Open letter to Bishop Thomas Tobin
If you had been the priest instructing me during my conversion to the Church, which happened before you were born, I would still be a Protestant. At that time I learned that being a Catholic was committing oneself to Christ and his teachings. It meant devoting one’s life to love of God and love of all others. Joining the Church would entitle me to receive the Eucharist and benefit from the other Sacraments.
In your letter to Congressman Patrick Kennedy, you imply that when one becomes a Catholic, this person relinquishes freedom of thought and action. As demanded by the four most prominent dictators of the last century, all must conform to the dictates of authority. Back then, citizens who did not commit to ordered thinking, talking and acting were considered traitors. Your requirement for membership in the Church calls for mandated conscience. And in your opinion, Catholic laypeople should be like robots, which nod in unison when Church leaders press the button. I have never studied theology, but I doubt if that is what Christ had in mind when he initiated the Church.
You would like for Catholics to act as do pawn Congresspersons who vote as instructed by their Party, regarding of what they think of the merits of pending legislature. Although this is effective in cramming through legislation, I don’t think it should have a role in our Catholic religion.
I pray for you.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for the miracles they had seen.
Pray with a Broad Brush
Never underestimate the effectiveness of your prayer. In this world of unseen magical mystery, no one knows by what means one’s thoughts can affect another person. But it can and often does. So, recognize this fact and put it to good use. In my six-man prayer group which has been meeting for over a dozen years, we have had so many healings for those on our Special Intentions List that we refer to it as our Miracle List.
One summer, I was at a “Salvador Dali Happening” in a town in the Costa Brava region of Spain. The event was staged in the large market center where a string of bed sheets had been strung from wires. When the great maestro appeared with his perfected waxed moustache, he took hoses filled with different colored waters and playfully sprayed designs on the hanging sheets and also splattered some of us in the crowd. Then he laughed and shouted, “Now you can tell your grandchildren you were painted by Dali!”
That day, rather than painting on a small canvas, this artist created large patterns on the sheets. In the same way, I find it invigorating to expand a secret prayer for many people. It can be done anywhere. Often when I am on a plane or bus, I will pray for all the passengers. While waiting in a crowded bustling airport, I might pray for everyone there. I can imagine an anxious soul seated at the other end of the building, suddenly getting a tingle of comfort from my prayer, never knowing where it came from. This makes me feel like a generous and anonymous billionaire.
So throughout the day, test your power of prayer by using it generously for all within your area of being. Be aware of your prayer-power and don’t be stingy. Also, realize that out-going prayers have a boomerang effect.
In 1550, Blosius the Venerable, abbot of a Benediction abbey in Liessies, France, wrote, “Each man, without any exception whatever, must sincerely love as himself all others spiritually, desiring for them the grace of God and everlasting happiness. He should look upon all as bothers and sisters, called to the same happiness as himself.”
“A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”
Abigail “Dear Abby” Van Buren
A joyful Catholic
gives joy and love to all, so
joyful Catholic be!
(Send me yours: email@example.com)
In response to an atheist appealing to a Florida judge for an Atheist Holy Day, the judge told his attorney, “The calendar says April 1 is April Fools Day. Psalm 14.1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’ Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1 is his day. Court is adjourned!”
Joyful Catholic Quiz
The first winner of a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, who clocked in at 8:40AM on November 10th, is Luella Margarita in Key West, FL.
1. Saint Luke died by hanging in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the non-believers.
2. At the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica was built in the 16th century as a replacement of the original structure.
3. Saint Jane Frances de Chantal is the saint who was married, had seven children; she established the order of Visitation nuns and eight-five monasteries before her death in 1641.
Elderly parishioner: Oh, Father Moran, you have had such an interesting life, you should write your autobiography.
Father Moran: As a matter of fact, I have been recording my life story. But I am so busy, it probably will be published postmortem.
Elderly parishioner: Well, the sooner the better.
My favorite priest
Father John Mericantante,
Pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pahokee, Florida.
Pahokee is a small agricultural community on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. The earth is rich and black, and from December to June it brings forth wonderful crops of vegetables and sugar cane. Later in the year an occasional September hurricane or a freeze in January/February can destroy those wonderful crops. The people doing the back-breaking work to raise these crops are mostly poor migrants who came from Central and Latin America and are trying to eke out a meager living for themselves and their families. The majority of them are Catholics.
Father John was sent to St. Mary’s 10 years ago, without speaking Spanish, and he has submerged himself totally in their culture and needs, helping in every way possible. For example, the water in Pahokee is very often not drinkable and he shares the clean water from the rectory’s filtering system with whoever needed it. He has assisted in completing paperwork, obtaining housing etc. for his parishioners whenever asked.
St. Mary’s Church is tiny and behind it there are two small wooden sheds, one for food and one for clothing and appliances. People from other communities, members of the Knights of Columbus and unaffiliated private citizens bring the above-mentioned items to St. Mary’s. Some are given away, some are sold at very low prices and any “profits” are then used to pay such things as electric bills for the needy. When we bring a van full of items, Father helps unload the bags and boxes. He has also arranged to have a clinic on the premises where doctors give their time without charge to give medical aid to the poor people in the area.
He was recently offered a transfer to another parish but he chose to remain in Pahokee with the community that needs him so much. In the midst of all this poverty a very special thing occurred last year: an anonymous donor gave $750,000 to St. Mary’s Church so that a new, larger Church can be built. Hopefully, there will be a ground-breaking soon. Fr. John is a very special person and a very special priest.
Submitted by Anita and Bob Kehlhofer in Atlantis, Florida
(Submit your favorite priest to firstname.lastname@example.org)
As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is email@example.com. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.
Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Bob Haines, Eileen Grotsky,
Rebecca Matthews, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis,
Susan McGahee, Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor,
Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Joe Berger, Tom Ryan