December 19, 2014

Positivity: Buffalo wrestling coach thanks impossibly convenient team that saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Buffalo, Minnesota (video at link):

Posted: Dec 11, 2014 9:13 PM EST
Updated: Dec 11, 2014 11:34 PM EST

Jason Maurer is back with his Buffalo High School wrestlers, back where he belongs. Maurer’s heart stopped the night of June 5 while playing rec softball with his best friends. He coaches the wrestling team, and one of his wrestlers watched the scene unfold in horror.

“I was really scared,” Buffalo senior wrestler Hunter Durand said. “It was really hard to watch.”

Maurer, on the other hand, was certainly there, but only knows of the incident what he’s been told.

“Yeah, as far as I know, I was dead. I don’t know the medical terms, but I think I was dead for two minutes,” he said.

Fortunately for Maurer, though, emergency help was literally a foul tip away. On the opposite team, anesthesiologist Dave Prybilla jumped into action clearing his airway. On the next field over, two teams of first responders, police and fire, were squaring off and came running. An automated external defibrillator would shock his heart and with CPR, he lived.

“I don’t exactly know who all helped out, but know I was very lucky they were all there,” he said.

A Thursday night thanks

Thursday night in Buffalo was about saying thank you. Coach Maurer had a difficult recovery, but has returned to teach special education and coach the varsity wrestling team. His heroes were honored for their quick-thinking before the Bisons’ first home meet of the season. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 18, 2014

Positivity: Man Donates $375K to First Responders, Health Care Workers Who Saved His Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Andover, Massachusetts:

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 • Updated at 12:42 AM EST

Roger Demaris was moved by the quality of the treatment and the compassion shown to him when he had a heart attack

A Massachusetts man is saying “thank you” to the first responders and health care workers who saved his life by donating $125,000 each to three different facilities.

Roger Demaris is home now and in good health, which is a big change from where he was in late September. Demaris was at his Andover home when he knew he didn’t feel right and called 911. What he didn’t know is that he was having a heart attack.

“EMS was here within four minutes and apparently as soon as they walked in the house, I passed out and I didn’t wake up until the next Wednesday,” he said.

Andover first responders treated Demaris at his home, then transported him to Lawrence General Hospital and later the Lahey Clinic. He says the treatment he received from start to finish made all the difference.

“I’m here today because of all of them and the timing of everything that happened,” Demaris said.
That feeling of gratitude prompted Demaris to want to give back. And he did in a big way.

“We donated $125,000 to each of the three facilities,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 17, 2014

Positivity: Tea and cake for Pope Francis as he celebrates 78th birthday

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:55 pm

From Vatican City:

Dec 17, 2014 / 09:45 am

Shouts of “Tanti auguri” – or, “Happy Birthday!” – filled St. Peter’s Square Wednesday morning as Pope Francis circled around throngs of pilgrims on his popemobile during the weekly general audience.

The Holy Father, who turned 78 on Dec. 17, stopped to blow out the candles on a cake given to him by group of Legionaries of Christ seminarians. He also took a sip of mate tea – a traditional South American drink popular in Argentina – offered to him by pilgrims.

One of the lucky little pilgrims to receive a kiss from the Pope on his birthday was a small baby girl named Gaia who has been in Rome receiving medical treatment at the nearby Bambino Gesu’ hospital.

Gaia’s mother, Daniella from Cortona, Italy, has tried to come every week for the Wednesday General audience since arriving in Rome several months ago – in fact, she told CNA this is the second time her baby has been kissed by Pope Francis.

Daniella added that she hopes Pope Francis will “inspect the Church,” because she believes “he has the capacity.”

“I like this Pope very much. For this reason I come to see him.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 16, 2014

Positivity: Voucher backers to Colorado high court: don’t exclude religious schools

Filed under: Education,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Dec 14, 2014 / 04:54 pm

The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has joined several other Christian schools and organizations in a legal brief to support a county voucher program, saying the Colorado Supreme Court should not exclude schools that are “too religious.”

“To exclude otherwise qualifying schools based solely on religious criteria is to engage in unconstitutional religious discrimination,” the brief says. “It may also lead to unconstitutional religious inquiries.”

