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New Miami Archbishop Wenski!

April 20, 2010 2 comments

Today was announced that Miami Archbishop Favalora is retiring and the new bishop will be Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski starting on June 1, 2010.  WOW! I’ve been praying for Bishop Wenski for years, with hopes that he would return back to his “home” diocese of Miami.  He was an auxiliary bishop here for years before becoming bishop of Orlando in 2004.  I don’t think they could have found a better candidate.  He has always been a strong advocate for the Haitian community.  He’s fluent in Creole, Spanish, English and (of couse) Polish (my background as well).  He will be welcomed with open arms by everyone, I’m sure!

I suspect we will see some changes with new Miami Archbishop Wenski, but not right away.  From discussion from my fellow seminarian friends from Orlando, I get the impression that Bishop Wenski is a very dynamic bishop that challenges and demands a lot from his priests.  Our diocese has challenges, just as all do, so I hope the transition is well received and fruitful without the need to totally “new wine skins.”

“When I was in Orlando, I used to tell the priests that I would not ask them to work harder than I did. To the priests of Miami, I say the same. And priests do work hard – and our people do appreciate that; and, they have every right to expect that: not that we burn ourselves out but that we burn ourselves up with love for them and for the Lord.” — Archbishop Designate Thomas Wenski

Thank you Archbishop Favalora for your loving Fatherhood to us all and welcome home Archbishop Wenski!

God bless & stay holy!

Today’s statement from Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora
Today’s statement from new Miami Archbishop Designate Thomas Wenski
Archbishop Designate Thomas Wenski history (Curriculum Vitae)
Coat of arms for Orlando Bishop Wenski

In this season of Confirmations, here is a great homily by Bishop Wenski at a Confirmation Mass.

Catholic? Bon Jovi concert

April 18, 2010 15 comments

We to the Bon Jovi concert (Circle Tour) at the (Bank Atlantic?) Sunrise Arena.  Opened with one of my favorite songs, Blood on Blood.  Also closed with an encore of Runaway, Wanted (Dead or Alive) and Livin on a Prayer.  Show was great!  Our nosebleed seats were eye level with the lighting catwalk, which may be why the audio was vocal audio was so hard to hear, but, otherwise, and great show!  I think their show last time in 2008 was better even through we were behind the stage.

Their newer songs seem to be more focused on social justice.  I know Bon Jovi is a big campaigner for Democrats (Gore, Kerry and Obama), but I was wondering if he’s still Catholic, especially since he sang Hallelujah solo for 5 minutes.

I found a quote from Parade magazine in 2007:

On his Catholic upbringing:
“I went to Catholic school in and out. I’m what you call a recovering Catholic. I have many major issues with the church.”Jon Bon Jovi

I know that was 3 years ago, but I hope and pray that his search for truth brings him back home to a faithful Catholic identity.  I also noticed Richie Sambora was wearing a St Benedict rosary around his neck.  I hope it wasn’t just a fashion statement.  I couldn’t find much about his faith background.

Another favorite Bon Jovi song is Keep the Faith.

My favorite part (usually cut off the radio version) is the part after the guitar solo (about 4 minutes) where he says:

I’ve been walking in the footsteps of society’s lies
I don’t like what I see no more
Sometimes I wish that I was blind
Sometimes I wait forever
To stand out in the rain
So no one sees me cryin’
Trying to wash away the pain

Mother father
There’s things I’ve done I can’t erase
Every night we fall from grace
It’s hard with the world in yours face
Trying to hold on, trying to hold on

Catholic Cartoon Blog

I ran across this Catholic Cartoon Blog with some “Cartoons based on happenings in the Catholic Church, or in the world at large from a Catholic viewpoint.”  — I added it to my blog roll.

Lots of comments and discussion about the Catholic Church and the world.  Check it out.

Happy Resurrection Day!

NFP vs Contraception, 7 skits

As I was looking for videos about IPF, I ran across these short skits about the difference between Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Contraception.  These skits were used for a final project by seminarians at IPF for the course on Christian Spirituality & Sexuality.  Finding these skits is God’s Providence (a “God-incidence”) since our high school Confirmation class is asking a lot of questions about Catholic Matrimony, birth control and their Catholic identity.  — Check them out!

NFP vs Contraception #1:It’s about the relationship

Contraception, does NOT need to communicate about their fertility

NFP, (1) DOES need to communicate (which builds the relationship),
(2) doesn’t have to worry about fertility altering chemicals (that could hurt your chances of getting pregnant even when you stop taking pills,
(3) doesn’t have to worry (as much) about a “testy” wife from hormone manipulations,
(4) doesn’t have to worry about a decrease in libedo (sexual desire)

NFP vs Contraception #2, “It takes two.

