Friday, September 08, 2006

Divine Mercy Conference - Local Event - Day One

Joey and I attended the first day of the conference today.

Boy, were we glad we went! It was just the first day but what an opening! First of all, it's being held at the Hawaii Convention Center in the Waikiki area. Lucky for us, it's within walking distance and walk we did.

We had never been to the convention center before. My dh has often referred to it as the Big White Elephant but it is a beautiful building inside.

We took a very long escalator to the top and we had the feeling of going up to Heaven. This was probably because we knew that Jesus was up there!

We had lots of time to kill so we started exploring the bookstore. I saw some friends and spend time with them while doing a little shopping. All of a sudden I see a familiar face, a young priest. I pulled Joey to the other side of the room and I introduced ourselves to
Fr. Donald Calloway. For those of you not familiar with him. He is a priest with quite a story to tell of his youth filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll before Divine Mercy intervened. He is now a priest with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. We chatted a few minutes and I took a picture of Joey and Father Calloway. We are really looking forward to his talk tomorrow.

So the conference began with the Angelus, the recitation of the Holy Rosary in honor of our Blessed Mother's birthday, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. A local recording artist sang On this Day O Beautiful Mother and Ave Maria while the Knights of Columbus led the procession of the banners of the different Catholic groups and pilgrims.

Then we had the privilege of hearing Dr. Bryan Thatcher, the head of EADM give a very moving speech on God's Divine Mercy.

I will try to post more tomorrow, and maybe some pictures, after the conference

Catholic Charities Program in Hawaii Gives Support to Pregnant Women


Catholic Charities program in Hawaii gives support to pregnant women

By Patrick Downes
Catholic News Service

KAILUA, Hawaii (CNS) -- Two women who could not be more different recently found similar refuge at the Mary Jane Group Home, a residence for pregnant women sponsored by Catholic Charities in Kailua.

Ramona Williams, 44, is a high-spirited Chinese-Hawaiian-Portuguese woman who grew up in Hawaii and worked in Waikiki until last November. Soft-spoken "Sue," 26, was a government official in Taegu, South Korea, before she came to Hawaii on a student visa in January.

Their pregnancies brought these two dissimilar lives together in their temporary stays at the home. Both women shared their stories this summer with the Hawaii Catholic Herald, Honolulu's diocesan newspaper.

Williams was thrilled to be pregnant. Expecting her first child is something she never thought would happen at her age. The child, a boy due Sept. 13, was to be named Makana, Hawaiian for "gift."

She didn't feel this way seven months ago. The timing couldn't have been worse. Williams had been a self-sufficient, independent woman most of her adult life, working in the tourist industry.

But, in her words, she "messed up" last November and found herself unemployed. This came after two years of residing with her boyfriend in a van. Her pregnancy, she said, was the kick she needed to turn her life around. She began to seek help through social services agencies and was advised to contact the Mary Jane home, where she took up residence in March.

Since then she has been doing chores around the house to earn coupons to redeem at a thrift shop with baby items. She has been reconnecting with family members, processing her welfare papers, getting on a waiting list for affordable housing and lining up a job.

When Sue (not her real name) learned she was pregnant in Korea, she thought about an abortion but decided against it. Instead, she and her boyfriend planned to move to Hawaii, away from their families who would not welcome the child of an unwed mother. Her boyfriend backed out of the plan, leaving Sue alone in a foreign country with a baby on the way.

She arrived in Hawaii in January on a student visa and began attending an English-language school. At first she lived in a downtown Honolulu apartment with another Korean student. As the months progressed, she looked for help on the Internet and found the Mary Jane Program.

When she called the home, she was unsure of her broken English and simply said, "Hello, I want to go there."

The next day she was filling out the application forms.

On June 10, she gave birth to Ellie.

The Mary Jane home allows a mother and child to stay for four months after birth, although it is not a hard and fast rule. With only two months before she needed to move out, Sue was still looking for a place to live and a way to support herself and Ellie. As a foreign student, her options and sources of assistance are limited. She is living off her savings.

Her father won't give permission to bring the child back to Taegu and Ellie's U.S. citizenship could create additional problems in Korea.

The young mother wants to get a work visa to remain in Hawaii and complete her English education. Catholic Charities will help, but the going will be tough.

"I try to be strong, but I am tired of being strong," she said with a weary smile.

Rebecca Cuba, the Mary Jane Program's on-site educator and program assistant since 1978, has seen hundreds of women come and go through the home. The six-woman house is usually at full capacity. The women are not charged rent, but pay for classes, supplies and food to the extent that they are able.

