Monthly Archives: March 2013

"Wherever or whenever you are experiencing darkness of the soul, Jesus is there, a Light shining in darkness.   We need not see and believe, but instead we have the opportunity to believe and see."   Blessings for a Light-filled Easter.   He Lives!

"Easter, when delight was turned to disappointment and disappointment was turned to delight. Surely Satan and the forces of evil must have thought they had won the great battle. If the forces of evil could have danced, surely they must have been dancing in the streets. They thought they had killed the Son of God.

Darkness seemed to have been reigning supreme from the time when Judas and an armed crowd, came to arrest Jesus under the cloak of darkness. Darkness provided the cover for the evil intentions of those persecuting Jesus but also for the shameful abandonment of Jesus by his disciples. Even Peter had to slink away into the darkness to hide his shame.

How the forces of evil must have rejoiced as “from noon onward there was darkness over the whole land,” until at last Jesus “gave up his spirit.” How they must have believed that this darkness was just a foretaste of the spiritual darkness which would envelope the earth unabated by the Light of the World. But God had another plan and turned their delight to disappointment.

While darkness still seemed to reign, Mary Magadalene and her companions, and later Peter and John, came “while it was still dark” only to find an empty tomb. Disappointment upon disappointment, or so it seemed at first. But when they realized that the face cloth was separate from the other burial wrappings, a ray of hope and light pierced the darkness, never to be extinguished again. Rather, it was a ray of hope and light which was to grow in brilliance as Christ’s resurrection became known and its meaning understood. Praise God, disappointment is now turned to delight!

“The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits’, the ‘pioneer of life’. He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation: a new chapter in cosmic history has opened.” (C.S. Lewis, from Miracles)

Christ’s arrest, suffering, death, burial and resurrection introduced a new creation, a new life that has not only escaped the bonds of death but also the chains of enslavement to our natural passions and their subsequent evil behavior. With Jesus’ resurrection comes power to live differently. Jesus introduces a whole new perspective and purpose to life—life lived in union and communion with the Trinity. This new-creation life is described in Ephesians 5 as walking in the Light because through the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence we are able to see life with new insight. In addition, walking in the Light implies a life of holiness is possible, free from the shadows of darkness.

Wherever or whenever you are experiencing darkness of the soul, Jesus is there, a Light shining in darkness just as John said in the beginning of his Gospel. We should no longer shrink into our fears believing the lie that evil will triumph, but follow the disciples’ example and seek out the resurrected Christ. He is risen, he is triumphant, we are in him, full recipients of his victory. In Christ, we are a new creation, and can experience living as a new creation in the peace and power of Jesus. ....we need not see and believe, but instead we have the opportunity to believe and see."

Ref:   Excerpt from Reflecting on Sunday's Readings ~Easter Sunday 

Scripture text is from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: The National Council of Churches) 1997, c1994; Reflecting On Sunday’s Readings, Copyright 2002-2013, Richard A. Cleveland.

 

Marie Coppola   March 2013

 

 

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 I am a male seeking friendship and love in a committed relationship.

Age, gender, size, race, ethnic background not important. I'm seeking someone who will share my love, trust and devotion. I offer friendship, companionship, stability, loyalty, patience, kindness, and understanding. I will share the good and the bad with you and promise to always tell you the truth in all things.

I love people, family, children, animals, and all living creatures. Family is very special to me especially my saintly mother and my loving father, who is my mentor, protector and guides me in all things. I enjoy mingling with crowds but I also have times when I like to be alone. I like to take walks up in the mountains and also in the desert. My time is usually spent with my friends, especially, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I live my life to treat others as you would have them treat you. And I would lay down my life for my friends. As I will for you, if we become soul mates.

Pastimes? I enjoy fishing and spending time by lakes and the water. Work? I am a carpenter by trade, but have also worked as a rabbi, physician, healer, counselor, and teacher. All these positions have introduced me to many people, whom I helped with their problems, and taught them what I learned from my father. I could tell you miraculous things about these people. I will when we meet. Some of these miracles are written up in a book that is a best seller. Honest, I would never lie to you.

It would be wonderful if we could meet somewhere and get together. Perhaps you would like to meet me, too, and get acquainted. We could break bread together and have some wine; and you can tell me all about you. You can pick the time and place; I'm available all hours of the day. And I am willing to travel to any place in the world. You should know that worldly things like what you look like or how you dress, or what car you drive and what kind of house you have or neighborhood you live in, don't matter at all to me. Same thing with money and jobs; they are superficial to who you are, what you're about, and what your heart desires. I'm hoping that it is me.

