Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

In my previous post, “Praise Report for Howard”, I shared about a significant, life-changing event in my father-in-law’s life.  I can remember it.  But probably, he can’t.

If an immense redwood tree falls in a forest with a resounding crash, but no one hears it, does it really make a sound?  I have always said, ‘yes’ in the past.  Now I’m not so sure.

I am taking the position that that Howard’s openness to the Lord through prayer represents an orientation in his rational mind.  Even if his short-term memory loss issues keep him from recalling it, the memory is there somewhere in his brain to be restored to his thinking at some point.  Some things matter; this is one of them.

Please pray for Howard as he is dealing with some of the most excruciating pain known to Man, and he is 91.  He is also not known for his interpersonal skills to begin with.  But this is a really tough situation, and he needs all the help he can get.  Unfortunately, he forgets quickly and says, “Don’t help me, I’ve got to do this myself,” when in fact, he does need assistance to avoid the pain.

We need prayers too, to know when to offer, when to back off, and when to “help him anyway” because that is what he really needs.  End-of-life issues …

~from “I Will Praise You in this Storm” – Casting Crowns

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm


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10 Things to Remember for Lent

Lent, It’s time for CHANGE …

Yes, we have all heard this before, the call for change.  Being Roman Catholic is part of  who I am.  Today is

Ash Wednesday

and I am all about dedicating myself to change … in so many areas … thought, word, and deed!  I read an article this morning on the website of American Catholic bishops.   In the article, Bishop Ricken (chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) presented some wonderful ideas on how to observe Lent well.

Being a CCD teacher, I synopsized the list for my 7th grade class; it follows.  If you want the full story, click on the link to Bishop Ricken’s article (http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-032.cfm).

10 Things to Remember for Lent

(based on an article by Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin)

1.  Remember the Formula – PRAYER, FASTING, ALMSGIVING.

2.  It’s a time of prayer.   Spread out over 40 days, we go on a journey that brings us closer to Christ.

3.  It’s a time to fast.  With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast.

4.  It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive such as exercise more or intentionally setting aside time to go to Confession regularly.

5.  It’s about dying to yourself.   The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent.  So more than simple self-control, Lent is about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them “die”.  (Again the Sacrament of Penance is a big help.)

6.  Don’t do too much.  Don’t be tempted to try to “re-invent” yourself this Lent.  Focus on a couple of simple ways to grow closer to God.

7.  Lent reminds us of our weakness.  We have trouble keeping even our simple goals – when we fast, we are one meal away satisfying our hunger.  Seeing our helplessness makes us seek God’s help more urgently.

8.  Be patient with yourself.   When confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated.  Instead, receive God’s grace to be patient with ourselves and others.

9.  Reach out in charity.  Experiencing our own weakness and suffering renews our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering, and in need.  The third part of the formula – almsgiving – means throwing more in the collection basket and helping others with God’s unconditional love.

10. Learn to love like Christ.  Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ.  Let us ask His help, join His suffering, and learn to love like He does.


Let’s all draw closer to God this Lent.  Cheers!

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The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is constantly fighting for pro-family, pro-life, and religious values and rights that our guaranteed by the Constitution (my words, but true).  The following is a message that I received today, the second day of Spring – a time to celebrate new life.  It offers you an opportunity to make a difference for the little ones in their mothers’ wombs and the women, many of whom are young, poor, and disadvantaged who have no help when they realize they are pregnant.  It also offers you a chance to sign a petition that will be used to show a pro-abortion official who doesn’t care about the rule of law that he cannot do as he pleases.  Please read below and sign if you are so inclined.

(From the ACLJ website at:  https://www.aclj.org/petition/Default.aspx?AC=DNE1103084&SC=3674&email=mcelliott59@hotmail.com&guid=A3279DC7-5E7F-40CD-A703-EE79970A85DB )

Dear Maria,

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg signed a new law that will effectively shut down pro-life pregnancy centers in New York City. This law – that Planned Parenthood hopes will be a model for shutting down pro-life pregnancy centers around the country – creates legal restrictions that only apply to pregnancy centers that don’t provide abortions, and ignores abortion clinics.

Even pro-abortion Bloomberg all but admitted it was unconstitutional when he signed it, saying: ”If it’s constitutional or not, I just don’t know.”

This law is nothing but a ploy for Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates to force pro-life centers out of existence – virtually eliminating their competition and growing their abortion businesses.

The ACLJ will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of pregnancy centers in New York City to protect them from illegally being forced to:


  • Post signage declaring that they do not offer abortion services
  • Be exposed to excessive and endless frivolous lawsuits

Please forward this email immediately and share this link on Facebook and Twitter to anyone you know who is concerned about the lives of unborn babies. We need every voice in this fight, and everyone to add their name to our Petition to Stop the Shut-Down of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers.

Can you imagine any other business or service being forced to post signs declaring what they do not provide – or referring people to competitors that offer life-threatening treatments?

The ACLJ believes this law is clearly unconstitutional – in fact, it was rushed through the city council in defiance of New York City statutes and without the formal hearing required by public ordinance.

We have strong grounds to fight this outrageous law’s implementation, especially considering that a district court judge in Maryland recently found a similar law unenforceable.

The last thing NYC needs is for crisis pregnancy centers to be shut down by attacks like this law – a recent report showed that 41% of pregnancies in NYC end in abortion, and that 90% of the abortions are performed on ethnic minorities.

We cannot let organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL force pro-life pregnancy centers out of business. We need the signatures of pro-life advocates like you, nationwide.

Again, please make sure people sign our petition to protect life and these life-saving clinics by forwarding this email and sharing this link on Facebook and Twitter. Ask people to sign their name to our Petition to Stop the Shut-Down of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers.

Thank you again for your strong commitment to life.


Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel

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Fast and Feast during Lent

[This is reprinted from “Marist Messenger”, March 2003]

Fast and feast in Lent

Lent can be more than a time of fasting, it can be a season of feasting.
We can use Lent to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season in which we can:

(Try doing three each week during Lent!)
• Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
• Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
• Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
• Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
• Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
• Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
• Fast from anger; feast on patience.
• Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
• Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
• Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
• Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
• Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
• Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
• Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
• Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
• Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
• Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
• Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
• Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
• Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
• Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
• Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
• Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

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It is not easy in this day and society to take an uncompromising pro-life stand.  Most people are not willing to present themselves as a target for the opposition, for what is not politically correct.  Bernard Nathanson is a stark contrast to the wishy-washy, hold-back mentality of some, many of whom maintain private views against abortion.  This article from the National Catholic Register tells this great hero’s story in powerful fashion.

Bernard Nathanson dead at 84

May he rest in peace having turned away from the darkness and toward the Light of Christ!

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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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