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1. Have a firm handshake.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
10. Whistle.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
16. When playing games with children, let them win.
17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
18. Be romantic.
19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
22. Be a good loser.
23. Be a good winner.
24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
27. Keep it simple.
28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
29. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
34. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
36. Begin each day with some of your favourite music.
37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’
39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
40. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
42. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
44. Become someone’s hero.
45. Marry only for love.
46. Count your blessings.
47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
49. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
50. Don’t expect life to be fair

(East Africa Destination)

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Pope Francis speaks at New Year’s Eve Mass (Reuters).

Pope Francis celebrated his New Year’s Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and he delivered an end-of-year message to the faithful during the New Year’s Eve as he vespers mass , Dec. 31, 2015.
“How meaningful it is to be gathered together to give praise to the Lord at the end of the year!” Francis said.
“The Church on so many occasions feels the joy and the duty of lifting up her song to God with these words of praise,” he continued.
Francis encouraged the faithful not to be discouraged by the bad news of the year, such as the numbers of people who are homeless, hungry and victims of violence. He encouraged the faithful to seek to help those who are suffering and not to allow acts of kindness, love and charity to be obscured by “the arrogance of evil.”
In New Year’s Eve Message, Pope Francis Tells the Faithful Not to Be Discouraged:
“The good always wins,” Francis said, “even if at times it can appear weak and hidden.”
He spoke against the “arrogance of the powerful,” which demeans the weak, “relegating them to the most squalid outskirts of our world.”
“We are witnessing hordes of men, women and children fleeing war, hunger and persecution, ready to risk their lives simply to encounter respect for their fundamental rights,” he added.
“Let ourselves be reborn, to overcome indifference which blocks solidarity,” the pontiff urged; “and to leave behind the false neutrality which prevents sharing.”
“The grace of Christ,” he added, leads people to “building an evermore just and fraternal world, a world in which every person and every creature can dwell in peace, in the harmony of God’s original creation.”
He remarked that the final words of a hymn sung during the service — “Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee” — have a special meaning during the Catholic Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.
“Our eyes need to focus on the particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand,” Francis said.
Francis celebrated First Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a feast day the Catholic Church observes on New Year’s Day.
Pope Francis’ Mass transcript can also be read at VaticanRadio.

Happy New Year 2016!

Thank You God for giving me another lease of life, for all the blessings and guidance.
Thank you everyone for enriching my life this year again.
Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
Having the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love and keeping it all the years.
May God grant you the 9 Fruits of Holy Spirit :
 
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
Wishing you all a year of peace, happiness, prosperity, good health, joy and love!
May God grant us all a blessed New Year !
Happy New Year !!!  Cheers!!!

Psalm 63:1-3

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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.

PRISON VISIT

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.

SONGS IN HARLEM

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.”

OUR PRAYER:

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:

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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.”

OUR PRAYER:

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)

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