I am a good listener. You can tell me your plans, your desires, your joys and your grief. If you let me, I can share all your joys and share all your fears and problems. If you have worries or am depressed or feel lonely and alone, I promise that I can make you feel better. If you desire it, we could have a strong, binding relationship; maybe even be soul mates for a long and committed time; hopefully, forever. I won't pressure you; you take your time. But you should know, that If you open your heart to me, I will always be there for you. I will never leave or abandon you. That's a promise. My love for you will be forever - eternally.

I'm looking forward to becoming someone special in your life; maybe a best friend, maybe even more. I'll let you decide who I can be in your life. I will treat you like the special and unique individual that you are. If you ask anything of me, I will answer you and God willing, give it to you.

I hope you will call me soon.  At any time.  I'm always around and I will always make time for you.  If and when you call, there will be no waiting for me to answer or the chance for the call to go into voicemail; I will personally answer on the first ring. I want you to feel secure that you can always reach me whether in an emergency or just to chat or say hello. By the way, when you do call, my phone number is the same as my name 5-3787 -- Jesus.

I will be so very happy to hear from you.

 © Marie Coppola March 2013

 

 

PALM SUNDAY: Perhaps there is no better finale to this week than to dedicate ourselves to follow Jesus for a lifetime, and by our actions and words, direct the gaze of others to Him. It will make a difference not just for two days, or even two months, but a difference that will last a lifetime.

 

 

St. Patrick's Day is March 17th

Patrick was born to wealthy Christian parents a little over 1,600 years ago in the British Isles.  St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and he wasn't born in Ireland. Patrick's parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

At the age of 16, while on his father's country estate, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to pagan Ireland where he was sold as a slave.  He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God. After six years of servitude, he escaped and found a ship that took him back home. Eventually, Patrick was ordained a priest and later a bishop, after which he was granted his wish to go back to Ireland.

St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity.    Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how three things, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same. Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found Patrick to be convincing because they quickly converted to Christianity.

According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, "toads," out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term "snakes" may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians.

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments.  Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the "Emerald Isle."

His mission to Ireland lasted 30 years. During that time, he established monasteries, churches and schools throughout the country. He is credited with its eventual conversion.   He died March 17, 461 A.D.

The Irish have observed this religious holiday for thousands of years. But, how did we come to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the United States?  There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland.  Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland.    North America has only observed this holiday since the late eighteenth century. Even though not a legal holiday in the USA, St. Patrick's Day is widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country with Irish festivals, parades, food like corn beef and cabbage, drinking, prominent displaying of the color green and Irish traditions.
Marie Coppola  Revised February 2015

Ref: Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc,

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The Thursday before Easter is Holy Thursday  - this year observed on April 13th.  It ends the 40 days of Lent and enters the Triduum (Latin for ‘three days’).  The "Sacred ‘Three Days’ of the Triduum” begin on this evening and are a time of quiet, peace and glory. Gospel readings at services on this day focus on Jesus as the Teacher who humbly ’serves’ his disciples by an extraordinary gesture above and beyond the customs of hospitality — He washes their feet. Jesus’ teaching are reflected at services on Holy Thursday - in observance of the night before Jesus died.

Today, the priests of the church remove their vestments much as Jesus did at the Passover supper, and literally wash the feet of members of the church.  In the thirteenth chapter of his gospel (John 13:1-17), John describes the character of Jesus. and how Jesus performed the feet washing on the very last night of his life. The foot washing is an act of love and an act of humility.  Jesus was showing an example to his apostles of how His ministry represented by them should be one of humbleness and like that of a servant.

Jesus says of this in verses 13-15: "You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. " Catholics believe this describes how Jesus approached His relationship with God the Father. He was submissive to the Father in everything. God the Father is the greatest servant in the universe. In our behalf,  He sustains everything we depend on for our very lives.

After the Passover Last Supper that evening, Jesus and His apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane. There,  Jesus, under pressure from his humanness, agonizes and asks his apostles to stay awake with him. They are exhausted and fall asleep, leaving him alone.

