Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Being prepared for All Saints Day

All Saints Day

By , Guide
Central Russian icon of selected saints. (Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)
Central Russian icon (circa mid-1800's) of selected saints.
(Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

Introduction to All Saints Day:

All Saints Day, the day on which Catholics celebrate all the saints, known and unknown, is a surprisingly old feast. It arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.

Quick Facts:

History of All Saints Day:

By the late fourth century, this common feast was celebrated in Antioch, and Saint Ephrem the Syrian mentioned it in a sermon in 373. In the early centuries, this feast was celebrated in the Easter season, and the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, still celebrate it then.
The current date of November 1 was instituted by Pope Gregory III (731-741), when he consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and ordered an annual celebration. This celebration was originally confined to the diocese of Rome, but Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the feast to the entire Church and ordered it to be celebrated on November 1.
The vigil or eve of the feast, October 31, is commonly known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Despite concerns among some Christians (including some Catholics) in recent years about the "pagan origins" of Halloween (see Halloween, Jack Chick, and Anti-Catholicism), the vigil was celebrated from the beginning—long before Irish practices, stripped of their pagan origins (just as the Christmas tree was stripped of similar connotations), were incorporated into popular celebrations of the feast.

October fades and we welcome November; what lies ahead?

On this last night of October(yes, I'm wondering where the heck did it go) I am reflective as I sit home alone contemplating a busy few days, weeks and even months ahead.  As November plans to dawn in a few hours I am happy about many things but specifically the return of my bride from a long 12 day seperation as she got to play grandma(nona) and this incredible cool, fall like weather that actually visited us this past week!  Yet October ends on this All Hallow's Eve and we arrive at November.

As a Catholic I, like many others, am looking forward to All Saints Day, All Souls Day and Thanksgiving and the not too distant start of Advent.  As I say more than once throughout the course of a year: it is a great time to be a Catholic!  All Saints, which we celebrate tomorrow, is indeed a holy day of obligation.  It is that incredible day set aside on the Church calendar to remember those many Saints who have come before us, their witness to the faith and their example for us to be Saints too!  All Souls, the next day, gives us the opportunity to remember the faithful departed, to especially recall with fondness our own family members who have gone on before us and to contemplate important Catholic teachings like praying for the dead and purgatory.   That same day is also First Friday and for our faith community at MHT we will have Adoration and a short period of Benediction before we preapre for our Mass of Bereavement.

In November we will prepare for Thanksgiving and begin the long process we call the holiday season.  Fortunately, for us Catholics, we have the graced season of Advent.  More on that later in the month ahead!

November will bring plenty of excitement for me as I will have a short, though important, visit with grandson #1.  Thanks to the generosity of a family friend I will indeed spend 2 days visiting Cal and seeing him up close and personal.  Can't wait.

And before I forget, the end of November will bring to a close the 5 years of formal instruction and formation for our Deacon candidates, the class of 2012, who will be ordained on December 1st.  I too look forward to this event as I have grown close to many in this class.  It is always a joy to see the culmination(really it's a beginning) of the desire to answer a vocational answering of God's call.

And maybe along the way the leaves will continue to change and fall, the air will continue to get a little cooler, the time indeed will change and maybe, just maybe, LSU will beat Alabama and the Saints, as in NFL Saints, will win a few games! 

C'mon November; looking forward to meeting you!

(And yes, I purposefully did not mention the election)

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for November

November 2012

General Intention: Ministers of the Gospel. That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear the courageous witness of fidelity to the crucified and risen Lord.

Missionary Intention: Pilgrim Church. That the pilgrim Church on earth may shine as a light to the nations.

Please unite your prayers with that of our Holy Father!

Catechism: obedience and faith!

142 By his Revelation, "the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company." The adequate response to this invitation is faith.

143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith".

Article1:I Believe (144 - 165)


144 To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.

Abraham — "father of all who believe"

145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel's ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham's faith: "By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go." By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land. By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.

146 Abraham thus fulfills the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen": "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Because he was "strong in his faith", Abraham became the "father of all who believe".

147 The Old Testament is rich in witnesses to this faith. The Letter to the Hebrews proclaims its eulogy of the exemplary faith of the ancestors who "received divine approval". Yet "God had foreseen something better for us": the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, "the pioneer and perfecter of our faith".

Mary — "Blessed is she who believed"

148 The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that "with God nothing will be impossible" and so giving her assent: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." Elizabeth greeted her: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.

149 Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Appropriate Saint name for Halloween?

