Monday, December 31, 2012

The HHS Mandate is alive and well

As 2012 winds down, please do not forget about the HHS Mandate and its effects. People of faith will be forced to choose between their livelihoods, their businesses, and their religious convictions. No longer can a Christian businessman run his business according to values that promote life. Business owners are facing an either/or situation. Here is the CEO of Hobby Lobby, writing about the repercussions of the HHS Mandate for he and his family, and ultimately, for all those they employ and those who shop at Hobby Lobby. Read it all here, and then pass it on, because as stated in the article, you won't read his words in the mainstream media.

A snippet from the article:

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Call to Prayer

Just learned from Fr. Z's blog about the USCCB's Call to Prayer. Beginning today, on the Feast of the Holy Family, our bishops have "approved a pastoral strategy to advance a Movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. It is essentially a call to prayer, penance, and sacrifice for the sake of renewing a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty in our country."

The news release came out December 6 (hello?!!) and you can read it here. From the news release:

1. Starting with the Sunday after Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family) and continuing on or near the last Sunday of every month through Christ the King Sunday, November 2013, cathedrals and parishes are encouraged to hold a Eucharistic Holy Hour for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.

2. Families and individuals are encouraged to pray a daily Rosary, especially for the preservation of Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty in the nation.

3. At Sunday and daily Masses, it is encouraged that the Prayers of the Faithful include specific intentions for respect for all human life from conception to natural death, the strengthening of marriage and family life, and the preservation of religious liberty at all levels of government, both at home and abroad.

4. Abstinence from meat and fasting on Fridays are encouraged for the intention of the protection of Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, recognizing the importance of spiritual and bodily sacrifice in the life of the Church.

5. The celebration of a second Fortnight for Freedom at the end of June and the beginning of July 2013 is being planned. This Fortnight would emphasize faith and marriage in a particular way in the face of the potential Supreme Court rulings during this time. The Fortnight would also emphasize the need for conscience protection in light of the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, as well as religious freedom concerns in other areas, such as immigration, adoption, and humanitarian services.

Here's accompanying information:

Call to Prayer handout

Information on Eucharistic Holy Hour

Suggested Prayers for the Faithful

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hallelujah!

When Handel was in the midst of composing his "Messiah" he said at one point, "I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God."  A little more info here. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Innocents...All of Them

Deacon Ray's homily at this morning's Mass was largely given over to the Newtown shootings in which 20 children were murdered by a crazed young man. He tried to make a connection between that and the Scripture readings of the Visitation -- Mary hastening to see her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist.

Deacon Ray said that, perhaps, the nation has reached a "tipping point" regarding these types of murders, though he did not go much further than mentioning it and something about mental health issues. He correlated the readings with the tragedy by assuring us God is love, and love is over all.

Yesterday, I read an insightful article from author Mark Steyn about the "other" children of the Christmas Story. Here is a snippet:

As Matthew tells it, even in a story of miraculous birth, in the midst of life is death. The Massacre of the Innocents loomed large over the Christian imagination: In Rubens's two renderings, he fills the canvas with spear-wielding killers, wailing mothers, and dead babies, a snapshot, one assumes, of the vaster, bloodier body count beyond the frame. Then a century ago the Catholic Encyclopedia started digging into the numbers. The estimated population of Bethlehem at that time was around a thousand, which would put the toll of first-born sons under the age of two murdered by King Herod at approximately 20 — or about the same number of dead children as one school shooting on a December morning in Connecticut. (My emphasis)

The article is quite pointed and not for young children, but is a thought-provoking read. Also, I received an email from my friend, Mary, a day or so ago. An idea has been going around:

"Go to your nearest Catholic church. Ask for a mass to be offered for the intentions of the Community of Newtown, CT. Then mail the mass-card to St. Rose of Lima Church, 46 Church Hill Rd., Newtown, CT 06470. Wouldn’t it be great, if over the course of time, St. Rose of Lima Church received mass-cards from Christians praying for them from around the world?"

And while we are praying for all those involved in the tragedy at Newtown, please remember the other Innocents who have died -- over 50 million unborn babies have been aborted in the United States of America. One of my prayers is that our parish begins to focus its efforts to "enthusiastically build up the Kingdom of God" by vigorously opposing the abortion culture that currently dwells securely in our community...just down the hill from St. Mary's Church.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Abornaments

I'm afraid to ask how much more depraved the pro-abortion movement can get. There are many more abornaments at the link.

If you cannot attend the March for Life, please support those who can. Contact our parish for more information.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Parish Financials Online

The parish financials for 2011-2012 are online.

You can access them at the parish website here: Financial Statement


Monday, December 17, 2012

In Defense of Pope Pius XII

Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, for those who are not familiar with him, is a Catholic priest who was unjustly accused of a sexual crime two decades ago. He was wrongly convicted and has been in prison for 18 years, doing such good works that one can surely see God had a plan. You can read about his case here. As an aside, up to 50% of clergy are wrongly accused. This does not make the real cases any less heinous, it is simply an uncomfortable truth.

