Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WYD Rio 2013

It's good to finally be back in the States!

Since I wasn't able to post any pictures during my pilgrimage to World Youth Day, I figured I'd post a bunch now!

Here are some of my favorite moments from World Youth Day!
Cathedral De Se (Cathedral Sao Paulo)
Our Lady Of the Immaculate Conception

Statue of Our Lady of Aparecida

Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

View of Rio de Janeiro

Cathedral of St. Sebastien (not my style, but interesting)

Christ the Redeemer on a cloudy day

Close to Pope Francis before the Welcoming Ceremony

The Holy Father before the Closing WYD Mass

Cardinal Dolan and I!

Words cannot describe my love for women religious!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Papal Welcoming Ceremony

Tonight the WYD pilgrims witnessed the welcoming ceremony of Pope Francis. I was able to get an amazing glimpse of the Holy Father in his pope mobile. Pope Francis gave an inspiring homily to about 1.5 million pilgrims on Copacabana Beach. He stressed the need to wear faith, hope, and love as disciples of Christ. Also he exclaimed that as young people, we must follow Christ just like St. James and the Holy Apostles.

Getting to just see the Holy Father was an amazing experience. Even more amazing is the fact that I saw Pope Benedict a year ago this week. I never would have thought that in the course of one year I would see two amazingly holy and magnanimous pontiffs.

I still can't get the image download to work. I promise to download all of my pictures when I get back to the U.S., especially my amazing shot of the Holy Father!!
God Bless! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A "GOD's-Eye" View: Everyone On Earth Say "Cheese"!

Here is a "GOD's-Eye" view of our planetary home-sweet-home, courtesy of the Cassini Orbiter Spacecraft!

In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn's rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.

Can you see us? If not, here is a handy giant white arrow pointing us out:
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Earth, which is 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away in this image, appears as a blue dot; the moon can be seen as a fainter protrusion off earth's right side. The other bright dots nearby are stars.

GOD does nice work, doesn't HE? It is just as the Psalmists expressed it:
"When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place — What is man that you are mindful of him, and a son of man that you care for him?  Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor." Psalm 8:4-6

"The heavens declare the glory of GOD; the sky proclaims its Builder's craft.  One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge.  There is no word or sound; no voice is heard; Yet their report goes forth through all the earth, their message, to the ends of the world. GOD has pitched there a tent for the sun; it comes forth like a bridegroom from his chamber, and like an athlete joyfully runs its course.  From one end of the heavens it comes forth; its course runs through to the other; nothing escapes its heat."
Psalm 19:1-6

"Hallelujah! I How good to celebrate our GOD in song; how sweet to give fitting praise.
The LORD ... Numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.  Great is our LORD, vast in power, with wisdom beyond measure."
Psalm 147:1-5
This is only the third time ever that Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system, and the first time that inhabitants of Earth knew in advance that their planet would be imaged.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.  
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit and

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pre-WYD Excursions

Yesterday, we went to the Cathedral de Se or São Paulo Cathedral in São Paulo, independent of any World Youth Day activities.  It is a beautiful church built between 1912 and 1954 with magnificent stonework and mosaics.  Though the church is named after the area it is in ( de Se); the cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.

We also celebrated Mass in Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and visited the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida (a modern looking church completed in the 1950s).  We were able to pray in front of the actual statue that the Marian apparition is attributed to.

Hopefully the wifi will cooperate soon; I'm having difficulty downloading pictures.  God willing more posts and maybe pictures to come.
God Bless!

Friday, July 19, 2013

WYD Patron Saints

If you're curious below is a link to a list of the patron saints for this years World Youth Day in Rio.  Many of these saints began to take up and live very devout holy lives at very young ages.  The best example of this is our Blessed Mother (Our Lady of Aparecida), who at a young age said yes to God, giving birth to the One who would come for the salvation of many.  

All of these saints epitomize the theme of this years World Youth Day, "Go Make Disciples."

Please pray for the WYD pilgrims and me as we make our way to Rio de Janeiro, my flight leaves this evening!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

World Youth Day 2013

I am blessed to be heading off to Brazil on Friday for this years World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro!

During my pilgrimage I hope to be able to publish frequent posts about my journeys.  

God Bless!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beautiful Scars

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” [see Luke 10:1-12, 17-20]

In cattle-raising and sheep-raising states, ranchers have a kind of identification system to judge the worthiness of a cattle- or sheep-herding dog.  

Any rancher in the market for a new herding dog will pay big money for a trained herding dog  –  IF the dog’s face, ears, and gums display the scars of battle from the sharp claws and teeth of mountain cats and wolves. 

Those scars identify a worthy herding dog.

In the movie, Jaws, shark hunter Quint and marine biologist Hooper -- in competition -- brag and show-off their scars, to prove how tough and qualified they are to take on and stop the man-eating Great White Shark feeding on people swimming at the shore.

In his Letter To The Galatians [Gal 6:14-18], Saint Paul speaks of the form of identification that every true, authentic Christian should have.  Saint Paul teaches that,  what makes followers of Jesus Christ identifiable and praiseworthy to the Lord are our scars:  our spiritual scars, emotional scars, and sometimes even physical scars similar to Our Lord Jesus’ scars!

Among the teachings Our Lord Jesus gave us in Saint Luke’s Gospel,  there is one very  peculiar lesson in Chapter Ten [Luke  10:1-12, 17-20].  In that Gospel passage, Our Lord Jesus is sending His disciples out to preach that the Kingdom of God has come.  He instructs these disciples, and gives them the subtle and curious advice, “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”

Now, in case you missed basic zoology somewhere along the way, sheep and lambs do not come through very well when they are surrounded by wolves!  By stating that He is sending us like lambs among wolves, Our Lord Jesus is warning us: Faithful Catholics will be subject to the same hurts and opposition as Our Lord Jesus Himself experienced.  
Our Lord Jesus did not let Himself off the hook from experiencing the hazards of living in a sinful world. 
He did not excuse Himself from graduating from the school of hard knocks!  And He does not shield us from the hazards and consequences of living in this sinful, often violent world.

Our Lord Jesus, today, in our time, sends us out into the world like “lambs among wolves.”  He sends us out to stand up, speaking the Truth of His Gospel and faithfully, courageously confronting human sinfulness and the Devil.   

  • Once you take a clear-cut stand against some form of evil, because you know Christ would battle that evil, you put yourself in a good position for acquiring some Christ-like scars. 
  • Once you take a unambiguous stand and you support a cause or value that is not popular, because you know Christ would support that cause, you become eligible for picking up some Christ-like scars.   
  • Once you call for peace, compassion, mercy, or generosity  –  because you know Christ would call for these –  while people around you call for anger, revenge, cruelty, and selfishness  – because of this, you are in the blessed situation to secure some Christ-like scars. 

Our Lord Jesus has scars from the top of His head to the soles of His feet.  

The scars of the nails,  the spear, and the crown of thorns became His exclusive proof of identification – which He presented to His disciples when He first appeared to them after rising from the dead. 

The Lord Jesus loves His scars, because they remind Him of the astounding love and compassion He feels for each one of us.   He accepted His torture,  crucifixion and death to save us!   

The Lord Jesus loves each of us so dearly,  that He transferred those scars to His glorified, risen Body.  

And He will display those scars of love for you and me in Heaven, now and for eternity.

What Christ-like scars of love do you have?  Do you have the marks, the wounds which  identify yourself as a long-time, faithful Catholic?

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.