33 Things

November 25, 2010

I’ve been blessed with 33 years of life, love and happiness.  Here are 33 things I am thankful for on each and every one of those days(in no particular order):

  1.  The soldiers who stand on a wall and protect the freedom that I take for granted.
  2. The man who has held my hand, dried my tears and shared my laughter as we have journeyed on this great adventure we call life.
  3. Chocolate.
  4. The faith of 12 men who lived 2000 years ago and all the Christians who have taken up their cross ever since.
  5. Clean water.
  6. The two people who brought me into this world and taught me what love really is.
  7. All the children in my life.
  8. The girl who said yes to an angel and the Holy Spirit.
  9. The doctors and nurses at Christus Santa Rosa in San Antonio who brought a 32-week old baby safely into this world.
  10. The people who raised my soul mate into a man.
  11. Peppermint mocha coffee creamer.
  12. The God who died for me.
  13. A full pantry.
  14. Music.
  15. The girl that shared my room, my clothes, my CDs and all knows all my stories.
  16. The sweet smell of country air.
  17. A car that works.
  18. The ten-year-old boy who inspires me to be a better person.
  19. Priests.
  20. The way rain makes everything new.
  21. The perfect pair of jeans.
  22. Every new breath I breathe in and then let go.
  23. My CRHP sisters.
  24. Beautiful sunsets.
  25. My 3 year old little king who despite coming to this world 8 weeks early is perfectly healthy.
  26. Friends, old and new who teach me that family is more than flesh and blood.
  27. The roof over my head.
  28. Peanut butter M&Ms
  29. My best friend- my sister in Christ who knows what I’m thinking before I say it and encourages me to be who I really am.
  30. Appliances that work.
  31. The Eucharist.
  32. All the people who make my children happy.
  33. Family- immediate and extended.  They are living proof that God’s love does reign on this Earth.

 Lori is a stay-at-home mom to her two boys and wife of a High School Band Director.  Originally from New Orleans, she was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and converted to the Catholic faith while in college.  When she has a rare free moment, she publishes her thoughts and musings at www.lorislifeandtimes.blogspot.com. and is a volunteer columnist for www.new.cathoicmom.com.

Former St. Jude Children’s Hospital Employee Gives Thanks by Giving Back

November 25, 2010

MEMPHIS, Tenn., (MetroCatholic) — Henry Matlock, a former employee of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, remembers the families that would accompany the hospital’s pediatric patients. Mr. Matlock recalls how St. Jude families remained close to their loved ones through treatments and the after effects that were sometimes difficult. Oftentimes, the parents and siblings lived hundreds or even thousands of miles away and would remain in Memphis for several weeks or months. Understandably, the parents would pray that their child’s health improved. At times, Mr. Matlock could see their faith wavering.

So once Mr. Matlock wrote his latest book, “Daily Deposits for the Soul: The Busy Christian’s Guide to Abundant Living,” it was no wonder he thought of those families again. The book is based on the principle that by spending just 15 minutes a day reading one bible scripture and exploring the true meaning behind the verses, one’s attitude and faith can be not only restored, but “deposited” into a repository where one will always have faith, even when things seem as though they are not going the “right” way.

Mr. Matlock is donating 20 copies of his book so the families can reflect and be uplifted, in hopes that they may develop their faith during their time away from home. “I want those families to remember that God will be there for them to guide them and be their strength while they are enduring this challenging time with their loved ones at the hospital,” he shares.

The purpose of the book is to guide busy readers to develop their faith by showing them how to make “deposits” in several different areas of their life including Mindset, Service, Spiritual Growth, Relationships, and Personal Growth using short chapters to make significant strides in their Christian walk. “St. Jude goes to great lengths in finding cures for childhood diseases. And I am grateful to be able to give the families something that, hopefully, will make their time away from home a bit easier.”

Henry Matlock is an ordained Christian preacher, board certified healthcare administrator and author of “Daily Deposits for the Soul: The Busy Christian’s Guide to Abundant Living.” Go to www.DailyDepositsForTheSoul.com for more information.