This post, however, is about Fr. MacRae's investigatory article about the complicity of the New York Times in its propaganda efforts to destroy the reputation of Pope Pius XII and also, to hide the newspaper's complicity in downplaying and covering up the Holocaust.

Hitler’s Pope, Nazi Crimes, and The New York Times


It is not light reading. It is worthwhile reading. Here is a snippet:

You have all read or heard the claims that Pope Pius XII was silent, at best, during the Holocaust, and at worst secured an accommodation with the Third Reich that saved the Catholic Church at the expense of the Jews. It’s not at all true, but the truth has had an uphill climb against the pervasive story, told again and again, that Pope Pius XII failed to confront Hitler during his systematic genocide of over six million European Jews and millions of others. You’ve heard the story of this supposed silence in a slanderous media sound bite that Pope Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope.” Next to the “pedophile priest” propaganda, it is probably the most often used and abused modern anti-Catholic slur. But simply put, it is a lie.

Awaiting the Coming of Christ, it is right and just to remember and pray for those in prison, especially those unjustly accused.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb

Found this gem of an article (link below). It is something to pass along. It might save a life.

Getting an Abortion in December

And a heads up. The 40th March for Life is next month. Contact the parish office for information on attending.

Tonight: Look up to the heavens

A wonderful meteor shower is on tonight and tomorrow -- Geminid Meteor Shower. At Fr. Z's link there's some interesting info and another link for more.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Did you know?

During this Year of Faith, our diocese is offering a Plenary Indulgence.

Read about it here. And here is the letter that our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Cunningham sent to pastors and pastoral administrators to: "In your kindness, please make known to your people the announcement of the Plenary Indulgence and the conditions under which it can be obtained."
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks be to God!

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! Here are a few links about Thanksgiving (Proclamation of 1676 and George Washington's Proclamation and Thanksgiving history at Plimoth Plantation.

And the picture below, you ask? Well, the sidewalks are being repaired in front of St. Vincent's, and that is something to be very grateful for!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Don't Forget Tomorrow!

A Day with Mary. Go here for the info.

The world needs a day with Mary right now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Huh? Really?

Wasn't Fr. Spilly a pastor in our parish(es) at some point?

Promoting Dissident Organizations

Perhaps it would be good to read this from Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prayers, please!

Please pray for a quick recovery for Deacon Jim, who fell ill this morning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Day With Mary

Go here for information on this special day of activities coming up on Saturday, November 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at St. Mary's Church in Corning.

The agenda includes:

  • Video presentation about Fatima
  • Procession of Our Lady into St. Mary's, with devotional crowning, Angelus, sung litany and the Five Joyful Mysteries
  • Latin Mass in honor of Our Lady
  • Lunch Break (bring your own)
  • Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, conferences on Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament, Enrollment in the Brown Scapular, and conferment of the Miraculous Medal

The link includes the details and a contact number for more info.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obamacare explained

If you want to understand the nuts and bolts of Obamacare take the time to watch this video. It makes you wonder how in the world some in the Catholic hierarchy supported it, are still supporting it (the Nuns on the Bus). If you have elderly or very young in your family, you will want to watch how Obamacare will affect them. It is in direct opposition to Catholic teaching. (H/t to Fr. Byers at Holy Souls Hermitage)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chant!

If you have visited Mount Saviour Monastery you may see some familiar faces in this video. In 1964, the monks at Mt. Saviour helped found the monastery at Christ in the Desert, which has gone on to become an abbey. Familiar faces performing on the CD include Fr. Joseph Gabriel, who is currently the Prior Administrator at Mt. Saviour, and Brothers Pierre (Mt. Saviour), Caedmon and Francis (Christ in the Desert). You can listen to samples of their new chant CD here, released by Sony Masterworks no less. You can buy their CD at Mt. Saviour, too.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Way We Were

At an estate sale on Friday a friend pointed out this print of St. Vincent's. The print is from an original watercolor by artist John C. Menihan. Titled "St. Vincent de Paul's, Corning, 1985 Ice Cream Social." Click on the photo to enlarge it a bit.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Classical Education

Segueing from how one goes about forming one's conscience, comes this article about how a Denver Catholic school turned itself around by implementing a Classical curriculum.

In 1947 English author and playwright Dorothy Sayers published an essay titled "The Lost Tools of Learning" (you can read it at the link), which has become a rallying cry for education reformers. One such reformer is Laura Berquist, a Catholic who has been at the leading edge of the homeschool movement for a decade or more. The article mentions her contributions such as the book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, and originating Mother of Divine Grace School, an online Catholic school in the Classical tradition. She was also a student at Thomas Aquinas College in California.

