Thursday, January 25, 2007

Benedict XVI: Educate Children in Beauty

Fatima Shepherd Children

Media Day Message Focuses on Youth

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2007 ( Benedict XVI is appealing to the media to educate children "in the ways of beauty, truth and goodness," not of violence and vulgarity.

The Holy Father's appeal is in his message for World Communications Day 2007, which will be observed May 20 with the theme "Children and the Media: a Challenge for Education." The papal message for the media day is traditionally published today, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

The message calls for reflection on two aspects: the first is "the formation of children," and the second, "perhaps less obvious but no less important, is the formation of the media."

The Pope explains: "The relationship of children, media, and education can be considered from two perspectives: the formation of children by the media; and the formation of children to respond appropriately to the media.

"A kind of reciprocity emerges which points to the responsibilities of the media as an industry and to the need for active and critical participation of readers, viewers and listeners."

The Pontiff adds: "Within this framework, training in the proper use of the media is essential for the cultural, moral and spiritual development of children.

"Educating children to be discriminating in their use of the media is a responsibility of parents, Church, and school.

"Media education should be positive. Children exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent are helped to develop appreciation, prudence and the skills of discernment."

Mirroring the divine

Benedict XVI's statement recognizes the importance of the example of parents and encourages them to introduce youth to "children's classic literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music."

"Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness has a depressing impact on attitudes and behavior," the papal message continues.

The media industry can support the education of children in the ways of beauty, truth and goodness "only to the extent that it promotes fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity," the Pope says.

Benedict XVI acknowledges that communicators often face "'special psychological pressures and ethical dilemmas' ... which at times see commercial competitiveness compelling communicators to lower standards."

"Any tendency to produce programs and products -- including animated films and video games -- which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray anti-social behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programs are directed at children and adolescents," he says.

The Holy Father appeals in his message "to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family."

New Sacred Music Major at Franciscan University


H/T to Jeff

Franciscan University of Steubenville is pleased to announce the creation of a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music to begin in the fall of 2007. The degree may be pursued in either the program in voice or the program in organ. Pianists may audition for the program in organ on the piano. Courses will include private instruction on the major instrument, music theory, music history, conducting and a year-long course in Gregorian Chant. In addition, students will participate in the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, which concentrates on polyphony and chant and
sings for occasional services on and off campus.

Interested students may apply for admission to the university at:

Franciscan University of
1235 University Blvd.
Steubenville, OH 43953

Students interested in auditioning may contact Prof. Paul Weber at the
above address or by telephone at 740.284.5884.

Homeschoolers for Life

Homeschoolers for Life
Members of the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Homeschoolers of Hawaii at Monday's Hawaii March for Life.

H/T to
Cause of Our Joy

From their Mission Statement:

The purpose of Homeschoolers For Life is to create a coalition of
homeschooling families dedicated to promoting the principle that life is to be
respected at all stages of development from conception to natural death.
Click title above for to visit their site.

Those Who Have Eyes Ought to See

This one is very funny. Thank you Catholic Cartoon Blog

The Overuse of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Commuion

Holy Eucharist

A Catholic Life posted the following:

"In 1997 the Vatican demanded the abuse of having extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at all masses be eliminated entirely"
So what happened?

To learn more, click above.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prayer for Our Son

Heavenly Father, today is the anniversary of our son's birth, the day on which You allowed him to enter this magnificent world that You have made.

We thank You for the child that You have entrusted to us.

We want to cooperate with You fully in helping him grow into a free and responsible person and mature in the faith received at Baptism.

Grant us the grace to be able to guide him in the practice of virtue and the way of Your commandments--
by the good example of our lives, and by the loving observance of Your law and that of Your Church.

Most of all, however, guide him with Your Spirit so that he may know the vocation You will for him and be open to genuine self-giving and true Christian love.


Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de SalesPicture courtesy of St. Francis de Sales

The following are some quotes by this saint:

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”

“Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beware Dissenting Dioceses!

I thought this was cute!

The Seven Deadly Virtues - Humilty

Humility Picture courtesy of Mike Paul Blog

Recently, I've been doing a lot of thinking about humility. I've come to the conclusion, that I really need to learn to be humble. The real humility, and not the insincere, "look at me, look how humble I am" humility.

Dean recently posted on this topic. He did a really good job on tackling the issue of humility from a different perspective.

