Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's First Reading

Here is the first reading for today. I read through it and found at least in my eyes how many in the world look at Jesus even today.
I guess through all these years not much has changed if anything the veiws are far more dangerous than before.
Please read through and reflect on the words hopefully you will see them the way I did.
Take Care!

Wis 2:1a, 12-22
The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright:"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;he sets himself against our doings,Reproaches us for transgressions of the lawand charges us with violations of our training.He professes to have knowledge of Godand styles himself a child of the LORD.To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,Because his life is not like that of others,and different are his ways.He judges us debased;he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.He calls blest the destiny of the justand boasts that God is his Father.Let us see whether his words be true;let us find out what will happen to him.For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend himand deliver him from the hand of his foes.With revilement and torture let us put him to the testthat we may have proof of his gentlenessand try his patience.Let us condemn him to a shameful death;for according to his own words, God will take care of him."These were their thoughts, but they erred;for their wickedness blinded them,and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;neither did they count on a recompense of holinessnor discern the innocent souls' reward.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Parish Politics

So I went to mass Sunday morning as always looking forward to mass. I attend a small Hungarian parish close to my home and help out a little and my wife also reads once a month.
I always knew there was some politics and last year when Father B invited me in to run the power point during mass he eluded to what he was going through.
We yesterday at the end of mass he dropped what I at least was a bombshell. He had a letter read by the bishop of our diocese which of course was in English. After the letter pertaining to Lent and fasting on Friday and sacrifice Father B mentioned that next time someone does not understand what he is doing at mass to talk to him prior to lodging complaints with the Bishop who apparently found the complaint annoying.
Now I am not professing to be any form of theologian nor do I completely know what and how a mass should be run but I certainly enjoy what Father B does and how he does it. He does to keep the traditions of Hungary alive in the form of doing what is still done in the Hungarian church even today. I know he does well at this as I attended mass last summer in 2 different churches but there was no real difference between the 2 churches.
As mentioned Father B eluded to em the complications of some not all people at the parish, The ones who apparently want to dictate how the mass should be done what is to be in the mass what hymns and according to Father B even down to what and how the readings are to be done.
Truly unbelievable! I told Father B last year that there is no difference really in many parishes as the one I had left was the same way. I told Father B to go with his heart and to continue not to take any BS from these handful of "Catholics". Of course he knows that this is one of the reasons he is not liked by some at the parish because he won't give in when it comes to the church and the mass.
I will try to dig deeper next week as I am interested in what the complaint is about but certainly any complaint against father B is unwarranted and unjustified. At the end of the day Father B is a simple devoted man of god. Take care!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pope Under Attack!

Well it seems the Holy Father Benedict XVI is under attach for comments made about condoms. As the accompanying news article says a lot of it is from with in the church.
The whole article shows a distinct problem in today's society and world. The media does everything to make more out of a story by translating to their own view to garner ratings, magazine sales etc. Hail to the mighty dollar.
People research this and read it honestly and read the words our Holy Father said. They make common sense no under lying disdain to anything just simple logic! But hey what is news day with out causing a Catholic Church controversy!
Following article is from Catholic Culture; one of the few supporting the Holy Father

The lords of the mass media are spouting their outrage at the Pope--again.

This time the Pontiff's alleged offense is his failure to believe that condoms provide the world's best hope against the AIDS epidemic. Pope Benedict dared to voice a few simple truths--that chastity is foolproof, and that people can control their own sexual behavior--and the guardians of secular wisdom are rending their garments and howling their outrage.

The Pope is simply wrong about the facts, dozens of headlines proclaim. The stories don't support those headlines, because of course the Pope is right about the facts. But the popular media no longer engage the argument. The object here is to shout down an opponent of conventional liberal ideology.

Respectable journalists do not intentionally publish inaccurate reports. So once editors proclaim that the Pope is wrong about the facts, it is only a short step to the decision that the Pope's arguments should not be given any publicity. Thus the voice of the Church would be stilled.

Already the public pressure is mounting against the Pope-- and by extension, against anyone else who proclaims the truth as the Church has always known it. A former prime minister of France announces that the Successor to Peter has "become a problem." AIDS activists label the Pontiff as an enemy of their cause, an enemy of the people. That sort of rhetoric suggests more than disagreement; it suggests a campaign to punish someone for his public statements.

