Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From the Catholic Services News Blog.

‘Guitars and Adobes’ gives a glimpse at church life in New Mexico in the ’30s
Posted on August 25, 2009 by Mark Pattison

Seventy-seven years after Fray Angelico Chavez’s serialized novel, “Guitars and Adobes,” appeared in the pages of St. Anthony Messenger magazine, it is now out in book form.

It has been described as a kind of Hispanic answer to Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop,” her classic novel based on the real French archbishop charged by the pope with leading the church’s fledgling vicariate in the Southwest.

Fray Angelico, a Franciscan priest, was still in the seminary when he wrote his novel – in five distinct parts. St. Anthony Messenger couldn’t devote that much space in five issues to the novel, so it serialized it in monthly installments in 1931 and ‘32.

The only Hispanic among a group of Midwestern lads studying for the priesthood in Cincinnati, young Manuel Chavez strove to reinforce his Hispanic identity both before and after his ordination to the priesthood in 1937. He ultimately served as the archivist for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and gained a reputation for being one of New Mexico’s foremost writers and intellectuals — a reputation that has endured in the 13 years since his passing.

As archdiocesan archivist, he undertook the cataloging and translating of Spanish archives that allowed for a re-evaluation of the history of New Mexico and the region. Fray Angelico was also a member of the Santa Fe Writers Group that included such figures as D.H. Lawrence, Thornton Wilder, Alice Corbin, Witter Bynner and the aforementioned Cather.

“Guitars and Adobes” also contains 20 unpublished short stories by Fray Angelico. The book, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press, retails for $24.95 and can be ordered through online booksellers.

The Kennedy I Knew (sorta)

CNN reports his death.

(CNN) -- Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died Wednesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 77.

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, known as the "Lion of the Senate," died Wednesday at 77.

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, known as the "Lion of the Senate," died Wednesday at 77.

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," a family statement said. "We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice."

Kennedy, nicknamed "Ted," was the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy and New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was gunned down while seeking the White House in 1968. However, his own presidential aspirations were hobbled by the controversy around a 1969 auto accident that left a young woman dead, and a 1980 primary challenge to then-President Jimmy Carter that ended in defeat.

But while the White House eluded his grasp, the longtime Massachusetts senator was considered one of the most effective legislators of the past few decades. Kennedy, who became known as the "Lion of the Senate," played major roles in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, and was an outspoken liberal standard-bearer during a conservative-dominated era from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

"Senator Ted Kennedy's legacy in the United States Senate is comparable and consistent with the legacy of his entire family for generations," Kennedy's biographer, Ted Sorensen, said.

Kennedy recently urged Massachusetts officials to change a law to allow for an immediate temporary replacement should a vacancy occur for one of his state's two Senate seats. Video Watch why Kennedy sought change in state law »

Under a 2004 Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant. The winner of the election would serve the remainder of a senator's unexpired term.

Kennedy asked Gov. Deval Patrick and state leaders to "amend the law through the normal legislative process to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment until the special election occurs," according to the letter, dated July 2. Read Kennedy's letter

Kennedy suffered a seizure in May 2008 at his home on Cape Cod. Shortly after, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor -- a malignant glioma in his left parietal lobe.

Surgeons at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, removed as much of the tumor as possible the following month. Doctors considered the procedure a success, and Kennedy underwent follow-up radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

A few weeks later, he participated in a key vote in the Senate. He also insisted on making a brief but dramatic appearance at the 2008 Democratic convention, a poignant moment that brought the crowd to its feet and tears to many eyes.

"I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States," Kennedy told fellow Democrats in a strong voice.

Kennedy's early support for Obama was considered a boon for the candidate, then a first-term senator from Illinois locked in a tough primary battle against former first lady Hillary Clinton. Kennedy predicted Obama's victory and pledged to be in Washington in January when Obama assumed office -- and he was, though he was hospitalized briefly after suffering a seizure during a post-inaugural luncheon.

Kennedy was one of only six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years. He was elected to eight full terms to become the second most-senior senator after West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd.

He launched his political career in 1962, when he was elected to finish the unexpired Senate term of his brother, who became president in 1960. He won his first full term in 1964.

He seemed to have a bright political future, and many Democratic eyes turned to him after the killings of his brothers. But a July 18, 1969, car wreck on Chappaquiddick Island virtually ended his ambitions.

After a party for women who had worked on his brother Robert's presidential campaign, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick, off Cape Cod and across a narrow channel from Martha's Vineyard. While Kennedy managed to escape, his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.

In a coroner's inquest, he denied having been drunk, and said he made "seven or eight" attempts to save Kopechne before exhaustion forced him to shore. Although he sought help from friends at the party, Kennedy did not report the accident to police until the following morning.

Kennedy eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. In a televised address to residents of his home state, Kennedy called his conduct in the hours following the accident "inexplicable" and called his failure to report the wreck immediately "indefensible."

Despite the dent in his reputation and career, Kennedy remained in American politics and went on to win seven more terms in the Senate. Kennedy championed social causes and was the author of "In Critical Condition: The Crisis in America's Health Care." He served as chairman of the Judiciary and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees and was the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary and Armed Services committees during periods when Republicans controlled the chamber.

