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My People

Vol. 27, Issue 7, July 2014

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14


Pope Francis (credit:

Pope, Presidents Pray For Peace

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - On June 8, the Vatican Gardens hosted the Invocation for Peace, the initiative Pope Francis proposed to presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to pray for the gift of peace for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Peres and Abbas arrived in the Vatican at 6.15 and 6.30 p.m. respectively, and were received by the Holy Father at the entrance of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he spoke briefly first with the Israeli president, and then with the Palestinian.

Shortly after, they entered the Santa Marta Hall where they were joined by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, and then transferred by car to the Vatican Gardens where they were awaited by their respective delegations. The meeting began with the following words: "May the Lord grant us peace! We are gathered here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, to offer our prayer for peace for the Holy Land and for all its inhabitants."

As previously explained, the meeting took place in three phases, followed by a conclusion. Following the chronological order of the three religions, it began with the Jewish community, followed by Christians, and finally Muslims. The first phase, for the three communities, consisted of praise to God for the gift of creation and for having made us members of one human family. The second was a plea to God for forgiveness for not having acted like brothers and sisters, and for our sins against God and neighbor. The third invokes from God the gift of peace in the Holy Land and the capacity to be converted into builders of peace. Each of these phases was accompanied by a brief musical interlude. A longer musical meditation concluded each of the three principal parts. At the end, before exchanging handshakes and planting an olive tree as a symbol of the common desire for peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, the Holy Father, President Shimon Peres, and President Mahmoud Abbas all gave brief discourses.

"Distinguished Presidents," began Pope Francis, "I greet you with immense joy and I wish to offer you, and the eminent delegations accompanying you, the same warm welcome which you gave to me during my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am profoundly grateful to you for accepting my invitation to come here and to join in imploring from God the gift of peace. It is my hope that this meeting will be a path to seeking the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide. I also thank Your Holiness, my venerable Brother Bartholomaios, for joining me in welcoming these illustrious guests. Your presence here is a great gift, a much-appreciated sign of support, and a testimony to the pilgrimage which we Christians are making towards full unity."

"Your presence, dear Presidents, is a great sign of brotherhood which you offer as children of Abraham. It is also a concrete expression of trust in God, the Lord of history, Who today looks upon all of us as brothers and Who desires to guide us in His ways. This meeting of prayer for peace in the Holy Land, in the Middle East and in the entire world is accompanied by the prayers of countless people of different cultures, nations, languages, and religions: they have prayed for this meeting and even now they are united with us in the same supplication. It is a meeting which responds to the fervent desire of all who long for peace and dream of a world in which men and women can live as brothers and sisters and no longer as adversaries and enemies."

"Dear Presidents, our world is a legacy bequeathed to us from past generations, but it is also on loan to us from our children: our children who are weary, worn out by conflicts, and yearning for the dawn of peace, our children who plead with us to tear down the walls of enmity and to set out on the path of dialogue and peace, so that love and friendship will prevail. Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain. The memory of these children instils in us the courage of peace, the strength to persevere undaunted in dialogue, the patience to weave, day by day, an ever more robust fabric of respectful and peaceful coexistence, for the glory of God and the good of all. Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity."

"History teaches that our own powers do not suffice. More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it. That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God. We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples. We have heard a summons, and we must respond. It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word 'brother.' But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father."

"To Him, the Father, in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, I now turn, begging the intercession of the Virgin Mary, a daughter of the Holy Land and our Mother. Lord God of peace, hear our prayer! We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried… But our efforts have been in vain. Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: 'Never again war!'; 'With war everything is lost.' Instil in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace. Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, You created us and You call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarrelling into forgiveness. Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words 'division,' 'hatred' and 'war' be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be 'brother,' and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam! Amen."

President Shimon Peres then addressed those present: "I have come from the Holy City of Jerusalem to thank you for your exceptional invitation," he said. "The Holy City of Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people. In Hebrew, our ancient language, the word Jerusalem and the word for peace share the same root. And indeed peace is the vision of Jerusalem. As it is said in the Book of Psalms: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you.' For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity."

"During your historic visit to the Holy Land, you moved us with the warmth of your heart, the sincerity of your intentions, your modesty, and your kind ways. You touched the people's hearts - regardless of their faith or nation. You emerged as a bridge-builder of brotherhood and peace. We are all in need of the inspiration which accompanies your character and your way. Thank you."

