St. Anthony of Padua Relic Recovered!

Saints be praised, we can put this to bed! Raquel Maria Dillion of the AP has the scoop,

Police recovered the relic of St. Anthony of Padua on Thursday at the Long Beach home of Maria Solis, 41, and Solis was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, Long Beach Deputy Police Chief Robert Luna said Thursday evening.

Parishioners applauded when a police officer placed the delicate gold and silver reliquary containing a tiny shard of bone on a table at the news conference in front of the church.

Luna said detectives canvassed the neighborhood with a composite sketch of a person of interest who was seen at five Masses the day before the theft.

Investigators found video surveillance tape that captured her walking to St. Anthony Catholic Church on Monday, the day of the theft, and the day before, he said. Detectives said they found the relic displayed in her living room of her home, about a mile from the church, Luna said.

St. Anthony’s pastor, the Rev. Jose Magana, said the relic appeared to be undamaged.

“St. Anthony is the patron saint of travelers and lost things but today he’s also the honorary saint of the Long Beach Police Department,” Magana said. “He just wanted to come home because it belongs to everyone.”

Read the rest here.

For Faith In Action: Calling All Rand Busters.™ Please Report To Your Posts!

A few days ago, I got mad as hell and said I won’t take it anymore. What about? Well, some of our Christian brethren believe they can reconcile following Ayn Rand’s poisonous philosophy and still consider themselves, you know, Christians.

So I decided to form a posse, or a coterie of charitable combatants if you will, made up of Christians, both Catholic (and Orthodox too!) and Protestant to fight this nonsense head-on come this election cycle. [Read more...]

To Pray for the Christians in the Middle East-UPDATED

Thanks to having low friends in high places, I can share this with you. You used to have to be an operative of the CIA, or MI-5, to be able to pull up stuff like this on your computer screen. Nowadays, you can do so from your investment house’s Bloomberg machines. By doing so, you can even pretend that having this kind of knowledge at your finger tips will give you an investing edge. It won’t, but that is another story.

In my case, since I was recently thinking about our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt, it just gives me more reasons to pray for their safety. My oh my, look at all those pipelines and such! Burning refineries, etc. And you’re wondering why gasoline prices are high? Wonder no more.

Meanwhile, Christians are still being martyred. Have a look at this video and,

Hear the voice of a Christian Martyr singing a hymn in Arabic to the Blessed Mother, while watching a slideshow of his funeral mass. Hear the angelic voice of Father Ragheed Ganni, a 35 year old Chaldean Catholic Priest killed on Sunday June 3rd, 2007 with three of his deacons right after celebrating mass at Holy Spirit Chaldean Catholic Church in Mosul, Iraq. The car of Father Ragheed and the three deacons was stopped by terrorists shortly after leaving the church. They were forced to get down from the car and asked to declare their conversion to Islam. When the four martyrs refused they were brutally gunned down with machine guns.

A translation of the hymn in English is,

We honor you with hymns O Mother of God, you are the pride of the whole earth, because the Word of God whom the Father sent, chose to take His human body from you. The generations call you blessed, all nations and people’s honor you and ask for mercy by your prayers. You are a generous earth in which plants of joy always grow.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our deaths. Amen.

Because Good Friends Are Golden

A few days back, it was the Feast Day of St. Barnabas. You may or may not recall that he was St. Paul’s companion on his first mission trip. They were fast friends in the faith, traveling hither and yon spreading the Good News together to the Gentiles.

You can learn more about Barnabas over at the Catholic Encyclopedia. The record shows that at some point, the two went their separate ways. Perhaps it was a falling out, but perhaps it was just that they were called in different directions by the same Spirit that brought them together in the first place.

Good friends are able to put up with each other, while also being their own men. All the while enjoying each other’s company. There is a movie that hit the theaters the day after St. Barnabus’ Day that is about a trip that two friends take touring the restaurants of Northern England together.

It’s not so surprisingly called The Trip and it stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing versions of themselves. The Trip was originally a six part miniseries on the BBC2 network, which I (of course) never even knew about.

