May 23, 2015

Positivity: Converted by love, not ideology — An archbishop’s reflection on Dorothy Day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Fort Wayne, Indiana:

May 20, 2015 / 03:02 am

Last week, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told scholars at the Dorothy Day Conference at St. Francis University that the social activist was not converted by ideology, but by love.

“It was not the teachings of the Church that convinced her to leave the past behind and change her life. She was changed by Love, changed by the over-powering awareness of the reality of God’s love and mercy,” the archbishop said during his May 14 keynote address at the Dorothy Day Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Archbishop Gomez said he admires the social activist for the example of holiness that she has left for today’s Catholics.

As a young woman in the early 20th century, Day embraced what she and many others in her generation believed would bring happiness: a life that included abortion, communism and “free love.”

“Dorothy and many others thought they had found the ‘answers’ they were looking for in the ‘progressive’ vision of a society liberated from Christian morality and the capitalist economy,” Archbishop Gomez said, but what followed was a period of great pain and suffering in her life, including the abortion of her child.

When Day converted to Catholicism years later in 1929, it was not due to the hardships she had endured, the archbishop continued. Rather, Day converted because she found love – first in the birth of her beloved daughter, Tamar, and then in God.

“As she described it, the beauty of the created world convinced her that there must be a Creator. The joy of human love helped her to realize the beauty of divine love,” he explained. “She came to see that her life – and all our lives – are a search for love, a search for a love that is Supreme, for God.” …

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May 22, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis to parents — Come out of ‘exile’ and educate your children

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 20, 2015 / 10:41 am

In his general audience Pope Francis spoke of the essential role parents play in educating their children – a role he said has been usurped by so-called experts who have taken the place of parents and rendered them fearful of making any correction.

“If family education regains its prominence, many things will change for the better. It’s time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – they have exiled themselves from educating their children – and slowly reassume their educative role,” the Pope said May 20.

He gave harsh criticism to the “intellectual critics” that he said have “silenced” parents in order to defend younger generations from real or imagined harm, and lamented how schools now are often more influential than families in shaping the thinking and values of children.

“In our days the educational partnership is in crisis. It’s broken,” he said, and named various reasons for this.

“On one part there are tensions and distrust between parents and educators; on the other part, there are more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place,” he said.

The Pope spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience. His focus on the vocation of families to educate their children is part of his ongoing series on the family.

Since the end of last fall Francis has been centering his Wednesday catechesis on the theme of family as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In his address he stressed that educating and raising children in the human values which form the “backbone” of a healthy society is a responsibility that each family has. …

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May 21, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis, as he canonizes four saings, shares the secret of the saints — life in Christ’s love

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 17, 2015 / 10:11 am

Pope Francis canonized the Church’s four newest saints on Sunday, praising their loving witness to Jesus Christ’s Resurrection.

He said “this is the secret of the saints: abiding in Christ, joined to him like branches to the vine, in order to bear much fruit.”

The four newest saints showed how “to abide in God and in his love, and thus to proclaim by our words and our lives the Resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all,” the pontiff said in his May 17 homily

The Pope’s words came during the canonization Mass of Saint Jeanne Émilie de Villeneuve, Saint Maria Cristina Brando, Saint Mariam Baouardy, and Saint Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas in Saint Peter’s Square.

These women–two Palestinians, a Frenchwoman, and an Italian–offered a “luminous example” challenging the lives of Christians, he said.

“How do I bear witness to the risen Christ? How do I abide in him? How do I remain in his love? Am I capable of ‘sowing’ in my family, in my workplace and in my community, the seed of that unity which he has bestowed on us by giving us a share in the life of the Trinity?” Pope Francis asked.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the Sunday morning Mass, as tapestries bearing the images of the new saints hung from the facade of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

During his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Book of Acts’ account of the election of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles in being “a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.”

The Pope observed that many people believed in the Resurrection through the testimony of these witnesses, and Christian communities were born.

The pontiff said that the faith in the risen Lord which exists today is based upon the Apostles’ witness passed down through the Church’s mission.

