Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Check it out!

I just added a link under "Notable Blogs" to Sister Sandy, csj 's Blog. It's definitely worth a visit!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Worthwhile Meme - Part II (N-Z)

It's been a hectic week so I am later than planned on finishing this meme. Be sure to check out those I previously tagged for their replies, too.

[N is for New Testament - your favorite passage]: I am going to create a separate post on this one...

[O is for Old Testament - your favorite book here]: ... and this one ...

[P is for Psalms - your favorite]: ... and this one, too.

[Q is for Quote - saint quote]: I like Ignatius' "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you." But also the many writings of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt have had a long-term place in my life. And also, Mother Teresa's quote (paraphrased when set to music), "What you can do, I cannot; what I can do, you cannot; but together we can do something beautiful for God." And finally, St. Francis of Assisi's "I did what was mine to do, now do what is yours!" Ah wait, there's one more: "Love alone counts, love never counts."

[R is for Rosary - your favorite mysteries]: For some reason (not sure why), the Joyful mysteries have held special meaning for me (actually I think it's the incarnational theme), and the new Luminous mysteries also (those because of those Eucharistic moments marked).

[S is for Saint - the one you turn to in time of need - not including the Blessed Virgin Mary]: Blessed Pauline, Saint Anthony, and a number of uncanonized holy ones including my sister who died at the age of three.

[T is for Tradition - your favorite Catholic tradition]: Visiting three different Churches for prayer for the Blessed Sacrament following the Liturgy of Holy Thursday, and Exposition and Benediction any time!

[U is for University - Which Catholic university have you attended or are currently attending?]: I am the product of Catholic schools, K-12, but earned my degrees at public/private universities. However, I was fortunate to enjoy a summer program at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. I also have hopes to pursue another Master's either, probably online at Felician College (NJ).

[V is for Virtue - the one you wish you had]: To this I can only say, "Over all these things, put on love!"

[W is for Way of the Cross - Which station can you most relate to?]: Jesus falls the third time.

[X is for Xaverian Brothers - Do you know who they are?]: Yes, I do! And I understand why it's a question. The Xaverian Brothers ran a hospital in my home archdiocese of Newark, NJ.

[Y is for your favorite Catholic musician]: As previously noted, I am a Catholic liturgical musician so I can't pick just one! :) Maybe in another post I will take about some of my favorites.

[Z is for Zeal for the faith]: Yes, with God's continued grace.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An Urgent Call for Action from the National Catholic AIDS Network

I received the following e-mail from the National Catholic AIDS Network and felt it was an important enough issue to post the message here:

People with AIDS do not have to die:
Thousands of lives at stake if PEPFAR isn't allowed to grow

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Jan 19, 2007 Please review the information below and contact your representative to ensure that the promise level of funding for PEPFAR is allocated.

AIDS Impact on South Africa Four years ago President George W. Bush launched a multi-billion dollar campaign to "meet a severe and urgent crisis abroad." This one wasn't the war against terrorism, or the invasion of Iraq; it was a fight to "turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean." Unlike the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one questioned the legitimacy of this $15 billion, five-year initiative called the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It won national and international acclaim. But the program is endangered today. In the midst of budget wrangling, Congress is considering maintaining the 2007 budget at 2006 levels, a decision that would ignore the critical increase the President has asked for to maintain and grow PEPFAR's reach.

In South Africa, this fledgling democracy whose very birth benefited from international support, AIDS presents a dreadful challenge that the government cannot combat alone, though it tries. The statistics are horrifying. South Africa has one of the two highest numbers of HIV-positive people in the world. Today, 5.5 million people are infected. Hundreds of thousands of others are infected every year. Some 1,000 people die of AIDS every day in this country. The most vulnerable are the likeliest to become infected by this disease whose consequences reach far beyond
the individual, to the whole family, producing an even broader realm of endangerment. This is especially true of people who live in the remote, rural areas where they are served by local caregivers and agencies like Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and AIDSRelief, its consortium of international partners.

