Friday, November 21, 2014

Meatless Fridays - Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil or Aglio e Olio

This is a super easy meal to make yet very delicious.  Yesterday, I looked into the refrigerator to see what I could have for lunch.  I only had a small container of cooked spaghetti but no sauce.  It was then I remembered my mom used to make pasta with olive oil and garlic as a snack.  The following recipe will be for a pound of pasta.

1 lb. of pasta such as spaghetti or linguine cooked al dente, and drained (time it so it is done with the sauce is ready.  Pasta should be hot).
1 head of garlic (not one clove), peeled and chopped coursely NOTE:  add more garlic if you'd like
Approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of a good extra virgin olive oil (TIP:  a good olive oil does come from California.  Check out the organic extra virgin olive oil from California Olive Ranch).
I small bunch of Italian parsley (chopped as finely as is your preference)
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat up a skillet and add the olive oil and garlic.  Fry the garlic until golden brown.  Then add the salt and pepper along with the crushed red pepper.  Mix well as it continues to fry for a few seconds and then add the lemon juice and parsley. At this point you can add the cooked pasta in batches (which means you would have to make the sauce two times) or you can just add the entire sauce to the hot cooked pasta in a pasta bowl.

For a variation, you can add anchovies at the time the lemon juice and parsley is added.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ACN - ACN-USA News: Devastated Christian community in Kandhamal, India still awaits justice

Last August marked the anniversary of the 2008 massacre of more than 100 Christians at the hands of a Hindu mob in Kandhamal district in Orissa (Odisha) State, India—and the culprits, though most of them have been identified, have yet to be tried. Eight years later, a Catholic priest who narrowly escaped a most gruesome death and lived to testify against his attackers, finds himself at a parish New York, at a safe remove. Father Thomas Chellan’s memories of the tragedy, however, have not faded. His testimony takes on fresh urgency in light of the recent attacks on Indians Christians by Hindu fundamentalists. This is his story:

All these years later, the Christian community of Kandhamal, which falls under the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar is still waiting for justice. The attacks reduced more than 300 churches and almost 6000 Christian homes to ashes, rendering more than 50,000 people homeless. They began refugees hiding out in the forest. Yet, the Christian faith stood out shining amidst the rubble of burned out churches and Christian houses.

While more than 100 Christians became martyrs for their faith, hundreds of others were fortunate to survive after they were brutally tortured for refusing to renounce their faith. They had been targeted just for their identity. The assailants’ goal was to force the Christians to give up their faith and embrace Hinduism.

It all began with the gruesome murder on Aug. 23, 2008, of a local swami, a leader of the Vishna Hindu Parishad of Kandhamal District.  The fundamentalist Hindu groups used the killing as an excuse to attack Christians. The local community utterly failed to protect the lives and property of their Christian neighbors. In the end, the victims who survived, homeless, became refugees in their own land, housed in relief camps set up by the government. All in all, attacks on Christians continued for a full two months, until, finally, the federal government and the Supreme Court of India responded to the inability of the state government to protect the Christians .

This was my experience: on the afternoon of Aug. 24, 2008, hundreds of people suddenly came into the compound of the Diyyajyoti Pastoral Center, home to facilities to train the laity. Seeing the crowd rushing in, my assistant priest, a woman religious and I jumped over the compound wall and escaped into the nearby forest. We hid there until 10.30PM,. We could see our home going up in flames. The mob broke open all the doors and windows, thinking we were hiding inside.

That night, under the cover of darkness, the Sister and I went to the home of a Hindu gentleman. He was kind enough to give us food and shelter, putting himself and his family at great risk. My assistant priest found shelter at his brother’s house. The next day, Aug. 25, a group of some 50 people came back to the area, shouting slogans against Christians. Seeing them armed with sticks, knives, axes and other village weapons, our host got nervous and asked me to leave. He did allow the Sister to stay.

The best he could offer me was his outhouse, where I hid under a table. But the crowd came up and broke open the door with an axe. I was pulled out and beaten with sticks and iron rods. I sustained injuries on top of my head, my forehead and shoulder. Immediately, Sister was pulled out of the home as well. Both of us were dragged over to the nearby archdiocesan social service center, which had been attacked the previous day. There, they tore of Sister’s clothes and raped her. When I tried to prevent the men from attacking her I was taken outside and doused in gasoline. Someone took out a box of matches. Seeing that I said my last prayers, thinking my end had come.