The money quote in the article on the Denver school states, "Anderson noted that classical education is meant to help students learn how to think, rather than merely teaching them 'subjects.'"

And one teacher at the school explains it this way, "I have to read and discover knowledge on my own before I can share it with my kids...It's definitely changed my teaching; I can't just look at a book anymore and read the lesson, and be prepared for the next day.”

“I've had to almost flip everything I know about education upside-down to teach classically,” she said.


Her students are now “required to think more,” rather than having “the information they need to know fed to them.


Thinking more can't be a bad thing. ;-)

(H/t to Fr. Z)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Right and Wrong



A Unique Conference
“How to Form Our Consciences” 
St. Patrick’s Parish Center
115 Maple Avenue, Victor N.Y.
Thursday, October 25, 7:00 PM
Doors Open 6:45

Free Admission, Desserts, Beverages
and Instrumental Music

An evening of lecture and discussion on the Role of Conscience...in voting and in life, how conscience differs from opinion, how to form our consciences, and how to resist the challenges against following our consciences. 

The program will open with a lecture by Daniel Kane, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights and continue with a facilitated discussion for personal application led by Jann Armantrout, Director of the Diocese of Rochester’s Respect for Life Office. 

This Conference will be non-partisan and apolitical. No candidates or political parties will be discussed, and no candidate presentations will be made or any of their materials distributed.  The presentations will be consistent with the Life Ethic of the Christian Faithful, and help equip families to develop conscience from an early age, to hear and respond lifelong to the ‘silent voice within’.

Voting, among other human activities, should reflect the exercise of a well-formed conscience.  Speakers will discuss how conscience is formed, exercised and communicated, and why Truth matters.  Questions for discussion include:  What sources are valid and useful in forming conscience?  Is voting really a moral act?  Can voting ever be a sin?  How do we ‘know’ the Truth?  Can conscience be at odds with Church teaching or with the consciences of others?  How can we communicate our discernment of conscience with love, charity, respect, humility and hope, to our families, neighbors, business colleagues and to the community?   Must we always follow our consciences? 

All are welcome to join this important discussion, whether they are Catholic, of other faiths, or of no faith, since the basic natural law principles apply to everyone.

To reserve your free admission - and for further information, please contact:
Stephanie Ramos @ St. Patrick’s  -  585-924-7111

BIO’S
 Dan Kane
Born and raised in Geneva, New York, Dan returned to the area after an almost 30 year absence to care for his family. A devout Catholic, scientist, entrepreneur and home schooling father of three; Dan spends most days as an imaging physicist and his free time promoting a culture of life.

In 2008 Mr. Kane was named an Institute Fellow of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person. In 2010 he became a Director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights at the European University of Rome and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. Both entities serve the greater good by promoting the dignity of the human person.

Work in both institutions involved different aspects of human dignity - the moral status of the human embryo, protection of conscience, questions involving same gender marriages, organ donation with heart-beating donors, human embryo adoption, promoting bioethics through art and emergency contraception in Catholic Healthcare Institutions.

On October 25th,  Mr. Kane will be sharing his thoughts on forming a moral conscience.

 Jann Armantrout

Jann has worked at the Diocese of Rochester for the past twelve years.  She was recruited by the Diocese for the position of Diocesan Life Issues Coordinator in 2000 as a result of her experience, both paid and non-paid, in Rochester, working on the issues of the consistent life ethic.  The CLE includes the protection of life from conception through natural death, and resistance to capital punishment, economic injustice and violence as a solution to domestic and international problems. The first half of her career included a decade of service to the developmentally disabled population of New York State and a decade of being a stay at home mom.

Jann’s undergraduate degree is in Political Science and she did masters work in Public Administration.  In 2005 she was certified through the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Health Care Ethics, studying with Fr. Tad Pacholczyk.  There are many different dimensions to the job of Diocesan Life Issues Coordinator including education, advocacy, administration and faith formation.  Of the many tasks she does, one that she enjoys most is being out in the parishes, helping parishioners to know and understand Catholic Social and Moral teaching on life issues.

She is currently a member of the NYS Empire State Stem Cell Board, having been nominated by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.  She was invited to serve on the Democrat and Chronicle’s Board of Contributors in 2012. Her greatest satisfaction however comes from her two sons aged 22 and 21 continued practice of  Catholicism.  Jann resides in Webster where she and her late husband Kenneth Arnold, raised their family.

