Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Administration and Religious Liberty Part Deux

Do you think that the most recent assault on religious liberty is the first? Think again. To find out more, read the linked article below.

A Setback for the Secularists?

First Bill to Introduced to Restore Religious Liberty

Today, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, a bill to repeal a new HHS requirement for religious institutions to provide health care coverage that violated thier religious beliefs.

A copy of the bill can be found HERE

What Should the Catholic Response Be?

Below, you can link to an interesting article on what the Cathloic response should be to President Obama's recent decision to require Catholic Institutions to purchase healthcare that violates Church teaching.

I truly believe that Obama thinks that this issue will not get any press, and he has every reason to believe so. Come on, if 500,000 people can show up in Washington DC to support "Life" for our most vulnerable citizens, and get no press coverage, why should this issue see the light of day.

But this message can be delivered to the faithful, in the pews. Let us pray that our Bishops and Pastors will keep up the pressure and not let go of this assault on religious liberty until things have changed.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Message from Archbishop Gregory on the Recent HHS Ruling

Letter from Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

To Be Read at all Masses in Parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta During the Weekend of January 28 – 29, 2012

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you on a matter of grave moral concern -- freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies. In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply. I stand in unity with Catholic bishops throughout the United States and other religious leaders vowing to fight this mandate. Along with my brother bishops and other religious leaders, I insist that this is a direct attack on our religious freedom and our First Amendment rights. I will work with the bishops, other religious leaders and our fellow Americans to remove this unjust regulation. If the administration will not rescind this violation of our First Amendment rights, we must call on our elected leaders to do so. I ask you to pray that wisdom and justice may prevail, and work together to restore our religious liberty. Please join me in continuing to follow the development of this important issue and contacting our elected representatives to seek a just resolution. Through our Georgia Bulletin, archdiocesan and Georgia Catholic Conference websites and other media, I will keep you up to date on the progress of this important issue. 

Sincerely yours in Christ, 
╬ Wilton D. Gregory Archbishop of Atlanta

He is my hero.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Ordination Holy Card

It is a tradition in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for those being ordained to the Permanent Diaconate to have holy cards made up for the occasion.  For my card, I wanted to use the scene from the "Road to Emmaus"; however, I wanted to find one that represented what I had believed in my heart for a very long time.  That belief is that a man and a woman (or husband and wife) encountered Christ during that journey.  It surprised me to find out how rare it is to find such a depiction in art. 

But thanks for my dear wife, she found an icon written by a nun (Sister Marie-Paul) in the Holy Land.   Its perfect.

A Song to Our Lady

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love: Use the Word Properly!

To say that our pre-ordination retreat was more than I could have expected is an understatement (I may have already said that [sorry]).  One example of this experience was one of Bishops Zarama's homilies during daily Mass.  It was all about Love. 

In particular it is the abuse of the word in our culture.  We love our cars; we love our home; we love our new suit.  It goes on and on; we cannot escape it.

Bishop Zarama said that the word should be reserved for God and people alone.  He believes that using the word for things that really do not matter diminishes the power of the word.  He is correct.  Society has taken that word and made it nothing more than a description of something that gives us pleasure.  That type emotion literally takes from something or someone and therefore cannot be love.

Love is sacrificial.  Love may mean giving up something so that someone else may get what they need. Love is about how we treat each other; what we can do for them and not what they do for us.  As such, it is one of the most powerful words in the English language.

At the end of his homily Bishop Zarama made a very specific point to each one of us.  He said he had better not ever hear any of us use that word outside of the context of God or a person (not even our animals).  If he did, it would not be pretty. 

I took his words to heart.  I want that word to mean something and that attitude needs to start somewhere. 

However, I do have a slight problem.  My affection for our family dogs is real and not using the "L" word in the description of my affection for them will be difficult (or maybe I just better not talk about them in certain company:)

“Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed?”

“Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed?”

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Deacon's Homily

When was the last time you heard a homily like this?

A sound idea: a recording of this week’s homily

Friday, January 20, 2012

President at War with Religious Liberty

The President of the United States is officially waging a war on religious liberty.  Today, the President of the United States stood behind Kathleen Sebelius' (Secretary of Health and Human Services) decision that religious organizations MUST provide health insurance coverage for drugs and procedures that are contrary to the teachings of those churches.  The only compromise was to allow these organizations a few more months to comply.

You can read the Catholic Church's response to this announcement HERE.


I also find it interesting the the President does this just before a major "Right to Life" march that is scheduled for today.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy TIme

I have got to finish the last bit of paperwork, etc.  before ordination.  It was more than I anticipated but necessary.  Things like:

  • Written permission for the Archdiocese to conduct another background check;
  • Review and certify completion of "Safe Environments" program ( a program to identify, prevent and report the abuse of vulnerable populations [i.e. children, etc.]);
  • Letter to the Archbishop requesting assignment to my home parish;
  • Meetings with my pastor to:
    • Develop a parish contract (i.e. what my ministerial assignments will be at the Church);
    • Coordinate the submittal of a letter from my pastor to the Archbishop requesting that I be assigned to my home parish (hope this is a gimme!);
  • Sending out tickets to the ordination (these are hard to come by);
  • Finalizing and practicing my first homily; and
  • Helping with plans for the pre-ordination family dinner, post-ordination open house and first Mass.
I know I am forgetting something

Karen and I will need to find some time to spend with our Lord.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

We Are Back

To say that our retreat was inspiring would be an understatement.  I am still processing the week and glad I have the weekend to slowly return to the world.  Going back to work immediately after a week like this would have been difficult.

So much to do, and so little time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Retreat Time

In a few hours, I will leave with one of my classmates to our pre-ordination retreat in Cullman, Alabama.  A lot of people ask the question Cullman, Alabama?  What's there?  That was probably my first thought when we made our first retreat there almost 5 years ago.  It is a beautiful Benedictine monastery and school that was founded in the 19th Century.  The location has truly been a blessing because it allows you to step back and quiet yourself.

And that is what we will be doing on this 5-day silent retreat.  To quiet ourselves; to listen to what our Lord is asking of us; to gain strength for the coming weeks, months and years; and to pray for His guidance. 

So please pray for us.

God Bless You.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vocations in Atlanta

Good news on vocations from our Archbishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Read the news on the link below.

What I Have Seen And Heard

Two Americans Get the Red Hat

As expected, The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop  of New York, and The Most Reverend Edwin O'Brian, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, were elevated to the College of Cardinals today. 

You can read more HERE

Check out this great Fox Sports video - GOTD: Howard scores amazing Goal

<a href='http://foxsports.com?vid=fac369d7-cda9-4662-a062-1b4b3af67df7&mkt=en-us&from=sp^foxsports_en-us_videocentral&src=FLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='GOTD: Howard scores amazing Goal' >Video: GOTD: Howard scores amazing Goal</a>

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Requiem for the Third See of Christendom

On the continued persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the story of the Christian Coptic Church. A good read.

Requiem for the Third See of Christendom