The chorus of outrage against the Pope has been swelling in recent weeks, and it's difficult to avoid the sense that this is becoming an orchestrated campaign. Arrogant editorial writers are writing about the Pope's "mistakes" in reaching out to traditionalists, naming a conservative Austrian priest to become a bishop, and now discouraging reliance on condoms to fight AIDS. A large and growing group of journalists seems determined to spread the word that the Pope is making grievous blunders, and to suppress any evidence to the contrary.

To make matters worse, some of the Pope's angriest critics claim to be Catholics, and draw their support from Catholic colleges and universities and/or Catholic religious orders. Waving the banners of their Church affiliations, they are working to still the voice of traditional Catholicism.

If ever there was a time to speak out in defense of the Church, and to support those who give voice to Catholic teaching, this is that time. If there was ever a time to pray for the Holy Father, this is it.

Please look around and read the articles on this and if you are a true devoted catholic or even non catholic read with an open mind and apply the logic involved. Any less from you makes you as big a fool as many of those intelligent leaders and reporters and those who are appalled by the comments of the Holy Father.

Take Care!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

That was strange!

So the weekend has come and gone, uneventful as most weekends are. Saturday go to gym workout, run down to mall with daughter shop a bit then run out with my wife for some shopping at Costco.
Sunday on to mass where I do a bit of assistance as I run the big screen with the parts of mass that Father B wants up. For example the hymns, Lord's prayer, The Creed etc. also the weekly announcements. Generally it is a crap shoot as the people at the parish who put this together have a different sense of what should be in the mass so some Sundays we with Father B get the occasional surprise. Generally I now take a quick scroll through to make sure everything is up to snuff.
Father B did deliver a great homily about where and what the church is and really boiled down to the church being a building no different from the one next door or the one 3 blocks over. Basically just an address. It is the Eucharist the body of Christ that makes the church/building holy and he went on to explain that we could hold mass in a gym or a store and it would be holy because of the Eucharist. Also the other key is that we have the faith and that this faith carries with us where ever we go. He talked about how due to lack of faith in today's world how unholy and non religious the world has become. Really something to ponder.
Father B also touched on how people come to church. By this he meant some come because they want to be spiritually strong and be close to God. Others come because they are unsure others come just for the sake of being seen and using the opportunity to be big shots and falsely portray themselves as believers. Then there are the ones who show up at the Easter or Christmas mass and think they are in tune with the church and its teachings. He mentioned how our strength should be through the church but it is not.
After mass I went over to thank Father B for the mass and just quickly touch on how well the screening of items for the mass went and as always he was quite happy to spend time and chat with me when he dropped a bombshell on me. He asked me if I ever considered becoming a deacon. Well I almost feinted. Me a deacon? Father B says he thinks I would make a good one, me I wonder if he had too much wine at Communion. Right now all I now is I have an extremely long way to go before even seriously considering such as thing. I have a lot of years to catch up on.
I think for now I will be happy with helping out at my parish with what ever I can and see if I can get there as I said there are many years for me to catch up on with the church and in this journey which is only slightly more than 2 years old there is still a lot to learn about the church and myself.
In closing it was a strange event to me with Father B coming to me about becoming a Deacon, even stranger my wife said she thinks Father B has a good line of thinking and is looking for help at the parish but in a different light for me because he sees that I do not get involved in the politics and anything I do at the church is straight from the heart and out of love for the church and for God. Me a deacon? Hmmmm?
Take Care!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Rosary

The Rosary was something foreign to me until recently. I will have to one day write about what lead me back to my faith. Of course in all honesty I am at times in awe of our faith other times confused by it and always trying to find my place in it. (If anyone can help me understand more please let me know)
As mentioned it was until recently that the Rosary was a totally foreign concept but lately I have started to pray the Rosary and have found the more I do it the more I seem to become comfortable with it and the more I start to understand parts of it and the more I am in awe of the power of it.
Really it is quite powerful and it is very full filling and at the same time humbling. During this time of Lent we have to get closer to our lord and what better way than with prayer and one of those I am using is the Rosary. I also prayer daily and of course read the Daily Readings.
I usually prayer the Rosary and still being a newbie to the Rosary I do admit I need help and truthfully at my age the memory is not quite the same. I go to this site which I have found quite helpful for praying the Rosary and it has a simple format for praying along,
The Catholic Calendar Page
I also can get the daily readings from here. I on top of that also read the daily readings in Hungarian. This helps me a lot in understanding the language more and also gives me more understanding into the Hungarian Catholic Church.
We are in Lent so here is an excerpt to remember for Fridays,
Fasting is restricting eating to one full meal and two lighter meals in the course of a single day, and prohibits eating between meals. Adults who have not yet reached their sixtieth year are bound by the Canon Law to fast. Pregnant women and people who are sick are not obligated to fast.
Abstinence is refraining from eating meat. People who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the Canon Law to abstain.
Anyone who feels that they cannot fulfill the law of abstinence or the law of fasting should consult a parish priest or confessor.
Considering what Jesus sacrificed for us fasting one day a week is nothing in comparison.
Until next time God Bless and take care!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interesting Story