On October 25th, Jann will be discussing Conscience regarding personal applications in today’s culture.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith

Today begins the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed. It is fitting then to ponder that the 50th anniversary of Vatican II is also today. George Weigel weighs in on Vatican II. From the article:

What Vatican II did do was write 16 documents of divergent doctrinal weight, the interpretation of which set off an ungodly row that lasted for the better part of four decades. That row frequently centered on “Who’s in charge?” issues, which, intersecting with a much-advertised (although rarely defined) “spirit of Vatican II,” produced forms of do-it-yourself Catholicism that would have stunned John XXIII. For while it is true that “Good Pope John” wanted his council to offer the world what he called, in his opening address, the “medicine of mercy, rather than that of severity,” it is also true that, in formally convening the council 50 years ago, on October 11, 1962, Blessed John XXIII also said that “the greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.” And while the pope’s allocution 50 years ago noted that “the substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another,” it is also true that the pope lifted up “the Church’s solicitude to promote and defend the truth,” a notion that seems quaint to many (and dangerous to others) in a post-modern cultural environment in which there may be your truth and my truth, but nothing properly describable as the truth.

Thus the truths that Vatican II taught remained bitterly contested in the 15 years immediately following the Council. Then, in yet another unexpected twist in the story-line, two men of genius, both men of the Council, arose to provide the Church with authoritative keys for properly interpreting the documents of Vatican II. That, history will likely show, was the great task taken on by the unexpected Polish pope, John Paul II (who as a hitherto-obscure young bishop helped develop several council documents), and the even more unexpected Bavarian pope, Benedict XVI (who as a theologian in his mid-30s played a major role in articulating several of the council’s most important teachings on the nature of the Church as centered on the Gospel).

Although neither Hans Küng nor Marc Andrus (nor the Nuns on the Bus) seems to have gotten the message, both these scholar-popes have taught, correctly, that what was innovative in the teaching of Vatican II must be understood in continuity with, and as a development of, the tradition of the Church. The Catholic Church did not begin on October 11, 1962.

It is well worth it to read the whole article.

A few resources for the Year of Faith can be found here and here. And did you know the Pope has entrusted the Year of Faith to Our Lady?  And here is an opportunity for a Plenary Indulgence during this Year of Faith.

God is good and the one true Faith moves ahead despite all enemies within and without.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's not about us

Truer words...

“The liturgy is not a kind of ‘self-manifestation’ of a community." -- Pope Benedict XVI

Here's the full article: Pope Benedict: ‘The Liturgy Is Celebrated for God and Not for Ourselves’

H/t to Cleansing Fire, which has a nice discussion beginning about the Liturgy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Has Immaculate Heart of Mary sold?

In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations. -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

When you sell the House of God for filthy lucre, you rip the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.

Do not forget St. Patrick's, the proceeds of which are being drained from parish coffers as we speak, to the tune of about $100,000. (It is nearly the end of 2012 and no financials for 2011 yet so it could be much more than that.) The sacrifice of IHM is rumored to pay for the take down of the Brennan Center--making room for a parking lot--and a new boiler for St. Mary's.

If you look at the listing it claims IHM is vacant (click on the picture and it will enlarge). Really? I guess two priests don't live there, and I guess the youth group doesn't have a Mass there regularly. And I suppose that the family who contributed thousands of dollars to fix up Rogers Hall for the youth group doesn't mind that it is being sold, either.

All Saints...all one. That is the meme.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ag Criost an Siol



May God's blessing be upon the Diocese of Rochester and all who reside therein.

In case you don't know Gaelic:

With Christ of the Seed, with Christ of the Harvest
In the granary of God, may we be taken
With Christ of the Sea, with Christ of the fishes
In the lines of God may we be entwined
From growth to age, and from age to death
Your two hands O Christ hither draw us.
From death to the end, not the end, but all eternity
In paradise of the blessed may we reside

Bishop's resignation accepted--updates ongoing

Rome has accepted Bishop Clark's resignation. An Apostolic administrator, Bishop Cunningham from Syracuse, has been named. See here. More here and here.

UPDATE 1: More info here.

UPDATE 2: Catholic Courier

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remember

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “ -- President George W. Bush



Photos of Ground Zero about 10 days afterward, still smoking.

My Memories Of 9/11, And The End Of Freedom by Rev. Robert Sirico

(H/t to the Treehouse and treepers)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A glowing tribute

Deacon Ray Defendorf has written a glowing tribute to the retiring Bishop Clark. Read it here.

From the article:
"Under Bishops Sheen and Hogan, the Diocese of Rochester had firmly embraced Vatican II. As members of the first class of permanent deacons slated to be ordained two years later, our excitement was slightly tinged with apprehension. At your first meeting with deacon candidates and spouses, someone asked, "Bishop Clark, will you be a bishop of The Church or of The People of God?" The room grew silent as all looked to see how red your face would become. But, instead of anger, your expression was instead one of bafflement. "I don’t really understand the question," I recall you saying. "The Church IS the People of God."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Ponder This Message

Watch this very short clip, and then read this article about Obamacare, which will allow 15-year-old girls to be STERILIZED without parental consent.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sister Korn and diocesan activism

TC posted a comment at this post that is so on-the-mark that it needed a blog of its own. The Catholic Ministries TAX Appeal is in full swing. The diocese is feverishly engaged in raising funds for Catholic Charities. Sister Janet Korn from the diocese was down at St. Vincent's on Sunday. Here is TC's take on it:

