Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Benedictine Style

by Monica

        This Advent and Christmastide are a very special time of year to focus on Jesus and on our level of love for Him -- in other words, to "Come let us adore Him."  One way is just to speak to Him for at least 15 minutes straight every day, even if you have to do so on returning to bed when you wake up for that middle of the night bathroom stop.
        Also, there is a new book put out by the Children of Mary called I Will Think of Everything And You, Only Loving Me."  It is a powerful push to put the focus of our lives on Christ and loving Him as much as we can and offering "ceaseless acts of perfect love" to Him every waking moment possible.
        Simplifying your prayer life is another way to focus almost exclusively on Christ and His bidding in this holy season commemorating His birth.  From reading this book (above), I decided for Advent and Christmas that my only petitionary prayers are going to be: "For everyone in my past, present, and future, and all affecting them."
         I was spending a large part of my prayer life with rosaries, chaplets, etc., in lengthy and time-consuming petitions for others instead of putting all things into His hands totally, letting even the prayers along with outcomes, etc., be fully in His decision-making hands.  I decided to let Him FULLY figure out what even to ask for and when, leaving all to Him alone, with full trust.
       I feel I have been freed and actually feel more trust by not burdening or busying my head and heart with things out of my control anyways.  I can also better "meditate on the actual mysteries" of the rosary.  I feel these things have drawn me closer to Him, but I have a ways to go!
       Here are further reflections written by Benedictine monks over the years for Third Order Benedictines of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana at Advent and Christmas time in order to draw all of them, us, closer to Jesus, Our Lord.  Dorothy Day was a Benedictine Oblate, or Third Order Benedictine, which is why many Benedictine monasteries are praying for her canonization.

      Come, Holy Spirit, come, through the powerful intercessory prayers of Mother Mary on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Fr. Schalk preached this morning at mass how the single most powerful person to ask intercessory prayers of against Satan Himself, from the Revelations scripture of the woman clothed with the sun against the seven-headed dragon, is Mother Mary herself.

     This season is also to honor her amazing yes at such a youthful age and in so dangerous a society to do such a momentous thing. We love you Jesus.  We love you Mary.  Come be with us, Jesus, and as the famous song of Mary says, "Come walk with us, Mary, come walk with us," "Ven Con Nosotros a Caminar, Santa Maria Ven."

"Christmastide 1941"  by Fr. Bernardine Shine, OSB

    .." With the activity, haste, and busyness, the world rushes towards Christmas.  But what has the world to do with Christmas?  The world missed the first Christmas completely because of its spirit; that same spirit reigns in the world today.
      ... There was no room for two spirits in the cave; the world did not enter.  It had all the song, tinsel, and good cheer of the season, but it did not have Christmas.
     Angels directed the shepherds to Him Who made the true Christmas.  Good oblates look to St. Benedict for the spirit that feels at home in the cave, for the safe way that leads to Christ."

"The Mystery of Christmas, 1945" by Fr. Walter Sullivan, OSB

   " ... Now what does it mean to believe and live the Whole Mystery of Christmas?  It means to ponder in your heart with Mary how this Infant cradled in His Mother's arms is the Wisdom from on High, The Root of Jesse, The Key of David, The King of Nations, The Emmanuel, The Expectation and Savior of Peoples, The King of Peace whom the whole earth has desired to see.
   ... It means to ponder in your heart how the Song of God, begotten from all eternity of God the Father, took to Himself of the flesh of Mary a human body, and created for Himself a human soul.
     ... For the mystery of Christmas is a soul-searching test of true Christianity, and it demands of the Christian seven profound acts of living the faith:
  1. To see Christ in the crib of Bethlehem and to adore Him.
  2. To see Christ in His Church and to obey Him.
  3. To see Christ in Holy Mass and to offer Him.
  4. To see Christ in Confession and unburden the heart to Him.
  5. To hear Christ in the Gospel and to imitate Him.
  6. To see Christ in the other members of His Body and to love Him.
  7. To see Christ in our own bodies and to reverence Him
    ... its purpose [Christmas] is to divinize people -- to make them partakers of Divine Life in the living Body of Christ that is the Church.
      By the mystery of Christmas, we are more closely knit to one another than are Americans under the same flag, our club members wearing the same pin, or even kinfolk of the same family.  For regardless of club, country, race, or family, we are One in Christ, if we are faithful members of His Body."

