Saturday, September 5, 2015

On the road Saturday

It is indeed a long travel day today; about 8+ hours on the road, depending on how kind Atlanta is to me.  Of course that does not appear to be likely as Auburn & Louisville are opening their season in the Georgia Dome.

Traveling from Louisiana to North Carolina is a hugely pleasant drive, and then there is Atlanta.

In any event no posting until way late tonight!

Pope Francis a hit on US TV last night

Pope to US: I want to draw close to your path and history

2015-09-05 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told the people of the United States he wanted to "draw close to their path and history" during his upcoming visit to the United States.
Pope Francis was speaking to three-groups around the country via satellite during a Virtual Audience which aired Friday evening on the television programme 20/20.

The encounter was filmed on Monday, was moderated by ABC News.  For one hour, Pope Francis spoke from the Vatican via satellite to people in an inner-city high school in Chicago, with homeless people in Los Angeles, and a border-community in McAllen, Texas.
He was not making doctrinal statements, but acting as a pastor.
In one example during the meeting, Ricardo Ortiz told the Holy Father he lost a scholarship to university, since he was not a US citizen. Due to an injury his father suffered, he became the breadwinner for his family.
"We are all created for friendship in society. All of us bear responsibility for everyone else," Pope Francis said. "And each one has to make a choice in his or her heart. And we have to help that choice to be made in the heart. Escaping it through addiction, through violence, does not help. Only closeness and giving of myself, all that I have to give, the way you gave everything you could as a boy, when you supported your family. Don't forget that."
Afterwards, Ricardo said Pope Francis is "really doing something to make a difference," .
Pope Francis also spoke to Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
“I want to thank you, and through you to thank all the sisters of religious orders in the U.S. for the work that you have done and that you do in the United States," Pope Francis said. "It's great. I congratulate you. Be courageous. Move forward."
But Pope Francis did not stop there.
 “I'll tell you one other thing," he added. "Is it inappropriate for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.“
Pope Francis told the people of the United States what is important to him is "closeness," saying it is "difficult" for him not to be close people.
"When I approach people, as I'm going to do with you, it's easier for me to understand them and help them along life's path," Pope Francis said. "That's why this trip is so important, for me to draw close to your path and your history.”

Friday, September 4, 2015

From our day and time, a great example of fidelity to God's will and hopefully soon Saint

Bl.Teresa of Calcutta

Image of Bl.Teresa of Calcutta


Feastday: September 5
Patron of World Youth Day
Birth: 1910
Death: 1997
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

The remarkable woman who would be known as Mother Theresa began life named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, she was the youngest child born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, Receiving her First Communion at the age of five, she was confirmed in November 1916. Her father died while she was only eight years old leaving her family in financial straits.
Gonxha's religious formation was assisted by the vibrant Jesuit parish of the Sacred Heart in which she was very involved as a youth.
Subsequently moved to pursue missionary work, Gonxha left her home in September 1928 at the age of 18 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. She received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. In December of 1929, she departed for her first trip to India, arriving in Calcutta. After making her First Profession of Vows in May 1931, Sister Teresa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta and taught at St. Mary's School for girls.
Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows, On May 24, 1937, becoming, as she said, the "spouse of Jesus" for "all eternity." From that time on she was called Mother Teresa.
She continued teaching at St. Mary's and in 1944 became the school's principal. Mother Teresa's twenty years in Loreto were filled with profound happiness. Noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organization, she lived out her consecration to Jesus, in the midst of her companions, with fidelity and joy.
It was on September 10, 1946 during a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat,Mother Teresa received her "inspiration, her call within a call." On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life.
By means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love on souls." "Come be My light,'"He begged her. "I cannot go alone."
Jesus revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor.
Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.
After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor. On December 21, she went for the first time to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of some children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She started each day with communion then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him amongst "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students.
On October 7, 1950 the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. By the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her Sisters to other parts of India. The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresaopened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.
In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers, and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers.
Mother Theresa's inspiration was not limited to those with religious vocations. She formed the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, people of many faiths and nationalities with who she shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and her apostolate of humble works of love.
This spirit later inspired the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests as a "little way of holiness" for those who desire to share in her charisma and spirit.
During the years of rapid growth the world began to turn its eyes towards Mother Teresa and the work she had started. Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, honored her work, while an increasingly interested media began to follow her activities. She received both prizes and attention 'for the glory of God and in the name of the poor."
There was a heroic side of this great woman that was revealed only after her death. Hidden from all eyes, even from those closest to her, was her interior life marked by an experience of a deep, painful and abiding feeling of being separated from God, even rejected by Him, along with an ever increasing longing for His love. She called her inner experience, the darkness. The "painful night" of her soul, which began around the time she started her work for the poor and continued to the end of her life, led Mother Teresato an ever more profound union with God. Through the darkness she mystically participated in the thirst of Jesus, in His painful and burning longing for love, and she shared in the interior desolation of the poor.
In spite of increasingly severe health problems towards the end of her life, Mother Teresa continued to govern her Society and respond to the needs of the poor and the Church. By 1997, Mother Teresa's Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world. In March 1997 she blessed her newly-elected successor as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity and then made one more trip abroad. After meeting Pope John Paul II for the last time, she returned to Calcutta and spent her final weeks receiving visitors and instructing her Sisters.
On September 5, Mother Teresa's earthly life came to an end. She was given the honor of a state funeral by the Government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Her tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike.
Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity. Her response to Jesus' plea, "Come be My light," made her a Missionary of Charity, a "mother to the poor," a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God. As a testament to her most remarkable life, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On December 20, 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles.