“Our faith is firmly linked to their testimony, as to an unbroken chain which spans the centuries, made up not only by the successors of the Apostles, but also by succeeding generations of Christians,” he said.

Pope Francis added that all those who follow Christ are called to be witnesses to the Resurrection, “above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident.” …

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May 20, 2015

Positivity: EWTN named religious television station of the year

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Irondale, Alabama:

May 12, 2015 / 04:49 pm

For the third consecutive year, EWTN Global Catholic Network has been awarded the 2015 Gabriel Award for Religious Television Station of the Year – a prestigious honor which acknowledges the Network’s programming, community service, and production values.

“EWTN is the beacon of Catholic broadcast television. It is a consistent and true voice of the Faith,” noted one of the Gabriel Award judges who participated in the annual competition sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals.

Another judge highlighted EWTN’s technical achievements, noting the high-quality imagery and on-screen graphics.

“As a viewer, you know the piece was promoting a Catholic worldview, but never felt like you were being hit over the head with it. Very well done,” the judge said.

The Gabriel Awards recognize both religious and secular multi-media productions in the United States and Canada, and honors participants within various categories such as documentaries, short features, news, radio, television, internet videos, and film.

EWTN, who celebrated their 34th anniversary this year, provides broadcast satellite television and radio services, along with other multi-media networks, available to over 240 million households within 140 countries across the world. …

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May 19, 2015

Positivity: Stolen Bible Leads to Charges in Death of ‘Wonderful and Loving’ Carver Co. Man

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Carver County, Minnesota:

Updated: 05/14/2015 8:30 AM
Created: 05/13/2015 12:38 PM

A stolen Bible with two $1,000 savings bonds issued to a 90-year-old Carver County man who was murdered led police to arrest two suspects in his death.

Earl Olander was found beaten and robbed inside his home on the 16000 block of Homestead Road back on April 11. Police say his hands and ankles were bound with duct tape and that he was found lying face-down on the floor of his living room.

According to the criminal complaint, Olander had multiple injuries to his head, face and body. Police also say his entire home was ransacked, with drawers pulled out and thrown around, cabinets and closets emptied and documents and papers strewn about.

Police say they found a black rubber glove in the driveway and shoeprints consistent with both Crocs and Adidas.
Police had been exhausting leads in the case until May 9, when a someone was cleaning out a St. Paul apartment and found a Bible written in a European language. Inside the Bible were two $1,000 savings bonds made out to Earl Olander.

The citizen searched Olander’s name online and found that he had been murdered, so he called police.
Police say the apartment was previously occupied by 29-year-old Edson Celin-Dominguez Benitez of St. Paul. He was arrested that same day. Police say he was wearing Crocs.

During an investigation, police learned that 35-year-old Reinol Godines Vergara of Richfield previously painted Olander’s house and shed. After his arrest, he told police Olander was an easy target because he was old, lived alone and had money, according to the complaint. …

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May 18, 2015

Positivity: 50 Years Later, Jim Ryun Is Still the Youngest Sub-4:00 Miler

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From the May 15 Wall Street Journal (bold is mine):

The Four-Minute High-School Mile, 50 Years Later
A half-century after a Kansas high schooler ran the mile in under 4:00, precious few runners have caught up

… It was 50 years ago Friday that Ryun broke the tape in 3:58.3 at a Kansas high-school track meet in Wichita, his hometown. Yet it does Ryun little justice to note that only five other high-school runners have reached that goal in a half-century. Of those five, four did so at non-high-school events, meaning they benefited from older and often-faster competition. In breaking four minutes last Friday night, for instance, Maton finished third behind two University of Oregon runners. The fifth student to break four, Lukas Verzbicas, ran 3:59.71 at the 2011 Adidas Dream Mile, an annual competition between the nation’s fastest high-school milers.

By contrast, Ryun’s run came against narrower and slower competition: his fellow Kansas high-school runners. Even so, his time that day was faster than that of any other high school miler for 36 years until Virginia’s Alan Webb ran the mile in 3:53.43 at the Prefontaine Classic in 2001, finishing fifth behind some world-class stars. In a non-high-school meet in June of 1965, Ryun ran his fastest high school mile at 3:55.3.