The following is an excerpt:

..."I hope by now the shock has worn off and you realize that I do not mean for you to physically cease to be. Physically dying would be a much easier but much less fruitful task. No, what we want to do is empty ourselves, to the point that we lose ourselves. Why would we want to do that? Well, let’s take a look at who we are. We are all selfish, self-righteous, prideful, arrogant, unloving, lying, envious and jealous people. In other words, “somethin’ done went wrong with us.” Do you not find any of those traits in you?...

...Now, in order for us to get anywhere, we have to start with the virtue that begins the dying process. Humility is the key to all of the other virtues. Without humility one cannot take any of the other virtues to heart because there is no space left inside the heart because it’s full of self. Now humility does not mean that you have to walk around telling people how lowly and unworthy you are. In fact, if you were to meet a truly humble person, you would most likely say to yourself, “Wow, he (or she) really listened to me and cared about what I was saying.” Humility gets rid of the you, while raising up others. This is one of the reasons why it is so hard, because it helps you to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you!

Humility truly allows us to gain wisdom and knowledge. This is because it helps us to rid ourselves of what we think we know, so that others can fill our minds and hearts with the true knowledge that we don’t know. In other words, humility is the softener of hard-hearts, and hard-heads.

Update - GIs in Iraq Get Their Mats After Enduring Insult From Web-Based Company

Thanks Jeff for the update tip:

"SGT Hess, We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq. is run out of Khetani's home in West Allis, Wis. In a
telephone interview Tuesday with FOX News, Khetani said he had fired the employee who sent the email, a claim that FOX News has not been able to confirm. He also said he has received thousands of phone calls to his home and business from people protesting the email exchange.

Hess said that he has since found two mat suppliers who shipped to an APO address in Iraq.

Meanwhile, FOX News has received thousands of emails asking how to
donate mats and other items to U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Rob Timmons, an Iraq veteran and a veteran outreach coordinator, recommended the following Web

Inspirational Stories of Evangelizing

Often as Catholics we feel we lack the fire to evangelize. It is in fact our duty as a Catholic to evangelize in ways we can. Sometimes, it is just by our examples.

The following is an excerpt from
Fr. Robert Fox

..."Among the stories I could tell of people who have come into the Catholic Church or reverts who found their way back to the fullness of true faith, by coming to this Shrine - I choose one of the latest
which happened a couple days ago.

As I had completed my usual more than two hours daily at the
Shrine, offering in the large lower church , Christ’s Sacrifice of
the Cross perpetuated, meditation, etc. - I was crossing the the big
piazza in front of the Shrine on my way to the parking lot. A
couple in their 60’s approached me. The man had been a biblical
scholar; he said, “a biblical scholar with a small `s’ “. They had
stopped at the Shrine before, he said, and they had seen me about -
but this was the first time the opportunity presented itself to talk
to me. Strict observance of reverential silence is kept at the
Shrine in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord.

The man who had spent most of his life studying the Bible said: “I entered the Catholic Church two years ago. Your book, “Protestant Fundamentalism and the Born-Again Catholic” got me started. I wanted to thank you. “How did you discover this book?” I asked. I bought it here at the Castle store. The man, aware that the converted scriptural scholar, Scott Hahn, had endorsed the book - had a need to talk, as did his wife who followed him into the Catholic Church. Many other stories could be told about the BORN- AGAIN CATHOLIC BOOK - including a 25 year old man whose Aunt, married to a minister, wanted him out of the Catholic Church - so she gave him my book, thinking it was by a fallen away Catholic. Instead, it set the young man on fire with love for the Catholic faith and the
desire to evangelize others.

Hell Is Real My Friends

HellPainting of Hell by Salvador Dali
Quick story: The original hangs at the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, NJ. My family and I visited there a couple of years ago. The kids in the family walked over to see this painting. Later some of the older kids came running to tell us that my 6 year old nephew, who shall remain nameless, actually touched the painting and said "that Hell isn't scary"!
Let me tell you folks, the real one is beyond scary. We want to do everything in our power to avoid Purgatory, let alone Hell.
When my sister was taking a class at Seton Hall University, she had a professor, a priest, tell her class that there was no hell. Out of all the students in the class, my sister was the only one who challenged him.

To all of you non-believers: Common sense would dictate erring on the side of caution, right? Why take a chance like that?