St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang
St. Wolfgang
Feastday: October 31
Died: 994

Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, Germany, he studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Wurzburg before serving as a teacher in the cathedral school of Trier. He soon entered the Benedictines at Einsiedeln (964) and was appointed head of the monastery school, receiving ordination in 971. He then set out with a group of monks to preach among the Magyars of Hungary, but the following year (972) was named bishop of Regensburg by Emperor Otto II (r. 973-983). As bishop, he distinguished himself brilliantly for his reforming zeal and his skills as a statesman. He brought the clergy of the diocese into his reforms, restored monasteries, promoted education, preached enthusiastically, and was renowned for his charity and aid to the poor, receiving the title Eleemosynarius Major (Grand Almoner). He also served as tutor to Emperor Henry II (r. 1014-1024) while he was still king. Wolfgang died at Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052 by Pope St. Leo IX (r. 1049-1054). Feast day: October 31.

Catholics and Halloween; it's OK; and it ain't Satanic

Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?

By , Guide
Five of the Richert children celebrate Halloween 2007. (Photo © Amy J. Richert)
Five of the Richert children celebrate Halloween 2007.
(Photo © Amy J. Richert)

A Controversial Holiday:

Every year, a debate rages among Catholics and other Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Catholic children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that's almost 1,300 years old.

The Christian Origins of Halloween:

"Halloween" is a name that means nothing by itself. It is a contraction of "All Hallows Eve," and it designates the vigil of All Hallows Day, more commonly known today as All Saints Day. ("Hallow," as a noun, is an old English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy.) All Saints Day, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and both the feast and the vigil have been celebrated since the early eighth century, when they were instituted by Pope Gregory III in Rome. (A century later, they were extended to the Church at large by Pope Gregory IV.)

The Pagan Origins of Halloween:

Despite concerns among some Catholics and other Christians in recent years about the "pagan origins" of Halloween, there really are none. The first attempts to show some connection between the vigil of All Saints and the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain came over a thousand years after All Saints Day became a universal feast, and there's no evidence whatsoever that Gregory III or Gregory IV was even aware of Samhain.
In Celtic peasant culture, however, elements of the harvest festival survived, even among Christians, just as the Christmas tree owes its origins to pre-Christian Germanic traditions without being a pagan ritual.

Combining the Pagan and the Christian:

The Celtic elements included lighting bonfires, carving turnips (and, in America, pumpkins), and going from house to house, collecting treats, as carolers do at Christmas. But the "occult" aspects of Halloween—ghosts and demons—actually have their roots in Catholic belief. Christians believed that, at certain times of the year (Christmas is another), the veil separating earth from Purgatory, heaven, and even hell becomes more thin, and the souls in Purgatory (ghosts) and demons can be more readily seen. Thus the tradition of Halloween costumes owes as much, if not more, to Christian belief as to Celtic tradition.

The (First) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

The current attacks on Halloween aren't the first. In post-Reformation England, All Saints Day and its vigil were suppressed, and the Celtic peasant customs associated with Halloween were outlawed. Christmas and the traditions surrounding it were similarly attacked, and the Puritan Parliament banned Christmas outright in 1647. In America, Puritans outlawed the celebration of both Christmas and Halloween, which were revived largely by German Catholic (in the case of Christmas) and Irish Catholic (in the case of Halloween) immigrants in the 19th century.

The Commercialization of Halloween:

Continued opposition to Halloween was largely an expression of anti-Catholicism (as well as anti-Irish prejudice). But by the early 20th century, Halloween, like Christmas, was becoming highly commercialized. Pre-made costumes, decorations, and special candy all became widely available, and the Christian origins of the holiday were downplayed.
The rise of horror films, and especially the slasher films of the late 70's and 80's, contributed to Halloween's bad reputation, as did the claims of putative Satanists and Wiccans, who created a mythology in which Halloween had been their festival, co-opted later by Christians.

The (Second) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

A new backlash against Halloween by non-Catholic Christians began in the 1980's, in part because of claims that Halloween was the "Devil's Night"; in part because of urban legends about poisons and razor blades in Halloween candy; and in part because of an explicit opposition to Catholicism. Jack Chick, a rabidly anti-Catholic fundamentalist who distributes Bible tracts in the form of small comic books, helped lead the charge. (For more on Chick's rabid anti-Catholicism and his attack on Halloween, see Halloween, Jack Chick, and Anti-Catholicism.)
By the late 1990's, many Catholic parents, unaware of the anti-Catholic origins of the attack on Halloween, had begun to question Halloween as well, and alternative celebrations became popular.

