Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dan Cirucci Blog: The Week's Most Viewed Stories

Sep 6, 2010, 1 comment

Quarter Million Join Pope For Mass; Inspiring!

Baptism By Immersion? In A CATHOLIC Church?

While attending Easter vigil services last night in Virginia we witnessed Catholic baptism by immersion.
We had never seen this before in a Catholic church so we thought we'd share these photos with you.
Usually, Catholics are baptized within a few weeks of their birth with the pouring of holy water only over the head and anointing the head with oils. Rarely will you see an immersion baptismal pool in a Catholic church. Usually, the baptismal font is like a very large bowl on a marble stand sitting waist high. 
During Easter adults and children who are new to Catholicism are baptized. And there is nothing to prohibit baptism by immersion. Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head"
So now it turns out that some Catholic parishes are returning to the "most expressive" form of baptism.
Here's a video of a similar Catholic immersion baptism:
Note that water is poured three times and/or the candidate is immersed three times for "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." We understand that this is slightly different from most Protestant rites.
Still photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

The True Meaning Of Easter - Salvation Is Ours!

He is risen!

Warm Easter wishes from MRC to our Christian friends across the world…

The Gospel according to St. Luke: 1-12:

 1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

 8 And they remembered his words,

 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ❖ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

May this special 
time bring
reflection and reverence 
for all
that is God
in your life.

As we celebrate 
the joy of 
His Resurrection,
may the blessings of 
peace, gladness and hope 
fill your heart and home.


The Gospel according to St. Luke: 1-12:

1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

8 And they remembered his words,

9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Have A Deliciously Sweet Easter, Everybody!

All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

Pope Francis: 'God Is Life And We Are His Glory!'

From The Vatican:

At 10:15 this morning, Easter Sunday, the Holy Father Francis celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Resurrection in St. Peter's Square. Faithful from Rome and pilgrims from around the world participated in the celebration, which began with the "Resurrexit" rite—in which an icon of the Risen Lord, placed next to the papal altar, is opened and venerated to recall St. Peter's witness of the resurrection. The Pope did not give a homily since immediately after the Mass he gave his Easter message and “Urbi et Orbi” blessing (to the city and to the world).

In honour of the feast, St. Peter's Square was decorated with splendid floral arrangements. More than 40,000 flowers, donated by Dutch horticulturists, transformed the area around the altar into a magnificent garden. Yellow daffodils and white lilies highlighted, the colours of Easter and the papal flag that represent the purity of Jesus' sacrifice and the glory of his resurrection. The pink flowers—delphinium and cherry blossoms—symbolized the light of the risen Christ who destroys darkness.

At noon, from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis addressed the over 250,000 people overflowing St. Peter's Square and those who were following the celebration by radio or television. He delivered his Easter proclamation—“God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden!”—and made a strong appeal for peace throughout the world. He then imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing. Following is the full text of the Pope's message:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter! Happy Easter!”

“What a joy it is to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons… Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin or of evil! Love has triumphed! Mercy has been victorious! God's mercy always triumphs!”

“We too, like the women who were Jesus’ disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means (cf. Lk 24:4). What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom. God's love can do this.”

“This same love out of which the Son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end, down to hell—to the abyss of separation from God—this same merciful love has flooded Jesus' dead body with light and transfigured it; has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus did not return to his former life, to an earthly life, but entered into the glorious life of God and He entered there with our humanity, opening us to a future of hope.”

“This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from the slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness. Because God is life, life alone, and we are his glory, the living person.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all time and for everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passing from the slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts, even today, do human beings need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when are lacking love for God and neighbour, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14).”

“So this is the invitation that I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy! Let us be loved by Jesus! Let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.”

“And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for all the world.”

“Peace for the Middle East, in particular between Israelis and Palestinians who struggle to find the road of agreement: that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq: that every act of violence may end. And above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?”

“Peace for Africa, still the scene of bloody conflicts. In Mali: may unity and stability be restored. In Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great numbers of persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups. Peace in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Central African Republic where many have been forced to leave their homes and continue to live in fear.”

“Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.”

“Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century. Human trafficking is precisely the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century! Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, to all of you who are listening to me, from Rome and from all over of the world, I address the invitation of the Psalm: 'Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for his mercy endures for ever. Let Israel say: “His mercy endures forever”.' (Ps 118:1-2).”

