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Archive for January, 2010

I don’t know, this might be the most random of the random Macgyver posts.  Hmmm.  Personable cat (named Steve McQueen!) with Macgyver-like qualities?  sounds to  me like…WIN.

youtube

h/t Audey

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The talented Cory Heimann at Likable Art let me know about an awesome project to help Haiti that lets you get help to Haiti AND support Catholic musicians – a double win!  The project is called (I think) United in Prayer and Cory has done another remarkable video (embedded below).  Cory’s video is a download–along with a dozen great songs from Catholic musicians–on Sampler Platter II from AfterMass Records.  Musicians include Rich Dittus who (as you know) I LOVE.  What a great way to try out some artists with whom you may not be familiar.  Iguarantee in a non-binding legal agreement that you’ll love Rich Dittus and the other musicians too.

So, donate money through your credit card or PayPal, get a full mp3 album of great music and videos, and help Catholic Relief Services on the ground in Haiti.  If you are unable to donate at this time, there is a link for becoming united in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Haiti. 

Please support this great cause by clicking here now.

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From the Big League Stew blog, an awesome story unfolding:

Well, here’s a story you don’t see every day.

Grant Desme, a 23-year-old minor league outfielder in Oakland’s system, is retiring from baseball to follow a calling into the Catholic priesthood.

The story was first reported by Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi — perhaps appropriately with that first name of his — and this isn’t a case of a struggling player going through an early-life crisis. Desme was ranked the A’s eighth-best prospect by Baseball America after hitting .288 with 31 home runs and 89 RBIs in A ball in 2009 and he was just named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

Desme might have even been a late-season callup to the big league club in 2010. Our Y! Sports 2010 fantasy guide has him ranked the 40th-best minor-league prospect for near-term fantasy purpose. However, ESPN’s Rob Neyer disagrees, saying that he didn’t see Desme as a future star by the Bay.

Susan Slusser has more on Desme’s decision to leave playing against the Padres and Cardinals so he can start praying with other padres and cardinals at a Catholic seminary in Orange County. He said the news came as bit of a shock to Billy Beane, but that the Oakland GM and entire A’s system have been supportive of his decision.

Said Desme on a Friday afternoon conference call: 

“I’m doing well in baseball. But I had to get down to the bottom of things, to what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. Baseball is a good thing, but that felt selfish of me when I felt that God was calling me more. It took awhile to trust that and open up to it and aim full steam toward him … I love the game, but I’m going to aspire to higher things.”

Desme spoke with Baseball America last year about baseball being only “a game” and we wish him success on his spiritual path. In a selfish age when churches struggle to recruit young male Americans, his sacrifice of possible riches is a very admirable thing.

 

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/A-s-prospect-leaving-baseball-for-call-of-the-pr?urn=mlb,215238

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By MICHELLE FAUL and MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writers Michelle Faul And Mike Melia, Associated Press Writers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Drumbeats called the faithful to a Sunday Mass praising God amid a scene resembling the Apocalypse — a collapsed cathedral in a city cloaked with the smell of death, where aid is slow to reach survivors and rescue crews battle to pry an ever-smaller number of the living from the ruins.

Sunlight streamed through what little was left of blown-out stained windows as the Rev. Eric Toussaint preached to a small crowd of survivors. A rotting body lay in its main entrance.

“Why give thanks to God? Because we are here,” Toussaint said. “We say ‘Thank you God.’ What happened is the will of God. We are in the hands of God now.”

As Catholic and Protestant worshippers across the city met for their first Sunday services since the magnitude-7.0 quake, many Haitians were still waiting for food and water and some took vengeance against looters.

Rescue workers were frustrated by the stuggle to get aid through the small, damaged and clogged airport run by U.S. military controllers, and to get it from the airport into town.

Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that a cargo plane carrying a field hospital was denied permission to land at the airport and had to be rerouted through the Dominican Republic — creating a 24-hour delay in setting up a crucial field hospital.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the quake “one of the most serious crises in decades.”

“The damage, destruction and loss of life are just overwhelming,” he said before flying toward Haiti on Sunday.

Nobody knows how many died in Tuesday’s quake. Haiti’s government alone has already recovered 20,000 bodies — not counting those recovered by independent agencies or relatives themselves, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told The Associated Press.

The Pan American Health Organization now says 50,000 to 100,000 people perished in the quake. Bellerive said 100,000 would “seem to be the minimum.”

At the roofless cathedral, elderly women worried the beads of their rosaries and prayed for the intervention of Our Lady Of The Ascension, to whom the 81-year-old church is named.

A military helicopter roared overhead, drowning out a hymn by the congregation. Above loomed the partially destroyed office of the archbishop who died nearby and another building whose blown-out walls had laid it open it like a doll’s house.

An apparently demented elderly woman began preaching on the sideline of the Mass: “Where is our justice? Now the palace of justice has been broken down … we are all infected by disease. The end is near.”

Amid the struggle for food, some turned to looting, infuriating people struggling to guard what little they still have.