NFP, (1) builds trust and imtimacy with the greater need for communication,
(2)  experience a full self-giving to each other (not holding back their fertility),
(3)  statistically, couple doing NFP stay together longer, less divorce.

NFP vs Contraception #3, “It’s natural.

Contraception introduces a couple to chemicals, while NFP is natural (the way God’s designed us), so it’s healthier.

NFP vs Contraception #4, “Know the facts.

Contraception is potrayed in the media more than NFP. 
NFP
is taught in churches around the world.  Even some Protestants practice NFP.
The facts can be lost.  www.onemoresoul.com

NFP vs Contraception #5, “Demand the whole story.

Contraception may come with divorce, abortion, infertility, and mysogyny.  The media can minimize these possibilities.
NFP may come with life-long marriage, health, love, and respect.  www.onemoresoul.com

NFP vs Contraception #6, “It’s not a tough choice.

Contraception is the answer of many to poverty in third-world nations.  Sometimes it is a prerequisite before food is sent to those countries.
NFP works when it is taught and practiced (even in third-world nations).  The only agenda is God’s design for human beings.  www.onemoresoul.com

NFP vs Contraception #7, “Know the consequences.

Contraception is recommended by doctors or ailments not related to fertility.  Just because it help one thing, does not mean it doesn’t have side-effect elsewhere.  Everyone knows it’s real purpose.
Get the facts.  www.onemoresoul.com

IPF on TV (EWTN) with Fr Gabuzda

The Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) was featured on EWTN show Sunday Night Live with host Father Benedict Groeschel.  The guests were Father Richard Gabuzda (IPF director) and Father Joe Kelly (priest of New York & IPF faculty).  They focused on the the mission of IPF and their efforts in building a Center for Priestly Spirituality.  Some great discussions and live call-in questions.  They spoke on the summer programs (that I took last summer) and how awesome the Holy Spirit has grown the mission of IPF.  I hope they post some of the show on their website or YouTube.  You can order it from EWTN, show #280.

Here is a short video about the mission of IPF that is on the IPF website and on YouTube (from 2 years ago):

Vatican praises The Simpsons

March 17, 2010 3 comments

I’m not a huge fan of The Simpsons, but I just watched a episode about Bart going to Catholic school called “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star.” [S16E21] In the classic Simpsons’ satire, Bart & Homer become Catholic while Protestant Marge tries to bring them back. WOW! A great episode to use with high school discussion groups. This episode touches on all kinds of questions about faith and religion (and there’s lots of paintball in it, too!).

I also found an article about the Vatican praising The Simpsons show.

Animated US television show, The Simpsons has gathered praise from the Roman Catholic Church for their “realistic” way of dealing with religion and spreading happiness among viewers. An article published in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano has lauded the long-running show, insisting “many today wouldn’t know how to laugh” if the series hadn’t been aired, reported Contactmusic.

The newspaper story thanked the show’s producers for depicting family patriarch Homer’s struggle with his own faith through its 20 years on the small screen. “Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets His name sensationally wrong. But these are just minor mistakes, after all; the two know each other well,” the article said. The story also insisted that The Simpsons success is due to its “realistic and intelligent writing”.

The same newspaper had recently paid tribute to ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, for highlighting the “sacrifice” needed for good to triumph over evil.

WOW! Who would think The Simpsons would be watched at the Vatican?  What next, Family Guy?

Polish Pączki Day on Fat Thursday

February 18, 2010 2 comments

I’ve never celebrated it, but apparently there is a Polish tradition called Pączki Day (pronounced POONCH-key) that is celebrated on Fat Thursday (the Thursday before Lent … which would have been last Thursday).  In the spirit of Fat Tuesday, people eat a lot of pączki before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

A pączek (singular) is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. Although they look like  jelly doughnuts, pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Powidła (stewed plum jam) and wild rose hip jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry and apple.

Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jędrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, pączki dough was improved, so that pączki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.

Many Polish Americans celebrate Pączki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

A great news report on Pączki Day in Hamtramck, MI.

In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is more commonly celebrated on Fat Tuesday instead of Fat Thursday. Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, due to its sizable Polish population.

In Hamtramck, Michigan, an enclave of Detroit, there is an annual Pączki Day (Shrove Tuesday) Parade, which has gained a devoted following. In the greater Cleveland, Ohio area, it it wide spread through out the region, that many bakeries have people that will wait in lines for pączki on Pączki Day. The Pączki Day celebrations in some areas are even larger than many celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day.

[A "more Polish" perspective with a nice photo blog.]

I wish I knew this a couple days ago … I would have bought donuts.

Ash Wednesday POLL … take it!

