Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Felice Compleanno to George Washington -

George Washington Troup, my grandfather, that is.

He was born 150 years ago today in Haggerstown, MD.
This is the only known picture of him & my grandmother Bertha Titlow Troup Mishler. Grandma was his 2nd wife. He had 16 children* & died on 1 Oct 1940 in Oelwein.
For those of you who wonder about the difference in the spelling of our last names here is the story I was told to explain it. When my father was in school at Sacred Heart along with a brother of his (can't remember which) , one of the Sisters of Mercy started adding the "e". He is supposed to have talked to the sister who refused to change it & told him he didn't know how to spell his own name.
He worked for the Chicago Great Western Railroad.
This is the only known picture of him & my grandmother together. I was told it was taken at a booth at a fair.
Sadly, I never knew him since he died 15 years before I was born.

* His 1st wife died & he then married my grandma. She remarried after his death & died in 1965. The 1st few children were by his 1st wife. The 16th was actually his granddaughter that was born out of wedlock & Grandma & Grandpa raised her as their own.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Virtual San Giuseppe Altar

Over the past few years it has been my blessed privledge to honor San Giuseppe by putting in a plug for the Virtual St. Joseph Altar that was started by Evann Duplantier in 1999. (This is the 16th year.) It was started in the tradition of the Sicilian St. Joseph Altars (aka tavola di San Giuseppe) in New Orleans. & while I am Calabrese, not Siciliano, I see no reason to let that stop me from spreading this great devotion to San Giuseppe. Especially since many of us from other parts of Italia or have their heritage there, have adopted it as well.
Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with the tradition that is celebrated in many parts of the USA as well as Italia, let me explain. We need to go back to the Middle Ages, when the island of Sicily was suffering from a very severe drought. It reached the point that there was almost nothing left to eat but fava beans. In short, a famine.
So the people of Sicily began praying to San Giuseppe, begging him to intercede with God for an end to the drought. (As I type this I can help but think that maybe there is a lesson for California here.) San Giuseppe came through & the drought ended. Crops were planted & the famine ended.
Naturally, the Sicilians were grateful to San Giuseppe & wanted to express their thanks in a visible way. So a table was set up with the fruits of the harvest on it. After they had done so, the food was distributed to the less fortunate.
From that simple table, the altar grew & developed into what it is today.
They can range from the simple

to the ornate,

but certain things remain the same.
The 1st is that the altar must be made with 3 levels. This is done to honor the Holy Trinity.
On the top level a image of San Giuseppe is placed. This can be a statue or a painting or an icon. It is surrounded by flowers & greenery. Votive candles can be placed there as well as on the other levels.
On the other levels a variety of food, with the exception of meat dishes because it is Lent, are placed on the other levels. These offerings include citrus fruit, breads, pastries, seafood, olives, grapes, fava beans, & figs. In addition you will find bread crumbs sprinkled about as a reminder of the sawdust in San Giuseppe's carpenter's shop.
Now the breads & many of the pastries are baked in special shapes. The breads can be shaped as lilies, sandals, ladder, saw, hammer, nail, beard, ladder, & the cane or staff of St. Joseph.  The pastries are made in the shapes of monstrances, chalices, crosses, doves, lambs, fish, bibles, hearts, wreaths & palms. 
The fava beans are there as a reminder that during the famine the people were down to eating fava beans which was normally used back then as a fodder for the cattle.
Additionally, there is a basket placed near or on the altar where visitors can leave their prayer requests, as well as the names of deceased family & friends. Sometime pictures of those who are deceased are placed on the altar as well.
All visitors receive a small goodie bag. It includes a blessed San Giuseppe medal, a holy card with San Giuseppe's image on it & of course, a fava bean. It can also include a small pastry or two.
On San Giuseppe's actual feast day, 19 March, many of the families who erect an altar in their home will invite friends& neighbors over for a meal that includes what was offered on the altar. Children are selected to play the Holy Family. They go from door to door in the neighborhood until they reach the house with the altar. The Holy family is allowed to eat 1st. After the meal any food that remains, along with any money donated is given to the poor, just like the 1st table.
So please visit the virtual altar which opened today for the year.
At the virtual altar, you can make a virtual offering as well as any prayer requests for deceased loved ones or for your needs or to express gratitude to San Giuseppe for prayers answered. You can do this any time between now & San Giuseppe's feast on 19 March 2014. When you do, don't forget to pick up your virtual goodie bag before you leave.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Using Good to Justify Evil