“When someone is setting the pace, it just makes it easier,” said Robert Johnson, a founding editor of the website, noting that pursuing faster runners provides not only a psychological push but potential wind protection.

Let me be clear that this argument doesn’t come from Ryun, a 68-year-old former U.S. Congressman now living in Lawrence, Kan. In our conversation this week, Ryun insisted he received a big push 50 years ago at that meet from a Wichita East teammate, Mike Petterson, who managed for half the race to keep pace with Ryun. “Thank you, Mike Petterson,” said Ryun.

Ryun’s 50-year-old finish still stands as the fastest time in a race between high-school milers. Yet there’s another measure by which he stands above the other high schoolers who have broken 4:00. A year before that state meet, Ryun became the first high-school student to break four minutes, finishing eighth behind some international stars with a time of 3:59 at the Compton (Calif.) Relays, a non-high-school event.

At that time, Ryun was 17 years old and 38 days, according to LetsRun—making him by far the youngest high-school runner ever to break four minutes.

Go here for the full story (requires registration).

May 17, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis — Spare no effort in defending life, family

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 12, 2015 / 03:26 am

In his meeting on Saturday with the bishops from Mozambique, a southeast African nation, Pope Francis urged support for public policies that promote the family and protect human life.

“Spare no efforts in supporting the family and in the defense of life from conception to natural death,” he said May 9 in the Vatican. “In this sense, remember the options appropriate to one of Christ’s disciples and the beauty of being a mother, accompanied by the support of the family and the local community.”

“The family must always be defended as the main source of fraternity, respect for others and the primary path of peace.”

The Mozambican bishops – whose country borders Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean – were in Rome for their five-yearly ad limina visit, a meeting with the Pope.

The Bishop of Rome cautioned his brother bishops against a worldly sense of success, saying, “the fecundity of our mission … is not measured by the number of collaborators, nor by the prestige of the institution, nor even by the quantity of available resources.” …

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May 16, 2015

Positivity: In rare new letter, Benedict XVI seeks shepherds for the whole world

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 12, 2015 / 06:03 am

Speaking from retirement, Benedict XVI has underscored the need for the Church to extend its pastoral care to non-believers and to share “the questions of the times” in its continuing efforts to announce the gospel to the world.

Benedict XVI’s new reflections came in an April 21 letter to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who served as his Secretary of State from 2006 to 2013. A summary of the letter was published in the May 10 edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The Pope emeritus wrote that “the service of a shepherd cannot be only limited only to the Church,” even though “in the first place, we are entrusted with the care of the faithful and of those who are directly seeking faith.”

The Church, he maintained, “is part of the world, and therefore it can properly play its service only if it takes care of the world in its entirety.”

According to Benedict XVI, the “Word of God concerns the totality of reality, and this actuality places on the Church a general responsibility.” This is the reason why the Church “must be involved in the efforts that humanity and society put into action” for a path toward justice and why the Church must “find a way of reasoning” that would also include non-believers.

The full letter was published in the German original and in an Italian-language translation as an introduction to Cardinal Bertone’s new book, “La fede e il bene comune. Offerta cristiana alla società contemporanea” (Faith and the Common Good: The Christian Proposal to Contemporary Society).

Benedict XVI’s letter stressed that the cardinal’s book reflects a multilayered approach to faith. He said this approach “will be food for thought also for readers who are not part of the Church.”

The book, published by Vatican Publishing House, collects Cardinal Bertone’s speeches and remarks on Catholic social teaching.

In his letter, the Pope emeritus said the book reminded him of “the years of work together” and showed him once again that there are multiple dimensions in being a “shepherd of the Church.” …

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May 15, 2015

Positivity: March for Life in Rome draws 40,000 participants

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome, Italy:

May 10, 2015 / 04:01 pm

One of tens of thousands of people to take to the streets of Rome for this year’s March for Life, Mary Rathke is living proof that those conceived in rape deserve life, and not abortion.

