Psalm 63:1-3


O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you,

my body longs for you,

in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary

and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.

Psalm 63:1-3

Screen shot 2015-09-27 at 1.28.31 PM

(Photo via Reuters)

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis on Saturday highlighted the need for ordinary Catholics, especially women, to help fortify the Church in the future, as he embarked on the final leg of his triumphal US tour in Philadelphia.

The head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics landed in the City of Brotherly Love after a short flight from New York, where he spent a whirlwind 36 hours that included an emotional visit to Ground Zero and mass at Madison Square Garden.

The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff is ending a historic visit to Cuba and the United States this weekend with a packed schedule in Philadelphia, including two appearances at the Festival of Families, an international gathering of Catholics.

The city is under a security lockdown, with traffic banned downtown for the entire weekend and thousands of National Guardsmen in the streets.

At the airport in Philadelphia, he walked down the steps of the jet and onto the red carpet, embracing members of the clergy and greet local dignitaries with a beaming smile.

He got out of his modest Fiat at the sight of a child in a wheelchair close to the security barrier, and walked over to bless the child.

Francis then headed straight to mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, where people slept in the street overnight in the hopes of seeing him.

The pope singled out the role women have played in the Church, telling the story of an American heiress, St Katharine Drexel, who heard her call to found an order of nuns when asked by another pope: “What about you?”

“It is significant that those words of the elderly Pope were also addressed to a lay woman,” Francis said.

“We know that the future of the Church in a rapidly changing society will call, and even now calls, for a much more active engagement on the part of the laity,” he said, noting the “immense contribution” of women to Catholic communities.

Keeping parishioners involved is an important issue in America’s Catholic Church: the number of new priests only covers one-third of the need, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Later Saturday, Francis, the first pope from Latin America, is due to address immigrants at the city’s historic Independence Hall before greeting huge crowds at the Festival of Families, a Catholic event that takes place every three years.

“I wanted to be part of this family celebration,” said 42-year-old Luis Ortiz, who slept outside with his 11 children near the cathedral.


On Sunday, Francis will meet with American bishops, visit a prison and lead a farewell mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city’s grandest avenue, before leaving the United States.

The pope has received a rapturous reception in America — he was welcomed personally by President Barack Obama when he arrived on Tuesday and by giant crowds in both Washington and the Big Apple.

His reform-minded approach to social issues, humility and focus on the most vulnerable has struck a chord across the country’s racial and socioeconomic divide.

New York treated the pontiff to a rock-star welcome.

A sea of 80,000 people screamed out in joy as he proceeded through Central Park in his popemobile before celebrating mass at Madison Square Garden, New York’s premier concert venue, before about 20,000 people.

Once again, the pope focused on society’s poorest, in a message voiced time and again in America’s financial capital, a city of staggering wealth but also need.

He called on worshippers not to forget “the faces of all those people who don’t appear to belong, or are second-class citizens.”

“They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly,” the pope said.


At the city’s somber September 11 Memorial, he laid a white rose and led a gathering of 700 in multi-faith prayers for world peace and paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the 2001 attacks.

Francis was welcomed in song and laughter on a heartwarming visit to a Catholic school in New York’s East Harlem neighborhood.

It was a stark contrast to the austere surroundings of the UN General Assembly, where he touched on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, drug trafficking — “silently killing millions” — and the rights of girls to an education.

As he did at the US Congress, the pope gave a passionate plea to protect the environment, voicing confidence that a looming UN summit on climate change would reach “effective” agreement in Paris.

Francis also offered a strong endorsement of Iran’s agreement with the United States and five other world powers to limit its nuclear program.

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Religious Freedom

Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 27, 2015) Gospel: Temptations To Sin, Mk 9:38-43, 45 47-48

The word of God this Sunday is focused on the 10423349_1155514751131698_5245816457681358538_nopenness and respect for those who are different.

Pope Francis’ speech yesterday before Philadelphia’s iconic Independence Hall echoed that thought, when he gave a ringing endorsement of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

According to a CNN report, he urged his American hosts to avoid a “superficial quest for unity.”Addressing a predominantly immigrant crowd, he said, “In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.”

Drawing cheers from the large crowd, where many of the faithful waved flags from countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico, the Argentine-born Francis encouraged his diverse flock to “never be ashamed of your traditions.”

“Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders,” he stated, “which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land.

