Oh my! I am shocked and horrified at the latest Christmas special to air on TV “The Flight Before Christmas”.
JP has a great love for all things Santa and has a special fondness for Rudolph so he got very excited when he saw this movie. I looked at the description and saw this: “A young reindeer who’s never met his father and suffers from vertigo wants to follow in his hoofprints and become a part of Santa’s high-flying team, so he takes lessons from a member of a Finnish family of aeralist squirrels“. After reading the innocuous summary and seeing the G rating I felt comfortable watching it with JP.
I have never been so wrong!

  1. The little reindeer, Niko, asks his mother to tell him about how his parents met and learns that he is the result of a Christmas eve reindeer one night stand between his mother and a member of Santa’s reindeer team.
  2. Niko then asks his mother if she misses his father and she says that she doesn’t miss him and she already has one man in her life (presumably that man is Niko).
  3. The little reindeer longs to meet his father and tries desperately to fly. During one of his improvised flying lessons with Julius, a flying squirrel who serves as his father figure, Niko inadvertantly attracts the attention of a pack of wolves. The wolves follow him home and threaten the herd.
  4. Niko runs away and heads to Santa’s fell. At the same time, the wolves are also heading there with a such more sinister intention. They plan on killing the reindeer and Santa. Then the leader plans on taking Santa’s place and visiting all the children on Christmas so he can kill and eat them!

Thankfully, JP fell asleep well before the movie grew dark, but this is advertised as a fun Christmas movie for the family, not a violent nightmare in the making which promotes immorality.

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H/T to Greg and Jennifer Willits (From Rosary Army).

Check out this awesome video.

There is something here that just doesn’t seem right.

From the Dallas News.

Dallas school officials have reversed course and decided to allow students to display rosaries at school following a complaint from a Seagoville High School student.

School leaders told Tabitha Ruiz last month that she must remove or conceal the rosary she often wears around her neck because it is considered a gang symbol and violated the school district’s dress code. Tabitha, 16, said the policy violated her religious freedom.

The Liberty Legal Institute contacted the district on Tabitha’s behalf last week and called for the school board to scrap the rule, said Kelly Shackelford, an institute attorney.

Jon Dahlander, a Dallas school district spokesman, confirmed Wednesday that students, including Tabitha, will now be allowed to wear rosaries. He declined to comment on what prompted the change.

Tabitha’s mother, Taire Ferguson, said she’s happy her daughter will now be able to proudly display her rosary.

“She shouldn’t have had to hide it,” Ms. Ferguson said.

School leaders had said they banned rosaries because the Dallas Police Department identifies them as gang symbols, but a gang unit officer said just because a student wears a rosary doesn’t mean he or she is in a gang.

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas said rosaries are not meant to be worn as jewelry. Tabitha, who was raised Catholic and is now a nondenominational Christian, said she finds comfort in wearing it.

“I am happy that I can wear it,” Tabitha said Wednesday. “I don’t have to hide it anymore.”

It is a shame that a sacramental had become a gang symbol. There is also a Hispanic tradition of wearing the rosary, but this girl has apparently renounced the Catholic Church in favor of non-denominational Christianity. Leaving aside the ironic nuance that Roman Catholicism is the one and only non denominational Christianity, why would an apostate want to wear a rosary?

There is something that is just not right here. I hope and pray that her attachment to the rosary leads her back to the Church.

The Diocese of Fall River lost a good priest last week. Although he never served at a parish where I belonged or worked, Father Martins was very good friends with my childhood parish priest. Because of their friendship, he was one of the priests who had a great influence on my life.
I first met Fr. Martins when I was about 14 years old. At the time he was the most conservative priest knew. He would tell me long rants about the evils of the “modern” way of thinking and approaches to Catholicism. He was relentless in his attempt to impress upon his parishioners the importance of maintaining an active faith life and was never afraid to tell it to people like it is.

His influence caused me to question the squishy theology I was taught in CCD and gave me the courage to stand up to certain CCD teachers. I wish I could list all the ways he helped me, but this post would be unending.

I will miss this great priest, and dear friend who taught me to never be afraid to speak the truth.

Pe. Martins, levem-te os anjos ao paraíso; à tua chegada, recebam-te os mártires e introduzam-te na cidade santa de Jerusalém.

Rev. John Cipriano Martins, retired pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fall River, passed away on Friday.

Born in Sao Sebastiao, Terceira, Azores, he was the son of the late Joao M. and Rita (Ferreira) Martins. After studying at Angra Seminary in Terceira, he was ordained on April 10, 1955 by the late Prelate Rt. Rev. Bishop Manuel A. Carvalho.

Later that year his first assignment in this country was as a Curate at St. Anthony of Padua Church where he remained until 1965. At the time, he was the youngest priest in the Fall River Diocese. Fr. Martins went on to serve as Curate at St. Anthony Parish, E. Falmouth; Curate at St. Elizabeth, Fall River; Assistant Pastor at St. Anthony Parish, Taunton; Administrator at St. Peter Parish, Provincetown; Administrator (for 12 years) at Our Lady of Health Parish, Fall River; Pastor at Santo Christo Parish and returning to St. Anthony of Padua as Pastor in 1994.

He was the brother of Miquelina Fagundes, Rita Coelho and the late Maria Jose Paiva and uncle of Lucia Drumonde, Maria Coelho, Jose M. Paiva, Teresina Dinis, John C. Paiva, Marilou Gouveia and Anne Gendreau.

His concelebrated Funeral Mass will be offered in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Bedford St. on Thursday at 11:00 AM followed by his committal service at Notre Dame Cemetery Mausoleum.

