November 26, 2015

Positivity: George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:00 am

This post is a BizzyBlog Thanksgiving tradition.



General Thanksgiving
By the President of the United States of America

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

November 25, 2015

Positivity: Pre-Thanksgiving Perspective

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 pm

Note: A slightly different version of this post originally went up in November 2007, and has turned into a BizzyBlog tradition.


I saw this about halfway through this post at Obi’s Sister. It was written to make a political point, which is fine, but it also makes a universal one (paragraphing added by me):

A neighbor (say her name is Mary) sees her other neighbor (say her name is Nancy) and decides to make her a pie. She bakes a lovely pie the next day and takes it next-door. Nancy is overwhelmed that her neighbor would be so thoughtful and thanks her profusely.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy thanks her again, but with less enthusiasm.

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy just says “Thanks.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says, “Thanks, and you’re a day late this time.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “Thanks, but next time, can you make a cherry pie instead of apple? I’m getting tired of apple.”

The next week, Mary makes her another pie. When she takes it over, Nancy says “You know, if you put a little less sugar in the crust and didn’t handle it so long, the crust wouldn’t be tough.”

The next week, Mary has lots to do and forgets to make her pie. When she walked by Nancy’s house, she stuck her head out the door and yelled, “Hey! Where’s my pie?”

How quickly gratitude turns into a jaded sense of entitlement.

…. Why don’t we go back to the original idea? Simple people, pioneers really, expressing their pure and heartfelt gratitude …. A humble heartfelt thanksgiving. Not a holiday, but a state of mind.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

November 23, 2015

Positivity: Africa’s bishops offer Pope Francis prayers and a warm welcome

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:00 pm

From Accra, Ghana:

Nov 24, 2015 / 04:21 pm

Ahead of the papal visit to Africa, the continent’s bishops have sent Francis a message of welcome. They emphasized the importance of the family in African society and the need for peace in regions suffering terrorism and violent conflict.

“As representatives of the Church in Africa we warmly welcome the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he makes his first apostolic visit to our continent,” said the standing committee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

They prayed for the success of the Pope’s visit and for God’s “abundant blessings.”

The statement was issued at the close of the bishops’ conferences symposium held in Accra, Ghana Nov. 16-20. Pope Francis will be visiting Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic Nov. 25-30.

“We rejoice that the Holy Father’s visit, coming so soon after the Synod on the Family, will strengthen the faith of our peoples in the Church as Family of God and confirm us in our long-cherished Christian and African values,” the bishops’ committee said.

They stressed that the family is “the fundamental and indispensable pillar” of life in society, the Catholic News Agency for Africa reports.

“We call on all the people of our continent and on all our governments to commit themselves to the sustenance of African families, and protect the fundamental values of our cultures. We reiterate our commitment also to the sustenance and promotion of the institutions of marriage and the family and confirm our unshakeable belief in the sanctity of human life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Positivity: The Pope in a war zone – what his visit means to Central African Republic

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 22, 2015 / 04:02 pm

Pope Francis’ visit to the Central African Republic next week will be the first time he steps into an active war zone. It is a meaningful visit for locals which portrays the image of father coming to console his suffering children.

“In the minds and hearts of the people (Pope Francis) is a great figure,” Fr. Hervé Hubert Koyassambia-Kozondo said in an interview with CNA. So to hear his message from within the borders of their own country “is very, very meaningful.”

Even a month ago images of Francis could be seen throughout the country through TV and the media, he said, explaining that the Pope is being talked about daily, so he’s “already there in reality.”

To see the Pope in person in their own community isn’t something that happens every day for citizens of the Central African Republic, he said, but for many will only happen “once in their lives.”

“So they are waiting for him and they will welcome him as a true pastor of the universal Church. I like to say father, as a father, truly.”

Francis’ words will be welcomed especially by the country’s Christian population, the Catholics in particular. “What the Pope says in favor of peace will have a lot of weight,” he said, but stressed that this peace must also be worked for.

Fr. Kozondo is from the archdiocese of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, and is currently studying in Rome. He spoke with journalists ahead of Pope Francis’ Nov. 29-30 visit to the country, as part of a wider visit to the African continent. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 22, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis — While worldly kingdoms dominate, Christ’s kingdom liberates

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 10:45 pm

From Vatican City:

Nov 22, 2015 / 09:37 am

In a world which employs “weapons of fear” and manipulation, the strength of Christ’s kingdom is founded in truth and love, Pope Francis said in his Sunday angelus address, during which he also remembered today’s persecuted Christians.