As one of three full-time staff members, Cuba teaches or arranges for classes on childbirth, nutrition, infant care, healthy relationships, cooking, finances and other topics. She also recruits volunteers who help the women with transportation, offer respite periods by watching the newborns and assist in other ways.

Danny Morishige, Mary Jane's program director since 1996, estimates that 800 women and 650 babies have been served by the program. Fewer babies have been helped because some women, particularly teenagers, leave the program before they gave birth to return to their families.

The program is unique, and according to Morishige, it is the only one of its kind in Hawaii. For that reason, finding funding is difficult.

He said the state's solution is simply to put these women on welfare. But as Morishige pointed out, single pregnant women need more than money. They require support, sympathy, encouragement and guidance.

"That's our goal," he said, "to provide a home atmosphere so that they can basically be stable, so that they can make plans for the future."


Copyright (c) 2006 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Honolulu Priest - Founder of New Order for the Deaf

Hat tip to Sunny

"We are not the problem, we are the solution," says Fr Thomas Coughlin, a deaf Honolulu priest who has founded the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate with five other deaf men.

Deaf since birth, it was Fr Coughlin's lifelong dream to start a religious community where sign language is the primary means of expression at both the eucharistic table and the dinner table, according to the Catholic News Service.

Fr Coughlin was one of five men who made their first profession of vows as Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate last week at St Albert's Priory in Oakland, California.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," he told the Hawaii Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Honolulu Diocese.

"I saw how badly we need a religious community of deaf priests and brothers dedicated to a deeper spiritual life and the deaf apostolate in the language of signs and the deaf culture milieu."

The five men pronounced their vows before Oakland's Bishop Allen H Vigneron, who formally recognised the new community in 2004.

Fr Coughlin will remain a diocesan priest until he make his final vows in a few years. The other four men are in various stages of preparation for the priesthood, and the religious community also has two novices.

Former San Francisco Archbishop (now Cardinal) William Levada, who has since become prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, originally welcomed three deaf seminarians in 2003 and appointed Fr Coughlin as parish priest of St Benedict's parish.

"It felt like a miracle," said Fr Coughlin at the time.

As the first born-deaf man to be ordained a Catholic priest in North America, Fr Coughlin defied many doubters and silenced a long list of critics.

Fr Coughlin had been searching for a US seminary to receive deaf students since the New York Archdiocese ended its program for deaf seminarians in 2000.

"People labelled us as a problem. We are not the problem, we are the solution," he said.

During his 25 years as a priest, Fr Coughlin said he has seen thousands of deaf Catholics join other churches because the "Catholic Church did not have a significant number of priests to minister to the deaf community."

The National Catholic Office of the Deaf agrees that there is a desperate need for deaf priests with between 100,000 and 170,000 people in California who are deaf and only three per cent who are churchgoers.

Other deaf seminarians are from Uganda, Congo Brazzaville and South Korea.

(Catholic News Service)


Photo Source: Internet

The Spiritual Tradition Regarding Mary's Birth

Sacred Scripture does not record Mary's birth. The earliest known writing regarding Mary's birth is found in the Protoevangelium of James (5:2), which is an apocryphal writing from the late 2nd century. What matters is not the historicity of the account, but the significance of Mary's and of every person's birth. In Mary's case, the early Church grew more and more interested in the circumstances surrounding the origin of Christ. Discussion about Mary throws light on the discussion about the identity of Jesus Christ.

The Church usually celebrates the passing of a person, that is, the person's entry into eternal life. Besides the birth of Christ, the Christian liturgy celebrates only two other birthdays: that of St. John the Baptizer and of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is not the individual greatness of these saints that the Church celebrates, but their role in salvation history, a role directly connected to the Redeemer's own coming into the world.

Mary's birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments--bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ. Mary, the Daughter of Zion and ideal personification of Israel, is the last and most worthy representative of the People of the Old Covenant but at the same time she is "the hope and the dawn of the whole world." With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy is established. (Lumen Gentium 55)

The birth of Mary is ordained in particular toward her mission as Mother of the Savior. Her existence is indissolubly connected with that of Christ: it partakes of a unique plan of predestination and grace. God's mysterious plan regarding the Incarnation of the Word embraces also the Virgin who is His Mother. In this way, the Birth of Mary is inserted at the very heart of the History of Salvation. (M. Valentini, Dictionary of Mary, pp. 36-7.)

On This Day, O Beautiful Mother

On this day, O Beautiful Mother!
On this day we give thee our love;
Near thee, Madonna, fondly we hover,
trusting thy gentle care to prove.

