Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The repudiatin' blues.

In light of how President Obama has overturned the Bush Administration's Mexico City policy, Action Dominican® Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP has asked us to publicly repudiate this action, lest you be implicated with abortion:
If you oppose "abortion rights," then repudiating this action publicly ensures that you are not materially cooperative in this man's mortal sin. If you voted for him knowing that he is an abortion supporter, then now's your chance to repent.
Do it!

AMDG,

-J.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Prayer requests, now with an added dose of urgency!

I'm at it again. But now it's gotten REALLY serious.

1- I remain inexpressively grateful for all the prayers and Masses on my behalf. You are all in my prayers.

2- As you may remember, the current economic mess pretty much has me straight in the crosshairs. Ground zero, if you will.

(My prayer life, though, is a LOT stronger, and I pray that my heart will be as filled and eager to come to God in praise and thanksgiving as it is to come filled with petition and supplication.)

Since, unfortunately, my business has developed, over the last few years, a greater and greater exposure to commercial real estate in southwest Florida things are looking pretty grim.

We have three major projects out there and if only ONE of those were to come through we should be able to get through this year. I'm not looking for untold wealth, I just want to be able to meet my obligations to my clients and pay my bills and feed my family, pay for all the schooling and care my kids need (especially my youngest with autism) and take care of my dad with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Last time I said things were not yet dire, but it was getting closer.

Well. It got closer a WHOLE LOT faster than anticipated. The client on whom we counted to for the bulk of our income "until things straightened out" just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Effectively, our cash flow has stopped and will not resume for an expected 3 months.

There are, praise God, some opportunities for us to get out from the very severe financial stress we are facing. There is a glimmer of hope and we cling prayerfully to that hope.

3- Therefore I am asking, as humbly as I can, for your prayers that we may be delivered from the severe financial stress under which we find ourselves. If you can manage to get "scrunchy-faced" that would be appreciated, and some pious perspiration might not be out of place. If any of the priests reading this would say a Mass (yet again) for these intentions, that -- as the highest form of prayer we have -- would be even better.

4- I am confidently and prayerfully placing these matters in the hands of Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, His Immaculate Mother, Mary. Pray I may receive His guidance on how to proceed and His providence in doing so.

5- I am not someone given to stress easily, or worry, or fear. But this is different. As a husband and father, being unable to provide for my family is a searing emotional and spiritual trial.

I will never -- at least not this side of Heaven -- be able to adequately express my gratitude to all of you for what you have done and are doing on my/our behalf. Please know said gratitude, however imperfectly expressed, is thorough and complete.

Confidently in Christ, through Mary,

-J.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

St. Philomena

I wasn't really up to speed with St. Philomena. I was always on the "is-she-or-isn't-she" rollercoaster.

In the last couple of days, I have had reason to believe "she is" and therefore, she deserves to have "greater airplay." To start, here is something on her.

Update! Fr. Martin Fox shares his impressions on the March For Life.

The following prayer from Priests for Life is prayed because the U.S. Catholic Bishops set aside January 22, as a special day of prayer and penance for the holocaust.

God and Father of Life,
You have created every human person,
and have opened the way for each to have eternal life.

We live in the shadow of death.
Tens of millions of your children have been killed
thanks to the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Father, have mercy on us.
Heal our land
and accept our offering of prayer and penance.
In Your love for us,
turn back the scourge of abortion.

May each of us exult in hearts full of hope,
and hands full of mercy,
and work together to build a culture of life.

We pray through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Our Lady of Sorrows, ora pro nobis.

AMDG,

-J.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Regularly scheduled prayer request, Pt. 2

Yes, I still realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly need prayers for this.

There are some reasons to be hopeful, but also some reasons to be very, very concerned.

Please.

AMDG,

-J.

P.S. You are all in my prayers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Travelin', Jesuit-style

Planning your summer vacation already?

Consider this.

AMDG,

-J.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Please lend 'em a hand.