"Two peoples - Israelis and Palestinians - still are aching for peace. The tears of mothers over their children are still etched in our hearts. We must put an end to the cries, to the violence, to the conflict. We all need peace. Peace between equals. Your invitation to us to join you in this momentous ceremony to call for peace, here in the Vatican garden, in the presence of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze leaders, graciously reflects your vision of the aspiration we all share: Peace. On this moving occasion, brimming with hope and full of faith, let us all raise with you, Your Holiness, a call for peace between religions, between nations, between communities, and between fellow men and women. Let true peace become our legacy soon and swiftly."

"Our Book of Books commands upon us the way of peace, demands of us to toil for its realization. It is said in the book of Proverbs: 'Her ways are ways of grace, and all her paths are peace.' So too must our ways be. Ways of grace and peace. It is not by chance that Rabbi Akiva captured the essence of our Torah in one sentence: 'Love your neighbor like thyself." We are all equal before the Lord. We are all part of the human family. For without peace, we are not complete, and we have yet to achieve the mission of humanity. Peace does not come easy. We must toil with all our strengths to reach it. To reach it soon. Even if it requires sacrifice or compromise. The Book of Psalms tells us: 'Whoever loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.' "

"This is to say, we are commanded to pursue after peace. All year. Every day. We greet each other with this blessing. Shalom. Salam. We must be worthy of the deep and demanding meaning of this blessing. Even when peace seems distant, we must pursue it to bring it closer. And if we pursue peace with perseverance, with faith, we will reach it. And it will endure through us, through all of us, of all faiths, of all nations, as it is written: 'They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.' The soul is elated upon the reading of these verses of eternal vision. And we can - together and now, Israelis and Palestinians - convert our noble vision to a reality of welfare and prosperity. It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents. Let me end with a prayer: He who makes peace in the heavens shall make peace upon us and upon all of Israel, and upon the entire world, and let us say Amen."

Finally, the president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, said: "It is indeed a great honor for us to meet again with His Holiness Pope Francis in fulfilment of his kind invitation to relish his spiritual and noble presence, and listen to his opinion and crystal wisdom, which emanate from a sound heart, vibrant conscience, as well as an elevated ethical and religious sense. I thank your Holiness from the bottom of my heart for initiating this important gathering here in the Vatican. Simultaneously, we highly appreciate your visit to the Holy Land Palestine, and in particular to our Holy city Jerusalem and to Bethlehem, the city of love and peace, and the cradle of Jesus Christ. The visit is a sincere expression of your belief in peace and a truthful attempt to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis."

"Oh God, we ever praise You for making Jerusalem our gate to heaven. As said in the Holy Quran, 'Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship to the furthest place of worship, whose surroundings we have blessed.' You made pilgrimage and prayer in it as the best acts the faithful can make in your praise, and made your truthful promise in your say:' 'Let them enter the Masjid as they did for the first time.' God Almighty has spoken the truth."

"O, Lord of Heaven and Earth, accept my prayer for the realization of truth, peace, and justice in my country Palestine, the region, and the globe as a whole. I beseech You, O Lord, on behalf of my people, the people of Palestine - Muslims, Christians and Samaritans - who are craving for a just peace, dignified living, and liberty, I beseech you, O Lord, to make prosperous and promising the future of our people, and freedom in our sovereign and independent state; Grant, Oh Lord, our region and its people security, safety, and stability. Save our blessed city Jerusalem; the first Kiblah, the second Holy Mosque, the third of the two Holy Mosques, and the city of blessings and peace with all that surround it.

"Reconciliation and peace, O Lord, are our goal. God in His Holy Book has addressed the faithful: 'Make peace among you.' Here we are, O God, inclined to peace. Make firm our steps and crown our efforts and endeavours with success. You are the promoter of virtue and preventer of vice, evil, and aggression. You say and you are the most truthful, 'And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He is the Hearer, the Knower.' In the saying of Prophet Muhammad, 'Spread the peace among you.'