Jesus suffered very much in Gethsemane (Mark 14:50, Luke 22:54-62). Luke tells us that drops of blood fell from Jesus’ body. This was a crisis for Jesus. Jesus had always obeyed God his Father. And Jesus still wanted to obey God. But, In Matthew 26:39 he says, "My Father, if it is possible, do not let this happen. However, I want to do the things that you desire. I choose not to do the things that I desire.’  Judas entered the garden, kissed Jesus as a means of identification and he was arrested. His trial and carrying of the cross to his crucifixion and death followed on the day that is observed as Good Friday.

The second most sacred day is Good Friday (this year observed on April14th)  the day that Jesus died. He was innocent, but political intervention from religious leaders who were frightened of his power among the people prevailed and they called for his crucifixion.  Jesus’ apostles, disciples and followers believed He was the Messiah, as millions of his followers do today — over 2,000 years later.

On Good Friday, Mass is not celebrated anywhere in the world. Instead, the Lord’s Passion is celebrated usually in the afternoon denoting the time when Jesus died. This liturgy consists of three parts: The Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.

The Liturgy of the Word: These are readings read from Isaiah, Letters to the Hebrews, and the Passion from St. John’s Gospel. Special intercessions and prayers are said for the church, the unity of Christians, for those in special need and for those who do not believe in God.

Veneration of the Cross: The cross is held up in the midst of the congregation who come forward and individually give a sign of reverence or devotion for the symbolic meaning of the cross. Jesus Christ died for the sins of man and for their salvation and Christians believe that in acknowledgeing Jesus as the Messiah, they will be resurrected in death and join him in Heaven.

Holy Communion: Sacramental distribution of the Bread and Wine to the congregation as demonstrated by Jesus at the Last Supper to his disciples.

Although Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, most Catholic churches are filled to capacity for this observance of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. Saturday is a day of rest much as God rested from His Creation; it is Christ’s repose in the tomb; it is Christ’s visit with the dead.

The third Most Sacred Day is joyful - Easter Sunday, this year falls on April 16th.  It rejoices with the faithful women at the tomb, then the disciples and eventually all running with the news that Christ has risen from the tomb . . . .This is the "Good News" of Christians all over the world.   The Resurrection of Jesus Christ - He Lives.

© Marie Coppola Revised March 2017


"There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help"        Jan Schakowsky

Economic and demographic indicators linked to homelessness continue to be troubling. Homelessness is a lagging indicator, and the effects of the poor economy on the problem are escalating and are expected to continue to do so over the next few years.

There are homeless students in many counties throughout the states:  homeless families with children represent the fastest growing subpopulation among the homeless. Many of the students live in cars, abandoned buildings, and the homes of distant family members and friends. Nation-wide, veterans make up as many as one-fourth of the homeless population and up to 40% of homeless men are veterans.    As of 2016:

  1. 564,708 people in the U.S. are homeless. According to a recent report, over half a million people were living on the streets, in cars, in homeless shelters, or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey last January. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, 358,422 were individuals, and a quarter of the entire group were children.
  2. 83,170 individuals, or 15% of the homeless population, are considered chronically homeless.  Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual who has a disability and has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or and individual who has a disability and has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (must be a cumulative of 12 months). Families with at least one adult member who meets that description are also considered chronically homeless.  As the National Alliance to End Homelessness explain: While people experiencing chronic homelessness make up a small number of the overall homeless population, they are among the most vulnerable. They tend to have high rates of behavioral health problems, including severe mental illness and substance use disorders; conditions that may be exacerbated by physical illness, injury, or trauma.
  1. 47,725, or about 8% of the homeless population, are veterans. This represents a 35% decrease since 2009. Homeless veterans have served in several different conflicts from WWII to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of veteran homelessness in the nation (145.8 homeless veterans per 10,000). 45% of homeless veterans are black or Hispanic. While less than 10% of homeless veterans are women, that number is rising.
  2. 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. This may be due to poverty, overcrowding in government housing, and lack of support networks. Research indicates that those who served in the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness. War-related disabilities or disorders often contribute to veteran homelessness, including physical disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety, and addiction.
  3. 550,000 unaccompanied, single youth and young adults under the age of 24 experience a homelessness episode of longer than one week. Approximately 380,000 of that total are under the age of 18. Accurately counting homeless children and youth is particularly difficult. The National Alliance to End Homelessness explains:  Homeless youth are less likely to spend time in the same places as homeless people who are in an older age range. They are often less willing to disclose that they are experiencing homelessness or may not even identify as homeless.
  4. 110,000 LGBTQ youth in the U.S. are homeless. This is one of the most vulnerable homeless populations. A substantial number of young people who identify as LGBTQ say that they live in a community that is not accepting of LGBTQ people. In fact, LGBTQ youths make up 20% of runaway kids across the country. Family rejection, abuse, and neglect are major reasons LGBTQ youth end up on the streets. Additionally, homeless LGBTQ youth are substantially more likely than heterosexual homeless youth to be victims of sexual assault and abuse. LGBTQ homeless youth are twice as likely to commit suicide compared to heterosexual homeless youth.
  5. Fifty percent of the homeless population is over the age of 50. These individuals often face additional health and safety risks associated with age. They are more prone to injuries from falls, and may suffer from cognitive impairment, vision or hearing loss, major depression, and chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
  6. 830,120 year-round beds are available in a range of housing projects. About half of those beds are dedicated to people currently experiencing homelessness. This includes Emergency Shelters that provide temporary or nightly shelter beds to people experiencing homelessness, Transitional Housing that provides homeless people with up to 24 months of housing and supportive services, and Safe Havens that provide temporary shelter and services to hard-to-serve individuals.

