tendency, to overcome this tendency of tribalism, it is a daily endeavor . It’s a work of the ear, you have to listen to others, it’s a work of opening your heart to others and it’s a work of your hands, you offer your hands to others,” he continued.

Sweet as Sugar

The Holy Father warned that corruption can seem “sweet as sugar,” adding that even in the Vatican there has been corruption.
'Corruption is not a path to life, but to death!" he said, noting it robs faithful of joy and peace.
Acknowledging the difficulties youth face, the Jesuit Pope encouraged, 'When desperation hits you, look at the Cross.' He reminded them that this is hope because the story does not end there, but the Resurrection follows. The Pope also reminded the young people to pray and to pray very hard, for it will help them.
Recognizing many are abandoned, including those who do not experience love of their parents, he noted there is just one solution: Do or give what you haven't received. He explained that if you did not feel loved or understood, then love and be understanding, and if you felt alone, approach and be close to those who are lonely.
Responding to a question about ways of communication, especially through technology, the Pope stressed that gestures of closeness and friendship are what is needed, and that this intimacy and sharing will become contagious and bare many fruits.


As the Pope neared the end of his talk, he commented that it was almost noon and asked, 'Are you hungry?' to gauge if he could share one thing more, which the crowds enthusiastically welcomed. The Pontiff went on to tell them the two things he always carries with him: a rosary and Via Crucis.
Before concluding, the Pope asks all present to stand in praying an Our Father, after he had shared with them God's 'only' defect: He can't stop being Father.

Pope Francis addresses UN in Africa; focused on the environment

Pope at UN in Africa: We Have a Choice: Either Improve or Destroy the Environment

Says It Will Be ‘Catastrophic’ If Individual Interests Prevail Over the Common Good in Paris Meeting, and Information Is Manipulated to Protect ‘Plans and Projects’

Kenya, ( Kathleen Naab |  

Pope Francis concluded his first full day in Kenya with an address at the UN headquarters in Africa, in which he emphasized the importance of caring for God’s gift of creation, saying that it would be “catastrophic” if individual interests were to prevail over the common good, leading to a manipulation of information so as to protect “their own plans and projects.”
The Pope was welcomed to the UNON with exuberance, as the audience was invited three times to shout and applaud at his arrival.
After brief welcome addresses from three UN officials, the Holy Father delivered in Spanish his discourse, which focused mainly on the themes of Laudato Si’, with mentions of specific issues such as diamond mining and elephant poaching.
The Pontiff explained that before entering the hall, he was asked to symbolically plant a tree: “first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification” as well as a reminder of the “importance of safeguarding and responsibly administering those ‘richly biodiverse lungs of our planet.’”
The Pope referred to the upcoming Paris Climate Conference, set to begin Nov. 30 and conclude Dec. 11
Also known as COP21, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference will, for the first time in more than 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

A choice

The Pope has mentioned this meeting on several occasions and he released his encyclical, Laudato Si’, before the event, with the hopes that it would contribute to the discussions.
Today, he said about the conference that, “It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects.”
“In this international context, we are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or to destroy the environment,” he declared.
“COP21 represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy system which depends on a minimal use of fossil fuels, aims at energy efficiency and makes use of energy sources with little or no carbon content,” Francis added. “We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development.”

3 goals

The Pope said that he hopes the agreement from Paris will be based on “principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation” and that it will target three goals: “lessening the impact of climate change, fighting poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity.”
The Pope said “sincere and open dialogue” is needed to bring this about, “with responsible cooperation on the part of all: political authorities, the scientific community, the business world and civil society.”
Human beings are “capable of the worst,” he acknowledged, but they are also “capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good and making a new start.”
Thus, the 21st century can be remembered for having “generously shouldered its grave responsibilities” in contrast to the post-industrial period, which “may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history.”