It was decided to tie us both together, so we could both be set on fire. I was made to kneel on the road before the crowd. They brought out Sister, too, and we were made to march to the nearby marketplace, less than a quarter of a mile away. We had no choice but to obey orders.

A police car approached—but failed to stop; no one came to our rescue. Policemen were standing along the road as mute spectators. I asked them for help, but got beat up instead by the crowd. Sister sat herself between two officers on a bench, but they did not thing and the mob pulled her back onto the road.

At the marketplace, we were made to sit down on a concrete bench along the roadside and a man shouted at us: “from today on, you will say Ram, Ram only.” It is the name of a Hindu God. A big pile of tires was set on fire. We expected to be burned alive. But the worst thing did not happen. The good Lord has His way. That is all I can say.

Next, we were taken to a police station. We were made to sit on the floor. One of our attackers sat in a chair nearby. That night we were transferred to the main police headquarters where we spent the night. The next day, Aug. 26, 2014, police transferred us by bus to Bhubaneswar, the state capital. We stopped at the Archbishop’s House. But soon both us were taken out of state for medical treatment.

Looking back on all that happened, I thank God for giving both of us a fresh lease on life. We harbor no anger or bitterness toward those people who attacked and maltreated us. I only hope and pray that peace and justice may come to Kandhamal and that people can live there without religious discrimination.

Most of the Christians in Kandhamal belong to the so-called scheduled castes. They are dalits, the lowest caste in the traditional Hindu hierarchy and they have long been discriminated against in India. But unlike Buddhist and Hindu dalits, Christian dalits—like their Muslim counterparts—are not receiving any government benefits, which is contrary to the Indian Constitution. Nonetheless, the local Christian community has made remarkable progress in every sphere of life, particularly when it comes to education.

Christians are claiming their rightful place in society, unwilling to put up any longer with religious and social discrimination. In fact, the local Church runs a number of programs that boost human development—programs that are open to anyone, without any discrimination based on caste or creed. That is the Christian way!

Friday, November 14, 2014

ACN helps Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan

Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has allocated $68,400 of humanitarian aid for Christian refugees from Iraq. This will support about 200 families from the Mosul region who have been taken in by the Catholic Parish Mary, Mother of the Church in Amman, Jordan.

Father Khalil Jaar, pastor of Mary Mother of the Church in Amman, Jordan for some months now has been a gracious host to Chaldean refugees from Iraq, where ISIS forces have driven them from their homes.

He told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “The people arrived here with nothing. They therefore urgently need anything that could in any way be useful, such as shoes, clothing, blankets and medicine. Daily meals also need to be provided for about 200 families. No one can say for how many days or months they will be living in our parish.”

Families are no longer only living in the rectory; some have in the meantime been moved to apartments the parish has rented in the surrounding neighborhood. “We are still taking in new arrivals every day. We have started renting small apartment close to our church. We are housing at least two families in each of these because the rents are very high.”

In addition to meeting everyday necessities, the parish is also caring for the psychological needs of the children and their parents as well as organizing discussion groups and prayer meetings, Father Jaar said.

He explained that the Christians who fled Mosul to escape ISIS have been traumatized: “The Muslim extremists who conquered Mosul last summer gave Christians the choice of either converting to Islam, paying a tax or risk being executed. The result was a mass exodus of Christians to the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. A man told me how they were inspected at an ISIS checkpoint as they fled Mosul. Everything was taken from them, money, passports, jewelry and watches. Their three-year-old son was not even allowed to take his milk bottle with him.”

King Abdullah II of Jordan has reacted to the persecution by allowing many of the Christians from Mosul to stay in his country. “The king has proclaimed his sympathy and his support for the persecuted groups and has condemned the violent acts of the ISIS as not Islamic.”

With picture of Iraqi Christian refugee in Jordan (Photo: ACN)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ACN News - Gaza: ‘the extremists must be isolated’

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian bishops’ conference, recently returned from a trip to the Holy Land. He spoke of his findings with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

You have just visited war-torn Gaza as a guest of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. What impressed you particularly?

How a city has been destroyed—but then there was the hope that I saw on the faces of so many children. It was like an explosion of joy. There was also a sense of dignity and pride of the people, who need so much but ask for nothing. I was also impressed by the local Christians’ devotion to their faith. They are a very small, but very effective minority.

You also visited Sderot, the Israeli city on the border with the Gaza strip, which has suffered from Hamas rocket attacks for years.

