October 31, 2014

Positivity: The devil is no myth – he’s real and we must fight him, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 30, 2014 / 08:53 am

In his homily on Thursday, Pope Francis said that the devil is more than an idea, and in order to fight him, we must follow St. Paul’s instructions and put on the armor of God which protects us.

“In this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha house for his Oct. 30 daily Mass.

He turned to St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, from which the day’s first reading was taken and in which the apostle warns against the temptations of the devil, telling Christians to clothe themselves with the armor of God so they can resist.

Pope Francis said that a Christian life requires both strength and courage, and needs to be defended because it is a constant battle with the devil, who tempts with worldly attractions, the passions and our flesh.

“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do?” he asked, saying that St. Paul tells us to “put on God’s full armor, meaning that God acts as a defense, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations. Is this clear?”

No spiritual or Christian life is possible without the need to resist temptation, the Roman Pontiff observed, explaining how our battle is not with small, trivial things, but rather with the principalities and ruling forces of this world, which are rooted in the devil and his followers. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 30, 2014

Positivity: Cardinal Parolin — Without its Christian roots, Europe won’t help the world

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Montecassino, Italy:

Oct 27, 2014 / 12:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The European Union could be significant and helpful in solving crises around the world, but its common effort should lie in its Christians roots which are somewhat forgotten, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Friday.

The Vatican’s Secretary of State spoke to CNA Oct. 24 during a visit to the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino. The event coincided with the appointment of a new abbot for the community, and its reorganization, and commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bl. Paul VI’s visit to the first community of the Order of St. Benedict.

When he visited Montecassino in 1964, Bl. Paul VI read his apostolic letter Pacis nuntius, proclaiming St. Benedict a patron of Europe and acknowledging the monk’s work in building a common European identity.

Cardinal Parolin lamented that 50 years later, it seems “there is no more wish for ‘Europe’ as there was 50 years ago.”

He underscored that the European Union could be one of the most important actors in the world arena, but added that it needs to “speak with one voice,” and look back to its common roots.

“I believe that Europe is suffering of the common loss of historical memory, which forbids us to remember where we hail from and what are the deep roots of this Europe.”

In his analysis of the Middle East situation and plight of Christian there given during the Oct. 20 consistory, Cardinal Parolin had also blamed on the international community – including the European Union – for having remained silent as the situation worsened.

“Europe should find one voice … we believe that the problems of the Middle East should be solved by the Middle Eastern countries, but we also believe that Europe can help those countries in their purpose, since we know that a big part of this conflicts comes from outside the Middle East.”

And Europe should “even more” give its contribution in “solving the Ukraine situation, trying to put together the interests of everyone,” Cardinal Parolin said.

The cardinal suggested that Europe’s inability to solve such problems as those in Ukraine and the Middle East stem from its tendency to remove its Christian roots from the public square. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 29, 2014

Positivity: Martin Baani — the Iraqi seminarian who will not leave his people

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Erbil, Iraq:

Oct 28, 2014 / 02:01 am

Bombs are falling and the sound of the explosion is sending shock and fear into the hearts of the people. Amid the sound of crying and frenzied activity, people pack up what belongings they can carry and make off into the night.

In the midst of it all, on the night of Aug. 6, stands Martin Baani, a 24-year-old seminarian. It’s dawning on him that this is Karamlesh’s last stand.

For 1,800 years, Christianity has had a home in the hearts and minds of the people of this town so full of antiquity. Now that era is about to be brought to a calamitous end; Islamic State are advancing.

Martin’s mobile phone rings: a friend stammers out the news that the nearby town of Telkaif has fallen to “Da’ash” – the Arabic name for Islamic State. Karamlesh would surely be next.

Martin dashes out of his aunt’s house, where he is staying, and heads for the nearby St Addai’s Church. He takes the Blessed Sacrament, a bundle of official papers, and walks out of the church. Outside a car awaits – his parish priest, Father Thabet, and three other priests are inside.

Martin gets in and the car speeds off. They leave Karamlesh and the last remnants of the village’s Christian presence go with them.

Speaking to Martin in the calm of St. Peter’s Seminary, Ankawa – a suburb of the Kurdish regional capital of Erbil – it is difficult to imagine he is describing anything except a bad dream. But there is nothing dreamy in Martin’s expression. “Until the very last minute, the Peshmerga were telling us it was safe.”

“But then we heard that they were setting up big guns on St Barbara’s Hill (on the edge of the village) and we knew then the situation had become very dangerous.”