Not a utopia

Pope Francis said that for this to come about, economy and politics “need to be placed at the service of peoples.”
This will result in human beings in harmony with nature, structuring “the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life.”
This isn’t an “idealistic utopia,” the Pope claimed. It’s a “realistic prospect which makes the human person and human dignity the point of departure and the goal of everything.”
To make it happen, he said, there needs to be a commitment to education: “an educational process which fosters in boys and girls, women and men, young people and adults, the adoption of a culture of care – care for oneself, care for others, care for the environment – in place of a culture of waste, a ‘throw-away culture’ where people use and discard themselves, others and the environment.”
“We still have time,” he promised.

Globalization of indifference

Pope Francis noted that this “culture of deterioration and waste” has sacrificed the lives of multitudes before the idols of “profits and consumption.”
And, he warned, “We need to be alert to one sad sign of the ‘globalization of indifference: the fact that we are gradually growing accustomed to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal, or even worse, becoming resigned to such extreme and scandalous kinds of ‘using and discarding’ and social exclusion as new forms of slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and trafficking in organs.”
He mentioned specifically those migrants who “flee from the growing poverty aggravated by environmental degradation,” but who are not recognized as refugees.
“Many lives, many stories, many dreams have been shipwrecked in our day,” he said. “We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this. We have no right.”

Beyond commercial interests

The Pope also spoke of the problem of unruly urbanization, and encouraged those working on ensuring that urbanization is a means to development to be mindful of those in outlying neighborhoods.
He further mentioned the issue of commercial relationships between states, referring to Paul VI’s reflection that these relationships could “prove a fundamental element for the development of peoples or, on the other hand, a cause of extreme poverty and exclusion.”
“While recognizing that much has been done in this area, it seems that we have yet to attain an international system of commerce which is equitable and completely at the service of the battle against poverty and exclusion,” he said.
In this context, he spoke of the problem of development and health care, specifically agreements on intellectual property and access to medicines and essential health care.
“Regional free trade treaties dealing with the protection of intellectual property, particularly in the areas of pharmaceutics and biotechnology, should not only maintain intact the powers already granted to States by multilateral agreements, but should also be a means for ensuring a minimum of health care and access to basic treatment for all,” he said.
Certain health issues, the Pope added, such as malaria and tuberculosis, among others, “require urgent political attention, above and beyond all other commercial or political interests.”

A cry from the earth

Turning specifically to the situation of the environment in Africa, Pope Francis lamented that the natural richness of the continent “is constantly exposed to the risk of destruction caused by human selfishness of every type and by the abuse of situations of poverty and exclusion.”
He decried illegal trafficking, which arises “in situations of poverty and in turn lead to greater poverty and exclusion.”
“Illegal trade in diamonds and precious stones, rare metals or those of great strategic value, wood, biological material and animal products, such as ivory trafficking and the relative killing of elephants, fuels political instability, organized crime and terrorism,” he said. “This situation too is a cry rising up from humanity and the earth itself, one which needs to be heard by the international community.”
The Pope concluded by promising the support of the Church and his own efforts in working for the common good.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Friday is the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal


Today, November 27, is the Feast of the Miraculous Medal. Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions.


In 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the design of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in an apparition.

In Paris, on June 6, 1830, the Lord appeared to the young (age 24) Daughter of Charity novice Catherine at Mass, and again on the nights of July 18-19 when she was summoned to the chapel by a beautiful "child clothed in white" to converse with the Virgin Mary. Catherine was told prophecies and charged with "a mission" that manifested itself on November 27 in an early morning (5:30am) appearance of the Blessed Virgin who was "clothed in white" standing on a globe and "a serpent." Rays of light issued forth from rings on her fingers and Catherine was told to commission a medal of what she was seeing. Then, turning the letter "M surmounted by a bar and a cross" underneath which were the hearts of Jesus and Mary all surrounded by the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Catherine heard the voice tell her, "Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear this medal will receive great favors. They should wear it around the neck . Favors will abound if worn with devotion." Catherine's mission was to ensure that the medal was made and to spread Mary's message of love and compassion.

Many healings, conversions and other miracles have been documented by those who have faithfully worn the 'Medal of the Immaculate Conception' as the Miraculous Medal was originally called.

