Saturday, April 20, 2013

Knights of Columbus to help devastated Texas town

Knights of Columbus to help devastated Texas town :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

"New Haven, Conn., Apr 19, 2013 / 12:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Knights of Columbus have announced a donation drive to help the community of West, Texas after a massive fertilizer plant explosion killed a dozen people and demolished homes Wednesday night."

Knights of Columbus Council #2305 in West, Texas is working with local groups and public authorities to help the explosion’s victims. The council has more than 500 members in a town of only 2,800.

The national Knights of Columbus organization is collecting donations for relief efforts through Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc. at the web page

The Catholic fraternal charitable organization is also accepting checks made out to Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., with “Texas Fund” in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to:

Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc.
Texas Fund
1 Columbus Plaza
New Haven, CT 06510

Catholic videos at Kellenberg



Pope Francis

His Amazing Life in Argentina

If you wanted to find the Archbishop, go to the poorest slums in Buenos Aires. There he is hearing confession, baptizing children, presiding over funerals and marriages; and counseling school children. As you can see, Pope Francis has a deep and practical love of the poor.

            During the brutal military dictatorship he hid people from the police.  At the same time he opposed the false beliefs of Liberation Theology which put him at odds with many of his fellow religious, but he stood his ground.

            Learn many endearing facts about Pope Francis’ family and youth.

Saint Edith Stein

Edith Stein was a renowned Jewish scholar who converted to Catholicism and later became a Carmelite sister.  During the Nazi persecution she fled to the Netherlands but was eventually executed in a concentration camp due to her Jewish heritage.  Edith wrote about the role of women in society and in the Church.  Learn more about the deep faith and trust in God that is characteristic of the saints.


Kellenberg HS – 3rd floor retreat room

Directions to the 3rd floor Emmanuel Marianist Retreat House.  Drive past the auditorium (main doors with three levels of steps on the right: the outdoor crucifix on your left.)

Keep going around the building until you will see an outside elevator for the Emmanuel Marianist Retreat House. Take the elevator to the third floor and follow the signs music room. – Thank you.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Where Are The Just Judges?

Perfect art theft: Where is 'Ghent Altarpiece'?

"GHENT, Belgium — The main suspect in the legendary art heist is said to have whispered with his dying breath: "Only I know where the 'Adoration' is ..."

More than seven decades later, the whereabouts of a panel belonging to one of Western art's defining works, the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," also known as the "Ghent Altarpiece," remains a mystery.

If the stunning heist of Picasso, Monet and Matisse paintings in Rotterdam, Netherlands, last month focused attention on the murky world of art theft, the gothic Saint Bavo cathedral in Ghent has been at the center of a crime that has bedeviled the art world for decades.

"The Just Judges" panel of the Van Eyck brothers' multi-panel Gothic masterpiece hasn't been seen since 1934, when chief suspect Arsene Goedertier suffered a stroke at a political rally and died after murmuring those fateful words to a confidant.

The theft has kept the country enthralled ever since, with its heady mix of priceless art and scintillating detective story.

Ghent was hit by two thefts on the night of April 10, 1934: "One was a wheel of cheese," said detective Jan De Kesel. "The other was the panel."

That slowed up the investigation of the art theft, in which a minor panel of the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" representing St. John the Baptist, was also lifted.

Click the link above for the rest of the story. 

Pope Benedict XVI’s “First Convert”

From the Catholic World Report:

The story of how a New York Jew wrestled with Christ and became Catholic

"On April 2, 2005, there came the news of the death of Pope John Paul II. I’d always admired the pope for his courage in confronting the horrors of communism, and for aligning with President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher in a united front that led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Yet as a spiritual leader he meant nothing to me. 

Nevertheless, Barbara and I found ourselves becoming involved in the events and the funeral as they unfolded on television. Even the typically skewed commercial coverage couldn’t disguise the tributes from all corners of the globe, and the love for the pope and grief at losing him from Catholics and people of every faith. At some point in the two weeks following, Barbara—a long-lapsed Protestant who’d never lost her regard for Christianity—turned to me and said, “You’ve got to get religion, Roger. You’ve been drifting way too long.” 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rose Hawthorne’s Cause For Sainthood Moves to Rome

From Catholic New York:

"The journey that led Rose Hawthorne, born into a cultured Protestant New England literary family—through the devastating loss of her only child and a failed marriage—to the squalid, teeming streets of New York City’s Lower East Side at the end of the 19th century as a single Catholic woman caring for impoverished, terminal cancer patients, is essentially a faith journey.

On April 9 at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan, documents and artifacts illustrating the incredible life of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, who became Mother Alphonsa, foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, were sealed for shipment to Rome to commence the final leg of her incredible journey that could see her canonized for sainthood."

Rose was the daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlett Letter.  She had an interesting path to sainthood:

"Born in 1851, one year after “The Scarlet Letter” was published, she had the rare opportunity at that time to travel to and live in Europe because of her father’s literary and diplomatic careers. She was first exposed to Catholicism in Europe.