Alternatives to Halloween Activities:

Ironically, one of the most popular Christian alternatives to celebrating Halloween is a secular "Harvest Festival," which has more in common with the Celtic Samhain than it does with the Catholic All Saints Day. There's nothing wrong with celebrating the harvest, but there's no need to strip such a celebration of connections with the Christian liturgical calendar.
Another popular Catholic alternative is an All Saints Party, usually held on Halloween and featuring costumes (of saints rather than ghouls) and candy. At best, though, this is an attempt to Christianize an already Christian holiday.

Safety Concerns and the Fear Factor:

Parents are in the best position to decide whether their children can participate safely in Halloween activities, and, in today's world, it's understandable that many choose to err on the side of caution. One concern that's often overblown, however, is the effect that fright might have on children. Some children, of course, are very sensitive, but most love scaring others and being scared themselves (within limits, of course). Any parent knows that the "Boo!" is usually followed by laughter, not only from the child doing the scaring, but from the one being scared. Halloween provides a structured environment for fear.

Making Your Decision:

In the end, the choice is yours to make as a parent. If you choose, as my wife and I do, to let your children participate in Halloween, simply stress the need for physical safety (including checking over their candy when they return home), and explain the Christian origins of Halloween to your children. Before you send them off trick-or-treating, recite together the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and explain that, as Catholics, we believe in the reality of evil. Tie the vigil explicitly to the Feast of All Saints, and explain to your children why we celebrate that feast, so that they won't view All Saints Day as "the boring day when we have to go to church before we can eat some more candy."
Let's reclaim Halloween for Christians, by returning to its roots in the Catholic Church!

Summary of the Catechism lessons on Sacred Scripture


134 All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, "because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ" (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2,8:PL 176,642: cf. ibid. 2,9:PL 176,642-643).

135 "The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God" (DV 24).

136 God is the author of Sacred Scripture because he inspired its human authors; he acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error his saving truth (cf. DV 11).

137 Interpretation of the inspired Scripture must be attentive above all to what God wants to reveal through the sacred authors for our salvation. What comes from the Spirit is not fully "understood except by the Spirit's action" (cf. Origen, Hom. in Ex. 4, 5: PG 12, 320).

138 The Church accepts and venerates as inspired the 46 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New.

139 The four Gospels occupy a central place because Christ Jesus is their center.

140 The unity of the two Testaments proceeds from the unity of God's plan and his Revelation. The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God.

141 "The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord" (DV 21): both nourish and govern the whole Christian life. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119:105; cf. Is 50:4).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Devoted Jesuit and humble in service

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Feastday: October 30
1532 - 1617

Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.

Washington Post hit piece against the Knights of Columbus; read it in it's entirety. Realize it's a load of garbage.

‘These aren’t my grandfather’s Knights of Columbus. And that’s a shame!’

Members of the Knights of Columbus, take part in Columbus Day ceremonies on Oct. 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (GETTY IMAGES)

When I was younger, the words “Knights of Columbus” conjured up fond images of my grandfather donning his cape and plumed hat to march in a parade, or slipping into his regalia for a special Mass at his parish church. The Knights council helped coordinate an annual festival for people with developmental disabilities and my whole family volunteered. The Knights of Columbus were good guys in my eyes. They raised money for hot meals, warm clothes and wheelchairs for families that could not afford them.
More recently, these worthy activities have been cast into shadow. Under Carl A. Anderson , a political appointee in the Reagan administration who endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2008, the Knights have become increasingly politicized, spending millions of dollars not to help people, but to hurt them.
Since 2005, the Knights of Columbus has provided more than $15.8 million to the campaign to deprive gay and lesbian people of the right to marry the person whom they love, and to undermine the security of children being raised by same-sex parents. They have made ethically dubious alliances that have brought shame on themselves and our church, and they’ve played the bully with their political and theological opponents.
The Equally Blessed coalition has shined some much-needed light on the Knights dealings in a detailed new report, The Strong Right Arm of the Bishops: The Knights of Columbus and Anti-Marriage Equality Funding. The report is based primarily on forms the Knights filed with the Internal Revenue Service and various state boards of election. Among the highlights are:
$1.9 million in donations to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), $1.4 million of which was devoted to a successful and highly controversial campaign to overturn marriage equality legislation in Maine.
A $1.1 million dollar donation to which supported the passage of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that banned marriage equality in California.
More than $1.1 million in donations to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage (which is now called the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage).
More than $630,000 in donations to groups working against marriage equality through ballot initiatives that will be voted on next month in Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
The quiet role that the Knights and their powerful chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore played in the Vatican’s crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 80 percent of nuns in the United States.
In all, the Knights has been active in opposing marriage equality in 12 states: Arizona; California; Connecticut; Florida; Kansas; Maine; Maryland, Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Jersey; Pennsylvania, and Washington.
They have made common cause with the National Organization for Marriage, an organization whose internal strategy memos came to light during legal proceedings in Maine, revealing that is leaders advocated turning children against gay parents and pitting the Black and Hispanic communities against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, in order to overturn marriage equality legislation that had passed in 2009.
The Knights say they are “one with the church” in their campaign against marriage equality, but that isn’t true. A steady stream of polling demonstrates that most Catholics support marriage equality, and that young Catholics support it overwhelmingly. I don’t know anyone who thinks that our faith justifies soliciting children to publicly vilify their parents, or to turn minority communities against one another.
There is a curious duality in the Knights’ thinking, as though the church is “us,” LGBT people are “them,” and all is fair in political combat. But Catholic pews and schools and religious orders are filled with gay and lesbian people, their friends and their families. The Knights have spent millions of dollars that could have been devoted to tending the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked to depriving gay and lesbian people of equal treatment under the law. In the process they are undermining the stability of households led by same-sex parents and jeopardizing the well-being of those couples’ children. You can hang many labels on this kind of behavior, but pro-family is not one of them.
I keep thinking back, in the midst of all this, to my father and grandfather and wondering what they would have thought of an organization that was spending so much money and political muscle to marginalize people like me and my wife and to introduce unnecessary uncertainty into the lives of our children. I suspect that they would be disappointed in the way that the Knights have tarnished their reputation to pursue a punitive political agenda, and I know they would have been steadfast in their support for the people whom they love.
These aren’t my grandfather’s Knights of Columbus. And that’s a shame.
Marianne T. Duddy-Burke is executive director of DignityUSA, a member of the Equally Blessed coalition, which also includes Call To Action, Fortunate Families and New Ways Ministry.