“Dear brothers and sisters who have come from all over the world to this Square, the heart of Christianity and to all of you joining us via the media, I repeat my wishes for a happy Easter! Bring to your families and your nations the message of joy, of hope, and of peace that every year, on this day, is powerfully renewed. May the Risen Lord, who defeated sin and death, sustain us all especially the weakest and those most in need. Thank you for your presence and the witness of your faith. A thought and special thanks for the gift of these beautiful flowers that come from the Netherlands. I affectionately repeat to all of you: May the Risen Christ guide all of you and all of humanity on the paths of justice, love, and peace!”

Then, in Latin, Pope Francis imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

Holy Father Francis Presides At Easter Vigil

From The Vatican:

Yesterday at 8:30 in the evening, the Holy Father presided at the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica. The liturgy began in the church atrium with a blessing of the new fire and the preparation of the Paschal candle. After processing to the altar with the lit candle and the singing of the “Exsultet”, the celebration continued with the Liturgy of the Word, the Baptismal Liturgy, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

During the Vigil, the Pope administered the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) to four catechumens: one from Italy, one from Albania, one from Russia, and one from the United States. After the Gospel was read, the Holy Father dedicated his homily to discussing the holy women who went to the tomb and found it empty. “We are afraid of God's surprises! He always surprises us!” Following is the full text of his homily:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel of this luminous night of the Easter Vigil, we are the first to meet the women who went to Jesus' tomb with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, of affection, of love. It is a traditional gesture for a beloved person who has died, just as we would do too. They had followed Jesus, listened to him, felt themselves to be understood in their dignity, and they had accompanied him to the end, on Calvary, an at the moment he was taken down from the cross.”

“We can imagine how they felt as they made their way to his tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow because Jesus had left them and was dead, his story was over. Now they would go back to their previous lives. But the women continued to feel love and their love for Jesus compelled them to go to his tomb. At this point, however, something completely unexpected happens, something new, which upsets their hearts and their plans and which will upset their whole lives: They see the stone rolled away from the tomb. They draw near and they do not find the Lord's body. It is a reality that leaves them perplexed, doubtful, full of questions: 'What is happening?', What does this all mean?' (cf. Lk 24:4).”

“Isn't that also what happens to us when something truly new occurs in our everyday lives? We stop, don't understand, don't know how to handle it. New things often frighten us, even the newness that God brings us, the newness that God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: we often prefer to hold on to our sureties, to stop at the tomb, to stop at just thinking about the departed one who, in the end, lives only in our memory like great persons of the past. We're afraid of God's surprises. Dear brothers and sisters, in our lives we are afraid of God's surprises! He always surprises us! That is how the Lord is!”

“Brothers and sisters, let's not close ourselves to the newness that God wants to bring to our lives! Often we are tired, disheartened, sad; We feel the weight of our sins and think we're not going to make it. Let's not get locked up in ourselves. Let's not lose our confidence. Let us never give up. There are no situations that God cannot change; There is no sin that He won't forgive if we open ourselves to him.”

“But let's go back to the Gospel, to the women, and take a step forward. They find the tomb empty. Jesus' body is not there. Something new has happened but this still doesn't tell them anything certain. It raises questions and leaves them perplexed without offering an answer. And then, two men in dazzling garments who say: 'Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised.' (Lk 24:5-6). What had been a simple gesture, an act certainly undertaken in love—going to the tomb—now transforms into an occurrence, a truly life-changing event.”

“Nothing remains as it was before, not only in the lives of those women, but also in our lives and in our story of humanity. Jesus isn't someone who has died. He is risen. He is the Living One! He has not simply come back to life but is life itself because He is the Son of God who is the Living God. Jesus is no longer in the past but lives in the present and is projected toward the future. Jesus is God's eternal 'today'.This is how God's newness presents itself to the eyes of the women, of the disciples, of all of us: victory over sin, over evil, over death, over everything that oppresses our lives and gives them a less human face.”

“This is a message that is addressed to me, to you, dear sister, to you, dear brother. How many times do we need Love to tell us: Why do you seek the living one among the dead? Our problems and our everyday worries tend to wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death lies. Let's not look there for He who is alive!”

