August 31, 2008 - Daily Mass Readings

August 31, 2008

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Jer 20:7-9

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Reading II
Rom 12:1-2

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Mt 16:21-27

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”


First Annual National Friends of the Poor Walk

August 30, 2008

09/27 - 8 AM – NOON Location: University of Dallas, Irving, TX

By taking part in the Friends of the Poor® Walk, a1k and 5k, you can help raise significant funds for direct service to the poor in Dallas and Fort Worth. We invite the whole community to come out for this spectacular event.

Register to walk online!

Register under SVdP grouping Diocesan Council of Dallas to walk with us, pledge a walker, and invite others.

For more information call 214-520-0650, email [email protected]

**(Not a timed event nor a certified course)

New Stats: Europe Facing Demographic Winter, Growing Political, Economic Tensions

August 30, 2008

By 2015, European deaths will be greater than births; Russian population declining by 750,000/year

By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, August 30, 2008 ( - Population statistics and projections were released yesterday showing that European countries are dying out, even with immigration, their populations aging and shrinking.  A report released this week by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical service, showed that by 2015, the number of deaths in Europe will have outstripped the number of births.  By 2060, the ratio of people of working age to those over age 65 will be two to one.

None of the countries of Europe currently have a general fertility rate above replacement level and it is predicted that what is being called a “demographic winter” will strike Europe within thirty years. The report showed that the growth momentum of Europe’s 27 member states will continue to carry it until 2035; after this the population will begin to decline drastically from a predicted 521 million to 506 million by 2060.

The report says that until 2035, “positive net migration would be the only population growth factor.”

“However, from 2035 this positive net migration would no longer counterbalance the negative natural change, and the population is projected to begin to fall.”

All of the countries studied in the report, with the exceptions of the Republic of Ireland, Andorra, Poland, Malta, the Principality of Monaco, allow abortion with few or no restrictions. Nearly all the countries of the European Union maintain state funded contraception programmes.

The report showed that by 2060, Britain would have the largest population with a current fertility rate, according to the Office for National Statistics, of 1.91 children per woman and nearly restrictionless immigration policies. The ONS predicts a population of 70 million by 2031, but says that at least 70 per cent of the rise will be attributable directly to immigration. Germany, currently the biggest country in the EU with more than 82 million people, will see its population shrink by 14 per cent according to the Eurostat report.

ONS figures released last week showed that there are now more pensioners than children in the UK. Even so, given the situation of other countries, the report revealed that Britain will have the youngest population in Europe. By 2060, 24.7 per cent of people in Britain will be 65 or older but in Poland, the proportion will be 36.2 per cent. About 17 per cent of Europeans are currently aged 65 or older; by 2060 the numbers will have risen to 30 per cent.

The average age for Britons is 39 and will be 42 in 2060, but this will be the lowest age in Europe with the exception of Luxembourg. The average age of Europeans is now just over 40; this will be 48 by 2060. The current median age for women in France, 40.7 years, is already over that at which women can easily conceive

Desperate countries have begun implementing various schemes to try to convince their populations to continue the species but these have yielded small results and overall fertility rates have continued to fall. Sweden offers one of the most generous government child benefits and maternity leave programmes in Europe, with women able to take as many as 15 months on 80 per cent pay. The efforts, however, have yielded only a tiny increase in the birth rate from 1.5 children per woman in 1999 to 1.71 in 2004.  Meanwhile the government of Sweden continues to fully fund contraceptive programmes and 36,045 Swedish children died by abortion in 2006.

With population growth and economic growth closely connected, some are predicting that the demographic crisis will begin to exacerbate historic tensions between countries and regions and various ethnic groups. Barry McLerran, producer of the film “Demographic Winter: the decline of the human family”, said Russia’s population crisis was an overlooked factor in its recent invasion of Georgia.

McLerran noted that due to Russia’s low birth rate, 1.17 children per woman, and the shortened lifespan due to disease, Russia’s population is declining by approximately 750,000 people a year. Efforts by the Russian government to boost its population, including paying parents the equivalent of US $9,200 for every child after the first one, are failing.

McLerran asks, “So, where does a nation with a plummeting birth rate find people?” One answer, he suggests, is territorial expansion. 

And the problem is not limited to Europe. In 1989, 11.6 per cent of Japan’s population was over 65. Less than 20 years later, seniors are 21.1 per cent of the Japanese people.

The documentary points out that in less than 40 years, fertility rates have fallen by over 50 per cent worldwide. In 1970, the average woman had 6 children during her lifetime. Today, the global average is 2.9. Worldwide, there are 6 million fewer children under six years of age today than there were in 1990.

