Saturday, January 29, 2011

Walk for Life West Coast 2011

Last weekend (January 22nd), I attended the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco. This is the second year in a row that I've gone and boy, is it empowering to be with some estimated 50,000 like minded people!

A panoramic view of the plaza for the kick off rally
(click for larger view)

While the event itself is amazing, the most profound moment of the day didn't come while I was at the walk in San Francisco. It came after the walk at an event that night.  I was at a function that evening when a friend there asked what I did that day. At first, I hesitated to say explicitly what I was doing, commenting just that I was in San Francisco. Of course, he asked what I was doing in San Francisco.  So, I then commented that I was at the Walk for Life, and was there sanding up for the dignity of life in all forms. His face said it all when we began to talk. He admitted of a girlfriend once having an abortion when he was young and how he went with her for the abortion procedure. That event changed his his mind about abortion. Today, when he sees any documentation of a date near the timeframe of this abortion, or meets someone around that age, he says "that could be my child".  


Let us all pray for an end to abortion and a common understanding about the dignity of human life at all stages.
Further information:

More photos... (click to enlarge)

It took us three hours to walk the entire route! It was packed with people the whole way and stretched for miles.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Truth, what Truth? - Prayers for Christian Unity

In recent years, I have traveled quite frequently for business. One place was Tillamook, Oregon. It is a small town of approximately 6000 people and famous for its cheese. Upon entering the town, there is a cross with 19 names of local churches listed. This cross begs the question of "Truth" and shows us the clear problem of division in Christianity. Each proclaims to have "the truth". I know first-hand how hard it can be to dialogue with others who share different views of faith. Most of the time, the discussions are not pleasant and don't leave one at a state of peace.

Putting differences aside, this week (Jan 18-25) is focused on prayer for Christian Unity.

Let us all pray "that they may all be one" (John 17:21)


It is sad that Christianity is so divided and full of dissension. Catholic Answers has a great tract on the Church's foundation, called "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

If Starbucks marketed like a church...

Today, I lectored the 12 noon Mass at our church. It's probably the largest of the seven Masses held on a Sunday there. Stepping up to the ambo in front of some 800+ people can be an overwhelming feeling at first, but each experience provides me with a vivid insight of the church and leaves me with much mental imagery.

Having been a lector for 4 months now, I am fortunate enough to see and learn much more about the Mass than one typically gets from sitting in the pews. Instead of "going through the motions", I have to know more and more about the so called "motions". Each time I participate, I delve more deeply into the Mass. Scripture comes alive! The Mass is a beautiful thing and it doesn't need to be marketed. It markets itself! All of the thoughts in my head today reminded me of the following video, which I've been meaning to post. It's sad that non-Catholic churches go to extremes like the parody here to pull people in, trying to "Feed" them. Jesus didn't send direct mailers. Actions spoke louder than words or trumpeting in the streets.

Alas, no Eucharist they have to feed the flock.

As my post about "The Price is Right" discussed, actions should be done without trumpeting, and the church services don't need to be tailored to the people. We have to conform to the church.

Anyways, have you "Planted a Bean Today?"...

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Late Have I Loved You"

On the Feast of Our Baptism of the Lord, the following words really spoke to me from St Augustine, because I came to realize how I was 'Late' in seeing the banquet put before us on the altar. Thanks be to God for showing me the way.

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace." - Confessions of St Augustine

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Many of you have probably had those "Ahah!" moments at Mass. You finally get something. It took a long time for me to fully understand incense. It was one day at Mass where the visualization of many images, descriptions, and bible verses came together at an instant for me to realize the full value of incense. It also took the right lighting in the church, as I saw the incense being offered at the altar, rising up slowly, as the prayers of the priest and faithful were being represented. What imagery!

Rev 8:3-4
"Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel."

As to incense... These guys sure offer it up in Spain!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Two Notable Conversion Stories

I thought I'd post a couple of good video conversion story testimonies of several converts to the Catholic faith. Both endured sacrifices and gave up a lot in their lives for their conversions.

Dr Thomas Howard is famous for his book "Evangelical is Not Enough"

Part one of his story is in the following video, with four parts following.

Alex Jones is a former Pentecostal Pastor who gave up much to become Catholic. His story is in five parts on youtube. After his conversion in 2000, he wrote a book called "No Price too High" which documents his conversion and wife's initial struggle with it. When he converted, 50 members of his congregation followed him! It all started by a study of the early church 2000 years ago.


Come on down! It's the Price is Right!

The Price is Right? At a church? Well, the first video below exposes (in my opinion) a widespread issue in Christianity. Let me first say that I do wholeheartedly admire their zeal for Christ and what they have done for the member, but a lot of this seems rather prideful in the fact of showcasing it to the congregation.

Let me clarify my point further before you write angrily at me for apparently putting down Christians who are placing an honest effort to help someone out in need.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:1-4 - "(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

Part of the problem is that a lot of Christian churches are in competition. I mean, how else does the pastor get his salary? From the offering. Simply put, no people in the pews, no pay.  They have to entertain and draw in people, and keep them. A second video below illustrates the point of the "seeker" church movement. Does it seem like things like this are a lure to get people to come to the church? See, we give away stuff, we help people, come! Free coffee. We do great things! Look at us! Attention! We sent out 50,000 door hangers to the unchurched,etc. Join the revolutionary church reaching to the unchurched! Well, Jesus is the same yesterday and today (Heb 13:8), and his church doesn't need to modernize. In fact, Jesus gave us a model for worship at church services, the Eucharist.  He didn't show case what he did at the feeding of the 5000. He just did it.

The next video illustrates further...

The question is, are they truly being fed? Of course,  outside of the church that Jesus founded, they don't have the Eucharist. Take an hour out of your day and listen to the following audio of Jeff Cavin's faith testimony. It is powerful.

This is one of the beautiful things I admire about the Catholic faith. It operates day-in-day out, doing uncountable charitable works in the world, not blaring a trumpet about what it does. It just does it for the glory of God, and not man. It's also universal and has no real competition between parishes. (shouldn't).  The bottom line is let the actions speak for themselves. I see no need to tell the whole church you gave away a car to someone. Jesus didn't advertise what he was doing. In fact, he just did it and people followed.