Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

St Ignatius of Loyola

Today the Church celebrates the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He started out to be a soldier but a wound from a cannon ball changed the direction of his life. While he was convalescing, he had nothing to read and came upon some books about the lives of the saints. This lead to a long process of his conversion. He started the Society of Jesus 17 years after Luther nailed his thesis to the door of a Church in Wittenberg. St. Ignatius played an important part in the CounterReformation and put himself and his newly formed society(Jesuits) at the service of the papacy . He was a staunch opponent of Protestantism but opposed it with grace, not fury.

Great care must be taken to show forth orthodox truth in such a way that if any heretics happen to be present they may have an example of charity and Christian moderation. No hard words should be used nor any sort of contempt for their errors be shown."

Here's one of his prayers.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.
I restore it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mary, Pray for Us

This drawing by Susie captures what I picture in my mind's eye when I ask Mary for her intercession. Thanks Sue for the inspiring art!

Can the Mother of our Lord do anything but intercede for the those whom her son freely gave his life? Can you imagine Mary, with such a pivotal role in salvation history spending her time in heaven, not involved in the affairs of the kingdom of her son and her Lord?

Monday, July 28, 2008

40th Anniversary of Humane Vitae

July 25th marked the 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae. Just when the world thought the Vatican would finally cave in to the pressures of the modern world regarding birth control, Pope Paul reiterated the 2000 year old moral teachings of the Church. Not only did he reiterate the constant teaching of the Church but made predictions of what would happen to marriage and family with the widespread adoption of contraception brought about by the development of the OCP. His predictions all came to pass . Divorce skyrocketed, the abuse of women became widespread and governments would use forced contraception to control their citizens. Maybe this old Italian celibate knew more than he was credited for.
Check out this article in FirstThings.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Save Babies!

This post today is from my wife, Prodigal Daughter:

This summer I have been volunteering at a pregnancy center which is attempting to set up an ultrasound clinic. I am their nurse-manager and at the same time am in-training to perform ultrasounds on women considering abortion. The following is a true story. I hope it helps you to see the importance of ultrasound in saving the lives of the unborn. I also hope to convey the beauty and real life application of a very powerful Catholic devotion, The Rosary….

Monday July 23, 2008 The Joyful Mysteries Begin

9:00 AM The Annunciation

Care Net Pregnancy Center called. "A 19 year old woman (Jane) is 17 weeks pregnant with twins and has an abortion scheduled tonight. Can you do the ultrasound?" "Wow!" I said to myself. "How can this be? I have only done 17 scans." Lord not my will but yours be done. I then told my supervisor at Care Net: "Let me call my OB/GYN and see if she can come too."

11:15 AM The Visitation

Jane arrived at Care Net with her friend Cheri. Dr. B(my OB/GYN) was there along with the executive director of Care Net and myself. At 17 weeks, Jane was visibly pregnant. "Jane, what are you thinking about regarding this pregnancy?" Jane responds, "Cheri made me come in for the ultrasound. I just don't know what to do. I don't know how I could take care of twins. I'm afraid I'll have a nervous breakdown. I already have a two year-old. My boyfriend and I cannot afford it, etc….." "Jane, have you considered adoption? There are many families who would love to raise your babies. They will pay…" Jane responds "Oh no, I couldn't give my babies up for adoption!"

"Jane, let's go into the ultrasound room and have a look at the babies. Let's see how they are doing." Dr. B placed the probe on Jane's stomach and immediately one of the babies in her womb kicked. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb"

Luke 1:41

Dr. B. was the first to discover the sex of her twins and we all watched in amazement as her two precious baby boys kicked each other and moved around in Jane's womb.

Jane left Care Net that day still unsure about whether or not she would keep her appointment for the first of a two part abortion procedure called dilation and extraction. During her first appointment, the abortionist would insert medicine into her cervix causing it to dilate to prepare for the instruments that would kill the babies 24 hours later.

