March 6, 2015

Positivity: Saints in the Little Flower family grow as parents set for canonization

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 4, 2015 / 03:39 pm

Last week it was informally announced to journalists that the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, will be canonized this year in the same month as the synod on the family.

“Thanks to God in October two spouses will be canonized: the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux,” Angelo Amato Cardinal Amato said during a Feb. 27 encounter organized by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Entitled “What purpose do the Saints serve?” the event highlighted the importance of the holiness within the family.

Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, announced that Louis and Zelie Martin will be canonized in October of this year, the same month in which the Synod of Bishops on the family will take place in the Vatican.

“The saints are not only priests and religious, but also lay persons,” the cardinal said, referring to the French spouses.

The cardinal’s announcement comes a short time after Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger, who oversees the French diocese of Bayeuz-Lisieux, revealed his intention to open the cause of beatification for St. Therese’s older sister Leonia Martin.

Referred to by Bishop Boulanger as Therese’s “difficult” sister, Leonia was the third of Louis and Zelie’s nine children, and a member of the Order of the Visitation.

Louis and Zelie were beatified Oct. 19, 2008, by then-Pope Benedict XVI and their canonization will be the first of its kind in history, where a married couple are jointly proclaimed Saints together.

Their path to the altar has surpassed that of married couple Bl. Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, who were beatified together in October 2001. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 5, 2015

Positivity: Italy’s bishops help the poor through a ‘Loan for Hope’ microcredit

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 11:34 pm

From Rome:

Mar 5, 2015 / 12:08 am

The Italian bishops conference relaunched on Monday its microcredit initative for families and small businesses, a program first begun in 2009 in response to the global financial crisis.

In the last four years, the “Loan for Hope” program has distributed more than $29 million in loans to families and small companies in Italy. It is carried out through the Intesa San Paolo Bank, on behalf of the Italian bishops and Caritas Italy.

“We have provided loans to about 4,500 families, and 15 percent of them were small family companies or cooperative companies who got loans of $30,000 in order to replace furniture or write off the red of balance sheets which occurred with the economic crisis,” Fr. Andrea La Regina of Caritas Italy told CNA Feb. 27.

The Italian Bishops conference employed an endowment of about $30 million, coming from a national collection of money launched in 2009 that collected some $2 million dollars, and part of the fund of the Italian state tax for religions.

In Italy, eight per thousand of the tax income may be delivered to the Catholic Church, to other religious confessions that have an agreement with the Italian State, or to Italian State itself.

The Italian Bishops Conference uses one-third of the income of the tax for development projects in developing countries or to deliver money to missions.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the Italian Bishops conference, told CNA Feb. 27 that “we bishops touch with our very hands how families are increasingly becoming poorer, while young people live the experience of feeling useless because they are unemployed and cannot see any future perspective.”

Cardinal Bagnasco said the the “loan for hope” was designed “in order to build a bridge for families living difficulties, so that they could go beyond the crisis.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 4, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis back from Ariccia with new seeds planted

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Feb 27, 2015 / 06:15 am

After a weeklong spiritual retreat outside of Rome, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the priest who led the reflections, saying that although it’s not always easy to preach to priests, seeds have been planted.

“On behalf of all of us, I too would like to thank the father for his work among us during the spiritual exercises,” Francis said after his return to Rome Feb. 27.

“It’s not easy to give exercises to priests, right? We’re a bit complicated, all of us, but you succeeded in sowing seeds,” he said, and prayed that these seeds would continue to grow.

Francis’ words were directed to Carmelite priest Fr. Bruno Secondin, who preached on the theme “Servants and prophets of the living God” during the Roman Curia’s Feb. 22-27 Lenten retreat.

This year’s spiritual exercises focused on the figure of Elijah and the Church’s prophetic role. They are were held in the Casa Divin Maestro center in Ariccia, Italy, which is adjacent to Albano Laziale and sits roughly 16 miles outside of Rome.

It is the second consecutive year in which Pope Francis wanted the Curia’s spiritual exercises to be held outside of the Vatican, in order to foster the spiritual aspect of the retreat and avoid the temptation to continue working. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 3, 2015

Positivity: Pope puts family at the center of social justice

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Feb 28, 2015 / 02:00 pm

In an audience with the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane (confederation of Italian co-operatives) Pope Francis called for the “globalization of solidarity” which places the dignity of persons and families at the center of social justice.