A friend of mine posted a few clips from the movie on his Facebook page, and I was dying laughing from the impressions Brydon and Coogan pull off on the likes of Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, and even Woody Allen during the course of their performances. Have a look at the trailer (pardon any commercials),

Reading some of the reviews, there is lots of fun, but also plenty of pathos too. In the fun department though, I have a few friends who I could do this kind of thing with all day long,

Leave my sister out of it is right! You have to admit that these two guys have a gift for improvisation. Man, did you see that? They went all Scottish on us. Stand-by for some Big Country!

Big Country-In A Big Country by adiis

Back to the film,  Metacritic (remember them?) weighs in with a score of 81, which for all intents and purposes is a home-run right out of the park. Honey? We’re going to the movies (if this ever makes it to Galilee).

Didn’t Want To Be a Rand Buster™ But Then I Read Today’s Readings

So perhaps you think I’ve gone a little batty with this long march I’ve undertaken to beg our Christian brethren to forswear the Randian siren song luring them upon the lee shore of Objectivism. Frank has gone to cloud cuckoo land, sho ’nuff. Man, if only he would just settle down and put his thinking cap on. Sheesh.

OK then. So today at the office, one of my colleagues had a birthday, see? So I didn’t go to Mass like I usually would. The office gathered around to be thankful to God for bringing us the gift of this person, and so it was right and fitting to celebrate the occasion. Agreed? I’ll get back to my routine tomorrow.

But since I wasn’t able to participate in the heaven meets earth event that I have come to look forward to daily, I did the next best thing. I headed over to the USCCB website to catch up on the daily readings. And would you believe that every single one of them screamed that Ayn Rand is not the way?

Here, take a look for yourself. First up? St. Paul,

June 14, 2011
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week
in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
2 Cor 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

Whoa…generosity? And poverty? Yuk!

For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.

Beyond their means? They’ll go bankrupt! And they begged for the favor of serving others? No way!

Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

Gracious acts? Do tell! What’s next…concern for others?

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Sheesh! OK, surely the Psalms will give me a break. Let’s see what’s on King David’s mind today.

146:2, 5-6ab, 6c- 7, 8-9a Responsorial Psalm

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Hmmm, not looking very promising.

Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.


R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Oh, not that ridiculous idea again.

Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

There he goes, telling us to help the hungry and the oppressed and the weak. Sigh. These guys never learn.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Those who are bowed down should stay down. And what is justice? Looks like I’m 0 for 2 so far. Maybe the Gospel with give me something to work with. Oops, looks like no. Would you believe fate would send me something from the Sermon on the Mount? OMG!

Mt 5:38-42 Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Gospel of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

See? You cannot follow Ayn Rand’s “virtue of selfishness” and pretend you are a disciple of the King. My Christian brethren (who attempt such nonsense), your position is, in a word, untenable. Your lack of understanding of this is unfathomable. “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” You cannot do that without striving to live by the Two Greatest Commandments.

None of us can.

Update: New members of the Rand Busters™ Lisa Graas and Stacy Trasancos.  Go read Lisa’s post!

I Am the Way,
the Truth, and the Life

Dateline Long Beach: Stolen Relic of St. Anthony of Padua?

Photo Credit:
Fr. Brian Doran

Sounds like a case for G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown. AP reporter Raquel Maria Dillon has the story,

A 780-year-old religious relic of St. Anthony of Padua has been stolen, and parishioners at a Southern California Catholic church are praying to the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects for its speedy return.

The relic was stolen from inside a cabinet beside the altar at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Long Beach on Monday, the feast day of the church’s namesake.


The Rev. Jose Magana said he decided to bring out the relic this year, on the 780th anniversary of the death of St. Anthony, because many of his parishioners have lost hope in the rough economy.

Magana said the relic is invaluable and deeply symbolic to his parish.

“It’s our history, so it’s irreplaceable,” Magana said. “It belongs to the church, not just the church here in Long Beach, but the entire Catholic Church.”