To schedule an interview with Henry Matlock, call at 870-489-8613 or [email protected].

Chinese Authorities Detain Prominent Law Expert in Run-Up to Major Offensive Linked to Nobel Peace Prize

November 25, 2010

BEIJING, (MetroCatholic) — One of China’s foremost legal scholars and advocates of constitutional democracy was detained and interrogated by police in Beijing late Wednesday night in what may be a warning shot preceding a crackdown planned to coincide with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, according to ChinaAid Association sources.

Dr. Fan Yafeng, also a leader of Shengshan Church, an unregistered house church, was forcibly removed from his home at 9:10 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 24 by more than 10 Domestic Security Department police officers and taken to Shuangyushu Police Station, where he was interrogated until 2 a.m. about allegedly illegally “engaging in activities under the guise of a social organization.”

This is the fifth time since mid-October that Fan has been taken into police custody. He was put under house arrest on Nov. 1, two days after a daylong detention and interrogation. Fan is also director of the group Christian Human Rights Lawyers of China and a founding member of the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians, and has been one of the most active lawyers in the rights defense movement in China.

What was particularly despicable about the latest detention is that officers went back to Fan’s home and took his wife and their three-year-old son to the same police station for interrogation. Mother and child were held until 1:30 a.m. The four officers who conducted the interrogation ignored the distress of the sleepy toddler as he lay and rolled around on the ground, crying loudly.

ChinaAid has learned from a reliable source that the Chinese authorities are preparing to launch a crackdown called “Operation Deterrence” to coincide with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10. During the campaign, of unspecified duration, authorities are to arrest and sentence a total of 20 rights defenders.

ChinaAid president Bob Fu said these latest developments only further highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in China. Fu, who founded ChinaAid in 2002 to draw international attention to China’s gross human rights violations against house church Christians, said “the unprecedented weakness exhibited by the nations of the Western world has only encouraged China to continue in its obstinacy, unrepentance and blind confidence in itself.”

SBA List Claims ‘Year of the Pro-Life Woman’ Victory in Buerkle NY-25 Win

November 25, 2010

WASHINGTON, (MetroCatholic) — Today, the Susan B. Anthony List celebrated the election of the eighth pro-life woman U.S. Representative in the 112th Congress and a major upset in Ann Marie Buerkle’s defeat of pro-abortion incumbent Dan Maffei.

    “Ann Marie Buerkle’s win is historic for women, the unborn and New York’s 25th Congressional District,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “A pro-life gain in this district — thought by many to be out of reach — affirms the wave of pro-life feminine leadership pouring into the 112th Congress. That wave, including Buerkle’s election, further confirms that 2010 is the Year of the Pro-Life Woman.

    “As the first woman elected to Congress from NY-25, she brings years of experience speaking out for Life and feminine leadership harkening back to its roots in authentic pro-life feminism. At the same time, she replaces a consistently pro-abortion vote with dependable advocacy for Life on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

As a registered nurse and mother of six, Buerkle will contribute a unique medical background and a strong commitment to ending taxpayer funding of abortion to Congress.

In the weeks leading up to the November general election, the SBA List mailed nearly 23,000 households in NY-25 and bundled nearly $24,000 for the Buerkle campaign. The SBA List spent $2.3 million electing pro-life women to congressional and statewide office, resulting in a 70 percent increase in the number of pro-life women in the U.S. House of Representatives, an increase in the number of pro-life women governors from one to four and the election of the 112th Congress’ first pro-life woman Senator. SBA List-endorsed candidates won 83 percent of the time in SBA List-versus-EMILY’s List head-to-head races.