“To globalize solidarity,” the Pope said during the Feb. 28 gathering, “means thinking about spiraling unemployment, the constant tears of the poor,” and “the need for real, integral progress for the person,” not just in terms of income.

First founded in 1919, the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane is a “business incubator” which helps new and start-up companies get off the ground by providing services and resources. Suppressed under Italy’s Fascist Regime, it was re-established in 1945.

Speaking to the 7,000 people gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI during the audience, comprised of men and women representing various sectors of the work force, Pope Francis offered a few points of encouragement.

First, he spoke of the need to prioritize the creation of “new cooperative enterprises,” while developing those that already exist, thereby creating “new possibilities for work” which are currently unavailable.

Pope Francis also addressed the need for welfare reform, especially in the area of healthcare.

“I know what you have done for years with heart and with passion, in the peripheries of the city and our society, for families, children, the elderly, the sick and disadvantaged,” he said. “Charity is a gift,” the Pope added, “without which one cannot enter into the house of one who suffers.”

Turning to the economy, the pontiff discussed “its relationship with social justice,” as well as the “dignity and value of the human person.”

Pope Francis spoke of a “certain liberalism” which believes in the necessity to “produce wealth,” regardless of how, in order to “promote some political redistribution on the part of the State.” Such an approach runs the risk of focusing on marking, “without leaving the deadly circuit of the pride of persons and companies who have the money-god at the center,” he said.

Rather, in establishing “a new quality of economy,” he said, “one creates the ability for persons to grow in all of their potential.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 2, 2015

Positivity: The message of Jesus at the Transfiguration: Listen and follow, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 1, 2015 / 10:50 am

The Transfiguration reveals the glory of Christ and demands a response of listening to and following Jesus, Pope Francis said in his Sunday Angelus address March 1.

Last week the faithful were shown Christ victorious in the desert after enduring temptation from the devil, a reminder of the victory over sin offered to everyone through Christ. Today Jesus reveals the destination of the journey of conversion, which is “participation in the glory of Christ”.

The Transfiguration takes place as Christ is on his way to Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecies through his death on the cross. Jesus takes Peter, James and John away to a high mountain in order to reveal his glory in advance to them, to strengthen them in faith for what is to come – the way of the Cross, Pope Francis said.

“The three disciples are frightened, while a cloud covers and rings out from above…the voice of the Father, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him’” (Mk 9:7), the Holy Father said.

Christ’s glory is revealed because his “full adherence to the will of the Father makes his humanity transparent to the glory of God, who is Love,” the Pope explained.

Moses and Elijah appear next to Christ at the Transfiguration to show he is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, that “everything begins and ends in Jesus.”

The invitation at the Transfiguration, for the disciples as well as for the faithful today, is to listen to Jesus and to follow him, laying down our lives as a gift of love for one another in obedience to the will of the Father, the Pope explained.

“The way of Jesus always leads us to happiness, do not forget it!” Pope Francis said. “There will always be a cross in the middle, but at the end… (he) always leads us to happiness.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 1, 2015

Positivity: RIP, Michael Murray

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:40 pm

Yes, this IS a positivity post.

Local drummer Michael Murray, apparently facing terminal illness, took his life on Friday.

The true meaning of “Judge not, lest you be judged” is operative here.

In a pinch, Mike agreed to play drums for free at a benefit gig one of the bands I’m in played last fall. He took it upon himself to learn roughly 30 songs in just a few weeks and found the time to practice with the band twice before our appearance. He worked very hard at being prepared and getting it right. We would have been thrilled in the short-notice circumstances if he had just shown up and muddled through, but that wasn’t acceptable to him. His presence and performance that day meant a lot to all of us. We thanked him at the time, but one can never be thankful enough to someone who pulls you out of a difficult situation.

He also jammed on Monday nights at McAuly’s Pub north of Cincinnati, and was always an uplifting, scene-brightening presence.

Based on what I’m seeing at his Facebook page, all of the positivity we saw in that short time is what his friends and family routinely experienced.

We will miss you dearly, Mike. Rest in peace.

February 28, 2015

Positivity: Indians rise up to defend Mother Teresa’s legacy after attack by Hindu leader

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:14 am

From New Delhi:

Feb 26, 2015 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Indians from all walks of life and religions have joined to condemn allegations made against Bl. Teresa of Calcutta by a fundamentalist Hindu leader charging that her sole objective in helping the poor was converting them to Christianity.

