Preview of “The Martian”

There is a Martian that needs to be rescued.   No, he isn’t an alien visitor here on earth.   He is Mark Watney, an American, who is stuck on Mars.   Fictionally.

The movie (“The Martian”) that opens this weekend, starring Matt Damon, is a film about human dignity and love for life and the appreciation of saving a person, because we earthlings simply care for our own.   The trouble is—Watney is an astronaut that got stuck stranded on the Red Planet.  In the film adapted from the space geek novel by Andy Weir, and put to a film script by Catholic Drew Goddard, it’s a tale about a man who wants to live out every drop of his existence, even if left behind on Mars in a messed-up space mission.  Astronaut Mark must improvise quickly and adapt to his situation, to keep alive, and then find a way to communicate back to earth that he is still alive, not dead, and asking for rescue.

What happens next is a whole lot of efforts from his fellow human beings back home.  Without giving away anything but one scene, the race is on for earth to put together a rescue, and for Mark’s ingenuity and grit to survive way past a reasonable time for it.  He has very limited resources.  Yet, in one scene, in seeking to get a fire going, the only thing on board is a wood crucifix.  He gets saved by the burnable wood of that cross and asks pardon from God for using such a precious religious object, saying:  ‘You won’t mind if I do this, Lord?!  I’m trying to survive here!’  (Or some words to that effect.)

This film is somewhat like a mix between the movies “Apollo 13″ and “Castaway.”   Or it might be called Robinson Crusoe in Space.

The film will mostly be about the Matt Damon character being alone on the planet and, as the Weir book was mostly written like a diary of entries of how he’s surviving on the planet, I would expect the film to imitate the book in that vein.  But it is interesting to consider what the lost astronaut is going through, in being so isolated and left to die.   He does not know of all the effort back home on Earth going on to save him.

While l don’t like the F word used a lot in the book (which will probably be in the movie), I do like the respect for life message throughout the story of how important one person can be to the rest of the human community.

This is the message of Pope Francis speaking to the UN this past week and to America in saying that we are one human family needing to cooperate with one another and to act on helping one another in The Golden Rule. This is the message of actions ( not just words)  of Francis seeing homeless people and jailed persons with his valuable time.   Every person matters.

I won’t say if it ends well for the new Martian, astronaut Mark, but the film is a nice vehicle for Matt Damon in the movies.  Damon is remembered for such roles as Jason Bourne in a movie where he was racing around in many chase scenes, and I can guarantee you that the Mars rover does not hit any high speeds on Mars nor is there is anyone chasing him there. I expect the film to have a deliberate pace about it.

I think Damon must have wanted to make a space movie since his friend George Clooney had made one with Sandra Bullock in that same theme of being helpless in space, but the book by Weir was a good read and better story by far.

The actor Damon is being asked by Pope Francis to go to the Vatican this Autumn so to talk about the media with him, so Matt ought to be happy about things right now.  Plus, the filmmaker must be glad for the free PR today in the news, as the real NASA Mars Orbiter seems to have found water on Mars.   So maybe movie theatres can serve Mars water at the concessions this weekend.  Oh wait a second, they could never transport it back fast enough!   Well– how about Mars candy bars?!

 

 

The Holy Archangels

On Tuesday’s Feast of the Holy Archangels of God, I’d like to remember a part of a prayer that Pope Leo XIII once put together to be used by priests at Mass.

Here’s its ending:

L. Behold the Cross of the Lord, flee away ye hostile forces.
R. The lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath conquered.

L. May Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
R. Since we have hoped in Thee.

L. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

LET US PRAY:

O GOD and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy mercy, that by the intercession of the Mother of GOD, Mary, Immaculate Ever Virgin, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of Blessed Joseph the Spouse of the same Blessed Virgin, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and of all the Saints, Thou wouldst deign to afford us help against Satan and all the other unclean spirits, and against whatever wanders throughout the world, to do harm to the human race and to ruin souls, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

(Pope Leo XIII, 1888, Motu proprio).