"Today, we reiterate after Jesus Christ addressing Jerusalem: 'If only you had known the path of peace this day.' Also let us remember the words of Saint John Paul II when he said: 'If peace is achieved in Jerusalem, peace will be witnessed in the whole world.' Simultaneously, in our prayer today, we repeatedly call after those who advocate peace: 'Blessed are the peace makers,' and 'Call for the peace of Jerusalem,' as came in the Holy Scriptures."

"Accordingly, we ask You, O Lord, for peace in the Holy Land, Palestine, and Jerusalem together with its people. We call on you to make Palestine and Jerusalem in particular a secure land for all the believers, and a place for prayer and worship for the followers of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and for all those wishing to visit it as it is stated in the Holy Quran."

"O Lord, You are the peace and peace emanates from You. O God of Glory and Majesty grant us security and safety, and alleviate the suffering of my people in home town and diaspora. O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability, and coexistence. We want peace for us and for our neighbors. We seek prosperity and peace of mind for ourselves and for others alike. O Lord, answer our prayers and make successful our endeavours for you are most just, most merciful, Lord of the Worlds. Amen!"

Proclaim The Gospel With Joy

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - On June 6 fifty-two thousand people gathered for the National Convocation of "Renewal in the Spirit," from 55 countries, applauded Pope Francis' entry into the Olympic Stadium in Rome where he joined in with the chorus in Spanish of "Vive Jesus, el Senor," a hymn that the bishop of Rome said he enjoyed greatly when he celebrated Mass in the cathedral of Buenos Aires with members of this movement. Two bodies for the coordination of Catholic Charismatic Renewal throughout the world: ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services) and CFCCCF (Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships).

The Pope answered the questions posed to him by priests, young people, families, the sick, and the elderly, asking the first among them to remain close to Christ and to His faithful, and warning the second not to keep their youth "locked away in a safe" but rather to "bet on great things." He reminded families of their roles as a domestic church, and commented that the sick imitate Jesus in the difficult moments of life, and that the elderly are the wisdom and memory of the Church. Finally, he prayed that God might grant to all the "holy intoxication of the Spirit, that enables us to speak many languages, the languages of charity, always close to those brothers and sisters who need us. Teach us not to fight between ourselves over a little more power, … teach us to increasingly love the Church that is our 'team,' and to keep our hearts open to receive the Holy Spirit."

In his address, he affirmed that Renewal in the Spirit is "a great force in the service of the proclamation of the Gospel in the joy of the Holy Spirit. … In the early times, it was said that you always carried a Bible with you, a New Testament. … If not, return to this first love, always carry the Word of God with you, in your pocket, in your bag!"

He urged them never to lose the freedom that the Holy Spirit gives us, warning them of the danger of "excessive organization." "Yes, you need organization, but do not lose the grace of letting God be God!" He also warned them of the danger of becoming "controllers" of God's grace, administrators of grace who decide who may receive the prayer of effusion or baptism in the Spirit, and who instead may not. "If any of you do this, I beg you, do not do this any more. You are dispensers of God's grace, not controllers!," he underlined.

"Evangelization, spiritual ecumenism, attention to the poor and needy and welcome to the marginalized, and all on the basis of adoration; the foundation for renewal is adoring God:" thus Pope Francis defined the path of Renewal in the Spirit, to explain the future direction he hoped they would take.

"First of all", he said, "conversion to the love of Jesus, that changes life and makes a Christian a witness to God's love. I hope that you will share with all in the Church the grace of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I expect from you an evangelization with the Word of God that proclaims that Jesus lives and loves all humankind. May you give witness of spiritual ecumenism with all those brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian communities who believe in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. May you remain united in the love that the Lord Jesus asks of all for all mankind, and in prayer to the Holy Spirit to reach this unity, necessary for evangelization in the name of Jesus. Be close to the poor and needy to touch in their flesh the wounded flesh of Jesus. Seek unity in Renewal because unity comes from the Holy Spirit and is born of the unity of the Trinity. Where does division come from? The devil! Division comes from the devil. Flee from internal struggles, please!"

In conclusion, Francis called upon them to "Go forth onto the streets and evangelize, proclaim the Gospel. Remember that the Church was born to go forth, that morning of Pentecost. … Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, with that same freedom. And please, do not cage the Holy Spirit! With freedom!"