Sister Janet Korn, (Catholic Ministries Appeal, Rochester Diocese) spoke at St Vincent’s church on Sunday. My blood was boiling. I almost walked out of mass. She stated that there is a need to support migrant farm workers in NY and cited the “failed immigration reform” as the root cause for their plight. Sr Korn failed to explain how her ministry provides assistance to immigrant workers or what their needs were. I have several questions for the Corning Catholic Community to ponder:

1. What are the needs of the migrant workers? Food? Clothing? Spiritual?
2. How did the failure of immigration reform contribute to their hardships?
3. What about assistance for farmers and families who don’t rely on migrant workers?
4. Are these migrant workers exposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church?
5. How many migrant workers actually work/reside within the Rochester Diocese?
6. How does Sr Korn’s mission provide assistance to these migrant workers? Clothes? Food? Church services? Medical care? Child Care? Money? …..
7. Has anyone addressed the “plight” of migrant workers with local farm owners? NY State legislators?
8. Why isn’t Sister Korn wearing a habit?

Her specific mention of the “failed immigration reform” is another way that the liberal agenda is seeping into our Catholic Church. It is the proverbial “Wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She is nothing more than an activist operating under the umbrella of the Rochester Diocese.

Here are the links that TC referenced in his comment (plus a couple more):
 If you haven't been keeping up with the state of our diocese, you may not immediately understand TC's pointed comments and questions. For a quick and devastating primer on why these questions have merit, here's some stats from a Cleansing Fire blog posted yesterday:

The results of Bishop Clark’s 33 year experiment with progressive Catholicism are in – and they are not pretty:
» 93 out of 200 (47%) Catholic parishes, missions, stations and chapels closed;
» 53 out of 78 (68%) Catholic elementary schools closed;
» 4 out of 9 (44%) Catholic high schools closed;
» 220 out of 238 (92%) teaching sisters gone;
» 18 out of 20 (90%) teaching priests gone;
» 33 out of 33 (100%) teaching brothers gone;
» 16,130 out of 21,006 (77%) Catholic elementary school students gone;
» 4,355 out of 7,488 (58%) Catholic high school students gone;
» 28,323 out of 39,402 (72%) Catholic elementary school religious education students gone;
» 7,165 out of 8,767 (82%) Catholic high school religious education students gone;
» Catholic marriages down by 67% (from 2,076 to 689) ;
» Interfaith (or “mixed”) marriages down by 76% (from 1,321 to 320);
» Infant baptisms down by 61% (from 6,742 to 2,646);
» Weekend Mass attendance in free fall (down by over a third in a mere 10 years);
» 251 out of 341 (74%) active diocesan priests gone (with most of the remainder rapidly approaching retirement age);
» Vocations to the priesthood down to a barely discernible trickle; and
» All of this in a diocese that saw its number of registered Catholics drop by 16% while its total population grew by 3% during those same 33 years.

The connection between the political/ideological activism of the DOR and the devastation of Catholic faith and identity is not coincidental.
So, is it wrong to aid migrant workers? Of course not. The question that must be asked is: Why have these ministries thrived while churches are being sold, parishes clustered, and Catholics have left the Faith in droves?

The Faith is being systematically deconstructed and something different is being put in place. Why did Sister Korn reference the so-called failed immigration reform? That's leftist political speak. So, in the name of progressive politics Catholics are supposed to give to Catholic Charities? The whole social justice meme has evolved away from Christ's simple (and non-political) command to feed the hungry and take care of widows and orphans, to an agenda that takes sides in the political arena, that distorts Jesus's admonitions to Christians, and that results in the destruction of our Catholic Faith and identity.

This agenda relies heavily on taxpayer subsidizing. Diocesan ministries are subsidized by federal, state, and local taxpayer dollars to the tune of about two-thirds' funding. So yes, Catholics are giving twice--all the while their churches are being sold and their parishes diminished.

Are diocesan leaders so wedded to a political ideology that they would allow the current situation in our diocese in order to implement their political worldview?

And let us not forget the voiceless cry of the unborn, those who are most vulnerable in our society. Yes, even more vulnerable than migrant workers. Are these little ones given a prominent voice when Catholic Charities comes calling? What about the issue of euthanasia and death panels for our elderly? Apparently the 'seamless garment' meme isn't so seamless after all.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's it take?

The First Presbyterian Church in Corning celebrated its 200th year this morning. They expected a crowd of between 200-250 at this morning's service. FTA: Ernie Danforth, a longtime congregation member, said he’s expecting some former members who’ve moved away to return for the occasion.

When one thinks about it, the First Presbyterian Church in Corning probably has somewhat less than the numbers expected at this morning's service.

And yet, they manage to do quite nicely. Imagine what they would do with the numbers in our parish.

