Cathedral of Christ the Light

Father Jeffrey Keyes has tons of pictures and commentary at his site:

Many bloggers who write from a distance have the audacity to judge a building based on pictures and news reports. Both Whispers and the American Papist are young catholics who seem to make gossip their hobby, and they are host to many comments calling the Cathedral hideous, and a monstrosity. Well, last Thursday I was a participant in one of the most beautiful liturgies I have ever been part of. It was an amazing event.

First of all, the building sings. The acoustics are wonderful andf the sound of singing in the place is worthy of any cathedral.

Secondly, the heart of any worship space is the people. No one who was there had a single word of complaint.

Yes, I am a bit more traditional. This might not have been what I would have built. But I believe this is a place for the ages, and future ages will judge it differently after it has had years of experience. Cathedrals are built over hundreds of years.

Bishop Declares Day of Prayer



OCTOBER 7, 2008


As our government leaders attempt to bring stability to financial institutions of our nation and give hope to market and trade sectors of our economy, I ask that the Catholic Community of Northern Alabama, in the Diocese of Birmingham, set aside Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, as A Day of Prayer for our Nation and World.

With further rumors of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran, complicating an already precarious situation on the international scene, we need also to pray for peace in our world.

I ask that each Sunday over the next several weeks, parishes and Religious houses include in their Sunday General Intercessions the following prayers:

“That the Holy Spirit may guide our government leaders as they address the problems facing our nation’s economy and as they seek proper paths to peace in our world, we pray to the Lord…”

“For the guidance of the Holy Spirit as voters choose the best possible candidates as leaders for local, state, and national offices, people who will protect the most vulnerable among us, especially the unborn, and promote the cause of life in all its forms and family life, we pray to the Lord…”

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., I will dedicate the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on the grounds of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville. This is the 150th anniversary year of the apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France.

I ask that Catholics of the Diocese have recourse to the prayer of the Rosary daily during the Month of October we as a nation put God back into the center of our solutions for all our national and international problems.

Most Reverend Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.

Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama

Tebow Speaks

Not that Tebow, but his dad…in Arkansas, where the Gators play this Saturday. From the Arkansas News Bureau:

Early in his remarks to the club, Tebow mentioned the day-to-day difficulties of life and said, “Two of the hardest things in life are being the spouse you need to be and being the parent you need to be.”

Too often, people retreat from adversity, he said.

He got a laugh when he said, “You’re an Arkansas Razorback fan, you know what difficult is,” and another chuckle when he added, “Frankly, I hope it’s difficult for you on Saturday.”

He mentioned that nobody had accepted the blame for the current economic crisis.

“When it comes to you and your family, it’s the same thing …,” he said. “When you screw up, you’ve got to stand up with your family and do that and say, ‘I was wrong, I screwed up, my fault, forgive me, I’m sorry.’ If those words aren’t in your mouth frequently, you’re either deluded or just too proud to admit it.”

All of us mess up, he said.

Too many parents, he said, quit parenting when their children are in their teens. “They take the path of least resistance,” he said. “When their teenager says, ‘No, I don’t want to do that,’ too many parents give in. If I could say one thing, it’s don’t give in, I don’t care how old your kids are …”

He mentioned his son had given him the national championship ring he had won as a freshman and that the gift meant a lot, but that he does not wear it and that the title glow was short-lived.

Eduardo Verástegui Rips Obama

Actor aims his comments at fellow Hispanics, warning them that the push for continued legalized abortion is an attempt to wipe them out. From the Catholic News Agency:

The movie star Eduardo Verástegui has recorded a special video message to encourage Hispanic voters in the U.S. to put an end to abortion and to expose the radical abortion position of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Verástegui, who is perhaps best known in the U.S. for his pro-life film “Bella,” presents his challenge to Latino voters by calling attention to the fact that most abortion clinics are located in Hispanic neighborhoods and that the Spanish media is saturated with pro-abortion advertising.

“Abortion is not only a lucrative industry; it is also used by people who are racist as a means to eliminate our people, since they consider us to be a threat to democracy in this country,” Verástegui asserts. 

After noting that more than 3,000 babies are aborted each day in the U.S. and that 650 of those babies are Hispanic, the actor states that abortion is legal “because there are not enough men and women who raise their voice against abortion.”

“We need to put an end to abortion and political candidates play a very important role in this matter,” he continued, pointing out that Obama supports abortions performed during the last trimester of pregnancy,  inhuman partial birth abortion,” and that Obama “wants to finance abortions with the tax dollars you and I pay.”

As a lawmaker, Obama “voted on several occasions against a law to protect babies who survived an abortion and were born alive,” Verástegui states. 

“Obama is committed to removing all the pro-life laws that in many states currently offer protection to unborn babies and their mothers. Mr. Obama does not agree that the parents of a 13 year-old girl who is pregnant should be notified before she has an abortion,” the actor underscored.