When I was ordained in 1988, the prayer was no longer said aloud in Mass nor used as much in private Masses, but I thought it was a prayer I should use from time to time.   My middle name is Michael, named for my grandfather, but also the Archangel Michael.  I have had statues and prayers cards through my life to remind me to invoke his angelic help, as well as others that Christ Jesus puts at my disposal from my Communion with all His Heavenly Host.

Plus, this is what Pope John Paul II (the pontiff in 1988) had to say of this prayer:

“Even if this prayer is no longer recited at the end of every Mass, I ask everyone to remember it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”michale

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Let’s Go with God’s Plan Sept. 27th Homily 26th Sunday “B”

Let’s Go with God’s Plan.  Let’s, all of us, pledge to live as God’s servants, on a Mission of Love.  May His Spirit bless us in this work of re-creation and new life to the world.

In our proclaimed first reading from the Book of Numbers, something significant is told there in the Bible account of Moses’ ministry and the Exodus Pilgrim People:   God appoints leader-helpers for Moses.  Moses had been leading mostly everything since the moving out of Egypt in God’s Deliverance Event to the Hebrews.  He is relieved now (at this Numbers 11 moment) to see a share of God’s Spirit go and fall upon 70 other persons for ministry with him.   Moses alone had the Spirit before.   These others are now endowed with the power for working cooperatively in appointed offices with Moses.   God has done this.   Much of the pressure of everything being on Moses is lifted.   There is a godly power now in 70 others.

Now more things can happen in God’s people.  Better things can get done.   New ideas and fresh energy can come to the forefront.

Even while Moses’ ministry should still be greatly respected.

Pope Francis has shared that, while his ministry as pope and bishop is accomplishing a lot in a short week in his trip among us, that all of us have been given the Spirit of God to be “missionary disciples”* with him.   This phrase* Francis has used in his “Joy of the Gospel” writing, which I hope you have read and so recognize.   He says that the Church has the Spirit for sharing the Good News and living and acting in it right now.   This is our moment of New Covenant faith to let the Spirit lead us to be God’s lights of love and hope to the world and to our land.   Love is our Mission.   God’s Spirit of Love, in and through us, can meet the needs of a weary, downcast world, and lift our hearts up (more), as well.  We should believe this.

In this post Vatican II time, when renewal has come to the Church, but vocations have dropped, many wise persons have interpreted it to be a time when God has given us opportunity for the laity to step up and do many things in their Catholic faith.   Beforehand, it too often was “let Father do it” or “let sister or brother so-and-so do it.”    But now there are less of those dedicated religious or clergy, so it has been made  obvious (during this vocations lapse) that the laity must step up and be energy and service to the Church, and not just its clergy or religious.   This has been a positive swing from the negative numbers of vocations.

We still need the priests, deacons, brothers, sisters, monks and all:  and we will ask St. Junipero Serra for help with that.    Yet we have learned lessons of what the laity should be doing through these recent decades.

While clergy and religious should still be respected, all the same, so should the call be heeded and respected from each person’s baptismal vocation to be the gospel witness to the world.   In each and every Christian person.   There is a universal call to holiness going on.

James’ epistle is paired with the Numbers reading today because his letter is always pointing out the need for action to be with one’s faith in heart and mind.  We must “do” the faith, he says.

I think Moses’ story of getting a lot of help can also apply not just to clergy and laity model, but also to people who are of different generations of the Church.  It can apply to those who are the older members who can lead the way to help bring on the younger members into the life of the Church, and to not be in the way of their contributions.  Moses was glad to have the help; so should our older parishioners for the younger Catholics to have their place of service.