Over the last few years the connections between the abortion industry, especially Planned Parenthood & the Girl Scouts have been coming out. The GSUSA has tried to distance themselves by saying "No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood." That is technically true. But for many local councils & through many other groups they associate with, there is that connection to Planned Parenthood. Recently 1 of their spokeswomen commended pro-abortion politician Wendy Davis & Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sibelius as women to emulate. 
There are many local Girl Scout councils that do not have any association with the abortion industry. Among those who do not is the local council here in Dubuque. But because part of their dues goes to the GSUSA as well as a licencing fee for each box of cookies does, there is still that indirect support.
That is why the recent CookieCott was organized, to make people aware of the connection as well as ensure Pro-lifers are not supporting Planned Parenthood etc through it. This is a simplifiedexplanaition. You can get the details here.
Part of the CookieCott was a tweetfest for those of us who are on Twitter to get the word out.   It was held on 6 February 2014, just before the weekend that the Girl Scouts had their cookie sales in front of grocery & other stores, etc.
I participated in it. My 1st tweet was "I'll keep saying no to Girl Scout cookies until they publicly repudiate their connection to Planned Parenthood". Well, it didn't take to long for a person^ to try & claim they had. I countered with facts, links etc, but this person either ignored (mostly) the evidence I presented, refused to answer my questions about that evidence, or out & out denied the truth.
Additionally, the person tried to use guilt on me. "Your issue is w/ GSNY*, not the girls who. . . (continued in next tweet due to space limitations) who use their cookie proceeds to help the homeless, veterans, schools, nursing homes and many othercharities. You hurt them too."
Obviously I wasn't going to fall for that ploy. So I responded with the following tweets:
"Pleae don't play this false sympathy card. The ends never justify the means if they are evil."
"There are many other groups that I support that help the homeless, hungry etc without ties to Planned Parenthood. So GS not needed."
I knew that this person wouldn't like what I said. The response was as follows:
"Shame on you for saying the needy should be helped by others because you don't like something. I'm finished with you."
Talk about an attempt to flame & demonize. I obviously hit a nerve with a fact that person didn't like because it totally undermined the justification used to continue buying GS cookies. Apparently the defending of the unborn is simply a dislike on my part, not the moral evil it really is.
Actually this person knows I am right & doesn't like the truth about how evil abortion is as well as the GSUSA connection to it. So saying it was something I don't like was an attempt to deny that truth, as well as try & paint me as the bad guy instead.
I knew that I wouldn't get a reply, but I did have to respond.
"There are plenty of other groups to support that do those same things, but doen't abet abortion like the GSUSA does."
"So cut out the self righteousness. I am not ashamed of the truth, but you seem to be willing to help murder unborn babies."
"Why are you afraid to face the facts/truth. The GSUSA is affiliated with groups that push abortion."
"That good that the GSUSA may do never absolves the evil they are associated with, you know that. I pray God opens your eyes to the truth"
These last few were sent yesterday. Of course I haven't gotten a reply. Nor do I expect to. This person knows I will not back down from speaking the truth. Please join in my prayers for an openness & acceptance of the truth by this person.
There are many good organizations out there that do not work with the abortion industry that deserve our support. The Girls Scouts is, sadly, not one of them. Fortunately, there is a good alternative, The American Heritage Girls. In fact they have even created a "Respect Life" patch for the girls to earn. So, until the GSUSA returns to its original values, the money I would spend on Girl Scout cookies will go to buying the candy bars sold by the American Heritage Girls instead.

^ The tweets are public, so I could use the person's name &/or gender. But instead I will keep it generic since it could be a man or woman saying the same thing to you someday. Hopefully this will help you see the real agenda, to justify the continued support of abortion by wrapping it in a cloak of good. As St. Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 11:14, Satan & hs demons can disguise themselves as an angel of light. This is exactly what is going on with the abortion industry through the GSUSA They are appearing as something good rather than the evil they are.

* The group involved in 1 of the many examples I used, not the only one. 