Catechism lesson confirms: the Church says yes, read, study and pray Scripture!


The unity of the Old and New Testaments

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times, and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.

130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when "God [will] be everything to everyone." Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God's plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.


131 "And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life." Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."

132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too — pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place — is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."

133 The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New Orleans Saints 2012 season: we may need a white flag

After tonight's Saints/Broncos game comes to a merciful end; and yes, thank God it will end, the once highly revered and respected New Orleans Saints will be 2-5.  After digging themselves a huge 0-4 hole, the Saints pumped a little life into their season and the hopes of Saints fans, only to lay this huge egg tonight.  As I stop to write this, so I can get to bed soon, the Saints are losing by 24 and show no ability to stop Manning and the Broncos if they played with one hand tied behind their collective backs.

The Saints have nothing this year except Drew Brees, who has failed to show up tonight, and perhaps we can still claim some decent receivers.  We have no running game, we have a weaker offensive line, we have an all world TE who has dropped more passes than caught them and we have committed more offensive turnovers than normal.  But the biggest culprit, the reason we absolutely look like a sad team is a defense that is weak, always out of position and can't stop anyone.  This Saints defense, at this point in the season, is statistically, the worst defense in the history of the NFL.  I'm telling you, they can't stop anyone ever.  Our defensive line looks like pure garbage, our linebackers are always out of position and our deep backs can't stop anything.  We give up yardage in huge amounts and we don't seem to give a damn, quite frankly.  As I'm writing this, the Broncos are continuing to chew up huge chunks of yards on each and every play.

The season is doomed.  Even if they rally like they did against San Diego and Tampa Bay, the Saints have no answer, this deep in the season, for a defense that is pure crap.  The offense is one dimensional and, in my humble opinion, the great Drew Brees, and yes, I believe he is great, is just a tad bit off this year too.  He has thrown way too many interceptions and often his passes are slightly behind his receivers.  There is no cohesiveness or vast improvement to point to that could make even the best fan believe they can put a big run together. 

The loss of the head coach must have been a far greater loss than anyone anticipated.  All the bluster that the staff, Coach Vitt, the organization could handle the coaching and absorb Payton's loss was just that; bluster. 

So Saints fans, have you looked at the schedule.  They actually play better performing teams in the 9 weeks ahead.  Since we rolled over and played dead against bad teams that continue to lose to everyone else, Washington, Carolina, Kansas City, you can pencil in at least a few more L's.  At this point I'm optimistically saying the Saints can finish 7-9.  I don't see anything better than that.