Here’s a case of that I recall from a parish.   This parish I knew had a pie festival in October for over twenty-five years.  It had great parishioner pie-makers cook up these tasty homemade desserts, and people came from all around to eat at the parish pie festival and to take a pie or two or three home with them.   It was a nice event for the parish, and it was a good fundraiser.    Yet as the years went on, the pie makers were aging or had died off, and there were much less bakers for the festival.   Yet the younger members couldn’t help, because many of them could not make pies, nor have the time to do so, nor would they enjoy it if they had the chance to learn to do it.   So the Pie Festival came to its final year.

Then the young adults in the parish had a surprise formation and they approached the parish council with their new idea, asking:   Could we sponsor a 5K run for charity on that same October Sunday, now that it was open on the calendar?   And the idea was accepted, and now the young adults finally had something to gather them in with the church.   And the elders helped out at it, providing the water, the sign-ups, the maps, and running tags.    The parish had it, and it went pretty well.   Now they were “running in a new direction.”

So, from that example, you can see that God’s Spirit can empower new ideas and new people into service in His Body, the Church.

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The rest of the homily was made of spontaneous comments about Pope Francis’ visit and especially his participation in the World Meeting of Families on this day.    I spoke of the meeting of two nice Catholic families at Saturday’s wedding 99-26) and the couple that inspired us who brought their hearts into oneness in Holy Matrimony and began a new family, tied lovingly to their parents and grandparents legacy of love.

I also spoke of the five infant baptisms we had last weekend and the enjoyable time I had at some family homes.

I also spoke of next Sunday’s parish “Fun Day” and our joining together for it.   (This annual event is easy, nothing as hard as a Parish Pie Festival or running a 5K race.  We just show up and help out some as a backyard party for the parish and her October anniversary.  We began in October 1972 on the Feast of St. Edward the Confessor.)

Becoming a Saint–as in St. Junipero Serra Spanish/American

Who Can Be a Saint?

We all have the potential to become a saint, to be united with God in heaven.

“The saints, the members of the Church who have arrived at perfect union with Christ, join their wills to the will of God in praying for those in the Church who are still on their pilgrimage of faith.” (USCCB)

Canonization is the process by which the Catholic Church formally declares an individual worthy to be venerated by the Church.

  • What is the Process for Canonization?

    Canonization is the formal process the Catholic Church uses to declare someone is a saint:

    “The Church through the Pope solemnly declares a Catholic to be united with God in heaven, an intercessory to God on behalf of the living, and worthy of public and universal veneration.” (USCCB)

    The purpose of a cause of canonization is to examine one’s life and death to determine (a) if he/she were martyred or (b) lived a life of virtue.

    (Arch)diocesan Phase

    1. A petition to open a cause is made to an (arch)diocese
    2. After the (arch)bishop opens the cause, the person is declared a “Servant of God.” The (arch)diocese investigates how the person lived a “heroic, virtuous life” through a full theological examination of his/her writings and interviews of witnesses; for martyrdom, by examining the circumstances of martyrdom and the person’s life. The person responsible for this investigation is the postulator.
    3. The (arch)diocese investigates how the person lived.

     Vatican Phase

    1. All of the documentation collected is sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for examination.
    2. Documentation is sent to the members of the Congregation (cardinals and bishops).
    3. If the staff and Congregation find it favorable, it goes to the Pope.
    4. The Pope may declare the person “Venerable.”

    Becoming a “Blessed”

    1. A miracle attributed to the intercession of the person must be verified after examination by medical experts and theologians (a miracle is not mandatory for a martyr).
    2. Pope declares the person “Blessed.”

    Becoming a Saint

    1. A second verified miracle is attributed to the person.
    2. The Pope approves formal recognition of the person as a saint. This is done in a Canonization Mass.
    3. Place it happens is a choice.  Date also is a choice.  Date for new saint is made for Church calendar.

    How the stages happened for Junipero Serra

    I….Junipero Serra’s Death

    When Father Junipero Serra died in 1784, he was mourned by the friars and Indians, who referred to him for generations after his death as “el santo”— the saint. However, real efforts to canonize him were not begun until the 1940s, when the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara opened the formal investigation of Father Serra’s canonization.