Taking stock of that terrible night, Martin’s confidence is bolstered by the presence of 27 other seminarians at St. Peter’s, many with their own stories of escape from the clutches of the Islamic militants. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 28, 2014

Positivity: John Paul II ‘taught me how to be a person,’ secretary recounts

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Oct 28, 2014 / 04:48 am

Saint John Paul II’s deep love for the world and for God continues to inspire people today to draw near to Christ, teaching them not only about sanctity, but about humanity, say those who were close to the late Pope.

“He was just a human being and he taught me how to be a person, how to be a man,” said Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine, who served as papal secretary under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

“We lost our beloved pope when he died, but this sense of sorrow has been transformed in the joy of him being a saint.”

Saint John Paul II’s first universal feast day after his canonization earlier this year was celebrated on Oct. 22, the anniversary of his papal inauguration.

Speaking to CNA on the feast day, Archbishop Mokrzycki relayed some of his favorite stories of John Paul II, highlighting the saint’s love for the world.

Once, when traveling to Mexico, the archbishop said, faithful in the country flooded outside, using mirrors to try to reflect light at the plane, hoping to catch the Pope’s attention.

“John Paul was very impressed by the creativity of the Mexican faithful,” Archbishop Mokrzycki remembered. “He was smiling.”

The late Pope expressed his love for the world in private moments, his secretary continued, explaining that John Paul II “not only blessed us during the Angelus or every Sunday at Urbi et Orbi, but he would bless us every day.”

“By the end of each day, around 10:30 p.m., he would go to the chapel, he would pray for a short period of time, he would go back to his bedroom and come up to the window,” the archbishop said. “He would dim the lights or turn them off, he would open up the interior window, and then he would bless the world. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 27, 2014

Positivity: Pregnancy centers, not politics – the future of the pro-life movement

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

From Front Royal, Virginia:

Oct 24, 2014 / 02:04 am

Amid the chilling dark chaos of a woman’s unwanted and unexpected pregnancy, a group of pro-life Catholics try to be a light to both the mother and the unborn child.

October 26, 2014

Positivity: Hundreds flock to US shrine to celebrate first feast of St John Paul II

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Oct 22, 2014 / 04:49 pm

Hundreds of pilgrims and faithful from all states of life flocked to Washington, D.C.’s St. John Paul II Shrine on Wednesday to celebrate the late Pope and recently canonized saint’s first universal feast day.

“To be able to celebrate in the presence of a saint on their first feast day, I think is just a point of great grace for the local Church and all the pilgrims that come here,” said Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, O.P, chaplain of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, to CNA Oct. 22.

This presence, he said, was apparent in the large and diverse crowd who came to participate in a feast day Mass at the shrine.

At the Mass, there were “over 550 young people, the elderly, there were Polish pilgrims, the consecrated, the sisters, there were male religious,” Fr. Kalisch explained. “ When I was celebrating the Mass, I thought, ‘he’s brought them here.’”

Fr. Kalisch gave the homily at the first celebration of the Feast of Saint Pope John Paul II at the saint’s shrine in Washington, D.C. A relic of St. John Paul II’s blood, as well as a bloodstained piece of his cassock from the 1981 attempt on his life are present for veneration at the shrine.

St. John Paul II served as Pope for over 26 years, from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was canonized earlier this year, on April 27; the Oct. 22 observance of his feast is the anniversary of his papal inauguration.

The Mass was preceded by a recitation of the rosary, and followed by a screening of a documentary on the saint’s visits to North America, and the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 25, 2014

Positivity: Mystery man called hero after rescuing man, 73, from burning home

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

UPDATE: The mystery man has been found.


From Fresno, California:

OCTOBER 20, 2014, 7:09 AM

A mystery man is being called a hero after rescuing a 73-year-old man from a burning home over the weekend in Fresno.

The daring rescue was caught on cellphone video on which a woman is heard yelling, “We got to get the dad out of there! There’s a man inside!” as the Fresno home becomes engulfed in smoke and flames.

Then suddenly out of the smoke, the mystery man in a blue Dodgers hat appears and is carrying the man over his left shoulder.

He runs away from the fiery home, letting the man down from his shoulder as he reaches the sidewalk.

The woman screams out, “Oh, thank God.”

Moments later, the fire department arrived.

The rescuer left the scene and has not been identified.

Beth Lederach, of Clovis, was driving by the fire, which broke out about 8:14 a.m. Saturday in the 4300 block of East Dakota Avenue, when she began filming the five-minute video on her cellphone, the Fresno Bee reported. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 24, 2014

Positivity: Medal honors guardsman for saving woman’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Wichita, Kansas:

10/20/2014 2:39 PM, Updated 10/20/2014 2:42 PM

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article3130755.html#storylink=cpy

The U.S. Air Force medal ceremony honoring Tech Sgt. Shawn Rucker lasted far longer and caused Rucker more prolonged anxiety than what he endured on the night he saved Nancy Shatley’s life.