The case concerns Douglas County’s school voucher program, called the Choice Scholarship Program. It allows parents of students to receive 75 percent of the district’s per-pupil revenue to attend private schools the district has approved to participate in the program, the Denver Post reports.

Legal challenges halted the program in 2011, just before over 300 children were set to enroll in it. Most of the students intended to attend religious schools.

A provision in the Colorado constitution bars aid to private schools and churches for “any sectarian purpose.”

The Diocese of Colorado Springs’ brief argues that the state constitutional provision mandates “religious discrimination” by treating religion as a “disqualifying characteristic.” It may also mandate “excessive religious inquiries” to determine whether a school’s programs and activities have “religious meaning or significance.”

Religious private school partners of the program are fully accredited and their graduates are “fully qualified” for additional education or work opportunities, the brief notes, adding that the scholarship program was “religiously neutral” and the constitutional provision should not be interpreted to prohibit it.

The Denver District Court ruled against the program, while the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld it in February 2013 by a 2-1 vote.

The Colorado Supreme Court is now considering the issue. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 15, 2014

Positivity: Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass draws thousands in LA

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Los Angeles:

Dec 12, 2014 / 11:52 am

More than 25,000 people – including many young people – attended an outdoor Mass in Los Angeles honoring the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Scores of young boys dressed as miniature Juan Diegos and little girls donning multi-colored hair ribbons and traditional Mexican-style dresses marched beside Aztec and Matachines dancers, indigenous drummers, mariachi musicians and everyday Catholics along Cesar Chavez Avenue in East Los Angeles on Dec. 7 during the 83rd annual procession and Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The mile-long morning trek began at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Ford Boulevard, and concluded inside the open-air Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, where the celebration of faith, culture and family continued with diverse music, a moving performance by award-winning Mexican singer Miriam Solis, and a Mass with Archbishop José Gomez presiding.

“Today we gather to once again say to Our Lady of Guadalupe: ‘We are a family united under your mantle. We place ourselves under your loving protection and care, under the mantle of your love,’” the archbishop said in his homily. “We are a family in the Church – a family of families – and our families are so important. In God’s plan of love for the world, the family is a sacred reality – a gift that God has given to us for our happiness and for the happiness of our society.”

Archbishop Gomez described the gift of family as the “foundation of our society and our culture” because it serves as a vehicle for passing on “our values and our traditions and our faith” to current and future generations. As such, we should actively nurture and protect our families, in church and at home, he explained.

“My brothers and sisters, it takes love and grace and patience and hard work to live together as a family,” he said. “It is a journey that you have to make together – with God, his Spirit, [and] the intercession of Our Blessed Mother – every day.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 14, 2014

Positivity: No such thing as gloomy-faced saints, Pope Francis says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 14, 2014 / 08:43 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christian joy is borne out of nearness to Christ, said Pope Francis during his Angelus address for the third Sunday of Advent, adding that “gloomy-faced” saints are a contradiction.

“You have never heard of a sad or gloomy-faced saint,” the Holy Father said. “That would be a contradiction.” Rather, the heart of a Christian is “full of peace, because he knows to place his joy in the Lord, even in life’s difficult moments.”

Those who have faith are not spared difficulties, he noted. Rather, having faith means “having the strength to confront them, know that we are not alone. And this is the peace which God gives to his children.”

Pope Francis delivered his address to the thousands of pilgrims who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square, many of whom had brought with them little statues of Baby Jesus to be blessed by the Holy Father. The traditional “Bambinelli Blessing” takes place each year on Gaudete Sunday.

The Pope told the crowds that, while the first two weeks are centered on remaining “spiritually vigilant” in expectation of the Lord’s coming, the third week of Advent calls for “another interior attitude”: joy.

“The heart of man desires joy,” he said. However, the joy which Christians are called to live and give witness, he said, “is that which comes from nearness to God, from his presence in our lives.”

From the moment “Jesus entered into history, through his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of God’s Kingdom,” the Pope said. And Christians need not wait until they reach heaven to experience joy, he added.