“Accept the Risen Jesus into your life, then. Welcome him as a friend, with confidence. He is life! If up to now you have been distant from him, take a small step: He will welcome you with open arms. If you are indifferent, take the risk: You will not be disappointed. If following him seems difficult to you, don't be afraid: entrust yourself to him and rest assured that He is close to you. He is with you and will give you the peace you are seeking and the strength to live as He wants you to.”

“There is one last, simple element that I would like to emphasize in the Gospel of this luminous Easter Vigil. The women encounter the newness of God. Jesus is risen, He is the Living One. But, faced with the empty tomb and the two men in dazzling garments, their first reaction is one of fear: They 'bowed their faces to the ground', St. Luke notes. They didn't even have the courage to look. But, when they hear the announcement of the Resurrection, they accept it with faith. And the two men in dazzling garments introduce a fundamental word: remember. 'Remember what He said to you while He was still in Galilee … And they remembered his words.' (Lk 24:6,8).”

“This is a call to remember their encounter with Jesus, with his words, his deeds, his life. It is precisely this loving remembrance of their experience with the Master that leads the women to overcome every fear and to take the announcement of the Resurrection to the Apostles and to all the others (cf. Lk 24:9). Remembering what God has done and continues to do for me, for us; remembering the path we have travelled—this opens wide our hearts to hope for the future. Let's learn to remember what God has done in our lives!”

“On this radiant night, calling upon the intercession of the Virgin Mary who keeps all things in her heart (Lk 2:19,51), let us ask the Lord to give us a share in his Resurrection. May He open us to the newness that transforms, to God's surprises that are so beautiful. May He make us men and women who are capable of remembering what He does in our personal lives and in the history of the world. May He make us capable of hearing him as the Living One, who lives and is at work amongst us. May He teach us every day, dear brothers and sisters, to not seek among the dead for He who is living. Amen.”

A Special Message From The Cardinal Newman Society

Cardinal Newman Society

ResurrectionOn behalf of the board and staff of The Cardinal Newman Society, may you have a blessed Easter!
Our hope for the renewal of Catholic education is firmly rooted in the victory of Our Savior's glorious Resurrection.

Please know that a Mass will be offered for you and all the Society's members during the Easter season.

And thank you for your continued prayers for our mission to promote and defend faithful Catholic education!

Sincerely in the Risen Lord Jesus,
Patrick Reilly
Patrick J. Reilly

Buona Pasqua! Proclaim 'Happy Easter!' To All

Buona Pasqua, the beautiful Italian Easter greeting proclaims "Happy Easter" to all.

May your day be filled with peace, joy, la famiglia and the blessings of this season of renewal and rejoicing.

This is a day to proclaim salvation and to give thanks for our faith; regaling in the hope of eternal life, the promise of the Trinity.

In Italy, Easter remains a day that celebrates life. And no group of people celebrates life as well as the Italians.

Although Italians do not decorate hard–boiled eggs nor have chocolate bunnies or pastel marshmallow chicks, the biggest Easter displays in bars, pastry shops, supermarkets, and especially at chocolatiers are brightly wrapped uova di Pasqua—chocolate Easter eggs—in sizes that range from 10 grams (1/3 ounce) to 8 kilos (nearly 18 pounds).

Most of them are made of milk chocolate in a mid–range, 10–ounce size by industrial chocolate makers.

Some producers distinguish between their chocolate eggs for children (sales numbers are a closely guarded secret, but the market for these standard quality eggs is said to be shrinking with Italy's birthrate) and expensive "adult" versions. All except the tiniest eggs contain a surprise. Grown–ups often find their eggs contain little silver picture frames or gold–dipped costume jewelry.

The very best eggs are handmade by artisans of chocolate, who offer the service of inserting a surprise supplied by the purchaser. Car keys, engagement rings, and watches are some of the high–end gifts that have been tucked into Italian chocolate eggs in Italy.

Our favorite Easter treats: chocolate coconut cream eggs (sinfully sweet), chocolate covered marshmallows, jelly beans of every color and flavor, sweet Italian Easter bread, hot cross buns and Peeps.

Buona Pasqua!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prepare To Celebrate The Rising Of The Lord!