"Christmas 1951" by Fr. Walter Sullivan OSB

     "Amidst the frills and sweet sentiment that have been associated with the Babe of Bethlehem, we may forget the prophecy of Simeon to Our Lady: 'Behold this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many.'
     ... The struggle between what is weak in us and what is strong in us is a necessary element of Christian life on earth.  If there were no weakness, there could be no spiritual maturity in people.  Our Lord says plainly to St. Paul (2 Cor. 12:9), 'Strength is made perfect in weakness.'  The apostle, recognizing the reserve power of grace in his soul, says a startling thing to us, 'I will glory in my weakness that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.'
    St. Benedict speaks forcibly of this life-long conflict between self-indulgence and the life of Christ in us when he says in the last part of the Prologue to the Holy Rule, 'We must prepare our hearts and bodies to do battle under holy obedience to God's command.  Let us ask God  to give us grace (strength) for anything which our nature finds almost impossible.  A person, counting merely on his own strength without seeking sincerely and perseveringly help from God, will remain miserably disillusioned.'
    "... Best news of all, He has come to save us from our despair and from ever losing hope.  His grace is ours for the asking in every crisis of our life, if, trampling pride and selfishness underfoot, we ask Him for help."

"Christmas 1957" by Fr. Blaise Hettich OSB

     "... In the middle of the whirl of shopping, partying, ... the hub of all our activities should be Christ.  It's His birthday we are celebrating.
     ... Let us recall that when Moses made Aaron high priest of Israel, he poured oil over his head.  The people saw this as a sign of God's power coming upon the priest.  Likewise, the prophet Samuel poured oil on the head of David to show that God had chosen him as king.
     To the Jews, 'the Anointed' meant the great King and Priest who would be sent from god to be their leader.  'Messiah,' a Hebrew word, and 'Christ,' a Greek word, both mean 'the Anointed.'  When the Son of god became a human being, He remained God.  The divine Christ 'anointed' the human.
     .... May God bless you this Christmas with 'the oil of gladness,' so that the Life and Love of
Christ may strengthen your hearts."

"Christmas 1964" by Fr. Gerard Ellspermann, OSB

       "These are the days of quiet joy.  They are days of prayer and pondering.  In imitation of Mary, who 'kept in mind all these words, pondering them in her heart,' we should not let these days go by without much prayer and frequent meditation...  He 'for us and our salvation was born of the Virgin Mary, and became flesh.'
       "... He has come to give us life, and make us sharers in His life.  The very impressive words of the Vespers refrain for the feast of the Octave of Christmas fill us with joy:  'Oh wondrous exchange!  The Creator of the human race, taking onto Himself the living body, deigns to be born of a Virgin; and becoming man from no human generation, has bestowed upon us His divinity.

       [Pope Leo the Great] had this to say in strong and vibrant words: 'Remember all Christians, your dignity.  You  have been made a partaker of the divine nature.  Do not return to your former base way of life.'  In a sense, then, this is the point of no return.  We can't look back. We cannot even think about turning back.
     ... As Fr. Emerick Lawrence, OSB, has said, 'This feast means  ... social justice, racial justice, tolerance, charity.  It is a call to all of us to contemplate the goodness and kindness of God in His gift of Himself to us, and then to carry the fruits of our contemplation into our environment so that it may become Christ's ... It means patience and kindness in our homes, forgiveness of enemies, consideration for the weaknesses of our brethren, active charity, and a never-ending effort to promote unity in our parishes and communities."

"December 1981" by Fr. Gerard Ellspermann, OSB

"... God takes from Mary flesh.  The Incarnate Word gives us in return an incomprehensible gift.   This is a participation, real and intimate, in the Divine nature.  And thus is achieved the most wonderful event that ever happened to us -- God giving us a share in His divine life by taking upon Himself our human life.
      At this time of mutual giving of presents to those we love, we are reminded of the supreme gift God gives to us.  Exchanging gifts makes us think of the admirable exchange brought about by the Incarnation.  Give glory to God for His bringing peace to mankind!"

"Christmas 1993" by Fr. Michael Keene, OSB

  "... St. John the Evangelist speaks of Christ who was the 'Light that shines in the darkness' and the darkness cannot overcome it.  he is the 'true light that enlightens each one who comes into this world.'  Our Divine Savior said to his disciples:  'I am the light of the world; whoever walks by Me has the light of life and does not walk in darkness.'

