Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Abbot, Saint, Patron of those with physical disabilities

St. Giles, Abbot

Image of St. Giles, Abbot


Feastday: September 1
Patron of beggars; blacksmiths; breast cancer; breast feeding; cancer patients; disabled people; Edinburgh (Scotland); epilepsy; fear of night; noctiphobics; forests; hermits; horses; lepers; mental illness; outcasts; poor peoples; rams; spur makers; sterility
Birth: 650
Death: 710

St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - September 1
St. Giles is said to have been a seventh century Athenian of noble birth. His piety and learning made him so conspicuous and an object of such admiration in his own country that, dreading praise and longing for a hidden life, he left his home and sailed for France. At first he took up his abode in a wilderness near the mouth of the Rhone river, afterward near the river Gard, and, finally, in the diocese of Nimes.
He spend many years in solitude conversing only with God. The fame of his miracles became so great that his reputation spread throughout France. He was highly esteemed by the French king, but he could not be prevailed upon to forsake his solitude. He admitted several disciples, however, to share it with him. He founded a monastery, and established an excellent discipline therein. In succeeding ages it embraced the rule of St. Benedict. St. Giles died probably in the

September: The Balance Sheet

We are arriving at September; are you kidding me?  So I try and like September but there a few things that hold me back.  So having a financial, accounting background, lets do a balance sheet.

September, the good:

Closer to autumn
Gets darker earlier(yep, I like that)
Grass grows a little slower
Did I mention football?
Kids are fully back in school
High school football
The LSU Fighting Tigers!!!
The New Orleans Saints
I did mention football
My grandson turns 4
My daughter's birthday & now, my son-in-law's birthday(incredibly it's the same day)
Our next trip to North Carolina
Bible study full force
Ministry rocks
Starts to feel less summer, eventually

Now, September, the bad:

It's still too darn hot
I still have to cut grass
Sadly, we still have hurricanes
The New Orleans Saints, yeah, I know, I know
Too dark in the morning(no, I don't like that)
My wife gets addicted to all the new TV shows, and tapes them too
Leaving our grandkids when the NC visit is over
Being impatient about when the cool weather will begin
It teases me about the cooler weather to come
And still, it's too darn hot

Praying for peace; USCCB and message from our own Archbishop Aymond

Take time for quiet prayer; plead for God’s peace

In light of recent incidents of violence and racial tension in communities across the U.S. and the world, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked dioceses to unite in a “Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities” on Friday, Sept. 9. Can you shed some light on this effort?

Everyone knows the last several months have been a time of enormous pain as we have witnessed the deaths of so many. All bishops of the U.S. are asking Catholics to observe Sept. 9 as a day of prayer for peace and unity in our country and in the world. The bishops also have established a task force, led by Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, to help identify best practices in nurturing an open, honest and civil dialogue on the issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity and gun violence. We in Louisiana know all too well the tensions that exist. There was the shooting of Alton Sterling during a police stop in Baton Rouge, and several weeks later three Baton Rouge officers were killed by a lone gunman. There was the killing of five Dallas police officers who were protecting a protest march, and there was another police shooting in Minnesota that was captured on videotape and received worldwide headlines. In July, an elderly French priest was murdered at the altar by a member of ISIS. Violence and warfare continue to threaten the lives of innocent people. I just read last week of a brave group of Discalced Carmelite nuns who live in the Syrian city of Aleppo, who reported that bombs are falling all round them in the civil war between the Syrian government, backed by Russia, and the opposing rebels. Sister Anne-Francoise, a French nun, said when the Syrian government’s troops try to prevent the rebels from entering Aleppo, the bombing raids come very close to their convent. The four Carmelite nuns have taken in a number of refugee families, and they are supporting other families with almost no resources. Sister Anne-Francoise said, “We have no water, no electricity and the fighting is continuing incessantly. How can we abandon these people in their suffering? Our presence is important for them. … The diplomatic solutions have not worked. We simply pray to the Lord that this war may stop.” We must join our prayer with hers.

It’s sobering to think of the innocent lives lost.
We tend to think of martyrs as people who lived centuries ago, but there are martyrs almost every day in our current time. And, it’s not just these dramatic killings that are taking place but the daily murders in our cities. We believe prayer can change the hearts of others so that they become more loving, but we also pray for ourselves that God will remove from our hearts any taint of violence or racism.

You conducted an interfaith prayer service for peace last week at St. Louis Cathedral with faith leaders from many different religions and faiths.
I thought the prayer service was very impressive and apropos. We prayed for peace and for ourselves. We asked God to “let there be peace on earth and to let it begin with me.” There was a very good representation of faith leaders, but I was disappointed in the number of people who attended. There were only about 100 people in a cathedral that seats nearly a thousand. So often I hear people say we have to do something. Well, prayer is something we all can do, and I wish more people would have come to ask God for peace.