    II.   Gathering Historical Documents

    The first step in the process of canonization is to gather all historical writings about the candidate, including his or her own writings. This scholarly research was conducted by Father Maynard J. Geiger in the 1940s, who amassed nearly 7,500 pages of writings by and about Father Serra. Additionally, around the same time Father Eric O’Brien interviewed more than 200 descendants of California settlers, Indians, and Spanish, who knew Padre Serra. Along with the written evidence gathered, these testimonies amounted to 8,700 pages.

    III.  Document Handoff to Vatican

    In the summer of 1950, the Diocese of Fresno, Calif., officially handed these pages over to the Vatican in order for the next stage of scrutiny over Serra’s life to begin. At this point, Serra was accorded the title “Servant of God.”

    IV   Declared “Venerable”

    In the summer of 1980, after extensive research by the Vatican, a document of around 1,000 pages containing further research into Father Serra’s life was presented to Vatican officials and scholars. This summarium served as a legal brief advocating for Serra’s canonization. After much examination and deliberation, the document was found to have met the standards of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, and Pope John Paul II declared Father Junipero Serra to be “Venerable” on May 9, 1985.

    V.  Declared “Blessed”

    On Sept. 25, 1988, Junipero Serra was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II after a through medical investigation found that there was no explanation for a nun’s healing from lupus. The pope affirmed that the sister’s healing was miraculous through the intercession of Father Serra.

    VI.  Canonized

    On Jan. 15, 2015, Pope Francis surprised the world by announcing that he will canonize Father Serra when he comes to the United States in September 2015. Serra will be the first native saint from the Balearic Islands and the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. Long loved in California, Serra will be revered by the whole world as a symbol of heroic sacrifice and evangelization.

     

The Papal Visit, Super Moons and Way-Out Christian views of The End: Homily Notes Sept. 20 (25th Sun.)

Pope Francis is coming to Washington in 2 days!    He comes as a pope of hope, as an encourager that we practice the Gospel and have the love of God as our mission.   He will tell us that we believing Catholics are living right now in the kingdom of God, even while on earth, and that we have responsibility to live faithful to Him and this calling.   We look to be engaged with the world, even as Christ Jesus, the Incarnation of God, seeks engagement with the world.

There are some Christians in the world, and some leading non-Catholic Christian leaders, that don’t emphasize the deeper living of the Gospel and the kingdom of God among us and its responsibilities. They rather speak of an escapism Christianity, of just longer to get off the planet soon, that the Lord might hasten the Second Coming.  They live and speak in stark contrast to the pope and the Catholic Church.   While we await the Second Coming, we actively live our faith abounding in good works, that the Lord might increase and deepen His reign in us, and we work for justice, cultivating peace by actions, not by evasions.

the final days, and the Apocalypse writer John also wrote of such signs in the sky, of the darkened, blood red moon.

These non-Catholic pastors and writers and movie makers say it is a portent of the end of the world.   Amazing.   And what is their authority for this declaration?  Just that God told them so.   And we are asked to believe it.

Other religious voices (again outside the Church) have said recently that our concerns should be more about a mystery asteroid coming straight for us on planet earth.  They say it is ‘invisible’ to man but ‘visible’ to people of prophetic spiritual gifts.   What?!   Should we duck and cover?   NASA has heard enough outcry about it that they went and did extensive searching for any such object, and say that scientifically, it does not exist.   But some Christians, such that of the Adventists camp, who are always looking for signs for The End, say that it is true, but hidden and understood only by them, and that they will be delivered, while other suffer in doom.   Ok.   These are real reports friends.   The Catholic Church does not believe them.   In fact, the pope is traveling to ask for an increase of faith in America and for love to be shared better, since we are Christ’ body of believers on earth, meant to spread His kingdom.  There is not an escape plan here from a coming doom, but an engagement with the Living Christ and His work on earth.   Quite different in emphasis, huh?

