Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Antichrist's Deception: Secular messianism

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.
-- CCC 676

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Born for Us... "The 'Us' of the Church"

Here below, the Pope's noontime Urbi et Orbi Christmas Greeting:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world,
and all men and women, whom the Lord loves!

"Lux fulgebit hodie super nos,
quia natus est nobis Dominus.

A light will shine on us this day,
the Lord is born for us"

(Roman Missal, Christmas, Entrance Antiphon for the Mass at Dawn)

The liturgy of the Mass at Dawn reminded us that the night is now past, the day has begun; the light radiating from the cave of Bethlehem shines upon us.

The Bible and the Liturgy do not, however, speak to us about a natural light, but a different, special light, which is somehow directed to and focused upon "us", the same "us" for whom the Child of Bethlehem "is born". This "us" is the Church, the great universal family of those who believe in Christ, who have awaited in hope the new birth of the Saviour, and who today celebrate in mystery the perennial significance of this event.

At first, beside the manger in Bethlehem, that "us" was almost imperceptible to human eyes. As the Gospel of Saint Luke recounts, it included, in addition to Mary and Joseph, a few lowly shepherds who came to the cave after hearing the message of the Angels. The light of that first Christmas was like a fire kindled in the night. All about there was darkness, while in the cave there shone the true light "that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9). And yet all this took place in simplicity and hiddenness, in the way that God works in all of salvation history. God loves to light little lights, so as then to illuminate vast spaces. Truth, and Love, which are its content, are kindled wherever the light is welcomed; they then radiate in concentric circles, as if by contact, in the hearts and minds of all those who, by opening themselves freely to its splendour, themselves become sources of light. Such is the history of the Church: she began her journey in the lowly cave of Bethlehem, and down the centuries she has become a People and a source of light for humanity. Today too, in those who encounter that Child, God still kindles fires in the night of the world, calling men and women everywhere to acknowledge in Jesus the "sign" of his saving and liberating presence and to extend the "us" of those who believe in Christ to the whole of mankind.

Wherever there is an "us" which welcomes God’s love, there the light of Christ shines forth, even in the most difficult situations. The Church, like the Virgin Mary, offers the world Jesus, the Son, whom she herself has received as a gift, the One who came to set mankind free from the slavery of sin. Like Mary, the Church does not fear, for that Child is her strength. But she does not keep him for herself: she offers him to all those who seek him with a sincere heart, to the earth’s lowly and afflicted, to the victims of violence, and to all who yearn for peace. Today too, on behalf of a human family profoundly affected by a grave financial crisis, yet even more by a moral crisis, and by the painful wounds of wars and conflicts, the Church, in faithful solidarity with mankind, repeats with the shepherds: "Let us go to Bethlehem" (Lk 2:15), for there we shall find our hope.

The "us" of the Church is alive in the place where Jesus was born, in the Holy Land, inviting its people to abandon every logic of violence and vengeance, and to engage with renewed vigour and generosity in the process which leads to peaceful coexistence. The "us" of the Church is present in the other countries of the Middle East. How can we forget the troubled situation in Iraq and the "little flock" of Christians which lives in the region? At times it is subject to violence and injustice, but it remains determined to make its own contribution to the building of a society opposed to the logic of conflict and the rejection of one’s neighbour. The "us" of the Church is active in Sri Lanka, in the Korean peninsula and in the Philippines, as well as in the other countries of Asia, as a leaven of reconciliation and peace. On the continent of Africa she does not cease to lift her voice to God, imploring an end to every injustice in the Democratic Republic of Congo; she invites the citizens of Guinea and Niger to respect for the rights of every person and to dialogue; she begs those of Madagascar to overcome their internal divisions and to be mutually accepting; and she reminds all men and women that they are called to hope, despite the tragedies, trials and difficulties which still afflict them. In Europe and North America, the "us" of the Church urges people to leave behind the selfish and technicist mentality, to advance the common good and to show respect for the persons who are most defenceless, starting with the unborn. In Honduras she is assisting in process of rebuilding institutions; throughout Latin America, the "us" of the Church is a source of identity, a fullness of truth and of charity which no ideology can replace, a summons to respect for the inalienable rights of each person and his or her integral development, a proclamation of justice and fraternity, a source of unity.