Obama named Kennedy as one of 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. A White House statement explained that the 2009 honorees "were chosen for their work as agents of change."

"Senator Kennedy has dedicated his career to fighting for equal opportunity, fairness and justice for all Americans. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable health care, and has succeeded in doing so for countless children, seniors, and Americans with disabilities. He has called health care reform the "cause of his life."

Born in Boston on February 22, 1932, Edward Moore Kennedy was the last of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, a prominent businessman and Democrat, and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy served as ambassador to Britain before World War II and pushed his sons to strive for the presidency, a burden "Teddy" bore for much of his life as the only surviving Kennedy son.

His oldest brother, Joe Jr., died in a plane crash during World War II when Kennedy was 12. John was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963, and Robert was killed the night of the California primary in 1968.

Ted Kennedy delivered Robert's eulogy, urging mourners to remember him as "a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it; who saw suffering and tried to heal it; who saw war and tried to stop it."

The family was plagued with other tragedies as well. One sister, Kathleen, was killed in a plane crash in 1948. Another sister, Rosemary, was born mildly retarded, but was institutionalized after a botched lobotomy in 1941. She died in 1986 after more than 50 years in mental hospitals.

Joseph Kennedy was incapacitated by a stroke in 1961 and died in November 1969, leaving the youngest son as head of the family. He was 37.

"I can't let go," Kennedy once told an aide. "If I let go, Ethel (Robert's widow) will let go, and my mother will let go, and all my sisters."

Kennedy himself survived a 1964 plane crash that killed an aide, suffering a broken back in the accident. But he recovered to lead the seemingly ill-starred clan through a series of other tragedies: Robert Kennedy's son David died of a drug overdose in a Florida hotel in 1984; another of Robert's sons, Michael, was killed in a skiing accident in Colorado in 1997; and John's son John Jr., his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette died in a 1999 plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.

In addition, his son Edward Jr. lost a leg to cancer in the 1970s, and daughter Kara survived a bout with the disease in the early 2000s.

Kennedy was forced to testify about a bar-hopping weekend that led to sexual battery charges against his nephew, William Kennedy Smith. Smith was acquitted in 1991 of charges that he raped a woman he met while at a Florida nightclub with the senator and his son Patrick, now a Rhode Island congressman.


Like brothers John and Robert, Edward Kennedy attended Harvard. He studied in the Netherlands before earning a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, and worked in the district attorney's office in Boston before entering politics.

Kennedy is survived by his second wife, Victoria Ann Reggie Kennedy, whom he married in 1992; his first wife, Joan Bennett; and five children -- Patrick, Kara and Edward Jr. from his first marriage, and Curran and Caroline Raclin from his second.

I have some campaign photos from the 90's here at my photo site.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Laughing with the Saints: Part One

Father Martin talked about humor and religious life on NPR yesterday. (Ignore the comments.) And today he posted a bit more, just about the time of the release of My Life With the Saints in paperback.

As I was reading the America Magazine blog, I saw he posted a clip of this video and it was funny so I had to share.

Part Two is posted here

And lastly Part Three is here.

There Will Be Change..

Wow. The Mass Changes are posted at the USCCB website. And some of them make sense and some of them... hmmm?

Rocco explains it all at Whispers in the Loggia.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Solving the Riddle of Time

This is a story about how Augustinians used a time dial to figure out time back in the "old days."

Gakked from the BBC

Ancient dial solves time riddle

Inchcolm dial. Pic by Historic Scotland
The dials were carved into the walls of some churches and monastic buildings

A new discovery at an island abbey in the Firth of Forth has revealed the Augustinian canons who once lived there measured time using a mass dial.

Conservationists working at Inchcolm Island found the remnants of a special sundial which they believe may have been carved into a wall.

Until now mystery has surrounded the method used by the order to tell time.

While well-known in England, the British Sundial Society said there were relatively few dials in Scotland.

Historians believe the Augustinian canons lived according to a strict routine, which made it essential everyone in the community did the right thing at the right time.

The dial at Inchcolm, which has been broken in two, was discovered by Historic Scotland collections registrar Hugh Morrison and medieval stones expert Mary Markus.

They were carrying out preparatory work for a project to examine and catalogue a collection of about 50 pieces of carved medieval stone being kept at the abbey but which were never studied.

'Accurate measurement'

Mr Morrison said: "While sorting through the stones I found a fragment with distinctive radial markings carved on it that reminded me of mass dials that I had seen on churches in Gloucestershire.

"In a separate location I turned over another stone and was really pleased to discover that it fitted together with the other half of the mass dial.

"Better still, it still has the corroded stub of the iron gnomon which would have once cast its shadow along the radial markings of the dial."

Mr Morrison said he was hopeful his team would be able to discover the original location of the dial on the south side of the abbey.

He added: "Medieval timekeeping was very different from our present day dependency on the accurate measurement of time for catching trains, getting to work or viewing TV programs.