Quite an amazing article from Catholic News Agency about the decline of Christianity in the US. I wonder what these will mean down the road and also wonder what is the root cause of this drop off?

.- A new study on American religion finds that Catholicism is facing a “stunning” decline in the northeast United States as the population center of U.S. Catholics shifts towards the southwest. Secularism continues to grow in all regions, while mainline Protestant denominations face the most significant population decline.

The study, titled the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), was conducted by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College.

According to the ARIS report, Catholic numbers and percentages rose in many states in the South and West mainly due to immigration.

“Catholics increased their share in California and Texas to about one-third of the adult population and in Florida to over one-fourth. In terms of numbers they gained about 8 million adherents in these three states in the past two decades,” the report says.

In the Northeast, Catholic adherents fell from 46 percent to 36 percent of the adult population.

“New England had a net loss of one million Catholics. Big losses in both the number of Catholic adherents and their proportion occurred also in Massachusetts, and in Rhode Island, the nation’s most heavily Catholic state where the proportion of Catholics dropped from 62 percent to 46 percent. New York state lost 800,000 Catholics and they dropped from 44% to 37% of the adult population.”

“The decline of Catholicism in the Northeast is nothing short of stunning,” said Barry Kosmin, a principal investigator for ARIS.

The ARIS study estimates that self-identified Catholics in 2008 numbered about 57.2 million, 25.1 percent of the population. This contrasts to about 50.9 million who made up 24.5 percent of the population in 2001, and 46 million who made up 26.2 percent of the population in 1990.

The percentage of Christians in the U.S. declined from 86.2 percent in the 1990s to 76 percent. ARIS attributes 90 percent of the decline to the non-Catholic segment of the Christian population. The mainline Protestant segment, which includes Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and the United Church of Christ, particularly declined. They constitute just 12.9 percent of the population, down from 18.7 percent in 1990 and 17.2 percent in 2001.

Baptists, the largest non-Catholic Christian tradition in the U.S., grew by two million but declined as a percentage of the population.

Among self-described Christians, the number of persons who identified only as “Christian,” “Evangelical/Born Again” or “non-denominational Christian” grew the most. In 1990 they numbered less than 200,000 people, five percent of the U.S. population in 1990, to over 8 million, 11.8 percent of the U.S. population, in 2008.

Mark Silk, director of the Public Values Program, in a statement said the split between mainline and evangelical Christians is “collapsing.”

“A generic form of evangelicalism is emerging as the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in the United States,” he said.

The percentage of Americans claiming no religion jumped from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 14.2 percent in 2001. Their numbers have increased to 15 percent, with Northern New England now the least religious section of the country.

“The ‘Nones’ are the only group to have grown in every state of the Union,” said study investigator Ariela Keysar.

The study reports that only 69.5 percent of Americans say there is “definitely a personal God.” About 12.1 percent professed belief in a “higher power” but not a personal God. Only 2.3 percent of respondents denied the existence of God, while about ten percent professed uncertainty or said there was no way to know if God exists.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rolling Along