If the budget for these programs does not grow as scheduled, priests, doctors and nurses may not be able to serve those who come for help, a failure that diminishes the dignity and credibility of the server, not to mention the larger benefactor - the United States in this case. The vast majority of AIDS victims are not world wise, though. They are the poorest and most vulnerable people. They live in shacks. They have no water or electricity. They are hungry. I have been to many places where people are so sick, they cannot eat. They have children they cannot feed. They themselves cannot hold on. If you can keep such a mother alive for another year, or another two years, it can make all the difference in the lives of her children. CRS was chosen as a major distributor and manager of PEPFAR's allocation for South Africa, as it can use its widespread Catholic network to reach some of the remotest parts of the country. Working with international partners through its AIDSRelief consortium and with local partners on the ground, CRS has helped save literally thousands of lives.

If PEPFAR funding doesn't increase as it was scheduled to do, in CRS' AIDSRelief program alone, at least 2,500 people targeted for aid will likely die. Their children will become orphans, and - left to themselves with no source of income and no parental guidance - will be at risk to become infected themselves. We have the means to break this cycle. The drugs are available, and there are dedicated people on the ground willing to provide services in communities that would otherwise be neglected. No elaborate facilities are required. Right now, about 10,000 people receive antiretroviral treatment and at least 30,000 people receiving HIV care in 24 CRS service programs throughout the country, mostly in medically under-serviced rural areas. One program operates out of a Catholic hospital. Another provides care from a renovated freight container. One of the most successful is a mobile program operating out of the back of the car, providing care for people who live in shacks with no running water, no toilets and no electricity.

The budget for the third year of CRS' five-year PEPFAR grant was over $15 million dollars in South Africa alone. This year, that number was slated to grow to nearly $19 million. The good being done by this growing program is immeasurable, and will be jeopardized without that increase. HIV infection is preventable and AIDS is treatable. People with AIDS do not have to die. We can prevent many of the conditions that make people vulnerable to infection and conditions like desperate poverty, lack of awareness and information. Existing drugs can save lives, make it possible for people living with AIDS to go back to work, to raise their children, to contribute to the development of the country. The alternative is unacceptable.

Ruth Stark is the South Africa country representative for Catholic Relief Services, based in Johannesburg.


Hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV in the poorest countries of the world could die because the last Congress failed to pass a regular spending bill to fund international assistance programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. Instead, the last Congress passed a Continuing Resolution through February 15 that funds international assistance programs at the FY 2006 levels. The new Congress is expected to extend the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution and has indicated that it may maintain the lower FY 2006 funding levels for the rest of the year. This would seriously jeopardize lifesaving programs that serve people living with HIV around the world.

About National Catholic AIDS Network

Giving witness to the Lord Jesus Christ who brings light to all darkness, the National Catholic AIDS Network assists the Church in recognizing the pain and the unique challenges inherent in the HIV/AIDS pandemic and in living out the Gospel mandate by offering compassionate support, education, referral and technical assistance.


About Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Our mission is to assist the poor and disadvantaged, leveraging the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to alleviate human suffering, promote development of all people, and to foster charity and justice throughout the world.
Working through local offices and an extensive network of partners, CRS operates on five continents and in 99 countries. We aid the poor by first providing direct assistance where needed, then encouraging people to help with their own development. Together, these approaches foster secure, productive, just communities that enable people to realize their potential.
As the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community, CRS is also committed to educating the
people of the United States to fulfill their moral responsibilities toward our global brothers and sisters by helping the poor, working to remove the causes of poverty, and promoting social justice.


Friday, January 19, 2007

A Worthwhile Meme - Part I (A-L)

I first found this meme posted on The City and the World and told Joe I’d give it a try. Then I discovered that Sister Anne who is doing the meme in smaller doses had tagged me for it.