Her early life was marked by “an urgent sense of purpose,” wrote Father O’Donnell in a letter to members of the Rose Hawthorne Guild. “She was always impulsive about serious matters and yet was always searching out the deeper meaning of things.”

She met her husband, George Lathrop, in Germany and they were married in 1871. George would soon become assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly. They moved to New York in 1891 and there they converted to Catholicism, scandalizing Protestant America. Anti-Catholicism was still virulent in those days, even among cultured classes. Their only son died at age 5, and George turned to alcohol for solace. Meanwhile, Rose became more devout as the marriage disintegrated.

With their separation, she embarked on a life of service to the poorest."

Genocide survivor, new citizen has message of hope

Congratulations to a wonderful Catholic Long Islander - Immaculee Ilibagiza just became a US citizen!

"NEW YORK (AP) — A Rwandan genocide survivor who has just become a U.S. citizen has a message of hope for other new Americans.

Immaculee Ilibagiza (ih-MAK'-yoo-lee ee-luh-bag-EE'-zuh) became a naturalized American with 50 other immigrants at a Manhattan ceremony on Wednesday.

She is the author of the best-seller "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust."

Ilibagiza told fellow immigrants how she survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed more than a half-million lives. She says her Tutsi father sent her to a Hutu neighbor who hid her and seven other women and girls in a tiny bathroom for three months."

The 43-year-old mother of two says her life now is about forgiving enemies who are emotionally lost."

Here is Immaculee's website.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'Letter From Birmingham Jail' 50 Years Later

From NPR  a look at this important piece of American history-

 'Letter From Birmingham Jail'  50 Years Later

"Today marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from Birmingham jail. Dr. King penned this letter as a response to white clergymen who called his campaign of non-violent protests, quote, "unwise and untimely," unquote, and had urged him not to intervene in Alabama's segregationist policies."

You can read the full text of the letter here.

Here is a bit of it:

"My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms."


"You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws.

One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong."


"There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century."

As Washington mulls reform, Bishop DiMarzio honors immigrants

From the great old Brooklyn Daily Eagle -

"On April, 14, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated mass in honor of immigrants at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint James in downtown Brooklyn. Called a Catholic Migration Mass, the event took place as lawmakers in Washington DC were considering comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

US Senator Charles Schumer, one of the so-called “gang of eight” senators working on a compromise bill to address the situation of undocumented immigrants, attended the migration mass. “America is a nation of immigrants and nowhere is this more true than here in the great Diocese of Brooklyn, under the leadership of immigration advocate second-to none, Bishop DiMarzio,” Schumer said."

Side Note - the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has one of the best archive search engines anywhere on the internet - I have learned much about my family's history there.  My family were German immigrants in the 1860's and they lived in Williamsburgh over a hundred years ago.

New Parish: Blessed Pope John Paul II

Here in the Northeast we often see stories of parish closings - Philadelphia, Boston, NYC, etc...  so it is refreshing to see new parishes being established where we are growing:

New Catholic Church opening in Cedar Springs

"Cedar Springs, Mich. (WZZM) The Diocese of Grand Rapids is opening a new parish in northern Kent County.

Bishop Walter Hurley announced plans for a new Catholic parish today. It will be called Blessed John Paul II in Cedar Springs. The diocese has purchased land from the former home of Pioneer Christian Reformed Church, which consists of a church, church hall and rectory on about 2.9 acres.

The diocese also purchased approximately eight acres of adjacent vacant land that is part of a nearby industrial park located at 13911 Northern Springs Drive. Once the new parish community has grown, the diocese says there will be sufficient land for the construction of a new and larger church."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Statement issued on Coppola petitions

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has released a statement regarding the petitions that request Nicholas Coppola be reinstated as an Extraordinary Minister and CCD teacher.

"Today, April 11, 2013, the Diocese of Rockville Centre was presented with pages of petitions “telling the bishop to let Nicholas resume volunteering . . .” The 350 pages of petitions (one ream of paper is 500 sheets) dropped off at the Diocesan Pastoral Center at approximately 9:33 AM did not, as it would appear, fill the three large boxes that were received. In fact, two of the boxes were empty.

The Catholic Church recognizes that all persons share equally in the dignity of being human and are entitled to have that human dignity protected. This does not, however, justify the creation of a new definition for marriage, a term whose traditional meaning is of critical importance to the furtherance of fundamental societal interests.

Well settled Church teaching recognizes marriage to be the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, holy and loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. Regardless of civil pronouncements, this definition does not, and indeed cannot, change in the eyes of the Church because it is rooted in biological teleology and natural law. Others may disagree but they have no justification to prevent the Church from living according to her teaching and protecting that teaching and the lives of faithful Catholics from those who would disregard it. Regardless of contrary opinion or even civil legislation, the Church must be faithful to her teaching and consistent and coherent living out that teaching.

As Bishop Murphy has said: Church teaching “is not discrimination against homosexual men and women. No one has a right to discriminate against persons because of sexual orientation.” It is, however, the case that all Church institutions and teachers of the faith are bound to support this teaching, particularly by their public action.

The Diocese respects those who may have signed a petition but in turn expects others to respect the Church, which will remain clear in her teaching and faithful in living that teaching for the good of one and all.