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I know today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of 40 days of penitence and reflection, called Lent, to cleanse our soul by making atonement for the wrong things we have done and growing our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Since I’ve been in seminary the last 2 Ash Wednesday, I’m a little ignorant when I ask this, but … “Why are there so many people at Mass today?!?” Standing room only at the 6pm Mass I went to. Some churches even have 3 to 4+ different Mass times throughout the day.

Don’t get me wrong … it’s awesome to witness, but today isn’t even a holiday day of obligation. Why do so many Catholics feel the need to “get the ashes” today … what draws them today. Today, I even got a record number of 578 hits on this blog, with keywords like lent, fast, ashes, abstinence, & penance.

I’ve been debating possible reasons, from the supernatural movements of the soul toward God to practical whys.  Here is poll (in the sidebar of this page) with some possibilities that I hope people will be honest about.  — Please add more in comments.

What is the background on Ash Wednesday (in case you didn’t know)?

The ashes are made by burning the blessed palm fronds used on last year’s Palm Sunday and christened with Holy Water.

The marking of the forehead with a cross made of ashes reminds each of us that:

  1. Death comes to everyone
  2. We should be sad for their sins
  3. We must change ourselves for the better
  4. God made the first human being by breathing life into dust, and without God, human beings are nothing more than dust and ashes.
  5. It’s also a reminder of the mark of the cross made at baptism
  6. The cross of ashes may symbolize the way Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as atonement for sin replaces the Old Testament tradition of making burnt offerings to atone for sin.

When marking the sign of the cross on each believer’s forehead, the celebrant says, “Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” When leaving the observance, we carry the cross out into the world.

During Lent, each Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. It invites us to undertake spiritual discipline, deliberate abstinence from indulgent behavior involving food or luxuries, or finding ways to be of service to society.

CCD 7th: God the Son (day 17)

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we reviewed God the Father (from last week) and focused on God the Son (chapter 5 in our book).

(A) Reviewed God the Father. Played the video clip from Martian Child (see last week’s summary).  Reviewed homework assignment … think of an example of a movie clip demonstrating a “good dad.”  From that, we brainstormed why our relationship with God the Father becomes so wounded that we stop trusting the unconditional love He has for us.

(B) Discussed prayer “Core Wounds.” In our diagram of the Christian Heart (body, mind, soul), our life experiences can develop “core wounds” that hurt our lives physically, psychologically and/or spiritually.  They are shown as X’s on our diagram.  These wounds are actually “LIES” that affect our future relationships, especially with our Heavenly Father.  A common example, even shown in movies, is how our hurt relationships with our earthly father affect how we view the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father.  Wounds can keep us from trusting His loving plan for our lives.

(C) Who is Jesus? We showed a movie clip from the 1996 Sylvester Stallone movie called Daylight.  It’s the scene when the rescue worker (Stallone) first encounters the trapped people.  Only getting 1 rescuer is not what the trapped people expected.  This disappointed reaction is similar to the one Jesus received from people as they came to discover Him as the Messiah.  The idea came from thesource4ym.com clip ideas.  Click the link to get discussion questions.

Here is a trailer for the movie.  The actual clip used is here (but it’s in a foreign language).

Good discussion as we imagined the roles of the people, the Messiah and what our reactions would be in their shoes.

Homework: (1) Chapter 5 assessment questions on the last page.
(2) handout “How the Bible describes Jesus” … look up passages
(3) bring textbook + Bible + journal

CCD 7th: God the Father (day 16)

January 31, 2010 1 comment

In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we touched on God the Father (chapter 4 in our textbook).  I finally got to bring in my laptop and play a few movie clips.  Awesome topic.  – I was really looking forward to today!

(A) Opening prayer song reflection was He is Yahweh by Dean Salyn.

(B) God the Father is always present & knows what’s best for us & forgiving. Showed a clip from Lion King (1994), when Simba takes Nala to the Elephant Graveyard after father Mufasa warns against and ends up saving them from the 3 Hyenas.  The focus is the discussion between father and son at the end.  [Idea from thesource4ym.com with discussion questions.]

(C) God the Father has unconditional love for me. Showed the movie trailer for the John Cusack movie Martian Child (2007) about a sci-fi writer wanting to adopt a child who thinks he’s a Martian sent to observe Earthling life.  The focus clip is when the child breaks something and thinks he’s bad and will be sent away.  The father assures him that “Nothing you can do will change the way I feel about you.” and then proceeds to break other “things” showing they don’t matter as much as him.  Awesome clip!  — I had to “pause” when leading the discussion … it easily resonated how I hear my Heavenly Father’s voice.

Discussion was great.  [Idea from thesource4ym.com with questions.]