In these September days, don’t look for disaster to come from the skies, but rather, get ready for the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, and hear what God is saying through him about living on this planet and putting our Christianity into better and deeper practice.   We are to listen and put God’s help to us into practice.   Not pack our bags for an apocalypse.  The Holy Father wants us to live in faith here on earth and be salt for the earth, light for the world.  Not to be an emergency bus for escape this month.

girl looks  I find it fascinating about these radical theories of some end-times Christians.  You really got to ask:  Why be hooked on all the doom and gloom and escape?   Isn’t out Christian faith about engagement with the world?

So what is happening in the heavens?   It will be visible on September 28 that a fourth lunar eclipse in just two years (a tetrad) will occur, and it should be pretty nice to look at. The blood moon will be of a supermoon (a moon closer to the earth than usual) and what is called the Raleigh Effect will put a touch of red in the moon view.  The eclipse will be seen safely with the naked eye, since it’s the moon, not the sun, we will see eclipsed for a while.

moonHow the eclipse will take place

End times people look for ultra-dramatic signs.  But we Catholics believe in God’s Signs among us, such as His saving participation with us at Mass here.   The Sacraments are saving signs of God with us.   We also believe that God speaks to the world, through His Vicar, but importantly, too, through Sacred Scripture.  So what is it that God is giving in signs to us in His Word?  Note and listen to The Scriptures of this 26th Sunday of the Year, and how by it God asks us to live on earth, and to live responsibly on it.   It’s in our epistle today in James 3:  “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”   Do we only cultivate peace in heaven?  Now, we are to do so on earth, and that we are called to be fruitful in God’s Spirit, thus letting God’s peace be sown from our lives, and letting peace and its justice of God be cultivated on earth.  There is work implied here to be done–for the Christian to be a peacemaker, a peace bringer.  Not a planet escaper and de-parter!  Right?!

The Scripture in James tells us further about actions meant to accompany our faith.   We are to rely on the wisdom of God to help us bear fruit in purity, peacefulness, harmony, respect and service to one another.   Wisdom is the Holy Spirit.   So we need the Spirit to inspire us, and then our works are given to glorify Christ Jesus.   St. James has said:  Faith without works is dead.   So, we hear Pope Francis urge us to actions and works of God, should we listen and obey God for what He wants today of us.

Pope Francis comes to America and he will proclaim that Christians are meant to futher bring the kingdom of God to the earth, and not to be looking to escape the world.   He won’t be crying end times, but rather new times, for people to work together in the Lord, as to be in HIS justice and HIS peace.  It is Lord’s own Vicar, Pope Francis (speaking in the chair of apostle Peter and the authority vested in that office by Jesus Christ, founder of the Church), that calls us to people to believe and live the Gospel.  Francis comes this September, not to usher in doom, but hope!   He comes with the Light of the Gospel, not darkness.  He comes with Christ Jesus’ message, not with mystery asteroids coming to smash us on the earth.   We should be giving attention to what God brings through him, not with destruction comes upon us from the night sky.

Will you give this your attention?   You have read the pope’s writings already, The Joy of the Gospel or his encyclical Laudato Si—right?   You need to know his words, and not just interpretations or slants from secular media about his coming.    Laudato Si–the pope’s last encyclical is not just about the environment, as some limit it too, but rather .  it’s Francis call to our responsible living in this world as people who praise God for it and live as stewards of God’s provisions and resources on it.  It is exactly what Saint Francis asked for in his time, and this Pope Francis is renewing its cry.