This is from Wendy Cukierski (from the VERY AWESOME Cukierski Family Apostolate). They have been great to me, and more importantly personally kind and prayerful. Please read, and give them some help.
For those of you who are still employed, I beg of you, if you can help and you wish to get the most Spiritual Food for your dollar, kindly consider helping us clear up 2008 apostolate bills. http://www.cukierski.net/donations.shtml
(UPDATE: I know that folks probably think because we get so many visits, that we get lots of donations. The fact of the matter is that we get very, very, very few. In fact, we are lucky to get a couple a month! We have been supporting the bulk of the apostolate and the pro-life and evangelizing programs by ourselves for all these years. Like Mother Teresa said, to keep the lamp burning..you have to put oil in it. Our apostolate lamps are out of fuel.)
I would like to get this cleared up so we can be here for folks in 2009. To get a breakdown of the costs, go here: http://www.cukierski.net/donations.shtml
Even though we are concerned about making it, we are stepping out in faith and still expanding the website with evangelization and educational video's and tools (wander around and see the changes). We are still mailing out the free sacramentals and running all the free programs at our expense (but we desperately need outside help!).
(UPDATE: I do not want 2009 to be the year that the apostolate ceased to exist! So many times over the past 13 years, I thought "this is it"..."we're going under"...and miraculously, some folks would come through. Hoping and praying for another "save"!)
Please, help us to put "earthly concerns" aside so that we can all get as excited as my 2 year old who exclaimed...."Baby Jesus is coming!"
(UPDATE: I will be sending the biggest helper a special gift. I have a St. Anthony of Padua relic that is very old and very cherished. I also have some other very special Catholic antique items for the biggest helpers. I'm willing to part with these for some help to keep the apostolate going. We simply can't do the bulk of it on our own anymore. I ask not for myself but for THOSE who NEED the apostolate's help!)
SO THERE IT IS...our update :). I'm still HOPEFUL! Not sure if that is my faith talking or perhaps my stupidity :-). LOL
My love and prayers to all of you...
Wendy C. and our 12 (soon to be 13) blessings from God
The Cukierski Family Apostolate
(PS...To raise funds, we are offering "Sponsored Pages". We are starting with one of our more popular pages-The St. Therese page: http://www.cukierski.net/sainttherese.shtml It contains everything St. Therese, including a video that is watched often!

There will be One MAIN sponsor who will remain on the top of the page forever. No new fees. $1,500 per page. Will be allowed up to 25 words.

The first person to email us and agree to sponsoring will lock in.
Then there are sub-sponsors which are located throughout the page.
They are allowed up to 7 - 10 words.
Ex: Mr. & Mrs. John Doe in Memory of Jeffrey Doe
Ex: Mr. & Mrs. John Smith in Thanksgiving for favors granted.
Ex: Mr. & Mrs. John Jane in Memory of all the unborn.
These are a $99 one time fee. Will be limited to 15 sub sponsors. Once again, the first 15 people to email us will get locked in.
God bless you and kindly PRAY for our fundraising efforts! :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Regularly scheduled prayer request

(Yes, this. Still.)

1- I am inexpressively grateful for all the prayers and Masses on my behalf. You are all in my prayers.

2- As you may know, the current economic mess pretty much has me straight in the crosshairs. I'm at Ground Zero, if you will.

(The upside is that my prayer life is a LOT stronger, and I pray that my heart will be as filled and eager to come to God in praise and thanksgiving as it is to come to Him filled with petition and supplication.)

Unfortunately my business has developed, over the last few years, a greater and greater exposure to commercial real estate in southwest Florida. We have three major projects out there and if only one (JUST ONE!) of those were to come through we should be able to get through this year. I'm not looking for untold wealth, I just want to be able to meet my obligations and pay my bills and feed my family, pay for all the schooling and care my kids need (especially my youngest with autism) and take care of my dad with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Things are not dire, yet. But it's getting closer.

There are, praise God, some opportunities for us to get out from the very severe financial stress we are facing. Tomorrow I have an appointment that, if it all goes as hoped, would go a long way to allowing us to weather the next year or two. Not wallowing in luxury, of course, but we would be able to meet all our obligations and make everyone whole.

3- So.

I am asking, as humbly as I can, for your prayers that we may be delivered from the severe financial stress under which we find ourselves. If you can manage to get "scrunchy-faced" that would be appreciated, and some pious perspiration might not be out of place. If any of the priests on this list would say a Mass for these intentions, that -- as the highest form of prayer we have -- would be even better.