We need a white flag!  Our run of playoffs and Super Bowl champs and contenders is over:(

Another Catholic martyr from England

St. Cuthbert Mayne

St. Cuthbert Mayne
St. Cuthbert Mayne
Feastday: October 29
1544 - 1577

An English martyr, born near Branstaple, in Devonshire, as a Protestant. He converted to Catholicism at St. John’s, Oxford. Cuthbert was ordained at Douai, France, and sent home to England about 1575. Working in Cornwall, he was captured after a year. Condemned for celebrating a Mass, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered on November 25. Cuthbert was a friend of Edmund Campion, and he was aided by Francis Tregian in Cornwall. He was the first Englishman trained for the priesthood at Douai and was the protomartyr of English seminaries. Cuthbert was canonized by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Catholics murdered in Nigeria AGAIN for going to Mass; mainstream media and this administration SILENT AGAIN

Suicide bomber attacks Catholic church in northern Nigeria, killing 7, wounding more than 100

KADUNA, Nigeria - A suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into a Catholic church holding Mass on Sunday in northern Nigeria, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 100 others in an attack that sparked reprisal killings in the city, authorities and witnesses said.
As rescuers tried to reach the wounded in the Malali neighbourhood of Kaduna, angry youths armed with machetes and clubs beat to death two Muslims passing by the still-smouldering ruins of St. Rita's Catholic church. An Associated Press reporter saw the men's corpses outside the worship hall, as police and soldiers ordered those in the neighbourhood of Christians and Muslims to go home before more violence broke out.
The car bombing, the latest high-casualty attack targeting churches, comes as people fear more reprisal killings and religious violence could follow in this city and elsewhere along Nigeria's uneasy religious fault line separating its largely Christian south from its predominantly Muslim north.
The attack happened around 9 a.m. as the reverend of the parish conducted Sunday worship. Witnesses said the suicide bomber plowed his SUV past a gate and a security guard before ramming into the church's wall and detonating the explosives hidden inside the vehicle. The blast left shattered glass and blood across the floors of the church's sanctuary. One of the brown walls of the church caved in and bore scorch marks from the blast.
Rescuers found the bodies of seven worshippers and the suicide bomber after the attack, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. Shuaib said more than 100 others suffered injuries in the blast and had been taken to local hospitals.
Kaduna state police commissioner Olufemi Adenaike told journalists at the church that authorities had urged those living in the religiously mixed neighbourhood to return home and stay indoors to halt any further revenge attacks. Saidu Adamu, a spokesman for Kaduna state government, said the rest of the city was peaceful.
Reuben Abati, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, said the nation's leader condemned the attack.
"The persistence of messengers of evil will not prevail over the will of the government and the people to secure peace and safety," Abati said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the Muslims in the nation are celebrating the end of Eid al-Adha holiday in Nigeria. In recent days, rumours have circulated that the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which is blamed for hundreds of killings this year alone, might try to launch an attack during the holiday. The sect has demanded the release of all its captive members and has called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. However, the group, which speaks to journalists in telephone conference calls at times of its choosing, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The sect has used suicide car bombs against churches in the past, most noticeably a 2011 Christmas Day attack on a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria's capital. That attack and assaults elsewhere in the country killed at least 44 people. An unclaimed car bombing on Easter in Kaduna killed at least 38 people on a busy roadway after witnesses say it was turned away from a church.
Christians and Muslims largely live in peace, work together and inter-marry in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people. However, Kaduna, a major city of Nigeria's north that has a large Christian population, has seen hundreds killed in recent years in religious and ethnic violence. More than 2,000 died in Kaduna state as the government moved to enact Islamic Shariah law in 2000. In 2002, rioting over a newspaper article suggesting the Prophet Muhammad would have married a Miss World pageant contestant killed dozens in Kaduna.
After the April 2011 presidential election, protests in Kaduna over Jonathan, a Christian, winning quickly turned into ethnic and religious violence that saw hundreds killed in that state alone. On Oct. 14, gunmen armed with assault rifles attacked a rural Kaduna state village, killing at least 24 people, including worshippers leaving a mosque after prayers before dawn. Officials said the attack likely came from a criminal gang angry over the village killing some of their men. In another attack Sept. 30, gunmen detonated a bomb near an Islamic school in Zaria.
Three church bombings in June claimed by Boko Haram and retaliatory violence after the attacks in Kaduna killed at least 50 people. Some fear the reprisal killings may begin again.
"The northern parts of Nigeria have suffered from so much bloodshed and violence," said Shehu Sani, an activist who runs the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress. "We live in a continuous interval of bloodletting. We must not submit to violence or succumb to fear. Intolerance is eroding our liberties and insurgency is destroying our rights."