We all prayed and hoped for…..The Nativity

Evening of July 23, 2008 Sorrowful Mysteries Begin

Agony in the Garden

We all went home in prayer, waiting on pins and needles to hear what happened to Jane and the babies. I tossed and turned all night with the picture of those precious boys rolling around on the ultrasound screen flashing in my mind.

Tuesday July 24, 2008

8:30 AM Scourging at the Pillar

I arrived at Care Net and was told there was no word about Jane, tried to focus on work while waiting for the phone to ring with news about Jane.

9:00AM Crowning with Thorns

Cheri Calls…."Jane went through with the procedure. She called me this morning very upset and crying. Said she has changed her mind and wants to know if it's too late and can the abortion be stopped" I respond "Cheri, I really don't know. It might be too late. Did you call Dr. B.?" Cheri "Yes I called Dr. B and am waiting to hear back from her." "OK, I"ll page her too." I said.

9:10 AM Carrying of the Cross

Dr. B calls me and asks what's going on. I tell her about Jane going through with the procedure and now changing her mind. Dr B. agonizes, "I can't do this again. Just last month we removed the dilators on a girl who was 19 weeks pregnant and she miscarried anyway. Lord have mercy! I'll see what I can do and I'll call you back."

9:30 AM Crucifixion and Death

Dr. B. calls back. "I found a doctor that's willing to do it. She has to get to the hospital ASAP." Cheri calls and says "I can't get a hold of Jane. She won't answer her cell phone." We all wait and pray…..

11:30 AM

Dr. B. calls and says "She's on her way to the hospital. Pray that the babies are ok."

I leave for a 12:15 Mass.

1:30 PM

Phone rings, it's Dr. B. "The dilator medicine was removed. The Dr. did an ultrasound and the babies are doing well. Mom was sent home.

Wednesday July 25, 2008

The Glorious Mysteries begin…..Praise be Jesus Christ!

Thanks be to God for the work of this Crisis Pregnancy Center and the physicians who dropped everything they were doing in their hectic day to care for this young girl with no health insurance or support. Dr. B gave her personal cell phone number to the young lady and told her she would care for her for the rest of her pregnancy and deliver her babies. Dr. B said the most joyful thing in her professional life is when she delivers babies like this, she looks down at them in the delivery room and says "you don't know how close you came...."

The other neat sidebar to this story is that it shows the collaboration of Catholics and Evangelicals. The Care Net center is run and supported entirely by the evangelical community and the physicians involved in this particular case were Catholic.

World Youth Day

Monday, July 21, 2008

"My Discernment Was Wack"

Well I was shoppin’ for a new church which one’s me?

A cool emergent church with fresh coffee

Too bad I didn’t know my discernment was wack

Cuz’ all I knew about the Church was from Jack. T. Chick tracts


Should’a studied more church history

Should have listened to that nun on my TV

Wish I paid more attention in CCD

Now instead of looking fly I’m rollin phat

It’s just me and the Bible and my doctrines getting laughed at


Should’a studied more church history

(Offer implies enrollment in RCIA Class)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pope Benedict's Homily at WYD Mass

"At each Mass, in fact, the Holy Spirit descends anew, invoked by the solemn prayer of the Church, not only to transform our gifts of bread and wine into the Lord’s body and blood, but also to transform our lives, to make us, in his power, “one body, one spirit in Christ”.

Dear Friends,

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8). We have seen this promise fulfilled! On the day of Pentecost, as we heard in the first reading, the Risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, sent the Spirit upon the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. In the power of that Spirit, Peter and the Apostles went forth to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In every age, and in every language, the Church throughout the world continues to proclaim the marvels of God and to call all nations and peoples to faith, hope and new life in Christ.

In these days I too have come, as the Successor of Saint Peter, to this magnificent land of Australia. I have come to confirm you, my young brothers and sisters, in your faith and to encourage you to open your hearts to the power of Christ’s Spirit and the richness of his gifts. I pray that this great assembly, which unites young people “from every nation under heaven” (cf. Acts 2:5), will be a new Upper Room. May the fire of God’s love descend to fill your hearts, unite you ever more fully to the Lord and his Church, and send you forth, a new generation of apostles, to bring the world to Christ!