How can Catholics enhance their prayer life?
Prayer is not just “putting in the time.” It is responding to God’s invitation to consciously be in his presence and to know his loving dreams for us and the world. Finding that time in a busy world is so important. Prayer allows us to desire a more intimate relationship with God. St. Ignatius of Loyola reminds us that when we really don’t have a desire for a deeper relationship, we have to go to God and ask for that desire. He calls it giving us the desire for the desire. That’s very difficult because technology is always right by our side. So many of us are not used to spending quiet time. When I go to my chapel in the morning to pray, I leave my cell phone in my bedroom because otherwise there is a temptation to see who might be calling or who has left a message that might be important. We need that quiet to speak – and listen – to God.

A postage stamp in honor of the canonization of Mother Teresa

Beautiful stamp features Bl. Mother Teresa with a child.

The Vatican has announced it will release a postage stamp dedicated to the Bl. Mother Teresa on the occasion of her canonization.  After her canonization, she will be known as St. Mother Teresa.
The Mother Teresa stamp announced by the Vatican. The Mother Teresa stamp announced by the Vatican.


By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (
8/29/2016 (2 days ago)
Published in Living Faith
Keywords: Mother Teresa, saint, canonization, example, inspiration, stamp

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Bl. Mother Teresa will be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church during a ceremony at the Vatican at 10:30am on Sept. 4. As part of the ceremony, a feast for the poor will be held as well as a prayer vigil and Mass.

The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office has also announced the release of a commemorative postage stamp for collectors.

The stamp shows two images of Mother Teresa, one where she is smiling and a second of her greeting a small child.

Only 150,000 of the sheets of stamps will be sold. Each sheet will contain just 10 stamps.

Mother Teresa was born in the Ottoman Empire to an ethnic Albanian family. As a young woman she traveled to Ireland to become a nun, and was sent to India to work. While in India she established the Missionaries of Charity and cared for the poorest of the poor, and those who were very sick. Her work won international recognition.

Today, the Sisters of Charity operate missions around the globe, serving millions of people in need.

Archbishop Aymond on the 2016 Presidential Election

With the turbulent political campaign underway and neither major party candidate very appealing to people of faith, Archbishop Aymond weighs in with a letter to the faithful to be read at all Masses this weekend.

Here is the link to that letter:

Sister of Charity in Argentina attacked, robbed, chapel desecrated

Thugs Attack Missionaries of Charity, Desecrate Chapel

News: World News
by Aaron Maxwell  •  •  August 30, 2016                                                     

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina ( - Criminals attacked nuns of the Missionary Sisters of Charity in their Mar del Plata home this past Thursday, August 25. After beating them, the criminals proceeded to desecrate the tabernacle of their chapel.
After the vandalism, the thugs stole 50 pesos — all the money the sisters had. They also searched the house taking the few goods remaining.
The Missionary Sisters of Charity is an order founded by Bd. Teresa of Calcutta in 1950. The order has 4,500 sisters who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and provide free service to the poor. Mother Teresa is to be formally declared a saint by Pope Francis on September 4.
The order has been in Mar del Plata for 20 years, helping whomever they can by assisting people ill with AIDS and carrying out daily works of charity by helping the poor in the large neighborhood where their house is situated.
As reported by ChurchMilitant, a separate attack on four Missionary Sisters of Charity took place in March, in which the sisters and 12 lay employees were killed by rebels in a convent in Aden in Southern Yemen. The priest at the convent was able to consume all the Hosts before the militants kidnapped him. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Pope Francis special prayer intentions for September


Universal: Centrality of the Human Person
That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.

Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize
That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.

A new Vatican Dicastery for Immigrants

Pope Institutes Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

Cardinal Turkson to Be Prefect of New Dicastery; Section Dedicated to Migrants and Refugees Will Be Under Pope’s Discretion
Cardinal Peter Turkson during the presentation of reflexion about miners work in de world
Pope Francis has instituted a new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, to be led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, currently serving as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
This new dicastery was instituted in a Motu Proprio published today in the Osservatore Romano.
The dicastery, to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, will be especially “competent in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.”
On that same date, four Pontifical Councils–the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care)–will cease to exist and will be effectively encompassed into the new dicastery.
In the Motu Proprio, the Pope underscores, ‘the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel’, thus the Successor of Peter must ‘continuously adapt the institutions which collaborate with him.’
One of the sections of the new dicastery addresses concern for refugees and migrants, particularly Francis’  belief that in today’s world integral human development cannot be promoted without special attention for the phenomenon of migration.
Given this, this particular section is placed ad tempus beneath the direct jurisdiction of the Pope.
Please find below the full Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio:
instituting the Dicastery for promoting
Integral Human Development