On this day we ask to share, dearest Mother,
thy sweet care;
Aid us e'er, our feet astray, wandering from
thy guiding way.

Queen of Angels, deign to hear, thy dear
children's humble pray'r;
Young hearts gain, O Virgin pure, sweetly
to thyself allure.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Choosing Life - How Pro-Lifers Become Pro-lifers

Hat tip to Bette.

Choosing Life

by Fred Barnes
09/01/2006 12:00:00 AM


What turns people into passionate foes of abortion and related issues like euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research? I'm not referring to those who supported the pro-life position because of their family upbringing or religious faith or because of a political requirement as, say, a Republican candidate in a red state. I'm talking about people who, as adults or mature teenagers, were either pro-abortion or basically indifferent to the issue. Then something changed their mind, prompting them to take up the anti-abortion cause. Perhaps they began defending the pro-life position without realizing they'd flipped. In any case, what caused the change? What happened?

The answer can be found in the experiences of five people: Ronald Reagan, Henry Hyde, Ramesh Ponnuru, Wesley Smith, and myself. And their stories, I think, are roughly representative of what a multitude of others went through as they came to embrace the cause of saving unborn children. The five experienced two things in common that should be easy to spot as we look at their five cases.

Let's begin with Reagan.** In his first year as California governor in 1967, the legislature passed a bill to legalize "therapeutic" abortions. It was an issue Reagan hadn't thought much about and he was torn over whether to veto the measure. Many Republicans in legislature strongly urged him to sign the bill. And so did aides on his staff, including conservatives Ed Meese and Lyn Nofziger, who later followed Reagan to Washington. Reagan was assured it would result in only a handful of abortions.

His instinct was to veto the bill and the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles urged him to follow that course. But he signed it into law. Reagan was disturbed by his decision, however, and continued to think long and hard about abortion. The bill, according to Lou Cannon in Governor Reagan, "permitted more legal abortions in California than occurred in any other state before the advent of Roe v. Wade." Reagan's worst fear was realized.

By 1980, Reagan had changed his mind and become a firm opponent of abortion. He insisted on a pro-life plank in the Republican platform for the first time. In 1983, he published a passionate pro-life essay, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. It turned out that signing the abortion bill in 1967 was the only political mistake that Reagan ever admitted.

HENRY HYDE had been a member of the Illinois legislature for five years when he first was confronted by the abortion issue. It was the early 1970s--before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion-on-demand nationwide. Hyde was asked by another legislator to co-sponsor a bill easing the state's ban on abortion. And he was receptive.

When he read the proposed legislation, however, his thinking changed. Hyde, too, had never given much thought to abortion. But suddenly he had to. And the result was he wound up rejecting, rather than sponsoring, the pro-abortion bill and leading the successful opposition to it on the floor of the Illinois assembly.

Hyde was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and quickly became a leading pro-life voice. In 1976, he won enactment of legislation barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Thirty years later, the Hyde Amendment is still the law of the land.

RAMESH PONNURU, a writer for National Review who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, remembers as a teenager "not wanting to be a pro-lifer." In America, he told me, "it's just easier to be pro-choice. You're running with the tide."

In 1991, people he knew in Kansas City joined the Summer of Mercy anti-abortion protest in Wichita. The demonstration drew enormous media attention and the protesters were reported to have created a tense standoff, a near-crisis. Ponnuru followed the event closely enough to know that the protesters were "about as tense as a church picnic." In fact, his friends who took part "were the kind of people who go to church picnics."

The effect of the Wichita demonstration on Ponnuru, miles away in Kansas City, was profound. That summer, he thought about the morality of abortion. And by the time he entered Princeton at the end of the summer, he was a full-blown pro-lifer. Since then, his opposition to abortion "has deepened every year." And this year, he published Party of Death, a compelling account of the Democratic party's emergence as a strongly pro-abortion party.

AS A LAWYER and colleague of Ralph Nader, Wesley Smith was an unlikely prospect to become a pro-lifer. He got there in an unusual way that led him to become America's leading critic of euthanasia, cloning, and embryonic stem cell research.

A little over a decade ago, a friend of Smith, a 76-year-woman named Virginia, committed suicide. She had often talked about killing herself, telling Smith and other friends how painless, gentle even, it would be. They had tried to talk her out of it, but to no avail.

After her death, Smith went to her home in California and found stacks of literature by advocates of euthanasia, particularly the Hemlock Society. And he recognized some of things Virginia had said in the literature, such as tales of people supposedly enjoying death. Smith was appalled and it altered his thinking and his career.