In fidelity to the mandate of her Founder, the Church shows solidarity with the victims of natural disasters and poverty, even within opulent societies. In the face of the exodus of all those who migrate from their homelands and are driven away by hunger, intolerance or environmental degradation, the Church is a presence calling others to an attitude of acceptance and welcome. In a word, the Church everywhere proclaims the Gospel of Christ, despite persecutions, discriminations, attacks and at times hostile indifference. These, in fact, enable her to share the lot of her Master and Lord.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, how great a gift it is to be part of a communion which is open to everyone! It is the communion of the Most Holy Trinity, from whose heart Emmanuel, Jesus, "God with us", came into the world. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, let us contemplate, filled with wonder and gratitude, this mystery of love and light! Happy Christmas to all!
Per custom, the greeting was followed by Christmas tidings in 65 languages.

PHOTO: Getty

(With acknowledgment to Whispers in the Loggia.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hodie Christus natus est!




Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.” -- Isaiah 7:14

The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
-- CCC 464

Grateful thanks and very best wishes to all visitors and friends for a most blessed and joy-filled Christ-MASS from MCITL.

Photo: Neapolitan presepe by MCITL.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pray for the Pope's safety

A mentally unstable woman jumped a barricade and rushed the Pope as he entered Saint Peter's Basilica to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass. He fell to the floor but appeared to be unhurt and finished celebrating the Mass. Cardinal Etchegaray was also involved and had to be taken to hospital as a result. More on the story here. Photo: AFP.

Blessings for Christmas Eve

Come, Lord Jesus!

NCHLA Alert: Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform!

Send e-mail to Congress

Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed health care reform bills. These two bills now go to conference committee, where House and Senate conferees will be charged with resolving differences and producing one common bill. That bill will then be voted on by each chamber, with an up or down vote, no further amendments allowed.

House: On November 7, 2009, during floor debate on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), the House approved, 240 to 193, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, to enact a permanent ban on federal funding of elective abortions or health plans that include such abortions. The House then narrowly passed H.R. 3962.

Senate: On December 8, 2009, during floor debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), the Senate voted to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, 54-yes, 45-no. This amendment, like the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, would prevent the legislation from mandating abortion coverage or providing federal funds for coverage of elective abortions. On Christmas Eve, after defeating votes to continue the process of debating and amending its bill, the Senate passed H.R. 3590.

The work to produce a one common bill will begin immediately. Votes in House and Senate on this bill are expected in January. Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights for health care providers must be a part of a fair and just health care reform bill, or the final bill must be opposed. Please contact your Representative and Senators today!

ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters. 1) To send an e-mail, click here. 2) Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

MESSAGE—SENATE: "I am deeply disappointed that the Senate-passed health care reform bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience rights. In the conference committee process, I urge you to do what you can to reverse the decision of the Senate. If this effort fails, I urge you to vote against the bill on final passage.”

MESSAGE—HOUSE: “I am pleased that the House-passed health care reform bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. I urge you work to ensure that essential provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights are included in a bill produced in conference committee. If this effort fails, I urge you to vote against the bill on final passage.”

WHEN: Votes in House and Senate on a final common bill are expected in January. Thanks!

For more info at the NCHLA web site Action Center, click here.

Updated 12/24/09

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Senate Health Care Vote Imminent

Call To Action

Dear Friend,

The U.S. Senate is preparing for a vote on its health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). A final vote on cloture is expected December 23 and the vote on passage is expected on December 24.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced his Managers Amendment to H.R. 3590, which represents the health care reform bill which will be presented to the Senate for a vote. This proposal is not acceptable. It violates the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions. It also fails to provide adequate conscience protection. This bill should not move forward at this time. Senators should continue to discuss and approve changes that would make it morally acceptable. If this does not occur, the bill should be opposed.

Please contact your Senators and Representative today! Please click on the link below to send your messages.Please contact your Senators and Representative today!

Thanks for all you do in support of life! May you and your families have a Blessed Christmas!

Sincerely,

Michael Taylor
Executive Director

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
http://actions.nchla.org/link/target/nchla39380699.aspx

Monday, December 21, 2009

Italian Supreme Court Decision Signals Sovereign Resistance to European Overreach

By Piero A. Tozzi, J.D.

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) A little-publicized decision by Italy's Constitutional Court last month may have significant implications concerning the direction of Europe, strengthening national sovereignty as a bulwark against transnational overreach by European institutions. It also signals the continued importance of national constitutions, despite the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty earlier this month.