To watch a trailer for the film Demographic Winter:

Human rights are not arbitrary, they are the fruit of natural law, says Vatican expert

August 30, 2008

.- The undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, said in an address this week that human rights are based on natural law and that denying this truth opens the door to relativism.

During a ceremony in which he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Carriquiry said, “What they are trying to do is turn into individual rights that which attacks fundamental human rights of the person.”

During his extensive discourse, he pointed out that 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a “relativist derivative” exists in which “new rights are imposed” that stem from the “arbitrary desires” of certain groups or individuals.

“Are we not the witnesses of opinion campaigns and pressure from international powers to foster national legislation to introduce forms of liberalizing abortion and unrestricted bioethical manipulations, of making same-sex unions the equivalent of marriage, of promoting eugenic and euthanasia practices,” Carriquiry said.

Quoting Jacques Maritain, he recalled that “human rights cannot be arbitrary, they must be universally applied and be well-founded upon reason.”  Rights, he said, “are not oblivious or evident by themselves.”

“If human rights are not established, they are left baseless,” he added.  “They remain at the mercy of whoever is in power” and only reflect a government that is merely democratic in name.

Over 2,800 Rosary Rally Captains Get Ready

August 30, 2008

ROSSVILLE, Kans., Aug. 30, 2008 (MetroCatholic) - Thousands of Catholic volunteers are preparing to pray the Public Square Rosary to save America from the sins of abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

America Needs Fatima coordinated 2,129 Rosary Rallies last year.

This year, the goal is 3,000 Public Square Rosary Rallies nationwide and the target date is Saturday, October 11, at noon, local time.

At the group’s campaign headquarters in Rossville, Kansas, coordinator Francis Slobodnik announced that they had crossed the threshold of 2,800 Rosary Rally Captains.

“Over 2,800 people agreed to organize these rallies in every state. People are really excited and momentum is picking up fast,” noted Mr. Slobodnik. “Participants will proclaim their faith publicly, pray for America, and send a clear message to secularists who want to ban God from the public square.”

“The office is buzzing with activity. Rosary volunteers and staff are busy contacting new rosary captains, answering questions and sending out supplies. Our biggest challenge is not recruiting rally captains, but rather finding the time to speak with all the people who call in and express interest,” Mr. Slobodnik said.

“More and more people are looking to the Fatima message because it offers a sure remedy to the moral crisis in society.” Mr. Slobodnik continued. “In other words, prayer, penance and conversion are the answer to our nation’s pressing problems.”

America Needs Fatima also distributed one hundred thousand copies of the book “Sermons of Hope for Times of Natural Disasters” by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri free of charge to Catholics and non-Catholics. To join the Rosary Rallies or to receive a free copy, call toll-free: 1-866-584-6012.

McCain Pick Good for Pro-Lifers

August 30, 2008

FRONT ROYAL, Va., Aug. 30, 2008 (MetroCatholic) - Steven W. Mosher, president of the pro-life Population Research Institute, has praised John McCain’s surprise vice presidential pick, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

“Our Alaska friends tell us that she is a serious pro-lifer and that she has been a blessing for Alaska,” Steven Mosher said, “and that she will be a blessing as Vice President of the United States.”

“Any woman who has five children, while serving in elective office for over a decade obviously has a serious commitment to Life. This is further underlined by her decision to give birth to a Down’s Syndrome child despite being advised to abort,” said Mosher.

“This pick will ensure that the Life issue receives the attention that it deserves during the remainder of the campaign,” Mosher added. “Any woman who hunts moose before breakfast should have no trouble bagging Joe Biden in the debates on issues such as abortion and stem cell research.”

August 30, 2008 - Daily Mass Readings

August 30, 2008

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
1 Cor 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Mt 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”


3 years after Katrina, I am grateful to be here - Commentary

August 29, 2008

Judge Perez Drive 2 months after KatrinaLittle Elm, TX (DFW Catholic) - On August 28, 2005 at about 4 AM, my wife, our then 9 month old son, and I evacuated from our house in Arabi, Louisiana.  Arabi is a small community in St. Bernard Parish which rests near the Mississippi River.  You may not have heard of St. Bernard, but you may be more familiar with our neighbors immediately to the west; the “Lower 9th Ward” of New Orleans. 

Escaping the path of Hurricane Katrina, we took our dog, a few changes of clothes, and some personal belongings that we could fit in the car.  Living in an area which is 13 feet below sea level, it was not the first time that we had “run the drill” so to speak.  In fact, it wasn’t even the first time that we had evacuated that year.  Somehow, however, and I can’t quite explain it, this time just felt a little different.  Still, as we drove away, we did not realize that it would be the last time we would call that place “home”. 