Entombment of Christ, Caravaggio (1602-03)
The Vatican Museums

Easter Early This Year? How The Date Is Determined

Does Easter seem early this year?
It does to me.
So, how is the date for Easter determined?
Easter is calculated via the Easter dating method devised by Pope Gregory XIII and his astonomers and mathmeticians.
According to the Gregorian calendar Easter is always one of the 35 dates between March 22 and April 25. The canonical rule is that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the 14th day of the lunar month (the nominal full moon) that falls on or after March 21 (nominally the day of the vernal equinox). So, this year Easter comes 11 days after the beginning of spring.
Next year Easter will fall on April 20 which presumably will seem more normal. And in 2015 Easter will fall on April 5.
One would expect that it would be a chilly Easter this year. And the week leading up to Easter has been chilly.
But we actually remember balmy Easters in March and chilly Easters in April. And there have even been years when it has snowed on Easter Sunday.
Why is the date of Christmas fixed while the date of Easter changes each year? That's a question for another time.

A Beautiful Winter Scene - You'll Be Surprised!

A beautiful midwinter scene, yes?
Makes you think of Christmas, right?
But hey, this ain't Christmas. This ain't even Valentine's Day. This ain't December or January or February.
No. No way.
This is -- believe it or not -- late March, just a few days before Easter in . . . Virginia!
This is the scene that we encountered on our first night in Williamsburg just about a week ago. And though the snow didn't last, the chilly, damp weather stayed with us pretty much all week.
We've been having really weird "spring" weather in these parts lately.
But that has not stopped up from being around and about and having a great time. And as you can see from the photo, this is beautiful country any time of the year.
Still, it is nice to have the sun back and today the temperature will finally reach 60 or above. Now, that's more like it!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beautiful Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown

The Governor's Mansion in Williamsburg, Virginia's 
original colonial capital.

Flowers are in bloom already in Virginia!

Photos from the lovely Yorktown Riverwalk along the York River.

Tiny blue blossoms already poking their heads through the soil.

We've been spending this holiday week traveling through some beautiful parts of Virginia -- Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport-News, Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg.
It's a lovely area because it's scenic, historic and very inviting throughout the year.
We thought you'd like to see some of the scenes we've captured, particularly in beautiful Yorktown along the York River and the lovely Riverwalk that has been constructed there.
This is an enchanting area and we highly recommend it as a great destination.
All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Christie To Nominate Carey As Middlesex Prosecutor

Governor Chris Christie today announced his intention to nominate Andrew C. Carey, an experienced federal prosecutor in New Jersey and assistant district attorney in New York, to become the next Middlesex County Prosecutor.

Upon Senate confirmation, Carey would replace Bruce J. Kaplan, the Middlesex County Prosecutor who was first appointed in 2002 by Governor James McGreevey and reappointed to a second five-year term by Governor Jon Corzine in 2008. Kaplan’s term expired on January 14, 2013, and he remains in a holdover position. The nomination of Carey will be formally made by Governor Christie before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s next scheduled meeting.

Carey, currently of New Providence and in the process of relocating his family to Middlesex County, is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, where he serves as chief of the narcotics unit and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  He has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Newark since 2005 and presently serves under U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.  Before that, Carey served in various capacities as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York District Attorney’s Office.  In his last position, he served as Deputy Bureau Chief of the Trial Bureau, where he trained and instructed other ADAs and members of federal and state law enforcement on law and policy, while also prosecuting members of narcotics and money-laundering organizations.

Carey received his bachelor of arts degree from the American University in Washington, where he graduated magna cum laude.  He earned his law degree at the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Christie Signs Law For Sandy Funds Oversight

Building on his commitment to secure the responsible, transparent and accountable use of taxpayer dollars, Governor Chris Christie signed into law bipartisan legislation to provide integrity oversight monitors in the implementation of recovery and rebuilding projects.

This bill, Assembly Bill 60/Senate Bill 2536, takes aggressive, meaningful steps to ensure that federal funds targeted for recovery and rebuilding projects from Superstorm Sandy are being used for their intended purpose. The legislation strengthens the Governor’s record of establishing an independent, legal review, led by the State Comptroller, of the procurement process for state contracts using federal reconstruction resources, a network of Accountability Officers across State government to facilitate the review, and a transparency website for all such contracts. Those protections were provided for in the Governor’s Executive Order 125.