So here we are rolling along in Lent. Reading various blogs it is nice to see that many of us still do not understand the true meaning of Lent. Do we give something up, how and when do we fast? Things like this and we are looking for answers.
From what we have been directed at Church by Father B Lent is a time to reflect and look inward at our relationship with God, Jesus and to see how we can strengthen this relationship. It is not just or only about giving up watching your favorite soap opera or not eating at the local burger joint. Yes we are to fast on Fridays and there are other items in there but the main thing is to strengthen ourselves with God.
I guess that is a reason for many of the Lenten retreats taking place at all parishes. We also had one but I did not attend for various reasons and truthfully not many of them good. I currently due to the medical community have lost my licence to medical suspension and due to liability issues and the options presented to me medically I will probably never drive again, but I could have arranged transport.
Also I attend a Hungarian parish. Even though born here in Canada I can speak fluent Hungarian and can for the most part understand it well. It has been through going to a Hungarian parish that I have learned to read Hungarian slowly. The point I am embarrassed that I might not comprehend all of the topics discussed. In retrospect another cop out. Certainly at the end of the day I could have arranged to go and gotten through this retreat with no problem. I am poorer for not going. I will however not say next year for sure because hollow promises are not wise to make either. I will instead vow to strengthen my Hungarian and my understanding of the church so that this is not an option to attend a Lenten retreat but a part of my faith.
Until next time take care!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Giving it up for Lent!

Interesting stroy I found at the Catholic News Agency;

.- After beginning in three Catholic dioceses of Italy, a campaign to give up text messages, social networking sites and computer games has spread to other parts in Italy.

The dioceses of Modena, Bari and Pesaro began the “stop texting for Lent” campaign, the Times of London reports. The effort echoes previous comments by Pope Benedict XVI on the isolating effects of technology.

In a January message for the 43rd World Day of Social Communications, the Pope praised young people’s ability to link new media with their desire to be connected to others. He said they turn to this technology “as means of communicating with existing friends, of meeting new friends, of forming communities and networks, of seeking information and news, and of sharing their ideas and opinions.”

By seeking out others, he added, “we are fulfilling our deepest need and becoming more fully human. Loving is, in fact, what we are designed for by our Creator.”

However, he warned against an “obsessive” desire for “virtual connectedness” which may isolate individuals from real social interaction and disrupt “patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.”

The disruptive pervasiveness of new communications has even reached into the Vatican. The London Times reports that President Sarkozy of France was criticized for checking his mobile phone for text messages during a personal audience with Pope Benedict.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Here I am!

So I have decided to try again. I am here, I am back and hopefully I can do this blogging stuff much better.
I had a previous blog but due to a very heavy workload I put on myself last year I never really had a chance to keep up and it fell by the wayside. I was a bit upset that I could not write on a regular basis but it was my own fault.
This year I have vowed to ease my tensions and stress by reducing my work volume and by not stressing about work. After all we or at least I believe that we have to enjoy life as much as possible while here. I am certain my boss does not feel that way but what can I do. I do have some on going health issues and had some very serious health issues a few years back and that was my wake up call and last year I started to forget about it.
My health issues also led me back to the church and the one struggle that I have on a daily basis. That is finding peace with God and also to learn about the church and to learn about myself. Sometimes I think I may not be cerebral enough to understand my life and who I am in the eyes of the lord and other times I think it is so simple that the simplicity involved allows the answers to allude me.
After my health issues started and I was released from the hospital I decided I had to start getting back to my roots and the church. I was the typical catholic who would occasionally go to the Christmas and maybe Easter mass. I was like the others who did the same and considered myself to be the good catholic, the good catholic dad, husband. It turned out my example sucked and now my kids and I are paying for it.
I started after my release from hospital attending mass on a regular basis and was amazed at what was going on. Basically a rock band playing music, people showing up at all times through mass, cell phones going off during mass, some kids text messaging their friends during mass, and shorts t-shirts flip flops for dress. Certainly not what I remembered as a youngster nor the way I was brought up. I was always told to dress properly and to be quiet and behave in the house of God.
Needless to say this form of religion I had seen irritated me but I still went because at the end of it all is about my relationship with God that matter and I had to overcome these what I call make believe catholics.
I finally could not take it anymore and left for a different parish which was much more of what I remembered and their was respect for the lord there and the mass was done different there was a proper choir and an organ not drums, guitars and tambourines. Then my mother passed away and due to my Hungarian background and tradition one of her friends had a mass in her memory and I along with my wife have been attending the Hungarian church ever since. Mass is completely different and more traditional and the people are very respectful of going to church and have the attitude in them that I grew up with in regards to the church and mass.
So that is where I stand as of now. As you can see some days meaningless gibberish might be written other times you might see what I think are pertinent news articles from the Catholic world or the perspective of the Catholic world will be shown. I hope you enjoy and comment on my journey and blog and maybe answers for me when I question things that are occurring in my life and hopefully I can form some friendships also.
Until next time take care!