“Many people use the reason for rape to accept abortions,” said the Michigan native in a May 10 interview with CNA.

Rathke, 35, was conceived when her mother was raped on her way home from work.

“They say that it is the rapist’s baby, that it is a monster’s baby, and that no one would want this child,” she said.

“I am not a monster’s baby. I am not the rapist’s baby. I am my mother’s child, and I’m a child of the most High God, and I am made in His image.”

Rathke, now a pro-life advocate, was one of an estimated 40,000 people to take part in Rome’s fourth – and Italy’s fifth – annual March for Life.

This year’s march, which took place on Mother’s Day, centered on the theme “For life, no compromise.”

During his weekly Regina Caeli address earlier in the day, Pope Francis greeted the pilgrims who were in Rome for the event, saying: “It is important to collaborate together to promote and defend life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 14, 2015

Positivity: Delmont, South Dakota Resident Says Fallen Debris Saved His Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Delmont, S.D.:

May 11, 2015, 9:55 PM

It was a weather alert online Sunday morning that first got his attention about a tornado close by, but Michael Williams was loading his truck to head out to Sioux Falls and thought he’d be ahead of the storm. Then, the sirens in Delmont went off.
“All at once, the Delmont Fire whistle started blowing. A spotter saw the tornado and was alerting everyone in Delmont,” Williams said.

Williams rushed into his basement to take cover. He tucked himself into one of the corners of the room, and not long after doing that, he says it sounded like a freight train going right over his head.

“Loud bangs, stuff was popping, and the house was shaking so violently, I’m looking up at the house and it’s moving,” Williams said.

What happened next is something Williams will remember for the rest of his life.

“The next thing I know, I’m literally thrown down, being pushed and drug across my basement floor downstairs. I hit a wall, and I must’ve got knocked out,” Williams said.

The next thing Willams remembers is hearing someone yell for him. He woke up and saw his body covered in debris.

“I said ‘Hey, I’ve got to kick this,’ I had stuff piled up on me. If that stuff wasn’t piled up on me, the pellets and the stuff in there, I would’ve been sucked out of the house,” Williams said.

He noticed his right arm covered in blood, and was taken to a fire truck close by. As they drove through the town on their way to a hospital in Armor, Williams saw the devastation around him. His neighbor’s home was gone, and the fire hall that was open for only two months had collapsed.

“It’s just amazing. What can you say when you look at the trees and you see the damage,” Williams said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 13, 2015

Positivity: Woman meets paramedics who saved her life 10 years ago

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Honolulu (video at link):

7:37 PM HST May 08, 2015

From tragedy to triumph, one young lady is making a miraculous recovery from an accident that left her in a coma ten years ago.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada’s report.

On that dark morning, a 80-foot pine tree across the street crashed through the bedroom of 12-year-old Julia Engle, cracking her head and leaving her unconscious.

“When I woke up from the coma, I was seriously thinking I was late for school,” Engle said.

It’s an incident that happened many years ago, but one that her paramedics can never forget.

“When we went in, we just saw her lying there,” said Sonya Adams. “I’ll never forget it, never.”

According to Jason Lopez, one of the paramedics at the scene, there’s not a whole lot of recovery to expect from head injuries like Engle’s.

“I had to relearn everything – to walk, to sit, stand,” said Engle.

Today, for the first time, 22-year-old Engle is meeting the two paramedics who saved her life all those years ago.

“[I have] nothing more than my sincere thankfulness,” she said.

Engle has since recovered and will be graduating from the University of Hawaii in a few days. She plans to pursue her masters in communications where she hopes to spread some aloha of her own in the field of hospitality.

“For something that I thought she wouldn’t make it, to see her now and going to graduate from college – Wow!” said Adams. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 12, 2015

Positivity: New Swiss Guards swear oath to defend, protect Pope Francis

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 6, 2015 / 04:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday 32 new Swiss Guards swore an oath of allegiance to Pope Francis, who told them their role is one of courageously imitating Christ which ought to be rooted in prayer.

In an audience with the new guards and their families earlier in the week, Pope Francis said it was an occasion “to nurture a meaningful friendship, because you work so close to me.”