In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel. This development takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation. The Successor of the Apostle Peter, in his work of affirming these values, is continuously adapting the institutions which collaborate with him, so that they may better meet the needs of the men and women whom they are called to serve.
So that the Holy See may be solicitous in these areas, as well as in those regarding health and charitable works, I institute the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. This Dicastery will be competent particularly in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.
In the new Dicastery, governed by the Statutes that today I approve ad experimentum, the competences of the following Pontifical Councils will be merged, as of 1 January 2017: the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.  On that date these four Dicasteries will cease exercising their functions and will be suppressed, and articles 142-153 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus will be abrogated.
I decree that what has been set out in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio have the force of law, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and that it be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, therefore published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, entering into force on 1 January 2017.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 17 August 2016, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Fourth Year of my Pontificate.
© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

What the Pope said on this Wednesday morning

English Summary of Pope’s General Audience
‘Faith in Christ brings salvation; it offers healing, restores right relationships between people and affirms our inviolable dignity.’
Pope at Audience CTV
CTV Pope - General Audience
Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of Pope Francis’ General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square:
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider Jesus’ cure of the woman suffering from hemorrhages (cf. Mt 9:20-22). This unnamed woman, considered impure according to the Law (cf. Lev 15:29-30), trusted in Jesus’ mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation. Filled with deep faith, she reached out and touched his garment. In Hebrew religious tradition, wearing such a garment was a symbol of being clothed with the divine Law, the source of blessing. The woman’s gesture of touching his garment is thus a form of quiet prayer and a sign of hope. Jesus responds by looking upon her with tenderness and acknowledges her dignity. He treats her with love and heals her of her affliction. Faith in Christ brings salvation; it offers healing, restores right relationships between people and affirms our inviolable dignity. Jesus asks all of us to trust in his word and, having experienced his mercy, to be a leaven of that mercy in our world.

Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, Malta, the Philippines, Vietnam, the US Virgin Islands and the United States of America. May your stay in the Eternal City confirm you in love for our Lord, and may he make you his missionaries of mercy, especially for all those who feel distant from God. May God bless you all!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bishop, Founder, Saint from Ireland

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

Image of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne


Feastday: August 31
Death: 651

Aidan of Lindisfarne, born in Ireland, may have studied under St. Senan before becoming a monk at Iona. At the request of King Oswald of Northumbria, Aidan went to Lindisfarne as bishop and was known throughout the kingdom for his knowledge of the Bible, his learning, his eloquent preaching, his holiness, his distaste for pomp, his kindness to the poor, and the miracles attributed to him. He founded a monastery at Lindisfarne that became known as the English Iona and was a center of learning and missionary activity for all of northern England. He died in 651 at the royal castle at Bamburgh.

Preparing for Canonization of Mother Teresa thru images

Memories and Images: A Look at Moments With Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Photos and reflections from the photographer who walked with the saint for 15 years
Portrait photographer Michael Collopy has worked with many famous people, but when he recalls his work photographing Mother Teresa, he says, “I have never met anyone who could compare to the spiritual depth of character and selfless love that Mother displayed over the course of my 15 years of knowing her.”
A painting of one of Michael Collopy’s photographs in his book Works of Love Are Works of Peace has been chosen to be the official sainthood image of Mother Teresa. The image will be revealed at the canonization on Sunday, and then it will be in the homes of the Missionaries of Charity worldwide.
Another one of Collopy’s photographs from Works of Love Are Works of Peace is being used for both the official Vatican Saint Teresa stamp, as well as for the recent cover of Time magazine.
Works of Love Are Works of Peace is now available in paperback. It was more than four years in the making and published with the cooperation of Mother Teresa. This large-format 224-page book offers the most comprehensive photographic documentation of the apostolic work and prayer life of the Missionaries of Charity published. Destined to serve as an important historical record, this “illustrated prayer book” vividly portrays the peace and joy that can come when “small things” are done with great love.
The book has more than 180 fine art quality tri-tone photographs, along with spiritual counsel from Mother Teresa. Also included with Mother Teresa’s special permission, is the contents of the Missionaries of Charity daily prayer book as well as a personal letter on the interior life written by Mother Teresa to her entire order. Though meant originally as an instruction to those in her order, this “I Thirst” letter has become a source of spiritual light and encouragement, drawing innumerable hearts and souls closer to God.

See it all:


Tuesday test feeds

Adult Bible Study, end of month, watching the tropics

On this last Tuesday of August I am preparing for work and when work is over, straight to church I go for our Adult Bible Study.  Resurrected last year at St. Jane de Chantal Church in Abita Springs, over 70 adults participated in the Bible TimeLine from August 2015 until we wrapped up in May; just a few short months ago.  After taking the summer off we are back at it again.  We are now offering the Gospel of Matthew and have over 60 folks participating as well as about 15 taking the Bible TimeLine for the 1st time.  Tonight is our 1st full session that centers on preparation at home by reading the assigned chapters from the Gospel, going through a Q & A concluding with a video that brings everything together presented by renowned Catholic apologist Jeff Cavins.  We are experiencing good spiritual fruit from offering these course and the robust response from our parishioners.  Can't wait to be there tonight!

