As Catholics and Americans, My Son and I will be “Standing Up for Religious Freedom” this Friday

Dear Friends:  Over 50 cities will have “Standing Up for Religious Freedom” events this Friday.  This includes San Diego:  The details are:

Time: Noon – 1 pm   Date: Friday – March 23, 2012
Location: San Diego County Administrative Building; 1600 Pacific Highway.

Most Catholics are aware that in January of this year, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate requiring employer health care plans to include free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs — regardless of any moral or religious objections. Catholic universities and hospitals will be forced by the federal government to provides services that directly contradict Church teaching.

This mandate is viewed by the Catholic Church as a direct assault on religious freedom
, and is being countered by vigorously at all levels within the church. In fact, prior to the mandate, my church, Ascension Catholic Parish, had not really tread on any territory that could be considered strongly political. However, this Sunday at Mass, my Pastor specifically asked parishioners to attend this event. In fact, when I asked him to comment, here is what he said:

Father Anthony Saroki: With the HHS mandate, the administration is engaging in soft totalitarianism, playing the role of Caesar who demands what is due to God. It has defined health care and religious practice in such a way as to require churches and individuals to participate in evil actions. Churches, families, and individuals have God-given rights and responsibilities that are prior to the state. People of faith and lovers of freedom need to unite in opposition to this, or much worse governmental tyranny is sure to follow.

This sentiment prevails at all levels with the Catholic Church. As I noted in a post last month, Bishops across the country have recently issued strong statements of protest. This includes the Bishop Robert Brom of the San Diego Diocese, whose letter is below.

My Tea Party group, SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition, has just issued a press release for this event.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress has her compendium of related news and views.

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SOCAL TAX REVOLT COALITION JOINING MANY SAN DIEGO CITIZEN AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN “STAND UP FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” EVENT

San Diego, CA – So Cal Tax Revolt Coalition (SCTRC) is the original home and organizers of San Diego tea party events and activism, including the first local tea party on February 27th, 2009, annual Tax Day Tea Parties, and over 40 rallies, protests, petition drives, film screenings, and educational seminars. Representatives of our group will be hosting a booth at the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” event, which is one of many nationwide that will be held at the same time and date. The rallies are scheduled to demonstrate the enormous concerns about the detrimental impact of the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing religiously affiliated institutions to support medical practices contrary to faith practices. The San Diego rally, one of over 50 “Stand Up” functions, will be held:

SCTRC will be on-hand to distribute information packet on the specific details of the Affordable Care Act legislation, better known to most Americans as “Obamacare”. SCTRC’s main focus will be informing participants of the enormous costs associated with the program’s implementation, most of which has been put-off until well after the Nov. 6th election. Additionally, we will offer many other details about the Act, to show that the HHS mandate is only one of the many unconstitutional aspects of the Obamacare.

Dawn Wildman, SCTRC Media Director states: “We consider ourselves to be stewards of the US Constitution and that means especially those rights that the Founders deemed most important in the First Amendment, including the freedom of religion and speech. The continued assault on our rights as American citizens is staggering and we want to support all those standing up for these most important rights. Today we are all Catholics!”

Leslie Eastman, SCTRC Media Director states: “I will be attending the Stand Up for Religious Freedom event not as a “Tea Partier”, but as a Catholic woman. I will also be bringing my 10-year old son, to make a personal statement about how vital excising “Obamacare” from our lives is, as it relates to our treasured American freedom to practice our faith as it is intended to be practiced.

I would like to point out that I attend Mass regularly: At no time prior to the implementation of the HHS mandate has my church offered one statement regarding any political issue. However, this past weekend, our pastor offered details about this rally, and respectfully asked for parishioners to attend. Any politician cynical enough to think that the Catholic Church will roll over and not push back against being forced to comply with the HHS mandate using every means and tactic available to it is being very foolish. The fact that our new bishop, Cirilo Flores, will be a keynote speaker at this event speaks volumes in and of itself. No matter what stance an individual Catholic may take on contraception or abortion, we will stand united in protest of forcing Catholic affiliated institutions to go against its conscience and creed, per our First Amendment protections.”

Sincerely,
The co-founders of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition:

Dawn Wildman
President

Leslie Eastman
Media Director

Posted in Action, Catholic Faith | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Transfiguration of Christ

Dear Friends: I have the privilege of being a sponsor for a friend entering into the Catholic Church this year. Subsequently, my friend and the RCIA leader tasked me to do a small presentation during one of their sessions. I wanted to share that information with you. (Please click HERE if you would like to see the slide-show I developed, in case you ever get asked to do a lesson yourself).