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”. These words of the Risen Lord have a special meaning for those young people who will be confirmed, sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, at today’s Mass. But they are also addressed to each of us – to all those who have received the Spirit’s gift of reconciliation and new life at Baptism, who have welcomed him into their hearts as their helper and guide at Confirmation, and who daily grow in his gifts of grace through the Holy Eucharist. At each Mass, in fact, the Holy Spirit descends anew, invoked by the solemn prayer of the Church, not only to transform our gifts of bread and wine into the Lord’s body and blood, but also to transform our lives, to make us, in his power, “one body, one spirit in Christ”.

But what is this “power” of the Holy Spirit? It is the power of God’s life! It is the power of the same Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of creation and who, in the fullness of time, raised Jesus from the dead. It is the power which points us, and our world, towards the coming of the Kingdom of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims that a new age has begun, in which the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all humanity (cf. Lk 4:21). He himself, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin May, came among us to bring us that Spirit. As the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love which binds us to the Lord and one another, and the light which opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God’s grace.

Here in Australia, this “great south land of the Holy Spirit”, all of us have had an unforgettable experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the beauty of nature. Our eyes have been opened to see the world around us as it truly is: “charged”, as the poet says, “with the grandeur of God”, filled with the glory of his creative love. Here too, in this great assembly of young Christians from all over the world, we have had a vivid experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the life of the Church. We have seen the Church for what she truly is: the Body of Christ, a living community of love, embracing people of every race, nation and tongue, of every time and place, in the unity born of our faith in the Risen Lord.

The power of the Spirit never ceases to fill the Church with life! Through the grace of the Church’s sacraments, that power also flows deep within us, like an underground river which nourishes our spirit and draws us ever nearer to the source of our true life, which is Christ. Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who died a martyr in Rome at the beginning of the second century, has left us a splendid description of the Spirit’s power dwelling within us. He spoke of the Spirit as a fountain of living water springing up within his heart and whispering: “Come, come to the Father” (cf. Ad Rom., 6:1-9).

Yet this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive “power from on high”, enabling us to be salt and light for our world.

At his Ascension, the Risen Lord told his disciples: “You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Here, in Australia, let us thank the Lord for the gift of faith, which has come down to us like a treasure passed on from generation to generation in the communion of the Church. Here, in Oceania, let us give thanks in a special way for all those heroic missionaries, dedicated priests and religious, Christian parents and grandparents, teachers and catechists who built up the Church in these lands – witnesses like Blessed Mary MacKillop, Saint Peter Chanel, Blessed Peter To Rot, and so many others! The power of the Spirit, revealed in their lives, is still at work in the good they left behind, in the society which they shaped and which is being handed on to you.

Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the “power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?

The power of the Holy Spirit does not only enlighten and console us. It also points us to the future, to the coming of God’s Kingdom. What a magnificent vision of a humanity redeemed and renewed we see in the new age promised by today’s Gospel! Saint Luke tells us that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all God’s promises, the Messiah who fully possesses the Holy Spirit in order to bestow that gift upon all mankind. The outpouring of Christ’s Spirit upon humanity is a pledge of hope and deliverance from everything that impoverishes us. It gives the blind new sight; it sets the downtrodden free, and it creates unity in and through diversity (cf. Lk 4:18-19; Is 61:1-2). This power can create a new world: it can “renew the face of the earth” (cf. Ps 104:30)!

Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith’s rich vision, a new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God’s gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished – not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.

The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns (cf. Jer 2:13) in a desperate search for meaning – the ultimate meaning that only love can give? This is the great and liberating gift which the Gospel brings: it reveals our dignity as men and women created in the image and likeness of God. It reveals humanity’s sublime calling, which is to find fulfilment in love. It discloses the truth about man and the truth about life.

The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4)! In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul reminds us that each and every Christian has received a gift meant for building up the Body of Christ. The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people. She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness. Open your hearts to that power! I address this plea in a special way to those of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to say “yes” to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!