“As we continue working together to rebuild New Jersey, it’s critical that taxpayers across our state and country know that their dollars are being spent wisely,” said Governor Christie. “This bipartisan legislation puts in place independent watch dogs to ensure that the scarce resources that New Jersey has been entrusted with are being used effectively and efficiently for their intended purpose – rebuilding our communities in the aftermath of Sandy. As Governor, I am committed to transparency, accountability and the most effective use of public money in all facets of government, and am pleased to sign this bipartisan bill into law, building on the proactive steps we have already taken to ensure proper use of these funds.”

Under the legislation signed today, the State Treasurer is authorized to establish a pool of pre-approved oversight monitors via an ongoing, competitive procurement process and, subject to the availability of federal funding, to assign such monitors for oversight and review in two classes of recovery and rebuilding projects: those involving State contracts and those not involving State contracts. For those rebuilding projects involving State contracts, the bill authorizes the State Treasurer to make the use of an oversight monitor a contractual condition to ensure efficiency and transparency.  For recovery and rebuilding projects not involving State contracts, the bill also authorizes the State Treasurer to require the use of an oversight monitor to equally ensure efficiency and transparency in those projects as well.

The Treasurer will assign monitors to any rebuilding projects totaling more than $5 million, and any under that threshold at his discretion. In addition to immediately reporting any examples of waste, fraud, or abuse to the Attorney General and State Comptroller, every three months the State Treasurer will provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature on the findings of their oversight monitors.  The names of these oversight monitors will be available on a public web site.

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, and Senator Stephen Sweeney, Senator Robert Gordon, Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senator Nia Gill, and Senator Linda Greenstei

Holy Thursday - Pope Francis: 'Go Outside Yourself'

This morning, Pope Francis warned Catholic priests around the world that “the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties” comes from seldom going out of oneself, which leads to “missing out on the best of our people”. Instead, he strongly urged priests to be “shepherds who have the smell of their sheep'.”

The solemn Holy Thursday Chrism Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica opens the Paschal Triduum of Holy Week. During the course of the Mass, celebrated in all the churches and cathedrals throughout the world, priests renew the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that they made at their ordination. Also, the oil used to anoint catechumens and the oil used to anoint the sick as well as the chrism oil—olive oil scented with balsam—used to anoint those being baptised, confirmed, or receiving Holy Orders is blessed.

The Chrism Mass presided over by the Holy Father was concelebrated by the over 2,000 cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests present and was attended by over 10,000 faithful. Francis pointed out to them that the “clear proof” to recognizing a good priest is “by the way his people are anointed”. He added that “it is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live our priestly life by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others”.

He developed this theme throughout his homily, which he began by recalling that this Mass was a reminder to all priests—including himself—of the day of their ordination. In this context the Pope explained what it means to be anointed ones, to “be for” others, and he focused on the meaning of the liturgical vestments. “When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs, of which we have so many in our times.”

At the same time, he noted how “the beauty of all these liturgical things ... is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics” as it is destined to the action expected of priests. “The ointment, dear brothers, is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.”

The Holy Father also gave concrete details to inspire priests in their pastoral mission, commenting that: “our people like to hear the Gospel preached with 'unction', they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the 'outskirts' where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: '“Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem', 'Bless me, Father', 'Pray for me'.”

“What I want to emphasize,” the Pope said, “is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal—but only apparently so—the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it. To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from haemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment.”

Before finishing his homily, the Holy Father also addressed the lay faithful, urging them to “be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.”

Unique Gift: It's ALWAYS Time For Ronald Reagan

Christie Video: THIS Is American Exceptionalism

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at Lockeed-Martin in Moorestown today.

Lockeed Martin, NJ Get Huge Economic Boost

Recognizing the importance of collaborative partnerships that bolster economic development and scientific innovation, Governor Chris Christie today commended Lockheed Martin for building on its 40-year commitment to New Jersey and securing a $100 million contract with the federal government to develop the next generation of Aegis radar defense technology. Lockheed Martin recently won the U.S. Navy's Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent program contract, preserving area jobs, with a bid to provide systems engineering and development support to all Aegis-equipped ships between now and 2018.