Read the rest here, and join in their prayers for the speedy return of this relic.

To Pray for the Christians of Egypt

Back in January, I asked you to pray for the people of Egypt. Remember those heady days when revolution was in the air? And then the domino effect started rippling through the entire Middle East.

Will it all end in tolerant and freedom nurturing democratic republics? Where the rule-of-law supercedes the tyranny of authoritarian dictatorship? I pray it does, especially for the peace-loving people of Egypt.

But our Christian brothers and sisters there need our prayers. In fact, all Christians living in the Middle East, and wherever they are oppressed across the globe, need our prayers and support.

This report from Egypt is fraught with both peril and promise,

Further political success may come the Muslim Brotherhood’s way. The interim military government which followed Mubarak has announced parliamentary elections in September and presidential elections two months later. Reflecting on the potentially huge political changes to come, one bishop told us: “Under Mubarak the Muslim Brothers were under Gestapo control; they were underground. Now they are very visible. They may get up to half the seats in the next election. This is a great concern for us. There was a strong message awaiting us when we met Coptic Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Antonios Naguib in his office in Cairo. A gentle, self-effacing man, Patriarch Naguib wasted no time in saying: “Now is the moment to really participate in the evolution of society. What matters is to have confidence in our beliefs and to have the strength to express our message.”

The problem for Patriarch Naguib is that the Catholic Church in Egypt is small and lacks influence. With a total of 250,000 faithful, Coptic Catholics are dwarfed by their Coptic Orthodox cousins, who number more than eight million. Senior Church figures in Cairo with close Vatican links indicated that when Mubarak’s regime wanted a Christian perspective on an issue it rarely, if ever, turned to the Catholic community. In any case, relations between the two churches are tense. Doctrinal differences may be few but pastoral problems abound, with Coptic Orthodox leaders demanding re-baptism of Catholics wishing to marry a member of their Church. One evening as we tour Upper Egypt we visited a Catholic church under construction. We learned that work had been halted for two years after local Orthodox leaders and their community had complained to the local planning authorities.

But change on such a seismic scale could yet help to break down the walls of division between the two churches. Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III’s ill-fated decision to publicly back President Mubarak in the early days of the so-called January 25 Revolution resulted in his faithful defying his orders; they continued to protest in favour of political change. Senior clergy told us that since that fateful time the Orthodox lay faithful have increasingly broken ranks from their bishops, sensing that the moment is theirs. Indeed, social change runs far deeper than ever could be realised by the likes of us foreigners visiting the country for a brief period. Egypt’s high birth-rate (the average age in Egypt is about 24) means that the country’s entire infrastructure is playing “catch up” as Egypt tries to keep pace with a massively expanding population.

Read the entire report on the ground there by the UK branch of Aid to the Church in Need. Please send them your support and prayers. Because without the Cross, there is no freedom.

To Join the Ayn Rand Busters? To Be A Hero? I’m In!

Hey, look at the calendar. The election cycle is coming around again! Time to check our brains at the door and just go with our gut feelings. Embrace fuzzy math concepts like 1 + 1 = 3.18275. Stuff like that.

Forget the real substantive issues we can actually do something about, like fixing Social Security’s looming bankruptcy, and instead focus on bankrupting ourselves by bombing Yemen. Sweet! [Read more...]

Alan Rubin, Mr. Fabulous, Requiescat In Pace

I heard the news today that Alan Rubin, aka “Mr. Fabulous”, has passed away. Rubin was the trumpeter in the legendary, and Vatican-approved, Blues Brothers band.

Here is the official word from the Los Angeles Times obituary page,

Trumpet player Alan Rubin was recruited to join the Blues Brothers after backing up John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the “Saturday Night Live” television skits that spawned the band in the late 1970s.

One of many gifted session musicians in the group, Rubin became known for his movie portrayal of head waiter Mr. Fabulous in 1980′s “The Blues Brothers” and a 1998 sequel.

Rubin died Wednesday of lung cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said his wife, Mary Moreno Rubin. He was 68.