In a few moments, we will celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit will descend upon the confirmands; they will be “sealed” with the gift of the Spirit and sent forth to be Christ’s witnesses. What does it mean to receive the “seal” of the Holy Spirit? It means being indelibly marked, inalterably changed, a new creation. For those who have received this gift, nothing can ever be the same! Being “baptized” in the one Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13) means being set on fire with the love of God. Being “given to drink” of the Spirit means being refreshed by the beauty of the Lord’s plan for us and for the world, and becoming in turn a source of spiritual refreshment for others. Being “sealed with the Spirit” means not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilization of love.

As we pray for the confirmands, let us ask that the power of the Holy Spirit will revive the grace of our own Confirmation. May he pour out his gifts in abundance on all present, on this city of Sydney, on this land of Australia and on all its people! May each of us be renewed in the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of wonder and awe in God’s presence!

Through the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, may this Twenty-third World Youth Day be experienced as a new Upper Room, from which all of us, burning with the fire and love of the Holy Spirit, go forth to proclaim the Risen Christ and to draw every heart to him! Amen.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Saint Song

We are truly blessed to be surrounded by "so great a cloud of witnesses."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CNN's Review of Pope Benedict's First Address

"Pope decries damage to the environment." so says CNN today.

Somehow I think the Holy Father intended his address to say more than more than the thumbnail sketch drawn by CNN implies.

Did they miss this part of the speech?

" How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space – the womb – has become a place of unutterable violence? My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable."

My headline would have read:

"Pope says care for our environment must not take precedent over the innate dignity of human life"

Pope Addresses the Youth in Australia

The Pope was greeted by half a million young Catholics in Sydney Austrailia. His address to them was awesome. It's worth reading here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sacramental Thinking

I was visiting a blog, Path of Weis, and found a comment by Bryan that blew me away. In his comment he describes what I have been attempting to articulate for the past two years on this blog. I often talk about the "spirit good, body bad" paradigm I held to as a Protestant and how that predisposes one to being suspicious of "all things Catholic." As Catholics, we don't make that distinction and see that God can and does use all material things to His divine purpose. Water, wine, bread, etc. His grace comes to us through the physical since we are, after all, still physical beings.
So here is "sacramental thinking" from Bryan.

"Concerning ritual. We agree that Jesus commanded us to be baptized, and to celebrate the Eucharist. Those are not empty rituals. I can't explain it in a single paragraph; maybe I could just ask you (insofar as you trust me a little bit) to be aware that there is a *sacramental* way of thinking, and there is a non-sacramental way of thinking. If you have been in an Evangelical tradition (as I was), then you think in a non-sacramental way. No material thing is holy, in your view. Only God is holy. No physical action does anything to our soul. I mean, it doesn't matter whether you pray on your knees, or with folded hands, bowed head, etc. Body and soul are separate. But the sacramental way of thinking is very different. It treats body and soul as deeply interconnected and intertwined. When we kneel to pray, for example, we actually put our soul in a different disposition than when we sit. Some objects are holy. Some actions affect our souls, like making the sign of the cross while saying "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Some matter is holy, like holy water. (You can find that in the Old Testament.) I can't explain it all in a combox comment, but just be patient with yourself, because it takes a lot of time to understand, let alone transition from a non-sacramental way of thinking to a sacramental way of thinking.

