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Archives for July 2013

Pope Quotes: My Favorites from World Youth Day Homilies

Pope Quotes: My Favorites from World Youth Day Homilies

With the hoopla that the mainstream media is making, and the Catholic blogosphere, in the last two days about the post-Rio press conference Pope Francis held aboard his flight home, you might have missed that there were a whole bunch of great quotes that the Pope gave to the world — catechetically speaking — and to the world’s youth. Here are a few highlights from me from three homilies he gave along the way.


From the Homily from the Mass at Our Lady of Aparecida

When the Church looks for Jesus, she always knocks at his Mother’s door and asks: “Show us Jesus”. It is from Mary that the Church learns true discipleship. That is why the Church always goes out on mission in the footsteps of Mary.

I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy.

[On Hopefulness:]  I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts! [E]vil, is present in our history, but it does not have the upper hand. The one with the upper hand is God, and God is our hope!

[On being open to being surprised by God:] Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the Parnaíba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.

[On living in joy:  [W]e cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. We have a Mother who always intercedes for the life of her children, for us, as Queen Esther did in the first reading (cf Est 5:3). Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us.

BTW, here’s a cool website showing interactive views of the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil.


From the Homily at Eucharistic prayer vigil:

…in silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word.  Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart.  In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts.  Remember this moment.  Everyone knows the seed that has been received.  Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.


From the Homily from the closing Mass at WYD:

“Go and make disciples of all nations”. With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.

[On “Go”:]  Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of himself, but the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus does not treat us as slaves, but as free men, as friends, as brothers and sisters; and he not only sends us, he accompanies us, he is always beside us in our mission of love.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.

[On “do not be afraid”:] Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, a young man like you, when he was called by God to be a prophet. We have just heard his words: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the same thing to you as he said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid … for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:7,8). He is with us!

“Do not be afraid!” When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his disciples on mission, he promised: “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus does not leave us alone, he never leaves you alone! He always accompanies you.
And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young friends, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community.

[On serve:] The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95:1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.

A great re-cap with Flickr account photos over at News.VA as well as text and video.

For coverage with a local flair, look at the Rio photos and comments on the Archdiocese of Boston Facebook page.

RALLY THURSDAY in Wash DC: “Women Speak for Themselves!” Can’t go? Sign this letter!

RALLY THURSDAY in Wash DC: “Women Speak for Themselves!” Can’t go? Sign this letter!

600221_360170150776326_1642435042_aIn the past year, I’ve been watching the growth of “Women Speak for Themselves”, led by Helen Alvare and Kim Daniels, on the question of religious liberty and HHS Mandate. (Previously I’ve posted on it here, and on my former blog, here. You can also read my review of “Breaking Through”, edited by Helen Alvare.)

There are two things you can do right now: 1) Plan on going to the rally, and/or 2) sign their letter to President Obama.

RALLY: A grass-roots style rally is being planned at 11am on Thursday at Lafayette Square,  H St. between 15 and 17th Sts. NW, Washington DC.  More details, if you are going.

LETTER: If you can not attend the rally, by all means, SIGN the LETTER to President Obama decrying how this HHS mandate threatens our religious freedom. Or “like”the Women Speak for Themselves Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

Information on this issue: (What follows is reprinted from the WSFT website):

1. What the fight is about:

Our objection to the “preventive health care” mandate is not about making contraception illegal. Birth control is legally protected by the Constitution itself.

It is not about whether the government will continue to fund it; both federal and state governments will continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to provide free or low-cost contraception to American women annually.

It is only about whether the government can force religious institutions and individuals to provide contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs to our employees via health insurance.

2. The mandate burdens our religious freedom:

Forcing educational, health care or other religious institutions to provide their employees something which directly conflicts with their religious teachings is a straightforward burden on the free exercise of religion. When religious people gather together to provide care for our “neighbor” as commanded by Jesus’ teachings in the Good Samaritan parable, they are no less “exercising” their religion than when they pray or worship God with their fellow believers. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est:

Love of neighbour… is …a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level….. As a community, the Church must practise love. Love … needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community.

He added:

 The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in exercising the ministry of charity

3. The mandate burdens our religious freedom even if the government claims that insurance companies or third parties will “pay for” the services which violate religious conscience

The federal government is proposing to amend the current mandate (after the Fall 2012 election) so that religious institutions will not be “cooperating” in the provision of objectionable services. Insurance companies or third parties would arrange to provide and pay for contraception. There are two problems with this proposed amendment.

First, insurance companies will simply fold the costs of contraception into the price of insurance charged to religious institutions.

Second, no matter how the accounting looks on paper, the fact remains that this proposal allows the government to reach into the internal affairs of religious institutions and restructure the terms of employment. More, to change it from a workplace and a ministry that embodies and defers to religious witness…to one which is indistinguishable from any other private or public institution.