Mohan Bhagwat, head of the Hindu nationalist organization RSS, said Feb. 23 in India’s Rajasthan state that “Mother Teresa’s service would have been good. But it used to have one objective, to convert the person, who was being served, into a Christian.”

Bhagwat was speaking at the inauguration of an orphanage and women’s home run by a local NGO, and said, “here we will not provide service like that rendered by Mother Teresa. It is possible that her kind of work was good, but there was a motive behind that service.”

His comments have evoked fierce reactions over social media, as well as protests. In the national upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha opposition parties staged protests which led to adjournment of the sitting. They demanded statements from the ruling government and from prime minister Narendra Modi, whose BJP party is closely aligned with RSS.

Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona told CNA Feb. 26 that “Mother Teresa’s services reflected the teachings of Jesus Christ – ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ – and so her serving others was unconditional, unselfish to lepers, the sick, the abandoned and the suffering, and for people of all religions.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people whom she served were people of different religions, and they remained in their religion till the end and she did not deny services to them, because they did not convert and left them to practice their faith.”

Bishop Dabre rebuffed Bhagwat’s comments saying that “scores of people of various religions joined Mother in serving the needy and the suffering, and among them were Hindus, so facts prove Mr. Bhagwat wrong.”

Gaja Nayak, a Hindu lawyer, told CNA that “Vindictive criticisms are like parasites, for they prey on other people’s work or achievement; some tend to be constructive, while many others are merchants of money, power and hate infiltrators … Mother Teresa spread love and kindness, and that makes the difference.”

“Perhaps people today have forgotten the historical past of the great famine of Bengal in 1943 and the pre- and post-Independence era of partitions and war, during which Mother Teresa offered her life and soul in helping the marginalized and downtrodden people.”

Nayak concluded saying that caste systems, women’s inequality, and oppression of the poor are scars that remain on India’s conscience.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India also have slammed the allegations, expressing its concern and distress upon “casting aspersion” on the saintly persona of Mother Teresa. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 27, 2015

Positivity: Chinese Bible association gathers to make Scripture the heart of Church’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Taipei, Taiwan:

Feb 26, 2015 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The United Chinese Catholic Biblical Association held its tenth World Chinese Biblical Congress last month in Taiwan, drawing participants from 18 countries to reflect on Scripture and its place in the new evangelization.

“The congress was a very touching experience of a new Pentecost with the outpouring of gifts of the Holy Spirit in the company of the Blessed Mother … engendering fresh new inspirations, hope, and vision for all concerned to mark a new page in being biblical missionary disciples in the Church and in the world in creative ways,” said Cecilia Chui, secretary of the UCCBA.

“The UCCBA is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum and has resolved to meaningfully live 2015 as a Biblical pastoral ministry year and to dedicate this project to respond to the apostolic exhortations Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium as a humble gift for Pope Francis on the second anniversary of his pontificate,” Chui told CNA Feb 24.

The biblical congress drew more than 300 participants to Taipei, the capital of the Republic of China, Jan. 22-26 to reflect on the theme “Bearing Witness to the Word for New Evangelization.”

In addition to Taiwan, participants came from Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, England, and Canada.

Most were laity, though six bishops were present, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.

Chui pointed out that centering on the directives of Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium, the five-day congress was designed to reflect on “how to make God’s Word ever more fully the heart of the Church’s life and mission in multi-perspectives, and how to discern the signs of the times,” through talks and witnesses by speakers and communities from different locales. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 26, 2015

Positivity: When no one comes to this boy’s birthday party, deputies save the day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From St. Cloud, Florida (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

Glenn Buratti gets flyover, gifts from Osceola County deputies

Published On: Feb 17 2015 03:33:14 PM EST; Updated On: Feb 19 2015 01:36:44 PM EST

An entire community made a 6-year-old autistic boy’s birthday party one that he won’t forget.

Glenn Buratti was turning 6 years old and invited all of the kids from his class to his birthday party. Glenn’s mother, Ashlee Buratti, says the day of the party, nobody showed up.

“To see the look on his face killed me inside,” Ashlee Buratti told Local 6.

Buratti said her son was so devastated when he found out no one was coming to his birthday party that he refused to smile.

Thinking she failed him, Buratti said she turned to Facebook and wrote a post about how badly she felt for Glenn.

Buratti said almost immediately, complete strangers responded and soon, kids and their parents started arriving with gifts.