As shocking as these statistics are, there are many great organizations and churches that are working tirelessly to end or assist the homelessness in most states of the USA and around the world.

Ref:  www.socialsolutions.com

Marie Coppola  March 2017

 

 

A recent U.S. News & World Report shows that one of America's best careers for 2013 and beyond is Healthcare. Millions of aging baby boomers will place a heightened demand on healthcare providers. According to their report, requirements to make healthcare more affordable will increase the range of opportunities for careers with fewer educational requirements (and more moderate pay), especially in the ever-growing field of physician assistants or physical therapist assistants. Some of the job titles listed in the health care field are:

X-ray technician; Veterinarian; Lab technician; Physical therapist; Occupational therapist; Registered Nurse; Physician Assistant; Optometrist; Physical therapist assistant; Dental hygienist; and School psychologist

CNBC joins in and reports when it comes to earning power, having a medical degree still pays off. The highest earning jobs were mostly in the health care field, ranging from surgeons to pediatriians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Specialists earned the most with surgeons taking the lead spot with an average salary of $219,770 last year, the highest average salary in the country, according to the government data.

Following them were anesthesiologists, making an average of $211,750 last year; with oral and maxillofacial surgeons making $210,710; and orthodontists at $206,190.

Obstetricians and gynecologists were also in the top five, making an average of $204,470 in 2009.

Specialists could see a pay drop in the next couple of years as the health care reform bill, signed into law this year, begins to kick in, as the bill shifts pay from specialists to primary care to even out the differences.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states the following:

  • Ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare related.
  • Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population.
  • Most workers have jobs that require less than 4 years of college education, but health diagnosing and treating practitioners are highly educated.

Marie Coppola  March 2013

 

When you update your TV cable programs - a few words of warning. If it sounds like you are getting the grand-daddy package of them all - 150 channels of top television viewing - be cautious.

All those movie channels - yes!   All the sports programs - yes!      Round the clock viewing for your viewing enjoyment - yes!    High Definition - yes!    Just got an HD TV! yes!     Bring it on!

Better check it out before you tell all your friends and family what a great deal you got for only $29.95. You figure that's better than going to the movies a couple of times and spending all that money.

Let's check it out - oh, look -- there's nothing free in HD. Our new TV is HD - oh, it's extra? -- we have to pay $15.00 more for that ~ well, maybe we won't need it.   Well, ok, $15.00 isn't so bad. Oh, you have to purchase another box for it? For $98? And it's more for 'special' sports? They're ALL special? - wow, it's $59.95 for special boxing and football games?

This is like the old joke - "the car costs only $100 bucks -- oh, you wanted a transmission in it? - that's $2,000 more - oh, and you may want tires - they're $75 each - need four?  "I bet you want a steering wheel, too."

Let's check out all the channels we'll get (*rubbing hands together with anticipation*) - and soon to be disappointed).

Menu Button - Actual menu listings of your bundled 'programs':

Channel 2000 -How to have the sexiest hair ever for $19.99

Channel 3000 - Most awesome workout ever without leaving your chair for only $19.99

Channel 4000 - Relieve annoying hammertoe pain with this secret tool for only $19.99

Channel 5000 - Look 18 forever for $19.99

Channel 6000 - Open Grilling Today in the Rain - Grilling alligators in pesto sauce

Channel 7000 - 16 channels -- To be announced

Channel 9001 Family Feud [from the 1970s]

Channel 9002 - Top 100 Tunes of Scream Songs

Channel 9003 - Extreme Makeovers for 70 year olds for $19.99  (And one free if you call NOW!!)