I must admit, I knew little of the Transfiguration prior to my own RCIA class. One of the reasons for this is that I learned most of my Christianity via movies (e.g., King of Kings, Jesus of Nazareth). No film could really capture the visuals associated with this: 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  I did a search on YouTube to see if I had missed a cinematic wonder.  A look at the videos listed revealed these gems:

A classic EWTN production:

A LEGO-based retelling:

A classic church-pageant production:

During my review of the material, several key points struck me:

  • This is the only miracle prior to the Resurrection that actually involved something happening to Christ  himself.
  • The Transfiguration is rich in duality (e.g., references to biblical prophesies in the past AND future; spiritual contemplation and worldly activism; law and prophecy).
  • I was moved by the power of “illumination” as presented in biblical passages and what it represents, as well as the idea that the presence of God is conveyed by a cloud.
  • The event marks a transition point between Jesus’ ministry and his primary mission:  “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall not die.

One of the parallels that I found most fascinating was the fact that after the Transfiguration accounts in Mark, Matthew and Luke, Jesus was promptly asked to heal an ill/possessed boy. After his death and during the Transfiguration process, Christ descended into Hell to heal the souls therein.

Questions about the Descent into Hell and the Resurrection

95. What do we mean when we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Christ descended Into hell?

When we say that Christ descended into hell we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

(a) Heaven had been closed by the sin of Adam. The just among the dead could not enter heaven until Christ satisfied for man’s sin and repaired its injuries. They awaited their redemption in limbo.

96. Why did Christ go to limbo?

Christ went to limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened heaven to mankind.

97. Where was Christ’s body while His soul was in limbo?

While His soul was in limbo, Christ’s body was in the holy sepulchre.

(a) Man dies when soul is separated from body. When Jesus died, His soul and His body were separated from each other but His divine Person remained united both to His body in the tomb and to His separated soul in limbo.

The Feast Day for the Transfiguration is August 6th. The feast commemorates the 1456 victory of the siege of Belgrade. Thanks to the Deadliest Blogger, my go-to guy for military history, I learned some fascinating background. It seems the newly-crowned Turkish Sultan Mehmet II thought it would be a wonderful idea to add Belgrade to the list of conquered European cities after the fall of Constantinople. The recently elected pope at the time, Calixtus, asked Wallachian warlord and bane of the Turks, Janos Hunyadi, to come to the city’s aid. Calixtus also sent a Franciscan monk, John of Capistrano, to arouse the people of Hungary. A great speaker, John succeeded in recruiting thousands of fairly energetic warriors.

Talk about dynamic duo!!! The siege turned out to be a complete loss for the Turks, whose forces lost an estimated 75,000 men out of an original contingent of 100,000. The Sultan was badly wounded and never quite recovered from the spanking. The victory preserved Hungary from further Turkish attention for another 70 years. Sadly, both Hunyadi and John of Capistrano succumbed shortly after this to an enemy far more viscous that Turks: The Black Death.

After the victory, Pope Calixtus tagged the relatively obscure Feast of the Transfiguration to greater prominence. Why?

Meanwhile, Turkish heavy artillery bombardments breached Belgrade’s walls in several places and rubble filled up the trenches. On July 21, Mehmet ordered an all-out assault, which began at sundown and continued all night. The Janissaries led the attack, and the ferocity of their charge carried them within the walls. Hunyadi, however, directed the defense with great resourcefulness. He ordered the defenders to throw tarred wood, sulfur-saturated blankets, sides of bacon and other flammable material into the moat, and then set it afire. Soon a wall of flames separated the Janissaries fighting in the city from their comrades outside the walls. Those caught in the moat were burned to death or seriously injured, and the Janissaries remaining inside the city were massacred by Hunyadi’s troops. On the morning of the 22nd, a lull in the fighting set in, allowing more reinforcements to cross the river and relieve Belgrade’s defenders.

One of the key features of the Transfiguration is Christ’s divinely luminous appearance. Since the Turks experience a whole lot of luminosity that day, it seemed to be a natural fit for a celebration.

Finally, I would like to cite specific links that provided a lot of insight into this topic:

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For Catholic Thoughts on Life and Death Brought About By Tragedy UPDATED

Don’t Stay Fooled

Posted in Catholic Doctrine, Catholic History | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Noah’s Ark and Government Regulations

Dear Friends: As an occupational safety and environmental health professional, I was very tickled when Father Anthony related this humorous story during his homily last week. I wanted to share it with you.


The Lord spoke to Noah and said, “In six months I am going to make it rain until the whole world is covered with water and all the evil things are destroyed. But, I want to save a few good people and two of every living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build an ark.” And, in a flash of lightning, he delivered the specifications for the ark.

“OK,” Noah said, trembling with fear and fumbling with the blueprints, “I’m your man.”