We Catholics don’t pray, “End the earth, Lord.”   We pray, “Lord, help us to live well on this earth, Lord, to your good will, until You choose to call us Home.   Come, Lord Jesus to us here, now.  Come in Glory, too, Lord Jesus.   He us to cultivate peace, and to work for justice, as your epistle of James says today.   Help us, Lord, to have courage, as You did, O Jesus, in living out the Psalms, even while being greatly tested, when You prayed:  THE LORD UPHOLDS MY LIFE.    Help us to live the Wisdom reading today too–that though the innocent man, the just person, the one pursuing union with God–is fought against by this world, this is strength for remaining steadfast in our faith.”  Amen.

girl-looking“The last (or latter) days are all the days of the New Covenant.   How are we to live in them?  Jude 20 tells us.   “In the last days…you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Our Lady of Sorrows Sept. 15

Part One

Washington’s Cardinal in the 1980′s and early 90′s was His Eminence James Hickey.   He was appointed to give a retreat to the pope one Lent, in Rome, so he presented it to Pope John Paul II on the theme:  “Mary at the Foot of the Cross.”   On this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, I remember his book and remember that scene he presented over and over in it of Mary at Calvary, beholding her son, Jesus.  Jesus’ words to her from the Cross were:  “Woman, behold your son.”

Mary had put her confidence in God and came so perplexed but trusting to Calvary’s Hill and Jesus’ crucifixion.   When Jesus said those four words to her–Woman, behold your son”–what did she understand?  That–being called Woman–she was the woman of the new start, the new Eve, the first Christian, the one who believed according to God’s Word.   Jesus was saying to her: Here is the act of your son that saves the sinner.  I offer my life for the sinner here.  Up on The Cross. 

She would have remembered Jesus’ odd words to her back at Cana 2 1/2 years prior, right when she asked Him to handle the wine supply crisis at the wedding reception.  He had said:  “Woman, My Hour is not yet come.”   He was referring to pouring himself out like wine, back then, and now– at the foot of the Cross–that odd phrase made sense to her:  Jesus was saying:  ‘Now, Woman, Mother, I provide the great outpouring I was meant to give.   From the Cross.   My Blood.   For the multitude upon multitude of sinners throughout the ages.   My Blood, now even poured out as wine in the Last Supper remembrances to come.  My Mercy will flows, and flow on like an eternal river.’

Our Lady of Sorrows, beholds Her Son.   Pierced in the heart with pain, she starts to understand, in her graced soul and mind, that this is an outpouring of mercy from the Cross.   Freely accepted by Jesus.  Freely given.   And in all her pain of seeing her Jesus suffer and die, she, Our Lady in Sorrow, receives a message:  “Behold, your Son.”  Now she spreads that message:  Jesus is the Gift of God, for the great turn-around in the world.

Indeed.  We believe it Mary.  Man, in becoming bathed in the mercy of God in Christ, can now have relationship with God, and be a child of God again, and see eternity through the wood of Jesus’ Cross, and even through the Sacrament Sign still with us, as given by Jesus.  As in Holy Mass.

We, too, like Mary, can “behold the Son.”   In all the woe of sin in the world, and amidst all our own needs, and hurts and pains, and life’s sorrows,  we can behold Him who takes away the sin of the world, who bears our iniquities, who says “Cast your cares upon Me.”

We can come to the Foot of the Cross with our understanding now of who Jesus is and what He accomplished there for us at Calvary.   Mary had a faith companion beside her, there standing next to her at Calvary, it was the apostle John.   We, like Him, can come with Mary to ponder the meaning of the Cross.   And see that we are welcome there with our needs.  Jesus says:  Behold, I am Salvation for you, and for all sinners.  Come to me.

Part Two

Since yesterday was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, today it follows that we have Our Lady of Sorrows day, remembering Mary under the Cross of Jesus–with Him.  Suffering with Him, via her soul, and many tears on her face.