Another thing to keep in mind regarding your concern that you know no pious and devout Catholics is that true holiness does not flaunt itself. In fact, if you walked passed it on the street, you might just walk right past it, without noticing it. It is very much unlike the persona of various TV preachers, for whom it is all about them. I didn't know virtuous Catholics either before becoming Catholic. I just knew a few, and they were mostly authors, not people I could meet face-to-face. But then after meeting just a few orthodox Catholics, I saw that here was real holiness. I met a family with eight children, and the children were so amazing in their virtue and piety that I was amazed. If only I could raise my children to turn out that well, I thought. And after being received into the Church, I discovered many holy Catholics. I see them every day now at daily mass. These people are saints. They are quiet; they are in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every day, praying and praying. They love Jesus intensely, and deeply. They have the "mere". They come early in the morning, just to pray. They fast on Fridays. Some stand in prayer outside the abortion clinic on Saturday mornings. Others serve the poor by working in the St. Vincent DePaul Society, and working with Catholic Charities. One of the ladies I see at daily mass has a bad leg, and she takes the bus to come to mass, and then she goes over to the hospital as a volunteer, and brings the sacrament to those who are sick in the hospital. Never complains, always greets me with a face full of joy and a hug. She has no money. She lives in a very poor apartment. She is a widow, and yet she gives herself all the time to others. But outside the Church looking in, you would never know such people exist. They are quiet, hidden, unknown. They don't blow a trumpet before they do good deeds. They are, in that respect, like Jesus Himself. Isaiah tells us, "He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isaiah 53:2-3) The Church, which is the Body of Christ, imitates Christ in this very way. It is so human that you just walk right past it, not even recognizing it for what it is. "Oh, that is the Church Christ founded? I've been walking right past it all these years. You've got to be kidding me! Oh, that person was a saint? You've got to be kidding me. I had no idea that she was doing all these things behind the scenes. But now that you mention it, there was something about her; it was charity -- she exuded it in a way that drew no attention to herself. Wow. If only I had known, I would have talked to her more. Don't worry, there are many more just like her. The world does not notice them, because like their Lord, they have no stately form or majesty or appearance that we should be attracted to them. The Church is much bigger on the inside than on the outside, just as a person is much bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just as heaven is much bigger on the inside than on the outside."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Helpers of God's Precious Infants

PD and I went to Mass said by Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, this past Saturday in Bethlehem, PA. During this special Mass, he baptized two babies who were saved from death through the grace of God and the work of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants. This group has been praying outside the Allentown Abortion Mill for years now, once a month. These two women, whose children were baptized, decided not to abort their children as a result of the sidewalk counselors prayers and giving of pro-life literature.
This Mass was a confirmation to all involved in pro-life work that we must continue the efforts to promote life and support those who choose life. The pro-life movement crosses all theological and denominational boundaries and it is one of the few areas that Catholics and Protestants can work side-by-side for the Kingdom of God. May God continue to bless the ministry of Father Pavone and the Helpers of God's Precious Infants.
If praying outside an abortuary isn't your thing, there are many other ways to still support the pro-life movement. Writing to legislators, voting for pro-life candidates, using pro-life messages on your checks and address labels, explaining to your children that life begins at conception and ends at natural death, going to the March for Life in DC in January, volunteering at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and sending donations to the ministries involved in pro-life activities in your area.

Also, read about the link between contraception and abortion (as Pope Paul VI predicted in Humane Vitae in the 1960's)

Carmelite Monastery in Coopersburg, PA

I have posted on this before but this time I brought a camera. The Carmelite Monastery near Allentown PA is a wonderful place to go to pray and worship and to "get alone" with God. It is the home of a small order of Carmelite cloistered nuns who follow the charism of Saint Therese of Lisieux. Each Sunday afternoon at 3:30 they have benediction which is open to the public as well as daily Mass at 7 AM. At the end of benediction, you can go forward and venerate a first class relic of St. Therese of Lisieux. We enjoy going to Christmas midnight Mass there because it's a bit quieter. There are priests from the diocese who take turns celebrating the Mass for the sisters (who remain unseen behind an iron grate) and the public.
Also they have a very cool little self-serve bookstore and gift shop where you can purchase inexpensive sacramentals, prayer cards, statues, and the story of their foundress Mother Theresa of Jesus.(Only Open on Sunday after Benediction) Finally, there is a room that contains the uncorrupted remains of their foundress and we often go there to obtain her intercessions for some serious concerns of ours. She is in the "pipeline" for sainthood. Can she intercede for us if she is not yet an "official" saint? Sure.
So if you get a chance when driving on Route 78 near the Quakertown exit, pull off and just a few minutes away is a nice retreat for your heart and soul. After you are done reading this, say a prayer for an increase in vocations to this order. They are very small and risking getting smaller as the sisters are very few in number but very many in years!