Six months passed, the sky began to cloud up, and the rain began to fall in torrents. The Lord looked down and saw Noah sitting in his yard, weeping, and there was no ark.

“Noah!” shouted the Lord, “Where is My ark?” A lightning bolt crashed into the ground right beside Noah.

“Lord, please forgive me!” begged Noah. “I did my best, but there were some big problems. First, I had to get a building permit for the ark’s construction, but Your plans did not meet their code. So, I had to hire an engineer to redo the plans, only to get into a long argument with him about whether to include a sprinkler system. My neighbors objected, claiming that I was violating zoning ordinances by building the ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning board. Then, I had a big problem getting enough wood for the ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that I needed the wood to save the owls, but they wouldn’t let me catch them, so no owls. Next, I started gathering up the animals but got sued by an animal rights group that objected to me taking along only two of each kind. Just when the suit got dismissed, the EPA notified me that I couldn’t complete the ark without filling out an environmental impact statement on Your proposed flood. They didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the Supreme Being. Then, the Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed flood plan. I sent them a globe! Right now, I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission over how many minorities I’m supposed to hire. The IRS has seized all my assets claiming that I am trying to leave the country, and I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of use tax. Really, I don’t think I can finish the ark in less than five years.”

With that, the sky cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. “You mean you are not going to destroy the world?” he asked hopefully.

“No,” said the Lord. “The government already has.”

Posted in Humor | Tagged , | 2 Comments

HOUSE FOR CHARITY UPDATE: Angels Among Us!

Dear Friends: Sorry for the silence, but changes in my family’s economic situation means I need to spend more time in profit-center activities. However, I have some great updates and links I had to share!!! :)

As you may recall, I have a good friend who has organized a charity benefit — trading items on Craigsist until a home is obtained for Toussaint Academy in San Diego:

Toussaint Academy in San Diego, a division of Father Joe’s, is a long term Homeless Shelter for children ages 14-18 years old. On any given night there are approximately 2500 homeless youths on the streets in San Diego. The Toussaint Academy is able to house 39 children long term. These children graduate high school and most go on to graduate college. For more information, click HERE.

He has an update:


Well, we just made our 8th trade!!!!

Thank you to Alon David of Alon David Photography. Not only did he trade $2400.00 of his photography services but he gifted back the 10 day “Hawaii Trip” to House for Charity making the total value $4400.00. The total package will make a great gift for weddings, anniversaries, graduations, family reunions, holiday events or anyone else you can think of.

See all the trades and propose one of your own at http://www.HouseforCharity.com

Also, follow us at http://www.facebook.com/#!/houseforcharity for more updates.

Alon David — this week’s winner of the Angels Among Us Award! :)

MUT NOTE: I came across an absolutely fabulous Catholic bog — and I wanted to give it a big shout-out and note is now added to the blogroll: Why I am Catholic. Why I am Catholic also has a Facebook page (click HERE). The writing is witty and poignant; I love the personal perspectives. This is a my new must-read site when it comes to faith issues. About them:

“Why I Am Catholic” is a blog on the joy and inexhaustible meaning we find in the Faith; an on-line gathering of Catholics and those in discernment.The writers are Frank Weathers and Allison Salerno. Joan of Arc, the warrior saint, is our patron.

For example, I want to see the movie “Bridesmaids” with my husband on a date night — and here is a review from a savvy Catholic viewpoint: Musings After Seeing the Movie “Bridesmaids”

I also laughed so hard at some of the over-the-top gross-out humor in the movie that I was crying. And some of the events in the movie tugged at my heart. The movie also provoked me to question how best to live in a world that doesn’t always reflect my beliefs.

Finally, a great piece by Rev. Robert A. Sirico via Crisis Magazine (previously Inside Catholic) — The Great Lie: Pope Benedict XVI On Socialism

And, for those of you following current events, the wonderful John Zmirak has a great piece on Osama Bin Laden’s death: DING, DONG THE WAROCK’S DEAD.

My old friends Franz and Rayne were making an early spring jaunt together through south Louisiana when they heard the news, late at night, of the death of Osama bin Laden. They accepted it first in silence, as a kind of anticlimax, but the next day got into a full-on debate about how we, as Catholics, should greet such news — especially in the wake of the spontaneous patriotic street demonstrations that erupted across our country at the news. Here’s a fair transcript of their conversation…

Posted in Angels Among Us, Charity and Benfits | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Happy Easter:

Luke 24:1-12

[1] On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. [2] They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, [3] but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. [4] While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. [5] In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? [6] He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: [7] ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” [8] Then they remembered his words.

[9] When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. [10] It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. [11] But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. [12] Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Please pray for Christians persecuted and killed for their faith.