“Obama is more interested in maintaining the legality of abortion that in the well-being of the babies, children and families of this country.  Let us unite and do something to defend life at every stage, from conception to natural death,” he says.

Verástegui’s message about Obama is punctuated by clips from the video “The Hard Truth,” which shows graphic images from real abortions. The Mexican actor explains that just as teachers in schools show videos of the Holocaust to expose the truth about the atrocities committed by the Nazis, he too is including the video to show the horror of abortion.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

From Our Lady’s Warriors:

On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:

“May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do  O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the  Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Bucs Punter Matt Bryant

Played through the pain of having lost his three month old son, just days ago. The USA Today has the story today:

Appearing drained and numb, Bryant stood at a postgame podium after his three field goals, including a 24-yarder for the go-ahead points with 2:26 left, plus three extra points keyed an emotional, 30-21 victory against the Green Bay Packers.

Bryant blew a soft kiss with his left hand after each field goal to his son, who didn’t awaken when wife Melissa rounded up their six children. The cause of death is still unknown.

Throughout the game, Bryant said he talked to, “My baby boy.”

Speaking Today

I’ll be giving a talk at Our Lady of Sorrows in Homewood, AL this morning at 10:00 a.m. in the parish hall–Saint Paul’s Simple Plan for Daily Living. Also giving the same talk this evening at Holy Spirit Parish in Huntsville, AL at 6:00 p.m.

Hopefully, this will be published as a book within a relatively short time…for those of you who live to far to hear the short version.

Pope Remembers Humility of JPI

For those of you who were born in the last twenty years, there was a Pope John Paul I, before there was a Pope John Paul II, but he wasn’t around for very long–but made a deep impact while he was…from Asia News Italy:

Benedict XVI’s point of departure was today’s liturgy which was about the “two sons sent by their father to work in his vineyard. One said yes right away; the other initially refuses only to repent later and then accept to fulfill his father’s wish.”

“With this parable Jesus confirms his predilection for sinners who convert,” the Pope explained. “He teaches us that we need humility in order to receive the gift of salvation.” For the Pontiff Jesus “is the humble servant par excellence.” And with that he remembers John Paul I who died 30 years ago today.

Pope Luciani, said Benedict XVI, “chose Saint Carlo Borromeo’s Episcopal motto—Humilitas— as his own, a word that sums up that which is essential in Christian life and which indicates the virtue needed by those in the Church who are called to serve the authorities.”

“In one of the four general audiences held during his brief pontificate he said among others things and in that very informal way of his: ‘I will just recommend one virtue so dear to the Lord. He said, ‘Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart.’ [. . .] Even if you have done great things, say: ‘We are useless servants.’” He noted: ‘On the contrary the tendency in all of us, is rather the contrary: to show off’ (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo I, pp. 51-52).” Thus humility can be considered as his spiritual testament.

Thanks to this virtue of his, only 33 days were necessary for Pope Luciani to enter people’s hearts. In his speeches he used examples taken from real life, from his own family memories and from the wisdom of ordinary folks. His simplicity was a tool to formulate solid and vivid teachings which he enhanced by frequent quotes from Church and secular writers that he could recall thanks to an exceptional memory and a vast culture. He had been a catechist without equals, following in the footsteps of Saint Pius X, his compatriot and predecessor on the chair of Saint Mark and then Saint Peter. “We must feel small before God,” he said during that same audience. “I am not ashamed to feel like a child before his mother,” he added; “one believes in one’s mother; I believe in the Lord, in what he has revealed to me (Ibid, p. 49). These words show the strength of his faith. As we thank God for having given him to the Church and the world, let us cherish his example and commit ourselves to the same humility that made him able to speak to one and all, especially to the little ones and the so-called “far away”.

Before saying goodbye to the pilgrims, Benedict XVII thanked the community of Castel Gandolfo for their hospitality, noting that on 19 October he will go on pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Pompei in the month dedicated to recitation of the rosary.

Speaking to Polish pilgrims he said that today in Białystok, (Poland) the servant of God Michał Sopoćko, confessor and spiritual guide of Saint Faustina Kowalska, was beatified.

“Thanks to his suggestion,” said the Pope, “the Saint wrote her mystical experiences and the apparitions of the merciful Jesus in her well-known diary.”



As a result of his efforts the image with the writing “Jesus, I trust in You” was painted and transmitted to the world.

