Archive for January, 2011

Birthday Eve

My Birthday Poem by Brad

There once was a boy named Brad
Sitting in a heap feeling sad
His mom came by
Told him not to cry
And there he was feeling glad
Once glad he started to dance
And the “fam” fell into a trance
They started a jig
In circles quite big
And all couples felt romance
When love had filled the air,
Brad knelt down in prayer
He prayed that his mom
Now all filled with calm
Could tap like Fred Astaire
She stood up with great gusto
As if to tap like a pro
But step she would not
Though she could quite a lot
And to the request sang, “No”
She decided not to tap
Because her dream had been to rap
So she bowed down low
And began with a “Yo”
In her big backwards cap
Her first rap was quite a debut
And it was criticized by few
But it was getting late
And she realized the date
So got back to eating tofu
In the midst of all the tofu
The fam said, “We love you”
She stopped with a smile
As big as the Nile
And replied “I love you too”

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Why march for life?

Placards from the March for Life

Definitely not for politics.

Maybe you could say for civil rights – to restore the right to millions of persons to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

But I think the real reason is that the babies cannot march, as Father Mark Ivany of the Catholic Church of the Little Flower said at the Youth Mass at the Verizon Center for thousands of pro-life young (and young at heart) folks including plenty of bishops and priests.

To paraphrase, during the fight against slavery, the enslaved people could cry out, think, act, even try to escape.  During the movement to change the policy that prevented women from voting, women and men could march, and speak, and write passionate pleas.  But this movement is different – to protect the right to life for pre-born babies, the ones being massacred cannot do any of the above.  Who else should do it if not the living, breathing, thinking men, women, and children?

Look at these pictures, you will mostly see regular moms, dads, teens, and even younger children who are speaking up for those who cannot do the slightest thing for themselves.

“Whatever you do to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you do to me.”


It begins.

A group waits to join in.

We entered the throng.

Behind us, thousands filled Constitution Avenue.

Official banner of the March for Life

We are in front of the Supreme Court where, in 1973, the landmark, controversial decision Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal throughout the country.


Some sang uplifting songs, others prayed as they marched

Rabbis for Life!


Ladies from an Eastern European background

Those who protest this atrocity fill the square in front of the Supreme Court


A group with "Life" balloons followed the chanting leader, dancing.

We waited at the Supreme Court for an hour and half.  The people kept on coming.  Honestly in 38 years, I don’t think I have seen so many.  We pray that the leaders of the country take notice.

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Our Parish Deacon

So much for posting once a week.  I had so many pressing things to do this past week.  The Pastor was away on a trip and the parish was preparing for a big events this weekend: the Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for our (new) parish Deacon Cong T. Nguyen and 15 other men from various parishes.

Yesterday, January 15, 2011, Deacon Cong, and his classmates were ordained by Bishop Paul Loverde, for service in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington.  The Permanent Diaconate involves a 5-year preparation period with significant commitments such as every other weekend classes.  They are training to assist the Bishop and priests in several duties including Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, preaching, and more.  All of these men have wives and families.  Our deacon and his wife are very active at our church, St. Philip’s.

This ordination is a “Big deal” being the first to occur in over 20 years!  Held in the beautiful Cathedral of St. Thomas More, the event was inspirational.  The Diocesan Choir sang beautifully, sometimes accompanied by organ or chimes, and sometimes acappella.  The Cathedral literally swelled with sound whenever the prayers or hymns were sung – everyone present wanted to be there to praise and thank God!   This occasion showed me what Church can and ought to be!

Later in the day, the parish joined with Cong and his family at the 5:30 Sunday Vigil Mass where they and friends from all over the country celebrated.  It was an extraordinary occasion for which I had responsibility to coordinate several details including a program and a visit by the Vietnamese Choir from Holy Martyrs Catholic Church in Arlington.  The Mass, which was bilingual in part, went well and was followed by a bountiful reception that I attended thankfully with no special responsibility.

It was very touching and exciting to me to be a part of this great event in the Church of Arlington Diocese and the life of my associate, Cong, and his family.  Here are some photos from these events.

Deacon Cong-Tru Nguyen receives the Book of Gospels from Bishop Loverde

Arlington Diocesan Deacon Class 2011

Bishop Paul Loverde and Deacon Cong-Tru Nguyen

Cong at reception with father (from Vietnam), wife and mother-in-law

Ordination reception - Cong-Tru with the Elliotts


Singing the Entrance hymn at Mass of Thanksgiving

Left to right, Cong's priest uncle, Cong, Father Kevin Walsh, permanent deacon friend from PA, and priest brother joined to celebrate

Our deacon preaches for the first time!

His wife and son join Parish in singing, "We are Sent into the World"

Seraphim Choir from Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church

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Do you need a Doctor?

Today I read from the Bible, the Gospel of Mark to be exact  [Mark 6: 45 – 52]  You may want to read it now before continuing.  [ http://www.usccb.org/nab/010511.shtml ]

First surprise was who was walking on water.  I must have heard this before, but somehow today it caught me off guard.  Afterward, I gulped when I read the last sentence.

Dear Lord, I do not want to have a hardened heart.  Jesus said that healthy people don’t need doctors, sick people do.

Come, Lord, and heal my sickness!

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I’ve decided I want to blog more.  So I’m starting right now.  The idea is to post on this blog at least once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it’s a great way to share stories and good news and keep faraway friends informed on what’s happening here in NoVA – where we, too, are building the kingdom of God!  It might even be inspiring.  WordPress is providing ideas for the use of intrepid bloggers like me at  The DailyPost to help along the way.   My personal goal is to improve in being incisive and allowing others to participate in the happenings of my life, with our family, and in the community here.

Last night, New Year’s Eve, John and I went over to visit his father and sister Kathie with her husband Paul.  We had a nice but brief visit and saw some of Paul’s photograph collection (impressive) including some photos I will certainly share in upcoming posts.  We hopped in the car and returned to our driveway so that we might head two doors down the street.  There, Terry and Alicia Cassell and family hosted a gathering to welcome the new year.  Food, friendliness, prayer, and singing abounded although numbers did dwindle up to the moment of the big switch.  As the ball dropped in New York, cheers were heard indoors and fireworks outdoors!  Happy New Year!

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.


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