Ma Beck has two posts up on the subject of hell.

"As Our Lady spoke, she opened her lovely hands, disclosing beneath a sea of fire; and plunged in this fire were the demons and the souls, as if they were red-hot coals, transparent and black or bronze colored; with human forms, which floated about in the conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from it with great clouds of smoke, falling on all sides as sparks fall in great conflagrations -- without weight or equilibrium, among shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair which horrify and cause to shudder with fear.
The devils were distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals frightful and unknown, but transparent like black coals that have turned red-hot.

"Here you see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go," she said at length. "To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace."
This is the other one you'll want to check out:

Conversation in Hell

Pro-Life Actions You Can Do

A Catholic Life has some good suggestions.

Click above for his list. I would also like to add one:

If you live in a state that offers the
Choose Life license plate, obtain one. It costs a little extra but the money goes to help support pro-life causes.

Is This Any Way to Say Thank You?????

Thaning our TroopsPicture courtesy of Thanking the Troops

See, this is the proper way of thanking the brave men and women who are protecting us.

The following is not the way to do so:

"An American GI assigned to one of the harshest posts in Iraq had a simple request last week for a Wisconsin mattress company: send some floor mats to help ease the hardship of sleeping on the cold, bug-infested ground.

What he got, instead, was a swift kick from the company's Web site, which not only refused the request but added insult to injury with the admonition, 'If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.'"
Click above to read the entire article.

Feast Day of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai

Blesseds Damien and Marianne

Today is the feast day of Blessed Marianne Cope. She is the Franciscan sister from Syracuse who came to Hawaii to serve the lepers (Hansen Disease patients).

The photograph above is that of Father Damien on his deathbed and Mother Marianne Cope caring for him.

The following is from
Easter's saint of the day prayer:

Mk 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”


Our Most Loving Jesus,
we desire to remain in you.
Grant us a life that seeks to do your will only,
Not ours,
that like branches that stay connected to the vine
we shall yield fruit in season
and never wither and die.
Together in your love with your Mother,
we pray.

Bl. Marianne Cope, pray for us!


To learn more about one of Hawaii's saints visit
The Vatican's Website and the Honolulu Star Bulletin

Monday, January 22, 2007

Seven Disguises In Which God Frequently Sends His Graces

St. Therese
The following was posted today by Roman Catholic Blog Mahalo!

Seven Disguises In Which God Frequently Sends His Graces

In the disguise of ingratitude from friends.
In the disguise of being misunderstood.
In the disguise of failure.
In the disguise of being dishonored.
In the disguise of sickness.
In the disguise of poverty.
In the disguise of our daily work.

Our Lord isn’t anxious for us to suffer so let’s not complain to Him any more than is necessary! He sees us in our misery and looks forward to our final victory. If we could only appreciate the great work He’s doing in preparing these crosses for us. - St. Thérèse of Lisieux

"The suffering endured for God are the greatest proof of our love for Him" - Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Child Prodigy

H/T to my friend Vicky

Man's Interior Enemies


The following is from My Daily Bread by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Chapter 97:


1. My child, nothing give you more trouble than your unthinking self. Until you have acquired control of your animal desires, your proud ambitions, and your foolish envy of others, you cannot enjoy My heavenly peace.

2. If your heart is not at rest, it is because you are still controlled by this blind self within you. Your heart is not set on Me, but on the comforts, enjoyments, achievements, or security of this life. Because you are so self-centered and full of worldly desires, you are tempted to sin.

3. Whatever is not from Me and leads not to Me, is bad for you. Some of the saints often asked themselves the question: 'How does this help me for eternal life?' That is a very valuable question. If you live by it, there will be less waste of time and more good work in your daily life.

4. Your feelings and desires are good only as long as you keep them under control. Once they become your masters, they will turn your life into a slavery. You will have no peace within yourself, and you will even destroy the peace of those around you. You will become jealous, envious, ambitious, and difficult to live with. You will often omit what you ought to do, and do things which you should not do. You will become too interested in the doings of others, and not interested
enough in what you should be doing.

5. You can make a better world by following Me. Begin with yourself. Learn My truth and let it govern your passions, your every desire, all your fears, and each word and deed in your daily life".


"The man who has not learned to mortify himself, has within himself the enemies of peace and goodness. He is easily aroused against those who thwart or oppose his selfish desires. He sees the obligations of others, but he remains blind to his own He blames little things in others, while he excuses bigger faults in himself".