“The strength of Christ’s reign is love,” the pontiff said Nov. 22, centering his reflection on the Solemnity of Christ the King. Rather than oppressing us, Jesus’ Kingship “frees us from our weaknesses and miseries,” and encourages us on the path “reconciliation and forgiveness.”

“Christ is not a king who dominates us, who treats us as like subjects, but who elevates us to his own dignity.”

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square ahead of the Angelus, Pope Francis took a look at the account in John’s Gospel in which Jesus tells Pontius Pilot of his kingdom which is “not of this world.”

There are two logics here which are juxtaposed to each other, the Pope said: the logic of the world, and the logic of Gospel.

Worldly logic is rooted on “ambition and competition,” he said, and “fights with weapons of fear, blackmail, and manipulation of conscience.”

In contrast, the logic of the Gospel expresses itself “in humility and gratitude, silently yet effectively with the strength of the truth.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Positivity: Pope’s representative to US stresses Catholic identity in schools

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:45 am

From Baltimore:

Nov 18, 2015 / 12:55 am

Catholic schools can embrace their identity through familiarity with Christ, devotion to the Virgin Mary and a commitment to Christian life and teaching, the apostolic nuncio to the United States told the nation’s bishops.

“Educational leaders should regain firm command of the helm of their institutions through the storms of the present times,” said Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

“The course must always be set by Christ and his Church, never allowing influence or wealth to dictate what might be an improper orientation for a Catholic school or a university.”

The nuncio spoke to the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 16.

“While each college or university has its own particular mission, together they ultimately have the solemn obligation to teach the same doctrine of the universal Church and to define the moral obligation that marks us all as Catholic Christians,” he said.

The archbishop has served as apostolic nuncio – or papal representative – to the U.S. since 2011.

In his address to the bishops, he stressed that “(o)ur students should be taught how to pray, how to become familiar with Christ.”

“They should experience how enriching is the encounter with the poor, with the sick, with the elderly, and the immigrant, a reality often excluded from our privileged society. They should also experience, along with a great quality education, the inspiring devotion to Our Lady and a love for the missions.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 20, 2015

Positivity: Pro-Life Heroine Mother Teresa to be Canonized: “Abortion is the Greatest Threat to Peace”

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 11:15 pm

From Washington:

NOV 18, 2015 1:05PM

Multiple news reports today are confirming that the Vatican will canonize pro-life heroine Mother Teresa next year on the anniversary of her death. The September 5th ceremony falls within the Year of Mercy.

Mother Teresa was well-respected for her courageous and forthright views against abortion. Famously, the Catholic known also known for her role in helping to feed the hungry and end poverty, said that abortion “is the greatest threat to peace.”

Pope John Paul-II beatified Mother Teressa on October 19, 2003 and she passed away in September 1997. Now, her canonization is based on a miraculous cure God performed through Mother Teresa of a disabled man in Brazil who had multiple brain tumors. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 19, 2015

Positivity: Groom Gifts Bride With Second Wedding When She Can’t Remember The First

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Marion, Virginia (HT Daryn Kagan):

PUBLISHED: 20:19 EST, 2 August 2015 | UPDATED: 02:51 EST, 3 August 2015

Amnesiac bride who forgot her wedding after car crash ties the knot a SECOND time so she ‘will never be able to forget’

  • Justice Stamper, 20, and Jeremy Stamper, 21, of Virginia had a second wedding held at Hungry Mother State Park on August 1
  • The bride was in a car crash in Bristol, Tennessee last August
  • The accident, which occurred 19 days after her wedding, left her severely injured and suffering from mild form of amnesia
  • One month after the crash, she told her husband, Jeremy, 21, she could not remember their wedding
  • He set up a Go Fund Me page and raised money to put on a second wedding which took place on their day of one-year wedding anniversary

Go here for the full story.

November 18, 2015

Positivity: For Pope Francis, the Eucharist satisfies our every hunger

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 13, 2015 / 02:17 pm

For Pope Francis, the Eucharist is all that can satisfy humanity’s deepest hungers and longings, and is a source of hope, joy, and zeal in leading others to Christ.