4- I am confidently placing these matters in the hands of Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, His mother, Mary. Pray I may receive His guidance on how to proceed and His providence in doing so.

I will never -- at least not this side of Heaven -- be able to adequately express my gratitude to all of you for what you have done and are doing on my/our behalf. Please know said gratitude, however imperfectly expressed, is thorough and complete. Your prayerful kindness will not go unremembered.

Confidently in Christ, through Mary,

-J.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sad news (again!)

Fr. Neuhaus died about an hour ago.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei . Requiescat in pace. Amen.

AMDG,

-J.

Warning! Generalization follows!

Is it just me or are the "young fogey" sort of priest actually funnier and wittier than their more...er...progressive (ahem) brethren?

Discuss.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Uh oh.

This from Fr. Brian Van Hove, SJ's blog:

"Father George Rutler just administered the last rites of the Church to Father Richard John Neuhaus. All are asked to pray for a holy death for Father Neuhaus."

St. Joseph, patron of a happy death, intercede for Fr. Neuhaus, that his death, seemingly imminent, be a happy one, and his soul be met in a loving embrace by Our Lord.

AMDG,

-J.

At least this is from a new source.

Updatedness

Please.

I'm asking nicely.

As you may know, there are some business things (God knows what they are, I'd rather not get into them here) I have going on. Some are just stalled, and some "ain't lookin' too pretty." Since this post could devolve into a mush of cryptic business-speak I'll cut to the chase:

Basically, I SERIOUSLY need your prayers. I mean really, really need the prayers.

(The hopes I had for this were seriously -- probably fatally -- dashed, which didn't help.)

So, while I work on getting Rosary burns and calluses on my knees, I ask you with every last shred of humility* I have, to please pray for these intentions. Whereas two years ago my hopes would have been for serious financial success, today I'd be thrilled with getting out with only a "severe beating."

Please keep me and my family in your prayers.

AMDG,

-J.

* Humility, er, does not come naturally to me. I expect this is part of what God's doing here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This t-shirt....

...says it all.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Whoa.

Just wrapped up a phone call which brought potentially SPECTACULAR (and very high in relief and consolation, too) business news.

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please...keep me (and this project--God knows which one it is) in your prayers.

I promise to return the favor.

AMDG,

-J.

Like Bernie Madoff being made Pope

An excerpt of something over at H&PR, by Fr. Joseph Sirba:

(I could reprint the whole thing in its entirety, because it is ALL brilliant and quite worthy of your attention. But for now this will have to do. As usual, all emphases are mine.)
2) In point of fact, massive Catholic losses have been hidden by the large number of Catholic immigrants coming to the United States in recent years. Of the present 23.9 percent of adults who call themselves Catholic, about 77 percent of that number (or 41,406,750) were born in the United States whereas about 23 percent of that number (or 12,368,250) are immigrants, mostly Hispanic. Here it should be noted that if Catholic immigrants were not replacing native-born Catholics who are leaving the faith, the percentage of the population that identifies itself as Catholic would be lower than it is now, only about 18.4 percent of the population—or less than one in five—rather than the almost one in four Americans who identify themselves as Catholics today. Of further interest here is that among those Catholics seventy and older, 85 percent are white, 12 percent are Latino, 2 percent are “Other/Mixed” and 1 percent are black. However, among those eighteen to twenty-nine, 47 percent are white, 45 percent are Latino, 5 percent are “Other/Mixed” and 3 percent are black, which makes white Catholics a minority (less than 50 percent) among the youngest age group in the survey.

3) Massive losses among native-born Catholics have not only been significant but staggering, so much so that those who conducted the survey wrote in their analysis, “Catholicism has lost more people to other religions or to no religion at all than any other single religious group.” It should be noted that this statement is true both in terms of absolute numbers as well as in terms of percentage of the U.S. population. However, it is not true when figured as a percentage of the Catholic population alone. Figured that way, Catholic losses as a percentage of the Catholic population were 24 percent, behind only Methodists, whose losses stood at 25 percent. By way of comparison, Presbyterian losses were at 21 percent, Baptists were 18 percent, and Lutherans and Episcopalians were each 16 percent. On the other hand, nondenominational Protestants grew a whopping 200 percent, the percentage of unaffiliated grew 120 percent and Pentecostals grew 12 percent.