Lockheed Martin’s commitment to New Jersey has already attracted some of the best scientific talent to the state and strengthened the state and local economies. This new contract secures its footprint in South Jersey, along with an incentive agreement with the state to invest in equipment and infrastructure at its Moorestown facility, and an innovative higher education research partnership to foster the next generation of high-skilled, talented workers.

"New Jersey is well-known for its role in the development of some of the world’s most important technological innovations, including the Lockheed’s development of the Aegis System,” said Governor Christie. “With the awarding of this contract and our continued partnership to sustain the economic vitality of the region, not only will Lockheed Martin continue the vital work of protecting our nation, the company will continue its commitment to the Garden State, the local community and the great workers it employs.”

Lockheed Martin has established itself as an international leader in major systems management, hardware production, systems integration and worldwide field support of the world’s most advanced surface ship radar and weapon systems. The company, which employs about 4,000 workers in Moorestown and more than 1,300 at other New Jersey locations, is the Navy's current manufacturer and provider of onboard ship radar systems, produced primarily at the company's Moorestown facility.

In December 2011, Governor Christie wrote to the Navy admiral in charge of Integrated Systems, noting the long history of Lockheed in New Jersey, and the company's decades-long role in the Navy's Aegis program, as well as the state's commitment to the defense-related business community.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno noted that, as part of New Jersey's ongoing commitment to help New Jersey businesses succeed, the New Jersey Business Action Center provided a comprehensive incentive proposal to Lockheed Martin. To support Lockheed Martin's bid, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority last year approved a $40 million Grow NJ incentive grant for new machinery and equipment and modifications and infrastructure improvements to Lockheed Martin's Moorestown facility.

“With more scientists and engineers per square mile than any other place on earth, New Jersey is the ideal location for both Lockheed Martin and the Navy’s Aegis program,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “By working closely with Lockheed Martin, the New Jersey Partnership for Action, which was created by Governor Christie, played a key role in not only helping the company win this contract, but in keeping and creating jobs for New Jersey workers.  All New Jerseyans should take great pride that our state is a world leader in science and technology, a position recognized by countless companies and the U.S. Navy.”

In addition, New Jersey is working with Lockheed Martin to create a New Jersey Advanced Research Technology and Talent Center, a partnership among the state, Lockheed Martin, Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks and the state's higher education community. The center will enable academic researchers and Lockheed Martin's technologists to collaborate in developing advanced technologies, training and educational experiences.

Lockheed Martin's Moorestown facility is their largest in New Jersey. In addition, the company has several other locations in the state, including Atlantic City, Cherry Hill, Edison, Egg Harbor Township, Hightstown, Marlton, Mays Landing, Mount Laurel, Pleasantville, Teterboro and Tinton Falls. The company's facility in Cherry Hill also serves as headquarters for the Advanced Technology Laboratories.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bigotry? You're Lecturing Republicans About Bigotry?

Don't lecture us about bigotry, OK? 
And, BTW: It was Republicans in the House and Senate who provided the key votes to pass the civil rights acts of the 1960s. 
The first woman to ever have her name placed in nomination for President was a Republican and it happened at a Republican convention. 
And, the first African-American US Senator to be elected since Reconstruction was a Republican. And, it was a Republican president who nominated the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. 
And, a Republican president appointed the first African-American to serve as Secretary of State and the first African-American woman to serve in that position. 
Not that we're counting, but facts are facts.

Gay? That's OK. Just Get You're Priorities Straight

WAKE UP! When your country is $16 trillion in debt and sinking further, it doesn't matter whether you're gay or straight or black or white or green or red or purple. 
THIS is the most important issue facing us now. 
If we don't solve this one we will bankrupt our nation and all the other issues will be just a faint memory.
C'mon: You can be gay and still get your priorities straight.

What The Catholic Church Says About Homosexuality

With gay "marriage" apparently dominating the news these days much has been said about the position of the Catholic Church on marriage and homosexuality.

To hear some reports you might think that the Church has proclaimed war on gay people.
In truth, the Church's position on homosexuality is very clear: Gay people are to be respected and loved. Homosexual acts however are viewed in opposition to the natural order of things and are to be avoided.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is official Church teaching) begins by defining homosexuality:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The Catechism then addresses homosexual orientation:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. 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.
The Catechism then challenges those who are tempted to avoid such acts:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Lest you think the Church abhors sexuality, you should know that the Catechism clearly proclaims:
"Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure." But the Church proscribes that sexuality is exclusively "an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death." In other words, sexuality is for marriage.