D-Day Sacrifices Are Lessons For Peace

Vatican Radio reported that Pope Francis indicated that the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings is an opportunity for present generations to show gratitude for the "heavy sacrifice" of soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy to fight against "Nazi barbarism" and free occupied France during World War II.

He also states that it should serve as a reminder that excluding God from the lives of people and societies can bring nothing but death and suffering and he calls on the people of Europe to find their roots and future hopes in the Gospel of Christ.

The Holy Father's words are contained in a message signed by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to the Catholic Church in France on the occasion of a prayer service for the seventieth anniversary of World War II's Normandy landings.

On June 5th 1944 around 156,000 Allied troops, landed on Normandy's beaches in one of World War Two's key turning points. Between 2,500 and 4,000 Allied troops are thought to have died the next day.

In the message, Pope Francis pays tribute to these soldiers. He also writes that he does not forget the German soldiers dragged into this drama, like all victims of war. As many as 9,000 Germans are also estimated to have lost their lives.

Pope Francis states that present generations should express their full gratitude to all those who made such a heavy sacrifice. He also writes that by educating future generations to respect all men and women created in the image of God and passing down memories to them, it is possible to hope for a better future.

The Pope stresses that commemorations such as these remind us that excluding God from the lives of people and societies can bring nothing but death and suffering and European nations can find in the Gospel of Christ, the Prince of peace, the root of their history, and a source of inspiration for establishing ever more fraternal relations and solidarity.

In conclusion, the Pope entrusts to the path of peace to the protection of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - co-patron of Europe - and the Virgin Mary. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was martyred by the Nazis.

Film Generates Strong Reactions

by Michael Halm

Blackstone Films "The Third Way," viewable on-line (, seems to have generated strong reactions from both sides. There are no actors, just homosexuals telling their story of finding their way back into the Catholic Church, that accepts them, but not their former lifestyle.

The film was given its name, rather than the alternative, "Unnatural Law?," because it focuses on the Church's teaching of accepting the homosexual as a child of God and yet not accepting the homosexual lifestyle. "You belong here with us," says Fr. Michael Schmitz at the end. "You can share with us your struggle. You can share with us your attraction and we're still going to love you."

Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, "The Third Way" also refers to a political action group that, among other issues, promotes marriage. They, however, mean other than the marriage between one man and one woman under God, a re-definition which they have pushed through teachers, politicians, and the media.

Frank Weathers at "Why I Am A Catholic" says, "This may be the best 38 minutes and 14 seconds you'll spend on the subject of the theology of the body."

As Stephanie Block of Spero News wrote, "The viewier feels tremendous compassion for struggles that are not particularly 'homosexual' but common to everyone under the weight of original sin. Purity, in a broken world, is no easy achievement."

David tells how as the child of an alcoholic father everything masculine terrified him. He first identified himself as gay after a teenage friendship became sexualized. A priest "made himself available to me in a way no one else ever has. He was truly a father to me." Now he says, "I know I am a Catholic man — that's my identity. I used to think I was gay. I'm not gay; I'm David, a Catholic man." He learned to get affirmation from men who were non-homosexual and can say, "That's what I was really looking for, in all my acting out. Now I experience true, authentic love."

Julie was sexually molested as a child. She felt lost and broken, unwelcome in her church and ashamed of herself out of it. "I knew I needed God and I knew the Catholic Church was the true Church."

Melinda identified herself as bi-sexual, but eventually learned to replace her unsatisfying relationships with more perfect one with God. Richard knew that his attraction to men rather than women was not "just a phase." It was not something that would go away, that he had to deal with it the rest of his life. As many of the interviewees would agree, Sr. Helena Burns, F.S.P., notes that "We can have lots of sex with no intimacy and lots of intimacy with no sex."

In his plea for funds, John-Andrew O'Rourke explained, "The hearts and minds of countless individuals are being turned against the Church everyday. It's time for us to reverse that trend."

"Prodigal Son" who identifies himself as "a Catholic with same-sex attraction" commented on-line, "They, at least, realize that our failure to pastor gay people well is the single greatest obstacle facing the growth of the Church in America. Young people — gay or straight — care far more about this issue than any other issue. And rightly so, a Church without compassion is a Church without Christ," he commented on-line, "but a Church without truth is a Church without Christ, too. Hence: the THIRD way."