The situation in these two territories typifies the state of mind of both peoples. If, on the one hand, the cities which have been damaged have to be rebuilt, how much more important is it to rebuild people’s hearts so that they can forgive the destruction inflicted upon them and start out on the path of reconciliation. Spiritual and moral rebuilding must be the foundation of all further reconstruction.

Will you report on the situation in the Holy Land to the Pope?

Yes. I will tell him how much the people here love him. They thank him for his visit here this year. They would naturally be delighted to welcome him here again. They trust in the prayer and the word of the Holy Father, but also in the influence which he enjoys thanks to his authority at the level of international bodies, his ability to draw the world’s attention to the dramatic situation here in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.
From everything I hear from many sources, solutions are coming. They consist of creating an alliance of all moderates in the region in order to isolate the extremists. If such a sincere and effective alliance of moderates were formed, then the extremists would be left isolated. God-willing, they would then be obliged to give up their evil project of constantly unleashing chaos and violence.

Do you believe that Western Christianity is paying sufficient attention to the situation of Christians in the Holy Land?

There is no general answer to this question. However the Catholic Church in the individual countries of Europe needs to become more aware overall of the drama that is taking place in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. It should also reflect on how it can express solidarity with the faithful in the region better. We must do even more.
Do you already have ideas for projects to help the Christian community here?
We will continue to lead our dioceses in prayer for the peoples of the Holy Land. In addition, according to our means, we plan to implement concrete works of solidarity. Many of these exist already, such as schools, hospitals and so on. Thirdly, I believe that we must step up the pilgrimages to the Holy Land. This is possible, and we need not be afraid. Our communities must overcome their fears and start visiting once more the places associated with the life of Jesus. That would be a major boost for the Christian communities in the Holy Land.

In view of the events in Syria and Iraq, do you believe that Christians have a future in the Middle East?

They must have a future. Anything else would be a disaster for humanity, and not just for one religion. It would mean the failure of the civilisation that must strive for and ensure that individuals can profess their own faith in peace and be universally respected. Furthermore, if this failure were the result of a concrete project, that is to say, to wipe out the Christian presence in this country or other countries of the world, that would be even worse. That must not be allowed to happen. All men and people of good will and good sense must prevent the execution of any such plan to eliminate the Christian presence in the Middle East.
(Cardinal Bagnasco visited the Holy Land on 3 and 4 November together with the Presidium of the Italian Bishops’ Conference)


Picture source

Shared by Mary Jane.

After each invocation say:
My Jesus, mercy

O JESUS, Thou didst suffer and die that all mankind
might be saved and brought to eternal happiness.
Through the Agony of Thine Crown of Thorns
 I offer it to Thy Eternal Father that Thou wilt
hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:

My dear parents and grandparents,

My brothers and sisters and other near relatives,

My godparents and sponsors of Confirmation,

My spiritual and temporal benefactors,

My friends and neighbors,

All for whom love or duty bids me pray,

Those who have offended me,

Those who have suffered disadvantage of harm through me,

Those who are especially beloved by Thee,

Those whose release is near at hand,

Those who desire most to be united to Thee,

Those who endure the greatest suffering,

Those whose release is most remote,

Those who are least remembered,

Those who are most deserving on
account of their services to the Church,

The rich who are now the most destitute,

The mighty who are now powerless, 

The once spiritually blind, who now see their folly,

The frivolous, who spent their time in idleness, 

The poor, who did not seek the treasures of Heaven, 

The tepid, who devoted little time to prayer,

The indolent, who neglected to perform good works,

Those of little faith, who neglected
 the frequent reception of the Sacraments,

The habitual sinners, who owe
 their salvation to a miracle of grace,

Parents who failed to watch over their children,

Superiors who were not solicitous
for the salvation of those entrusted to them,

Those who strove for worldly riches and pleasures,

The worldly minded, who failed to
 use their wealth and talents in the service of God,

Those who witnessed the death of others,
but would not think of their own,

Those who blasphemed and committed
 sacrilege without due reparation,

Those who violated the dignity of the human body
 and mind through impurity,

Those who are Purgatory because of me,

Those who did not provide for the life hereafter,

Those whose sentence is severe because
of the great things entrusted to them,

The popes, kings and rulers,

The bishops and their counselors,

My teachers and spiritual advisors,

The deceased priests of this diocese,

The priests and religious of the Catholic Church,

The defenders of the holy Catholic Faith,

Those who died on the battlefield,

Those who fought for their country,

Those who were buried in the sea,

Those who died suddenly in accidents
 and from other causes,

Those who died of sudden illness,

Those who suffered and died of lingering illnesses,

Those who died without the last rites of the Church,

Those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours,

For those who procured abortions or aborted their children,

For those who promoted or practiced contraception,

For those who gave scandal, especially to children,

My own poor soul when I shall have to
 appear before Thy judgment seat.

