30 July 2009

We're pleased to announce...

...the ordination of one of our boys!

Brian Noel and his parents, Bill and Kathy Noel, were long-time members of the parish until Bill's work took them elsewhere. Brian served at the altar throughout his boyhood years, and after college he taught at the academy for a time. When he discerned his vocation to the priesthood he approached the Diocese of Pittsburgh because of family ties there. He has been studying at the Pontifical North American College, and he will be ordained to the diaconate with his class. The ordaining bishop will be the Archbishop of St. Louis, the Most Reverend Robert Carlson. It will take place on 8th October at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. God willing, Brian's priestly ordination will take place on 26th June 2010, in Pittsburgh.


Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence hast appointed various orders in thy Church: Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all who are called to any office and ministry for thy people; and so fill them with the truth of thy doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great Name and for the benefit of thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Knights of the Holy Eucharist

Here's an interesting article which was just sent to me:

Young Catholic men find joy and fulfillment in
‘knightly’ service of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence


HANCEVILLE, Ala. — In medieval days, knights were men who were elevated by their king and consecrated to a position of trust. These noble and faithful men would pledge to give their very lives to the service and protection of their lord and his kingdom.

Today, members of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a vibrant community of consecrated young men deeply committed to the Catholic faith, provide that very service for their Lord and King, Jesus Christ, through their work at the magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Angels Monastery in rural Hanceville, Ala. Situated on 400 acres of lush farmland along a remote country road some 45 miles north of Birmingham, the Shrine receives thousands of pilgrims each year who seek to nourish their faith amid this sacred and peaceful environment.

The Shrine and monastery, home to a cloistered community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, were founded by Mother Angelica, the beloved nun who entered religious broadcasting in 1981 on little more than a prayer and developed the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the largest and most popular religious media network in the world. EWTN is headquartered some 50 miles to the south in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale, where the nuns resided in the original monastery until their relocation to the present site in 1999.

In the spirit of St. Francis

The Knights of the Holy Eucharist represents part of the resurgence of vocations in the Catholic Church developing from the “new evangelization” promoted by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict XVI. Its members have as their primary focus the fostering of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament as well as the assistance and protection of the nuns of the monastery. Along with maintaining the grounds and facilities, the Knights host clergy, brothers, and seminarians on retreat; serve as acolytes at Shrine liturgies; and provide assistance for pilgrims.
Community members live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience but do not profess public vows. In their daily work and personal contact with pilgrims, the Knights also seek opportunities to evangelize by performing works of charity and providing instruction and comfort when necessary. Putting aside the things of this world, they live by the motto of their patron, St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my All.”

The Knights strive for a structured balance of work and prayer. In addition to their assigned labors, Knights participate daily in Mass, the Rosary, Morning and Evening Prayer, and two hours of scheduled adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. They also take formation classes three days a week, make a Holy Hour on Thursday evenings, and plan a monthly one-day retreat.

Luke Johnasen, whose religious name is Brother Laurence, finds the life of a Knight to be very fulfilling. He entered the community in 2006 after visiting his younger brother Nyles (Brother Philip), who had joined the Knights a few years earlier after making a retreat at the Shrine.

“When I saw the Knights and how they lived their lives in work and prayer, with daily adoration, it really seemed to speak to me,” said Brother Laurence, 28, who is originally from Hilo, Hawaii. “Even when we are not physically in the chapel of adoration, we are doing work around the chapel all day long, so we are still doing work centered on the Blessed Sacrament.”

David Rodriguez, known as Brother Juan, became part of the community at the age of 18. The formation he has received there has given him “a deeper understanding of how God’s grace works in each and every one of our hearts,” he said.

Now 21, Brother Juan said that the sacrifices he has made to pursue his vocation bring him “a fulfillment largely in the joy that comes from answering God’s call.”

Called to serve

Like EWTN, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist was the inspiration of Mother Angelica herself. In the summer of 1998, with the Shrine under construction and nearly 18 months from completion, the foundress decided to start a new community of men dedicated to maintaining the facility, assisting at liturgies, and providing hospitality for pilgrims. Among those she invited to consider this vocation in consecrated life was 35-year-old James Fazzini, who had only recently come to work at the monastery. “What have you got to lose by trying it?” she asked him. He joined the Knights that August and in December received Brother David as his religious name.