Tom Hoopes who refered to the Catechism, with the comment, "It seems that for one part of the culture, the Church's teaching (CCC 2357) that homosexual sexual acts are 'intrinsically disordered' and 'contrary to the natural law' is unthinkable. For another the church's teaching a few sentences later is unthinkable. 'These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

Sue McGlone, however, wrote, "These men and women were claiming to have found a sense of peace, acceptance, and belonging within the church. Fantastic. 'How positive,' I thought." She seems to have gotten the message, "You are suffering from a pathological condition. If you opt for a lifelong commitment to celibacy you can be happy like these people despite this flaw," but saw this as "emotional and spiritual blackmail."

Similarly J. Patrick Redmond of the Huffington Post quotes from the film, "Those with same-sex attraction aren't being asked to do anything different than a heterosexual. We're all called to chastity, every single one of us." But he rejects that as unrealistic.

He sees Catholic position as conditional, "One must deny their biology in order to receive the love." rather than as accepting both our fallen human nature and the Love Incarnate that redeemed it. He should have read Matthew 19:26, "Such a thing is impossible to man's powers, but to God all things are possible," and "Go and sin no more." (Jn 8:11)

David Romero on the other hand commented on his own re-identification. "The word 'gay' carries certain baggage," he explains, "a specific lifestyle and political agenda. It assumes I'm dating and/or sexually active. It assumes I'm out of the closet and participating in a specific community. And yes, it means I likely support specific political agendas, such as the ruling from the Third Circuit which just declared Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional."

He does not identify either with "people who struggle with same-sex attraction." He has, however, "made the decision to live in accordance with Catholic teaching and live as a celibate and chaste man. Forgetting all those things which used to define me, and looking forward instead of backwards. I'm not rejecting my orientation, but the baggage which comes from identifying with it."

In another posting Romero answered why he stayed Catholic. "There's a call on our hearts which goes so much deeper than, 'Oh, crap, if I'm gay, I must be disordered and better stay single because homosexuality is a mortal sin.' We see the beauty in God's natural design and nature, and we follow His law because it brings us into that beauty."

He passes on several encouraging "wow moments" from Supernatural Fatherhood Through Priestly Celibacy by Carter Griffin. One was simply, "Jesus was celibate. His masculinity s completely separate from his sexuality or sexual activity. Jesus, as an image of the Father, is in its highest form, totally separate from sex and sexuality."

Fight Anxiety With Kindness

by Leiann Spontaneo

"Doing good reveals all kinds, of good qualities, such as kindness, respect, love, compassion, acceptance, patience, and tolerance. When you're doing good for yourself, you become more kind and caring, to yourself and then you have more love, to give to others" (Arison, 115). "Doing good builds your self-esteem and self-confidence" (108).

"There's a real benefit to doing a nice thing every week. It's like strength training for the soul. With all the bad news in the world, crisis after crisis pounding us, it's easy to become numb. By making kindness a habit and helping on a regular basis we can keep our compassion muscles strong" (Tenzer, 4).

"As you begin to function in more compassionate ways, perhaps even to extend your heart and hands toward others, your mind will become more sensitive to both your own and other's emotions" (Tirch, 75). "One of the great costs of anxiety is the degree to which our struggle with it devours our time and energy and keeps us away from more profound and rewarding activities" (67).

In other words, if you have ever listened to Joyce Meyer you will know what I am talking about. She always says that if you feel bad about yourself, take your mind off of yourself and do something for someone else! The following are three examples, including three personal examples, so you know I practice what I preach.

"Your pastor should be celebrated! Just think about how people in the world celebrate musicians, movie stars, and athletes. What your pastor is doing is so much more important than what these people do! He is affecting lives for eternity. That is why it is vitally important to be a blessing to your pastor, especially on special occasions" (McVeigh, 26). "For example, know your pastor's birthday, anniversary, favorite restaurant, hobby/pastime, way to relax and favorite treat" (31). Fr. Frank Pavone, of Priests For Life and Gospel Of Life Ministries, my priest, has a birthday on February 4, ordination anniversary on November 12, likes Red Lobster Restaurant, has a favorite hobby/pastime/way to relax, of music and books, and his favorite treat is chocolate. On his past ordination anniversary, which was his 25th anniversary, I gave him an Italian cookbook. He travels a lot so I figured a good and new homemade meal would be nice!