I am a Permanent Deacon!!!

Yep, I changed my profile picture today on Facebook to the following:

Henry Patrick Wellmeyer's photo.

Well, it's not quite this one, I can't get the other one to post here, ughh.  I hate my computer incompetency.  Darn it!

But this great picture gives you the idea. 

And this is what I posted on Facebook and this is how I feel:

Ok, look, it's not a pretty picture (although I love it) but it's who I am. Facebook can't change it, the federal government can't change and neither can the gates of hell. It's not about me, Mike the person. It's about the office entrusted to me by Jesus Christ. For reasons known to God alone, I was ordained for this office and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. I received an indelible mark that forever identifies as Deacon. Friends, family; this is not just "what I do" this more about "who I am". Deacon Mike Talbot; all for His greater glory!

Hey, there is the other picture that hit Facebook just now!
Know a Permanent Deacon that works hard all day at work, raises a family, is a great husband, pays the bills, cuts the grass, and still feeds the hungry, gives drink to the thirsty, visits the imprisoned and hospitalized, baptizes babies, assists at Mass, runs to the aid of anyone/everyone in need, teaches Bible study, assists at wakes/funerals/graveside burials, prays with someone in need of prayer, and does not receive a dime for any of this, and would not take a dime anyway, perhaps we all could just say thanks!

Pope calls out the sowing of division as a sickness in the Church

Pope Francis: Sowing divisions is a sickness in the Church

2015-09-04 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says sowing divisions and discord is a sickness within the Church and described a person who indulges in gossip as like a terrorist who throws bombs. His comments came during his homily at his Friday (4th September) Mass in the Santa Marta residence.
Taking his inspiration from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians where the Apostle spoke of how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity, Pope Francis’s homily was a reflection on the need to sow peace rather than discord in our daily lives.
Do I sow peace or do I sow discord?
He said without Jesus no peace or reconciliation is possible and our task is to be men and women of peace and reconciliation in the midst of news about war and hatred, even within families.
“We’d do well to ask ourselves: Do I sow peace?  For example, when I speak, do I sow peace or do I sow discord?  How many times have we heard this said about a person: He or she has a serpent’s tongue! This is because that person is always doing what the serpent did with Adam and Eve, namely destroying peace. And this is an evil, this is a sickness within our Church: sowing divisions, sowing hatred, not sowing peace. So this is a question that we should ask ourselves every day:  ‘Did I sow peace or did I sow discord today?” ‘But sometimes, we have to say things because he or she….’: But with an attitude like this, what are you sowing?”
Who brings peace is a saint, who gossips is like a terrorist
Christians, the Pope continued, are called therefore to be like Jesus who came among us to bring peace and reconciliation.
“If a person during his or her life does nothing else but reconcile and bring peace that person can be canonized: that person is a saint. But we need to grow that way, we need to have a conversion: never a word that divides, never, never a word that brings war, small wars, never gossip.  I’m thinking: what is gossip?  Oh it’s nothing- just saying words against another person or telling tales: ‘This person did…’  No!  Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying: with their tongue they are destroying and not making peace. But this person is cunning, right? He is not a suicide bomber, no, no, he takes good care of himself.”
Biting our tongue
Pope Francis concluded his homily by repeating a suggestion for Christians to bite their tongues rather than indulge in malicious gossip.
“Every day that I get the urge to say something that sows discord and division, to say bad things about another person… Bite your tongue!  I can assure you. If you do this and bite your tongue instead of sowing discord, the first few times the wound will cause your tongue to swell because the devil helps us do this because that’s his work, his job: to divide.”
Therefore, my final prayer: “Lord, you gave your life, give me the grace to bring peace and reconciliation. You shed your blood, but what does it matter to me if my tongue gets swollen if I bite it before speaking badly about other people.”

Hey blog friends, just because I'm on the road, don't quit reading me!

I told my wife that since I was at work all day and on the road all night, traveling to see the grandbabies, my blog readership would be down!  I was right!!

Come on readers, read away!

Remember, I get credit for a visitor/reader if you actually lick on a post to read it as opposed to browsing.