His body will lie in state at the church on Wednesday from 3:00 to 8:00 PM. Please omit flowers.

Donations may be made in his memory to Diabetes Assoc., PO Box 1525, Fall River 02722.

In class last week we were discussing the early Roman Martyrs, in particular Felicity and Perpetua. One woman in the class announced that she really didn’t give her faith much importance but she thought that martyrdom was “the stupidest thing on earth”. It wasn’t so much what she said, as the contempt and anger she showed toward the martyrs that got to me.

Throughout history our world has been shaped by those who were willing to give their lives for what they believed in. Would this woman have shown such contempt for soldiers who lost thier lives in battle, or for those who died in the civil rights movement? I seriously doubt it.

Those are noble causes worth dying for, but to her and so many others, faith is something they can take or leave. As she said, her own faith didn’t mean anything to her. God works in great and mysterious ways because there is a young Vietamese sister in my class who talked about Catholic martyrs in her country and throughout Asia. It was amazing to see the complete change of heart the woman had when she heard about current persecutions of Christians.

Here in America, we take our religious liberty for granted and in a way it can cause it to mean less to us. We need to spread the message of our suffering brother and sisters in faith to remind us how lucky we are to be able to choose to believe or not.

After enjoying the last few weeks of no school and just about no work I am ready to get back into the trenches.
JP will be heading to school for the first time tomorrow. I started my new job today. I go back to school next week.

This weekend will be my last as a music director. I will still play for funerals, weddings, and one Mass a weekend, but my new title will be Coordinator of Youth Ministry and Child Protection. Like most ecclesial titles, it says very little about my actual duties.

I am looking forward to nurturing these young people and getting started in my new parish. Still, I must say that I don’t know if the readings for next weekend should be a comfort or a sign of impending doom.

Jeremiah 20 is one of favorite scripture passages of all time because it describes vocation. It’s never as easy as you thought it would be. It makes you want to pull your hair out. But you do it anyway because it is such a part of you that you can’t imagine life any other way.

Still, I have a feeling I may be very much like Jeremiah (someone preaching a message which opposes the status quo).

Severl months ago someone asked me what I planned to do when I graduated and I said I would go wherever God sent me. I just didn’t want to do anything with religious ed or youth ministry. God defiantely has a sense of humor.

In that regard I quote from the 2nd reading next weekend.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this agebut be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Rom 12:1-2.

So, I go out into service to where I am called, not where I planned or chose to be.

My first day went very well and I think I will enjoy this very much. Yes, it will be a challenge, but the opportunity to help form young people in the faith is a essential task.


I am heartbroken! Another church in my city has been torn down. Our Lady of Health was a parish where I worked on a semi-regular basis. The small church was beautiful in a simple sort of way. It had a polished wood ceiling, many niches which held statues, and a beautiful marble sanctuary. The church was renovated only a few years before the closure was announced.


Even more than the physical beauty of the building was the spiritual beauty. It was where countless people celebrated baptisms, weddings, and worshipped on a regular basis. In 1924, when the church was built, for the community of Portuguese immigrants, the church was the center of their lives. Sadly, most of their children and grandchildren do not have the fervor of their ancestors.

Despite that, there were still many faithful members of Our Lady of Health, but the parish was finding it increasingly difficult to cover expenses. In addition, with falling the numbers of clergy (especially Portuguese speaking clergy, it was difficult to staff the parish with a full time priest.

The Herald News has an article about the demolition here.

In the past I have mentioned on this blog that one of my cousins is a priest of the Neocatechumenal Way who had served in China, Macao, and Hong Kong for many years before returning to Massachusetts.

This week, he was chosen to write about his trip to World Youth Day with 50 young people to on Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s blog. They took a roundabout path to Australia via China! Fr. Tony’s anecdotes about the Chinese Church are fascinating as are the photos.

While in there, the pilgrims met with several bishops, including the ever cheerful Cardinal Zen, and learned their vocation stories; visited historic churches and pilgrimage sites; as well as engaged in street evangelization.

You can read about it here.

The First Things Blog has an amusing post about what happens when people from foreign countries rely entirely on translation software.

This post is about what happens when journalists rely on spell check or don’t have a clue what they are writing about. According to a CBS article, Pope John Paul II beautified Mother Teresa in 2003. Hmm…facelift, tummy tuck? What do you mean it’s supposed to say beatified?

I will give the author the benefit of the doubt because Microsoft Word automatically “corrects” words. I had a frustrating experience while writing my lastest philosophy paper. Apparently I “misspelled” many words that Word just had to correct without asking permission. When I reread the paper, it didn’t make any sense. It was frustrating to have to go back and correct the corrections.

Now, I know the auto correct feature can be turned off, but I was at the computer lab at school and had forgotted that the feature even existed.

While searching for something else, I came across an odd article about St. Pius X and one of his last wishes. Apparently, the Make a Papal Wish Foundation wasn’t around in 1912.

St. Pius X wanted to hear the bells from St. Mark’s Square in Venice one last time before he died, so he arranged for a special phone call. He said, that the phone call would make him the “happiest in nine years”. Unfortunately, his doctors were concerned that it would be too emotional an event for him and they cancelled the call.

Venice was not his home diocese, but his last assignment before being elected to the papacy. He spent 10 years there, and apparently developed a strong attachment to the archdiocese. The bells must have reminded him of an easier, freer time where it was easier to use his pastoral skills and minister directly to the faithful.

I wonder if he ever got to hear the bells before he died a little over two years later.

If you are interested the article is from the New York Times – April 25, 1912.

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