My Jesus, You conquered the world of passion and selfishness. By Your life of mortification, prayer, work and loyalty to the Father's Will, You merited for me and all the necessary graces to overcome self in my daily activities. I wish to begin a mortified life. I want to practice self-control as often as I can, even when there is no question of sin. By my mortification, I hope to obtain greater graces to fight future temptations. If I am ready to suffer for You now, I will be prepared to fight for You then. I hope in You for the strenth to begin. You deserve this of me. Let me forget self and think only of Your all-perfect


"Do You Really Love Me"?

Jesus Eucharist
"Then come to Me, vist Me before the Blessed Sacrament".

"Take advantage of your short time on earth. Do those things that will lead you to eternal life.

Won't you please?

Come to Me freguently before the Blessed Sacrament, especially, when you are hurtin gwith worry, fear, anxiety and pain and suffering of any kind.

Frequest Confession
Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion more frequently.

Pray more and say the rosary.

Get to know Me better so that I can better help you carry your cross".

For a copy of this prayer card, write or call:
"For Those Who Hurt"
175 Strafford Avenue
Building Four - Suite One
Wayne, PA 19087

Though Art a Priest Forever


To live in the midst of the world,
Without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family,
Yet belonging to none;
To share all sufferings;
To penetrate all secrets;
To heal all wounds;
To go from men to God
And offer Him their Prayers;
To return from God to men
To bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for charity
And a heart of bronze for chastity;
To teach and to pardon,
Console and bless always--
What a glorious life!
And it is yours,
O Priest of Jesus Christ!

Author unknown
from an old prayer card

Litany of Humility


O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

By Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

A Thousand Cranes - A Sign of Peace

Paper Cranes
Joey and I joined a group of homeschoolers and other school children on Friday, to watch the a Honolulu Theater for Youth production. It was called A Thousand Cranes.

The story is about a young girl in Japan named Sadako. When she was 2 years old, the bomb fell on her hometown of Hiroshima killing her grandmother, along with thousands of other people. When Sadako was 12, she fell during a race. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with leukemia. As you can imagine, Sadako and her parents were devastated by this news.

Her good friend shared with Sadako a way she could get well. He told gave her a paper crane, created with origami, and told her that when she completed the thousandth paper crane, she would be well.

Sadako begins to fold her paper cranes but she dies a little past the middle of her goal.

This is a beautiful story based on a true story of a little girl in Japan during World War II.

What makes the story even more touching is that Sadako's classmates end up finishing the 1000 cranes for Sadako, even after her death.

In commemoration of the bombings, a peace park was founded in Himoshima. There stands a statue of Sadako with her hands outstretched holding a golden crane. The base of her statue reads:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

Children all over the world send their paper cranes to the park as a way of honoring this courgeous young girl.

This play was presented with a cast of three. It was done using Japanese artistic forms of masks, Butoh Dance, lighting, etc.

The following is from director Reiko Ho:

"A Thousand Cranes is a play about ghosts--the spirts and memories of Sadako and those who were affected by the tragic bombing of Hiroshima. It is a play about connecting to the past in order to see the present more clearly. Why is Sadako's story told throughout the world? It reminds us that children are most often the innocent victims of war and of the continuing need for 'peace in the world.' The play consists of Sadako's memories and her eventual passing from life to death.
The actors become numerous characters, melting from one to another in Sadako's stream of consciousness, which culminates in Sadako's retun as a spirit to tell her own story."

If you would like to learn how to make a paper crane, please check out Making a Paper Crane Video

Once you create your paper cranes, you can send them to the Peace Park:

Office of the Mayor
City of Hiroshima
6-34 Kokutaiki-Machi
1 Chome Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730, Japan

Recommended Reading:

Besides the books based on Sadako's story, you may be interested in reading A Song for Nagasaki by Paul Glynn.

"A Song for Nagasaki is the story of Takashi Nagai, M.D., pioneer professor of radiology at the University of Nagasaki, who died of atomic disease six years after the second atomic bomb incinerated his wife and home. It is also the story of his spiritual pilgrimage from his native Shintoism to atheistic rationalism and then to a rationalist complacency disturbed by Pascal's Pensees. His heart, convinced by the fervor of the family he boarded with, converted to a lively Christian faith..."