27 November 2010

Cell Phone Recommendations

Since I will be in the U.S. for almost a year and half of that in parish ministry, I will need a cell phone. . .

Any suggestions for a phone using the following criteria:

Inexpensive flip phone (I am clumsy!)
No contract with a provider
Pay as you go
No data/no frills

Just a simple phone.

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26 November 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

12 Myths Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer. . .these are more misconceptions about Catholicism than they are myths.

Secret meeting of a secret group of theologians giving the Holy Father secret advice!  The Rector of the Angelicum, Fr. Charles Morerod OP serves as the general secretary for the ITC.

Palin gets dumped on for an on-air gaffe. . .but she gets her revenge!

Yet another reason to hope for the quick demise of the E.U. . .I mean, other than this one.  Some in the U.K. want my fav European country of the E.U.

One of the nations largest unions will drop health care insurance for the children of low-wage members.  Why?  Drum-roll, please!  ObamaCare!  NB.  this union enthusiastically supported B.O.'s gov't run boondoggle.

Poor Edna. . .she opened the wrong can.

The god of cake. . .

Pope approved birth control!

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25 November 2010

Hurry up and wait

34th Week OT (F)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

Here we are at the end of November in Rome. It's cold and raining. Has been for weeks now. We see the sun for maybe 30 minutes a day. All signs that winter is not far off. This morning Jesus tells us that the budding fig tree will be a sign that the long winter is ending and that summer is near. We also have John telling us that in his vision of the last judgment, “the former heaven and former earth had passed away.” The old order of the universe is replaced by “a new heaven and a new earth.” Winter turns to summer; the old gives way to the new. This isn't the Cycle of Life our pagan ancestors revered and celebrated; rather, it's the drama of human conversion from sin to salvation, the salvific action of Christ on the cross and our graced reaction to his sacrifice. Having died and risen again once for our sins, Christ continues to lure us away from disobedience and destruction and into a renewed life, an eternal life among all his redeemed in heaven. It is no accident that these readings come on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent.

In the Church's liturgical year, Friday's are always marked as the dark day of the crucifixion, a day for penitential reflection and fasting. It is entirely fitting that we are called to repentance on this Friday, the Friday before we begin our long wait during Advent for the coming of the Christ Child. For four weeks we will watch for the signs of his coming. For four weeks we will pray, fast, study, do our work all the while waiting and waiting for the first signs of his coming. Even knowing that his coming is inevitable, even knowing that he has already arrived once for all, we will wait and wait. This generation—those who faithfully anticipate his arrival—this generation will not pass before he finally comes among us. Are you ready? Fully prepared? Ready to receive all the graces and all the tribulations he has to give you? 

Military men and women often describe their work as “hurrying up to wait.” Rush, rush, rush to get ready. . .and then a long, anxious wait for action. If John's apocalypse tells us anything, it tells us that now is the time to hurry up and wait. Hurry to repentance. Hurry to conversion. Hurry up and get your spiritual house in order. And then wait. Christ has come. Christ is coming. And he will come again. There's a new heaven and a new earth to anticipate. Be sure that you are ready!

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24 November 2010

The first Thanksgiving Day menu?

Every American knows the proper menu for Thanksgiving Day:  turkey, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  But did you know what the first Thanksgiving Day menu included?

Foods Included in the Original Thanksgiving Feast

In addition to the wild fowl, pumpkin and squash mentioned above, the following foods were certainly abundant and most likely were included in the “harvest” celebration:
  • Fish
  • Lobsters
  • Eel
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Corn
  • Parsnips
  • Collards
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
The whole article is worth a read.

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In praise of Americans and not giving a @#$%!

As an American living in Europe, I am often subjected to veiled and not-so-veiled remarks from Europeans about the cultural/political backwardness of our great nation.  From snickering comments about cowboys to outright falsehoods about the Tea Party, Europeans feel free to think out loud when it comes to taking elitist swipes at the American eagle.  Normally, I smile, say something self-deprecating, and move on.  

When I first arrived in Rome in 2008, a friar from an eastern European country acidly remarked on the U.S.'s military presence on the European continent.  Maybe it was just my mood that day, or maybe it was the strain of being one of the few Americans in the priory who didn't want to add Obama to the Holy Trinity; regardless, I replied, "Well, brother, I'd be happy to see us pull all of our troops out of Europe.  But then you guys who have to take up the slack and spend some of our state welfare money on keeping Putin out of your backyard.  It's the U.S.'s willingness to defend you that allows you to spend so much on government welfare."  Needless to say, he turned purple and the conversation ended.  