Initially, the Knights boarded temporarily in a house just down the road. “We took an existing pole barn on the monastery grounds and converted it into living quarters because Mother wanted us to be on the property,” said Brother David, who presently serves as the Brother Guardian of the community. “We’ve added to it ever since, and now we receive 200 priests each year who come to the Shrine for retreats.”

One of the original seven Knights is Brother Pio, who is named after St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), the 20th-century mystic who suffered the stigmata, the wounds of Christ on his own body. Like his namesake, Brother Pio is a “victim soul,” having been disabled since he sustained a serious spinal injury in a fall several years ago. Brother Pio presently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but visits the community once or twice a year.

“We felt in the early stages that we needed to have a victim soul, one who was called to suffer for the community, and Brother Pio is our victim soul,” said Brother David, a native of West Virginia. “Because he is confined to a wheelchair, all the suffering he endures and all his prayers are offered for the community.”

Two years ago, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist became affiliated with the Heralds of the Gospel, a rapidly growing evangelistic community that was founded in Brazil in 1999 and canonically recognized as an “association of the faithful of pontifical right” in 2001. The Heralds and their founder, Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, had developed a relationship of mutual support and admiration with Mother Angelica and were very receptive when the Knights petitioned Msgr. Clá to join the Heralds family.

On June 29, 2007, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist thus became “a branch within the Heralds of the Gospel,” said Brother Thomas Walsh, who lives and works in a Heralds community in Houston. With that union, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist share the Heralds’ pontifical blessing.

That fall, the Knights enrolled its first candidates for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. This coming academic year, the Knights will have six seminarians at various stages of formation.

Twenty-four-year-old Damien Pellerin, now Brother Michael, was one of the first Knights to enter the seminary. He was working in construction for his father in southern Louisiana five years ago when the two of them happened to stop by the monastery en route to a builders’ convention in Florida. Having already decided to spend a year to discern his vocation, Damien was impressed with the Knights and applied for acceptance shortly thereafter.

“After I was there just a short time, I felt this was it,” said Brother Michael. “It was really the charism of the community, the great spiritual life, the solid formation. Life at the monastery is a great gift to all of us.”

Developing a sense of vocation

By fall, the community will have 12 members in all. Many more are envisioned for the future.

“Mother Angelica has felt for a long time that the vocations are truly there, that God continues to call young men to the consecrated life. Unfortunately, with all the distractions of today, they don’t hear God’s voice calling them,” said Brother David.

As a result, “many young men today are not thinking about their vocations,” he said. “There’s a sense of a lack of fulfillment in the soul, and the soul can’t be at peace where it is, and ultimately that leaves them unhappy. They have to develop not only the awareness that they have a vocation from God, but also how to carry out that vocation plan in their lives.”

The community seeks applicants between the ages of 17 and 21 and hopes to draw more young men right out of high school. Part of the vision is to establish an academy near the Shrine that can begin the formation of young men separated from the world, Brother David said.

As the vision continues to unfold for the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, many more community members will be needed to serve the Shrine and monastery, form young men in the academy, and provide priestly ministry to pilgrims, sisters, and fellow Knights alike.

There is further expansion planned for the monastery grounds as well. Among these plans is the Pope John Paul II Eucharistic Center, conceived as an educational center designed to lead both Catholics and non-Catholics to a deeper appreciation of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence — which is what the Knights of the Holy Eucharist are all about.

For young men still trying to discern the path upon which God is calling them, Brother Michael offered simple and straightforward advice.

“Seek to do the Lord’s will,” he said. “That’s where we find our peace and joy.”

SPECIAL NOTE: The Knights of the Holy Eucharist will be featured for the first time ever on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” program on Thursday, July 30, at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Check local listings to confirm time and channel.

How to inquire

To become a Knight of the Holy Eucharist, a young man must meet the following requirements:

1. Be a single male Catholic in good standing with no legal responsibilities.
2. Have good physical and mental stability.
3. Be between the ages of 17 and 21.
4. Be a high school graduate.
5. Have the ability to perform strenuous manual labor.
6. Have a desire to serve and not to be served.

