Wednesday, February 27, 2013

40 Days of Almsgiving

In Part 1 of this series I spoke of the notion of almsgiving during Lent as I am practicing it this year. This week's lucky charities are:

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:
At the Becket Fund we like to say we’ve defended the religious rights of people from “A to Z,” from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. Our supporters represent a myriad of religions, but they all share our common vision of a world where religious freedom is respected as a fundamental human right that all are entitled to enjoy and exercise.
Friends of scouting:
"Friends of Scouting" is the name given to Scouting's annual financial support campaign.  The council's operation, including upkeep and maintenance of our camping properties, registrations and recordkeeping services, and our field staff, are all funded through private contributions received through the Friends of Scouting Campaign.
Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging:
CFCA is a lay Catholic organization working with persons of all faiths to create a worldwide community of compassion and service. We sponsor children, youth and the aging from all faiths and strive to be a tranquil presence in their lives. When we create a true exchange of cultures, understanding and love as equals we are alleviating not just material poverty but are also creating the bonds of lasting peace and unity among people of diverse faiths and backgrounds.

Jérôme Lejeune Foundation:
The mission of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA is to provide research, care, and advocacy to benefit those with genetic intellectual disabilities. This is carried out by conducting, promoting, and funding in the United States therapeutically oriented research; by assisting in the development of healthcare services for these individuals; and by serving as their advocate in a spirit of respect for the dignity of all human persons.
Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations:
The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations is privileged to assist men and women to follow God's call to service in the Church through a life of consecration. We operate the St. Joseph Student Debt Relief Grant Program for religious life and the St. John Vianney Student Debt Relief Grant Program for the parish priesthood. These grants eliminate the delay many young people encounter as they struggle to pay off their student debts before they can enter religious life. A grant pays candidates' student loan payments while they are in formation for either religious life or the priesthood.
NCHLA (National Committee for Human Life Amendment):
In the great civil rights struggle to secure the right to life for all, Archbishop John Roach, testifying on behalf of the Catholic Bishops, expressed the guiding vision:

"We are committed to full legal recognition of the right to life of the unborn child, and will not rest in our efforts until society respects the inherent worth and dignity of every member of the human race."

November 5, 1981 Statement before the
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
SQPN (Star Quest Production Network) is a multimedia organization specializing in the production of audio and video programs faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Its mission is to respond to the Church’s call to use the media for religious information, for evangelization and catechesis and for formation and education.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Joke

Always looking for souls to save, a priest goes into a pub in a less reputable part of town and approaches the first man he sees. "Do you want to go to Heaven?" he asks.

The man says, "Indeed I do, Father."

"Then for God's sake," commands the priest, "leave this pub right now."

The man immediately gets up and leave, and the priest turns to the next man, "Do you want to go to Heaven, my son?"

And the man answers, "Yes Father, indeed I want to do that very thing."

"Then get out of this pub right now!" orders the priest.

Father continues this doing this until he comes to the last man. "Do you want to go to Heaven, man?!"

The man looks at his half-full beer, turns, looks at the priest and says, "No, I don't, Father."

"You mean to tell me, young man, that when you die, you don't want to go to Heaven?" asks the priest incredulously.

"Oh, well, when I die, yes Father, I certainly do. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now!"

Monday, February 18, 2013

40 Days of Almsgiving

Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This year, in addition to the usual prayer and fasting I'm trying to get more serious about almsgiving. My plan is to donate to a different charity each day for 40 days. I thought I'd share some of them with you, but blogging a charity a day is kind of, well, tough. So, I'm batching them up. Feel free to chime in with your favorite charities for me to donate to.

Last week the beneficiaries were:

40 Days for Life. I have taken part in 40 Days for Life for the past several years, and can testify to its effectiveness at saving and turning around lives.
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion.

The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.
The Diocese of Trenton Bishop's Annual Appeal. Our bishops need our support, spiritually and financially. Bishop O'Connell is having an especially tough time this year. Recovering from skin cancer, he now faces the loss of a foot to diabetes. From Bishop O'Connell's letter on the Appeal.
As each of us participates in different ways to observe this Year of Faith we must remember that this tremendous gift of knowing God’s love is not for us to keep alone. It is for us to share; by the words we speak, by the way we live our lives and by the way we love one another.