As we prepare for the end of August we are distracted here in south Louisiana by the tropical activity.  While hopeful this thing in the Gulf of Mexico stays far from us, it still bears watching and we too realize that someone will get impacts.  And we are also reminded that when this one goes away, there might be another one out there we need to watch next week.  Not until September nears it's end do we really breathe easier concerning these annual threats.  End of August also means more attention to our kids back in school, more football and dare I say it, can cooler weather be far behind?

End of August also means start of September and our grandson Calvin's birthday.  Since he was born in 2012, there has never been a first week of September without Pops and Nona in Carolina ready to celebrate.  Next week's 4th birthday for Calvin will find us there!

So it's busy, it's hectic and it's all good!

Continue to pray for our recovery here in south Louisiana from the recent floods and that all tropical storms stay far away!  Good bye August, I'm anxious for you to yield to September!

A little Catholic push back against the un-Catholic politics of VP nominee Tim Kaine

Catholics Protest Tim Kaine Outside his Church

Posted: Aug 28, 2016 
     Outside St. Elizabeth's Catholic ChurchOutside St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church

Outside St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church

RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - A group of Virginia Catholics is blasting Hillary Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
About a dozen Catholics protested peacefully outside Kaine's church Sunday morning.
They claim his voting record contradicts the Catholic faith, particularly on issues of abortion and gay marriage.
"He supports death, and therefore he should not get votes," demonstrator Jacqueline Hawkins said.
"You are a CINO, you are a Catholic in name only," organizer Frances Bouton said.
 Kaine has attended St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Richmond for about 30 years.
But now the Jesuit-educated, former missionary is in hot water with some fellow Catholics.
"He is not America's dad at all. If people just scratched the surface … he's really, all I can say, is evil," Bouton said.
Bouton says Kaine is not in good standing to accept Holy Communion.
Years ago, Kaine supported more restrictions on abortion and said he personally opposed it. But now he has a 100 percent voting record on Planned Parenthood's 2016 congressional scorecard.
"Tim Kaine, quit lying that you are not pro abortion, because you are pro abortion," Bouton said.
While NBC29 stayed outside the church, the director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond came over and requested we not disturb parishioners leaving the service. 
Deborah Cox also said the Rev. James Arsenault of St. Elizabeth's would not be available to speak with us.
But, last month, Arsenault appeared on NPR for an interview.
"He really extends a hand to help people and is very compassionate, approachable, available and friendly," Arsenault said about Kaine.
At times, Kaine has also faced criticism for being personally opposed to the death penalty, while allowing executions to be carried out as governor. On that issue, Arsenault said, "The church has a teaching with regard to we're pro-life, and we believe in that seamless garment of life. We respect sometimes lawmakers make difficult decisions."
Parishioners coming out of church Sunday said they love Kaine, but they were not willing to go on camera. Someone inside church said toward the end of Mass, parishioners were encouraged not to speak with the media. Kaine was not at Sunday’s Mass.

After donating nearly $ 300,000 for Louisiana flood relief, the K of C now donates to Italian Earthquake Relief

Knights of Columbus Donates $50,000 for Italian Earthquake Relief
Funds will be given to Pope Francis to assist children affected
Vigili del fuoco (Foto archivio Web Vaticano)
The Knights of Columbus will donate $50,000 to the Holy Father to help provide relief for children affected by last week’s deadly earthquake northeast Rome.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson informed Pope Francis of the donation when he greeted the pope at an audience Sunday, Aug. 28.
That conversation followed the Holy Father’s angelus address in which he prayed for the victims and noted that the rapid response to the quake shows “how important solidarity is in overcoming such painful trials.” The Pope continued by noting that “service to one’s brothers and sisters becomes a testimony of love, which makes God’s love credible.”
“The Knights of Columbus is pleased to answer the Holy Father’s call and to assist those, especially children, who are suffering so much as a result of this devastating disaster in Italy,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Consistent with our first principle, charity, and as we have done in situations of natural disasters and other needs in the United States and around the world, the Knights of Columbus is committed to showing solidarity and God’s mercy concretely through our help of those most in need.”
The Knights’ support for earthquake victims comes at the same time that the organization has donated substantially in terms of funds and volunteers  to the victims of the recent floods in Louisiana.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus is supporting the ongoing Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on the American Continent being held in in Bogota, which includes outreach to the poor of that city as a part of the event which has brought together cardinals, bishops, priests and laity from throughout the American hemisphere – from Canada to Argentina. The event is being sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM).
Last year, the Knights of Columbus donated in total more than $175 million and 75 million hours to charitable initiatives worldwide including for disaster relief, support for Christians in the Middle East, support for fresh water wells and AIDS orphans in Africa, as well as charitable projects around world at the parish, community and national levels, and at the Vatican.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Founded Little Sisters of the Poor; canonized by Pope Benedict XVI