The Susan B. Anthony List spent $11 million during the 2010 midterm elections, including: $3.4 million on its “Votes Have Consequences” project targeting self-described “pro-life” Democrats who voted for abortion funding in the health care bill; $2.3 million on its efforts to elect pro-life women to congressional and statewide office; and $1.4 million on defeating pro-abortion incumbents and protecting pro-life leaders. SBA List members across the country bundled more than $600,000 in direct contributions to candidates. Overall, the SBA List was involved in 90 races including 62 wins, 27 losses, and 1 yet to be called. Successes included: defeating 15 of 20 “Votes Have Consequences” targets; increasing the number of pro-life women in the House by 70 percent; filling the void of pro-life women in the U.S. Senate and increasing the number of pro-life women governors from one to four. In SBA List-versus-EMILY’s List head-to-head races, SBA List candidates won 83 percent of the t ime.

For further information, please contact Kerry Brown at (703) 470-1926 or [email protected].

Southern Poverty Law Center Defames Mainstream Pro-Family Groups as ‘Hate Groups’; DefendChristians.Org Calls on Congress to Defund the SPLC

November 25, 2010

VISTA, Calif., (MetroCatholic) — The Southern Poverty Law Center has released a new list of “hate groups” that includes many highly regarded, mainstream Christian organizations because of their opposition to homosexuality.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center has utterly discredited themselves by this provocative attack on organizations that promote traditional family values,” said Rev. Gary L. Cass, of DefendChristians.Org, a ministry of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“Labeling mainstream conservative organizations as ‘Hate groups’ is defamatory and is simply an intimidation tactic. We call on Congress to cut off their funding.”

“Defend Christians.Org will work to form a coalition of organizations to lobby Congress to withhold funds from SPLC. We will also demand Congress restrict Federal law enforcement from relying on the biased SPLC reports, like the discredited ‘Report on Right-Wing Extremism’ SPLC wrote for the Department of Homeland Security,” said Cass.
“The SPLC has been reduced to a far left propaganda organization that uses hype and hysteria to enrich a few liberal attorneys at taxpayer expense and has long out lived its usefulness,” said Cass.

The new SPLC “Hate Group” list has eighteen organizations including large, mainstream ministries like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, Liberty Council, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition and the National Organization for Marriage.

City council unanimously votes to stop Carhart late-term abortion plans

November 24, 2010

Council Bluffs, Iowa, November 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Council Bluffs City Council in Iowa unanimously voted last night to shut down any plans late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart may have had to set up shop in the town.

Pro-life supporters packed the meeting last night to voice opposition to the announced plans of Carhart, who has said he wants to open up a late-term abortion mill there.

The abortionist has been forced to seek other locations for his late-term abortion business after Nebraska passed a fetal pain bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks, when the pre-born baby is believed to feel pain. Carhart is also interested in taking over an existing abortion facility in Indiana, where he has worked part-time for years, and Maryland.

Iowa Right to Life and other groups mobilized over 300 people to turn out to the meeting after rumors began to circulate that Carhart may have been interested in purchasing a city-owned lot for his proposed new Council Bluffs clinic.

The City Council, however, voted to sell the property only with the condition that it not be used for an abortion clinic.

While Carhart continues to raise money for the Council Bluffs facility, which he says is tentatively scheduled to open in January, Mayor Tom Hanafan told the crowd at last evening’s meeting that no one has approached the city for the needed permits for an abortion clinic.

During the meeting, Councilman Mike Shultz stated that the council had over the years tried to make the community a “positive place to work and live,” adding, “I think the council is unified on this. We’ll try to do what we can to prevent this type of activity,” according to the Associated Press.

“Carhart is desperate to relocate his late-term abortion business, because that is the only way he can make money,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Carhart is a notoriously poor businessman who seems to be in constant financial distress. He doesn’t have the money to open in Council Bluffs right now, and this strong show of community opposition will make it even harder for him to move there, if he ever were to get the money.”

Last year, Carhart vowed to open a late-term abortion clinic within 25 miles of Wichita, Kansas, but failed to do so when Operation Rescue successfully blocked his efforts there.