"Christmas 2000"  by Fr. Meinrad Brune OSB

      "... God sent Jesus to be born into a poor family, far from their home.  God sent Jesus to tell us and show us how to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and offer forgiveness to sinners around us...
     ... We must slow down the pace and grow still...  This child, the Word of God, is God's promise that we never will be asked to travel down a harder road than Jesus has gone down before...
      Every time we listen to any person in his or her simple human need -- a confused teen, aching sick person, lonely shut-in, grieving widow or widower, repetitious elderly person, overburdened parents  -- we celebrate Christmas."

     Addition 12-16-17 from The Word Among Us, December, 2017, for Friday December 15, p. 35.  This is in the spirit of talking with Jesus for at least 15 minutes a day during advent.

"Psalm 1:1-3
'He is like a tree planted near running water.'
     It sounds peaceful: a big tree,
planted 'near running water,' its
roots sunk down into the fertile soil
(Psalm 1:3). That tree would be guar-
anteed constant refreshment and
nourishment.  Wouldn't it be great
to have a similar peaceful life?  Being 
tapped into what nourishes us, we
would always feel invigorated, care
for, sustained.
     The good news is that we do
have a constant, streaming source
of nourishment: Jesus.  How do 
we 'tap into' his refreshinglife?
If we listen to the saints, one part-
ticular way stands out:  Eucharistic 
     Here is what St. Catherine Laboure
has to say:
     'Whenever I go to the chapel, I
put myself in the presence of our 
good Lord, and I say to him, 'Lord,
I am here.  Tell me what you would
have me to do.' ... Ande then, I tell
God everything that is in my heart.  I
tell him about my pains and joys,
and then I listen.  If you listen, God
will also speak to you, for with the
good Lord, you have to both speak
and listen.  God always speaks to you
when you approach him plainly and
     St. Catherine describes spend-
ing time relaxed and comfortable
in Jesus' presence in the Blessed
Sacrament.  She brought him her con-
cerns and needs.  But she also sat and
listened to Him.  She was a lot like
the psalmist's tree, quietly absorbing
the constant flow of life.  We can do 
it too.  Eucharistic adoration provides
a time set apart from our everyday
responsibilities. It's a time to listen,
learn, and absorb.  Beyond pouring
out our concerns, we simply sit in his
presence.  we enjoy Him.
     Try this the next time you are able
to go to adoration:  sit with Jesus
with no particular agenda.  Enjoy
his company.  Soak in the peace of
those moments set apart for him.  If 
you find your mind wandering, you
might want to try to imagine that tree
near streams of water.  The more time
you spend with Jesus, the more com-
fortable you will become,and the
easier you'll find it to sense His pres-
ence and hear His voice. 
      So go!  Rest by the river and absorb
those nourishing, healthy waters.
      Lord, I thank you for the gift of
Eucharistic adoration!  I love Your

     He rejoices over YOU as well, he dances over you! -- Zeph. 3:17 – “rejoice over you” – literally means “dance, skip, leap, and spin around in joy.” God dances with shouts of joy over us!  O, come let us adore Him!  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Zealand CW Pacifism Touching in the Season of the Prince of Peace

By Monica,  The Lamb Catholic Community, (evolving of the LCW)        Columbus, Ohio

