Saturday, July 31, 2004

Jones Beach is 75 Years Old

Newsday, the anti-Catholic rag, is at its best when it covers local stuff like this. I live just a 15 minute drive away from this great treasure. I am not much of a beach person, but I can remember going to Jones Beach at night as a child, walking with my family along the boardwalk. The hot summer nights were bearable thanks to the cool ocean breeze. There was live music, dancing, ice cream, and miniature golf. There was one summer when I would have weekdays off and I spent some time at the beach walking a mile or two on the sand, and then laying out in the sun. It is quite nice there during the week, the weekend can be a bit too crowded. I still will ride my bike or rollar blade on the bike path that terminates at the beach. The beach also provided employment for my grandfathers on both sides - one worked there on the maintainence crew and one worked building the beautiful water tower, a works progress gem. I hate to sound too cynical, but with the traffic, high cost of living, and endless series of strip malls, Long Island is losing some of what makes it special. At least we still have Jones Beach, a world class beach that has maintained it's beauty.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Buttafuocos, Amy Fisher, and Forgiveness

Remember Amy Fisher, the Long Island teenager who shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco (wife of her lover Joey) in my hometown of Massapequa years ago?  Well, she has written an autobiography.  I will wait for the snickering of my few readers to quiet down.  Most people have thankfully forgotten the sordid details, but once in awhile Joey Buttafuoco makes the news, usually by being arrested.  I grew up in Massapequa and while Joey is not typical of the guys in this town, his type is not too difficult to find.  (I don't mean Italians mind you, I mean stupid, obnoxious, uneducated morons.)  Anyway, Amy Fisher has actually been writing a column for the Long Island Press for awhile now.  I have read it occasionally and it does not impress me but a couple of times it has given me more of a positive impression of Mrs. Fisher.  She once wrote an article that was so good I tried to find it in the online archives of the newspaper.  The article came out a little after Joey was once again arrested for something or other.  Amy Fisher wrote about how stupid she was as a teenager to be doing anything with this jerk.  She mentioned, without sounding self-centered or arrogant, that since the shooting and her time in jail, she has turned her life around.  She is married, with children, and working steadily.  She has never been in any trouble and has apologized to Mary Jo.  She has worked to try to steer young girls away from the path that she went down.  She mentioned, without sounding smug, that Joey has done nothing good since his time in the sun.  He was arrested for insurance fraud, arrested for soliciting prostitutes, been divorced, “acted” in cheap films, and tried to take part in a celebrity fight against a woman.  The article was so good, it actually made me feel a bit for Amy Fisher, not sorry for her, but feel that she was a good person who made some awful and stupid decisions.  I am not one to “forgive” easily.  I don’t have a particularly rosy outlook on people and their “mistakes”.  But I agree with Mark Shea who has stated on his blog that the most scandalous dogma of the Church is never mentioned in the press:  FORGIVENESS.   I know it is up to Mary Jo to forgive the woman who shot her, but I believe she already has.  Usually when you hear Amy Fisher's name, there are usually some nasty adjectives and rolls of the eyes.  I have heard people say they won’t buy or read The Long Island Press because Amy Fisher writes for it, and I don’t claim she is a model person for Catholics, or anyone else.  But if we really believe in redemption and penance, then Amy Fisher (not a Catholic) would serve as a pretty good example.  Believe it or not.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Amish in the City

"That, of course, sets up the premise of "Amish in the City," which is to see what happens when a bunch of narrow-minded, shiftless, materialistic ignoramuses are brought together under one roof with people who live a life characterized by deep faith and strong tradition.
Good review, I may watch this show after all. 

Edwin Hernandez, a Suffolk County police officer died in a car crash while driving home from work.  He was the cousin of WKTU DJ "Vic Latino", and he had two children and two grandchildren.  Please pray for him and his family.
Good job!