Buratti’s post also caught the eye of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, who sent their own gift– a flyover from the sheriff’s helicopter.

“One of our friends put him up on their shoulders and Glenn was smiling the whole time and waved. It was amazing,” Buratti said.

The deputies had also pooled their own money and bought Glenn gifts. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 25, 2015

Positivity: Dr. Jack Willke, Father of the Modern Pro-Life Movement, Passes Away

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Life News:

Feb. 21, 2015

Dr. Jack Willke, who was often considered the father of the modern-day pro-life movement, has passed away.

A medical doctor by trade, Willke, along with his late wife Barbara, crisscrossed the nation in the 1960s and 1970s teaching people about the fight for life and helping set up some of the first state and local Right to Life groups combating abortion before and after the infamous Roe v. Wade decision.

Willke is the past president of National Right to Life, and was president of the Life Issues Institute and president emeritus, International Right to Life Federation.

With Barbara, Dr. Willke co-authored twelve books on human sexuality and abortion. Together they created audio and visual materials that were proven to be basic teaching tools throughout the world. Their materials have been translated into 30 languages on all five continents. They frequently appeared on radio and TV shows and have spoken in 64 different countries.

Brad Mattes, of Life Issues Institute and a longtime close friend of Dr. Willke, said, “It breaks my heart to tell you that our beloved Jack Willke died this afternoon and is now reunited with his wife in heaven.”

“We are deeply saddened to report that Dr. Jack Willke, president of Life Issues Institute, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Friday, February 20. Dr. Willke and his wife Barbara, who proceeded him in death, were considered the parents of the pro-life movement. Their educational materials have been responsible for educating millions on abortion and were translated into 32 languages,” he said.

Mattes added: “Words can’t possibly express how sad we feel. Jack was almost 90 and we new the time was approaching when he’d join his dear Barbara in heaven, but it’s hard to say goodbye. Jack has been my mentor and colleague for over 23 years and was a second father to me.”

Life Issues Institute is dedicated to continuing the pro-life legacy begun by the Willkes that dates back to the sixties. Dr. Willke often expressed that he didn’t expect to see the reversal of abortion in his lifetime. His dream of ending the brutality of abortion will ultimately be realized by those he and Barbara brought into the movement and trained.

Mattes said, “I can only imagine the greeting Jack received in heaven. Millions of babies who he tirelessly worked to saved, joyfully welcoming him home.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 24, 2015

Positivity: In sight of the nation’s capitol, a massive Bible museum underway

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Feb 16, 2015 / 04:45 pm

A vast Bible museum is currently under construction in Washington, D.C. and has had strong support since its beginning phases from the Vatican, officials for the project revealed last week.

“When we introduced the Museum of the Bible, the first place we introduced it was at the (Vatican) Embassy here in Washington, D.C., for a private gathering,” the president of the museum Cary Summers told reporters at the official beginning of construction on the museum on Feb. 12.

“We have a very strong working relationship with the Vatican Museum and the Vatican (Apostolic) Library.”

Summers spoke at the official beginning of construction on the planned 430,000 square foot museum in Washington, D.C. It is planned to open in 2017 to educate visitors about the Bible.

“We would like to invite all people to come and learn about the book that’s impacted our world,” the museum’s chairman of the board Steve Green stated. “It’s not as much a looking at it as a position of faith as it is an educational look at this book, a scholarly look at this book.”

Green has amassed one of the largest private collections of Biblical items and parts of the exhibit have toured the world including stops in Jerusalem and Vatican City. The exhibit features over 44,000 items from Dead Sea Scroll fragments to parts of the Gutenberg Bible.

Some highlights include ancient New Testament fragments that had not yet been published, the largest private collection of Torah scrolls, first editions of the Douay Rheims Bible, and the Lunar Bible, the first Bible to be carried to another celestial body.

Pope Benedict praised the exhibit in his 2012 visit to Cuba and expressed his wishes that the same exhibit he saw at the Vatican could be transported to Havana.

“That’s why we got to Cuba, because the Pope had suggested maybe we do that,” Summers said.

Both the Vatican Museum and the Apostolic Library have loaned items to the exhibit that haven’t been loaned anywhere else, he revealed.

“It’s been a great, great relationship with the Vatican,” he said. “We’re really in line with what their main mission is and what our main mission is.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 23, 2015

Positivity: Elite runner crawls to Austin Marathon finish

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Austin, Texas (video at link; HT Twitchy):

February 16, 2015, 9:31 AM

The 2015 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon saw thousands of runners celebrate at the finish line over the weekend.