       In this approaching season honoring the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, one will marvel at the constant and unblemished history of the Christian pacifist Maori people against "the Crown," [England], and its imperialist havoc of greed, malice, slaughtering and prejudice.  Still, they remained true to their Savior, who preached, modeled, and died for love.  Their history is below from the Christchurch Catholic Worker in New Zealand ("Christchurch" being the name of a city).
     As one recounts horrific details of a massive ISIS bombing in Egypt yesterday killing over 300 innocent Muslims at prayer in a mosque, and as one recalls another very recent grisly tragedy of innocent praying civilians in a Texan Baptist church at the hands of Devin Patrick Kelley, a former U.S. Air Force soldier (committed with mainly a Ruger AR-15 assault rifle),  -- one's immediate reaction may at first be to take up arms and kill the enemy. An eye for an eye. Yet, the power of God, who is love, who created the universe, all life, all human beings the world over made in His image and likeness, beckons to much higher ground, much higher levels of love.
       Like the purity of witness in Jesus Christ, all members of the early church communities for the first 300 years after Christ's death, Martin Luther King Jr, Dorothy Day, St. Francis of Assissi, St. Justin the Martyr and countless Catholic Workers, Amish, Mennonite and Quakers, death does not have the final say; and the nonviolent cross and way of Jesus Christ has enormous power -- moreso than hate and killing will ever have.  
      Was the Temple restored because of the armed killing and slaughter at the hand of the "Jewish rebel warriors," as described by history scholars, called the Maccabees, or mainly from the pure, holy and undefiled blood of the seed of the martyrs -- elderly Eleazar, tortured and killed for his beliefs in Yahweh, as well as the mother and her seven sons who were brutally tortured and who perished together rather than disobey even one of God's smallest commands?  These pure actions and  witnesses have greater power to change the world with the genuine conversion of hearts, the method typical of God's sweeping movements in history.
       I have heard from the pulpit that the main way that the Catholic Church proliferated was not with the Old Testament mentality of killing, pillaging, and butchering of men, women, and even children (there are several genocides in the Old Testament) in the name of God, but with running further and further distances to avoid persecution.  Done purely, in holiness and Truth, and even with martyrdom, this is the seed that grows strongly and steadily, that explosively proliferates -- that precious seed of the blood of the martyrs.
       Even our country was somewhat begun in this manner -- with the English Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England, going to dangerously great lengths to begin anew far, far away.  
       Some say we would not have a country now if it were not for winning the Revolutionary War, defending ourselves against these British.  Great Britain had far far greater control over India in the 19th and 20th century than it ever had over the British colonies.  Ghandi, and his program of active nonviolence -- purer to Christ than many Christians live  -- helped to completely overthrow British control and gain India's independence in 1947.
        In Matthew Kelly's book, Catholicism, he quotes what Ghandi answered when asked why he did not simply become a Christian since he read Jesus' words nearly daily, lived them nearly perfectly, and promoted this way often.  He replied, "I would become one if I met one." 
       I have heard some say that all of Europe would be Muslim if it were not for this or that "Christian" army and their bloodbath, or without the rosaries prayed to kill and slaughter the enemy men and boys fighting against them.  Is God not capable of the proliferation and spreading of His Gospel in pure and holy ways and witnesses? Must He have these violent, bloody ways at all?  Could He employ His own newer commands aligned with His Way of His own Son who came down to show us how to fulfill all the prophecies and old order, to then further purify, align, and raise all of our actions to the level of perfect love toward all, even the enemy?  Jesus contrasted ways of old to His new way with prefaces like "... before it was ..... but now I say .... "

Tom Siemer and Rita D'Escoto Clark

         My father, peace activist, Tom Siemer, always said to me, while growing up, that the reason the very birth place of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Middle East is so Muslim is that we Christians messed up the purity of Christ's way and Truth in our militaristic and often greed-filled attacks and slaughter of the "enemy" men and boys.  This Old Testament mentality still continues in the Middle East to this day, sadly, and in the name of God on both sides.
        In giving the "Our Father," Jesus furthered His desiring that our actions here be indistinguishable from our actions in Heaven: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."  Jesus wants our actions to be pure from beginning to end -- such as with Mother Teresa's whose actions of love are the means and the ends and everything in between -- mirroring what they will be in Heaven.
      Some say, "But we had to kill, especially at times like Hitler's, when the atom bomb was necessary..."  Fr. Richard McSorley, S.J. and Georgetown University always taught that "He who chooses the lesser of two evils soon forgets he chose evil in the first place.  There is always a third choice."
     But wait, aren't we not truly, truly capable of loving on Earth the way that we will be able to love in Heaven after our time of purification and purgation?  We will be capable then only after this process that we will undergo, right?  Won't it be perfect there because of the purification of people, as opposed to now, when we are still weak and exposed to the human condition as well as to evil?
     It seems that Jesus believes that we are capable of our actions being to the level they will be in Heaven and even beyond the best of human actions altogether (to the Father's perfect love level) when he teaches: "You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."  He says this after giving the new command of loving even the enemy.  His confidence in us and our ability to love and act at the perfection level of the Father is utterly amazing, but true.  
       Should we be so willing to not risk breaking a least command of God surrounding what goes into our mouths (as with the Maccabees), but risk breaking far greater ones surrounding the outright killing of people through carnage and butchery, of violently ending actual sacred human life?  Do we take seriously Jesus new command to solely love our enemy, do only good to those who hate us, only bless those who curse us, be the proof that we are a children of our heavenly Father in our peacemaking?  
    Which actions are more powerful, the blood of the seed of the martyrs and their holy, unblemished  offering of their lives, or the militaristic killing, maiming, and mutilating of sacred human life?  Is human life sacred or is it not?  Can it be destroyed or can it never be destroyed at the hand of human beings?  Can one person ever choose or have a choice over the life or death of another person?
     My mentor, Fr. Richard McSorley, S.J. from his mentor, Fr. Horace McKenna, S.J. (who many things are named after in Washington, D.C.) taught me that "Jesus Christ is present in every single human being the world over."  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVII and Martin Luther King Jr. said that God's own indelible stamp is within every single person.  You stop God's work of salvation in the person that you choose to kill.  In a sense, you play God, and as in the Old Testament, and "God alone is the author of all life and death."   
    Our special prayers are for and appeal is toward the Muslim women in Egypt, and in the Middle East, from all sects of Islam.  They must see the recent carnage and bloodshed of the innocently praying men, women and children in Egypt as so evil, so against all that is good, against all-merciful God, against love and and beliefs of all kind, that they will work hard for peace, mercy, and reconciliation for a world they are leaving for their children.
     We ask all Christians, especially Catholics, to do the same.  One small way here in Columbus, is to learn more about and extend friendship toward the Muslim cultures and peoples here in Columbus, many war refugees from the recent Iraqi War as well as refugees from Somalia and other countries, at the Noor Islamic Culture Center and mosque (5001 Wilcox Rd. in Dublin). 
      They have certain days of the year where teachers and others are invited to learn about their religion and their culture. In peacemaking, dialogue and friendship are crucial, and we can all be instruments of peace and mercy.