There are numerous Miraculous Medal Associations throughout the world. They are united under the care of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians or Lazarists), the religious order founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Membership contributions go to spread devotion to the Virgin Mary and to support the work of the Vincentians. Each Association maintains a shrine and usually has some type of publication for members.


Wearing the Medal

The Miraculous Medal is an approved sacramental and allows the the wearer to take advantage of Mary's promise:

"Those who wear it will receive great graces; abundant graces will be given to those who have confidence."

Enrollment in an Association Anyone, living or deceased, Catholic or not, may be enrolled as a member and obtain these graces and the spiritual benefit of Masses offered for members (for example, the Central Association in the U.S. offers 2,500 Masses a year).


Invested membership involves these obligations:

1. Formally enroll in an approved Association and renew the membership yearly

2. Wear the Medal (around the neck is highly recommended)

3. Have the intention to sanctify oneself and others by means of the Medal

4. Investiture which may be done publicly or privately


1. Receive the graces promised by the Blessed Virgin Mary
2. Receive the spiritual benefits of numerous Masses offered for members by the Vincentians
3. Promoters who sign up others receive spiritual benefit from additional Masses
4. Invested members receive an indulgences on the following days:~ Day of joining the Association~ August 22 (Feast of the Queenship of Mary) ~ September 27 (Feast of St. Vincent de Paul)~ November 27 (Feast of the Miraculous Medal)~ November 28 (Feast of St. Catherine Laboure)~ Anniversary date of the founding of the Association in which one is enrolled*

The indulgence is plenary under the normal conditions: confession, communion, prayer for the Pope's intentions and freedom from attachment to all sin.

To learn more about this beautiful feast day and the apparitions, go here.

Thanksgiving almost over; and it still is not Christmas; nope, it's Advent!

In our rush to commercialize and sensationalize Christmas retail America want's you to believe that the Christmas season already begun.  And if for some strange reason it has not begun, tomorrow, called disgustedly black Friday, is the start of Christmas.  I guess I'm technically wrong because they never even want to acknowledge Christmas anyway; it's got to be that generic Happy Holidays.  Of course all of this is wrong.  As Thanksgiving wanes it's time to begin Advent; the real true spiritual preparation for Christmas.  Advent actually begins this Saturday night at evening prayer and the anticipated Masses of Saturday afternoons/evenings.  Let's get familiar again with Advent:

Question: When Does Advent 2015 Begin?
The season of Advent, the time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas and the start of the liturgical year in the Roman Catholic Church, begins on a different date each year. When does Advent 2015 begin?
Advent 2015 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 29, 2015.
You can find a full schedule of all the Sundays and all major feasts during Advent 2015 in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar for Advent 2015.

Advent wreath with candles - Johannes Kroemer/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Johannes Kroemer/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Advent: A Time of Preparation

In the Catholic Church, Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas. (For more details, see "When Does Advent Start?") The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His Second Coming at the end of time.

First We Fast, Then We Feast

That's why Advent has traditionally been known as a "little Lent." As in Lent, Advent should be marked by increased prayer, fasting, and good works. While the Western Church no longer has a set requirement for fasting during Advent, the Eastern Church, both Catholic and Orthodox, continues to observe what is known as Philip's Fast, from November 15 until Christmas.
Traditionally, all great feasts have been preceded by a time of fasting, which makes the feast itself more joyful. Sadly, Advent today has supplanted by "the Christmas shopping season," so that by Christmas Day, many people no longer enjoy the feast.

The Symbols of Advent

In its symbolism, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent.
As during Lent, priests wear purple vestments, and the Gloria ("Glory to God") is omitted during Mass. The only exception is on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, when priests can wear rose-colored vestments. As on Laetare Sunday during Lent, this exception is designed to encourage us to continue our prayer and fasting, because we can see that Advent is more than halfway over.

