Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh no! Not Shamu...

Story out of my backyard. San Diego news reports Shamu the Killer Whale attacked his trainer at Seaword.

My family and I were there this summer at Seaworld. Basically it's a must to arrive early in order to see the scheduled shows. The shows are awesome, however I guess just like you and I will wake up and say "Look, I just don't feel like going to work today!" and we stay home.

It looks like Shamu just had one of those days. Hopefully the trainer is not seriously injured. I can just imagine the children in the audience. Not an easy thing for a parent to explain.

Hopefully things will get back to normal. It's a nice day visit and if you top that off with dinner at "Old Town" for some good Mexican food, it makes for a day...or weekend.

More Nativity...

Just viewed a short video on CNN about the leading actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes who plays Mary in the movie, being pregnant. The interviewer, CNN's Sibila Vargas, made the comparison of the actress being "pregnant out of wedlock" the same as Mary being "pregnant out of wedlock."

What is the interviewer trying to say? That being pregnant out of wedlock is no big deal?

Let me see if I have this right:

1. Mary the Mother of God is pregnant out of wedlock; that's acceptable.
2. The actress, who played Mary, is pregnant out of wedlock: that's acceptable.

3. Therefore: It's acceptable to be pregnant out of wedlock

Doesn't hold water for me. First of all Mary's pregnancy was not the product of fornication.
The director even tried to make a further comparison of Keisha's boy friend and father of the child, is a carpenter too, just like St. Joseph. What a coincidence!

Oh brother, the twists and turns.

The movie shown at the Vatican is said to be very well done and I plan on seeing the movie myself.

Keisha is also to be commended on the decision to keep the baby. It's when the MSM steps in and adds their two cents.

It never adds up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Papal Coverage...

Great link to all Papal Coverage at "Against the Grain"

Thanks to Michael of Evangelical Catholic

WCC +<><

Chicago and the Nativity Story Movie

"...the city of Chicago to ban advertisements for "The Nativity Story" movie from a local Christmas festival, fearing they might offend non-Christians."
(Read more...)

More political correctness. When in doubt, ban anything Christian.

Galatians 5:13

The quote from B16 during his speech.

5:13. For you, brethren, have been called unto liberty. Only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh: but by charity of the spirit serve one another.

Also his continual call for genuine dialogue between all parties, religious, secular and/or otherwise. This will, in my opinion be know as his main message of his visit. It will continue tomorrow with his meeting with Bartholomew I.

I must say that Msgr. Robert Stern gave some great insight in his analysis of the moment. EWTN seems to be the only source on TV, however I'm sure there will be many Op-Eds tomorrow.

Much more coverage and analysis from my favorite blogs and websites. I'll pass on the links...

The Visit...

I was able to listen to the coverage of Benedict's first day of his visit on EWTN on my Satellite radio on my way home this evening. The coverage by Raymond Arroyo and Msgr. was well done. The good Msgr.'s review of he History of Turkey was most interesting. I plan on following up with a study on this history.

As I now type this post, the Pope is meeting with the Diplomatic Corps. The meetings and ceremonial itinerary seem a little tense. B16 has kept his silence and only speaking when necessary.

...I'll be right back his now speaking

Monday, November 27, 2006

B16 in Turkey

Here's the Holy Father itinerary as posted on the Vatican Website..

In God We Trust

This is a disappointing story. It appears the new presidential dollar will be making it's appearance in February of 2007 and it will have a significant change. The motto, "In God We Trust" will be relegated to very small print around the outer rim of the the coin.

This seems like a "so what" moment, however I can't help but feel a chipping away at our Christian heritage in this country. Europe has done this over the years until recently the EU refused to make any references to their Christian roots in the New Constitution.

I seem to remember a certain story about a certain frog in a certain boiling pot of water...

Death of a Spy

This story gives me the hebee jebees. This whole spy thing I know has been going around for a long time but it still sends a shiver down my spine when I read about it. Kind of makes me think twice about how safe we really are in today’s society.

What the heck is polonium-210? I had to look into this deeper. Evidently this stuff is pretty hard to get a hold of. According to this link "One ton of uranium ore contains only about 100 micrograms (0.0001 grams) of polonium"

"Polonium-210 is a very strong emitter of alpha particles. A single gram of polonium-210 creates 140 Watts of heat energy and is being considered as a lightweight heat source for thermoelectric power for spacecraft. Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138.39 days."