“Jesus himself is our joy.”

All baptized Christians, the pontiff continued, are called to welcome “the presence of God in our midst, and to help others to discover Him, or rediscover that which they have forgotten.”

Like John the Baptist, he said, referring to the Gospel reading for Gaudete Sunday, our mission is to “orient people to Christ – not to ourselves!” This is because the human heart reaches out to Christ, he said, “when it seeks joy and happiness.”

In St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle lists the conditions necessary for being “missionaries of joy”: “If this becomes our way of life,” the Pope said, “the Good News will enter many homes,” helping individuals and families “rediscover that, in Jesus, there is Salvation.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 13, 2014

Positivity: Pro-life ad group sees unprecedented success in 2014

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

From Austin, Texas:

Dec 12, 2014 / 07:09 pm

Heroic Media is celebrating their most successful year yet, reporting their pro-life ads have generated more than 360,000 responses, the highest number in the apostolate’s ten-year history.

“This is more than a number for us – every woman we are able to connect with a pregnancy center means a potential life saved,” Joe Young, vice president of operations at Heroic Media, said in a Dec. 9 statement.

Heroic Media is a pro-life organization that uses a variety of media outlets to connect pregnant women to life-affirming resources, utilizing information and pregnancy centers to provide women with alternative choices to abortion.

“Heroic Media is committed to serving women with positive messages. Our team of media experts works to produce and place research-based messages to meet women right where they are,” stated Marissa Cope, director of marketing for Heroic Media.

The more than 360,000 persons who contacted Heroic Media because of its advertising were given access to information about pregnancy resources and support. Contacts included texts, chats, online clicks, website visit, and calls to pregnancy centers.

“We empower women with information and access to hopeful, life-affirming resources,” Cope stated.

Those who responded to Heroic Media were given access to pregnancy centers across the country for support and information. Various pregnancy centers nationwide teamed with Heroic Media to spread life-affirming messages, promoting adoption instead of abortion as a viable option. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 12, 2014

Positivity: Palestinian nuns among newly advanced causes for sainthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 11, 2014 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Saturday approved the advancement in the causes for sainthood of eight men and women, including two Palestinian nuns and an 20th century Italian wife and mother.

The Holy Father authorized the promulgation of the decrees for three Blesseds and five Servants of God during a Dec. 6 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato.

The promulgation declared miracles attributable to the three Blesseds, paving the way for their canonizations. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 11, 2014

Positivity: Former Vatican librarian, a friend of Pope Francis, dies at 91

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 10, 2014 / 12:01 am

Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejìa, a former prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library and a longtime friend of Pope Francis, died on Tuesday Dec. 9.

The Pope had been visiting the cardinal since the very first days of his pontificate and had administered the Anointing of the Sick three times.

Cardinal Mejìa was born in Buenos Aires on Jan. 31, 1923. Ordained a priest in 1945, he finished his studies at the Angelicum, the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. There, he became acquainted with Karol Wojtyla, the future St. John Paul II.

He taught Old Testament at the Catholic University of Argentina until 1962, when he was called to Rome to serve as expert at the Second Vatican Council.

In 1977, because of his expertise in Catholic-Jewish dialogue, Blessed Paul VI appointed him secretary of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

In a 2009 interview with the Vatican daily newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano,’ Cardinal Mejìa recounted that his interest in Judaism began before the Second Vatican Council.

“Numerous Jews live in Buenos Aires and in certain provinces such as Entre Rios and Santa Fe, as a result of the emigration encouraged by Baron Hirsch,” the cardinal said, referring to a leading nineteenth century Jewish advocate of emigration.

“I became interested in Judaism essentially for two reasons,” he explained. “The first was because, as a teacher of Sacred Scripture, I realized that to have greater familiarity with Biblical Hebrew it was important to know modern Hebrew.

He said another reason was his meeting Rabbi Leon Klenicki, an interfaith relations advocate who was a leader with the Anti-Defamation League. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 10, 2014

Positivity: The request of a retired pope – simply call me ‘Father Benedict’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 9, 2014 / 01:08 pm

Rather than being called by his papal name “Benedict XVI,” the retired pontiff revealed that since his retirement he has wanted to return to his original priestly title and be called simply “Father Benedict.”