The Advent Wreath

Perhaps the best-known of all Advent symbols is the Advent wreath, a custom which originated among German Lutherans but was soon adopted by Catholics.
Consisting of four candles (three purple and one pink) arranged in a circle with evergreen boughs (and often a fifth, white candle in the center), the Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent the penitential nature of the season, while the pink candle calls to mind the respite of Gaudete Sunday. (The white candle, when used, represents Christmas.)

Celebrating Advent

We can better enjoy Christmas—all 12 days of it, from Christmas Day to Epiphany—if we revive Advent as a period of preparation. Abstaining from meat on Fridays, or not eating at all between meals, is a good way to revive the Advent fast. (Not eating Christmas cookies or listening to Christmas music before Christmas is another.) We can incorporate such customs as the Advent wreath, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, and the Jesse Tree into our daily ritual, and we can set some time aside for special scripture readings for Advent, which remind us of the threefold coming of Christ.
Holding off on putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations is another way to remind ourselves that the feast is not here yet. Traditionally, such decorations were put up on Christmas Eve, but they would not be taken down until after Epiphany, in order to celebrate the Christmas season to its fullest.

Pope addresses the environment today from Kenya

Choice is clear, pope says: Protect environment or destroy it

Pope Francis speaks during a visit to the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 26. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis speaks during a visit to the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 26. (CNS/Paul Haring)
By Cindy Wooden   Catholic News Service
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — The international community is facing a stark and serious choice, “either to improve or to destroy the environment,” Pope Francis said, referring to the Paris Climate Conference.
“It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good,” the pope said Nov. 26 during a visit to the headquarters in Nairobi of the U.N. Environment Program and U.N. Habitat, an agency concerned with urban planning.
Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Paris conference Nov. 30-Dec. 11 has the aim of achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on measures to stem climate change and protect the environment.
Pope Francis spoke at length about the importance of the conference during his visit to the U.N. offices, and his top aides had a meeting the evening before with Kenya’s environment minister and other officials to discuss their hopes and strategies for the Paris meeting.
On his way into the meeting with U.N. officials and diplomats accredited to the two U.N. agencies, Pope Francis planted a tree.
While his speech contained ample quotes from his June encyclical on the environment, the pope also referred several times to the significance of planting trees and borrowed several lines from a speech he in made in Bolivia in July to a variety of grassroots movements advocating for justice for the poor.
In fact, just as in the encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” the pope insisted in Nairobi that there is a close connection between environmental destruction and unjust economic and political policies that penalize the poor.
“We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development,” he said, especially because of their emphasis on exploiting natural resources, but not sharing the benefits with local communities.
Planting a tree, he said, is an “invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification,” as well as “an incentive to keep trusting, hoping and above all working in practice to reverse all those situations of injustice and deterioration which we currently experience.”
The Paris conference, the pope said, “represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy system which depends on a minimal use of fossil fuels, aims at energy efficiency and makes use of energy sources with little or no carbon content.”
Pope Francis told those gathered at Nairobi’s U.N. offices that he hopes the Paris conference will result in a “global and ‘transformational’ agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation; an agreement which targets three complex and interdependent goals: lessening the impact of climate change, fighting poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity.”
To achieve a comprehensive and fair agreement, he said, real dialogue is necessary among politicians, scientists, business leaders and representatives of civil society, including the poorest sectors of those societies.
Pope Francis insisted that human beings are capable of changing course, choosing what is good and making a fresh start. The key, he said, will be to put the economy and politics at the service of people, who are called to live in harmony with the rest of creation.
“Far from an idealistic utopia, this is a realistic prospect which makes the human person and human dignity the point of departure and the goal of everything,” he said.
A new respect for human dignity and for the environment are part of the same attitude of giving value to all that God made, he said.
Pope Francis called for “the adoption of a culture of care — care for oneself, care for others, care for the environment — in the place of a culture of waste, a throw-away culture where people use and discard themselves, others and the environment.”
The idea of a “throw-away culture” is not simply a strong figure of speech, he said, pointing to “new forms of slavery, human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution and trafficking in organs.”
“Many lives, many stories, many dreams have been shipwrecked in our day,” the pope said. “We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this. We have no right.”