“Human beings all over the word today need nourishment. And this nourishment is not just to satisfy physical hunger,” the Pope said in his Nov. 10 video message for the opening of India’s 50th National Eucharistic Congress, being held in Mumbai.

In addition to food, human beings also hunger for love, immortality, affection, being cared for, forgiveness, and mercy, he said.

All of these hungers find their satisfaction in one thing: “the bread that comes from above,” Francis stressed, explaining that “Jesus himself is the living bread that gives life to the world.”

The Pope sent his video message to those participating in India’s National Eucharistic Congress, being held in Mumbai, which will run Nov. 12-15 and reflects on the theme “Nourished by the Eucharist to nourish others.”

As many as 5,000 people from across India are expected to attend the congress. Each of the 167 dioceses in India are sending five representatives to Mumbai for the event, where the Eucharist will be celebrated in the Latin, East Syrian, and West Syrian rites. Mumbai also hosted the 38th International Eucharistic Congress, in 1964, at which Bl. Paul VI presided. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 17, 2015

Positivity: Somerville Officer Sends Flowers, Note To Woman She Pulled Over

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Somerville, Massachusetts (picture and video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

November 5, 2015 5:29 PM

A Winchester woman is thanking a Somerville police officer after an act of kindness.

Earlier this week, Robin Sutherland learned that her 90-year-old mother was going into hospice care. Later that same day, Sutherland was pulled over for speeding in Somerville. She was travelling at 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.

While the female officer went back to her car to give Sutherland a warning, Sutherland says she started crying.

“I just realized when we lose my mother I’m the older generation now and it just hit me,” she said.

The officer asked her to take it easy and sent her on her way. Later that evening, Sutherland received a heartwarming surprise.

Somerville Officer Ashley Catatao sent Sutherland a bouquet of flowers and a note which said, “I’m very sorry about your mother. I hope you find comfort in knowing she lived a long life and will continue to live on in your heart and in your memories.”

The note was signed, “Officer who pulled you over this morning.”

On Thursday, Catatao was celebrated by Somerville’s Mayor and the Deputy Chief of Police. Catatao said her actions were just a simple gesture. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 16, 2015

Positivity: This Catholic nun is competing on Food Network’s reality cooking show

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Chicago:

Nov 9, 2015 / 02:25 pm

Fans of the Food Network’s competitive cooking show “Chopped” can look forward to a special appearance on Monday night’s episode – Sister Alicia Torres, a Catholic religious sister from the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago.

Along with three other chefs, Sr. Torres will have to get through the appetizer round – by creating a confection from Thanksgiving leftovers – as well as the entrée and dessert rounds in order to be crowed the “Chopped” champion. The winner takes home $10,000 to give to the charity of their choice.

Should Sister survive all three rounds without being “chopped,” her proceeds will go to Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Chicago, the soup kitchen at which the Franciscan sisters serve.

It is through working in the soup kitchen that Sr. Torres has been able to hone her creative cooking skills, she told CNA, since everything is run on donations.

“We don’t always know exactly what food is going to come in, so the ability to be flexible and creative has really stretched me to expand my cooking horizons and think outside the box when it comes to preparing delicious, healthy meals,” she said.

“Not only is it an opportunity to be artistic, but even more importantly, to show our deep gratitude to God and our benefactors for their generosity that sustains our life and our work.”

Sr. Torres applied to be on “Chopped” after she heard that they had put out a call for religious sisters. She went through the interview process just like any other potential chef, and was eventually chosen to compete on the Thanksgiving episode with three other chefs who all serve the underprivileged in some way. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 15, 2015

Positivity: ‘Be the hug of Christ’ – White Mass in DC encourages those with disabilities

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Nov 10, 2015 / 03:25 am

Honoring individuals with disabilities and mental health challenges, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., celebrated the archdiocese’s annual White Mass on Sunday and encouraged the faithful to embrace, serve and welcome the diversity of the Church.

The White Mass, hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Department of Special Needs Ministries, drew various caregivers and individuals with disabilities. It was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Matthew on Nov. 8 and the homily was delivered by Father William Byrne, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac.

“Last week, I just met a wonderful man named Jason,” Fr. Byrne said in his homily, explaining that he encountered the man at the Tricia Sullivan Respite Care Program run by the Potomac Community Resources.

“During the Rhythmic Music Program, Jason reached over and grabbed me around the neck, pulled our heads together and gave me a long hug,” he continued.