Even so, Rucker, looking a little embarrassed in his dress blues, managed one more act of generosity to the Shatley family on Monday.

Rucker two years ago ran into a house roiling with smoke and flames and carried 78-year-old Nancy Shatley outside, with smoke filling his lungs and pieces of the house falling down around him.

Moments after receiving the Airman’s Medal at McConnell Air Force Base, Rucker pointed journalists toward a civilian in a striped shirt standing yards away from the generals, colonels and majors.

The Air National Guard officers had talked only of Rucker in the ceremony, but Rucker pointed out that Mike Shatley, the man in the striped shirt, “did all the things I did” and helped save his mother’s life.

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general of Kansas, hung the medal on Rucker’s chest at McConnell on Monday, with more than 100 uniformed officers and enlisted personnel applauding. He told how Rucker, a Kansas Air National Guardsman, put his life at considerable risk.

Rucker, an intelligence analyst, had just finished a work shift at McConnell on Nov. 24, 2012, and raced past his own house when he saw a smoke plume and a glow on the horizon several blocks away.

The Airman’s Medal is one of the higher awards given by the Air Force for risk-taking heroism in a non-combat situation, Tafanelli said. The medal ranks higher than the Bronze Star and just under the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Typical of Rucker’s character, officers said, is that the military didn’t learn about Rucker’s heroism for a long time. Rucker didn’t tell anybody in the Air Guard about what he had done.

Family members told them about it later. Only then did the Air National Guard start the investigation that led to the medal’s award, two years after his life-saving acts. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 23, 2014

Positivity: Arkansas Marine’s Final Act During Tornado Saved His Wife’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ashdown, Arkansas (video at link):

Published: Oct 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT

Eddy Withem, 33, an Arkansas Marine and father of three, was killed early Monday, Oct. 13 after an EF2 tornado tore through Ashdown in the southwest corner of the state. His wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem, was badly injured, but is talking about her husband’s final heroic moments, which saved her life.

The family was all at home when the storm came through that morning around 5:30. Roxanne described the awful scene from her hospital bed.

“We woke up to the roof being torn off,” she said. Roxanne says her husband grabbed her and pushed her under “a bunch of stuff” that would shield her. His last words were, “Don’t move if you want to live.” And then he was gone.

The three children, ranging in age from seven to 13, sustained minor injures.

“The one thing we never lacked in this family was love,” she said.

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 22, 2014

Positivity: Happy tears — Man meets donor who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Colorado (video at link):

updated9:35 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014

A man in Germany donated his stem cells to a stranger in Colorado
Six years later, they’re finally meeting

It was a tearful meeting at the Denver International Airport as Duke Seaman got to meet the German man who saved his life.

Six years ago 29-year-old, Marco donated his stem cells to Seaman. Seaman was diagnosed with leukemia. He tells CNN affiliate KUSA that there were only two matches — both were from overseas — and one of them was Marco’s. Seaman is now leukemia-free. He petitioned the donor organization to release his donor’s name. When he finally found him, he flew Marco to Denver and treated him “like a king.”

Go here for the full story.

October 21, 2014

Positivity: Pope beatifies Paul VI, ‘great helmsman’ of Vatican II

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 19, 2014 / 11:57 am

Addressing those gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday for the beatification of Paul VI, Pope Francis reminded Christians who live out the Gospel message that they are “God’s newness” both “in the Church and in the world.”

In his Oct. 19 homily, the Pope said God is “continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.” In so doing, “he renews us: he constantly makes us ‘new’.

“A Christian who lives the Gospel is ‘God’s newness’ in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this ‘newness’!”

An estimated 70,000 people, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, were present at the Mass to celebrate not only the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, but also the life of Bl. Paul VI, who first established the Synod of Bishops as an institution of the Church designed to help the Pope with his magisterial office.

“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle,” the Holy Father said, in reference to the new Blessed, “we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks!… “Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!”

Referring to him has “the great helmsman of the Council,” Pope Francis cited Bl. Paul VI’s words at the closing of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour.”

“In this humility,” Pope Francis continued, “the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 20, 2014

Positivity: Vindicated — Why a maligned Pope will be beatified

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 17, 2014 / 05:15 pm

He had the unenviable task of being Pope during a most “tumultuous” era for the Church, but Paul VI stood “deeply rooted in Christ” through it all, a theology professor has said.

“Pope Paul VI suffered greatly from the growing apostasy of the world from Christian values and from the distortions of the teaching of Vatican II,” said theology professor Dr. Alan Schreck of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. “Through it all, he remained deeply rooted in Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

Giovanni Battista Montini – soon to be Blessed Paul VI — will be beatified Oct. 19, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family.