I just happened to pass St. Raphael's parish on the way home from work tonight and decided to stop to see their new Church.  I was impressed as I pulled into the parking lot, it looked like a Church from the outside!  When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was the large crucifix right behind the altar.  There were a few people inside and I spotted the tabernacle to the right, in a small chapel with clear windows all around it.  The tabernacle is visible from all around the Church which is good, and it wasn't until I sat in a pew and looked at the sanctuary for a minute that I noticed the monstrance on the altar with the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  I just noticed on the parish website they have Adoration from 1-7 pm on Tuesday.  The back wall of the sanctuary looks like some kind of stone.  There is a statue of Mary off to the left side, with nice blue stained glass behind her.  The stained glass windows are nice too.  Overall, not a bad job at all!  I wish their website had some more pictures of the Church, especially inside photos, but I will post the link once I see them. 

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Move to make 9/11 day of service

"One Day's Pay, a nationwide non-profit organization that facilitates volunteering in memory of the Sept. 11 victims, has launched a campaign to recruit 2 million volunteers to go out on the next anniversary of the attacks to read to the blind, cook for the homeless or tutor children."
"To support the program, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) introduced resolutions in Congress last week to ask President George W. Bush to declare Sept. 11 a day of national service."

I would like to see this happen -  it is the best way to remember this vicious attack and respond.   I would like to add that the President should start a trend of pardoning criminals on this day (after the Justice Department investigates each case and recommends the pardons).  Let us remember this day by showing mercy to our own people and give them an opportunity to rejoin society and help make America stronger.  This day should also be a day of cleaning up parks, planting trees, restoring monuments, etc..  It goes without saying it should also be a day of prayer. 
Fr. Groeschel

The retreat this weekend was good.  I will blog later about it.   One of the highlights had to be this morning when we were just about to start eating breakfast, Fr. Groeschel comes walking down the hallway towards the dining room.  He was walking with a cane and had a bump on his head and a glove on one hand.  Other than that he looked pretty good.  Everyone got up and went to the door and started clapping.  This was the first teaching retreat weekend without him giving the opening talk.  After the clapping died down, he said, in a hoarse voice but with perfect timing:  "Living proof that only the good die young!!!!".  He then told us how one of the Friars was told in the hospital to make the funeral arrangements because they did not expect him to make it.  Someone said yesterday was Fr. Groeschel's birthday so we all sang happy birthday to him.  He said he came to Kellenberg for the Youth 2000 Mass (he was supposed to give the homily) and he just wanted to stop in and say hello to us.  He then did something I never saw him do before, he got a little choked up. 


Update:  The amazing thing about this weekend was that you had two totally different retreats going on at the same time and on the same high school grounds and everything seemed to go smoothly.  We had a lovely teaching retreat, with about 25 people, which is about half the normal size, perhaps due to Fr. Groeschel's absence this year.  The Youth 2000 New York had 600 young people and there was a giant tent set up on a field with the Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration.  This Diocese is slowly on the way to repairing the damage of the past by hosting events such as these.  (See "McGann's Mess" by Dr. Thomas Droleskey for a very pessimistic view of things, I see things improving steadily).  As one priest said, who would have thought 20 years ago, that a traditional Latin Mass would be offered in the school's chapel, while outside hundreds of young people were adoring the Blessed Sacrament?  I got to eat at a dinner table with Msgr. William Smith and hear a bit of his wonderful humor.  Fr. Pereda, who celebrates the traditional Mass I sometimes attend, gave an interesting and inspiring talk on the Latin Mass.  I wasn't sure how he would come across and I think he was very impressive to the group.  He was intelligent, interesting, and very funny.   I had no idea he had such a great sense of humor since his personality is thankfully not on display while celebrating Mass.  He celebrated the traditional Mass in the school's very modern chapel, meaning that perhaps for the first time in years (?) there were two approved traditional Masses offered in this diocese on the same day.   I did not stick around long enough to hear the responses of the people to this Mass.  These are good faithful Catholics that attend these retreats but not necessarily traditionalists.  I would have liked to have heard some of the reactions, but I stupidly left right after the Mass.