Help for Haydee; a story of faith and a miracle


Haydee Cullen to benefit from huge fundraiser Nov. 4 in Covington

Kadee Krieger, The Times-Picayune By Kadee Krieger, The Times-Picayune
on October 25, 2012 at 2:41 PM
When Madisonville resident Haydee Cullen, 33, learned in late June that she had leukemia, she and her husband, Josh, took it in stride, turning to their strong faith to get their family through a difficult time. But Haydee Cullen’s battle with the disease turned out to be so atypical that it left doctors bewildered and the Cullens certain that a miracle has pulled Haydee through.

haydee-cullen.jpg A Help Haydee Get Well benefit and inspirational celebration will be held Nov. 4 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at The Greater Covington Center-Fuhrmann Auditorium in Covington. The event is free, though donations are welcome to help offset expenses related to the continued care of Madisonville mother, Haydee Cullen, 33, pictured here with her husband, Josh, and their children.
The Cullens will share their story during the Help Haydee Get Well event Nov. 4 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at The Greater Covington Center-Fuhrmann Auditorium in Covington.
“We hope people will come and hear a story of hope. I’m here and I should not be here. I’m in awe, and I want to share what is in my heart,” Haydee Cullen said.
“My wife was dying, and even the doctors thought it was a hopeless case. But at the end of the day when people walk away from this event I want them to take away the message that three weeks ago this person was dying and now she is home with her family. That is the greatness of God’s work,” Josh Cullen said.
Haydee Cullen’s leukemia seemed typical at first, and doctors put her on a strict regimen of oral drugs. But several weeks after her diagnosis, she developed a severe cough and landed in the emergency room. At that point, the Cullens realized that Haydee’s case was unusual.
“You hear about so many bad things that happen in this world, I hope people will come hear our story of faith and hope,” Haydee Cullen said.
“They didn’t tell us during the most critical points, of course, but I knew how bad it had been when my doctor said one morning that he was ‘relieved to see me still there,’” she said.
In the emergency room, Haydee Cullen learned that the cancer had caused a blood clot in her lung. She was hospitalized and returned home after several days. But a blood test revealed that she was not out of danger yet — her platelets were dangerously low and dropping fast.
“Doctors were searching all over the country looking to find platelets for her,” Josh Cullen said.
After two weeks, she still was in desperate need of her blood count to improve, and doctors began to wonder what to do, he said. Their decision was to try an immediate bone marrow transplant.
Haydee Cullen traveled via ambulance to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Josh’s mother, Wanda, took the trip with Haydee, since the procedure would potentially require Haydee to be gone for six months, and Josh could not be away from his work as a drafter in the oil and gas industry for that long.
Wanda Cullen said it was in the brief waiting period before heading to M.D. Anderson that she saw the first sign of Haydee’s miraculous recovery. “During that time, even though platelets were flown in from everywhere, there were no results. Prayers spread for her and cards, emails and letters poured in,” Wanda Cullen said. She said Haydee remained calm and continued to pray for an answer to her plummeting platelets.
“She prayed for just a touch higher, that she’d have 33,000 (platelets). And do you know that right before we were set to leave for M.D. Anderson, her counts showed an increase? Not of 30,000, not 35,000, but 33,000 on the nose,” Wanda Cullen said.
At M.D. Anderson, Haydee Cullen developed another setback with a bout of pneumonia. But Haydee said it was yet another answer to prayers. “I had to wait for the pneumonia to subside before we could go ahead with the transplant, and during that waiting period, my platelet count began to come up,” she said.
Cullen never received the transplant, as the count slowly and steadily continued to rise. Finally, earlier this month, she returned home to Josh and their four children, Marie, 8; Anna and Michael, 6; and Noelle, 2.
Haydee Cullen said she must continue to return to M.D. Anderson regularly for bone marrow biopsies and monitoring of the blood clot, but that her prayer is for the leukemia to be gone completely.
“And I am confident that it will be,” she said.
“You hear about so many bad things that happen in this world, I hope people will come hear our story of faith and hope,” Haydee Cullen said. “God has so many wonderful plans for us. Look at me, my life was turned upside down; the doctors said I was a mystery. But God wants to give us good things.”
Wanda Cullen said she witnessed another miracle at M.D. Anderson after doctors examined the blood clot using a throat scope. “They told her that the scope could potentially damage her vocal chords, and of course, we prayed that it would not touch them,” she said.
As a vocalist and at the music director at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Covington, Wanda Cullen said it would be devastating for Haydee to lose her voice.
She said again, Haydee’s prayers were answered. “The doctors told us that it was the easiest scope he’d ever done and that it was like Haydee’s fingers moved the vocal chords out of his way,” Wanda Cullen said.
Haydee Cullen will sing for the first time in public since her diagnosis at the Help Haydee Get Well event. Josh and Haydee will both speak at the event, sharing the story of Haydee’s recovery.
“Our story is about walking with faith, and not just praying, but by being a true participant and walking alongside God,” Josh Cullen said.
Wanda Cullen calls the event “a celebration of the miracle that we have all witnessed in Haydee.”
The event also will help the Cullen family with medical expenses, bills that have piled up while Josh Cullen was off of work for more than a month and the cost of traveling back and forth to Houston in the coming months. There is no charge to attend, but donations to the family will be accepted.
The event will include live music by the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts Jazz Band, the Mercy Beaucoup ensemble and the 14-piece band Big River Express along with other musicians.
Silent auction items include a jacket worn by Michael Jackson on his Pepsi tour, one of only 100 made; a vacation week in New Orleans; a weekend stay in New Jersey; eight passes to the Audubon Zoo for a day; local artwork and designer jewelry; gift certificates to a healing retreat; restaurant gift certificates; tuition certificates for music and dance lessons at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts and River Ridge Schools of Music and Dance; and an autographed copy of “America By Heart, a Reflection on Family, Faith and Flag” by Sarah Palin.
Donations still are being collected for the auction. To donate an item, contact Cindy Scardina at
For information and the complete updated of Haydee’s Cullen, visit or the Facebook page Help Haydee Get Well.