4. But Didn’t President Obama “Accommodate” Religious Employers?

He promised he would but he didn’t. Instead, he extended the deadline (to August 2013) for religious institutions to figure out how to violate their consciences, or face legal penalties. The originally proposed rule – requiring religious hospitals, schools, social services, etc. to cover contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can act as abortifacients – is presently in force.

5. Should it matter that many Catholics disagree with the Church’s teachings on contraception?

Several responses are possible.

First, remember that the rule also mandates coverage of drugs that can act as early abortifacients.

Second, the government is constitutionally forbidden from reaching into religious institutions and telling them to comply with the preferences of members who disagree with the institution’s religious doctrines.

Third, many Catholics and non-Catholics who don’t understand or who haven’t accepted Catholic teachings on contraception are upset at the government’s attempting to dictate the behavior of religious institutions, and grateful at the Catholic Church’s critical stance toward the medical and social effects of contraception.


Related reading: An opinion piece, “Religious Freedom is about More Than Religion”, by Robert P. George.

Back from vacation… with a few thoughts and a few photos

Back from vacation… with a few thoughts and a few photos


I’ve missed you.

The blogging/podcasting/writing fast has been a healthy one for me.

As you may know, I took the last several weeks off to prep for and enjoy my daughter’s wedding, plus take some needed time off with family and friends. After launching a daughter this year, and a book, plus a DIY refinishing of a bathroom, and other pre-wedding household chores, I was in need of recharge.

So much has been going on in my life, and in the news, that it’s hard to know where to jump with a blog post today… but maybe I’ll just start with a few photos… (with promises of a new podcast, wedding photos, and thoughts about Pope Francis and World Youth Day still to come later this week!)

But first a piece of advice… If you ever have the joy of being a mother or father of the bride (or groom), be sure to make sure there are a few pennies left over from the celebration to treat yourselves to your own post-wedding vacation. You won’t regret it. After spending some time with our out of town guests following the July 4th wedding, Bob and I went to Maine. It gave us time to walk and talk, and read and rest, and to count our blessings.

Not to mention we got to do other Maine-like things that Downeast Maine is known for…

Eat lobster…


You must wear the obligatory paper bib, Bob! (I did as well!)

And sail…

Under sail on the Olad, a schooner out of Camden, ME.

Under sail on the Olad, a schooner out of Camden, ME.

And watch the sunrise…




Lincolnville, ME

And find a lighthouse…


Pemaquid Point at dusk

or two…


The light in Camden harbor.

Eat more lobstah (and say it like a native)…


The quintessential lobstah roll

Find pretty harbors…


New Harbor, ME


Belfast, ME


Camden, ME

Search for puffins…

And find lots of creative ways to do nothing… and relax…

Watching the grass grow... as we overlook Penobscot Bay.

Watching the grass grow… as we overlook Penobscot Bay.


I pray you are having good summer…

Thou hast fixed all the bounds of the earth;
thou hast made summer and winter.

-Psalm 74:17-


All photos taken by me on my iPhone 4S.

Bird lovers may be interested in learning about The Puffin Project.

So I’m on a little hiatus…

So I’m on a little hiatus…

photo_6So we’ve had the wedding and I’ll be sure to post a few photos and such for you down the line. But for now I’m taking a little time off. I’ll be meandering around the place, but I’ve got to soak up some sun and breathe deeply from the shady confines of the porch for a bit. I’ve got to let the wind chimes call me into their presence for a while, instead of the alerts and alarms of my workday schedules.

Sure, you’ll see a few little posts now and again, probably the F.U.N. Quotient on Fridays and such.

I pray you have a good summer wherever your heart and your feet take you.



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The F.U.N. Quotient… the happy hour edition

Our daughter and son-in-love got married yesterday. We’re still a wee bit happy about all of this…


There’s nothing like a little celebration at the end of the week with a little happy hour… so here’s a few random links that you might enjoy…

 margarita photo

wine photo

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Today’s the day they’ll say “I do”.

Today’s the day they’ll say “I do”.


   Love is a Name


Keep your vows sacred.

Ask each other what you can pray for, daily.

Tithe so you learn generosity, and understand God’s Providence.

Hear with your heart when the words fail.

Remember to have fun together; life is serious enough.

Young love is great; but strive for a life-long love and affection.

Never give in to comparing or jealousy.


Be the first to apologize when disagreements come, and they will.

Enjoy family traditions, but start a few of your own too.

Never leave each other without a kiss and a reminder of your love.

Just because… look for sweet, tangible ways to appreciate each other.

Attack problems, not each other; be kind and flexible.

Make a home that welcomes children, and their friends.

Intimacy first comes from talking face-to-face, then heart to heart.

Never lose respect for each other; it is the foundation for love.


Say a prayer for the happy couple. (And their parents!) Thanks!


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This make me think…

The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises “an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society.” The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with man: “Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.”

Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God’s fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.

-Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 1639-1640-

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