Also, the Long Island Catholic (now a monthly magazine) has an editorial about this issue:

"Any Catholic who chooses to live in open contradiction of a fundamental moral teaching of the Church – a heterosexual couple living intimately outside of marriage, or a divorced person who remarries, without an annulment, outside the Church; someone working in the abortion industry or belonging to an overtly racist organization, to cite just a few examples – should understand that by continuing to do so, in open, willful rejection of Catholic teaching, they exclude themselves from leadership roles in the Church’s ministries.

This is not to say that one has to be a saint to serve in Church ministry. If that were the case, we would all be excluded. There is a major difference, however, between accepting the teachings of the Church and striving —- however much we may continually fall short — to live according to those teachings; and openly, willfully rejecting Church teachings, and giving testimony by one’s public example that those teachings need not be followed.

Click to read the whole thing:  EDITORIAL: Upholding the integrity of Church teaching

St. John's University in Queens and scandals

This article from Crisis Magazine was interesting to me as a graduate of St. John's University:

Scandal at St. John’s University: Corruption, Apostasy, and Death

First, I did not know or forgot that Dr. Cecilia Chang, the former Dean of the Institute of Asian Studies and the Vice President for International Relations, had committed suicide.  I read all about her arrest and trial in the New York papers -

"The dean’s suicide occurred a day after testifying in her own defense in a trial for embezzling more than $1 million from the university, stealing $250,000 from a Saudi prince to organize academic conferences that never occurred, using university credit cards to cover gambling losses at Connecticut casinos, and using international students as her personal servants in her home in exchange for tuition grants."

The Crisis magazine article refers to another article published in New York magazine that claims Dr. Chang had lavished expensive gifts and travel to the University President Fr. Donald Harrington and his chief of staff Rob Wile.  The scandal of Dr. Chang, which was tabloid fodder in New York for awhile, also expose the wider scandals so familiar to us Catholics, as well as anyone who has been following the situation in higher education.  Again, from the Crisis article:  

"Beyond the cash gifts, Fishman reported that Chang also treated Fr. Harrington to expensive trips to Asia every year or two. She would book the St. John’s contingent including Harrington and his young chief of staff at the very best hotels—the Peninsula or the Regent, reserving the presidential suite for Harrington. Harrington said he “protested the luxury—I just wasn’t real comfortable being who I am and how I am dressed going out of hotel like that.”

Fishman reported that Chang also provided President Harrington with suits from Modestos Limited and Sam’s Tailor, two of Hong Kong’s best tailors. Rob Wile, who was described by Fishman as having “expensive tastes,” purchased three suits on one trip—$900 for one and two for $950. He also purchased three shirts for $375—all of it paid for by Chang, who then passed the expense for the vacations and the clothing on to the university. Chang also purchased expensive watches for the two. During a June, 2008 trip, Fr. Harrington chose an Omega platinum Case Gent’s watch. This, on top of the $5,000 Patek Philippe watch Chang had already bought for him. Wile received a stainless steel Rolex Submariner."

Of course, very high expenses and questionable charges are normal for Universities that take in millions in tuition, as well as federal and state grants.  With Catholic schools, there is the additional scandal of a priest and his business dealings:

"Fishman reported that Wile solicited—and received—a $100,000 loan from the former chairman of the St. John’s Board of Trustees, and an $80,000 loan from a contractor who did work for the university. Fishman also claims that Wile did not disclose these loans to university officials.

Fishman claims that Wile used the loan from the former board chairman to help fund a real estate venture he had engaged in with university president Fr. Harrington. In 2006, GRH Group LLC, a partnership of Wile and Fr. Harrington, bought a property in the Jersey shore town of Rumson. The home was torn down, rebuilt using the funds from the loan he received, and sold for a profit of $200,000. According to Fishman, the partnership was not disclosed.

"It is difficult for most of us to understand why Wile needed all of these loans. According to, in 2008, he was already making more than $360,000 a year. And, by 2010, Wile was the second highest paid individual at the university—with a salary of more than $500,000—second only to the basketball coach. According to St. John’s IRS reports in 2010—the last year Guidestar lists on its site—Wile earned a base salary of $325,960, a bonus of $25,000, as well as $150,000 in “other” compensation, deferred compensation of $7,000, and non-taxable benefits of $41,131 for a total yearly compensation package of $549,368. This salary reflected a raise of almost $200,000 over his compensation package of $362,638 in 2008."

In the 20 years since I graduated I have not given a dime to this University and reading this article makes me very glad I did not waste any money.  St. John's, like so many other 'Catholic' institutions needs to get its house in order and determine whether the Catholic faith is its true center and its guiding force.  If even some of the allegations in this article are true, then Fr. Harrington also has to determine if the Catholic faith is his guiding force or not.

Related:  the archives of the student newspaper The Torch involving Chang and Harrington

This Daily News article on Chang indicates she was a suspect in her husband's homicide

Boston Marathon Bombing

Prayers go out to the victims & their families.  I hope they catch whoever did this.  There is nothing else to say right now.