Image of St. Jeanne Jugan


Feastday: August 30
Birth: 1792
Death: 1879
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

Jeanne Jugan was born on October 25, 1792 in a small fishing village of Brittany, France. She was the sixth of the eight children of Joseph and Marie Jugan. When she was three and a half, her father was lost at sea. Her mother struggled for years to keep the family together in their one room earthen-floored cottage. When Jeanne was about 16, she became the kitchen maid of the Viscountess de la Choue, a kind-hearted Christian woman, who took her on visits to the sick and the poor on and around her estate. Jeanne learned by example, the meaning of truly Christian charity and a refinement of manners not customary among those of the peasant class. When she was about 25, Jeanne took a job in the crowded hospital in the town of Saint Servan. After six years of devoted toil at the hospital, she was so worn out that she had to leave this work. She went to work for a good Christian woman named Mlle. Lecoq. Daily, the two women spent hours in prayer, and they assisted at Mass. They also instructed the town's children in their catechism. They also cared for the poor and other unfortunates until the elderly woman died. In 1837, the forty-five year old Jeanne and a seventy-two year old woman named Francoise Aubert rented part of a humble cottage. They were joined by Virginie Tredaniel, a seventeen year old orphan and the three formed a community of prayer. They taught catechism and assisted the poor. Whatever they had left over from their earnings, they gave to the poor. At age 47, with the approval of Francoise and Virginie, Jeanne turned her attention to the most pitiful of the poor-abandoned old ladies. In 1839, she brought home a blind widow named Anne Chauvin. Jeanne gave up her own bed to provide sleeping quarters for their guest. Henceforth, she was to share intimately in the sufferings of the poor, even physically, considering herself one of them. This characteristic is expressed in the name that eventually developed for Jeanne's charitable work: The Little Sisters of the Poor. As the number of guests grew, so also did her little community. Jeanne wrote a somple rule for them and herself. Putting aside personal pride, theLittle Sisters daily went out door to door asking for food, clothing and money. In 1879 Jeanne was eighty-seven. At this time the community she had founded had 2,400 Little Sisters and had spread across Europe and across the Ocean. Toward the end of August, she was given the Last Sacraments. Her last words were, "O Mary, my dear Mother, come to me. You know I love you and how I long to see You!" After her peaceful death, Jeanne was buried in the graveyard at the motherhouse. She was beatified in Rome on October 3, 1982.

Trump has a Catholic problem; I get it but shouldn't Catholics have a Clinton problem too

Donald Trump has a massive Catholic problem
The Washington Post

Much has been made of Donald Trump's problems with a few voting groups — female voters, blacks and Hispanics, and young voters, in particular. And, to be sure, they are all problems.
But relatively speaking, his biggest problem actually appears to be with a different group: Catholics.
Yes, the man who once feuded with the pope (how soon we forget that actually happened) is cratering among Catholics.
Back in 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Catholic vote by just 2 points, 50 percent to 48 percent. And the GOP has actually won the Catholic vote as recently as 2004 and in 5 of the last 10 presidential elections.
But Trump trails among Catholics by a huge margin. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute released this week shows him down 23 points, 55-32.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released earlier this month painted an even worse picture for Trump's Catholic support. He was down by 27 points, 61-34.
If you compare the difference between Romney's margin among Catholics in 2012 and Trump's margin among Catholics this year, the 25-point difference is tied for the biggest shift of any demographic group in the Post-ABC poll.
(The only group that matches that 25-point shift is white, college-educated women. Romney won them by 6 points; Trump trails by 19.)
Trump's deficits among non-whites and young voters, by contrast, are similar to where Romney and Republicans have been in recent years. The Post-ABC poll, in fact, showed Hillary Clinton failing to match Obama's margin among nonwhites — though not in a statistically meaningful way — while her margin among young voters ages 18-to-29 was three points better.
These are groups, in other words, that Republicans don't expect to do well with. And they still don't.
But Catholics have long been a swing vote in presidential elections, and right now they're swinging hard for Clinton.
It's also hard to overstate just how significant Trump's poor performance among Catholics is. That's because they comprise about one-quarter of voters in the United States (25 percent in 2012 exit polls) and are about as big a voting bloc as non-whites (28 percent) and independents (29 percent).
While we often look at how Trump is doing worse than Romney among Hispanics, we're really talking about the difference between Trump taking 45 percent of the vote and 46 percent — or maybe 49.5 percent or 50.5 percent. That's because Hispanics are only about 10 percent of the electorate, and the GOP's share of that vote is likely to be between 20 and 35 percent or so.
When talking about Catholics, though, Trump is basically adding 5 to 7 percentage points to Clinton's overall margin. If 25 percent of the electorate is Catholic, Clinton is currently taking 14 to 15 points worth of that chunk, while Trump is taking 8 or 8.5 points. And this is a group, again, that is usually close to tied.
The reasons for Trump's struggles among this group are open to interpretation. Perhaps Pope Francis' criticism of Trump and Trump's surprisingly confrontational response have turned off Catholics to Trump's candidacy.
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," the pope said in February when asked about Trump's border wall.
As the Religion News Services' John Gehring recently posited, it could also have something to do with Trump's immigration policies:
"Part of Catholics' DNA is an appreciation for how Irish and other immigrants toiled and thrived in the shadow of a suspicious, fiercely anti-Catholic culture dominated by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
"When Trump calls for a religious test for Muslims entering the country; questions the faith of Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Mitt Romney; and demonizes undocumented immigrants as 'rapists,' it's a reminder of the ugly nativism that Catholics once faced.
"While this contemporary strain of old xenophobia is particularly felt by Latinos who increasingly are the face of the Catholic Church in the United States, many white Catholics surely take pride in family stories of grandparents and great-grandparents who were strangers in a new land. Trump has dug himself a deep hole he is unlikely to climb out of with these voters."
But whatever the cause, Trump's struggles among Catholics remains one of the really undersold story lines of the 2016 election.