For Fr. Byrne, this hug symbolized something more than just an embrace. It was a gesture that all Christians should imitate – one of welcoming strangers into the Church and embracing them as Christ would embrace the world.

“We are the universal Church, whose job it is to welcome, embrace and accompany everyone in his and her encounter with Jesus,” Fr. Byrne stated, saying “we are called to be the hug of Christ to the world.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 14, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis to pro-life activists — You are the world’s Good Samaritans

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

From Vatican City:

Nov 9, 2015 / 10:40 am

Pope Francis praised pro-life activists as “Good Samaritans” to the most vulnerable, citing their commitment to defending life at all stages and their role in affirming the dignity of women.

Meeting Nov. 6 with members of Italy’s pro-life movement, the Pope called on those present “to protect the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born into life, as well as those who ask for a healthier and more dignified existence,” according to the Vatican Information Service translation.

“There is a need to work at different levels and with perseverance, in the promotion and defense of the family, society’s foremost resource, especially with reference to the gift of children and the affirmation of the dignity of the woman,” he said.

The pontiff’s remarks Friday came during a private audience with the 510 pro-life activists who were taking part in the Nov. 6-8 the Congress of the Movement for Life held in Sacrofano, Italy.

During the meeting, the Pope affirmed the movement’s work in accepting the most vulnerable, regardless of their creed or nationality. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 13, 2015

Positivity: A ‘most powerful woman’ – National Geographic’s major hat tip to the Virgin Mary

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Nov 10, 2015 / 03:45 pm

Our Lady. Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Queen of Peace. Theotokos. Handmaid of the Lord. Mother Mary.

These are just some of the titles used to describe the young woman to whom an angel appeared some 2,000 years ago with the message that she would conceive and bear the Savior of the World.

Mary has very few recorded words in the New Testament, but her worldwide devotion spans across time, cultures and even religions.

In a Nov. 8 feature for National Geographic, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman,” Maureen Orth explores the worldwide phenomenon of devotion to the Mother of God in anticipation of the Dec. 13 National Geographic Channel special, “The Cult of Mary.”

In her piece, Orth spoke with Marian scholars and experts and even followed pilgrims to Marian apparition sites to learn more about this “most powerful woman.”

“We see the relationship of Mary with us isn’t just any relationship – it’s sacred,” María Enriqueta García, who did her sacred theology dissertation at the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, told Orth.

The idea of Mary as an intercessor before God comes from scripture at the Wedding Feast of Cana, when Jesus performs his first miracle after his mother’s prompting of, “They have no wine” followed by her instruction to the servers to, “Do whatever he tells you.”

“Since then no other woman has been as exalted as Mary,” Orth said. “As a universal symbol of maternal love, as well as of suffering and sacrifice, Mary is often the touchstone of our longing for meaning, a more accessible link to the supernatural than formal church teachings. Her mantle offers both security and protection.”

For her story, Orth accompanied pilgrims around the world to Marian apparition sites including Lourdes, Kibeho, Mexico City, and even Medjugorje – where apparitions are said to still be occurring and the Vatican has not yet ruled on its authenticity. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 12, 2015

Positivity: Francis’ message to the Italian Church — Imitate Jesus in humility, service

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Florence, Italy:

Nov 10, 2015 / 12:13 pm

In a lengthy speech to the Italian Church at large, Pope Francis said that true human and ecclesial advancement can only be achieved when founded on the humility and detachment of power exemplified by Christ.

“We can speak of humanism only beginning from the centrality of Jesus, discovering in him the traits of the authentic human face,” the Pope said Nov. 10.

He told those gathered to contemplate the face of Jesus, which is represented on the dome of the Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in an image of the final judgement.

When we look at Jesus, “what do we see? Above all the face of a God who is emptied, of a God who has assumed the condition of a servant, humble and obedient unto death,” Francis said.

The face of Christ resembles “so many of our brothers, humiliated, enslaved, emptied,” he said, explaining that God himself chose to take on their face.

“And that face looks at us. If we don’t lower ourselves we cannot see the face of God. We will not see anything of his fullness if we don’t accept that God is emptied.”

Pope Francis spoke to participants in the Fifth National Ecclesial Convention of the Italian Church, who are gathered in Florence for five days to discuss the theme, “A new humanism in Jesus Christ.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.