>>>Haydee is the music and liturgy coordinator at MHT where I am currently assigned.  She and her family live their Catholic faith with great joy.  Please pray for her complete healing and her quick return to ministry.  And pray for her family too!

Catechism lesson today: how the Scriptures came to be


120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New.

The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi.

The New Testament: the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St. Paul to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, the Letter to the Hebrews, the Letters of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, and Revelation (the Apocalypse).

The Old Testament

121 The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.

122 Indeed, "the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men." "Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional," the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God's saving love: these writings "are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way."

123 Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism).

The New Testament

124 "The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament" which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son: his acts, teachings, Passion and glorification, and his Church's beginnings under the Spirit's guidance.

125 The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures "because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Savior".

126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:

  1. The life and teaching of Jesus. The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, "whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was taken up."
  2. The oral tradition. "For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed."
  3. The written Gospels. "The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, the while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus."

127 The fourfold Gospel holds a unique place in the Church, as is evident both in the veneration which the liturgy accords it and in the surpassing attraction it has exercised on the saints at all times:

There is no doctrine which could be better, more precious and more splendid than the text of the Gospel. Behold and retain what our Lord and Master, Christ, has taught by his words and accomplished by his deeds.

But above all it's the gospels that occupy my mind when I'm at prayer; my poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I'm always finding fresh lights there; hidden meanings which had meant nothing to me hitherto

Pope Benedict prays for those affected by Hurricane Sandy

Pope concludes Synod with Mass, Angelus appeal for hurricane victims

2012-10-28 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal on Sunday for the victims and all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, which killed more than twenty people across the Caribbean last week, striking the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica with particular force. The Holy Father assured all those affected by the storm of his spiritual closeness, and promised to remember the victims in prayer. Pope Benedict asked all the faithful to pray for those affected as well, and issued a general call for concrete acts of solidarity.

Hurricane Sandy: are we praying for our neighbors?

On this Sunday morning the news programs and the Weather Channel are all about the impending arrival of a late October hurricane that should move in around New Jersey.  Forecasters and experts far wiser than I am predict catastrophic consequences, not so much from wind, but from water.  Apparently, for a category 1 storm, Sandy is taking a path and is so large in scope that water will be piled up high from Delaware/Maryland up to Connecticut and beyond.  We also hear that once Sandy is inland and takes that improbable turn deep into New England she will collide with cold air and produce more misery in the form of a winter type storm.  Can you imagine the possibility of extended loss of power as temperatures fall to an uncomfortable level?

Down here in southeast Louisiana we are no stranger to hurricanes.  We just endured Isaac at the end of August and we had many areas struggle with loss of power for 7-8 days.  Isaac was a category 1.  Isaac pushed a lot of water, like Sandy is predicted to do, and you may recall, many areas in the New Orleans area that never flooded before indeed flooded.  As we prepare to witness Sandy's arrival we do not know the names of all the small towns and streams and tributaries that will become known because of the damage wrought. 

I hope you have room in your prayer life for our neighbors to the north.  We pray and ask God for mercy that all will be sparred from the dangers of potentially losing life and property.  We, in Louisiana who invoke Our Lady of Prompt Succor, can do so on behalf of our neighbor.  And as we pray, ask God to send those who can assist in the quick recovery of the region once the storm has passed.

