Friday, September 11, 2015


As I write these words - the morning temperature is 84*F. – and in a few hours, the temperature will be well into the 90’s. September days like these make it hard to believe that the summer season is almost gone. I would like to see the summer stay a bit longer, but God has other plans.
How wonderful are all the earth’s seasons. They bring us to a deeper awareness – an awareness of nature’s wondrous cycle of life and death. If we are open to it, we will notice the cycles of the seasons mirrored in our own lives, in our disappointments, our struggles, and our triumphs. These cycles also mirror the dying and rising of Our Lord.

Soon we will be entering the colorful and transitional season of autumn - the season of cool early mornings, cloudless skies, and nights that fade like a softly sung hymn. This is the season of apple picking, pumpkins, the smell of burning leaves and wood smoke - crows, cardinals, jays, hawks – the Feast of St. Francis, All Saints Day - and scary Halloween.  Author Lee Maynard says “I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” I must agree with Mr. Maynard - Autumn is my favorite time of year.

“Autumn is really the best of the seasons; and I'm not sure that old age isn't the best part of life. But of course, like autumn, it doesn't last.”
―C. S. Lewis

This autumn season has special meaning for me - as I will be celebrating two important events. This October I begin my 60th year on God’s good earth. I must admit that, these days before I turn 60, this is a little harder than all those other birthdays. Still, I realize there is a call within this birthday that seems to be of the Spirit – I am invited to look at my life and focus anew. My godson Simon answered the call of Christ. This October he will enter St. Mary’s “Benedictine” Abbey in Newark as a postulant. I pray for Simon as he transitions into the Benedictine life.

The undulating wood slopes down to the rhythm of mountain streams. To me this rhythm is revealing You, the Primordial Word. How remarkable is Your silence.”   From the poem “The Stream” – by Karol Wojtyla, St. Pope John Paul II

I find autumn to be the perfect season to escape into silence - to make a retreat - to find a quiet place to seek God, to hear God, in solitude, in stillness, in the beauty of nature. Blessed Mother Teresa said “In the Silence of the Heart, God speaks.” Many of us find it difficult if not impossible to “get away.” We are all so busy. Still, why not head to your local park. My favorite park is Brookdale. Even here, the wonders of the autumn season fill our eyes with beauty, our hearts with wonder, and our lips with prayers of praise of our God. (Bring your camera – it will cause you to look even deeper into the Divine art of God)

 I hope are inspired to seek God in his Creation - to see Him reflected in all its beauties.

Your friend in Christ,

Deacon Brian

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tens of thousands protest at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country

Hundreds of demonstrations were held outside of Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S. this weekend with protesters calling on the federal government to stop funding the abortion giant.  

After videos were released last month showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their fetal tissue donation program in graphic detail, the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League called on a national day of protest.

Eric Scheidler, the group’s executive director, said that “with 240 out of 342 cities reporting” over 58,000 people turned out to protest Aug. 22.

“Great day! Except for Planned Parenthood!” he tweeted that evening.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Archbishop Charles Chaput speaks out on Abortion


Of the many struggles plaguing modern society, none can be equated with the blatant taking of innocent human lives, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said regarding the latest investigative videos of Planned Parenthood.

“Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide,” he said in his
August 10 column for Catholic Philly.

“Both are serious matters. But there is no equivalence. The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.”

In a series of five videos released thus far by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss prices for various aborted baby body parts and how abortion procedures may be altered to ensure intact organs and even “intact cadavers.” One video shows a medical assistant looking through body parts from an aborted baby before proclaiming, “Another boy!”

The videos have raised questions of whether the organization is harvesting and selling organs from aborted babies.

Planned Parenthood has maintained that its actions are legal. However, the videos have prompted widespread outrage, nationwide rallies, congressional investigations and calls to defund the organization, which receives more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money annually.

While today’s world is filled with many social ills – which are connected and must all be acknowledged and addressed – there is a natural hierarchy to these problems, because some are foundational to human life itself, Archbishop Chaput said.

One common argument against the pro-life movement – of which Catholics make up a large contingent – is that they are merely pro-birth; they do not care about the needs of the child or the mother once the child has been born. That understanding is mistaken, the archbishop commented.