Kind of makes one think twice about ordering the spicy tuna roll. The London Metropolitan Police have ruled this a suspicious death rather than murder.

What the.....?!

"The ex-spy was moved to intensive care last week after his hair fell out, his throat became swollen and his immune and nervous systems suffered severe damage."

What a horrible way to die. And to think they haven't ruled out that Litvinenko may have poisoned himself.

Rest in peace Alex. May God have mercy on your soul.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Turkey after Turkey

I've been thinking about B16's visit to Turkey this Thanksgiving. News outlets are gearing up for the next News Headline and they seem to be centering on the Pope's travels to Turkey.

This article, "Pope Death Threats Put Turkey On High."
in the UK Telegraph is one of many more to come. The Times Magazine cover last week wasn't very amusing either.

"Turkey's religious-affairs minister has announced that during his visit next week, Pope Benedict XVI should declare that Islam is a religion of peace."

Truth is B16's middle name.

"Ali Bardakoglu told the Reuters news agency that the Pope should make it clear that violence is caused by "fallible and misguided humans," not religious beliefs."

That sounds familiar. Didn't B16 already say that in his speech at Regensburg?

Benedict's meeting with Bartholomew could be very fruitful. Benedicts leanings toward a more Traditional approach seems to have hit a pleasant cord with the Eastern Church.
(Read Here)

This next article kind of surprised first.
"Sales of a controversial Turkish novel about a conspiracy to kill Pope Benedict XVI are soaring ahead of the pontiff's historic visit to Turkey next week, reported AKI.

“The Plot against the Pope”, by Yuvel Kaya, has Opus Dei, a subversive Masonic lodge, and the CIA colluding to make the Pontiff's murder a pretext for a U.S. attack against Iran."

Thank you Dan Brown for your inspiration...

It would be so easy to canel the trip, however B16 and JPII are an inspiration to all.

"Do not be afraid..."

Thanksgiving & The Weedend

What a great 4 day weekend!
Thanksgiving festivities and I also celebrated a birthday. We're slowly working thru our turkey left overs...maybe enough for a couple of days more.

I don't think turkey will be on our Christmas Menu. I've had enough turkey for a while. I always like Thanksgiving morning though. My family has always gotton up, not too early, but early enough to all pitch in and prepare the turkey and the side dishes. As the kids got older they pitched in a little more each year. I think they'll carry this tradition on in their own families.

I have quite a bit to be greatful for and I kind of used this 4 day break to reflect on God's blessings.

I hope your Thanksgiving + Weedend was a joyous one.

WCC +<><

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NOT Married with Children

Back in 1987 and more recently on TV reruns, most people are familiar with the very dysfunctional Bundy family.

The teen birth rate in on the decline which is good news. The increase seems to stem from mother's who's careers have caused a delay in family building. And many are not bothering to have the marriage vows get in their way either. Both men and women are the cause of this trend of course.

It's not uncommon to for me to overhear a water cooler conversation of men in their forty's and early fifty's that have babies and grade schoolers at home. Some are even just having their first child.

Many of the young engineers at my place of employment are getting married later in life (30's seems to be the popular age) and some tell me that marriage is very unnecessary altogether.

I guess for some it is in God's plans for them to marry later in life, but I don't think his plans include 4 out of 10 children.
I know 2 couples at church who have about 16 children between them. They are the happiest people I know. It's great to be around them. Their children seem so joyous and mature. The younger ones are the best behaved children at mass on Sunday and the older ones keep them in line and direct them in the prayer of the mass.
They are great examples to our society.

The Thanksgiving Story...

"Of Plymouth Plantation" by William Bradford, 1630-1647.

I don't know why I never knew about this book or rather journal before today. As a grade schooler, we were told the tale of the first Thanksgiving and the Banquet with the local Native Americans. My education in the matter never went any further, until I heard it discussed on the radio.
I quickly did a google search and... wala! (The internet can be such an amazing tool..)

This is very interesting stuff. To think we actually have the handwritten journal from an actual attendee of the 1st Thanksgiving!

This journal also has the history surrounding the historical date; of the struggle these brave souls underwent to start a new life in the new world. Of the 102 Mayflower Pilgrims, the first winter claimed over half their number.

Comming Soon: Feast of Christ the King

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I for one, have much to be thankful for. I read this short but hope filled article over at Dr. Marcellino's website.