Oh wait...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Barnhardt on the Assumption

Ann Barnhardt explains the Assumption:

The Science Underpinning the Assumption (1)
Posted by Ann Barnhardt - August 15, AD 2012 9:29 AM MST
What a delightful play on words that title is.
The Assumption is the Dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed BODY and SOUL into heaven at the end of her life. The archaeological record is one of the most compelling confirmations of this truth. The veneration of burial places, tombs and relics of dead saints is universal and consistent in the early Church and has carried right through to this day. Everyone knows where St. Peter is buried, and the relics of St. Paul and the other apostles and saints, even recent saints like St. Bernadette are venerated and in some cases spread all over the earth. Almost every Catholic Church contains the relics of multiple saints.
But one saint has NEVER had any location venerated as her burial place, nor have there ever been any relics purported to be part of her body. Never. Who is this person whom everyone has always agreed has no earthly tomb and for whom there are no earthly relics? Only the second-most-important person to ever walk the earth, and THE most important person who was NOT God Incarnate: The Blessed Virgin Mary.
 
The reason why she has no tomb and no relics is because at the end of her life (the Church is not sure whether or not she actually died, and so that question is intentionally left open) Our Lord immediately granted to her the promise made to all Christians of the resurrection and heaven, BODY AND SOUL. So, there are two physical human bodies in heaven right now: Our Lord and His Mother. We don't know exactly how to explain this, but I suspect that it has something to do with temporal or dimensional phase shifting, as Our Lord walked through walls, doors and other solid objects after the Resurrection (John 20:19). As Einstein discovered, mass and energy are equivalent, and thus can phase back and forth. We also know from the Mass itself that while we experience time in a linear continuum, God is in no way constrained by linear time, and can manipulate, bend and intersect points in time. How? Oh, no clue. There is so much about physics that we don't understand. But hey, that's all part of the fun of the mystery, right?
Only after the Second Coming and the Judgment will the rest of the Church be reunited to their resurrected (for those who have died) or glorified (for those who are alive at the Second Coming and Judgment) bodies, to be united to the Trinity, dwelling inside the Beatific Vision forever. But Mary is already there. She has already been ASSUMED into heaven, and is the proof of God's promise of what lies in store for those who die in the Church, in friendship with Christ. And today, August 15th, is the Feast of the Assumption. This is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that all Christians are required to attend Mass just as if it was a Sunday. So, what better time to talk about and explain the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, and the science that underpins both dogmas.
First, the Immaculate Conception. This doctrine and non-negotiable tenet of Christianity teaches that Mary was, by the grace of God, prevented from carrying the stain of Original Sin from the moment of her conception. This is a deal-breaker. If you do not believe this, then you are not a Christian, because the logical consequences of denying the Immaculate Conception inevitably leads to denying the Incarnation and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. If you deny the Incarnation and the Divinity of Christ by denying the logical antecedent of the Immaculate Conception, you are NOT Christian. You are a quasi-Christian neo-pagan. Welcome to the New Evangelization. No more boot-licking of Protestant-pagan heresies and caling it "ecumenism".
Mary was saved from sin by her Son, like all of the other faithful, it is just that the timing of her salvation was different from everyone else. This is why Mary, sinless though she is, still calls God “my Savior” in her Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. Instead of letting Mary fall in the mud puddle of sin like the rest of us, God stuck out His Arm back through time from the Cross and kept her from falling in the mud puddle – but if it wasn't for God's positive action of reaching out across time from the Cross and holding her from falling, she would have fallen. This is called “grace”, and is what the Angel Gabriel was referring to when he greeted Mary at the Annunciation with the words, “Hail! Full of grace! The LORD is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” Luke 1:28 Full of grace means FULL. OF. GRACE. How full is full? Full is totally full. To the brim. Full does not mean half-full or mostly-full. Full means full. Mary was FULL OF GRACE.
And because Mary was FULL of grace, there was absolutely no room for sin. Mary didn't sin because God her Savior had filled her with grace and therefore she just COULDN'T sin. Most of us reading this have a tiny taste of what this is like. For example, I'm guessing that everyone reading this would be incapable of killing a baby. We just COULDN'T do it. No matter what threat was made against us, no matter what the adverse consequences to our own lives might be, we would take any adverse consequence before killing a baby. We are simply incapable of performing that act. Why? What is that internal force of energy that prevents us from committing acts of evil even when under intense duress and threat? It is grace. Pure and simple.
Sadly, most of us have a little grace, but are not in any way FULL of grace. I am personally much closer to being full of crap than of grace (which many of you have already pointed out to me – thank you very much), hence the daily, persistent, repeated sinning on my part. And I suspect it is a similar situation with you, dear reader, with the grace-to-crap ratio being much higher for you than for me. I really am quite full of crap. With Mary there was no crap because God her Savior had FILLED her with grace, and thus there was no room for crap, and thus there was no sin. It's really just 2nd grade math if you think about it. But WHY? Why was it essential for Mary to be sinless and sinless from the moment of her conception? That's where the science comes in.

