Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prayer Request...
I would ask my readers to take a moment now to pray for a man at my church who has had cancer found in his body. Apparently doctors were removing a cancerous tissue, and when they were doing surgery found more cancerous cells. I don't know how serious it is yet, but this man also has numerous other health problems, and he can't be much older than about 55. He does a lot of good at our local church, and is loved by many.
Have your own prayer request? Please post them here

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Well, in my time zone there's still 45 minutes more of Thanksgiving, and if we want to be more like the pilgrims, there's still 2 more days to celebrate! Anyway, I hope you guys all had a blessed Thanksgiving. I started the day out very nicely by going to Confession, Holy Mass, and then visiting a cemetery to pray for the souls in Purgatory. The rest of the day there was lots of work to be done in the house, but it was worth waiting for that wonderful dinner prepared by my wonderful parents! Anyway, there is so much to be thankful for, and I think it's just great that our Country has this day dedicated to thankfulness. Oh, and in case you want to keep up with the times so as to not offend anyone that might be working for the ACLU---I wish you all a "Happy Turkey Day!"

Also, if you felt like your Thanksgiving was not very nice and couldn't think of anything you were thankful for, please take a minute to look at the picture below and remember that we have something to be thankful for all the time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spirit of Thanksg----No, I mean Christmas Award...

Thanks to Kaila from Ego me bene Habeo, who awarded me the Spirit of Christmas Award! I know it must be the Red and White colors on this blog that bring it all to life!!
I would now like to hand this award on to:
And whoever else has caught the "spirit"...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Movie Review: Flight 93

I know most people have seen this movie (or United 93), but I have just recently been able to watch it, and I thought I should do a review on it. The story is, of course, of the September 11th flight United 93 which was the only plane hijacked on September 11th which did not reach its intended destination. The hijackers seemed to do everything right at first--they killed a flight attendant, a passenger, and scared everyone into believing that they had a bomb if there was any resistance. They managed to get into the cockpit and kill both pilots, and then take control of the plane. The scared passengers were ushered to the back of the plane where many made phone calls to family members telling them what was going on, and also finding out from their loved ones about the other planes that had hit the World Trade Center in New York just a little earlier that morning. The passengers learned that the other planes had been suicide missions, and no reported "real" bombs had been on the other planes. The people united to try to "take down" the terrorist and gain control of the plane. Of course, we know they failed to take control of the plane, but they saved lives by not allowing the terrorists to succeed in flying the plane into the original target.

The movie does not take many liberties whatsoever to change the story or make it "more exciting". It is not a movie for entertainment, but rather a movie that allows us to remember and not forget the courage of American citizens that day. It shows us the gruesome reality of that evil that those men committed. I highly recommend watching this movie, or watching it again. We will never forget, and let us pray for the victims, their families, and for the conversion of all souls--especially let us also remember to pray for the conversion of Muslims.

5 Star match up...

4 1/2 stars. It seemed realistic without overly dramatized. Very moving.

Entertainment: 5 stars. Again, it's not entertainment--captivating is a good word.
Sexual content: 4 1/2 stars. Slight immodesty in a couple guys (very little), and a man and woman seen kissing.

Violent content: 3 1/2 stars. Flight 93 is obviously a violent story and tense, but this film shows very little graphic violence. There is blood shown to show people were hurt but no graphic nature to this one. The film United 93 shows more I think--though I haven't seen this one yet.

Language content: 3.5 stars. A few bad words scattered throughout.
Other immoral content: 4 stars. Obviously terrorism is a topic, though in no way shown in a positive light. It would be disturbing (perhaps inappropriate) to younger audiences.

Over all rating: 4 stars.

Definitely worth watching!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Golden Compass

Recently I've heard about a new movie to be released this December (7th) called "The Golden Compass". This movie is the first in a series of movies based off Phillip Pullman's books His Dark Materials. These books are indeed very anti-Christian and seemingly even more specifically anti-Catholic. By the end of the trilogy the "God" (who is the whole time portrayed as weak and cruel) dies of his own weakness and I think the "good guys" (who are really bad guys and include witches) win and defeat the Church.

Now you may be thinking that this just sounds like another Harry Potter controversy. Personally I still think that Harry Potter is not a good work, but His Dark Materials is much more blatantly evil and I do not think that there is much doubt. Pullman is against CS Lewis, a very good Christian fantasy author, and his series (among other things) portrays Heaven as place of torment.

How could this be any clearer? Isn't it sad that we have a new "hit" movie coming out right around the Christmas season directed at young viewers that is anti-Christ. I ask that if you think these movies and books are wrong that you make a stand! Do not go to the movie or let your children go! Do not buy his books---we have plenty of good literature out there for our children and ourselves without this trash!