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Goodbye and Godspeed to our Priests

Today is Transition Sunday in our diocese of Allentown, PA. Our pastor, Monsignor Hoban, said his last Sunday Mass today . He and our assistant pastor, Father Rich are leaving Tuesday. They will continue to be in our prayers. Please pray for our diocese.

St John Vianney, Cure of Ars, we ask you to intercede for our priests. Pray that God's grace will be made abundant to them in these difficult times ahead. In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Shepherd Cares for His Sheep

Pope Benedict is praying for the Anglican Communion. He is praying that there will be no further rifts and divisions particularly with this week's upcoming Lambeth Council promising to be a humdinger.

Schism has always been a feared threat to the Church and many of the early Church fathers spoke about schism and did what they could to avert it. Pope Benedict, like other popes before him, is sensitive to the possibility of schism.

Some may say that the Pope is not the shepherd of the Anglicans but I believe he is functioning in his role as shepherd of the Church Universal looking out for all the sheep, even ones not necessarily in the fold....yet.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Benefit of Being in the Catholic Church

In our diocese, a third of the parishes are closing due to the shortage of priests . This has caused much pain and distress, particularly for those whose lives revolved around the local parish. Those who were baptized, received Holy Communion, confirmed and married in a parish that is closing are particularly hurting. Some of the parishes have sent an appeal to Rome and there have been some angry letters written to the editor of our local newspaper from parishioners who feel they were unjustly treated in the process.

Our parish is not closing but we are getting an entirely new pastoral staff. The pastor is retiring after 48 years of active ministry and a new pastor is being assigned. The associate pastor who very much wanted to stay is becoming a pastor of 6 consolidated parishes in the northwestern far-reaches of the diocese, one hour away. Despite these significant changes, the majority of the faithful will remain just that, faithful. For some, there will always be a sadness and the grieving process may never quite be completed this side of the veil. But at the end of the week, the Catholic will once again find himself at Mass. The preaching may be better or worse, the choirs and music won’t be the same, the architecture of the building may change. The look and feel of the congregation won’t be the same. But as the new and unfamiliar priest reverently begins the Mass, “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit….” we will know we are home.

The beauty and strength of Catholic faith is that it is truly universal. Our relationship to God and our ability to remain in fellowship with Him and His people is entirely independent of our emotional attachment to a particular local expression of the Church. Before I was Catholic, I was part of several churches that saw the changing of their leadership. Many times after this occurred, a significant portion of the membership left. Some chose to not go to church at all. After a particularly charismatic and well loved pastor left, the church slowly dwindled and eventually closed when another could not fill his shoes.

When our two priests leave next week, surely there will be a sense of loss, but our faith remains unchanged, undimmed, not dependent on the strength or weakness of the particular priests who fill their shoes.Surely, this is another benefit of being a member of the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Anglican Church Votes to Ordain Women as Bishops

The Church of England voted to ordain women as bishops. This is a move that has been disappointing to Rome because the hope for unity has been dashed by this decision. Yet, there are many traditionalist bishops and priests in the Anglican Communion who disagreed with this decision. Some of these traditional bishops have been in private talks with Rome recently to discuss the possibility of an en masse tiber crossing.
I suspect that these Anglo-Catholics will now be much more likely to come home to Rome, while the less conservative members of the Church of England will continue to plod along, with much less likelihood of ever having unity with the Catholic Church.

St. Augustine of Canterbury, we ask your intercessions for the Anglican Church

Monday, July 07, 2008

Wisdom From the Land Down Under

BTW, Pray for the success of World Youth Day in Sydney next week. It is the largest gathering of young people in the world. Pope Benedict will be traveling there to greet and shepherd his young Catholic flock.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

This post is lifted from last year's July 4th post.