If you are interested in becoming a Knight of the Holy Eucharist, please send us a letter including an application (available on the website), a recent photograph of yourself, and a statement or essay stating why you are considering the possibility of becoming a Knight.

For more information, contact:

Knights of the Holy Eucharist
Attn.: Brother David
3222 County Road 548
Hanceville, AL 35077
knightsinfo@gmail.com

24 July 2009

Four flags a-flyin'...

We now have four flag poles at the entrance to the school, and we're able to fly the American flag, the Vatican flag, the Texas flag, and the Parish flag. This picture isn't that great -- I took it with my telephone camera -- but it really does make a terrific "first impression," not only for those visiting the school for the first time, but also for those who call this place their second home.

23 July 2009

From our Bishops: Health Care Debate

Health Care Reform, in order to be moral and just, must respect all life.

A joint statement from Archbishop José H. Gomez & Bishop Oscar Cantú

America is preparing to engage in a critical public debate to identify a proper path for this nation to follow toward health care reform. We encourage you to write to your senators and your representative in the Congress, and assure them that no path to health care reform can allow tax dollars to be used to destroy innocent life or discriminate against health care providers who, as a matter of conscience, refuse to "provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortion."
We believe that health care is a fundamental right, not a privilege. We believe that any health care designed and adopted must protect and respect the life and dignity of every human person from the moment of conception to natural death. For decades, we, the Bishops of United States , have long supported the principle of making health care available and affordable for all people.

We join with Bishop William F. Murphy, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the USCCB, who, in his letter to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, wrote, "Health care reform needs to reflect basic ethical principles. We offer these as a guide:

• a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
• access for all with a special concern for the poor and inclusion of legal immigrants;
• pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and
• restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers."

To find out more about what you can do to make your voice heard at this critical moment in the health care debate read the "Action Alert" from the bishops of the United States, or by visiting the website of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

22 July 2009

John Paul II Eucharistic Center

The new John Paul II Eucharistic Center is being completed next to the Poor Clares' monastery in Hanceville. As it says on their website, its purpose is to lead "Catholics and non-Catholics alike to a deeper realization of Our Lord's Eucharistic Presence." It'll have all sorts of exhibits, visuals, etc. They sent a crew to San Antonio today to tape an interview with me for one of the interactive exhibits. I spoke about the priestly vocation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Those are two topics about which, once I get going, I tend not to stop! It's kind of sobering to think that someone will just have to touch a screen, and they'll get me talking at them! Hope the "off" button is in a prominent place...

20 July 2009

Sermon from our Patronal Festival

Some of you have requested a copy of the sermon I preached at the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Atonement. Click here to hear it on podcast.

17 July 2009

Please pray for the Holy Father...

Pope Benedict XVI fell earlier today and broke his wrist. Doctors have set it, and he'll make a full recovery, but do remember him in your prayers.

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve thy servant Pope Benedict, and give thy power of healing to those who minister to his needs, that he for whom our prayers are offered may have confidence in thy loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Here's the report from the Vatican Information Service:

VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2009 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI underwent surgery at the Umberto Parini hospital in the Italian town of Aosta for a fracture to his right wrist. He had suffered a fall last night in his chalet at Les Combes in Valle d'Aosta where he is spending a brief holiday.

The Holy Father arrived at the hospital at 9:45 a.m. this morning. "Even so", declared Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi, "he celebrated Mass and had breakfast early this morning".

Later the Pope “underwent an operation to realign the fractured fragments and fasten them through osteosynthesis, using a local anaesthetic then applying a cast. The Holy Father's general condition is good,” added the Pope's doctor Patrizio Polisca, specifying that “the Pope will return shortly to his residence.”

15 July 2009

Facts can be pesky things...

It's not the sort of thing you'd expect to learn about on "Good Morning America," but it seems those little fetuses (a.k.a. babies) actually have short-term memories. Should this have anything to do with the practice of aborting them? Well, let's not get carried away...

A day of great joy...