By the way; did I ever mention why I hate August?

If I knew the Pope was meeting the Facebook founder I would have asked him to let me be called Deacon again!

Pope Meets Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Discussed How Communication Technologies Can Alleviate Poverty, Help Deliver Message of Hope, Even to Most Disadvantaged
Photo: L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis has received the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, in the Vatican.
Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, confirmed this 20-minute encounter in a statement released this morning, noting the young entrepreneur was accompanied by his wife, Priscilla Chan, for the meeting which took place in the Pope’s residence of Casa Santa Marta.
Facebook is a social network that began by allowing Harvard undergraduates to share messages and photos. Since 2007, it has expanded into four languages, and now has more than 1.71 billion users and translations in 70 languages.
According to the statement, the Pope and Zuckerberg discussed “how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter” and how to “help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged.”

Pope Francis send a message of mercy to all the Americas

Pope Sends Video Message to Americas
‘For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us. He has given us his hand and showed us mercy. To whom? To me, to you, to everyone.’
A scene of the video One Human Family
Caritas Internationalis - YouTube
Below is the Vatican-provided transcription of the video message Pope Francis sent Saturday for the occasion of the Jubilee Celebration for the Americas, which started Saturday in Bogotá, Colombia, and was sponsored by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL), in collaboration with the Bishops’ Conferences of the United States and Canada. Bishops, priests, religious and laity of the 22 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, together with delegates from Canada and the United States and representatives of the Holy See, are taking part in the event:
I welcome the initiative of CELAM and CAL, in association with the bishops of the United States and Canada – this makes me think of the Synod of America – to make possible this continent-wide opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy. I am pleased to know that all the countries of America have been able to take part. Given the many attempts to fragment, divide and set our peoples at odds, such events help us to broaden our horizons and to continue our handshake; a great sign that encourages us in hope.
I would like to begin with the words of the apostle Paul to his beloved disciple: “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience” (1 Tim 1:12-16a).
So Paul tells Timothy in his First Letter, chapter 1, verses 12 to 16. In speaking to him, he wants to speak to each of us. His words are an invitation, I would even say, a provocation. Words meant to motivate Timothy and all those who would hear them throughout history. They are words that cannot leave us indifferent; rather, they profoundly affect our lives.
Paul minces no words: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom Paul considers himself the worst. He is clearly aware of who he is, he does not conceal his past or even his present. But he describes himself in this way neither to excuse or justify himself, much less to boast of his condition. We are at the very beginning of the letter, and he has already warned Timothy about “myths and endless genealogies” and “meaningless talk”, and warned him that all these end up in “disputes”, arguments. At first, we might think that he is dwelling on his own sinfulness, but he does this so that Timothy, and each of us with him, can identify with him. To use football terms we could say: he kicks the ball to the center so that another can head the ball. He “passes us the ball” to enable us to share his own experience: despite all my sins, “I received mercy”.
We have the opportunity to be here because, with Paul, we can say: “We received mercy”. For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us. He has given us his hand and showed us mercy. To whom? To me, to you, to everyone. All of us can think back and remember the many times the Lord looked upon us, drew near and showed us mercy. All those times that the Lord kept trusting, kept betting on us (cf. Ez 16). For my part, I think of the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel, and the Lord’s constant betting on each one of us. That is what Paul calls “sound teaching” – think about it! – sound teaching is this: that we received mercy. That is the heart of Paul’s letter to Timothy. During this time of the Jubilee, how good it is for us to reflect on this truth, to think back on how throughout our lives the Lord has always been near us and showed us mercy. To concentrate on remembering our sin and not our alleged merits, to grow in a humble and guilt-free awareness of all those times we turned away from God – we, not someone else, not the person next to us, much less that of our people – and to be once more amazed by God’s mercy. That is a sure message, sound teaching, and never empty talk.
There is one particular thing about Paul’s letter that I would like to share with you. Paul does not say: “The Lord spoke and told me” or “The Lord showed me or taught me”. He says: “He treated me with mercy”. For Paul, his relationship with Jesus was sealed by the way he treated him. Far from being an idea, a desire, a theory – much less an ideology –, mercy is a concrete way of “touching” weakness, of bonding with others, of drawing closer to others. It is a concrete way of meeting people where they are at. It is a way of acting that makes us give the best of ourselves so that others can feel “treated” in such a way that they feel that in their lives the last word has not yet been spoken. Treated in such a way that those who feel crushed by the burden of their sins can feel relieved at being given another chance. Far from a mere beautiful word, mercy is the concrete act by which God seeks to relate to his children. Paul uses the passive voice – pardon me for being a bit pedantic here – and the past tense. To put it loosely, he could well have said: “I was ‘shown mercy’”. The passive makes Paul the receiver of the action of another; he does nothing more than allow himself to be shown mercy. The past tense of the original reminds us that in him the experience took place at a precise moment in time, one that he remembers, gives thanks for, and celebrates.
Paul’s God starts a movement from heart to hands, the movement of one who is unafraid to draw near, to touch, to caress, without being scandalized, without condemning, without dismissing anyone. A way of acting that becomes incarnate in people’s lives.