So how is TJ going to forcibly drag Catholicism into a blog post today? Can't he give it a rest for one day? I mean this is America, a country founded with the express purpose of religious freedom for all and he's gonna make a stink about Catholicism on the Fourth of Juuuuuuly. Give me a break!
Yeah, I am! No rest for the weary. It turns out all religions were free to be practiced in the New World except for Catholics and Quakers. Of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, only one was Catholic, Charles Carroll of Maryland. It was amazing that he ended up getting his name on it at all. Though Maryland was originally founded to be a Catholic haven in the colonies in 1634, by 1689, the British anti-Catholic repression had been imported to the colonies and freedom for Catholics to worship was very short-lived.

Until the Revolutionary War, Catholics in Maryland were considered dissenters in their own country, and were forced to live at times under a state of siege. At the time of the signing of the Declaration, it was illegal for a Catholic in the colonies to hold office or vote or educate their children in the Catholic faith. The Declaration of Independence fortunately ended that. It would have been a little awkward to have the wealthiest member/contributor of the Continental Congress and aide and friend to George Washington excluded from the democratic process because of his religious affiliation. So politically incorrect! How, I wonder, did it get resolved? I concocted a little Independence Day Play to suggest how it may have gone down.

I can just see them there now in the humid sweaty chambers down in Philadelphia on a hot weekend in the end of June with Thomas Jefferson at the helm. (I have lived in Philly for four hot summers and can assure you it gets very hot!)


"What Are We Going to Do About Charles?

Flash back/dream sequence of the signers of the Declaration in Philadelphia at Independence Hall. (Before the barricades went up after 911) The curtain rises on three middle-aged men seated together at a desk flushed with the heat, perspiring heavily.

John Adams {pointing to Carrol}:
Psst. Thomas! Thomas! Did'ya know that chap across the room is a Papist? He's from MARY-land {Hissing through his teeth saying Mary in a sing-song voice}
Thomas Jefferson {holding his forefinger across his lips}: Shush old man! Don't you know who he is?
James Madison {swatting a fly from his arm}: Some say he's the wealthiest guy in here. Owns 100,000 acres down in Maryland. The area is even named after him! Carrolburg or Carrolville they call it, for crying out loud! {Looks out the window with disgust then empties his mouth loudly into the spittoon}
George Taylor: I heard he is friends with George himself as well as Ben.
John Adams: {with a stage whisper} I don't care if he has more money than the pope and is St. Peter's long lost relative! How are we gonna' let him sign the darn Declaration if we don't allow him to vote ? (He hikes up his britches and cautiously looks around the room) And besides, Do you realize he worships idols?
Thomas Jefferson: C'mon boys! {he lights his clay pipe and takes a long puff} You know I'm not big on that religion stuff myself, but, the way I see it every one, even papists, are created equal and given, by whoever they believe their creator is, certain.... privileges. Or, should I say rights... Yes! Now, let me think for a minute. {He takes his spectacles off and wipes the sweat from his brow} Alien rights? No that's not right! Inalienable rights? No, that's doesn't sound right to me either. Damn! {He loosens the tie on his long red pony-tail}
{He motions with his quill pen for Charles Carrol to join them}
Charles Carrol carefully places his rosary beads back in his vest pocket and slowly walks across the floor towards Jefferson.
Charles Carrol: Hey TJ! what's up? I was just chatting with my Lady asking her to intercede for our proceedings here today. Sorry, I got a bit distracted. What can I do for you boys?
Thomas Jefferson: {looking sheepishly at the ground} We know you have the ear of General George and have been very supportive of the efforts for freedom. What are we going to do about this little problem we have with you and the voting issue?
Charles Carrol: {Draws closer to the table speaking nervously } "Well, the way I see it, we are all created in the image of God and therefore need to respect the rights and dignity of all men which includes voting. {He gets a little quieter} Yeah, I know what you are all thinking: 'Who am I to lecture you on religious rights?' I know we got a little out of hand during the Inquisition but you know as well as I it wasn't as bad as the history books made it out to be! Just let me vote and sign this thing and we'll all get home to our families before the summer's over. I have a nice little spread on the Chesapeake and you're all invited for the weekend if we can just get this signed. Besides, I'm really having a hard time offering up all this sufferin' with the heat! St. Blases it is hot! {He makes the sign of the cross and wipes his forehead simultaneously}
{Looks down at Jefferson's notes} Oh, by the way Thom, I was the spelling bee champion at Saint Ann's School and the word inalienable is spelled U-N-A-L-I-E-N-A-B-L-E."
Thomas Jefferson:
Why thank you Charles!
{rolling his eyes} I'll take that under advisement.....