We need to come and be close beside Mary, spiritually, mystically, and love Jesus up on that Cross.   We need to behold the Son.   The Sacrifice for sin, the death taking away our death.     We need to be moved over and over by the experience of being saved of our own sin by what happened to Jesus on Calvary.  He is a hero of love.  Our hero.  Our Savior.

cross

Up at Mt. St. Mary’s Grotto in Emmitsburg Md. there was a lifesize Calvary scene you could kneel beneath, or sit or stand below, and look up, like Our Lady of Sorrows did.  I used to go to it, now and then, for the four years I was in school there at “The Mount ” and it would help me get back to square one and the Catholic basics.   I am a sinner who is saved by this Jesus on the Cross in history for me.  It’s real history.  And it’s really lived and applied to me, as I thank Him again for doing what I could never do. Save myself out of sin and death.  Yet here Jesus is doing it for me.   As I remember it under a statue.

Praise God.  It’s good to reflect upon that all again today.  And have Mary’s help to “behold the Son” and also, as Jesus said on that Good Friday, for me to “behold your mother” –there to be in my life now.   Mary, mother, I behold you, as you help me to feel the impact of all that Jesus has won for me.   Even while it brings some conviction to my heart again.

“At the cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.”  (Stabat Mater)

sports monday sept. 14

The NFL season started its first weekend.  The two first NFL draft picks matched up, in the Titans-Buccaneers game, and qb and #2 pick Marcus Mariota bested the #1 pick Winston in their mutually-first NFL game.  Mariota threw for 209 yards without an interception to join Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton as the only players to throw for four or more TD passes in their NFL opener.  Mariota’s Tennessee Titans won 42-14 over the Tampa Bay Bucs.  When Winston threw his first pass for the Bucs, it was intercepted for a td!  Welcome to the NFL!   But no worries–he got better–and it was remembered that someone named Brett Favre also threw a interception for a td back in 1991, and survived it. The Titans went 2-14 last season, so they are most happy about winning.

Rex Ryan is now coaching on his third New York state NFL team, and those Buffalo Bills won in his debut, 27 to 14 over the Indianapolis Colts, playing good defense, getting a muffed punt to bounce their way, but mostly playing a good ball control offense. The Bills have added LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvins, and Charles Clay to that offense and a surprising 5th year backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (former Raven, once Virginia Tech QB) doing well.  Bills fans are excited.
In another good game, Phillip Rivers and the San Diego were down 21 to 3 half-way in the second quarter to the Detroit Lions, but they reeled off 30 straight points to come back and win 33 to 28.
The Green Bay Packers won over the Chicago Bears, 31-23. and they just have owned them lately, with Aaron Rodgers winning over Jay Cutler.
A surprise in St. Louis happened as their Rams won in overtime versus the Seattle Seahawks. Rams QB Nick Foles actually outplayed the Hawks Russell Wilson.. Final score, St. Louis 34 Seattle 31.
Peyton Manning is playing another season for Denver again, and took the Broncos to a 19-13 win versus the Baltimore Ravens.  Raven’s Linebacker Suggs got hurt and is out for the season.
In Sunday’s late NFL game, it was Dallas beating the New York Giants in the final drive.

I hope your NFL team won.  Those are just some highlights of yesterday’s NFL.

In college football, the top four teams, in this order, Ohio State, Alabama, TCU and Baylor all won easily versus easier opponents last weekend. Yet the real exciting game was between #5 Michigan State and #7 Oregon.  The MSU Spartans won it over the Ducks.
In another good contest, the No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners rallied from a 17-point deficit to the Tennessee Volunteers, on their Knoxville field, and won 31-24 in OT on Saturday. That disappointed the fans in raucous Neyland Stadium, a crowd of 102, 455. (That’s a lot of fans!)
I’ll have more sports later on for you….

