Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Remembering Dorothy Day

Today is the anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day. Let us pause for a moment and ask that through her intercession we may become more and more really reflective of the heart of Christ to the many faces in which we encounter Him each day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Christmas -- Today's Global Version

A friend currently serving the community in Rome forwarded me this very thought-provoking reflection. While I am not a proponent of war, I do believe it's important to express support to the men and women who have taken up the call to serve in the military and to recognize the sacrifices that they and their families make on a daily basis.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
  • Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
    Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
    The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
    Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
  • My eyelids were heavy,
    my breathing was deep,
    Secure and surrounded
    by love I would sleep.
  • In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
    So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
    The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
    But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
  • Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
    Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
    My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
    And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
  • Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
    A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
    A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
    Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

  • Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
    Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
    "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
    "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
  • Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
    You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
    For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
    Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
  • To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
    Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
    "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
    That separates you from the darkest of times.
  • No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
    I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
    My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
    Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
  • My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
    And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
    I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
    But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
  • Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
    The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
    I can live through the cold and the being alone,
    Away from my family, my house and my home.
  • I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
    I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
    I can carry the weight of killing another,
    Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
  • Who stand at the front against any and all,
    To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
    "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
    Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
  • "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
    "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
    It seems all too little for all that you've done,
    For being away from your wife and your son."
  • Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
    "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
    To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
    To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
  • For when we come home, either standing or dead,
    To know you remember we fought and we bled.
    Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
    That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
  • Sunday, November 26, 2006

    Giving Thanks & Sharing a Call to Action

    "I thank my God each time I remember you,
    which is constantly,
    praising God for the blessings I have known through your love."

    Thanksgiving Day provides a pause in our busy daily lives to stop as a nation and individually give thanks for the rich blessings God bestows upon us in each and every moment. In the midst of our remembering the abundances in our own lives, we often also remember those who do without many of the amenities and comforts we enjoy daily.

    While I pause and give thanks to God for the many blessings I experience, including the rich gift of friendship that enriches and blesses my life, I have also made a commitment this year to draw attention to the horror of the genocide that is taking place in Darfur .

    Without a doubt, the horror taking place in Darfur is organized systematic genocide. Please take a moment to learn more about what is really taking place there and how the United States and the United Nations can work collaboratively to force an end to this horror. Just a few decades from now, textbooks will tell the historical tale of this atrocity. Let not the students of that time to come wonder what the good people of today did to stop the genocide. Take a few moments to visit , a coalition of over 100 faith-based communities/organizations committed to bringing the truth to light and working towards a just and swift end to the genocide.

    Forever grateful!

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    UN Efforts to End Violence Against Women

    News Release
    For immediate release
    Date: 22 November 2006
    Media Inquiries
    Nanette Braun, Communications Specialist
    UNIFEM Headquarters
    +1 212-906-6829,

    Statement by UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,25 November 2006

    United Nations, New York — Every year on 25 November, advocates around the world jointly raise their voices to denounce violence against women as what it is: the most pervasive and shameful human rights violation. But the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women also provides an opportunity to reflect on progress made. And there is encouraging news: by now, 89 states have adopted legislative provisions that address domestic violence, including 60 states with specific domestic violence laws. This is a clear increase in comparison to 2003, when only 45 countries had specific laws on domestic violence. The other ray of hope is that funding for initiatives to end violence against women is on the increase. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which ismanaged by UNIFEM, could disburse $3.5 million this year — almost twice the amount that we had at our disposal last year and close to four times more than in 2004.