In Sentenza N. 311, the Italian Constitutional Court stated that where rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) conflict with provisions of the Italian Constitution, such rulings "lack legitimacy." Sources close to the Italian judiciary told the Friday Fax that the decision was intended as a warning that activist rulings by the Strasbourg-based ECHR overstepping jurisdictional boundaries will not be given deference.

Visit C-FAM for the rest of the story by clicking here.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

"It's not about you"

Transcending joy is ours when we choose in freedom to be "about others".
-- ((((..))))

Please help the family of Shawn Bowman, RIP


Bowman Memorial Fund




In Memory of Shawn T. Bowman
TSgt Shawn Bowman, a decorated Air Force reservist, husband and father, was killed in an automobile accident on Monday, December 14, 2009. The Bowman Memorial Fund will benefit his wife Marta, their two-year old son Eric, and their unborn child, who is due in April 2010. TSgt Bowman was a member of the 70th Operations Support Squadron, 70th Intelligence Reconnaissance and Surveillance Wing, Ft Meade, Maryland. His distinguished service includes a tour in Iraq for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He will be sorely missed.

If you are able to give to the Fund you can visit the Active Giving web site by clicking here.

If you prefer to write a check and use snail mail, please make the check out to "Church of Saint Philip", make a note in the memo block indicating the check is intended for the "Bowman Fund" and mail to:

Father Scott Hahn
Pastor
Church of Saint Philip
5416 Henderson Way
Camp Springs, MD 20746

Phone: 301-423-4244

Shawn Bowman was a parishioner at Saint Philip's in Camp Springs, MD, where the funeral Mass was celebrated Saturday. His remains will be transported to Illinois for a service there with family.

Please pray for the repose of Shawn's soul and the consolation of his widow Marta, his son Eric and their families.

We thank God for the gift of Shawn and for the blessings of his generosity in the love of marriage, fatherhood and military service to our nation.


Requiescat in pace.

-- Thanks to Father Scott Hahn, Ange Meoli and the Coles family at the parish of Saint Philip, Camp Springs, Md.

Healthy debate on health care plan: Stupak says "not acceptable"

Immediate Release
December 19, 2009
Contact: Michelle Begnoche
(202) 225-4735




STUPAK STATEMENT ON SENATE ABORTION LANGUAGE


For Immediate Release
December 19, 2009

"WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) issued the following statement regarding to the abortion language provisions in the Senate health care bill:

“While I appreciate the efforts of all the parties involved, especially Senator Ben Nelson, the Senate abortion language is not acceptable. I will continue to work with my colleagues on this issue as the process moves forward.

"A review of the Senate language indicates a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage.

"Further, the segregation of funds to pay for abortion is another departure from current policy prohibiting federal subsidy of abortion coverage.

To read the full statement released yesterday by Rep. Stupak, visit his official site here.

Morning still life with snow

"You spread a table before me ..."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"A grave reason excuses from a grave obligation": Archdiocesan statement on Mass attendance and inclement weather

Attending Mass in Inclement Weather

December 18, 2009

With inclement weather predicted for the next couple of days, we wish to remind the faithful that dangerous travel/road conditions are legitimate excuses from fulfilling the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. Those who cannot safely attend Mass in person are encouraged to watch the Sunday TV Mass, which airs at 10:30 a.m. on CW50. Click here for details and the exact channel in your area.


The preceding is posted on the Archdiocesan of Washington website.

National Right to Life Committee statement on new Reid abortion language

WASHINGTON (December 19, 2009, 2:00 PM EST): The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, strongly opposes the abortion language contained in the "manager's amendment" filed today by U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nv.). Reid intends to press for Senate approval of the language during the days immediately ahead, without allowing an opportunity for any revisions to be considered.

The following statement may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson:

The manager’s amendment is light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194. The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.

NRLC will score the upcoming roll call votes on cloture on the Reid manager’s amendment, and on the underlying bill, as votes in favor of legislation to allow the federal government to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, to oversee multi-state plans that cover elective abortions, and to empower federal officials to mandate that private health plans cover abortions even if they do not accept subsidized enrollees, among other problems.