Father Benedict made his comments in a private conversation with journalist Jorg Bremer, who published bits of them in a Dec. 7 article for German newspaper F.A.Z.

According to the journalist, Benedict explained that when he initially stepped down he wanted to be called “Father Benedict” rather than Pope Emeritus or Benedict XVI, but “I was too weak at that point to enforce it.”

At least part of the reason for wanting his new title to simply be “Father” rather than Pope Emeritus or Benedict XVI is to put more space between him and the role of the pope, so that there is no confusion as to who the “true Pope” is, Bremer reported.

The retired pontiff encouraged the journalist to write about his desire, saying “Yes, do that; that would help.”

In their conversation Benedict also spoke of his current relationship with Pope Francis, saying that “we maintain good contact (with each other).”

“Francis has a strong presence. Much stronger that I could ever have with my physical and mental weaknesses,” he observed. “To remain in my office would not have been honest.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 9, 2014

Positivity: Pope — Church must improve marriage prep, strengthen families

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 8, 2014 / 04:23 pm

Pope Francis in his latest interview reflected on October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, dismissing fears of doctrinal “collapse” while considering difficult topics like marriage preparation and the treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics.

“The prevailing feeling was a brotherly one, trying to find a way to tackle the family´s pastoral issues. The family is so beaten up, young people don´t get married,” he said in the second part of his interview with the Argentine daily “La Nacion,” published on Sunday.

He also noted difficulties in marriage preparation for young people.

“When they finally come to get married, having already moved in together, we think it´s enough to offer them three talks to get them ready for marriage. But it´s not enough because the great majority are unaware of the meaning of a lifetime commitment.”

Citing Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said each spouse’s faith at the time of marriage is something to take into account and the Church should give this an “in depth” consideration to “analyze how we can help.”

Pope Francis said many engaged couples focus too much on getting married as “just a social event.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 8, 2014

Positivty: Little Sisters in court — Don’t stop our ministry of serving the dying poor

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:23 pm

From Denver:

Dec 8, 2014 / 05:30 pm

The Little Sisters of the Poor asked an appeals court Monday to shield them from the federal contraception mandate, saying that it threatens their 175 years of service to the poor and dying.

“As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to Himself,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire told members of the press.

“But now the government demands we choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith. We cannot do that and we should not have to.”

Mother Maguire’s comments came after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals listened to oral arguments in the Little Sisters’ lawsuit against the HHS Mandate in Denver.

The oral arguments fell on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a special day for the religious community.

“Little Sisters around the world renew their vows each year on the feast of the Immaculate. Please be assured of our prayers for you on this beautiful feast day,” a note on their website reads, which also asks for prayers for the success of the lawsuit.

Over a year ago, the Little Sisters of the Poor, aided by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that may cause early abortions.

Amid religious freedom concerns, the Obama administration revised the initial mandate, allowing religious employers such as the Little Sisters to sign a form that would trigger a separate health benefit provider to offer the coverage instead.

The Little Sisters object that they cannot in good conscience sign the form because it authorizes a third-party insurance company to provide the very products and procedures they believe to be gravely immoral. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 7, 2014

Positivity: Muslims must speak out against terrorism, violence, Pope insists

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 30, 2014 / 05:47 pm

On his in-flight press conference returning from a three-day trip to Turkey, Pope Francis said that Muslim leaders around the world must speak out against violence and terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.

“I believe sincerely that it can’t be said that all Muslims are terrorists. You can’t say that. Just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists because we have them too, eh. In all religions, there are these little groups,” he said Nov. 30.

“I told the (Turkish) president that it would be nice if all the Muslim leaders, whether political leaders or religious leaders or academic leaders, say that clearly and condemn it, no?” he continued, explaining that “all of us need a worldwide condemnation, also from Muslims who have the identity who say ‘We aren’t that. The Quran isn’t that’.”

The Pope also offered a firm warning on the situation of Middle East Christians.