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Lord of the World

by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson

I 1st heard of this book after Papa Francesco  mentioned this book in 18 November 2013 homily at his daily Mass. The Pope says that Benson speaks in the book of the spirit of the world that leads to apostasy “almost as though it were a prophecy, as though he envisioned what would happen”.
Soon many others began talking about it as well. My curiousity was peeked. So I went to Amazon & found it was available on Kindle for free. Naturally I downloaded it & recently finished reading it. I was not disappointed.
Lord of the World was written in 1907 by Monsignor Benson. Benson was the son of Edward Benson (Archbishop of Canterbury). Benson was ordained an Anglican priest by his father in 1895. Sfter Archbisop Benson died suddenly in 1896, Fr. Benson traveled to the Middle East to recover his health. While there he began considering the claims of the Catholic Church as well as the status of the Church of England. Finally on 11 September 1903 he was received into the Catholic Church & ordained as a Catholic priest in 1904. He died in 1914.
Lord of the World is an apocalyptic novel set in the 1st part of the 21st Century. However, unlike most modern novels, it is written from a Catholic viewpoint. So I will warn you in advance, there is no rapture as many modern evangelicals describe it.
The story itself takes place in 3 locations, London, Rome & the Holy Land. 
In the early part of the 20th Century a form of Marxism called Herveism came into power in England. It was tied into a form of humanism & behind it all was Freemasonry. By the start of the 21st Century,except for those who were still faithful Catholics, a spirit of hopelessness has fallen over England as well as most of the rest of the world. Euthenasia has become an accepted way to end your life. But not only for physical illness. It is also allowed for those who just do not want to go on living.
Rome has been ceded to the Vatican in return for their surrender of all other Church buildings in Italy. The Catholic Church, headed by Pope John XXVIV. (This numbering was based on the fact that the last John was antipope John XXIII, something that was ignored when the Blessed John XXIII took his name in 1958. Only Ireland & Rome have remained faithfully Catholic. Throughout the rest of the world there is only a small percentage who are still Catholic. For the most part, people have become freemasons. There are some strongholds of Eastern religions, but there are no longer any protestant churches in existance. The only Christian Church is the Catholic Church. & all the Eastern rites have been surpressed. The only rite celebrated is the Tridentine rite. 
I found that last fact a bit unbelievable. Even if the reason was unity. But this was, I suspect based on a bit of prejudice on the part of the author. Back then most Roman Catholics knew little about the Eastern Catholics & there was much prejudice against the differences in their rites, etc. 
As far as the political landscape, there existed 3 basic powers, the Eastern Empire, the American Republic & the European Union. At the opening of the book the Eastern Empire is threatening Europe. Additionally, all royal houses have been deposed. The royal families have all moved to Rome, including the Chinese emperor. & all those that weren't Catholic have converted to Catholicism.
It is probably the technological part where this book is the most dated. Long distance travel is done via a form of air ship, volor, that is like the zeppelin. There are no computers. Communication is done mainly by letter & telegraph.
There are 3 main characters in the book. Fr. Perry Franklin, a priest living in London. Part of his responsibilities are to observe what is going on & report it to the Pope. He is a devout Catholic who is troubled by the huge falling away, apostasy, of Catholics, lay & ordained. 
Next there is Julian Felsenburgh. He is a mystery man who seems to have come from nowhere & rises ultimately to control the world. While I am not saying Obama is the antiChrist, it struck me that there are many similarities between Obama & Felsenburgh. Felsenburgh & Fr. Franklin are virtually identical in their looks.
Then ast of the 3 is Oliver Brand. He starts out as the new member from Croydon. He hooks his wagon to Felsenburgh & rises in power as a result. 
The main supporting characters, besides the Pope include Brand's wife Mabel & his dying mother. Another is Mr. Francis. He starts the book as a priest. Later he leaves the faith & ends up being the main liturgest for the new world religion being set up.
With the obvious exception of Felsenburgh, the main characters & many of the supporting characters are well developed.  We get to know what they are thinking, what motivates them, there hopes & even their dreams.
The novel is divided into 4 parts, the Prologue, Book I The Advent, Book II The Encounter, & Book III The Victory.
The Prologue serves to set the scene for what will develop in the main body of the novel. At times it drags, but despite what the author said, it should not be skipped, even by those who dislike prologues.
The 1st part of the book looks at the rise of Felsenburgh from obscurity as an unknown from America to, although the term is never used, the AntiChrist ruling the world. The 2nd part focuses on the development of the World religion as well as the attempts to wipe out the Pope & the Catholic Church. Without giving anything away, the last part focuses on the final attack on the Catholic Church & the end of the World. The way Benson describes it has a very strong Eucharistic foundation, something I found very satisfying as I thought about it afterwords.
I will say I found what Papa Francesco said, that the book is prophetic in its way. It does capture the spirit of the world we find growing in this day & age, the time the book is set in.  We see many Catholics giving up the tenets of the faith. People are denying the faith. Euthenasia is becoming acceptable. The recent UN Committee attack on the Church's teachings on abortion, contraception & sexuality could be seen as the 1st major shot across the bow by that spirit of the world. Again, I am not saying we are seeing the rise of the actual AntiChrist. But the book does give us insight into where we could be heading. & why it is all the more important for us faithful Catholics to defend the faith as well as boldly proclaim the truths that God has handed on to us through the Church.
I have tried not to give away too much of the plot. Part of what makes the book so good is how he develops the story to bring us to the end of the world. Benson has interwoven the stories of the main characters in a way that is anything but contrived. Yes there are coincidences that bring about the meeting of Brand & Fr. Franklin. But they are anything but contrived. In fact, they help add to the believability of the story.
So if you are looking for a solid read, with a story that holds your interest, Lord of the World is well worth it. Headlines

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