Feast of Christ the King is on Sunday and this is a nice prep for the coming of Advent.

Give thanks to our KING JESUS CHRIST.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Priestly Art...

I thought I'd plug an artist from my Parish. Father Bill Moore very well know artist (at least here in California) with a gift for the Abstract...

Father is from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His paintings sell for thousands and every penny goes back to his congregation and to many charities.

He designed the stain glass window for St Ann's Church, Kaneohe Hawaii as well as St.Holy Name of Mary Church , San Dimas, California. His most resent show will be in Palm Desert at Eleonore Austerer Gallery in January.

He is a very holy man and his homilies mimic his style of painting...Abstract

I love his art!

"We live in hurried times - and are
inundated with countless images; my art
asks us only to slow down and consider
the essential textures, colors and shapes
that can feed our souls"

Father Bill Moore SS.CC

New book by B16

Catholic News Service has the details, with Amy Welborn over at Open Book
commenting on it.

Can't hardly wait...

Bush Daughter...not the real tragedy...

I just read a news post on the Bush daughters mishaps in Argentina. They were robbed and one of their bodyguards was badly beaten.

That's a tragedy in itself, but for me the real tragedy was reading the comments that were sent in below the article.

I couldn't believe some of the posts. Most centered on a They deserved it! mentality. Some claimed to know that what was stolen was a Gucci style purse and a jewel studded cellphone and of course the War in Iraq is tied into the girls mugging.

Go figure...

What a sad state we're in when people can take joy in someone else's pain.

I not sure what to make of this but it leave a sourness in the pit of my stomach.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Johansson Slams Bush...

I saw her first in the movie "The Horse Whisperer" and since then again in other movies including the resent "The Island".

If only they would just stick to acting.... (heavy sigh)

Scarlett Johansson "boasted about being so "socially aware" she gets tested for HIV twice a year. A staunch Christian, Bush is vehemently anti-abortion and is seeking to have the operation made illegal in all US states. During his time as Governor of Texas, Bush overhauled the state's sex education system and high school students were taught abstinence was the only way to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Johansson says, "We are supposed to be liberated in America but if our President had his way, we wouldn't be educated about sex at all. "Every woman would have six children and we wouldn't be able to have abortions."

how sad....

...He descended into Hell...

I often get the question ask of me "Did Jesus really descend into Hell...we say this in the creed every Sunday?"

First Things periodical has a new article entitled "Balthasar, Hell, and Heresy: An

...have a read. Enjoy

Building a Wall

The debate is still going on, to build a border fence or not. Kind of puts a new thought to the saying "What would Jesus do?"

Over at The Ratzinger Fan Club website, there's a synopsis of the internet debate between fellow Catholics ( Cafeteria Closed, American Papist & Evangelical Catholicism) as well as others chiming in over building the Mexican border fence.

What's a Catholic to think. Should we build it or not? Does it go against Catholic teachings on charity? Is there a limit to our love of Neighbor? Does National Security weigh in on this issue?

A good discussion and lots of prayer is a must.

Stuff I ponder late at night when everyone is asleep:
- Lot, while stuck in Sodom and Gomorrah offered up his daughters to save the heaven sent visitors that took refuge in his house. Could I do the same?

- Jesus tells us to give our shirt when we have already given up our coat...

- If I error by allowing a criminal into the country thinking he is a hungry homeless immigrant and he causes harm maybe even death...possibly my own


If I turn away a hungry homeless immigrant who really is hungry and homeless, who I think is a terrorist...

How will God judge me?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Church and Celibacy

The Roman Curia is having a meeting tomorrow to discuss Ex-Archbishop Milingo's excommunication and ... asked to reflect on the priests who seek a dispensation from their vows-- in most cases, in order to marry-- and those married men who seek a return to priestly ministry.

No I don't think the Vatican is going to change any disciplines about celibacy.

Ministry To persons with Homosexual Inclinations

Here's a link to the new document just put together by the Bishops at Baltimore.

"Baltimore, Nov. 15 (CNA/ - By a large majority, the Catholic bishops of the United States voted on November 14 to approve a new document which would guide their care for homosexual men and women.
The document, entitled “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” aims at placing an emphasis on welcoming and offering support for men and women who, due to homosexual inclinations, “feel themselves to be unwelcome and rejected,” by the Church. "

Bishop's Meeting in Baltimore...