Meeting Tariq Tarey, Nov. 2017

       One Muslim from Somalia, famous photoartist, director, and documentarian, Tariq Tarey, has created an exhibit at our Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society near the soccer stadium) about some of our newest Ohioans -- the Bhutanese and Nepali refugees.  These join other refugees, such as those from Somalia, and teaches the difference between an immigrant (coming for a better way of life) and a refugee (fleeing for their lives typically from war-torn or high famine areas).  This exhibit ends January 8th, so get their quickly. :)

Bhutanese-Nepali Neighbors:
Photographs by Tariq Tarey
Fri., May 5, 2017–Sun., Jan. 7, 2018
Weds.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. Noon–5 p.m.
Ohio History Center, Columbus 

The history of the more than 20,000 Bhutanese-Nepali people in Columbus is rapidly becoming the history of Ohio. This exhibit consists of 30 photographs of members of the Bhutanese-Nepali community, taken by Tariq Tarey. Each photograph is accompanied by a narrative written by Doug Rutledge, which explains each individual’s history. The photographs emphasize the historic sequence of the Bhutanese-Nepali refugee experience; from living and working in Bhutan, to being forced to leave Bhutan, the experience of living in refugee camps in Nepal for 20 years or more, to resettlement in Columbus, finding jobs, buying homes and finally becoming American citizens.  

The exhibit at the Ohio History Connection on refugees was put together by Tariq Tarey, his background is  below.
Tariq Tarey from Somalia (I met him
at a talk he gave in Columbus)
          Tariq Tarey is a documentary photographer, skilled in both still photography and video, who specializes in refugee affairs. In July of 2006, Tariq’s show, Forlorn in Ohio, which documented the plight of Somali refugees, appeared at the Kiaca Gallery in Columbus. Forlorn in Ohio also traveled to Wright State University, in 2007. Several images from that show are now part of the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. In recognition to the power of his work to call attention to the plight of refugees, Tariq was honored with the South Side Settlement House’s prestigious Arts Freedom Award in 2006. In that year, he also won the Ohio Art Council’s Individual Artist Award. In 2008, Tariq was given the Individual Artist Award by the Greater Columbus Arts Council. He directed the documentary, “Emergency Living: Somalia in the Aftermath of Famine.” Tariq also directed “Women, War and Resettlement: Nasro’s Journey,” which was aired on WOSU Public Television in 2012. In 2014, Tariq’s film, “The Darien Gap,” was shown in the 2 nd United States Conference on African Immigrant and Refugee Health. In 2015, Tariq’s photo spread appeared in the Magazine, 614, in an article entitled, “Journeys of the Diaspora.” In 2015, Tariq also did a photo spread for a publication entitled, Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio.

      Mother Mary, or Maryam in the Muslim world, pray for us, especially the Muslim women to help bring peace into their world, as you brought Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, into the world.
     The New Zealand Catholic Worker article is below.  To revive your hope in humanity, in the sacredness of all human life in their witness of Christ-like pacifism, and gain a restored fervor over the power of love and peace beyond what this world could give amidst a sometimes violent and cruel world, please read this amazing true story of the history of the Maori people in New Zealand..., which models so very well, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

We Are Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

                                          by Archbishop Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water the seeds already planted, knowing that 
they hold the future promise.
we cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, 
and do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builders,
and the worker.
We are the workers, not the master builders,
ministers, not messiahs,
We are prophets of the future not our own.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In Honor of My Father, Tom Siemer, My Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Tom Siemer Self-Portrait with Greek Sailor Hat

Another Self-Portrait, Tom Siemer 

Dad put this in the paper Summer 2017

     You may copy this, sign it, and send it.  This is my father's last big hurrah, for those who have known him in his peace work for the last 40+ years!  He already has gotten this out to the Catholic world this summer, but I am helping him too!  Thanks Dad!  Pray for us!