His cause for beatification moved forward after a miracle was attributed to his intercession by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by Pope Francis in May.

Benedict XVI had affirmed his “heroic virtue” in 2012, officially recognizing him as “Venerable.”

As Pope, Paul VI lived “heroic virtue” because though he “suffered” much turmoil and dissent in the Church, he directed major church reforms and supported renewal of faith amongst the laity and religious, was a prophet about the errors of the age, and was even a well-traveled “pilgrim pope.”

The reforms of Paul VI included reforms of the Roman curia and the College of Cardinals, as well as support for renewal movements within the Church.

“He was an able administrator who reformed the Roman Curia, as Vatican II had directed,” Schreck said. Paul VI also “internationalized the College of Cardinals” by “markedly increasing the membership in the college from the global South and East.”

Amid the cultural wreckage of the age, he saw “the need for a deep and profound prayer life for every member of the Church,” Schreck said, and supported “spiritual renewal movements.”

Paul VI also was a forerunner of St. John Paul II’s stand against Communism.

“He sought religious freedom concessions from Iron Curtain countries, paving the way for the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe,” Schreck said.

Perhaps Paul VI is most well known for his encyclical Humanae vitae in which he upheld the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy and its teaching against the use of artificial contraception. The stand was widely “controversial” then and now, yet Paul VI has been vindicated by time as a prophet of the destructive effects of contraception. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 19, 2014

Positivity: Pope Francis’ closing synod speech received with standing ovation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 18, 2014 / 04:15 pm

Pope Francis’ address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, delivered Saturday, was responded to with a four-minute standing ovation on the part of the bishops attending the Vatican meeting.

In the Oct. 18 speech, the Pope thanked the bishops for their efforts, and noted the various temptations that can arise in such a synod setting. He encouraged the bishops to live in the tension, saying that “personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace.”

“Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parrhesia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the ‘supreme law,’ the ‘good of souls; (cf. Can. 1752).”

In conclusion, looking forward to the 2015 synod, which will also be on the family, Pope Francis said, “now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address, according to the provisional translation provided by Vatican Radio:

October 18, 2014

Positivity: Pope Francis — Our names are in the heart of God

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 16, 2014 / 04:07 am

In his mass on Thursday Pope Francis encouraged attendees to pray to God by praising him, saying that remembering the good he has done, particularly how he created us in love, helps us to know how.

“Prayers of praise bring us this joy, (the joy of) being happy before the Lord. Let’s make a real effort to rediscover this!” the Pope said in his Oct. 16 homily.

A starting point for this can be to remember how “God chose me before the creation of the world,” he said, adding that our names are in “God’s heart (and) in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother.”

Pope Francis began his reflections by returning to the day’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the apostle praises God for the gifts he has given, and recalls how “he chose us in him from before the foundation of the world.”

When it comes to prayer, most of us know how to ask for things that we want and even thank the Lord for what he has done, but “a prayer of praise” is a bit harder, the Roman Pontiff observed, because we are not used to praying like that.

One thing that can help learn how to do this is to remember “all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives,” he said.

“In Him – In Christ – He chose us before the creation of the world,” the Bishop of Rome continued, saying that when we pray, we can say something like: “’Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me!’ (This) is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness.”

Although at first it might be difficult to conceive that God knew us before the creation of the world and that our names were written on his heart, “This is the truth! This is the revelation!” the Pope explained. “If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!”

“We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God’s heart before the creation of the world,” he went on, noting that knowledge of this should give us both confidence and joy.

Because this creation is a mystery, we can only understand it by entering into the Mystery of Jesus Christ himself, who “poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence,” the pontiff said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 17, 2014

Positivity: Latvia turns heads in synod with strong witness of marriage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 17, 2014 / 12:03 am

In synod discussions last week, the Baltic nation of Latvia caught the attention many synod fathers, who were keen to hear why the number of divorces among their Catholic population is so low.

“In Latvia, it is a pity, but we have the highest number of divorces: 86 percent of marriages are divorced civil marriages. But when our civil mass media started to check how it is in the Church, they discovered that we just have 16 percent, and they asked why,” Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics of Riga told CNA Oct. 9.

Archbishop Stankevics explained that such a low number of divorces inside the Church is due in part to a “serious preparation for marriage, because we have an obligatory course for persons who want to get married in the Church.”

On the other hand, the archbishop explained that although there is naturally a greater sense of responsibility among people who seek sacramental marriage, “people who have faith don‘t resign when they meet the first difficulties during their married life.”