The Science Underpinning the Assumption (2)
Posted by Ann Barnhardt - August 15, AD 2012 9:29 AM MST
There are two phases to Mary's existence. The first phase was from the moment of her conception until the Annunciation, which is when Jesus was conceived in her womb. The second phase was from that moment of Jesus' conception forward for all eternity. Each phase has its own physiological delight attached to it which required Mary to be a sinless vessel for Our Lord.
First, the pre-Annunciation period. As it has been discovered just within the last few decades, all baby girls have all of the eggs that are ever going to be in their ovaries fully formed not just at birth, but fairly early in their fetal development phase. Unlike men who are continuously producing new sperm, a woman's eggs aren't created and formed with each menstrual cycle. All that is happening during a cycle is that an egg, which has been fully formed in a woman's body since she was a pre-born fetus, is released into the reproductive tract. What this means theologically is that the egg containing the 23 chromosomes that God would miraculously fertilize with 23 chromosomes that He miraculously supplied (including a Y chromosome) to become the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, was physically present inside Mary's body from the time that Mary was inside of her mother's womb. That egg, and those chromosomes, that physical constituent of Our Blessed Lord was present inside of Mary's body, waiting to be . . . if I may use the word . . . consecrated. The word consecrate, when broken into its Latin components means:
Con: With
Secr: Holy
Ate: Territory of a Ruler
And so, Mary was, from the time she was inside St. Anne's womb, already carrying a portion of Our Lord's physicality, namely 23 of His chromosomes. And thus Mary was, from her very beginning, already a proto-tabernacle, already the Ark of the New Covenant, carrying within her what would be consecrated into The Law Incarnate, The High Priest, and The Bread of Life – just like the Old Ark, except perfected and fully fulfilled as God Incarnate. And as we know from the book of Exodus, the Old Ark had to be “perfect”. And thus, the Ark of the New Covenant was TRULY perfect, except this perfection was a perfection that only God Himself could accomplish: the perfection of Mary, full of grace and thus saved from all sin.
The second phase is actually broken into two sub-phases. The first sub-phase is when Mary was pregnant with Jesus and His entire body was inside of hers.
The second phase is that phase from the time of Jesus' birth forward into all eternity. Jesus is STILL physically inside of Mary in a unique way. It was discovered just a few short years ago that immune cells pass from a pre-born child to the mother across the placenta. Not only do these immune cells, which are the child's and thus carry the exclusive and complete DNA of the child, pass across the placenta, but they persist in the mother's body for the rest of her life. A woman who has carried a son has immune cells with Y-chromosomes in her bloodstream that can now be filtered out of her blood and observed. Female children also pass cells to their mothers.
Thus, a woman truly does carry her children around inside of her, with their DNA coursing through her heart, for the rest of her life. That isn't just a sentiment – it is a physiological fact.
Thus, Mary continued and continues to this day to be a perpetual, living physical tabernacle of her Son, as she carries cells with His DNA in her bloodstream. And so now we see why Mary was and had to be filled with grace and thus saved from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception eternally forward – because she was and is a perpetual Ark of the New Covenant.
This also explains why Mary's body was assumed into heaven immediately at the end of her earthly life, because her body literally contained living cells of Our Lord and thus her body could not remain on earth in physical death to decay in any way.
She simply was afforded the same physical resurrection that all of the faithful will receive, albeit instantaneously for her, given her very special state, both spiritually and physically. This is what is doctrinally referred to as “The Assumption”.
Finally, if you are a quasi-Christian Protestant-pagan reading this and it has made you the least bit angry, you need to sit down and ask yourself one excruciatingly simple question: WHY?
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peasant Catholics

Have you heard about the most recent scandal rocking the Catholic Church here in the USA? The Archdiocese of New York has invited Barack Obama to the annual Alfred Smith Dinner. It has caused a firestorm of criticism and defensive answers. Here are links to get you caught up, the latest being Michael Voris's fiery rebuttal to Bill Donahue for name calling:

Alfred Smith website

USA Today article

Archdiocese defends decision

Peasant Catholics

Petition to Disinvite Obama

Inviting Obama to Dinner (Part two)

Inviting Obama to Dinner (Part one)

Archdiocese Response (unofficial)

Archbishop Lori defends decision to invite Obama

It's a free-for-all. Being Catholic is never boring. ;-)


Sunday, August 5, 2012

A 'God-incidence'


There are no coincidences. Here is a heart-warming story of Iris and her granddaughter:

Oak Tables and the Afterlife


*Note: The print is by artist Mike Savad.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another DOR school closing

Read about it here. The coach's comments below are heartbreaking. Two weeks before the season starts the school is suddenly closed. A thunderbolt out of the blue. Standard operating procedure.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Novena to Mary's Immaculate Heart

The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart.

Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary, full of love for God and mankind, and of compassion for sinners, I consecrate myself entirely to you. I entrust to you the salvation of my soul. May my heart be ever united with yours, so that I may hate sin, love God and my neighbor, and reach eternal life together with those whom I love.

Mediatrix of All Graces and Mother of Mercy, remember the infinite treasure which your Divine Son has merited by His suffering and which he has confided to you for us, your children. Filled with confidence in your motherly heart, and for the sake of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obtain for me the favor I ask: [Mention your request here].

Dearest Mother, if what I ask for should not be according to God's will, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul. May I experience the kindness of your intercession with Jesus during life and at the hour of my death? Amen.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

They missed one

St. Patrick's was missed in this 'litany' of Diocese of Rochester church closings. And next year, Immaculate Heart of Mary may be a Salvation Army gymnasium. One down, how many more to go in All Saints Parish?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Parish Guarantee?


As some of you may know, there are at least two offers to buy Immaculate Heart of Mary. The For Sale sign in front of IHM is graphic evidence of parish leadership's desire to divest themselves of yet another tabernacle. They want to push Him out of His house. They want to sell His house and divide it amongst themselves. Nothing new.

In a chance encounter with Alice, the parish's cemetery bookkeeper, we have been assured that IHM will not be sold. She claimed that the Salvation Army had put in a low-ball offer that had been rejected. Old news, she said. But what she didn't say, or perhaps didn't know, is that the Salvation Army is prepared to pay more and is actively pursuing final funding approval from their organizational hierarchy. It is only a matter of time.

But according to Alice, even though the For Sale sign is prominently displayed, IHM is not in danger of being sold! She can guarantee it, she said. Since we are led to believe that deacons can lead parishes, why shouldn't we also believe that a bookkeeper can make definitive decisions about church property?

According to Alice, we are troublemakers who apparently don't attend Mass regularly and are not involved in the parish. She adamantly refused to admit that the For Sale sign in front of IHM meant that it would be sold if an acceptable offer came in

She also said that she understood the issue was already in Rome. Really? She knows that for sure?

Not to be logical, but if the church ISN'T for sale, why is there a BIG FAT FOR SALE SIGN in the front yard, just to the side of a statue of Mary our Mother? According to Alice, it just hasn't been removed yet.

Yeah. Guess that meeting between the real estate agent and Captain John and Deacon Dean never happened, either. Nothing to see here. Move on, folks. Go back to sleep.

Building Immaculate Heart of Mary

While St. Vincent de Paul parish was still holding Mass in St. Vincent School, the call came to help build Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. St. Vincent parishioners, who had saved and saved to build St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, gave $40,000 from their own building fund to help build IHM. I wonder how much St. Mary's gave. And what about St. Patrick's? How much did parishioners give?

And now parish leadership will not take down that BIG FAT FOR SALE SIGN. The youth group has expended funds on fixing up Rogers Hall, but for what? If a sale goes through, it will have been for naught. Another Catholic church in the Corning/Painted Post community will be gone.

Sounds like a plan...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pray for Fr. Fred's mother

Fr. Fred's mother has died. Please pray for the repose of her soul and for her family. Also, Fr. Fred will be traveling home, please pray that he has a safe journey there and back.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Requiem for IHM?

As buyers in our community vie for Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, comes this post about the beauty of Catholic churches from The Anchoress. IHM is a sweet and simple church, one in keeping with the spiritual beauty of Mary's Immaculate Heart, I dare to think.

There are several links to the need for beauty, for rich and poor alike. When you take away the tabernacle, when you destroy and sell Catholic churches for temporal gain, you are saying in no uncertain terms that the here and now is more important than the eternal. It's unpopular to mention the eternal nature of existence, but if you make the present of more importance than the eternal...in the end you may....lose.

UPDATE: A poem by G. K. Chesterton that speaks to 'only' losing one's soul:

Fantasia
by G.K. Chesterton
 The happy men that lose their heads
They find their heads in heaven
As cherub heads with cherub wings,
And cherub haloes even:
Out of the infinite evening lands
Along the sunset sea,
Leaving the purple fields behind,
The cherub wings beat down the wind
Back to the groping body and blind
As the bird back to the tree.

Whether the plumes be passion-red
For him that truly dies
By headsmen’s blade or battle-axe,
Or blue like butterflies,
For him that lost it in a lane
In April’s fits and starts,
His folly is forgiven then:
But higher, and far beyond our ken,
Is the healing of the unhappy men,
The men that lost their hearts.

Is there not pardon for the brave
And broad release above,
Who lost their heads for liberty
Or lost their hearts for love?
Or is the wise man wise indeed
Whom larger thoughts keep whole?
Who sees life equal like a chart,
Made strong to play the saner part,
And keep his head and keep his heart,
And only lose his soul. (H/t to Why I Am Catholic)

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.