The friendship of the Pontifical Swiss Guard is special, he said, because it is based on “the love of Christ: that greatest love he referred to when he said: ‘There is no love greater than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’”

Pope Francis made his comments to the new guards in a Monday audience ahead of their May 6 swearing in ceremony, during which they took an oath of allegiance to Pope Francis, swearing to serve the Church by protecting him and all of his successors.

Positivity: Medical Miracle: Doctors Implant 3D Printed Devices To Save Infants

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From the University of Michigan (original story is here):

May 02, 2015 08:52 AM EDT

In what is being termed as groundbreaking, scientist successfully implanted 3D printed devices in three babies to save their lives.

The babies were suffering from a condition that was preventing them from breathing naturally. The condition is termed as tracheobronchomalacia. It is considered to be life threatening and terminal in nature.

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Previously, life expectancy was almost close to nil according to researchers as this condition causes a breakdown on the trachea or the windpipe. This leaves patients unable to breathe in a natural form and they need to be put on ventilators to aid artificial breathing.

The CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan is successful in perfecting the operation and they saved the lives of three baby boys. Needless to say, the hospital is being lauded for their innovation from across the world for the surgery and making a significant advance in the field of medical sciences and surgeries.

The surgeons successfully placed the 3D Printed Devices in the infants’ windpipes that keeps them open and aids normal breathing. Glen Green from the CS Mott Children’s Hospital says that this is indeed groundbreaking as the procedure was never done before. He said that patients suffering from this condition are now successfully cured of their ailment due to surgery, according to Examiner. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 11, 2015

Positivity: Woman credits rescue mission with saving her life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Spartanburg, South Carolina:

Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 5:31 p.m.

Myra McGee credits the Miracle Hill Rescue Mission with saving her life.

A series of circumstances and declining health issues sent her spiraling into homelessness until she walked through the mission’s doors in December.

The 57-year-old Spartanburg woman said she received the help she needed from the mission and is now interning there to assist other women seeking a fresh start. McGee was the keynote speaker for the mission’s fundraising breakfast this week.

“I had tied a knot at the end of my rope. I was hanging on for dear life and my grip was slipping,” she said.

A former schoolteacher with two master’s degrees, McGee said she never expected to rely on a homeless shelter to get her life in order. She said a house fire in 2004 later led to her divorce and financial troubles and ongoing health problems took her away from teaching. She ended up sleeping in her son’s car until she came to the mission.

She said emotional trauma hit her when she realized “the only thing you own is the clothes on your back.”

It was through health clinics at Miracle Hill that she learned her high blood pressure was a result of congestive heart failure. She came to the mission in December and was diagnosed near the Easter holiday.

“Miracle Hill quite literally saved my life,” she said of her diagnosis.

After her health improved, she was selected for the mission’s six-month internship program. The position works closely with the women at the shelter to manage their intake and continued care. …

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Positivity: Pope Francis — Marriage is not about the dress or photos. It’s about the mission.

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 6, 2015 / 10:10 am

Marriage is more than the wedding ceremony, the flowers, the dress, the photos, Pope Francis said in his weekly general audience: it is a participation in the Church’s mission.

“Men and women, courageous enough to carry this treasure in the ‘earthen vessels’ of our humanity… are an essential resource for the Church, as well as for the whole world!”

Speaking to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for his weekly catechesis, the Pope explained that each marriage which demonstrates the beauty of the sacrament enriches the life of the Church. In the same way, it “is impoverished when marriage is disfigured in any way.”

Since the end of last fall, Pope Francis has been centering his Wednesday catechesis on the theme of family as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.

During his May 6 address, the pontiff referenced Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, in which the apostle makes the analogy between the love between spouses and Christ’s love for the Church: namely, that “a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, by giving himself completely for her.”

The spiritual sense of this analogy is “revolutionary,” yet also simple and attainable for all who trust in God’s grace, the Pope said.

Regardless of their limitations and sins, men and women are able to live out their marriage, the pontiff said, because it “has been inscribed in creation’s design by God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.