The date and place for the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman has been proposed. It should take place on May 2nd in the Birmingham Oratory, and the details are found in this story from the Catholic News Service:

LONDON (CNS) -- Cardinal John Henry Newman will be beatified in Birmingham, England, May 2, a Catholic Church source told Catholic News Service.

The date and venue have been proposed by the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes and are expected to be accepted soon by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the source told CNS July 15 on condition of anonymity.

The source said the cardinal will be beatified in the Birmingham Oratory, which he founded following his conversion to Catholicism in 1845 at age 44.

May 2 is seen as a favorable date because it is the feast of St. Athanasius, the fourth-century "champion of orthodoxy" admired by Cardinal Newman.

Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree authorizing the beatification earlier this year after Vatican medical and theological experts approved the 2001 healing of Deacon John Sullivan of Marshfield, Mass., who was " bent double" by a severe spinal condition, as a miracle attributed to Cardinal Newman's intercession. The decree was made public by the Vatican July 3.

Beatification is a major step in the Catholic sainthood process.

13 July 2009

The Collect for our Patroness...

O God, who dost gather together those who have been scattered, and who dost preserve those who have been gathered together: We beseech, thee through the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Atonement, that thou wilt pour out upon thy Church the grace of unity and send thy Holy Ghost upon all mankind, that they may be one; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

...and in Latin:

Deus, qui dispersa congregas, et congregáta consérvas: quæsumus, per intercessiónem beatíssimæ Vírginis Maríæ, Dóminæ nóstræ Adunatiónis, super ecclésiam tuam uniónis grátiam clementer infunde; et Spíritum Sánctum in totam múndi latitúdinem defunde ut omnes unum sint; per Dóminum nostrum Jésum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sáncti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

The Covenant Hymn

One of the hymns we always sing on the Feast of Our Lady of the Atonement is the "Covenant Hymn" written by the great "Apostle of Unity," Fr. Paul of Graymoor.

O God, who makest covenant,
Whose promise thou wilt never break;
Make strong thy servants militant,
With faith and love no pow’r can shake.
Thy Word prevail, when foes assail,
Lest we should fail, lest we should fail.

“Fear not,” saidst thou to Abraham,
“For I will multiply thy seed;
Thy shield and great reward I AM,
Believe and thou art blessed indeed.”
Thine oath recall, when hosts appall,
Lest we should fall, lest we should fall.

The night on which he was betrayed,
Our Lord took bread, gave thanks and brake,
Likewise the cup when he had prayed,
“My Body ‘tis, and Blood, partake.”
This Food supply, nor us deny,
Lest we should die, lest we should die.

What thou hast pledged to pass must come,
Thou shalt repair the breach of old,
The other sheep with those of Rome,
Shall constitute one only Fold.
This pledge recall, when hosts appall,
Lest we should fall, lest we should fall.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Thy Will let men on earth obey,
That they may join the heav’nly Host.
Thy Word prevail, when foes assail,
Lest we should fail, lest we should fail.

Text: Fr. Paul of Graymoor
Tune: "Melita" by J. B. Dykes

Consecration to Our Lady...

At the conclusion of each Mass yesterday, those present joined in this Consecration to Our Lady of the Atonement. We make this consecration each year on our Feast of Title.

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Our Lady of the Atonement; Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Ghost: we consecrate ourselves anew to thy service and to that of thy Divine Son. We beseech thee to enlighten our minds and inflame our hearts; to obtain for us a deep faith, a strong hope and a burning love; that through sanctifying grace, the source of our reconciliation with God, we may live the life of the Gospel as we have promised; that we may use the things of this world as though we used them not; that the great Atonement of thy Son upon the Cross may be more and more fruitful in our souls. We beseech thee to look ever more graciously upon the Church, which thy Son has founded, and upon His Vicar on earth, our Holy Father. Obtain light and strength for him in his many endeavors for the glory of God. We beseech thee to be gracious to our Parish which invokes thee under the title of Our Lady of the Atonement. May it be ever pleasing to God and to thee. May it ever work for the glory of Christ and the salvation of mankind. May it grow and prosper. May it ever seek first the kingdom of God and His justice. May each and every member be fruitful in every good work and pleasing in all things to the Heart of thy Son. Lastly, we beseech thee to obtain for all men the grace of a true and lasting conversion to God; that the prayer of thy Divine Son may be the sooner fulfilled: “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” Amen.