I'm reminded of this failure to keep my cool by this article from Inside Higher Ed, "In Praise of the Americans."  The piece ends with this observation: 

“All the world criticizes them and they don’t give a damn….Moralists cry over them, criminologists dissect them, writers shoot epigrams at them, prophets foretell the end of them, and they never move. Seventeen brilliant books analyze them every month; they don’t read them .… But that’s all right. The Americans don’t give a damn; don’t need to; never did need to. That is their salvation.”

This astute observation was written in 1932 by Canadian political scientist, Stephen Leacock.  His take on Americans still applies to 99.9% of us, I think.  However, it could be argued that we  are currently ruled by the .1% who do give a damn what Europeans think of us.  Maybe that's the Great Divide we're seeing in U.S. politics these days. . .

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23 November 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

WOW. . .apparently, North Korea has lost its mind.

More on the amateurism of our current Betters:  rep from the Taliban in peace talks is an impostor.

This sounds like a good idea. . .frankly, anything that curbs the power of D.C. seems good right now.

"Catholics" in Belgium become Protestants while pretending to still be Catholics.  Only the NYT would think that this sort of thing is new. 

Anti-bullying law for NJ.  When responsible parenting fails, Nanny is always ready and willing to step in. 

Canonist Ed Peters is just a little bit peeved with L'Observatore over its premature publication of the Holy Father's comments on condom use.  Let the purge begin!

Upon hearing a weird combo of words, I always say, "That sounds like the name of a new band."

Um, no thanks. . .I'll wait for the next rest area.

When computer geeks get in trouble at school.

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22 November 2010

A new assignment (UPDATED)

This just in. . .

My provincial has assigned me to help out at St. Joseph's parish in Ponchatula, LA from Jan to June 2011. 

I'll be assisting Fr. John Dominic Sims, OP.  This will be my first parochial assignment as a priest.

UPDATE:  Sorry, I didn't make this clear!  I will be returning to Rome in Oct 2011 to continue studies toward the PhD in philosophy.  I've done all I can here in Rome on the license until next Oct.

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All in or not at all

St Cecilia
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

Anyone who lives in Rome understands what it means to take a risk. If the careening taxis don't mow you down at a crosswalk, the uneven cobblestones will break your ankles. If the herds of tourists on the 64 bus don't crush you to death, the summer heat will suck the life out of you. We all take risks just by walking out the door every morning. We calculate the costs of leaving home against the benefits of staying in bed, weighing all the options, teasing out the advantages, appraising the disadvantages, and then we choose. Most of the time, we get the equations right and manage to live another day. If this sort of cost/benefit analysis works for mere survival, can we use it in making choices about how we live our lives in Christ? That is, when it comes to deciding whether or not and to what degree we will follow after Christ, can we coolly, logically process all the available evidence before making a choice? Jesus' tale of the widow's mite says, no, we can't. We're all in or not at all.

Living with Christ is not a contest of minimizing risks, planning strategies, or prudently calculating cost/benefit. Living with Christ is a recklessly generous, open-handed, open-hearted, full-tilt run; a sanctifying contest of perseverance and strength, a contest played with everything you've got and all that you are. If we pick and choose which portions of ourselves we will and won't give to Christ, then we cannot claim a prize even if we finish the race. If all that you are, if all of who you are didn't compete, then who exactly crossed the finish line? The widow knows who she is—a child of God the Father. She sacrifices her entire livelihood; she gives wholly, fully everything she has: two mites, two small coins. The wealthy gave of their surplus, what was left over after the cost/benefit calculations had been made. She gave out of her poverty, out of what she didn't have to give. Of her sacrifice, Jesus says, “. . .this poor widow put in more than all the rest.” The “more” that she gives is not calculable by weight or by an exchange value. How can trust in God be measured? How do we weigh hope? By giving all that she has and all that she is, the widow throws herself recklessly—ignorant of risk, despite the threat of failure—she throws herself into the hands of God and trusts Him to provide. 

The moment you and I are equal to this sacrifice, we are well and fully committed to living our lives following after Christ. We are either all in or not at all. Christ himself did nothing less for us.

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