“It makes no sense to champion the cause of unborn children if we ignore their basic needs once they’re born,” he said. “Thus it’s no surprise that – year in and year out – nearly all Catholic dioceses in the United States, including Philadelphia, devote far more time, personnel and material resources to providing social services to the poor and education to young people than to opposing abortion.”

The Catholic Church is one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. Although it is difficult to quantify exactly what percentage of social services are rendered by the Church in the United States every year, a 2013 report by Forbes ranked Catholic Charities alone as number five in the nation. And this doesn't account for other Catholic charitable organizations such as Christ in the City, St. Vincent de Paul societies, and soup kitchens or other charities run by religious orders or local parishes. 

However, it is correct to prioritize the right to life as the foundation for all other rights, Archbishop Chaput noted.

“But of course, children need to survive the womb before they can have needs like food, shelter, immigration counseling and good health care.  Humanity’s priority right – the one that undergirds all other rights – is the right to life,” he said.

And while being opposed to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse anyone from caring about other social injustices, such a poverty and violence, there is a right ordering of moral priorities, Archbishop Chaput said, which is the reason the United States’ bishops released their 1998 pastoral letter, “Living the Gospel of Life.”

“Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care . . . But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. 

Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (Living the Gospel of Life pp. 22).

Another common argument against the mainstream pro-life movement is that politics can never provide a solution to the problem of abortion, and therefore political involvement is a waste of time.

“In practice, politics is the application of moral conviction to public discourse and the process of lawmaking. Law not only constrains and defends; it also teaches and forms. Law not only reflects culture; it shapes and reshapes it. That’s why Christians can’t avoid political engagement,” Archbishop Chaput said.

While political action is never the main focus or goal of faith, Christians have a duty to defend life that “inescapably involves politics.”

“Thus the recent Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood was not only right and timely, but necessary. And the failure of that measure involves a public failure of character by every Catholic senator who voted against it,” he said.

At the end of his statement, Archbishop Chaput urged everyone to read “veteran ‘pro-choice’ voice” Ruben Navarette, Jr.’s
August 10th column in the Daily Beast, in which he honestly questions his pro-abortion stance after his revulsion at what is shown in the videos.

The column’s strongest lines, Archbishop Chaput said, are when Navarette quotes his pro-life wife.

“Those are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children – his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”

Archbishop Chaput’s response: “Amen.”

Sunday, August 2, 2015

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2015


Pope Francis has urged the faithful to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is.....

                                            “the Bread of Life”

The Pope’s words came as he addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus.Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of bread and were filled, Pope Francis pointed out that those people gave more value to the bread than to He who gave them the bread.

He explained that before this spiritual blindness, Jesus highlights the need to look beyond the gift and discover the giver. God himself – the Pope said – is the gift and is also the giver.

Jesus invites us – the Pope continued – to be open to a perspective which is not only that of daily preoccupation and material needs; Jesus speaks to us of a different kind of food, food which is not corruptible and that we must search for and welcome into our lives.

He exhorts us not to work for food that perishes but “for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give us” he said.

With these words – Pope Francis continued  – He wants us to understand that beyond a physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger – “we all have this hunger” – a more important kind of hunger that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food.

“It is the hunger for life – the hunger for eternity – that only He can satisfy because He is the bread of life” he said.

And pointing out that the true meaning of our earthly existence is to be found at the end, in eternity, Pope Francis said that to be open to meeting Jesus every day of our lives will illuminate our lives and give meaning to small gifts, sufferings and preoccupations.

And quoting from the Gospel of John, the Pope said “Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”.

“This – he said – refers to the Eucharist, the greatest gift that fulfills body and soul”.

To meet and to welcome Jesus, “the bread of life” – Pope Francis concluded – gives meaning and hope to our lives that are sometimes tortuous; but this “bread of life” – he said – also gives us the duty to satisfy the spiritual and material needs of our brothers.

To do this – he said- we must announce the Gospel everywhere, and with the witness of a fraternal attitude of solidarity towards our neighbor, we can make Christ and his love present amongst men.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Psalm 18 (19) The Glory of God

The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
  the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
  night passes to night the knowledge.

Not a speech, not a word,
  not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
  their message to all the corners of the world.
At the ends of the earth he has set up
  a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
  it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
  runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.

Friday, July 17, 2015

St. Joseph's Abbey Stained Glass Window

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
God favored me, His lowly servant,
and from this day
all generations will call me