There's a is pretty good collection of links pertaining to the Bishops in Baltimore, over at the AmP website .

Its best to hear it from some reliable coverage first before the MSM distorts it.
more post later today...

WCC +<><

Monday, November 13, 2006

Parchment: How many sheep to make a Bible?

I gave a short talk at my men's group on Saturday morning on the Canon of theBible. In the course of the talk the subject of the type of media used to create the bibles came up.

The Old Testement and other early types of manuscripts were written as we know, on papyrus (dried reed). At some point the cumbersomeness of Scrolls and the very short lived material of the papyrus lead to the use of parchment.

Parchment is made from animal skins, either sheep or even calf (hence vellum); and that's where I mentioned that it could take as much as 425 sheepskins to create one bible.

This drew some skeptics in the group and some mumbled comments about how "...this sounds kind of a little large a number." That's all very well. One should question information and sources.

Well, I should have had my marbles in a row to address this, but alas, I didn't. So I decided I would do some additional research and present my findings at next Saturday's meeting.

This exercised actually proved to be very informative, so I thought I'd like to share what I found.

This first website gives a pretty lengthy breakdown of the process from Materials and Techniques of the Manuscript Production to the Technique of Illumination.

This next website points out "Manuscript Bibles required three years of work to create..."

I found this information on a Loyola Marymount University, Theology resource link. This lead me to an entry entitled "A Brief Background in Old English Manuscripts."

This site has some short movie clips that show the process, writing and illuminating the manuscript.

Another link..

"For these reasons, when Gutenberg produced his first Bible around 1456, Europe was still predominantly using parchment and vellum for printing, rather than paper. Parchment is the skin of a sheep or goat that's been prepared for writing; vellum is a fine parchment made from the skins of calves, lambs or kids.

Gutenberg printed several copies of his Bible on parchment; to print just one, he had to use the skins of 300 sheep. Now with that kind of resource demand, obviously there weren't enough goats and sheep and calves in Europe to allow the mass production of books. So here was this grand new technology - the printing press - and no way to realize its potential, until entrepreneurs saved the day by improving and expanding the technology of making paper from linen rags. At first, paper was called "cloth parchment."

There's ton's of information out there on parchment book making. As far as how many sheepskins it took to make a bible, I found numerous attempts at selecting a number. Obviously it depends on what size the book was put together. If a lectionary type book was made it was bigger of course to allow for easier reading. If it were a private reading book (..if you could read and if you had the money to purchase one, which the majority of people at that time couldn't) then the amount of skins would be fewer.

Anyway, 425 or at least hundreds of sheepskin to make one bible isn't out of the question.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The American Soul...

Fr. Jonathan of Fox News sums up his election thoughts in his latest artical "Culture: The Battleground for the American Soul"

I agree with Father. I'm concerned as well...

The Nativity Story..THE MOVIE

This promises to be good! Finally, something worth watching at the cinema.

The Nativity Story will be premiering at the Vatican on Sunday, November 26 at the Vatican's Pope Paul VI Hall. 7,000 guest at invited to attend. The roll out for the rest of us is on December 1st.

This will be a great change from all the lame Christmas movies coming out and it brings the focus back to what Christmas is all about.

Mark your calendars.

Spoiled child...Confused adult

As a child in elementary school, I can still remember facing the flag and reciting the Pledge of allegiance. As an immigrant is sworn in as an official citizen of the United States, they recite the Pledge Allegiance. As a soilder is sworn in he pledges his allegence to the United States of America

...but not at West Coast College in the O.C. (Orange County).

"Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government."

"...The move was lead by three recently elected student trustees, who ran for office wearing revolutionary-style berets and said they do not believe in publicly swearing an oath to the American flag and government at their school. One student trustee voted against the measure, which does not apply to other student groups or campus meetings"

"The ban follows a 2002 ruling by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that said forcing school children to recite the pledge was unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God." The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling on procedural grounds but left the door open for another challenge."

Thank you San Francisco and Nancy Pelosi.

"..."That ('under God') part is sort of offensive to me," student trustee Jason Bell, who proposed the ban, told Reuters. "I am an atheist and a socialist, and if you know your history, you know that 'under God' was inserted during the McCarthy era and was directly designed to destroy my ideology."

I think he has it backwards. It's he who is offending God.

"Bell said the ban largely came about because the trustees didn't want to publicly vow loyalty to the American government before their meetings. "Loyalty ought to be something the government earns through performance, not through reciting a pledge," he said."