His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan to Launch Special Advent Series on SIRIUS XM

November 24, 2010

NEW YORK, NY (MetroCatholic) announced today that His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, will return to The Catholic Channel to host an exclusive five-part radio series created by His Eminence and dedicated to the season of Advent.

The Spirit of Advent: In Scripture, Story and Song will debut Saturday, November 27 (9:00 – 10:00 am ET) on The Catholic Channel, SIRIUS channel 159 and XM channel 117, and will feature a new edition each Saturday during the Advent season plus a special finale airing Christmas Eve.

The program will replay several times each weekend, including Saturday (3:00 pm ET and 7:00 pm ET) and Sunday (8:00 am ET, 12:00 pm ET, 2:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET).

Cardinal Egan has designed this series of Advent specials to give listeners a deeper and richer perspective on the teachings and traditions of Advent, with the benefit of Cardinal Egan’s experiences from parish priest to Vatican scholar to head of the Archdiocese of New York, his extensive study of the scriptures, his talent for telling a tale or two, and his passion for celebrating Advent not only through words but also through music.  The series combines scripture with personal stories and powerful song to inform and inspire in a new way.

His Eminence will focus on the season’s anticipation of the birth of Christ through the scripture and music of each week’s liturgy, explaining the significance of the readings and discussing a particular song selection, and sharing his own memories and anecdotes from more than 50 years in the priesthood.  

A lifelong music enthusiast and accomplished classical pianist, the Cardinal will talk with his audience about the differences between Advent music and Christmas music, the lyrics and history of the hymns and why they are chosen for the mass.  Song selections will include Advent hymns like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Lead Kindly Light,” and joyous Christmas songs such as “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Cardinal Egan said, “It is a joy for me to return to The Catholic Channel, particularly during this wondrous season of Advent.  It is my hope that our programs, The Spirit of Advent, will help our listeners better understand the longing that we feel as we anticipate the birth of Our Savior, which culminates in the great joy of Christmas.”

Cardinal Egan retired as Archbishop of New York in 2009 after nearly nine years in that position.  In 2006, he played an instrumental role in creating and launching the Catholic Channel on SIRIUS XM, where he hosted a weekly talk show, A Conversation with the Cardinal.  Cardinal Egan saw the channel as an important and unprecedented opportunity for the Church to utilize the modern medium of satellite radio to communicate directly with a nationwide audience.  

Today the Catholic Channel is a contemporary and effective way for the Catholic Church to deliver its message and teaching 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and serves as a forum that encourages people from all walks of life to call in and be a part of the daily discussion on faith and modern day life.

Catholic Home Missions Subcommittee Announces 2011 Grants

November 24, 2010

WASHINGTON (MetroCatholic)—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions has announced its 2011 grantees. A total of 362 projects in 88 “home mission” dioceses were approved at the subcommittee’s meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 27-28. Grants were made to 73 Latin dioceses and 15 Eastern Catholic eparchies.
           
“Home Missions” is the name for dioceses and parishes in the United States and its territories and dependencies, which cannot provide basic pastoral services to Catholics without outside help.
           
Bishop Michael Warfel, chairman of the subcommittee said, “The subcommittee is pleased to be able to offer assistance to our brothers and sisters in home mission dioceses. The Church in these areas is impacted by challenges of geography, low Catholic population, a lack of pastoral resources and parishioner poverty. Through the generosity of Catholics to the annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal we can provide funds that keep vulnerable parishes open and support catechesis and evangelization to strengthen the Church here at home.”
           
The breakdown for the $8,474,500 in approved grants is as follows:

  • 149 evangelization projects (including campus ministry, communications, general evangelization, Hispanic ministry, migrant ministry, ministry with handicapped people, prison ministry and youth and young adult ministry); 41.2 percent of total funding.
  • 41 projects for mission parishes (buildings and properties, personnel); 11.3 percent.
  • 58 projects for religious education (Catholic schools, parish religious education); 16 percent.
  • 114 projects for training for ministry (including clergy continuing education, diaconate training, lay ministry training, seminary education and vocations); 31.5 percent.