10 July 2009

Our beautiful title...

Since the time that Christ Jesus walked this earth as the God-Man, there have been, over the centuries, numerous titles which have arisen to give honor to his most holy Mother. In the early centuries of the Church, she was known as theotokos, or God-bearer, and as time passed, the Blessed Virgin Mary was honored with many other titles. Some of these titles are more widely known than others, but all convey a distinct attribute of Mary as a person who has found favor with God. Some of these titles describe her state of life, such as Our Lady of Grace. Others denote a location where she may have spoken spiritually to an individual, such as Our Lady of Fatima. In some titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is associated with the redeeming work of her Son, and there are many such examples of this. But perhaps no other title in the world better describes the fullness of Mary's relationship with her Son as does the title of Our Lady of the Atonement.

The title embraces two mysteries of our faith: first, the atonement -- the wonderful at-one-ment which was achieved by our Lord Jesus Christ as He shed His Most Precious Blood upon the Cross at Calvary, through which came the reconciliation of man with God, and of man with man, making us "at one" in His Sacred Heart; and second, the role of Our Lady in the atonement wrought by God -- her coöperation with the Divine Will at the annunciation, and her participation in her Son's sufferings and death as she stood at the foot of the Cross. These words which Simeon spoke to her came to pass: "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." The crowning act of Redeeming Love -- the Atonement upon the Cross of Jesus Christ -- is for all of us the means whereby mankind finds salvation. Here Jesus gave us the greatest gift: His precious life. Here he gave us His Blessed Mother. Here Mary stood, and here we stand, next to Her, at the foot of the Cross. We are children of The Atonement, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, is Our Lady who bears witness to Christ's Atonement.

08 July 2009

Standing beneath the Cross...

Fr. Paul of Graymoor, who with Mother Lurana of Graymoor, founded the Society of the Atonement in 1898, while they were Episcopalians. Just one hundred years ago, in 1909, the Society was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. One of the treasures they brought with them was the beautiful title of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Atonement -- a title revealed to Fr. Paul while still outside visible communion with the Church. He spoke and wrote frequently about the title which is celebrated on July 9th, and the following words were written by him in 1919.

This particular name of Our Blessed Mother is very dear to us and we believe it is dear to Our Lady herself. We hold it as among the most treasured and sacred traditions of our Institute that it was the Blessed Virgin who first taught us to call her by that name and there are cogent reasons why she should give this title a favorite place among the many by which she is invoked.

First among these reasons must be her own devotion to the mystery of the Atonement, for it was by the death of her son on the Cross, which cost him the last drop of his blood and made her preeminently the Mother of Sorrows, that the wall of division between God and man was broken down and both were made one (Eph. 2:14), through Christ's atoning sacrifice.

As the Blessed Virgin is inseparably associated with our Divine Redeemer in the mystery of his Incarnation, so is she closely associated with him in the great act of the Atonement. Thus is she always represented in the Gospel and in the liturgy and thought of the Catholic Church as standing by the cross, when Christ was crucified there.

There is a second reason, hardly less weighty than the first, why the title, Our Lady of the Atonement, should powerfully appeal to the Mother of God. It was through the Incarnation she become the mother of Christ, but through the Atonement she became the new Eve and the mother of all the regenerate, who being redeemed by the precious blood are predestined to eternal life as the adopted sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. The third time Our Lord spoke upon the cross it was to emphasize this phase of the Atonement, when he said to his mother: "Woman, behold your son," and to St. John, "Son, behold your mother." [Jn.19:26-27] Thus by virtue of the Atonement Mary is the mother of all who live through Christ. Can anyone therefore possibly conceive the depth of significance this title "Our Lady of the Atonement" must possess for Our Blessed Mother herself?

But someone will ask, if so highly esteemed, why should it be kept hidden for nineteen hundred years, to be made known to the faithful in the twentieth century? Is it not the custom even of earthly mothers to preserve the choicest fruits in the summer time and hide them away under lock and key, to bring them forth to their children's delight in the depth of winter and did not the master of the wedding feast say to the bridegroom at Cana,"Every man at first brings forth good wine and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now." [Jn.2:10]

Kinda neat...