Another act of kindness would be to take part in the Overseas Coupon Program. After looking up you can adopt a military base overseas and send them much needed "expired" manufacturer's coupons (up to six months). For instance, I adopted a U.S. Navy base in Sigonella, Sicily, at Defense Commissary Agency, Sigonella PSC 812, Box 2700, FPO AE, 09627-2700. You must attach a Customs Form 2976-A outside of the priority mailer with the description, being manufactuer's coupons, the value, and check the "gift" box. Imagine them being homesick, getting a piece of home in the mail, and saving money in the process!

I always tell people that you only grow old if you want to. There are those in nursing homes who wonder why they were placed there and where are family and friends. They are forgotten. Want to make them feel like school kids again? Give them books. How? Go through your books at home to donate with, but books at garage sales, and buy books at library sales. If you are lucky and have the money to spare, buy books from your local bookstore where you can often find good books on clearance. My personal example is that I bought books for a quarter apiece at a library sale, wrapped them up, and gave to the forgotten special ones of a nursing home.

"Compassionate thinking comes from a position of encouragement, warmth, kindness, and understanding rather than from cold logic. Remember that the definition of compassion involves recognition of your anxiety and suffering and an aspiration to do something about it" (Tirch, 71).

Works Cited

Arison, Shari — Activate Your Goodness — New York City, Hay House Inc. 2013, Pages 108 and 115

McVeigh, Kate — 12 Ways To Be A Blessing To Your Church — Oklahoma, Faith Library Publications, 2003, Pages 26 and 31

Tenzer, Debbie — Do One Nice Thing — New York, Crown Publishers, 2009, Page 4

Tirch, PhD. Dennis D. — Overcoming Anxiety — California, New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2012, Pages 67, 71, and 75

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

Prayers For Those Who Have Fallen In All Wars

Vatican City (VIS) - On 13 September Pope Francis will pray at the military monument of Redipuglia, Italy, for those who have fallen in all wars, to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, "an enormous tragedy about which I heard many painful stories from my grandfather, who fought in the Battle of the Piave." He announced this at the end of his meeting on June 6 in St. Peter's square with the Carabinieri, Italy's military police corps, celebrating the bicentenary of its foundation.

"Between the Carabinieri and the people there exists a bond of solidarity, trust, and dedication to the common good," said the Pope in his address. "The Carabinieri 'stations,' present throughout the national territory, are points of reference for collectivity, even in the most remote and peripheral towns and villages. And this capillary presence requires you to participate in the life of the community to which you belong, seeking to be close to the problems faced by the people, especially the weakest and those in difficulty. Your vocation is service."

This vocation is made manifest in "the protection of individuals and the environment, in action for security, the respect for the rules for civil co-existence and the common good; it is a concrete and constant commitment to the defense of the rights and duties of individuals and communities. The maintenance of public order and personal safety is an increasingly current issue in a dynamic, open society committed to the protection of civil rights and liberties, such as Italy, where you serve."

Pope Francis went on to speak about the history of the Carabinieri Corps, mentioning that it numbers among its members the Servant of God Salvo d'Acquisto, who at the age of 23 in Palidoro, near Rome, "offered his young existence to save the lives of innocent people from Nazi brutality." He also commented on their notable efforts beyond national borders as "peacemakers, to ensure security, respect for human dignity and the defense of human rights in countries racked by conflicts and tensions of every type." He concluded, "Never cease to give everywhere, in your homeland and elsewhere, a clear and joyful witness of humanity, especially towards the neediest and least fortunate."

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

Minister To gypsies with love

Vatican City (VIS) June 5, 2014 - "New civil, cultural, and social approaches, and a new pastoral strategy for the Church" against "modern forms of persecution, oppression, and slavery" are necessary to face the situation of gypsies throughout the world, said Pope Francis during this morning's audience with the participants in the meeting "The Church and gypsies: proclaiming the Gospel in the peripheries," organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

The theme of the meeting, said Francis, involves "the memory of a relationship, that between the ecclesiastical community and the gypsy population, the history of a journey to get to know each other, to encounter one another; and then the challenge for today, a challenge that regards both ordinary pastoral care and new evangelization."