Where did Jason make that left turn off the cliff?

"...Martha Parham, a spokeswoman for the Coast Community College District, said her office had no standing on the student board and took no position on the flag salute ban.

"If their personal belief is that they don't want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, the district certainly isn't going to dictate what they do," she said."

This sounds like what I hear parents of today say to their children all the time.

"Now Johnny, if you promise to stop screaming in the store, I'll buy you a toy" I actually heard this.

Here's another good one. " I give Brittney as much freedom as she needs so as not to stifle her self confidence"

This is one a heard during a conversation with a good friend of my. "I let my child (10 years old) decide whether or not to believe in god. She can decide for herself"

Don't be afraid to be a parent.
Spoiled child...confused adult.

A time for Pause and Reflection...

I've taken the last couple of days to collect my thoughts after the elections. Some see the election results with an air (more like "err") of change and a sense of new direction. I can sense the change as well albeit not for the better.

There's some election results that specifically dis-heartened me the most. In our state of California for instance, Measure 85 , which was about parental notification, went down to defeat. I just don't understand parents voting against this measure. As a parent myself this doesn't make sense to me. To me this is just more evidence of the value of the family crumbling. We can't change society if the foundation of society, the family, is eroding away.

Very Sad....

The other was the amendment 2 in one other state, which involve Embryonic Stem Cell research.

More baby killing... how much more will our Lord stand for?

Knowing that Catholics voted against these issues made my blood boil a bit. My earlier statement about not leaving our Catholic faith outside the voting booth resonates in my mind. It not only was left outside the booth, it was drop in the waste can outside the voting hall.

So it took me a couple of days to go through these thoughts and emotions. I stopped listening to the political analysis on the radio and I didn't see any news at night when I got home. But, I did pray about it and reflected on some scripture.

Today's first reading: Phil 3:17-4:1

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
and observe those who thus conduct themselves
according to the model you have in us.
For many, as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their “shame.”
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified Body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.

We obviously can judge people, that's Gods venue, but we can judge their actions. There is no excuse for the culture of death.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the issue of partial birth abortion. We need to pray for them.
We won't get anything else right; war iIraqaq & terrorism, immigration, health benefits oany otherer issue unless we firssupportrt the nucleus of our great nation. That,s the family, and it starts beliminatingng this culture of death - abortion.

So I thrust that God is in control and He has a plan and a purpose for all things. Let's concentrate on moving forward.

I friend of my sent me a link to a powerful talk by Fr. John Corapi . The title of his talk is "SURRENDER is Not an Option! - Spiritual Warfare and the Family" This so true.

When it comes to our familieSURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day in So. Cal

Election day in So. California and it's a hot one too!

It must be in the mid-80's in November and I'm in Manhattan Beach, just a few miles from the beach. The news says it's pouring cats and dogs in Washington State.


Well, I voted early this morning. I was one of the first at my precinct and the first voter at one of the new touch screen machines....

....and guess what? It didn't work! I had 4 of the voting helpers around trying to fix the machine. They finally set me up on another machines and closed the broken one down.

"It's going to be a long day..." was the response from one of the helpers. I feel for them. It is going to be a long day; and a long night from what I heard on the news going into work. Seems I'm not the only one with a broken ballot machine. I need to turn this radio off.

Anyways, my first thoughts were not ones of "Conspiracy!" or "They've fixed the machines!" or even "They're preventing me from voting!"

Had they handed me a paper ballot and told me that I had to vote that way, I would have been fine with that. Hey, machine's break. I saw at least 4 broken machines (cars), one with only 3 wheels on my drive into work this morning.

Calm down people, we'll get through this.

Do yourselves a favor and turn your radios off today. Stay away from the internet news sights if you can....and just go vote.

I don't think it makes a difference what the news predicts or what rumors are floating out there.
Just go vote.

We'll find out the results in due time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Catholic American

This is a fine article over at Insightscoop website entitled "On Being Catholic American", by Joseph A. Varacalli.

The opening statement reads:

"The United States of America needs the Catholic worldview more than the Catholic faith requires the American Experience"

"The purpose of my presentation is to provide a brief reflection, from what I take to be an authentic Catholic sensibility, on how Catholics ought to analyze their relationship to American society and culture. Put another way, the following question might be posed: "What does American patriotism mean to the serious and devout Catholic?" Or, perhaps and more precisely, the question is: "How can American patriotism be apprehended in a manner consistent with the tenets of the Catholic faith?" I will attempt, in part, to address these questions by presenting a series of twelve propositions and principles for consideration and reflection."