Now, more than ever, there are those who truly need to hear the message of God’s saving love. With your contribution to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal you will help bring the good news of the Gospel to countless individuals and groups throughout the diocese by offering hope, love and the gift of new life in Christ.
Opus Bono Sacerdotii.This organization helps for priests who have various legal, psychological or spiritual problems.
Opus Bono Sacerdotii (Work for the Good of the Priesthood) was founded in response to many sensitive situations with priests requesting confidential assistance for unique problems. These situations may encompass a whole spectrum of circumstances, however, the success in caring for Catholic priests is understanding the uniqueness of each individual and their particular needs, abilities and desires especially as it effects the extraordinary relationship between the natural and supernatural aspect of the person of the priest.
Domestic Church Media is New Jersey's only Catholic Radio station, WFJS, 89.3 FM and 1260 AM. Supporting your local Catholic radio station is an important way to help spread the Gospel.
One of the goals of Domestic Church Media is to bring Catholic radio to New Jersey and New York City. Having been involved in Catholic radio on various levels in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area since 1995, Jim and Cheryl Manfredonia understand the responsibilities of operating a 24-hour Catholic radio apostolate. As with any media apostolic work, they know that their first and foremost responsibility is that of presenting the Truth of our Catholic Faith in all its rich fullness and without compromise.
Catholics Come Home is and organization that helps bring fallen away Catholics back to the Church.
Inspired by the our Holy Fathers’ calls to a New Evangelization and re-proposing of the Gospel, Catholics Come Home® reaches out to inactive Catholics using inspiring TV commercials and an interactive Web site. Without pressure or obligation, Catholics Come offers an opportunity to learn the truth about the Catholic faith in a loving, non-judgmental atmosphere. We offer many resources that aid fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics in learning more about returning to the Catholic Church. Coming home has never been easier!

Monday Joke

A frog goes to a fortune teller and asks if he is going meet a young girl.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be careful what you wish for

As expected, the usual characters are calling for a Pope who will "make some changes" and by that they mean change Church doctrine, generally in matters of sexuality. I can't help but wonder if they have any idea what they are asking. The thing is, the Church is not just another political system, like a government. Without understanding that, and treating it as if it were, we can make grave errors with far reaching consequences.

Monday, February 11, 2013

On Papal Resignation

I was as shocked as anyone to hear today the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. As usual, the usual people have the usual things to say. The AP says that he is a failure, and his papacy is marked by scandals that the Pope was either complicit in or ignorant of. Tom Peters has a good post on what it means, with links to Ed Peters on the law and politics of a Papal conclave. Thomas McDonald has an interview with my own Bishop O'Connell on the subject. Everyone from Cardinal Dolan to Michael Voris has something to say, and I am not smart enough or well spoken enough to add much to what they say.

But I will say this to those who will spend the next few weeks worrying about who will lead the Church next - trust the Holy Spirit. Popes will come and go. Some will be great, others mediocre or even bad. But the gates of hell shall not prevail.

Blessed Pope John Paul II ora pro nobis.

For any who wish to join me I plan to spend the 18 days from now until 2/28  praying the following novena for a Papal conclave that Jennifer E shared on Google +:
Prepared by Dr. Mark Miravalle, a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville (from 2005).

Novena Prayer for a Conclave
Heavenly Father,

We, the People of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history at the beginning of the Third Millennium.

We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son:

1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us

Monday Joke

A man climbs to the top of a high mountain to get close enough to talk to God.

Upon reaching the top, he looks up, he asks the Lord, "God, what does a million years mean to you?"

The Lord replies, "A minute."

The man then asks, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?"

The Lord replies, "A penny."

Then he asks, "Can I have a penny?"

And the Lord replies, "In a minute."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gifted Hands

It's not such a great movie, but it's a great story, and it's true. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story is the biography of Dr. Ben Carson, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon.
From Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Actor in a Supporting Role, Jerry Maguire, 1996) stars in this true story about a renowned brain surgeon who overcame obstacles to change the course of medicine forever. Young Ben Carson didn't have much of a chance. Growing up in a broken home amongst poverty and prejudice, his grades suffered and his temper flared. And yet, his mother never lost her faith in him. Insisting he follow the opportunities she never had, she helped to grow his imagination, intelligence and, most importantly, his belief in himself. That faith would be his gift - the thing that would drive him to follow his dream of becoming one of the world's leading neurosurgeons.
I saw this movie a couple of years ago, and didn't think much about it until recently, when I saw this video a friend posted. It's well worth sitting through the entire speech. Oh, and note who doesn't applaud.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Joke

A Pennsylvanian man dies and winds up in hell.

The devil put the man to work on a rock pile with a 20-pound sledge hammer in 90 degree heat with 90% humidity.

At the end of the day, the devil went to check on the man, only to find him smiling and singing as he pounded rocks. The man explained that the heat and hard labor were very similar to working in the steel mills with his daddy.

The devil told his demon to turn up the heat to 100 degrees, with 100% humidity.

At the end of the next day, the devil again checked on the new man, and found him still happy to be sweating and straining. The man explained that it reminded him of the old days, when his granddaddy worked in the coal mines.

At that, the devil told his demon to lower the temperature to -20 degrees with a 40 mph wind.

At the end of the next day, the devil was sure the man would be miserable. But, instead the man was singing louder than ever, twirling the sledge hammer like a baton in the frost and ice.

When the devil asked him why he was so happy, the man answered, "The Eagles must have won the Super Bowl!"