Grants from the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions are ordinarily capped at $125,000. However, due to the needs of a number of home mission dioceses this year, the subcommittee awarded an additional $10,000 to 21 dioceses with the greatest needs.  Two dioceses were funded for the first time: the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam and the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan.
           
In addition, the subcommittee approved a $40,000 grant for the newly created Apostolic Exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States. Bishop Warfel presented the check to the exarchate’s first bishop, Bishop Thomas Naickamparampi, at the subcommittee’s November 16 meeting during the bishops’ Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.
           
Approximately 90 of the 200 Latin and Eastern Catholic dioceses in the United States, about 45 percent, are unable to provide the ministries of word, worship, and service for their people without outside help. To provide a continuing source of support for needy local communities the bishops of the United States created the Catholic Home Missions Appeal in 1998. The annual collection is usually taken up on the last weekend in April.
           
For more information on funded dioceses and the Catholic Home Missions visit www.usccb.org/hm.

LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO VARIOUS VOICES WITHIN THE CHURCH

November 24, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - In the Paul VI Hall Monday morning, the Holy Father received the twenty-four new cardinals created in the consistory of Saturday 20 November. With the prelates were members of their families and other faithful who have accompanied them to Rome.

The Pope greeted the cardinals in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, and expressed the hope that their followers may “support you with their prayers, that you many continue to persevere faithfully in your various tasks, for the good of the Gospel and of all Christian people”.

“Your ministry”, he told the cardinals, “is now enriched by the further duty of supporting Peter’s Successor in his universal service to the Church. I place a lot of trust in you, in your prayer and in your vital assistance. With fraternal esteem I encourage you to continue your spiritual and apostolic mission which has just gone through a very important stage. Maintain your gaze fixed on Christ, drawing all grace and spiritual comfort from Him and following the shining example of cardinal saints, intrepid servants of the Church who, over the course of the centuries, have rendered glory to God with their heroic exercise of the virtues and their tenacious faithfulness to the Gospel”.

Invoking on the cardinals “the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary Mother of the Church, and of the martyr St. Cecilia whose liturgical memory falls today”, the Pope said “may she, the patroness of music and ‘bel canto’, accompany and support your efforts to listen attentively to various voices within the Church, in order to make the unity of hearts more profound”.

American College in Leuven, Belgium to Close in 2011

November 23, 2010

WASHINGTON (MetroCatholic) — Due to the small number of seminarians and available priest faculty, the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Leuven, Belgium, has announced its closure in June 2011. The announcement was made to the seminary community immediately after the decision was made by the board of bishops of the American College and confirmed by the body of bishops at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) General Assembly on November 17, in Baltimore.

“The seminary has served the Church in the United States and other parts of the world faithfully, steadfastly and zealously throughout its 154-year existence, and so this is a sad moment for many of us,” said Bishop David Ricken, chair of the board and bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The USCCB provides guidance to all United States seminaries through its norms for priestly formation found in the Program for Priestly Formation (PPF). The American College is one of two European seminaries governed directly by the USCCB; the other is the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Despite strong efforts, enrollment has not grown at the American College to a sustainable level. In addition, the seminary has struggled with obtaining qualified priests for its faculty. Small enrollment creates significant financial challenges as well as difficulties for priestly formation. The PPF notes that, “The seminarians and faculty form the heart of the seminary community, and this reality needs careful cultivation so that the distinctive aims of seminary formation can be achieved.”  The difficulties in maintaining this necessary community environment for priestly formation led to the decision to close the American College.

“We hold a good relationship with both the theology and philosophy faculties at the University,” noted Bishop Ricken. “We are grateful to the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, the theology and philosophy faculties and the people of Belgium for their support and collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church of the United States for these many years.”

The American College of the Immaculate Conception was founded in 1857 by the bishops of the United States with the dual purpose of training young European men to serve as missionary priests in North America and of offering to American seminarians the philosophical and theological riches available at Europe’s oldest Catholic university in Leuven.

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