Second Sports Report:
David Ortiz–”Papi” for the Boston Red Sox hit his 500th homer over the weekend. Only 27 men have hit 500 homers in MLB history. Only two other active 500 homer hitters, have done so:  A-Rod and Albert Puljos.
Having a big homer hitter isn’t a guarantee for team in first place. Ortiz’ Sox are in last. Sluggers Arenado AND Gonzalez on the Colorado Rockies are in last place, too. Harper and his Nats are out of playoffs, as is Cruz with the Mariners, and Davis with the O’s and his 42nd dinger Sunday still are not in the playoffs.
Speaking of the MLB standings, Mets runaway in NL East, La Dodgers runaway in the NL West. St Louis Cards with 2 1/2 game lead in NL Central, Yet Pittsburgh’s Pirates and Chicago’s Cubs have firm hold on playoff spots in NL. Bucs won last night, Cubs didn’t.
In AL, Toronto’s Jays have a 3 1/2 game lead over NY Yankees, though Yankees beat them yesterday. KC has a runaway in the AL Central. The Houston Astros have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Texas Rangers in the west. Houston beat the LA Angels Sunday, and Texas beat Oakland.
Yankees have nearly a lock on playoffs, and Rangers have a 1 game lead over Twins for last AL playoff spot.

In Women’s golf, Lydia Ko became the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history after winning the Evian Championship on Sunday at just 18 yrs. young.
In Tennis singles at flushing Meadows, Top-seeded Novak Djokovic outlasted Roger Federer in four sets Sunday night to win his second US Open title and 10th Grand Slam title of his career. Open’s men’s final had the first female chair umpire to call the play.
For the women’s side, Flavia Pennetta saved the best for last. She beat fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 to win the US Open and then announced she was retiring from tennis at the end of the year.
Roberta Vinci’s stunning win against Serena Williams earlier was the biggest upset in women’s tennis history.
In Boxing, Floyd Merriweather beat Andre Berto to go 49 and 0. Floyd is retiring, too, as the best undefeated boxer since Rocky Graciano.   It’s nice to go out on top, although, as with boxers, you wonder how they took it so long.

The Cardinals are coming to Washington next Sunday.  We’re talking not just the Catholic Cardinals for the papal visit, but the Arizona Cardinals come to play the Washington Redskins in DC next Sunday, too!

Francis is Coming Soon! And the Serrans are happy (do you know why?… or do you know who the Serrans are?)

It is only a few days to Sept. 22 and the arrival of Pope Francis in Washington! Our parish just got the tickets for the Mass at Catholic University!  So those members who requested them early on got the nod for the allotment (its 31 of us).   In the email from the Archdiocese we received other details on the DC papal visit ; I put them into an insert into our bulletin today.

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Yet apparently his Holiness was here early in St. Edwards church lobby over the past weekend.  The photo below looks real.

(Pope Francis will be appearing in his cardboard likeness again this weekend–in the east lobby of church.)

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One of the highlights of the pope’s visit to Washington will be to elevate Padre Junipero Serra to sainthood.   The drawing below is of Serra and there’s also a photo down there of a large cross site in Monterey-Carmel, which overlooks the Pacific.   This public place is in memory of Father Serra who led the spread of Catholicism from San Diego to San Francisco in the 18th century.  Serra is interred in Carmel in California’s scenic coast.  Serra was a missionary saint to America from Europe.  Perhaps he is best known as a selfless priest vocation.   It is for that reason that Serra is the patron of US vocations.   Serra Clubs exist across the USA which are Catholic groups that stir and promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.  ( Not to be mistaken for tree- hugging Sierrans.)

serraSerra was a Franciscan.2014-03-27 07_32_23Ventura CrossSerra Cross looks over Pacific Ocean

What is this organization that serves under Serra’s inspiratin in America?     It is called  Serra International and it is has many USA chapters.   Google it or go to the website http://www.sera.usa         That Serra web site had a Vimeo video on it (or it also may be seen soon on the videos on our parish web site). It tells their story with Padre Serra.

 There are Serra clubs in our Archdiocese of Washington and in other nearby dioceses.  There are 9000 Serra men and women in the USA.   No doubt they are thrilled that their patron moves from being a “blessed” in the Church to being fully a “saint.”

Serra’s objectives are to foster and promote vocations to the Catholic priesthood and religious life, and to encourage its members to fulfill their own Christian vocations to service.