A Church bell tolls off-stage as the curtain closes.

The End

To Read the Real Story of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence Go Here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bozo and Catholicism

By now you have heard the sad news that the beloved Bozo the Clown passed into eternity.
Anyone from my generation should remember the Bozo the Clown Show on TV.

Now how the heck does this relate to Catholicism? Well it turns out the connection between the word bozo with a dunce or a clown comes from the writings of St. Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th century theologian and saint. In his didactic writings he referred to himself as "A" with the correct answer and "B" to represent "boso" who was the dunce with an incorrect answer. It is quite possible this lead to the use of the term Bozo to represent a clown/hobo/dunce.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Why I Blog

I am so thankful that God uses our conversion/reversion stories to help others see the Church in a new light and sometimes even help them Cross the Tiber! A recent commenter on my personal conversion story helped me to once again see why Catholics need to tell the Good News of Jesus and His Church on the internet and beyond. In this year of St. Paul, we are all challenged to look at St Paul's life and learn from his boldness in proclaiming the fullness of the gospel. Please pray for this seeker when you read this below.

Laura writes:

I am a Protestant but am feeling increasingly drawn to the Catholic Church. The thought has crossed my mind more than a few times about becoming Catholic. Can you recommend a good starting place for exploring the Catholic faith more, resources, etc.?

Thank you and God bless you!


June 28, 2008 8:47 PM

Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Laura:
I would be happy to point you in the direction of the Church! The web has some good stuff and not so good stuff.
First, I recommend getting a Catechism of the Catholic Church and perusing it. It's a lot of material but you can look up in the index on topics you are interested in. There are several online versions. Just google "Catechism of the Catholic Church"
Regarding web based sites, I have several on "my links" and I suggest checking them out. Particularly Catholic Answers site.
Below are some of the links I suggest you go to on the left side of of the home page of my blog. They can be accessed there at my blog
*Reasons to Be Catholic
* Catholic Information Network
* Beginning Catholic
*Catholic Bridge (This is excellent site)
* Catholic Catechism
* Thinking About Converting?
* Catholic Answers(Another great site for questions and answers)
* Catholic Apologetics
* Info About Catholicism
* Scripture Catholic(If you ever need scripture to support Catholic belief, here it is)
* Early Church Fathers
* Catholic Converts

If you have trouble finding any of these, let me know, you can e mail me any questions
God bless you I will pray for you today.

June 29, 2008 9:56 AM

Anonymous Laura said...

Thank you so much for your prayers and the resource recommendations. I have been immersing myself in the study of Catholic doctrine the last several days and, although I still have many questions and uncertainties, many of my questions have already been answered through the web sites you provided, in particular the Coming Home Network.

Thank you again.


July 03, 2008 5:57 PM

Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

It is my pleasure to help other believers see the beauty of the Catholic Church. I hope to spend the rest of my life doing just that. I will continue to pray for you.
In Christ


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Evangelicals and Tradition

Some of the scriptures that Catholics use to reinforce the view that Sacred Tradition is part of the "rule of faith" come from St. Paul. These are scriptures that I read a "hundred times" as an evangelical but the import of which was completely lost on me.

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us” (2 Tim. 1:13–14).

“And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

“To this he called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:14–15).

Instead, I read and remembered the gospel passage where Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their wrongful use of tradition. I completely miss-interpreted this and read into it to refer to "the evil traditions of men, particularly of that Roman Catholic Church with all its traditions." Little did I see that Jesus wasn't trashing tradition, but the inappropriate use of it. 1500 years later this scripture was used against the very Church he started.

An interesting article written from by an evangelical was forwarded to me today. It's a bit long but worth the time reading. God bless the author, Rich Wade, for his desire to explain Tradition for our Protestant brothers. Thanks Dan for the tip. Check it out here.