Soon he was devoting more and more time to writing and speaking against euthanasia--until it became a crusade and his full-time work. Nader asked him at one point why he was "doing so much on euthanasia." Smith explained the issue to him. This led to a controversial statement by Nader during his presidential campaign in 2000. While in Oregon, he denounced the state's assisted suicide law as "Oregon's shame."

FINALLY, THERE'S MY OWN EXPERIENCE. For years, I rarely gave abortion a passing thought. That an unborn child was killed often as a matter of convenience--well, I just never thought about that. As a reporter for the Evening Star newspaper in Washington in 1973 covering the Roe v. Wade ruling, I considered the issue a legal matter, not a moral one.

The rise of the anti-abortion movement in the late 1970s and Reagan's stand on abortion caught my eye, but only a political matters. Then my wife Barbara's obstetrician recommended she have amniocentesis when she was pregnant with our third child. This involves injecting a needle into the womb to remove fluid so the unborn child can be examined for problems or defects.

We'd heard amniocentesis referred to as a "search and destroy mission" that often led to abortion in the case of a child with birth defects or Down's Syndrome. This caused us to think about what we would do in such a case--really to think seriously about abortion for the first time. As it happened, our child was fine. But as we left the doctor's office, my wife and I agreed she'd never do amniocentesis again. And she didn't when she became pregnant again three years later. Without recognizing it immediately, we had become pro-lifers.

So think for a moment about these five experiences: Reagan's deciding on signing an abortion bill, Hyde's mulling whether to co-sponsor a pro-abortion measure, Ponnuru's watching as the Summer of Mercy unfold, Smith's reading pro-euthanasia tracts as his dead friend's home, and our--my wife and I--adverse reaction to amniocentesis. One common thread is obvious. All of us, because of the circumstances we found ourselves in, were forced to think about the taking of a life and what that means in both practical and moral terms. Most people avoid thinking about troubling moral issues like abortion or euthanasia. We couldn't.

And the other common thread is that something happened to make us choose life and choose it firmly and reject death. I think it was our conscience that intervened or, if you prefer, the basic human instinct that favors life over death. Or it you are a Christian, as I am, it was God.

Now I'm sure there are many exceptions to our experience. Not everyone who contemplates abortion or euthanasia is bound to take the intellectual path that five of us--six, including my wife--did on the way to becoming pro-lifers. But I suspect there are many more than like us than not. And many more to come.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard. This article is a condensed version of a speech he gave to the National Right to Life convention in Nashville in June.

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Back to School Prayer

Mahalo to my friend Easter for sharing this with us.

Back to School

Praise you, Lord, for the blessing of learning.

—Catholic Prayers for Every Day and All Day

Christ’s love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play.

-St. John Bosco


We pray for all students

That they may learn and study

With Christ’s wisdom and understanding

And use all knowlege to make this world

A better place to live.

We pray for all parents and teachers

That they may bring to the children

The love of God first

Then love for God next.

With Christ as the anchor of learning

We shall prevail

And achieve that which Christ

Has planned for each child He brings

To this world.

We pray with Mary,

In her Son’s name, Jesus,


-Easter A.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Catholic Weird Al

Hat tip to Marci from The World As I See It and a big mahalo nui loa!

A few years ago my son and I had a roaring good time listening to some songs by Nick Alexander. Our favorites were "Should I Stand or Should I kneel" (The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go...another favorite of ours) and Confession (Pressure by Billy Joel). He then disappeared from the scene. Today, Marci at The World As I See It, posted his blog! Take a listen to some of his parodies.

Nick Alexander

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Gift for our Blessed Mother on Her Birthday - September 8th

Mahalo Sue for this one too!

Friday 8th September is the feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As a Gift for Our Lady on this special day, please join with people from all over the world in a day of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

Fasting does not necessarily have to be just bread and water. It can be a day of abstinence from sweets, meat, TV, gossip or anything that you have to make an effort or sacrifice in order to do without.

As regards prayer, this can be as simple as 3 Hail Mary's on the day but of course the rosary and Eucharistic Adoration have a special place in Our Lady's heart not to mention the greatest prayer of all, the mass. And yet a moment of personal prayer joined to the prayers of so many will help to change hearts and make this a special day for Our Lady and will most certainly help in the battle against abortion.

Nothing needs to be done except to inform others to take part in this special birthday gift for our Mother who is incessantly praying for us.

May God Bless all your efforts and all your work for the protection of life. Please forward this far and wide.

Stuart McGovern

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Eucharistic Quote by St. Augustine

Holy card courtesy of Aci Prensa

"Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it."

- St. Augustine