Those Syrian Refugees; how dare they feed the hungry and give hope to the homeless

Guess Who's Helping Seattle Homeless Veterans? Syrian Refugees
Nov 22, 2015
The debate about resettling Syrian refugees has some people asking, “Why don’t we use that money on homeless veterans instead?”
We asked homeless veterans in downtown Seattle what they thought.

In line at The Millionaire Club, veteran Greg Klutcher shared his view: "The whole reason veterans fought for what they did is so that people like that could come here. Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes."
Klutcher has been homeless for six months.
Also in line was Damon Lyons, a veteran who said he’d like to see more funding for homeless vets, but not at the expense of refugees.
“There should be middle ground,” Lyons said. “Those people are now in distress.” He’s been homeless for two years.
Lyons and Klutcher were at an event hosted by the Seattle area’s Muslim community. It’s called “Day of Dignity,” and it’s been hosted by the Muslim community for the last 10 years. They give out sleeping bags, haircuts and other items to hundreds of homeless people.
Among the volunteers were two brothers – Syrian refugees who came to Seattle with their family a few months ago. The brothers volunteer at events like this because they say they want to give back to the community that's welcomed them.
Nabil Al-Salkini, 14, said he also "wants people to know that the image of ISIS does not represent us."
His older brother Yazan Al-Salkini described why their family left Syria more than four years ago. “Life stopped. We lost our home. It got bombed. Burned down. We couldn’t go to school because civil war started. We were about to be persecuted or killed.”
About 40 Syrian refugees have resettled in the Northwest since the war started. President Barack Obama has pledged for the U.S. to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.
But some in Congress have pushed back, citing security concerns.
Al-Salkini says he still believes that Syrians will still be welcome here.
“I really have hope that other people from my community who are seeking help as I do, have opportunity to come here and start a new life, as we are starting to do,” he said.

Thanksgiving by our great leaders included acknowlegement of God and His Providence

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789: “Duty of All Nations to Acknowledge God”


By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
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 to 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 thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
georgewashington2Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next 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 – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war – for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted – for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us – and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.


Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
– Go: Washington

A good day to remember that our Eucharist is Thanksgiving

Why Call It Eucharist (Thanksgiving)?

Jesus said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”… And He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you.”  And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:15, 19-20).
It is one of those realizations that leave you speechless.  There was something significantly more, qualitatively more, going on in Jesus’ prayer than the traditional, “Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth” (Passover Haggadah, translated into English).  Jesus gave thanks to His Father for the True Bread, His Body, that would be broken for us.  He thanked the Father that He was able to offer Himself for our redemption! We see how difficult this was for Him when, just a few hours later, we glimpse Him in the Garden of Gethsemane; and yet, almost paradoxically, it was an offering He “earnestly desired” to make.
Historically at Calvary, and sacramentally at Jesus’ final Passover, we see our Lord living out as a man, Who He is from all eternity — the Son of the Father.  For it is the Son Who receives all He is from the Father and reciprocates by pouring out Himself to the Father, in the Person of the Spirit.  This is the same Trinitarian movement we see in the Cross/Eucharist — but with the Son’s humanity now fully caught up into His outpouring of Love.  The Son, Who has received all He is, “gives thanks,” by pouring Himself out in a return of Love. And because He does this as man, His action overwhelmingly atones for — and superabundantly redeems — all sin, man and woman’s rejection of God.
By calling what we Christians “do” Eucharist (the Greek word for “thanksgiving”), we make a profound statement.  We have been made sons and daughters in the only Son, and we enter into His Gift of Self to the Father.  Like Him, we who have received all we are from the Father, give ourselves back to Him in a movement of thanksgiving/Love — the Holy Spirit pouring forth from Jesus, and carrying us into the arms of the Father.  It only makes sense that the Eucharist, what the Church calls “the source and summit of the Christian life,” should be a manifestation of its central Mystery — God’s own Trinitarian Life.