Eternal rest grant unto all of these,
O Lord; and let the perpetual light of 
Thine countenance shine upon them soon. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


This is a dish I came up with because a) I wanted to use legumes b) I wanted to use leftover rice and sweet potatoes that were starting to sprout and c) I wanted it to be something tasty that would make my family forget the flavor of meat.

1 cup uncooked brown lentils (washed, picked over and cooked)
Approximately 3 to 4 cups cooked brown rice (preferably cold and sitting in refrigerator a few days)
½ cup to one cup chopped fresh kale (or frozen kale that has been thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture)
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
3 large garlic cloves, minced
5 to 10 curry leaves if available or 1 tablespoon prepared powered curry
3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
A large pinch of crushed red pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon of cumin

Heat a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the oil.  Add the garlic and onion slices.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes.  Add the curry leaves.  Fry the curry leaves until brown and aromatic.  (or add the curry powder at this point).  Add the crushed red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cold rice and fry for two or three minutes.  Add the kale.  Continue frying for approximately 3 to 5 minutes or so. Add the drained, cooked lentils and cook for an additional 3 minutes.   Add the roasted sweet potatoes on top of the curried lentil rice.

You can serve four people as a main dish or more as a side dish.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
3 medium Okinawan sweet potato (or yam), washed, dried and cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast the sweet potatoes for approximately ½ hour or until a fork goes through the sweet potato cube.  Set aside.

Monday, November 10, 2014

ACN News - ‘The worst crime in the history of Pakistan’

A Muslim mob severely beat a Christian couple accused of burning pages of the Qur’an in eastern Pakistan and then incinerated the bodies in a brick kiln, killing them and their unborn child.

Shama Bibi, who was four months pregnant, and her husband Shahbaz Masih were bonded laborers at a brick factory in the village of Kot Radha Kishan in the Punjab province, 28 miles south of Lahore.

The tragedy followed in the wake of last month’s court decision that condemned a Christian woman to death, Asia Bibi, who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010.

Since the 1990s, a number of Christians have been charged with desecrating the Qur’an or of committing blasphemy. While sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence, even a mere accusation of blasphemy can incite mob violence.

Regional Coordinator for Pakistan of the United Religions Initiative, Father James Channan, O.P., the former Vice-Provincial of the Dominican order in Pakistan, for which he serves as director of the Peace Center, made the following statement to catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN):

“The barbaric act by fanatic Pakistani Muslims of burning alive a poor Christian couple is a crime against humanity. It is the worst crime in the history of Pakistan committed in the name of religion. It was triggered by the false accusation of the burning some pages of the Qur’an.”

“Muslims and Christians alike are victimized by controversial blasphemy laws that stipulate life imprisonment for desecrating the Qur’an and the death sentence for defaming or insulting the Prophet of Islam.”

“The problem with these laws is that most often they are used to settle personal scores, such business disputes. In any case, who in their sound mind would burn pages of the Qur’an or insult the dignity of the Prophet Mohammed.

“Most problematic is that these laws are very vague; plus most Pakistanis are illiterate—hence, the application of the law is very easily abused, with people taking matters into their own hands, as happened in Kot Radha Kishan.

“Extremist Muslims, incited by mere accusations, have murdered other Muslims as well as Christians.”

“But the Christian community is most vulnerable, since an accusation leveled against a single individual can provoke violence aimed at his or her family as well as the entire local community. Homes are attached, churches are burned down and people are killed.”

“These laws are so dangerous that once a person is accused his or her life in Pakistan has become impossible. Even if the courts eventually declare an individual innocent, radical Muslims may still murder the person, which is considered an act worthy of praise.”

“What should be done? Pressure on our government from other countries will help. The UN should get involved and condemn such crimes against humanity, while appointing fact-finding commissions to investigate matters on the ground.”

“These are but some of the measures that may help to put an end to such barbaric acts as the cruel killing of the Christian couple and their unborn child.”