In addition, if the final bill produced by a House-Senate conference committee does not contain the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, NRLC will score the House and Senate votes on the conference report as votes to allow federal mandates and subsidies for coverage of elective abortion. Unless the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is included in the final bill, and the new pro-abortion provisions dropped, a significant number of House members who voted for H.R. 3962 will not vote to pass the final legislation.

A more detailed critique of the new Reid language will be posted on the NRLC website later today at http://www.nrlc.org/ahc

Pope2You: Send your Christmas greetings to the Holy Father

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to announce that through the site www.pope2you.net you can send Christmas greetings directly to the pope. The initiative was carried out by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is available for this Christmas.

Pope2You is the official portal of the Vatican through which one can contact and forge a friendship with the Pope. Pope2You received over 7 million hits in less than 8 months and this Christmas is offering a new service: it will be possible to send Christmas greetings to the Pope.

Moreover, the Pope has sent his best wishes via Pope2You. Share this good news with your friends on facebook, and all over the web.

For information please contact:

Fr Paolo Padrini
Project Coordinator

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications

Snow in Maryland

A benediction of white.

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To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Catholic Vote Action Video

Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine: "Some stand watch while you sleep"

Some stay up for 16 hours;
he stays up for days on end...


Some take warm showers to wake up;
he goes days or weeks without running water...

Some complain of a 'headache' and call in sick;
he gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward...


Some put on their "anti-war/don't support the troops shirts" and go meet up with friends;
he still fights for their right to wear that shirt...

Many check their pocket to make sure they've remembered the cell phone;
he clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags...

Some talk trash about 'buddies' that aren't along for the fun;
he knows he may not see some of his buddies again...

Some walk down the beach staring at all the pretty girls;
he patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists...

Some complain about how hot it is;
he wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow...

Some go out to lunch and complain because the restaurant got the order wrong;
he doesn't get to eat today or goes for stretches without a hot meal.

For some a maid makes the bed and washes the clothes;
he wears the same uniform for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

Some go to the mall and get their hair redone;
he doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.

Some get angry because a class ran five minutes overtime;
he's told he will be held over an extra two months.

Some call the girlfriend and set a date for tonight;
he waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home...

Some hug and kiss girlfriends and wives every day;
he holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.

Some roll their eyes at the sound of a baby's cries;
he gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet...

Some criticize the government and say that war never solves anything;
he sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting...

Some hear the jokes about the war and make fun of men like him;
he hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.

Some see only what the media want them to see;
he cannot avert his gaze from the broken bodies lying around him.

Some are asked for help by parents or family and refuse;
he does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.

Some stay at home and watch TV;
he uses whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

Those at home crawl into their soft beds with down pillows, and get comfortable;
he tries to sleep but is awakened by mortars and helicopters all night long.
REMEMBER our troops: they are living and dying for us far from home and family.
Lest we forget: it is a very little thing we do to pray for and support them in word and action.

Wishing a safe and peaceful Christmas to our military deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places in harm's way unknown to us.

God bless them and their families.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prepare ye

...the way of the Lord.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Colleen

My niece celebrates her 11th natal anniversary today. Please offer a
prayer for her, if you would be so kind. Thank you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Senate plays "Herod" for DC infants: Funds Planned Parenthood, UNFPA, Ditches Abstinence Ed

The bill described in this LifeNews story was passed over the weekend, funding abortion through Planned Parenthood, and ditching abstinence education in favor of condom distribution.
-- ((((..))))

Senate Omnibus Bill Funds Planned Parenthood, UNFPA, Ditches Abstinence Ed

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 11
, 2009

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Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The omnibus spending bill the Senate will consider this weekend could pave the way for funding abortions in the nation's capital for the first time in 13 years. There are other winners and losers in the legislation -- with Planned Parenthood and the UNFPA dining at the Congressional trough.

Read the rest of the story at the source: LifeNews.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The mendacious and mercenary, the faithless and fickle

Can you imagine the loneliness and the longing of the Lord for the love of and communion with His Father in the face of man's lack of faith and treacherous selfishness?

Such insight makes possible the beginning of sincere prayer and true love of God.

-- ((((..))))

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Concern for the Church is proof of love for Christ"

This priesthood is ministerial. "That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service." It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a "sacred power" which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all. "The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him."

-- CCC 1551

Friday, December 11, 2009

To love the Church

To love the Church means to love what the Church loves, to prefer what the Church prefers.