We tried not to think about what could be in store for Louisiana and other areas in the Gulf region, so when we weren’t praying, we tried to keep the conversation light.  We had gone to the Vigil Mass the evening before, and we joked about the choice of the closing Hymn, “Rain Down”. 

For much of the next week, from a Houston hotel room, we watched the events which followed in the aftermath of Katrina.  It was really hard to watch.  There were pictures of places that were familiar to us our whole lives, now completely submerged by several feet of water.  There were pictures of rescues, some too late.  There were images and sounds of complete and utter chaos.  There were scenes of people living in subhuman conditions, and while many organizations and agencies were able to get in, it seemed no one was able to get out.   

Some St. Bernard officials remained throughout the storm and were posting updates on the internet.  Their reports were even worse than what we were watching on television, and they gave a pretty dim prognosis for the recovery of the area.   

With all of these things and more in mind, we discussed our options and prayed for guidance.  After a couple of days, we decided that we would not return, and that we would head to “Dallas” as we previously referred to this area.  My Godfather and his family have lived here for several years, and we had just visited the area the year before.  Ironically, I remember that at the time we thought it might be a nice place to live…”some day”.  That hypothetical “some day” was now upon us, and while we were uncertain about a great number of things such as housing, employment, and little things like that, we were definitely at peace and comfortable with our decision.  We decided to let my parents know of our plans.  My parents, as well as most of my family, also lived in St. Bernard and had evacuated to Memphis.  As I placed the call, I was a little concerned about how my mom might respond to us moving so far away.  When she answered the cell phone, my mom said, “Hold on.  Your dad is on the phone with Paren.  I think he’s talking about moving to Dallas.” 

On a temporary basis, we all rented a house in The Colony.  All of us, my mom, dad, wife, infant son, the dog, and I quartered in the same house.  As you can imagine, that in itself presented its own challenges and situations.  Although we had made the move, “at peace” with the decision, the tensions and pressures of various sorts began to mount.  It was around that time that I read these words from St. John Chrysostom.   

The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock.  Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock.  Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus.  What are we to fear?  We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it.  Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web.  For I always say “Lord, your will be done”; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done!  If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful.  But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful. 

The following weekend, we found our way to St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco.  A month later, we purchased a house in the area, became involved in our new Church parish, and have seen how God has shaped our lives in ways that we did not expect and could only have happened here and now.  “Grateful”?  Indeed! 

With a new hurricane nearing the Gulf and possibly heading on a similar path, my thoughts and prayers turn to those who have already been affected by it and for those who will be.  Many are people that I know, including my three grown children, who still live and work in South Louisiana towns.  Please take a moment during the next few days to pray for the physical and spiritual well-being of the people in the area.  God bless. 

Note:  The majority of the content in this article was taken from a recent lay witness during a Stewardship drive at St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco.  To read it in its entirety, click here.

Also, our featured video for today was produced by the St. Bernard Parish government.



Church in Ecuador places posters against abortion in all parishes throughout country

August 29, 2008

.- The Church in Ecuador has placed posters in parishes throughout the country in support of life and against the possibility of legalizing abortion through the new Constitution, which will be subject to a national vote in September.

According to Ecuadoran media, the posters have the heading, “Mommy, I’m not a tumor, I’m your son,” and the Church is hoping they will inform Catholics about a baby’s developmental process and the different methods used to carry out abortions.

Quoting Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the posters pose the question: “If a mother can kill her own child in her own body, why can’t we kill each other?”

The bishops of Ecuador have raised serious questions about the new Constitution over the possibility that it will leave the door open to legalized abortion. In light of the upcoming referendum, they have stepped up efforts to encourage voters on the need to protect human life in all its stages.

A Proclamation by the President — National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2008

August 29, 2008

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2008 (MetroCatholic) - The following is a proclamation by President Bush: 

During National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we pay special tribute to the thousands of innocent victims who died on September 11, 2001.  Our Nation honors the brave citizens, service members, police officers, and firefighters who heroically responded in the face of terror.  On these important days, we reflect on the terrible events of September 11, 2001, and lift the victims and their families in our prayers.

Our Nation will never forget the individuals who lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.  America remains inspired by the countless acts of kindness and sacrifice we saw that day — fearless rescuers who rushed toward danger, a beloved priest who died helping others, two office workers who carried a disabled person 68 floors to safety.

We also pray for the safety and success of the members of our Armed Forces now serving freedom’s cause.  We seek God’s grace on their families, and commit to Heaven’s care those brave men and women He has called home.  We ask the Almighty to watch over America and pray for His providence and continued blessings on our country.  May He always guide the United States of America.  As we defend our country against its enemies, we pray for help in protecting the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it, and we ask the Almighty to strengthen all those securing liberty on distant shores.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7, 2008, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.  I ask that the people of the United States and their places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.  I also invite all people across the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


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