With photos of Shama Bibi and her husband Shahbaz Masih and Father James Channan, O.P. (© ACN)

Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue Comes to Hawaii

"The role of Mary is to lead us to Jesus"

As previously reported here, Our Lady of Fatima's pilgrim statue is visiting the Hawaiian islands this month.  Yesterday, we were privileged to see this beautiful statue of our Lady at Star of the Sea in Honolulu.  Her custodian Patrick Sabat accompanies her all of the world.  There are two statues in Fatima of our Lady.  One is permanently in Fatima and the other one is the pilgrim statue.  This particular statue has actually wept tears.  To the faithful, it is a sign that our blessed mother is very sorrowful.  So much sin and suffering abound in the world.  People are turning away from her son.  However, since the start of her visit in Hawaii a week ago, the statue has not wept.

In 1972 this statue wept.  Just two months later Roe v. Wade made the crime of abortion legal in the United States.

"The world at prayer is a world of peace." - Father Patrick Peyton

The statue is on a teaching mission as it travels the world.  We are asked to respond to Mary's request at Fatima.  She asked us for prayer. "Pray a great deal for many soul's go to hell because there is no one there to pray for them or make sacrifices for them."

"The white square of Fatima vs. the Red Square of Russia." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

We are called to be holy.  "To do great things with great love."  Just doing our ordinary duties can be holy.

Patrick Sabat challenging us "Are you willing to accept he suffering God wishes for you." 

We should accept this suffering for the conversion of sinners.  Just like the little shepherd children at Fatima did.

"My tears speak louder than my words" - Blessed Mother 1984

"Anyone who looks upon the face of my holy statue will
receive from my son and I {sic} an imprint of His heart and soul and will have peace of mind."
- Virgin Mary 1981

I would like to take this opportunity to share a portion of the latest email I, as a division leader, received from the World Apostolate of Fatima:

In 1989 the Blue Army USA address list included over 500,000 supporting members; 10 years later that had dropped to 125,000; by 2009 I was told we had only around 10,000 members left. The principal reason for this rapid decrease in supporting members seems to be the fall of the Soviet Union and consequent elimination of the threat of a communist takeover of the world and possible nuclear war. Also, perhaps more significantly, our culture has undergone a rapid change from Christianity to agnosticism, due in large part to the spread of the "errors of Russia" foretold by Our Lady of Fatima if her requests were not fulfilled. Even "devout" Catholics seem to pray much less than 50 years ago and the daily Rosary is quite out of fashion even among Catholics who consider themselves devout.

Five years ago we tried a new approach to growing WAF membership in the less devout Catholic atmosphere of our country. Through the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue Program we invited Catholics to make a pledge to pray every day for the conversion of sinners and to offer our daily crosses (everything we wish didn't happen in our lives, great or small) as reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners, using the formula given to us by Our Lady at Fatima. In just five years our membership has grown by over 51,000 new members!

The Blue Army/WAF Pledge is still a principal goal of our apostolate (everyone in a leadership position is expected to sign the Pledge) but the simpler pledge of prayer and reparation for the conversion of sinners -- strongly requested by Our Lady -- is now considered sufficient for new members. This allows us to bring in new members who don't feel ready to sign the WAF Pledge but are willing to pray and make daily reparation for the conversion of sinners, so that we can form them in the Message of Fatima and motivate them to make the WAF Pledge. In this regard, the new members are like novices, who need to learn about the Message and grow into the spiritual life requested of us all at Fatima. We can only spiritually form those we can reach, and the simpler introductory pledge has proven effective in bringing in new members who aren't yet ready to make the WAF Pledge. It's also important to remember that Our Lady revealed that peace can be obtained only by converting sinners through prayer and reparation...
Reminder: Tomorrow is a First Saturday. Please take this opportunity to answer our Lady's call to Prayer: Penance: Rosary and Reparation.

Poor Souls Novena Prayers for Every Day - Day Seven

Picture source


O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood
which gushed forth from the sacred Side of Thy divine Son jesus
in the presence and to the great sorrow of His most holy Mother,
deliver the souls in purgatory and amng them all especially
that soul which has been most devout to this noble Lady,
taht it may come quickly into Thy glory,
there to praise Thee in her, 
and her in Thee 
through all the ages.  

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest, etc.


O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Novena for the Poor Souls - Day Six

Picture source


O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which
Jesus Thy divine Son 
did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross,
especially from His sacred Hands and feet,
deliver the souls in purgatory,
and particularly that soul for whom I am
most bound to pray,
in order that I may not be the cause which hinders
Thee from admitting it quickly to the
possession of Thy glory where it may praise Thee
and bless Thee for evermore.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest, etc.


O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.