In any event, I am in Tuscaloosa Alabama tonight and still have 8.5 hours before arriving at our destination.

In the meantime, click away.  I've has some interesting blog posts lately; come and see!

The Cure of Ars; great role model for Priests

St. John Vianney

Image of St. John Vianney


Feastday: August 4

St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August 4 Universally known as the "Cure of Ars)," St. John Mary Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. His life was one of extreme mortification.
Accustomed to the most severe austerities, beleaguered by swarms of penitents, and besieged by the devil, this great mystic manifested a imperturbable patience. He was a wonderworker loved by the crowds, but he retained a childlike simplicity, and he remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ.
He heard confessions of people from all over the world for the sixteen hours each day. His life was filled with works of charity and love. It is recorded that even the staunchest of sinners were converted at his mere word. He died August 4, 1859, and was canonized May 31, 1925.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A new Transitional Deacon ordained for the Archdiocese of New Orleans

Lake Charles native Patrick Carr was ordained a transitional deacon Wednesday night at the Notre Dame Seminary Chapel. Upon completion of his seminary studies, Deacon Carr is scheduled to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in May 2016. "God used you, Patrick, to get the attention of others and to call them to intimacy with him," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond during the homily, noting that one of the primary roles of a Catholic deacon is to lead the community in acts of charity by continually modeling "the heart of Christ, the Servant." "You have now received the gifts of the Spirit," the archbishop said. "Patrick, it's time to get to work!" Deacon Carr will spend his diaconate internship at St. Pius X in New Orleans.

This is worth a good read; Catholics chosen for these surveys make me shake my head