He commented that often gypsies find themselves on the margins of society, "and at times are looked upon with hostility and suspicion; they are rarely involved in the political, economic, and social dynamics of the country." He continued, "We know that it is a complex reality, but certainly the gypsy population is also required to contribute to the common good, and this is possible with adequate itineraries of co-responsibility, the observance of duties, and the promotion of the rights of every person."

He observed that among the causes of misery among various sectors of the population there are factors such as "a lack of educational structures for cultural and professional formation, the difficulty of access to healthcare, discrimination in the employment market, and a lack of decent accommodation." He added that while these social ills affect everyone, "the weakest groups are those who most easily become victims of new forms of slavery. Indeed, the least protected are those who fall into the trap of abuse, forced begging and other forms of abuse. Gypsies are among the most vulnerable, especially those who are receive no help in relation to integration or the promotion of the person in the various dimensions of civil life."

The care of the Church is relevant here: "Indeed, the Gospel is the proclamation of joy for all and especially for the weakest and most marginalized. We are called upon to ensure our closeness and solidarity to these people, following the example of Jesus Christ, who demonstrated His Father's predilection for them." However, alongside this united action in favor of the gypsy population, there needs to be "commitment on the part of local and national institutions and the support of the international community, to identify projects and action for improving quality of life."

The Holy Father concluded by urging the Pontifical Council to continue in its task and not to be discouraged, adding, "May gypsies find in you brothers and sisters who love them with the same love that Christ had for the marginalized. Be, for them, the welcoming and joyful face of the Church."

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

sport is a form of education

Vatican City, (VIS) - "Sport is a form of education," said Pope Francis to the thousands of people who participated in the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the Centro Sportivo Italiana in St. Peter's Square on June 7.

"I see three roads for the young, for children. The road of education, the road of sport, and the road of work: that is, that there are jobs for them at the beginning of their young lives. If there are these three paths, I can assure you that there will be no dependencies: no drugs, no alcohol. Why? Because school takes you ahead, sport takes you ahead, work takes you ahead. Do not forget this. To you, sports people, managers, men and women of politics: education, sport and jobs!"

Francis went on to emphasize that sport must remain a game, as only in this way is it good for the body and spirit. He added, "I urge you not only to play, as you already do; put yourselves in play in life as you do in sport. Put yourself in play in search of good, in the Church, and in society, without fear, with courage and enthusiasm. Enter into the game with others and with God; do not be satisfied with a mediocre 'draw,' but instead give the best of yourself, spend your life for what it is really worth and for what will last for ever. Do not be satisfied with merely drawing even: no, no! Go ahead, always seek victory!"

"In sports clubs, one learns to welcome. Every athlete who wishes to join is welcome, they welcome each other. I urge all managers and trainers to be, first and foremost, welcoming people, able to keep the door open to give every person, especially the least fortunate, an opportunity to express himself. … I also hope you may experience the pleasure, the beauty of playing as a team, which is very important in life. No to individualism! … Belonging to a sports club means rejecting every form of selfishness and isolation, and it is an opportunity to meet and be with others, to help each other, and to compete with mutual esteem and to grow in fraternity."

The bishop of Rome also commented that many educators, priests and nuns have also taken sport as a starting point to develop their vocation and that there are many clubs which originate "in the shadow of the Church steeple." He added, "If there is no sports group in the parish, something is missing. … Sport in the community can be an excellent missionary tool, where the Church draws close to each person, helping him or her to improve and to encounter Jesus Christ."

"I ask that all may participate, not only the best: everyone, with the advantages and limits that each person has, indeed helping the disadvantaged, like Jesus did. And I encourage you to continue your commitment to children in the outskirts of the city, through sport: with a ball to play with, you may also offer reasons for hope and trust,"

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

Edge To Edge

Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that the United States will be "one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."
  • We pray that we will be peacemakers and will proclaim the Gospel with joy.
  • We pray for peace in the world especially in the Middle East and Africa.
  • We pray God will give us the gift of fortitude.
  • We pray for all students, teachers, and families during this summer.
  • We pray that we will learn lessons of peace from the sacrifices of war.
  • We pray that we will share the Gospel with all we can.
  • We pray for the Bible Institute to reach many people
  • We pray for all grandparents.

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