Movie Channel - Movies from the 1920s and 30s (actually they're better than the new ones).

Channel 9004 - Loser Videos of World's Funniest Videos

Local Channels - Blank screen with message. "Need upgrade for that."

20 channels - Inactive

15 channels - Off the Air

There are more infomercials than there are real programs. Everything they sell on these info channels are $19.99 plus shipping & handling (they don't tell you how much shipping & handling will be) AND - if you order within 5 seconds, you get 2 of everything including free shipping & handling.

The movies are reruns of reruns of reruns of movies with ratings not more than 1 and a half stars out of 4 highest stars. AND, if you do watch a movie - it lasts 4 hours - 1 hour of movie interspersed with 3 hours of commercials. All movies begin with 1 or 2 commercial breaks but when you get down to the ending - the most important part of the movie --you get -- count 'em -- 9 commercials.

Be aware if the wind blows enough to swirl your flag outside, you may lose "the signal" and all 150 channels. Or if it rains longer than 5 minutes or the cable even hears your water sprinklers go on, the cable may go down for awhile due to inclement weather. But don't lose heart; once during a Hurricane 3 level - we never lost 'the signal' -- go figure.

I don't watch TV anymore - my husband only watches soccer and the news --- and we pay $81.23 a month. BUT, we have 150 channels. Woo Hoo!

© Marie Coppola  March 2013


By guest writer, Ron Quinlan

Sound the Trumpets    

Practically every parish I know of is struggling with how to evangelize, how to bring people back to the Church. This Easter offers us a perfect opportunity. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics will be sitting in the pews for the first time since Christmas or Ash Wednesday. How can we get them to come back? What message can we give them to bring them back to the faith? What is it that they most need to hear?

What better message can we give them that they can start over? Isn’t this a perfect time to tell them of God’s infinite love and mercy? Isn’t this the perfect time to teach about the Feast of Divine Mercy? So often we wait until the Feast of Divine Mercy when we are preaching to the choir but it is the Christmas and Easter people who most need this message. How many of them know that the Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy?

How many of them know the promises Jesus made through St. Faustina. On that day the floodgates of heaven will open. He promised that grace upon grace will be poured upon the earth. On this feast He wants to bless us beyond our imagination. He wants to wipe out all the punishment for our sins. We can be like a newly baptized person. All of our sins and their punishment can be wiped out. It doesn’t matter how great a sinner we are. Jesus wants to set us free.

This is awesome news. We should be shouting it from the rooftops. Our Easter bulletins and messages should be about the Divine Mercy message. Lay people should be emailing everyone they know especially our lost children. Our churches should be so packed that extra masses and confession times need to be scheduled.

Think about it! We can start over!! It doesn’t matter if we’ve been away from the church for thirty years. It doesn’t matter if we’ve forgotten how to go to confession. Jesus wants to drown us in His mercy, to pour His grace upon us. What better news can we give to the Christmas and Easter people?

In the 1930’s Jesus appeared to a humble Polish nun, St. Faustina and practically begged people to come to Him and trust in His mercy. He passionately wants our salvation. He passionately wants us in heaven with Him. It was at His request that the Feast of Divine Mercy was formally established by John Paul II. He tried to make it as simple as possible for us to receive His graces.

How do we do this? What does Jesus ask of us? He calls us to true contrition for our sins? We need to make a good confession as close to the feast as possible and receive the Lord in the Eucharist. We are called to pass on God’s Mercy to others through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Jesus desires us to celebrate and accept His Mercy. We are called to trust in Him.

We live in a world desperate for God’s Mercy. Turn on the news and learn about another disaster, tsunamis, earthquakes, nuclear dangers, wildfires, rebellions. All of us are uneasy and afraid. We need to trust in God’s Mercy. We need to pray for God’s mercy. We need to get other people to pray for God’s Mercy.

So often we are tempted to wait until later, maybe next Easter we will tell people about God’s Mercy. But what if this year will be the last opportunity for someone to take advantage of the Feast? What if this is someone’s last Easter, their last opportunity to hear this message? Can we afford to wait?

Marie Coppola  March 2013