    These two positive trends are not unrelated. In the ten years of its existence, the Trust Fund has proven to be an effective mechanism to tackle the pandemic of violence as it affects women in each and every country around the world. Trust Fun d grantees have spearheaded campaigns that led to an outpouring of public debate and a call for gender-based violence to be punished as a crime; many grants have gone to initiatives that have directly supported advocacy efforts for legislation on violence against women. With far-reaching success secured in this regard, the main challenge lies now in supporting states to implement these laws. This is why for the second year the Trust Fund mainly supports organizations working to ensure that normative legal provisions become operational praxis. In 2006, grants go to initiatives that review court proceedings to remove obstacles for the implementation of existing laws, train police and the judiciary on the application of new legal provisions, or build the capacity of community groups to raise awareness on mechanisms to seek redress. Existing resources are still far from being sufficient and demand is still much higher than supply. Conflict-affected countries in particular need assistance in addressing sexual violence. Yet we are convinced that the positive
    funding trend will continue as a response to the proven success of the approaches pursued by Trust Fund grantees.

    We welcome the increase in funding as an expression of political will to step up efforts to end violence against women. Everyone knows that if you want things to change, you have to put your money where your mouth is. Without resources, even the greatest resolve remains just a good intention. It is for this reason that recent reform endeavours at the United Nations have come with built-in funding mechanisms. Today, we have an emergency fund to respond to humanitarian disasters, a peace-building fund to strengthen post-conflict recovery, and a democracy fund to support good governance.

    The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women was established 10 years ago by the U N General Assembly to help ensure that every woman can enjoy her right to a life free from violence. It is also a mechanism to invest in the well-being and development of countries. Violence against women does not only devastate the life of every woman who is being abused, it also hurts societies as a whole. This is why at the 2005 World Summit, Heads of State and Government identified violence against women as one key factor that has to be addressed in order to achieve gender equality and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. What is needed now is to scale up the tested and proven strategies that advocates and practitioners have applied to make a difference and turn them into mainstream instruments. Only when measures to address violence against women are an integral part of national strategies for development will we see lasting change. It is then that we will be able to reflect not just on progress made, but on real success to end violence against women.

    UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations, providing financial support and technical assistance to innovative programmes promoting women's human rights, their economic and political empowerment, and gender equality in more than 100 countries. In 2006, UNIFEM is commemorating its 30th anniversary. For more information, visit UNIFEM, 304 East 45th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Tel: +1 212-906-6400. Fax: +1 212-906-6705.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006


    What kind of friend are you?

    Which Pooh character are you?


    You choose your friends wisely and even though they may be few in number, they are high in importance.You feel most comfortable when you can follow the crowd and let others make decisions. But that's not to say you can't make up your own mind if you need to.Faithful and true, Piglets make the best friends.
    Take this quiz!

    By the way, Winnie the Pooh and friends are among my favorites!

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    A Welcome Addition to the Blogosphere

    Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston has joined us in the blogosphere. Begun during his recent trip to Rome as a way to keep his parishioners apprised of the details of his trip, the Cardinal has decided to continue the blog and posts a weekly post on Fridays. Be sure to stop by Cardinal Sean's Blog . It's definitely worth more than one visit!

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    What Kind of US English Do I Speak?

    Your Linguistic Profile:
    40% Yankee
    30% General American English
    15% Dixie
    5% Upper Midwestern
    0% Midwestern

    I thought that this seemingly innocent quiz had a great lesson for our times when the focus on immigration reform often turns to a discussion on the English language. As a nation built on colonialism, we often still carry ideas about the universality of the English language even just here in the U.S. This fun quiz highlights the great diversity within the English language even "here at home."

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Eternal rest, grant unto the faithful departed, O Lord...

    ... and let perpetual light shine upon them!

    In this month of remembrance of those who've gone on before us, our blogosphere community is presented with moments of remembrance.

    Fellow blogger Fr. Michael Hunt CSP , author of Westside Paulist, died on November 5th due to complications from the Multiple Myeloma with which he has been dealing for some time. The latest illness from the cancer really took its toll, but as close friends and colleagues share he reflected grace in all his sufferings.

    Sincerest condolences to Sister Anne Joan FSP and her family on the homegoing of her father. Sister Anne has generously been sharing the journey of the days leading to her dad's completion of this chapter of life.

    May God's grace enfold all those who go before us and all those who remain to mourn their passing and celebrate their living!