Also, if you are a member of Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/) then you can also join my campaign to get at least 1 million people to boycott this work by Phillip Pullman by clicking here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Well, I guess some of you may like to hear some about what it was like being in Rome. First of all, the whole experience was very awesome, and I really hope that the Lord should allow me to return (and stay!) some time. I was tempted to "miss" my return flight and let the immigration police take me home.
A close to eight hour flight from Newark, NJ landed us in Rome around 7:30 AM (jet lag is purgatory). There at the airport we met our wonderful tour guide Maria, who did above and beyond her job. As you saw in the slide show we visited all 4 of the Major basilicas in Rome: St. Paul outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and (of course) St. Peter's. My favorite of course would be St. Peter's, as there is nothing like it. It is so huge (never knew that sooo many huge statues existed) and beautiful. In addition we saw many smaller (certainly NOT small) churches (including St. Peter in Chains and the Holy Cross Church---the latter containing relics of the true cross) which were very ornate and awesome. In one church (you kind of lose your memory after church #5) there was buried most of the remains of St. Catherine of Sienna.
We also visited the Vatican Art Museum which was fascinating. Connected to the museum is the Sistine chapel (no pictures are permitted), and further is the burial place for the pontiffs. Included in the papal burial area was the tomb of Pope John Paul II.
The highlight of the trip was most certainly the Masses that were celebrated in those holy places. Our spiritual director on the trip, Fr. Malin, beautifully celebrated the liturgy (and allowed me to serve at almost every Mass) at St. Peter's (I didn't serve here), the catacombs, St. John Lateran, St. Paul outside the Walls, Santa Maria di Angeli, and others. It was soo cool when he faced the "ad orientem" (away from the people for the Eucharistic prayers) position in some of the churches where the altars are placed against the walls.
We also visited the "Scala Sancta", or "Holy Stairs", which was one of my personal favorites parts of the trip. To see so many people devoutly ascend the steps only their knees was just something else. To think that I was touching the stairs that Our Lord walked up on and down when He was condemned is unexplainable.
Many miracles seemed to have happened while we were there. At the Vatican Fr. Malin and about 5 other people from our group (not me unfortunately) went to confession at the Vatican to a Carmelite priest. This priest was not in anyway connected with our group, but was simply a priest that was hearing confessions in English at the Vatican in one of the confessionals. As Fr. Malin told me, this is what happened to him: Fr. Malin went into confession and named a sin. Then, before he said the rest of his confession, the priest went on to name some of his other sins! He asked Fr. Malin, "Is this correct?" He responded, "Yes, I was about to say these." Furthermore, Fr. Malin likes to make a "General Confession" (an Ignatian devotion---a confession which goes through your entire life) every year around August but had unfortunately not been able to this year. Fr. Don of course had not brought this up to this priest, but the priest anyway said, "So, you have not been able to make your general confession this year, and so I will allow you to do that now." (Please remember confessions there are always behind the screen) This priest must be one of those unheard of living saints.
My "Rome miracle" was perhaps not quite as exciting, but showed me how much it is necessary to trust in God. On a Saturday we had a free afternoon from the usual schedule of tour guides and activities. Since everyone seemed to have their own un-exciting or expensive plans, I made my own which was neither un-exciting or expensive. I happen to know a Legionaries of Christ seminarian named Br. Edward who used to be my spiritual director, and of course is a personal friend. He has been in Rome now for a couple of months and so I decided it would be fun to try to see him and have him show me around the Legionary seminary in Rome. I had emailed him like a day before we left, but of course that doesn't leave him enough time to get back since I wasn't able to check email much. I sent him my cell phone number which did no good as my cell phone didn't work in Rome (long story), and I tried calling the seminary from a local phone, but after trying every area code combination I could think of, I could not even get a single ringing phone on the other end. Okay, so I decide I'll risk it and hope he happens to be at the seminary and available to visit on the only afternoon I had available. Since taxis charge the amount to send their kids to college I was counseled to travel on the buses which are very cheap. I got specific directions from Maria (God bless that amazing woman!) who made sure I understood them. So I get on the correct first bus, but got off late and ended up on a wrong second bus (yes, I am navigationally challenged among other things). After about 2-3 hours of getting myself lost, walking up and down streets, and having no clue where I was at, I finally spotted my bus! I ran and missed the bus of course, and so I'm waiting at this bus stop hoping that this bus will be the right one (BTW, my directions only get me to an area "very close" to the school, and so I am supposed to ask for directions afterwards) I was praying during this whole time to Jesus, Mary and of course our navigator St. Anthony. It seemed the line was busy for awhile, but I started the Divine Mercy Chaplet (while I'm waiting at this bus stop) and within about 2-3 minutes I see two Legionaries of Christ guys walking right by me---one of them "happens" to be Br. Edward. Sorry, but I'm just not one of those guys who knows he's going to be the next cereal box winner to Hawaii---this was a miracle (BTW, did I mention that there are about 450 Legionaries just in Rome, and about 3 million people in the city). I placed my trust in God and He worked His own plan in. The priest that was with Br. Edward informed me that I was going the wrong way to the seminary (LOL--boy, do you have to rub it in?). Anyway, after a wonderful visit with my seminarian friend, who showed me around the seminary, I gave up on my new directions back to the hotel and took a taxi--hey some Italian kid will be going to college thanks to me!
Later we visited the most beautiful city I've ever been to--Assisi. This town has not changed much at all since St. Francis lived there in the Middle Ages. The Franciscan nuns and brothers are still very traditional and strict there. Parents will do as much as send their daughters to court rather than allow them to enter the cloistered convent there, as they will probably never see their daughter again. It was very cold and drizzling while we there on Monday but that didn't stop the Franciscan brothers and sisters to wear sandals and bare feet. The churches there are very beautiful as well but in a very different way than Rome. In Assisi the churches are simple and draw their beauty from that simplicity, while in Rome it is screaming decoration everywhere. I would love to live in Assisi one day.
I cannot explain with words or pictures what it is really like to go there on a pilgrimage, and I hope one day each of you will have an opportunity to go there. I have left out a lot of what happened during the trip, so if you would like you can leave a comment asking for something else you would like to hear about---I don't wish to bore you to death!!!
May God Bless!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rome Pilgrimage October 2007

Hey everybody, sorry I haven't been keeping up with the blog! I thank everyone who has been commenting (and for the emails which I have been slow to respond to--I'll catch up soon). In reparation I am posting this video of some photos from my pilgrimage to Italy.
No number of photos can compare to actually going to these holy places, seeing them, and praying there. If God ever gives you the opportunity to make a pilgrimage there (not just a vacation), you must go! I'll give you some stories later.

God Bless!