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HOUSE FOR CHARITY: Benefits San Diego Academy for Homeless Youth

Dear Readers: One of my dearest friends, who is inspirational in terms of the service he gives back to the community, is Craig Yolles. He has been a real estate professional in the San Diego area for many years, and has been kind enough to give me advice as my husband and I have contemplated getting a new home. He is very excited to be able to participate in a new charity benefit. Craig explains:

Approximately 5 years ago a man in Canada traded a red paperclip up to a house. He basically bartered his way up from the paper clip to a pen, the pen to a door knob, the door knob to a stove…..well you get the idea.

With two friends / partners I am doing the exact same thing for a very worthy local charity. Toussaint Academy in San Diego, a division of Father Joe’s, is a long term Homeless Shelter for children ages 14-18 years old. On any given night there are approximately 2500 homeless youths on the streets in San Diego. The Toussaint Academy is able to house 39 children long term. These children graduate high school and most go on to graduate college. For more information, click HERE.

The financial crisis has made it more difficult to keep the doors open……so we are going to assist.

Toussaint Academy San Diego

Craig says that there are the steps to follow should people want to donate:

1. Visit our website at www.HouseforCharity.com Decide if you have something to trade and log it in.

2. “Like” our House for Charity Facebook page to continue following along in our journey.

3. Help us go “Viral” and forward this link to all your friends.

Craig concludes: “Homelessness is a terrible thing that can happen to any one of us. I just want to do my part in helping the community. The Toussaint Academy has a great track record of assisting homeless youth so obviously I want to do everything possible to help them with their mission.”

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Japan’s Heroes, Guardian Angels, and Blessed Virgin of Akita

Dear Friends: Like many Americans, I have been following the news about Japan’s disasters with great concern. I wanted to take today to share some news and information I thought my fellow citizens would like to know.

First, a hero who should inspire us all: Hideaki Akaiwa

Hideaki Akaiwa

After surviving the historic earthquake and 100-foot tsunami, Akaiwa dons SCUBA gear and rescues his wife of 20 years and his mother. The compelling account, written in Bruce-Willis-Die-Hard vernacular ends:

Today this 43 year-old Japanese badass rides out every single day, multiple times a day, riding around on a bicycle with his legs wrapped in plastic to keep himself dry. His only equipment – a pocketknife, a canteen, a flashlight, a change of clothes, and a badass set of aviator sunglasses – packed into a trusty trio of backpacks, he rides out in search of people needing rescue, a modern-day, real-life action hero.

Also, it is my pleasure to be acquainted with the Former Honorary Consul General of Japan, Mr. Michael Inoue. He was one of my wonderful RCIA instructors, and I was privileged to hear his experiences about being Catholic in Japan. Last week, I asked him if he could specifically suggest organizations that were focused on assisting Japan recovery from the earthquake-tsunami-volcano-nuclear disaster suite that is inflicting that country. He indicated the Japanese Red Cross. CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO THE ORGANIZATION’S DONATION PAGE; you can also surf that site for additional details. Yes, Japan is a land of survivors!

Also, directly: http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/

More details can be found from this wonderful video, filmed in San Diego’s own Japanese Friendship Garden: A Musical Note of Hope & Love for the Japanese People -

He also indicated the consulate was also taking donation. So, I will additionally recommend the following contact information:

Consulate General of Japan

5154 Via Playa Los Santos
San Diego, California 92124-1555
Ph./fax: 858-576-6866

Michael also provided some additional material I wanted to share: KPBS recently broadcast the Fukushima Koriyama Junior High Choir’s “Gloria” (only 30 miles from the Fukushima nuclear reactors) via videos forwarded by Urasenke Prof Ayako Katayama provided the YouTube. The school remains closed, but you can hear their award winning choir sing:

Gloria

Kyrie

Benedic Domino, anima mea

Mike also prepared a wonderful presentation which I wanted to make available to everyone. It contains a summary of the most significant news items, information on fake donation sites, and details on the nuclear plant crisis: 3-­‐11 Triple Whammy “Can any Good come out of this tragedy?”

As this is a Catholic faith site, I would be remiss if I didn’t share something about an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary that appeared in Akita, Japan: Our Lady of Akita seen by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa near the this city in 1973. Sister Sasagawa said that the Virgin Mary told her: “Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach.” It seems that all of Japan was able to watch the tears appearing on the Statue of the Virgin on television at this time.

From Marianland: Our Lady of Akita

For details on this Apparition check the EWTN site and click here for Marianland.com’s review: January 4, 1975 – the statue of the Blessed Virgin began to weep. It continued to weep at intervals for the next 6 years and eight months. It wept on 101 occasions. In 1988, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger(the current Pope), gave definitive judgment on the Akita events and deemed the messages as reliable and worthy of belief.

Posted in Angels Among Us | Tagged , , | 2 Comments