To understand and accept what God does for us – a God who does not think, love or act out of fear, but because he trusts us and expects us to change – must perhaps be our hermeneutical criterion, our mode of operation: “Go and do likewise” (Lk10:37). Our way of treating others, in consequence, must never be based on fear but on the hope God has in our ability to change. Which will it be: hope for change, or fear? The only thing acting out of fear accomplishes is to separate, to divide, to attempt to distinguish with surgical precision one side from the other, to create false security and thus to build walls. Acting on the basis of hope for change, for conversion, encourages and incites, it looks to the future, it makes room for opportunity, and it keeps us moving forward. Acting on the basis of fear bespeaks guilt, punishment, “you were wrong”. Acting on the basis of hope of transformation bespeaks trusting, learning, getting up, constantly trying to generate new opportunities. How many times? Seventy times seven. For that reason, treating people with mercy always awakens creativity. It is concerned with the face of the person, with his or her life, history and daily existence. It is not married to one model or recipe, but enjoys a healthy freedom of spirit, and can thus seek what is the best for the other person, in a way they can understand. This engages all our abilities and gifts; it makes us step out from behind our walls. It is never empty talk – as Paul tells us – that entangles us in endless disputes. Acting on the basis of hope for change is a restless way of thinking that sets our heart pounding and readies our hands for action. The journey from heart to hands.
Seeing how God acts in this way, we might be scandalized, like the older son in the parable of the Merciful Father, by how the father treats his younger son upon seeing him return. We might be scandalized that he embraced him, treated him with love, called for him to be dressed in the best robes even though he was so filthy. We might be scandalized that upon seeing him return, he kissed him and threw a party. We might be scandalized that he did not upbraid him but instead treated him for what he was: a son.
We start being scandalized – and this happens to us all, it’s almost automatic, no? – we start being scandalized when spiritual Alzheimer’s sets in: when we forget how the Lord has treated us, when we begin to judge and divide people up. We take on a separatist mindset that, without our realizing it, leads us to fragment our social and communal reality all the more. We fragment the present by creating “groups”. Groups of good and bad, saints and sinners. This memory loss gradually makes us forget the richest reality we possess and the clearest teaching we have to defend. The richest reality and the clearest teaching. Though we are all sinners, the Lord has unfailingly treated us with mercy. Paul never forgot that he was on the other side, that he was chosen last, as one born out of time. Mercy is not a “theory to brandish”: “Ah! Now it is fashionable to talk about mercy for this Jubilee, so let’s follow the fashion”. No, it is not a theory to brandish so that our condescension can be applauded, but rather a history of sin to be remembered. Which sin? Ours, mine and yours. And a love to be praised. Which love? The love of God, who has shown me mercy.
We are part of a fragmented culture, a throwaway culture. A culture tainted by the exclusion of everything that might threaten the interests of a few. A culture that is leaving by the roadside the faces of the elderly, children, ethnic minorities seen as a threat. A culture that little by little promotes the comfort of a few and increases the suffering of many others. A culture that is incapable of accompanying the young in their dreams but sedates them with promises of ethereal happiness and hides the living memory of their elders. A culture that has squandered the wisdom of the indigenous peoples and has shown itself incapable of caring for the richness of their lands.
All of us are aware, all of us know that we live in a society that is hurting; no one doubts this. We live in a society that is bleeding, and the price of its wounds normally ends up being paid by the most vulnerable. But it is precisely to this society, to this culture , that the Lord sends us. He sends us and urges us to bring the balm of “his” presence. He sends us with one program alone: to treat one another with mercy. To become neighbors to those thousands of defenseless people who walk in our beloved American land by proposing a different way of treating them. A renewed way, trying to let our form of bonding be inspired by God’s dream, by what he has done. A way of treating others based on remembering that all of us came from afar, like Abraham, and all of us were brought out of places of slavery, like the people of Israel.
All of us still vividly recall our experience in Aparecida and its invitation once more to become missionary disciples. We spoke at length about discipleship, and wondered how best to promote the catechesis of discipleship and mission. Paul gives us an interesting key to this: showing mercy. He reminds us that what made him an apostle was how he was treated, how God drew near to his life: “I received mercy”. What made him a disciple was the trust God showed in him despite his many sins. And that reminds us that we may have the best plans, projects and theories about what to do, but if we lack that “show of mercy”, our pastoral work will be cut off midway.
All this has to do with our catechesis, our seminaries – do we teach our seminarians this path of showing mercy? – our parish structures and pastoral plans. All this has to do with our missionary activity, our pastoral plans, our clergy meetings and even our way of doing theology. It is about learning to show mercy, a form of bonding that we daily have to ask for – because it is a grace – and need to learn. Showing mercy among ourselves as bishops, priests and laity. In theory we are “missionaries of mercy”, yet often we are better at “mistreating” than at treating well. How many times have we failed in our seminaries to inspire, accompany and encourage a pedagogy of mercy, and to teach that the heart of pastoral work is showing mercy. Being pastors who treat and not mistreat. Please, I ask you: be pastors who know how to treat and not mistreat.
Today we are asked especially to show mercy to God’s holy and faithful people – they know a lot about being merciful because they have a good memory –, to the people who come to our communities with their sufferings, sorrows and hurts. But also to the people who do not come to our communities, yet are wounded by the paths of history and hope to receive mercy. Mercy is learned from experience – in our own lives first – as in the case of Paul, to whom God revealed all his mercy, all his merciful patience. It is learned from sensing that God continues to trust in us and to call us to be his missionaries, that he constantly sends us forth to treat our brothers and sisters in the same way that he has treated us. Each of us knows his or her own story and can draw from it. Mercy is learned, because our Father continues to forgive us. Our peoples already have enough suffering in their lives; they do not need us to add to it. To learn to show mercy is to learn from the Master how to become neighbors, unafraid of the outcast and those “tainted” and marked by sin. To learn to hold out our hand to those who have fallen, without being afraid of what people will say. Any treatment lacking mercy, however just it may seem, ends up turning into mistreatment. The challenge will be to empower paths of hope, paths that encourage good treatment and make mercy shine forth.
Dear brothers and sisters, this gathering is not a congress or a meeting, a seminary or a conference. This gathering is above all a celebration: we have been asked to celebrate the way God has treated each of us and all his people. For this reason, I believe that it is good time for us to say together: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord; take me once more into your redeeming embrace” (Evangelii Gaudium, 3).
Let us be grateful, as Paul told Timothy, that God trusts us to repeat with his people the immense acts of mercy he has shown us, and that this encounter will help us to go forth with renewed conviction as we seek to pass on the sweet and comforting joy of the Gospel of mercy.
[Original text: Spanish] [Vatican provided translation]