One of Dad's many protest signs

Tom Siemer's painting of Dorothy Day

Added to this article Oct. 7, 2017  :  
        A group ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) won the Nobel Peace Prize, announced yesterday, Oct. 6, see below.  Also, this group has begun a campaign to ban nuclear weapons in the world, and on Sept. 21, a high level Vatican diplomat at the United Nations signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the name of Vatican City (and country), one of three countries to endorse or sign this.  This was after my father had a paid advertisment in a large Catholic paper!  Thank you, dear Holy Papa, for sticking your neck out for peace in the world!  Thanks, Dad!! Our daily rosaries that Mother Mary asked at Fatima "for world peace" are working!
       THIS FRIDAY there will be a BEAUTIFUL mass at St. Catharine Church (503 S. Gould) and procession of Mary to Christ the King Church.  That will last about 45 minutes and will be in Spanish and English. This Friday is the anniversary of the "Miracle of the Sun" at Fatima in Portugal.  Over 70,000 people witness the sun dancing and swiftly moving in the sky!  This procession is on the 100th anniversary of that day, so look up to the sky everyone on October 13th!

      After the section on the Nobel Prize will be a video on my favorite Spanish song to Mary.  It asks Mary to please come and walk with us.  

OSLO/GENEVA (Reuters) - A campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday [Oct. 6, 2017], given the award by a Nobel Committee that cited the spread of weapons to North Korea and said the risk was growing of nuclear war.
The award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was unexpected, particularly in a year when the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran had been seen as favorites for achieving the sort of diplomatic breakthrough that has won the prize in the past.
Supporters described the award as a potential breakthrough for a global movement that has fought to ban nuclear arms from the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945.
“Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop,” she told Reuters.
My father, Tom Siemer, has been working on this for over 40 years, lobbying and praying at most of the U.S. Catholic Bishop Conference places, driving his van around the country with signs, making his way to gatherings of Church leaders, giving talks, protesting, and discussing with all who would listen, the nonviolent cross and teachings of Christ, especially in regards to weapons of mass destruction of which he was a part for many years. 

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!

Here is the song!  Come, walk with us, Mary, walk with us!  We love you!


One of Dad's many paintings of Our
Lady of Guadalupe

Mother Mary bothered to come six times to earth to warn the world to pray the rosary daily for world peace in 1917.  May we work for peace as hard as we pray for peace!  Thanks Dad for all you have done!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bishops Speak Out on Trump's Policies Against Immigrants and Refugees

                          By Monica     LCW  Columbus, Ohio

         We want the world to know, since views come from so many countries, that our Ohio Catholic Bishops, in one voice, raised concern for the policies put into place by President Trump against immigrants and refugees.   We are soo proud of our Roman Catholic bishops right here in little old Ohio, USA!  We are thankful to God too, who looks out for the widow and the orphan, the stranger, and the least.  Jesus repeatedly spoke out and warned all about protecting the most vulnerable and lowliest who have no rights and no one to speak for them.  The actual statement of our Ohio bishops cut and pasted from their website is below my comments.
       We are a nation of immigrants too!  Our very ancestors were in this position and our lives would be very different now, most likely much worse, if they had not been welcome.  Many of us are descended from immigrants who more often than not came freely for a better life and were at least allowed entry - with the exception of our Native American citizens who were here first, and our African Americans brought here and forced, against their will, into slavery.
       One would think that we would have a deep appreciation and gratitude instead of condemnation and mistreatment, ripping families apart after they have already worked painstakingly to make a new life here like our ancestors, contributing greatly to society.

      It is neglectful for me not to have spoken out before now, not only from
my strong social justice roots of being a Roman Catholic (with our amazing social justice papal encyclicals, teachings from our U.S. Catholic Bishops, pastoral letters, etc), of being a staunch Catholic Worker which stands for Christ's peace always and justice for the poor, but mainly there is no excuse because I have seen firsthand the terror in my families of mainly Hispanic and Muslim descent that make up the majority of my ESL students (I am an English as a Second Language teacher in a public school).