To serve the Church means to go beyond oneself in order to do what is best for the Church; to deny oneself and to sacrifice one's own preferences for the good of Christ's mission of salvation in the Church for the sake of the world.

-- ((((..))))

Letter from a reader: Fathers and childbirth

Dear Father Cusick:

The current article you wrote in The Wanderer piqued my curiosity - the title alone caught my eye.

One day my husband and I believe we will find a Catholic priest who will be interested in what I have to say about childbirth - the idea that during the act of childbirth, important husband-wife complementarity is taking place and that traditional American childbirth where a doctor delivers the baby puts a temporary wedge between the couple - a distortion to how birth should be and a scenario that robs the dignity of the woman.

We are not holding our breath, since it's been over 10 years that I've tried to express my ideas to a Catholic audience. That's fine. Catholics are more interested that their doctor is pro-life, but do not dig deeper into the issue of birth, and often choose to have a doctor deliver the baby in the hospital based on fear and conformity. One priest shared our views and I cannot locate him (Father WiIlliam D. Virtue, author of MOTHER AND INFANT: THE MORAL THEOLOGY OF EMBODIED SELF-GIVING IN MOTHERHOOD IN LIGHT OF THE EXEMPLAR COUPLET MARY AND JESUS CHRIST). If you know of a way to find this priest, I would be very grateful.

We feel God has placed this issue (among others) strongly on our shoulders and it will be my husband and I who deliver our important message when we can devote time (we have 6 children ages 7-21, so we are deep in our parenting years, with little time to do further investigation or writing at this time). Maybe you are interested or can think of another priest who might be. I would welcome the opportunity to begin a correspondence or dialogue about my thoughts. I have a few things written on "holy marriage" and how birth is directly related. There is still more for me to delve into regarding theology of the body and other topics. If you know of a priest who might be interested in this topic, feel free to forward this email. My book and CD, listed below, are written with a secular audience in mind.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lynn M. Griesemer
Author of:
UNASSISTED HOMEBIRTH: AN ACT OF LOVE (1998) and
YOUR BODY, YOUR BIRTH: SECRETS FOR A SATISFYING AND SUCCESSFUL BIRTH (2007) - CD
www.unassistedhomebirth.com
Email: greeze@juno.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mary's gift

Mary's "yes" made possible her greatest happiness: the true presence of the holiness of God Himself for the salvation of the world. Mary gives Jesus Christ to us and to all. She knows the happiness of holiness, the absence of Eve's shame, through the presence of Jesus Christ within her for the sake of others.

To give oneself is good; to give Christ is best. Holiness is living Christ and giving Christ, but we cannot give what we do not have.

We discover this "happiness of holiness" when we are, like Mary, bearers of the gift of Christ within us for the sake of others.

Regular and intense prayer keeps Christ alive in us for others.


-- ((((..))))

US Bishops Back Measure to Bar Tax-Funded Abortion

The Senate will vote TODAY, 8 December 2009 on an amendment to exclude abortion funding from proposed health care act.


Senate Vote Expected on Tuesday
WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops are backing an amendment to keep abortion out of health care reform and are asking voters to urge their Senators to support the measure.

The bishops wrote Congress today in support of an amendment proposed by Senators Ben Nelson, Orrin Hatch and Robert Casey, which would prevent the health reform bill from using federal funds to pay for health plans that include elective abortions. They sent along two fact sheets explaining how the current bill supports abortion and how the amendment would stop that.

A similar measure was passed in the House of Representatives, paving the way for the passage there of the "Affordable Health Care for America Act."

The bishops are urging voters to contact their Senators and express support for the amendment, and in fact, the bishops' Web site offers a user-friendly e-mail system to put constituents in touch with their Senators.

"This amendment will have the same effect as the Stupak-Smith-Ellsworth-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Pitts Amendment already accepted in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority," the bishops' letter said. "Like that amendment, it does not change the current situation in our country: Abortion is legal and available, but no federal dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that include elective abortions. This amendment does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people’s abortions."

The bishops note that without the amendment, the Senate bill fails to keep tax dollars from funding abortions.

"Sadly, the current Senate bill fails to keep in place the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions or health plans that include elective abortions -- a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program -- and now in the House-passed 'Affordable Health Care for America Act,'" they explained. "We believe legislation that violates this moral principle is not true health care reform and must be amended to reflect the Hyde restrictions. If that fails, the current legislation should be opposed."