Homework:
(1) Chapter 4 Assessment questions,
(2) Pray the Lord’s Prayer each day this week,
(3) Give an example of a movie clip with a “good dad.”

young adult retreat @ St Vincent DePaul Seminary

January 30, 2010 1 comment

First time ever, the seminarians at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL led a retreat open for young adult of the Palm Beach Diocese.  I heard about it through my friends on FaceBook.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat … simple schedule … 3 seminarian testimonies … deep small group discussion … Benediction & Adoration … and lots of social time.

Even though I couldn’t stay for the whole retreat, I’m grateful to have been invited and grateful to see by brother seminarians at their finest at “home.”

Hopefully, with their great turnout, they can do more events to not only reach out to the community, but keep vocations on everyone’s minds and prayers!

See the Florida Catholic article that promoted the events.

Here’s some pictures I took of their beautiful chapel on campus:

the “LOST supper” debate

January 8, 2010 2 comments

Today’s top Google News story in America was ‘Lost’ fans lobby Obama on State of the Union sked where LOST fans were petitioning President Obama to not have the State of the Union speech on Feb 2, the day of the 3 hour premiere of the final season of LOST.  Aside from the embarrassment that a TV show is more important to people than reality (with political spin), I found the LOST promo picture interesting, with allusions to da Vinci’s Last Supper portrait.

I have been following LOST the last few seasons and want it end — they just keep teasing and dragging.  The promo photo actually has 2 versions.  An analysis of the differences was noted in a article I found called Decoding the ‘Lost’ Supper.  Are there hidden revelations in the pictures about the last season?  Here are the 2 versions.  Click them for larger pics.

Does their position have anything to do with the Apostles in Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”?  Why are people swapped between pics?  Why are some distanced?  Why is Sayid in Judas Iscariot’s position?  It would be interesting to revisit the pictures at the end of the season.  Check out the article.

Meaningful Christmas!

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Sears Tower skydeck ledge

December 4, 2009 1 comment

My sister, fiance & my mother are in Chicago for her 2nd of 4 bridal showers.  Her fiance just sent me a picture of the Sears Tower “Skydeck Ledge.” Wow!  Wish I was there!

The Ledge brings an exhilarating new experience to the Skydeck. At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing never-before-seen views of the city. An unmatched view is not all the Skydeck offers. From the moment visitors arrive they enjoy interactive and educational attractions that not only highlight the iconic landmark, but also celebrate Chicago’s sports, architecture, pop-culture, history, food, music and people.

“Grace before meals” prayer from The Big Bang Theory

December 3, 2009 2 comments

My sister got me interested in The Big Bang Theory, so I watched the first episode from this season 3.

There’s a scene when Sheldon goes back home to Texas and does a prayer before eating dinner that would have come in handy for Thanksgiving.  Here is goes …

By His hand, we are all fed.
Give us Lord, our daily bread.
Please know that we are truly grateful,
For every cup and every plateful.
Amen.

Christmas decorating … begin!

November 29, 2009 2 comments

Let the Christmas decorating begin!

MIAMI HERALD article on Bryan Garcia at SJVCS !!!

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

This morning, I saw Bryan Garcia, Javier & Chuck on the FRONT page of the Miami Herald and I thought I was dreaming.  After realizing I wasn’t, I started reading the article titled, “Answering the Call” that continued to TWO FULL PAGES inside.  WOW!!!

The article spoke on the high enrollment at St John Vianney College Seminary (SJVCS) and the discernment process of seminarians, specifically profiling Bryan Garcia, my fellow brother seminarian.

The rector, Msgr Michael Carruthers, has some great quotes as well.  “What they [seminarians] want most is help in knowing the Lord.  If that leads to priesthood, great.”  And is the section about struggling in discernment, he said, “If you don’t struggle, you’re not discerning.”

The article closed with one of my favorite passage, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is also a SECOND ARTICLE on “Priesthood of today is much smaller than a decade ago.”

There is also an AUDIO SLIDESHOW with Bryan sharing his experience in seminary at SJVCS.  CHECK IT ALL OUT!!!


Arby’s + Wonder Woman + Ph.D

November 28, 2009 2 comments

Avoiding “Black Friday,” I ventured out with friends shopping on Saturday.  Not much better, I think.

During lunch at Arby’s, I put together this “kid’s toy” that said age 3+.  Probably the worst kid’s toy EVER!  Even with 2 bachelor’s degrees, I had difficult putting this 15 piece paper-cutout of a “bobble head Wonder Woman.” She didn’t last long after her completion either.

Thanksgiving “Attitude of Gratitude” prayer

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

I hope everyone had as great a Thanksgiving as I did, with family & friends!

Attitude of Gratitude (prayer)
Dear Lord, we come to You today
With a humble attitude.
For all you give, our hearts are full
Of love and gratitude.Thank you for this special time
To offer our Thanksgiving.
Thank you for this food, and for
The blessed lives we’re living.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen
—By Joanna Fuchs


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