Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mass and...Cinco de Mayo!

All are invited to First Sunday Mass (May 4th) at 7PM at St. Thomas More Parish, Fairfield.
Musician? Sit in with the contemporary music ensemble: meet in the choir loft at 6PM.

We will head to Jose Tejas/Border Cafe following Mass in recognition of Cinco de Mayo (about 8PM).

Don't normally take a head count, but if you know you will come, it will be helpful this month!

Monday, April 28, 2008

National Day of Prayer May 1(click!)

"The National Day of Prayer Task Force's mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family."

What might we pray?

Government: For good stewardship and....
Military: To serve honorably and.....
Media: To report truth and to be a forum for all views and...
Business: To subscribe to a code of ethics and....
Education: To ensure there will be no child left behind and.....
Church: To help us be faithful citizens and...
Family: To recognize that family and supportive communities are the heart of our country, and...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Daniel 3: 52-90

Driving through the heart of the Cluster today, Earth Day, I was struck by how yellow, green and pink our natural world is right now -- blooming, bursting and shining in the sun. Made me think of John Angotti's "Canticle of Daniel" (you can find it on iTunes) based on the referenced Scripture.

"Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever." (Dn 3:57)

What will you do to reverence the earth (and its Creator) today?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Got Pope? Get Hope!

...read the sign on the side of our bus leaving the Chancery Office yesterday for the Youth Rally at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. It was a long day...traveling, getting through security, waiting on interminable lines for lunch and for getting our shuttle back to our coach for the ride home.

Yet, the 10 teens from my parish agreed that in spite of these challenges the day was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity. Anthony liked getting to know the fellow pilgrims on our trip better; Tyler was drinking in the Pope's message; Catherine realized the care and kindness of friends; Ashley and Jackie saw that even in adversity "they were in the place they were meant to be," Amber realized her words (to the media) were important -- and that having blue hair goes noticed!

The Pope's visit to Ground Zero this morning was very moving. Channel 2 covered this in holy silence rather than color commentary.

As I personally process the gifts of the Pope's visit, I cannot help but recognize that different places are all sacred spaces.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Morris Catholic YAs Seek Volunteers Saturday

Not seeing the Pope?
Morris Catholic Young Adults, a new group of those in their 20s and 30s, are seeking volunteers
to help out at a nursing home in Denville for this coming Saturday April 19th, 2-4pm. We will be assisting the nursing home residents with a social activity, either games or an art project, and we really need all the help we can get in finding volunteers! Contact Heidi Hornstein: heidi.hornstein@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Viva Il Papa! (click!)

Media Coverage:

The Pope's visit is so busted.
Our friends at BustedHalo will be covering the Papal visit.
More commentary: John Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter

See the Pope!

You don't need a ticket to see the Pope. See the Pope on Saturday afternoon by standing along the route as the PopeMobile heads up Fifth Avenue from St Patrick's Cathedral to 72nd Street. Get there early. Anticipated start: 1:15 PM.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vote Tuesday on Local Schools

No matter what exit you are from, you can always find something to sound off about here in the Garden State. As we file our tax returns, a twist of fate finds our annual school elections falling on April 15th. Annual school elections, you say? Sadly, if you have never voted in a local school election, you ARE in the overwhelming majority in this state. We've gotta change that.

Why should you vote tomorrow?

First of all, because you can.

And then, it is because this election allows you to choose who will be your local voice in school governance. School board trustees are non-partisan elected officials whose decisions affect the policies of school districts, the hiring of school administrators and provide a recommendation to the voting public on the way funds are budgeted in the school district -- including the negotiation of the contracts of district educators.

So, if you have strong opinions on education in your school districts and the way funds are appropriated from your local property tax dollars (the major source of all school revenue in NJ), then plan to vote tomorrow.

By law, polls are open by mandates from 5pm-9pm; districts can choose to expand these mandatory times.

The Progress gives a snapshot of the elections.

Some specific budget info can be found here:
Caldwell/West Caldwell Budget Info
North Caldwell
West Essex Regional District
Essex Fells

Thursday, April 10, 2008

C is for Clapton...and Colbert

Eric Clapton is still cool.
So that's why you might want to read about his prayer practice.

You know, in the same way that you get fascinated by learning that Stephen Colbert is a catechist.


Yesterday, Jason Rowe (OLBS) and I attended an initial conversation at the ArchDiocese on how it might begin a plan to carry out Catholic Charities' Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half by 2020 (info button on right).

Poverty statistics nationwide are startling -- 1 in 8 Americans live in poverty, including 1 in 6 children. Right here in the borders of our ArchD this includes almost 91,000 children. In the state of NJ, there are 1.2 million people without healthcare insurance. Our wealthy state has the 4th highest cost of living in the US; many of the poor are working.
Eliminating poverty is a dignity issue; people cannot let their spirits soar or raise their voices if their basic needs cannot be met.

Statistics on the real cost of living in NJ.

A plan for this Campaign must include efforts to educate/inform, take action, advocate -- and also empower those living in poverty or with low incomes.

Do you have any ideas about how to call attention to this issue? Think about educating, advocating, acting and, importantly, empowering those living in poverty.

Think about how we might reach other young adults who are called to make a difference -- but might not be in our churches. Who do you know that can get behind this issue?


Monday, April 7, 2008

Hearts Burning

Father Dan's homily at Mass last night focused on the Gospel's line, "Weren't our hearts burning within us?" While I was resisting all urges to connect the concept of "hearts burning" with our visit to the diner, I was also thinking that this Gospel story provides a framework for our own lives. We spend a lot of time trying to make sense...of relationships, of our work, of our busy lives. We seek the counsel and comraderie of our friends. We even sleep with our cell phones on our pillows! But when we take time out to listen more closely, open our minds and hearts and stop for refreshment, we can see that the Lord is there for us. While God has been revealed dramatically in a burning bush, the parting of the seas and in the instantaneous cure of illness, we are more likely to recognize God in our midst through a simple thing like the breaking of the bread. Where will you find God this week? Where do you need to find God?