Pew Study Suggests a Field Ripe for Catholic Reclamation

The news is not all bad

Jeffrey Bruno
There may be a measure of angst for some Catholics over the new Pew Forum Study in anticipation of the papal visit. Despite its title — “U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families” – only half of the findings were related to hot-button issues, but the spin is on. Still, there are some intriguing statistics for evangelizers.
For the purpose of analysis, we can break this study into five sections but first, it is worth mentioning that the Catholic sample in this study is much smaller than the recent 2014 Religious Landscape Survey. That study interviewed 7,200 Catholics and claimed a 1.5% margin of error. This latest report contains margins of error up to plus or minus 10.3% percent (!) where millennials are discussed, because only 120 millennial Catholics were interviewed.
The Cultural Catholics
Pew’s look at former Catholics in considerable detail is very useful. In fact, the study describes a new kind of “former Catholic”: people who no longer considers themselves to be a Catholic in terms of “religion” (and may now be properly called “Protestant” or “None”) but who nevertheless identify as Catholic or “partially Catholic”, either culturally, ethnically, or because of their family background. Pew calls this group “cultural Catholics”.
1) 20% of US adults when asked what religion they belong to, say they are Catholic. That’s about 50 million adults.
2) The new category: so-called “Cultural Catholics”. 9% of US adults who described themselves as non-Catholic religiously, when asked a second question as to whether or not they currently consider themselves “Catholic or partially Catholic”,  say “yes”. About 22 million adults.
  • 2/3 of this group (6% of US adults) were raised Catholic or have a Catholic parent. Of those “cultural Catholics” who were raised Catholic, fully half (3%) are now Protestant. 2% are “Nones” and 1% joined another faith. But they still regard themselves as Catholic or “partially Catholic”. That means 43% of those who were raised as Catholics and are now “cultural Catholics” (as defined by Pew) could “see themselves returning to the Catholic Church”. That translates to 6 Million Adults.
  • 1/3 of these “cultural Catholics” ( over 7 million adults) were not raised Catholic, yet still identify as culturally or partially Catholic in some way, even though they don’t consider themselves to be a member of the Catholic faith. This includes some converts to the faith who have left the Church.
Pew says “About one-in-eight cultural Catholics who were not raised in the faith (13%) name participation in specific kinds of Catholic activities as the basis for their Catholic identity. This includes 6% who say the sacraments are important in their lives and 5% who say they attend or attended a Catholic church. Those Catholics involved with the New Evangelization – whether clergy or lay – should feel encouraged by these findings.
3) 9% of US adults are “Ex-Catholics”, or about 22 million adults. Roughly 10 million are now Protestants and 10 million are “Nones” or “religiously unaffiliated”. 2 million have joined some other faith. These are the hard core “I’m not Catholic” group, 89% of whom say they are not open to returning.
4) American adults who are not Catholic by religion or culture but are still “connected” — the majority because they have Catholic parents or a Catholic spouse but some because they attend Mass a few times/year — (CARA research found that 2% of those at Mass on a given Sunday are not Catholic, including adults from non-Catholic background in RCIA).
When you add it all up, 45% of American adults (112.5 million) have some Catholic “connection”. As disciple-makers, we have a whole lot of bridges to walk across.
The good news is that 84% of Hispanic Americans have some kind of connection with Catholicism.
The bad news is that only 45% answer “Catholic” when asked what their “present” religion is.
(It’s worth noting how the language of these surveys is changing to reflect our realities, acknowledging that being part of a certain “religious faith” is a “present” thing – not necessarily a life-long inherited thing.)
  • 45% of US Hispanic adults say they are “Catholic” religiously.
  • 13% of US Latino adults fall into the Pew study’s “cultural Catholic” category. Of this number, 4% are now Protestant and 5% are now “Nones”.
  • 18% of US Hispanic adults are “Ex Catholics”, of whom 9% are now Protestant and 7% are now “religious unaffiliated”.
  • 8% of US Hispanic adults are “connected” to Catholicism – mostly through Catholic parents.
Catholics who become Protestant
Catholics who leave and become Protestant (about 17.5 million adults) tend to fall into two, roughly equal different camps:
  • “Kinda-Sorta Catholic”: These are Protestants who retain various levels of attachment to the Catholic faith and world. Members of this group are much more open to returning.
  • Not Catholic”: Protestants for whom the rejection of Catholicism is central to their new religious identity. Hispanic former Catholics are twice as likely to fall into this camp as into #1 while white former Catholics are equally divided between the two.
Converts and Reverts
91% of US Catholic adults are cradle Catholics, and 9% are converts
Converts: the percentage of converts to Catholicism in each generation becomes smaller, the younger you are.
  • 13% of 65+ year old Catholics are converts while only 7% of millennial Catholics were not raised Catholic.
  • White Catholics (12%) are much more likely than Hispanics (3%) to be converts.
  • College graduates (12%) are more likely than high school grads (8%) to be converts.
(In 2000, a US Bishops’ study of RCIA found that college graduates made up over half of all who are finally received into the Church at a time when only 25% of American adults had college degrees. The person least likely to finish had a high school diploma or less. RCIA is functionally being run by-educated-people-for-educated-people”.)
And this is not good news: in terms of Mass attendance, converts make up 11% of those Catholics who seldom or never attend Mass.
Reverts: 17% of American Catholics (8.5 m) are reverts who have left the Church at some point and then returned. Fewer millennial Catholics are converts but larger numbers of millennials (26%) are reverts than any other generation. (Millennials have the lowest percentage of life-long Catholics.) Only 12% of 65+ aged Catholics are reverts. 20% of Hispanic Catholics have left and returned.
Jesus and Sin
Pew pollsters asked this question about 10 different beliefs or religious activities that were described briefly: ” ________ is essential, important but not essential, or not an important part of what being Catholic means to them personally”
So the question was all about “what being a Catholic means to me personally.”
Two highest results were about 1) believing in the resurrection of Jesus and 2) having a personal relationship with Jesus.
This is the first time I have ever seen a study ask Catholics a question phrased in terms of “personal relationship with Jesus” and that alone is very intriguing. 68% of Catholics responded that “having a personal relationship with Jesus” was essential to what being Catholic meant to them and 67% said that believing in the resurrection of Jesus was essential.
The so-called “cultural Catholics” are close behind with 60% saying that “personal relationship with Jesus” is essential. Participating in the sacraments is lower; only 54% of Catholics and 32% of “cultural Catholics” found that essential.
We know that the Catholic (as in religion) adult population has dropped from nearly 25% of the US adult population in 2007 to only 20% in 2015. The Pew 2014 Religious Landscape Survey found that 41% of US Catholic adults (32 million) have “left” the faith and the ones most likely to do so are those who didn’t practice, who didn’t show up at services. We also know that Mass attendance rises and falls with the percentage of a generation that is certain of the possibility of a personal relationship with God (Pew 2007 Religious Landscape Survey).
Which brings us to Sin: This
  • 89% of Catholics believe in the “concept of sin” – that there are actions or deeds that are offensive to God. The number jumps slightly for those who leave the Church and become Protestant and drops dramatically to 47% for ex-Catholics who are “religiously unaffiliated”.
  • 79% of those who still consider themselves to hold to the Catholic “religion but seldom or never attend Mass also believe in the idea of sin.
But there is a big divergence between the Church’s teaching and the views of Catholics when it comes to views of concrete behaviors as sin. For instance, only 33% of Catholics believe that living with a romantic partner outside of marriage is sinful and only 17% believe that using contraceptives is a sin. Both findings may suggest one reason that only 43% of Catholics go to confession at least once a year.
So, the gap between what is meant by “personal relationship with Jesus” and intentional discipleship remains broad indeed, but for those who seek to evangelize Catholics within their families, and their parishes, and outside them as well, this Pew study suggests that millions of Catholics are willing to be persuaded back into the pews, with the right outreach. That’s certainly something to keep in mind, as we anticipate the upcoming papal visit to the United States.