4) 10.1 percent of the adult population in the United States now consists of people who have left the Catholic Church for another religion or for no religion. To put it another way, one out of every ten people in the United States (or 22,725,000) is an ex-Catholic. It should be noted here that these are not non-practicing Catholics who, when asked about their religion, would identify themselves as Catholic. Rather, these are individuals who were baptized and raised Catholic but who no longer identify themselves as Catholic.

What is extra interesting is where all these +/- 23 million Catholics went. Father wants us to notice teh two largest numbers:

Evangelical Protestant: 6,509,250

*Unaffiliated: 9,780,750

You'll kindly note that Evangelical Protestantism isn't known, exactly, for it's...er...progressivism or fondness for grey areas. In fact, it's most known (and derided, I think) for its certainty in teaching what it teaches. So it's curious, that. (Perhaps the notion put forward by our more, um, Spirit-of-Vatican-2 brethren that people leave due to the Church's unyielding nature on ____ may have some flaws therein.)

But what about the remaining 53-odd million Catholics? (This is where the lovely and gracious Mary Jo gets up and cheers)
Furthermore, of those 53,775,000 American Catholics who remain in the fight, except for the elderly, most are so poorly catechized that they continue to be highly vulnerable to invitations from evangelical congregations or to the secularizing influences in our society.
(Again, I can't emphasize enough how worthwhile the entire article is.)

What's it all mean?
At this point, allow me to repeat that this survey merely quantifies what pastors across the country have been aware of for many years now, namely, that large numbers of individuals who were baptized Catholic have left the Catholic Church. It also reveals that if we exclude the Catholic immigrant population, we are doing far worse at retaining members than even the weakest of the mainline Protestant denominations.
And here are the bits that will have the lovely and gracious Karen hopping up and down and hollering "YES! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at full lung capacity:
In a word, our problem has been dissent tolerated by weak leaders, which in turn has led to confusion as to what we as Catholics believe and how we should live.
and
[...]our bishops need to do several things. First, make sure that everyone is presenting a clear message. All remaining dissenters must be expunged from their positions within diocesan offices, major parishes and influential positions in the Church. This is especially crucial in Catholic colleges and universities, which form the weakest link in the nascent renewal we are experiencing. For the most part, they are still seriously undermining the faith of our young people
and especially
It’s now far beyond the time for half measures. We must act now to clean up the messes that remain and to develop reasonable, workable plans to move forward. Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matt. 12:30). Tolerating dissent has led us to where we are today. It’s time for some intolerance.
AMDG,

-J.

* Defined as "I definitely believe in God, but that's as far as I got."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009

A happy and blessed New Year to all of you.

Oh, and get yourself some plenary indulgence goodness*. Offer expires today! :-)

Here are the details:

On January 1, the faithful can gain a Plenary Indulgence by public recitation or singing of the Veni Creator:

And in our souls take up Thy rest,
Come with Thy grace and Heavenly aid,
And fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Come, O Creator Spirit blest,

Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O fount of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known,
The finger of God’s hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.

Kindle our senses from above,
And make our hearts o’erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high,
The weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Thy true peace instead;
So shall we not, with Thee for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know,
And Thee through endless times confessed
Of both the Eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

According to Fr. Z -- under whose biretta groweth no moss -- you must do this in a state of grace, make a Sacramental Confession within 20 days of the above, pray for the Pope’s intentions and have no attachment to sin, even venial sin. It is sufficient to make a sincere act of will to love God and despise all sin. The Pope’s intentions for January 2009 (for today and the Veni Creator) are:
General: That the family may become more and more a place of training and transmission of the faith.
Mission: That the different Christian confessions, aware of the need for a new evangelization in this period of profound transformations, may be committed to announcing the Good News and moving towards the full unity of all Christians in order to offer a more credible testimony of the Gospel.
AMDG,

-J.

* Make sure you read through the combox, for some crucial details.