For one runner, however, the end brought a different kind of celebration.

Hyvon Ngetich of Kenya was leading the elite women at the 23-mile mark when her body gave out, reports CBS affiliate KEYE-TV in Austin.

Rather than quit, she began crawling on all fours. Race volunteers approached with a wheelchair, but she refused to take it.

The crawl was exhausting, and Mgetich was forced to pause at one point, but she made it.

Afterwards, Austin Marathon race director John Conley said to her, “You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life. You have earned much honor, and I am going to adjust your prize money, so you get the same prize money you would have gotten if you were second.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 22, 2015

Positivity: George Washington and a Little-Known Turning Point in American History

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

georgewashingtonThis post is a Washington’s Birthday BizzyBlog tradition.


Few know that George Washington singlehandedly prevented a soldiers’ revolt in 1783.



At the close of the Revolutionary War in America, a perilous moment in the life of the fledgling American democracy occurred as officers of the Continental Army met in Newburgh, New York, to discuss grievances and consider a possible insurrection against the rule of Congress.

They were angry over the failure of Congress to honor its promises to the army regarding salary, bounties and life pensions. The officers had heard from Philadelphia that the American government was going broke and that they might not be compensated at all.

On March 10, 1783, an anonymous letter was circulated among the officers of General Washington’s main camp at Newburgh. It addressed those complaints and called for an unauthorized meeting of officers to be held the next day to consider possible military solutions to the problems of the civilian government and its financial woes.

General Washington stopped that meeting from happening by forbidding the officers to meet at the unauthorized meeting. Instead, he suggested they meet a few days later, on March 15th, at the regular meeting of his officers.

Meanwhile, another anonymous letter was circulated, this time suggesting Washington himself was sympathetic to the claims of the malcontent officers.

And so on March 15, 1783, Washington’s officers gathered in a church building in Newburgh, effectively holding the fate of democracy in America in their hands.

Unexpectedly, General Washington himself showed up. He was not entirely welcomed by his men, but nevertheless, personally addressed them…

February 21, 2015

Positivity: Toronto man finds stranger who saved his life twelve years ago

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Toronto:

Published on Sat Feb 07 2015

In 2002, Mark Henick let go of the rail on a Cape Breton bridge, attempting suicide. A stranger pulled him back. Henick now knows his name: Mike Richey

In 2002, when Mark Henick stood on the edge of a Cape Breton overpass and let go, a stranger reached out and saved him from taking his own life.

Last week, after launching a social media campaign to find the man, Henick received an email from Mike Richey, the man he remembered from that night at the overpass — fixated on Henick’s fingers, watching for the moment he feared was coming, when the teen let go and “leaned forward into nothing.”

In a moving video shared online, Henick, 27, and now a mental health advocate, reads the first email he received from Richey.

February 20, 2015

Positivity: ”God wanted me to live’: Missouri teen’s ‘miracle’ recovery after underwater for 15 minutes’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lake St. Louise, Missouri (video at link):

Feb. 7, 2015 at 9:54 AM ET

A 14-year-old Missouri boy who fell through an icy lake and was underwater for 15 minutes, with no pulse for nearly 45 minutes, has made a “miraculous” recovery, doctors said. Now, John Smith says he’s fortunate to be alive.

“There’s no really any explanation but how God wanted me to live for a reason so i’m alive now,” John told TODAY.

The eighth-grader was walking over an ice-covered Lake St. Louise with two friends when the trio fell through the ice. While one of the teens was able to swim back to shore, and another clung to the ice, John fell through the water and was submerged for more than 15 minutes before paramedics arrived.

First responders conducted CPR for 15 minutes before doctors at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West continued for another 27 minutes, NBC affiliate KSDK reported. After John didn’t have a heartbeat for 45 minutes, doctors said they called his mom, Joyce, so she could say goodbye.

“He was gone,” said Dr. Nancy Bauer, who treated John at the Missouri hospital. “I’ve never felt someone so cold in my life.”

As doctors were telling Joyce in the trauma room about the condition of her son, the distraught mom said she started praying.

“A few seconds later, we had a heartbeat,” Bauer said. “It gave me goosebumps.”

The next morning, John opened his eyesand was able to move his feet. SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center PICU described the story as “a miracle.” “I remember everybody just kind of started crying,” she said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.