“Pope Francis made his remarks from the same lectern Abraham Lincoln used to give the Gettysburg Address, a fitting setting for a speech stressing freedom. He declared, however, that the rights of the faithful should extend well beyond the sanctuary door.”Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate,” he averred.

“But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.”Pope Francis was most animated and drew the loudest response when he addressed the immigrants, greeting them with “particular affection.”

“Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face,” he said, to loud cheers. “I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation.”


O God our Creator, we ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Day by Day”

Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 13, 2015) Gospel:


Peter’s Confession About Jesus – Mk 8:27-35

“Who do you say that I am?” — Mark 8.29

Today’s Gospel reminds us of the hugely successful 1971 Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak rock opera GODSPELL based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which deals with the last days of Jesus, and includes dramatized versions of several well-known parables.

And yet it is something more – a religious experience, a demonstration of joy, and a celebration of the family of man. This immensely successful rock opera needs little introduction, but when it was first produced on Broadway in 1971 it broke new ground in its stage treatment of the historical Jesus Christ.

The third song in the musical, “Day by Day” — a prayer ascribed to the 13th English Bishop Saint Richard of Chichester — particularly captures people’s imagination. It summarizes our plea to see, love and follow God more openly. The lyrics of the haunting melodic number reads:

“Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day
Day by day, day by day
Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly, day by day.

”The song spent 14 weeks on the “Billboard Hot 100,” peaking at the number 13 position on July 29, 1972. “Billboard “ ranked it as the No. 90 song for 1972.

But more than its enormous commercial success it becomes a great “aide memoire” for people to be more generous, to give food to those who are hungry, to provide home for the homeless or the refugees (a very relevant concern today given the Syrian refugees seeking a safer haven), to die so others may live, and “to lose good things, to get better.”

A tough call indeed, but the only way we can share in this life is by seeing, loving and following Jesus and taking up our own cross so that death leads to life. The challenge of this Sunday’s Gospel is the challenge of the cross: to see that glory in our everyday lives. As the “Living Liturgy” states, “Good surrounds all of us; the cross invites us to see that good—out of pain and poverty can come a new life that has value, meaning, and purpose for self and others.”


Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.

(St. Ignatius de Loyola)

Happy Birthday Mama Mary

September 8 the birthday of the #Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is a special veneration #Catholics manifest to the Blessed Mother… Such veneration comes no less from #God who honored her first by choosing her from many women to be the Mother of his own Son.

Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (September 6, 2015) Gospel

“He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” (Mark 7.37)

This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us to take some time to listen to sounds of silence. It is not about being deaf to the sounds of life, or the absence of sound, but the ability to hear and listen to life going around us and in us.

Pope Benedict XVI said, “Many now assume that effective modern communication implies being able to make the greatest noise amidst the bustle and confusion that is the world’s 24-hour rolling, new circus. But silence, as the Holy Father reminds us, is an extremely important part of communication, for without it, who could listen properly to what is being said?”

The principle is a revival of the song popularized in the 1960s by Simon and Garfunkel. In the third stanza of the song it says, “And in the naked light I saw, 10,000 people, maybe more, people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.

”Silence is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Silence is the most beautiful doorway into prayer, peace, contemplation and true wisdom. Silence is also a discipline that leads to humility and to a love that does not seek to possess. Only the people who are truly silent can hear the whisperings of God’s love deep within their heart. Without silence we who claim to believe in him would never know God or be able to discern his will for us.

Our best move in certain situations is to keep our mouth shut and simply stay out of the way of people. We get into a spiral of bad communication tactics, and wind up outsmarting ourselves — perhaps making a position and then rejecting our own stance because we think we won’t agree with it.

Imagine a complainant who opens a conversation by saying that he understands us but will not budge from his stand before asking for some smaller compromise — and then maybe even convincing himself that even that is too much to ask for.

“We can observe a lot by watching and we can also learn a lot by listening.” That’s baseball legend Yogi Berra talking and reminding us of situations wherein we are asking a question and before we even finish our question, some people cut us and offer their own perspective. They don’t bother waiting and instead try to hurry us up with verbal prompts — “Uh-huh, uh-huh, right, right, right…” And when they ask for advice, what they really mean is, “Let’s fast-forward to the part where I tell you what I think, instead.”



Dear Lord, “listen” has the same letters as “silent.” May we always listen to the silence of our heart so we will know what to do. Amen

Romans 13:1-7

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


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