      I have Muslim students and families who feel the hate and mistrust, even though they have done nothing wrong and never will.  They often asked me in my school year questions like, "Why does President Trump hate us?" or "What else will he do to us?" and "Is it going to get worse?" I had no answer to give.
      My Hispanic families in general are the most scared ones because people have already been rounded up to be sent back, even after having worked hard here for years.  They are terrified every day and their whole family cries a lot and try to make plans in various scenarios.  My little Third Grader Pedro said his family is moving back to Mexico even though there is not enough work right now.
     In the case of the "Chaldean Catholics" that are being rounded up and sent back to Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, their very lives are at stake, in addition to Syrian Muslims and others.  My father remembers seeing on the news huge ships and yachts from Germany with Jewish people lining the edges, coming into New York harbor or another U.S. port with hands clasped begging and pleading to be allowed entry, only to be turned around and sent back to their deaths.  Hitler was known to say, "You say we are being hard but you don't want the Jewish rats either."
      I tried to calm my students fears, but what assurances could I give?  I am silently appalled at the lack of basic humanity in our newer laws and actions against immigrants -- and even refugees -- the whole dark mentality.  One would wonder of a change of heart would take place if the lawmakers themselves were thrust into this situation, since they lack the empathy to imagine it.
     It reminds me of how Hitler, little by little over a period of time, imposed difficult and bigoted  burdens, heavy to carry, upon Jewish people for years before finally rounding up this ethnic group for horrific purposes.  At the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.  I was horrified with the MANY laws and prejudices that were acceptable to the German people against the Jewish population, incrementally worsening all the time.  First, they were not allowed to travel (sounds familiar), then ride or own bikes, then be out past a certain time in the evening, then they could not live where they wanted but were rounded up into "ghettos," etc, etc.  As their rights were infringed upon more and more, very few stepped up to fight these laws on their behalf.
     While I believe that President Trump would never agree to create work/death camps, given his verbal defense of our unborn citizens and abortion-mill laws changing one day -- which is important from our president -- he needs to end the terrible laws against refugees and immigrants, as well as slurs against entire populations of Americans.
       If you look up Boston and New York City news headlines and history in the 1800's and early 1900's you view quite an outcry against Roman Catholic Irish, Polish, and German immigrants taking over their cities, taking all their jobs, bringing their Catholic religion, being a menace to society with their heavy drinking and brawling, etc, etc,.. Obviously most of those European immigrants more often than not as a whole did not exude these negative stereotypes, but there were enough of those few to always get into the headlines, creating prejudice and bigotry in weaker minds and souls, as in Hitler's Germany.
     Instead of the "melting pot" image of how all should melt into typically a white-male European bent and language, I think the more exquisite analogy of the United States is the Salad Bowl image of many cultures, maintaining their distinct heritages, customs, dialect, ideas, strengths, etc, and creating a huge conglomerate (salad), better than its individual parts separate.  Beautiful in the eyes of the maker of us all, who created all in His own image and likeness, yet distinctly unique from each other, and all of whom are sacred, no matter who nor from what country.

      It's a good thing that compassionate Catholics - nuns (sisters), priests, laypeople - took some of those that were the young "hooligans" under their wings to help shape them into who they became, with great care and compassion.  Most immigrants though have been responsible, reliable, hard-working, law-abiding citizens building our nation stronger and more just with each generation.  May we ask our immigrant ancestors from the past to please pray for us, pray for our nation, and especially, pray for our immigrant, refugee, and other "stranger" populations who always held a special place within the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
     Below is the Ohio Bishops' Statement on Immigration, April 4th, 2017, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Conference of Ohio.  It was sent to President Trump and to Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and to all Ohio members of the U.S. House.  This is taken from the Catholic Conference of Ohio website.
     Bravo to our Catholic paper here and its editors of  The Catholic Times, for printing it prominently in the beginning of the paper!
     Come to Carey, Ohio on the VIGIL (Aug. 14th) of the feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother to spiritually support the Chaldean Catholics living in great fear.  Twenty-five to thirty buslines, multiple campers, etc, etc take over the entire city of Carey!  So beautiful!!  You will never have heard such singing and such gusto in the songs in love of Mary as you will when the Chaldean Catholics are there.  It may not be for long though, if our lawmakers have their way.