Two suspected looters lay on the street in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, both beaten and with their hands bound together. Some in the angry crowd that gathered around them said they had been attacked by angry residents, others that police had caused their wounds.

One lay completely motionless, his dreadlocked hair stained by a deep pool of dark crimson blood. The other lay bleeding profusely but occasionally twitched his leg.

A few hours later, a reporter found both men were dead. However they got that way — whether vigilante justice or police execution — all agreed that they were criminals who had escaped from the destroyed prison.

There were also occasions of joy: An American team pulled a woman alive from a collapsed university building where she had been trapped for 97 hours. Near dawn, another crew rescued three survivors from deep in the pancaked ruins of a supermarket.

And a woman was pulled alive, dehydrated but otherwise uninjured, from the ruins of the Montana Hotel, to the applause of onlookers.

The son of co-owner Nadine Cardoso said he could hear her voice from the rubble. Twelve hours later, with more than 20 friends and relatives watching, she was lowered from a hill of debris on a stretcher.

“It’s a little miracle,” her husband, Reinhard Riedl, said after hearing she was alive in the wreckage. “She’s one tough cookie. She is indestructible.”

But the rescue was bittersweet for Cardoso’s sister Gerthe: Rescuers had to abandon a search for her 7-year-old grandson after an aftershock closed a space where he was believed to be.

U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said 1,739 rescue workers in 43 teams with 161 dogs and high-tech equipment so far have saved more than 70 people.

The U.N. itself lost at least 40 confirmed dead — including its mission chief Hedi Annabi — with hundreds still missing. “For the United Nations, this is the gravest and greatest single loss in the history of our organization,” Ban said.

But the U.N. secretary-general said the agency was already feeding 40,000 and hopes to feed 2 million within a month.

Florence Louis, seven months pregnant with two children, was one of thousands of Haitians who gathered at a gate at the Cite Soleil slum, where U.N. World Food Program workers handed out high-energy biscuits for the first time.

“It is enough because I didn’t have anything at all,” said Louis, 29, clutching four packets of biscuits.

The Haitian government has established 14 distribution points for food and other supplies, and U.S. Army helicopters scouted locations for more. Aid groups opened five emergency health centers. Vital gear, such as water-purification units, was arriving from abroad.

On a hillside golf course, perhaps 50,000 people were sleeping in a makeshift tent city overlooking the stricken capital and paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division flew in to set up a base for handing out water and food.

As relief teams grappled with on-the-ground obstacles, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited and pledged more American assistance. President Barack Obama met with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in Washington and urged Americans to donate to Haiti relief efforts.

At the cathedral, the Rev. Toussaint described his own near-miraculous survival.

“I watched the destruction of the cathedral from this window,” he said, pointing to a window in what remains of the archdiocese office. “I am not dead because God has a plan for me.”

“What happens is a sign from God, saying that we must recognize his power – we need to reinvent ourselves,”

Others, however, were angry.

“It’s a catastrophe and it is God who has put this upon us,” said Jean-Andre Noel, 39-year-old computer technician “Those who live in Haiti need everything. We need food, we need drink, we need medicine. We need help.”

 

AP via Yahoo! News

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Please pray for the people of Haiti, tourists, mission workers and others who are affected by the terrible earthquake there.  The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince has reportedly died as well.  They need our prayers and our support.

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He nodded and went out ...and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh --bump, bump, bump--going up the stairs behind him.

It seems, doesn’t it, that sometimes in our lives we allow ourselves to  treat the people that we love–those most precious to us–rather carelessly, if not downright shabbily.  The puzzle, the paradox and the wonder is that those people–our friends, family or spouses–continue to love us despite our inconsideration, and even when we drag them along, bump, bump, bump. 

That’s unconditional love.

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Today–when we celebrate Epiphany— is one of my favorite days in the liturgical calendar.  It is the day I get to move the magi into the manger scene, and as a kid, I always loved rearranging, gazing on and meditating before the Nativity set we had under the tree.

In today’s homily, Fr. Tom told us about a friend of his from Peru who had never heard of Santa Clause until he got here to America.  (Santa Claus is a very European tradition.)   His family did not celebrate Christmas Day in the way we do here.  They gathered, went to mass and had a wonderful feast dinner.  But it wasn’t until Epiphany that they exchanged gifts.  On the morning of Epiphany, the children would rise to find gifts from the magi who had been following the star searching for the Lord.  The children would be told that when the magi came to the family’s house, the magi found the love of Christ so strong, they were sure that the Christ child was there, so they left gifts for Him….and those of course became what we would think of as Santa gifts.

Fr. Tom gave us homework.  He told us to make Epiphany a day of gift-giving “from the heart.  A day to give something of our faith to those we love–a Bible, a spiritual book, Rosary, whatever.”  He said, “Wouldn’t that be something?”

Inviting gifts of the season by having a Christ-centered, loving home.  An Epiphany gift given from the heart.  Wouldn’t that be something?

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