“Truly, I don’t want to use sweetened words. Christians are being chased out of the Middle East. Sometimes, as we have seen in Iraq, the area of Mosul, they have to go away and leave everything, or pay the tax which doesn’t do any good.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 6, 2014

Positivity: Iowa teen says boyfriend saved her life after horseback riding accident

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Winterset, Iowa:

POSTED 4:13 PM, NOVEMBER 30, 2014

A south-central Iowa teenager was recognized as a hero after his girlfriend was critically injured in a summer horseback riding accident.

It was Fourth of July when the Winterset, Iowa teens, 17-year-old Rachel Riley and her 18-year-old boyfriend Austin Benson, went horseback riding. Benson said they had planned to have hot dogs, shoot fireworks and make a day of it.

As they were riding, Riley recalled that she had been fighting to keep her horse from taking-off up a hill; she was trying to avoid an accident.

“I looked over at the pasture that we came from and I saw Rachel’s horse riding around and I didn’t see her on the back of it and that was the chill down my spine when I didn’t see her on it,” Benson said, according to WHO.

Riley said she had gotten up to the edge of their pasture when the horse reared up, causing her to fall off. The horse then fell and landed on top of her. Heather Riley, her mother, was nearby and said she saw the horse come up on its hind legs and dump her daughter onto the ground.

“The saddle horn, the part that sticks up in front of you, was what got me in the leg,” Riley said. “Horses are very balanced animals, they don’t come off of four feet very often and it’s a very big deal when they do. So he’s thrashing around and when he goes to get up, the pressure from it without even realizing it is what ripped my leg open.”

Benson said he remembered seeing Riley rolling back and forth and he saw a lot of blood coming from her leg.

“I just put the towel on it and put my shirt to the side and I started talking to her I was like, she can’t go to sleep she cannot close her eyes,” Benson said.

WHO reported that Riley was critically injured, according to Blank Children’s Hospital Pediatric Flight Nurse Laurie Gehrke. Riley’s femoral artery was nearly severed and Gehrke said if Benson hadn’t reacted the way he did, Riley would not have made it.

“Thank God he was there,” Gehrke said. “Because had he not put the pressure on her leg, with the amount of blood that she lost, if he hadn’t done what he did- I mean, no one really seems to want to say this- she would have died… and nothing that any of us would have done would have made any difference.”

“I honestly believe that Austin saved my life,” Riley said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 5, 2014

Positivity: Newly appointed Australian bishop joins himself to his peoples’ joys, griefs

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Pennant Hills, Australia:

Dec 1, 2014 / 08:07 pm

Bishop Peter Comensoli, a former auxiliary of the Sydney archdiocese, has been appointed Bishop of Broken Bay and said he is both humbled and excited at the prospect of shepherding his new local Church.

“I am humbled and happy to be asked by the Holy Father to be the third Bishop of Broken Bay,” Bishop Comensoli said Nov. 20, the day of his appointment.

“A diocese is like a great family united in the love of Christ, and I am keen to make my home with the good people of Broken Bay Diocese,” he said, adding that “I am looking forward to getting to know the family that is Broken Bay Diocese.”

He noted that “parishes are neighbourhoods of grace, not just congregations. I am keen to work with all our priests and people in growing our neighbourhoods of grace into bright beacons of faith, hope and love.”

“If I could ask one thing,” Bishop Comensoli added, “may it be for your prayers for this sinner called to be your shepherd, after the heart of the Good Shepherd … I unite myself to you in your joys and hopes, your griefs and anxieties.”

Bishop Comensoli was born in Bulli, a town in Australia’s state of New South Wales, in 1964. He studied commerce at Wollongong University and the University of New England, and then entered seminary in 1986. He studied at St. Patrick’s College and the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wollongong in 1992.

As a priest, he obtained a license in moral theology from the Alfonsiana Academia, a master’s in moral philosophy from the University of St. Andrews, and a doctorate in theological ethics from Edinburgh University.

In 2011 he was consecrated a bishop, and appointed an auxiliary of the Sydney archdiocese. There, he served as vicar general, episcopal vicar for life, marriage and family, and chair of the Catholic schools board.

Go here for the story.