More from the Catechism:
Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.
“Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.”
“The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.” Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure.
The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.

The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.
The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
So, yes -- the Church clearly defines homosexuality and marriage and states its position on both. And yes, the Church states that marriage is the union of one man and one woman -- that it is an exclusive and sacred union and and that it is that and only that.

You may not agree with the Church's position. Indeed, many people who say they are "Catholic" nonetheless disagree with all or part of what is explained in the Catechism.

Anyone is free to disagree.

But know what you're disagreeing with.

The Church does not teach hatred toward nor discrimination of any person of group. 

The Church's position is based on sacred scripture. It is the teaching of the Church passed down over two thousand years. It is not likely to change.

Mary Pat Christie Honors Purple R.E.I.G.N Effort

First Lady Mary Pat Christie honors Purple R.E.I.G.N. founder and CEO Asia D. Smith as her 19th New Jersey Hero. Pictured (left to right) are Esney Mae Sharpe, President & CEO of the Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center, First Lady Mary Pat Christie and Asia D. Smith, Purple R.E.I.G.N. founder.
New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie named Asia D. Smith her 19th New Jersey Hero for her commitment to make a difference in the lives of domestic abuse survivors. As a survivor of domestic violence, Asia is a powerful example that anyone can be a victim and there is life beyond abuse. As founder and CEO of Purple R.E.I.G.N, a non-profit advocacy agency specializing in programs and services for those impacted by physical and sexual assault, she works daily to heal and empower victims, especially those in underserved communities.

“Asia has such a compelling story - one of tragedy, triumph and hope,” said Mrs. Christie. “She has overcome perilous acts of domestic violence that no individual should have to endure. In doing so, Asia has become a role model for other survivors and I am so inspired by the work she and her organization, Purple R.E.I.G.N., are doing in the community to educate and empower the lives of so many victims. I am proud to name Asia Smith a New Jersey Hero.”

Purple R.E.I.G.N. Social Services, which operates in partnership with the Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center in East Orange, provides a comprehensive range of services that includes: preventative strategies, crisis intervention counseling, advocacy, educational workshops, training classes, safety planning, resources/transitional services, referrals, restraining orders, and assessments.

“I am honored beyond words to receive the New Jersey Heroes award on behalf of the more than one billion victims globally, and on behalf of an incredible aunt that I never had the opportunity to know, because at the age of 24, she was viciously attacked as she left work and murdered by her estranged husband,” said Asia Smith. “Today, I proudly accept this award on behalf of the millions of tenacious advocates and survivors who vigorously ‘fight’ domestic violence and sexual assault every waking moment of their lives. I also accept this award on behalf of myself for having the courage to take the most horrific experiences of my life and not only overcome them, but use them as fuel to help others globally do what I’ve done: turn tragedy to triumph.”

During her visit, Mrs. Christie met with clients and participated in a roundtable discussion about the obstacles they face and the types of assistance they are receiving from Purple R.E.I.G.N.
Domestic violence affects more than four million Americans every year. In fact, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime and women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men. In addition, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
According to the 2011 Domestic Violence Offense Report prepared by the New Jersey State Police:

·        There were 70,311 domestic violence offenses reported by police in 2011, a 5 percent decrease from 2010. Assaults accounted for 42 percent and harassment accounted for 44 percent of the reported offenses in 2011.
·        Wives were the victims in 18 percent and ex-wives were the victims in 3 percent of the reported domestic violence offenses in 2011. Domestic violence offenses arising from a dating relationship accounted for 14 percent of the state total.
·        The most frequent day of domestic violence occurrences was Sunday.
·        The most frequent hours of domestic violence incidents were between 8:00 p.m. and midnight, when 26 percent of the offenses were reported.

For more information about services provided by Purple R.E.I.G.N., visit or call 973-93PURPL (78775).

New Jersey Heroes is an initiative of First Lady Mary Pat Christie that showcases the positive and unique ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey and their communities.  To nominate a hero, go to and follow the application instructions and submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.