Stand up and be Counted - VOTE !

Times up...

We've heard and seen the jousting from all sides. The Issues have been debated and counter debated. The views and options have been spun and counter-spun and how it's in OUR hands.

There's a famous phrase that I remember using to polish my typing skills who's original meaning holds true with Election Day tomorrow.

"Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country!"

How do we do this?

Yup, you guessed it.


Whomever you favorite candidate is and whatever side of the issues you're on, now is the time for us to exercise that hard fought liberty of Voting.

It's what our fore fathers fought for, it's what our present troops are fighting for.

And one more thing. Don't be one of those that is reading the issues and candidates for the first time in the voting booth. Prepare your Sample ballot and take it with you, so you know what you're voting for before you enter the booth.

Remember, Red State, Blue State or any color in between, we're all in this together.

Don't forget to say a prayer for God's guidance.

WCC +<><

Friday, November 03, 2006

If you're going to be in the Los Angeles area in January '07, you've got to attend this 4th Annual Biblical Studies Conference, January 13-14, 2007.

This is sponsored by the Catholic Resource Center. The topic is Jesus and the End Times. Things you'll learn:

  • - What Jesus Really Taught About the Last Days
  • - What will Happen Before Christ's Second Coming
  • - The Truth About the Rapture, the Anti-Christ and - the Final Tribulation
  • - The Role Jerusalem Plays in the End Times
  • - Who is the Whore of Babylon?
  • - The Meaning of the Beast and the Mark of the Beast (666)
  • - What the liturgy Teaches Us About Christ's Coming

Lot's more.. for more info visit The Catholic Resource Center

Letter to God....

I read this article at Yahoo news this morning "Letters to God end up in ocean, unread" and it sparked a memory of a somewhat similar incident that happen to me some years ago.

As a teen attending a Catholic high school, we had a typical day retreat on campus. No classes were held and we spent the whole day under the guidance of a priest whose name I don't remember.

We attended a few lectures and spent a whole-lot-of quiet time in meditation. I remember vaguely the theme of the retreat being something like 'Our relationship with Our Father' or 'Savior' or something like that and I don't remember much of the talks and lectures. However, I do remember the quiet time and the self reflection. For a teen to take time off from the distractions of everyday life like classes, friends...girls and focus on ones relationship with God seemed awkward to me. I remember thinking to myself "Okay, I'm out here alone on the football what I'm I supposed to do?"

The previous lecture instructed us to take a look at ourselves and our relationships and write a letter to ourselves. We could write anything at all..or nothing at all. No one would see the letter.

We all gathered for our final retreat meeting and handed the written letters in a sealed envelope and addressed them to ourselves. The retreat was a good one as far as retreats go, but over the years easily forgotten.

Then, 10 years to the day I received a letter at my parent’s house. At this time, I since married and had 2 of our three children. I picked up the letter during a visit with my parents and I recognized the writing on the envelope as mine, but I couldn't remember what this letter thing was all about. I read the letter to contained only one sentence.

"It's never too late to change." That was it, nothing else.

My wife and I hadn't been attending mass at all and our prayer life was pretty much non-existent. The change didn't happen over night, but the change in direction was very evident. My wife completed RCIA, we had a mini marriage ceremony in our church chapel to bless our marriage (we were married outside the Catholic Church). My personal relationship with our Savior was like a hidden ember which came to life like a roaring flame. Our lives were changed forever.

Letters from the passed...I wish I could remember the name of that priest.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Holy Day of Obligation - All Saints Day

Today is a Holy Day of Obligation.

We don't have many of these, now a days, that fall during the weekday since most have been moved to the nearest Sunday.

I'll be going to mass at lunch time at a local parish near work in Manhattan Beach.

Here's an article to start the day with "The Harrowing of Hell".

It gives a little background on last nights festivities and it's tie in with today's holy day.

All Saints Day & All Souls Day (which is tomorrow) emphasizes the catholic teachings on The Communion Of Saints.

Here's some links:
All Saints Day
All Souls' Day
The Communion of Saints
Praying to the Saints
The Intercession of the Saints

...I can sense the holidays fast approaching.

wcc +<><