I found the process of doing this particular meme to be very grace-filled as I reflected on the questions posed. Here goes Part I (A-L) along with wishes for abundant blessings on all who contemplate their own spiritual alphabet:

[A is for apparitions - your favorite]: Sister Josefa and the Sacred Heart . A lesser known story among the beautiful apparitions, one well-worth learning more about it if you have the opportunity. Check out “The Story of Divine Love.” As this website notes,

“On 29th December 1923, Sister Josefa Menéndez, when thirty-three years old, died a holy death at the Convent of Les Feuillants, Poitiers. She lived as a sister in the Society of the Sacred Heart only four years, and in so hidden a way the world ought never to have heard of her, and even in her own community, she should soon have been forgotten. Yet, only twenty years after her death, she is known all over the world. In America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania people are praying to her and are listening attentively to the Message which the Heart of Jesus has given her for [souls].”

[B is for Bible - the one you read most often]: New American Bible

[C is for Charism - the one you would most like to have]: Love --- and to live it out in the charism of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt passed on through her spiritual daughers, the Sisters of Christian Charity.

[D is for Doctor of the Church - your favorite]: Teresa and Therese

[E is for Essential Prayer - What’s yours?]: The Prayer of all Prayers? The Holy Eucharist. My personal prayer? “My God and my All!” and “Jesus.”

[F is for Favorite Hymn]: As a longtime liturgical musician and composer, there are many beautiful treasures. A very special favorite is one of community hymns, “Receive This Holocaust.” This is a tradition at profession and jubilee liturgies. The hymn, sung almost a capella in three voices, begins with the prayer, “Receive this holocaust, Almighty Father, dear. All I can offer, lo, I do now offer here…” And the second verse ends, “Whatever I am have, what I shall possess – it shall be Thine, for Thou hast given all. ‘Tis now no longer mine!”

[G is for Gospel - your favorite author?]: John the Beloved Disciple.

[H is for Holy Communion - How would you describe it, using one word?]: Jesus!

[I is for Inspiration - When do you feel most inspired by God?]: Inspired? I’m not sure if the question is when do I feel God or what surroundings make me most open to God. Either way, in all honesty, it varies and depends a lot on God’s grace and my openness.

[J is for Jesus - When did you first meet Him?]: Truthfully, I think I met Jesus before I knew I met Him. When my Mother was pregnant with me, a well known Jesuit priest from the area was celebrating a Mass that my Mother attended (From the story, I don’t recall the detail of the occasion). As my Mother approached to receive Communion, he saw that she was pregnant (she was thin framed and her pregnant belly was obvious) and when it was her turn to receive the Eucharist he gave her Communion twice, once for herself and once for the Baby (me).

[K is for Kindness - Which saint or person has most inspired you by their kindness?]: Saint Francis of Assisi, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, just to name a few of the many.

[L is for liturgical year - your favorite time in the liturgical cycle?]: Again, as someone deeply involved in Liturgy for many years, I find aspects I love about each liturgical season, but I have to note that Holy Week is very special to me, especially the Sacred Triduum and Easter morning.

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to post the rest over the weekend.

Many of my friends are already tagged so for now I will tag Susan, Julie, and Diana.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Which American Cities Best Fit You?

American Cities That Best Fit You:
60% Atlanta
55% Honolulu
55% Las Vegas
55% Miami
50% Austin


As I realize that it is nearly the middle of January, I cannot really believe it. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy on all fronts. In the midst of it, however, know that I have sent you all good wishes for a blessed and grace-filled year. In the coming weeks, I hope to be able to return to focus more time on posting here (thankfully even in the midst of the busyness I have been able to drop by most of my regular blogs on a daily basis).

Today I want to ask for special blessings on the Daughters of Saint Paul USA/Canada Province and the Sisters of Christian Charity-Eastern US Province, both of whom are completing their respective provincial chapters this weekend. May the Holy Spirit make clear the way!

I also want to urge us all to do all we can, especially through prayer and faithful witness, to bring peace to our world and contribute to the building of a more just society. There are many needs in the world and in individual lives, but right now the one need that binds us all together is the need for PEACE and an end to war and violence.

With St. Francis, let us pray, "Lord, make ME an instrument of YOUR peace!"