Lester Anthony is Happy

Lester Anthony, was a name I gave to a friend of mine from New York. I also gave him an Ole Miss (as in Mississippi Rebels) cap to wear when we went out to some of our deep south haunts–where yankees had every reason to fear. It was all rather funny…I’d introduce him to some good ole boys as Lester Anthony from Jackson, MS. No one bought it, (he was very much a New Yorker, accent and all), but after watching the sporting world’s version of the apocalypse yesterday, I’m sure it has to be some sort of negative karmic revenge that I’ve brought down on the Gator Nation that is responsible for the fact that Ole Miss has beat the Florida Gators three out of the last four times they’ve played each other. In every case not having any reasonable chance of doing so.
Here’s Mike Bianchi’s take:

For a week, at least, it will be Florida’s coaches who are second-guessed, it will be Mullen who will be grilled, it will be Tebow’s errant throws that will be analyzed, scrutinized and criticized.

Gator fans are no doubt indignant about Mullen’s final play call when Tebow was stuffed on 4th-and-1 from the Ole Miss 32. Never mind that running Tebow up the middle in short-yardage situations has worked 957 straight times. This time, it will go down as the worst offensive blunder since the Bay of Pigs invasion.

A sampling of the UF fan message board comments after the loss to the Rebels Saturday: The Gator offense is “predictable and pedestrian.” . . . Urban Meyer “won the national title with Ron Zook’s players and is 8-5 in his last 13 games.” . . . “Fire Dan Mullen!”

Pope to Initiate Live Bible Reading Online

He’ll read the first chapter of Genesis on October 5th, others will continue to read through the entire Bible, from the Irish Independent:

On October 5 the Pontiff will read aloud the first chapter of the Book of Genesis over the internet. The reading will then be continued by an estimated 1,200 volunteers who will recite the entire Bible through to the closing Book of Revelation.

Running Off at the Typewriter

From Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:

Have you heard the one about Phil Fulmer possibly leaving Tennessee to take a job with FEMA? Evidently, they were impressed with his ability to evacuate more than 100,000 people in less than an hour last week at Neyland Stadium. . . . A columnist for South Carolina’s student newspaper has called for Steve Spurrier to be fired and described the head ball coach as “a greedy, arrogant old man.” Personally, I don’t think of Spurrier as either greedy or old. Arrogant, I’ll give you. . . . A moment of silence, please. Larry Munson has called his last game as the radio voice of the University of Georgia. It feels like somebody just stepped on college football’s soul with a hobnail boot. . . . And speaking of Georgia football, did you see where an oil executive in Atlanta is saying that the Bulldogs’ monumental game with Alabama tonight should have been canceled because of a gas shortage in Athens? “That gas needs to be used for people to go to work, and for people to take care of their families,” the exec told a TV station in Athens. Does this guy realize where he’s at? In SEC country, the financial priorities go like this: (3) Taking care of your family, (2) Donating to your church, (1) Contributing to the recruiting slush fund. . . .

Paul Newman Dies

His Cool Hand Luke is a classic, from the AP Press:

Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario and the anti-hero of such films as “Hud,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Color of Money,” has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

Whose Image Do You See?

Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

In the throes of the election season, Archbishop Chaput’s book Render Unto Caesar had become a Catholic “must read.” Speaking as a former editor, the book bears the marks of having been authored by a number of people, which at times gives it an uneven feel–but the final chapters of the book, from Chapter 10 “What Needs to Be Done” on, the book hits high gear and hits its stride. It is the ending of the book that made its mark on my, redeeming some of the earlier chapters which seemed less focused.

What Archbishop Chaput has done in this book is to provide the Catholic reader with history, commentary, and Catholic critique of what it means to be a citizen of the United States and a follower of Christ–and I would say that often their is confusion that is felt not only by Catholics, but evangelical Christians as well as to how one is engage in the world, while not being “of” it.

This book would make an excellent item for a reading group looking to examine and study this issue–then discussing it. Hopefully the publisher Doubleday will provide a reading guide for this purpose. The central issue of this book won’t go away any time soon.

Christ the Light Cathedral Dedicated

Father Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. gave me a tour of the building while it was still under construction, earlier in the Spring while I was giving a parish mission at his parish in Newark, CA. He has great pictures at his web site Rifugio San Gaspare, plus some background. Something that might be missed in the photo above, is that the image of Christ is made up of points of light.

“USC You Later”

The classic David beats Golliath that makes college football so interesting and frustrating for fans. It also is what keeps sports radio in business. Big hype “the greatest college football team ever” followed by “they read their own press clippings,” “coach doesn’t know how to get them up for the small games,” but never “we were wrong about what we thought about them.”

From The Bleacher Report

Two weeks ago, the world was convinced the USC Trojans were by far the best team in college football.

Two days ago, the talk was how tough the road would be for the stronger SEC and Big 12 teams to get to the title game to face USC.

A few hours ago, everything changed.

Something happened to USC in Corvallis—again.  The Trojans left Oregon State’s campus with a quizzical look on each of their faces, brought on by 5’6″ Jacquizz Rodgers, who ran big, totaling 186 yards on the ground against a USC defense that many felt was the most dominant in the country.

The result: a shocking Oregon State victory, 27-21 over the top-ranked Trojans.

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