One of the sponsors of the bill, Senator Nelson of Nebraska, noted that the amendment is a reflection of Americans' desires to restrict abortion.

"Most Nebraskans, and Americans, do not favor using public funds to cover abortion,” he said in a statement on his Web page, "and as a result this bill shouldn’t open the door to do so."

--- --- ---
THE BISHOPS HAVE PROVIDED A QUICK AND EASY WAY TO SIGNAL YOUR SUPPORT.

VISIT THIS NCHLA SITE TO QUICKLY AND EASILY FILL OUT AN ON-LINE FORM TO SEND A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR THE MOVEMENT TO KEEP ABORTION FUNDING OUT OF THE HEALTH CARE ACT. FIND THE FORM HERE.

"Pink Glove Dance" for Breast Cancer Awareness



Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Form follows function

Be a saint: pray like a saint.
-- ((((..))))

Happy Saint Ambrose Day:

"I see you, O Lord face to face; I meet you in your sacraments."

PriestYear "Priest in Focus": Father Dan Leary

Father Dan Leary and the people of his parish, Jesus the Divine Word, are celebrating the Year of the Priest in a particularly intense way.

Father himself is praying for his brother priests by offering his Eucharistic holy hours, the children of the parish made and sent cards to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington and the members of the parish at large are also keeping priests in prayer by name.

Sharon S. of Huntingtown, Maryland, has this to say about Father Leary:

"Fr. Dan Leary is my pastor and favorite priest. He closely resembles the spiritual side of St. John Vianney as his main purpose is to save souls.

"Before Fr. Dan came to our parish, we had the normal Saturday afternoon confessions with few attending. Now, he hears confessions every day and there are lines!! Through his prayers and encouragement, many people have come back to the church and there has been an incredible amount of people who have converted to Catholicism. He has a special way of touching people’s hearts.

"Fr. Dan spends many hours meeting with people in difficult situations as well as with people wanting spiritual advice. Through his example and great love of the Blessed Sacrament, many people have grown more deeply in love with Jesus.
"

Thank you, Father Dan Leary. A blessed Year of the Priest to you.

Photo: Father Greg Schaffer (right) is vested at his ordination by Father Daniel Leary. Source: St Andrew Q&A.

Please send your nominations for "Priest in Focus" to mcitl DOT blogspot DOT com AT gmail DOT com. Thank you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday at St Mary of the Assumption: Embracing our baptismal vocation

... the preparation in grace for the battle and the victory of the Lord's life and love over sin and death.

John the Baptist offers a sign of repentance to "prepare!" for the coming of redemption. Our baptism is no mere sign but the receiving of a real gift: the Lord Himself by grace through faith.

In our liturgy the Lord gives Himself so that we may not be left to prepare on our own: without him we can "do nothing". Generous love expressed liturgically for the Lord truly present deepens the graces of faith first received in Baptism.

It is a very little thing for us to genuflect upon entering and before departing our churches where Christ is present in the tabernacle.

It is a very small gesture to stop and make a profound bow before approaching the priest to receive communion.

Done with love, these very small gestures of adoration grow our faith into a more profound experience. Our baptismal calling and grace is deepened and we are strengthened by God's own love to reject the false promise of sin that leads to death.

The reasons for despair, the tragic reality of sin in our world, make necessary a more than merely superficial preparation for this battle of life and death. Intense and profound prayer in Mass gives us the weapons to fight and to win. The gift of ourselves in word and gesture is the spiritual sacrifice that gives glory to God.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our Lady of Holy Purity

Keep us safe under the mantle of Divine grace. Through your intercession help us to keep our baptismal dignity always free of the stain of mortal sin.

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Snow...der Schnee...la Neve..las Nieves

Let it

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Bridge freezes before road surface

Neglect of prayer, the span of grace from here to eternity, casts the
most bitter of winter glooms upon the pathway of life.
((((..)))).

Confirmation Congratulations for Kelly Patrick Edmond

I enjoyed the privilege of serving as sponsor for my nephew on the occasion of his reception of the sacrament of Confirmation Friday.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal,

the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth,

the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven,

the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee, and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,

the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints,

the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable,

the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Best wishes to Kelly for many blessings now and always in the Holy Spirit, "the Lord and Giver of Life".

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