To those who may read this from the impact zone, stay safe.  Be prepared.  Anticipate the risks if you choose to shelter in place.  And seek God's mercy in prayer.

And while we are praying, let's remember those who have already felt the pain of Sandy in the island nations to our east and south.  Let's pray for their recovery and for the repose of the souls of the 20 or so people who lost their lives due to this storm.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

And another Apostle on the same day

St. Simon of Zealot

St. Simon of Zealot
St. Simon of Zealot
Feastday: October 28
Died: 107

Simon was surnamed the Zealot for his rigid adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom. Eastern tradition says Simon died peacefully at Edessa. His feast day is October 28th.

The Feast of one Apostle for this weekend

St. Jude Thaddaeus

St. Jude Thaddaeus
St. Jude Thaddaeus
Feastday: October 28
Patron of Desperate Cases

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia. The final conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity did not take place until the third century of our era.

Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection. Little else is known of his life. Legend claims that he visited Beirut and Edessa; possibly martyred with St. Simon in Persia.

Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases and his feast day is October 28. Saint Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot who betrayed Our Lord and despaired because of his great sin and lack of trust in God's mercy.

Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody

Strange Saturday night.  For the second week(end) in a row the wife is residing in grandson land so I'm doing the home alone routine.  And at this early hour for a Saturday night I am seriously contemplating bed.  That's o.k. as I've been more than busy and did have some good offers tonight.  In fact I did have a nice visit with friends earlier this evening.  Earlier in the late afternoon I had a couples meeting before their December nuptials and I assisted the 4 p.m. vigil Mass.  All of this after a half day of work and you can imagine, an early night, even though it be a Saturday night, doesn't sound so bad.

This quiet Saturday evening is bringing us in southeast Lousiana the coldest air of the season.  Tonight will probably bring very low 40's and highs are a pleasant 70 or less.  This is awesome weather for us who labor under a half year, or more, of oppresive heat and humidity.  I'm truly looking forward to how chilly the thermometer will read in the morning.  It's kind of odd, when you really think about it, that we are enjoying perfect fall weather while the folks up the Atlantic seaboard are waiting out a late season hurricane.  Kind of odd and twisted.  Those of us down in these parts who deal with hurricanes and tropical storms all the time wish our neighbors well as we pray, on your behalf, through Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

Looking forward to a nice quiet Sunday!

Still life left for a revered New Orleans retreat house

Archbishop Gregory Aymond considers buying Metairie Cenacle property

The Cenacle Retreat House in Metairie plans to close in 2013, and the property will be sold. (Photo by The Times-Picayune archive)
Drew Broach, | The Times-Picayune By Drew Broach, | The Times-Picayune
on October 25, 2012
With Metairie's Cenacle Retreat House closing after 55 years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans said Thursday it is open to the idea of buying the property to continue offering a haven for spiritual development. The archdiocese released this statement from Archbishop Gregory Aymond:
“I have spoken with the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center and others about providing retreats, spiritual exercises and other activities for women. The Cenacle has provided this service in an extraordinary way throughout the years, and I would not want this ministry to be lost.
"Many people have asked me about the possibility of the archdiocese purchasing the retreat house and absorbing the ministry. I am interested but do not know yet if it is financially feasible for us to do so. This remains an unanswered question we will continue to investigate.”
The Cenacle, operated since 1958 by a dwindling group of nuns on 20 acres at 5500 St. Mary Street, has announced it will close in 2013 and seek a buyer. Catering primarily to women, it offers weekend retreats, daily programs and individual spiritual direction.

Senses of Scripture in today's Catechism lesson in this Year of Faith


The senses of Scripture

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

  1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism.
  2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written "for our instruction".
  3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading"). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.

118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:

The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One of many Saints you probably never heard of...

St. Gaudiosus of Naples

St. Gaudiosus of Naples
St. Gaudiosus of Naples
Feastday: October 27
Died: 455

Bishop called “the African.” He was the bishop of Abitina in North Africa, exiled by Geiseric, the Vandal king, in 440. Gaudiosus went to Naples, Italy, where he founded a monastery.

News from the Synod of Bishops in Rome

Concluding message from Synod of Bishops

2012-10-26 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) The Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation draws to a close this weekend as over 260 Church leaders from around the globe come up with a final list of propositions to present to Pope Benedict for inclusion in his apostolic exhortation. On Friday morning, the bishops presented a concluding message which they hope will inspire all those involved in promoting evangelisation, whether in busy inner city parishes, in secluded monasteries or in the remotest parts of countries where the Church may be only a tiny minority of the population. Our special correspondent Philippa Hitchen was in the synod hall to find out what the bishops had to say......