News & Press - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter of Concern regarding Changes to Immigration and Migration

Call for comprehensive reform, support for children and intact families, enforcement efforts that focus on threats to public safety, and maintaining programs for refugees

Letter Encouraging Legislative Support for Immigrants and Refugees
Catholic Bishops of Ohio

April 2017
Welcoming refugees and immigrants is a significant aspect of our American heritage and a fundamental character of Ohio faith communities, including the Catholic Church. Ohio is blessed to have many refugees and immigrants in our parishes, schools and ministries. The Catholic Church in our state operates numerous programs that directly sponsor and support these newcomers.
As we listen to our pastors, principals, program directors, and more importantly, to the refugees and immigrants served by our Church’s ministries, we know of many good people who are deeply concerned for their personal safety and fearful about separation from their families. These are ongoing concerns, but recent changes in federal policy have heightened such fears.
At both the state and national levels, our Church has long spoken out in favor of policies that ensure safety and compassionate treatment for immigrant and refugee persons and families in need. We continue to call upon Congress to address our broken immigration system through a comprehensive reform that improves security and creates more legal and transparent paths to immigration.  As for enforcement, we do not advocate for the breaking of laws.  Yet, we do urge for a more humane enforcement of these laws in a way that distinguishes between actual criminals and otherwise law-abiding, undocumented immigrant family members.  We believe immigration officials should prioritize removal to those who are real threats to public safety. Likewise, most local law enforcement agencies we encounter are highly concerned about increasing trust between police and immigrant communities.  Their work for public safety relies on trust between immigrants and local police and sheriff departments.  We oppose efforts to pressure our state and local law enforcement to proactively enforce immigration regulations, unless public safety is truly at risk.
Ohio does not benefit from separating good families and traumatizing children in our schools who each day live in fear of finding that their mothers or fathers are no longer at home to greet them. In these instances, justice should be sought, but the punishment should be commensurate with serving the good of the family unit, which is the fundamental cell of all society. In January 2017, the chairman of our United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, echoed our concerns over policy shifts created by recent presidential executive orders that increase the detention and family separation of many immigrants. He wrote:
"The announced increase in immigrant detention space and immigration enforcement activities is alarming. It will tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities. While we respect the right of our federal government to control our borders and ensure security for all Americans, we do not believe that a large-scale escalation of immigrant detention and intensive increased use of enforcement in immigrant communities is the way to achieve those goals. Instead, we remain firm in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate, and common-sense reform."
In Ohio, our Church’s refugee resettlement network includes diocesan offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton. In 2016, we resettled over 1000 refugees. Catholic parishes and diocesan offices also work in collaboration with other refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. These programs have safely and compassionately resettled refugees from all over the world, including a small number from Syria. Measuring by the immense outpouring of support from parishioners and others in our communities towards these refugees, we believe most Ohioans who know migrants and refugees welcome newcomers with open arms and wish to see Americans offer acts of mercy. The refugee program is one of the most vetted processes for entry into the United States.  We do not oppose efforts to improve on the system, should there be a need.  However, the temporary shutdown of all refugee admissions, and the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled, create a chilling effect on our ability to maintain programs and ongoing assistance.  Refugees who have languished in camps for years will continue to find no relief, and a sudden temporary halt for our own agencies will likely result in significant downsizing of resources and staff.
We encourage your support for the following:
1.  A comprehensive reform of our immigration laws, not just enforcement-only measures, but a reform that provides more paths for legal entry and a rational and clear cut separation of duties among federal and local law enforcement officials which does not compromise the community character of local law enforcement;
2.  The BRIDGE Act: S.128/H.R. 496. (This Act will protect the dignity of DACA-eligible youth by ensuring that these individuals, who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation, can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time.);
3.  Efforts to persuade the administration to reestablish enforcement priorities, so that they focus more on true criminals and threats to public safety;
4.  Maintaining the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program with adequate funding while further improving the vetting process.
As Pope Francis said, "To migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued. For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland" (February 2017 Address to Participants in the International Forum on Migration and Peace).
Thank you for this consideration.
The Catholic Bishops of Ohio
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Chairman, Board of Directors, Catholic Conference of Ohio
Most Rev. Joseph R. Binzer
Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati

Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell
Bishop of Columbus

Most Rev. William Skurla
Apostolic Administrator of Byzantine Eparchy of Parma

Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville

Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Bishop of Toledo & Apostolic Administrator Diocese of Cleveland

Most Rev. George V. Murry S.J.
Bishop of Youngstown

Most Rev. J. Michael Botean
Bishop of Romanian Catholic Eparchy of Canton

Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo
Bishop of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Eparchy, Parma
Letter Catholic Bishops of Ohio (PDF)