He was a premier New York City session musician who was “sought out for his expertise in playing every style of music — from classical to jazz to blues to rock and disco — authentically and artistically,” the Original Blues Brothers Band said in a statement.

When asked about his professional biography, Rubin liked to say: “Been everywhere, played with everyone.”

Read the rest here. Remember this scene with Rubin?

Here he is backing up Jake and Elwood with the rest of “the Band,” ahem, and the constabulary of the Greater Chicago area. Did I mention the Nazi Brownshirts too? The whole clip is available at You Tube. Below is a snippet.

http://www.wat.tv/swf2/283092nIc0K114958939

Ow…That dude could play. Say a prayer for Mr. Rubin’s soul, and also for his loved ones who mourn their loss. Thanks for the music Alan, and thanks for the memories!

Because the Church was Catholic at Pentecost

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a message brought to you by The Church Triumphant. Standby for a brief message from St. Jose Maria Escriva, live from the Communion of Saints…

The mystery of the holiness of the Church — that pristine light which can become obscured by the shadows of human baseness — rejects even the slightest thought of suspicion, of doubt about the beauty of our Mother.

Nor can we tolerate, without protesting, that others should insult her. We cannot seek out in the Church vulnerable points in order to criticise them, as some do who show thereby neither their faith nor their love. I cannot conceive of anyone having true affection for his mother who speaks of her with disdain.

Our Mother is holy, because she was born pure and will continue without blemish for all eternity. If at times we are not able to perceive her fair face, let us wipe clean our own eyes. If we are aware that her voice does not please us, let us remove from our ears any hardness which prevents us from hearing in her tone of voice the whistled beckoning of the loving Shepherd. Our Mother is holy, with the holiness of Christ, to whom she is united in body — which is all of us — and in spirit, which is the Holy Spirit, dwelling also in the hearts of each one of us, if we remain in the grace of God.

Holy, holy, holy, we dare sing to the Church, evoking a hymn in honor of the Blessed Trinity. You are holy, O Church, my mother, because the Son of God, who is holy, founded you. You are holy, because the Father, source of all holiness, so ordained it. You are holy, because the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the souls of the faithful, assists you, in order to gather together the children of the Father, who will dwell in the Church of heaven, the eternal Jerusalem.

God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. Jesus Christ instituted only one Church. For this reason the spouse of Christ is one and catholic: universal, for all men.

For many centuries now the Church has been spread throughout the world, and it numbers persons of all races and walks of life. But the universality of the Church does not depend on its geographical distribution, even though this is a visible sign and a motive of credibility. The Church was catholic already at Pentecost. It was born catholic from the wounded heart of Jesus, as a fire which the Holy Spirit enkindled.

In the second century the Christians called the Church catholic in order to distinguish it from the sects which, using the name of Christ, were betraying his doctrine in one way or another. We call it catholic, writes Saint Cyril, not because it is spread throughout the world, from one extreme to the other, but because in a universal way and without defect it teaches all the dogmas which men ought to know, of both the visible and the invisible, the celestial and the earthly. Likewise, because it draws to true worship all types of men, those who govern and those who are ruled, the learned and the ignorant. And finally, because it cures and makes healthy all kinds of sins, whether of the soul or of the body, possessing in addition — by whatever name it may be called — all the forms of virtue, in deeds and in words and in every kind of spiritual gift.

The catholicity of the Church does not depend either on whether or not non-Catholics acclaim and acknowledge it. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that, in non-spiritual matters the opinions of some persons in positions of authority in the Church are taken up — and at times exploited — by those who fashion public opinion, when these churchmen have views similar to theirs. It will often happen that the aspect of truth which will be defended in any human ideology will find an echo or foundation in the perennial teaching of the Church. This is, in a certain sense, a sign of the divinity of the revelation which the Magisterium safeguards. But the spouse of Christ is catholic, even when it is deliberately ignored by many, and even abused and persecuted, as unfortunately happens in so many places.

The Church Militant concurs.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming following this brief presentation.


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