August 29th: When Katrina came, we remember

11 years now since Katrina visited; 11 years since Katrina laid waste to so much of New Orleans, Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish, the Northshore and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

We will never forget and we have rebounded.  In some ways, the areas devastated are stronger than ever yet pockets of the Katrina footprint remain gone.

Several years ago we marked the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as another storm hit our area and this morning we watch with some trepidation a tropical storm that just entered the Gulf.  For now, we are told not our storm.  Still we remember so we watch.

Time this morning does not allow me to do further justice to this anniversary.  Katrina 2005 we will never forget but more importantly, we never gave up.

And as we watch the Gulf today, we also do not forget our neighbors to the west still recovering from Katrina flood like event that has devastated so many.  And they too, like all the Katrina survivors, will never give up and come back stronger.

August 29, 2005; never forget.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The memorial of the beheading of St. John the Baptist

Aug 29, About Today for Beheading of St. John the Baptist

August 29

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

“And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.’ As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John…” (Mt 11:4-7). [1]
Today is the memorial of The Passion (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist. Called to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, he boldly spoke the truth in word and deed. Saint John rebuked Herod Antipas’ behavior at having married his niece, who was also his half-brother’s wife, saying, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herod placed John in prison. While John was incarcerated, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah, to which Jesus replied that his actions spoke for themselves. As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus told the onlookers that John more than a prophet. After Herod had John beheaded, his disciples took his body and buried it. [2][3]