We're blessed here in San Antonio to have a terrific Catholic radio station. Guadalupe Radio 89.7 FM has been broadcasting for the past few years and I've been happy to help them with fundraising by taking part in their "radiothon," which is a spirited hour-by-hour contest to see how much can be pledged. It's lots of fun, and I'm always delighted to help support this important apostolate.

As part of the Year for Priests, Guadalupe Radio is featuring a weekly "My Favorite Priest" on their website, and I'm honored to appear there. Let me take this opportunity to urge you to support local Catholic radio, whether here in San Antonio, or in those many other cities which have a Catholic radio station. The people who work behind the scenes in these stations have a wonderful apostolate, as they help bring Catholic teaching and inspiration to huge numbers of people. It's a real work of evangelism, not only in strengthening the faith of believers, but also in bringing the fullness of truth to those who are searching for a deeper relationship with God.

So thank you, Guadalupe Radio, for the honor -- and keep up the fantastic work!

06 July 2009

Yes!

At long last, we got some rain. It's nowhere near enough, and we're still deep in drought, but it was a beautiful sight early this evening when the sky blackened and the drops started to fall, turning into sheets of beautiful rain.

As it happened, we had approximately 30,000 square feet of sod laid out on our new athletic field today. We even obtained a special permit, allowing us to water daily for five weeks. And we'll still have to do that -- but there's no doubt that today's rain will give the grass a strong start. As someone commented, "Gosh, Father, if this is what happens we should have rolled out the sod a month ago!"

So, thanks very much, God... and please send some more.

For what it's worth...

With all the talk about "health care reform," here's an interesting tidbit:



A person with even the most basic moral sense would agree that access to necessary medical assistance should belong to everyone. And actually, that's the case now. No one in real need of medical attention can be turned away. Of course, the issue does go beyond that, into such important issues like preventive health care, long-term medical care for terminal conditions, maintaining human dignity and respect... the list of concerns goes on. But let's face it: the government isn't the place to turn for any of that. And the red herring being dragged out by members of our present government, when they parade the statistics having to do with the uninsured, is an unsubtle ploy to grab more control and power over us all. The facts show that a huge number of uninsured people are that way by choice -- people with sufficient income to actually have insurance, but who are betting that they won't need it, and who want to spend their money on things of their own choosing.

But what about those who really can't afford insurance, or who don't have the level of medical care they require? The Catholic Church has the longest and most successful track record of providing for those in need, regardless of their circumstances. Our hospital systems and hospice care have their roots in the Church's understanding of charity and mercy. And when was the Church most successful in those endeavors? When there was little or no government interference, and when lawyers didn't fund their lifestyles by bringing lawsuits against doctors. Try being merciful and caring today, and see how long it is before you're named in a lawsuit. The school nurse can't even put antiseptic on a skinned knee without the fear of being sued.

Rather than having more involvement in health care, I think the government should get out of the way. In fact, if our legislators really want to be helpful, let them concentrate on finding ways to do away with frivolous lawsuits. If the Church and others of good will were able to develop medical institutions and provide care without our present government's stifling micromanagement and interference, we might all be healthier.

05 July 2009

(Soon to be) Blessed John Henry Newman

Thanks be to God, the way is clear for the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of the most famous of converts from Anglicanism to the fullness of the Catholic faith. He was received into the Church on 9 October 1845, bringing with him his deep faith, his brilliant mind, and the unwavering sense that he had, indeed, come home.

The miracle needed for his beatification involved the healing of a permanent deacon in Massachusetts who suffered from a completely debilitating spine disease. After seeking the intercession of Cardinal Newman, the healing was virually instantaneous and complete. A second miracle will be needed for canonization.

The date and place of the beatification isn't known at this time, but it will be soon. And how wonderful it is to have a man of recognized sanctity praying for us (as he always has been), and there's every hope that we'll see the fruit of many more conversions through his intercession.

04 July 2009

A prayer for our nation...

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.