"Changing seasons and weather meant that mass dials could not always be used but when the sun shone they provided a relative means of coordinating community activities."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Doom and Gloom

Continuing with the lack of any real content in here. A local newspaper article posted about the Burning of Zozobra talks about a Christian group that predicts Doom and Gloom for the city of Santa Fe on the night of the event. I can't wait to see the City swallowed up whole by the All Living God because of this pagan celebration. Oy vey.

The Fiestas here are a mix of secular and religious events commemorating the reconquest of New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt. In the last 80 years, the first big event (secular) event has become the burning of Zozobra. A 50 foot marionette that is burned to purge the community of all its gloom so we can have a joyful and happy Fiesta. Thing is, through out the summer, there are many events that lead up to the Fiestas and you could say the Novena to La Conquistadora is really the first major event, but it is a religious celebration and not everyone one the community participates.

Anyway, through the years, so many Christian groups have protested the Burning of Zozobra. Mostly the local Potter's House Christians have passed out leaflets and tracts about how we're all doomed. I haven't been in years to Zozobra but I do remember all the hysteria from year's past.

The local weekly paper ran this story about how the Earth is going to be swallowed up on the night of of Zozobra this year. So, here I am doing my usual eyeroll at the nuttiness of Christianity sometimes.

Doom and Gloom | Santa Fe Reporter

Posted using ShareThis

Image courtesy
of found on a google image search.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

U2 - Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of

First thing I heard this morning on the radio was "Stuck in A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" by U2. Lyrics here. It probably means something but I'll figure it all out later. I can't live without music in my life. It was on the All That You Can't Leave Behind Album, which I have. I pretty much own everything U2 has done with the exception of this last album, which I think really sucks. I think Zooropa was kinda of the sucketh but there were a few songs there that I liked. Anyway, so here is the video. I'll come back after and finish my thoughts from this morning.

I managed to pray this morning's Hours. I'm trying... I mean trying to find my way back to prayer. It's always the same battle with me. If I pray daily, it amazes me how much better things seem. Same with exercise. Good things that I can't seem to do enough.

Today, is also the 30-day anniversary of my cousin, Lindsey's death, so I'm going to try to go to the Mass at my parish. Her mom paid for a Mass for today. So I'll leave the office early to go.

Better go now.

Edited to correct album title. I had Zooropa in the car and realized this song isn't on it. I forgot about the All That You Can't Leave Behind album. I have that too. I might go pull it out and see what else is on it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Buffy Vs. Edward

This is a bit of a stretch from the usual content of this blog, but my priest did mention "Twilight" in his homily. He didn't condemn it or pan it. He had a pretty good analogy going about eternal life and used vampires to get his point across. However, I wanted t share this with a friend of mine who reads this blog from time to time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Do You Need?

So my day really started off crappy. Without going into details, my dad and I had another blow out. He always complains when either Mom or I talk about "family business" to someone outside the family and today he went and blabbed the family business to one of his nieces, who was going to call me with unsolicited advice. Needless to say that didn't go well either.

This morning I had wanted to go to Mass for the Assumption but after I hung up with Dad, I rolled over in bed and tried to sleep for a while and then he showed up at the door, where we continued to air out our differences. We came to peace and I made a good breakfast. All was well, till my cousin called.

Anyway, the good of it all, is that I hope this time things with Dad are ok. Most times, I've never hated having older parents. I never really noticed that I had older parents when I was growing up. Even now, my parents don't look their age. Dad's poor health of late has aged him, but he still looks a good 10 years younger than he is. My mom is healthy and strong. However, I've taken on a lot of the day to day stuff for them, paying bills, watching the money, dealing with the rental property and the tenant who is struggling to pay rent. (It's a commercial property, where he has an art gallery.)It's a bad economy and people don't buy art when they have to put food on the table and put their kids through school. This is essentially what we fight about every month when rent is due and the tenant is late.

Anyway, lately, I've been feeling like a worse-than-usual- Bad Catholic than I normally am. I don't think I'll even claim to be a Good Catholic because I am not. I sin. I make bad judgments and sometimes I think I avoid God. Right now, I should be seeking Him through prayer or through the sacraments but the last thing I've wanted to do lately is pray, go to Mass and do those things.

Everyday, I am aware that He exists, but in the midst of everything else going on in my life, I just want to run and hide.

Friday, August 14, 2009

In This Year of the Priest

Father James Martin, SJ , writes a wonderful piece, The Priesthood Today, We're All in This Together for Catholic Update. He shares his reflections of his own priesthood, he explains what the image of the Good Shepherd means and how he thinks it's truly a positive image and that we are not sheep. He talks about decline in vocations, the future and the priesthood today.

h/t to America.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Now that makes me smile! My puppies! I still miss Barkley like crazy but it's nice to see him when he was happy and healthy.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I wonder if Blogspot is having some issues. If you look at my main page of the blog everything is a bit askew, the fonts are off and you have to scroll down quite away to get to the side bar of information and everything in it is centered and the wrong font and size. But when you click a specific entry, it's the way it's supposed to be.

I messed with some layout stuff but I don't think I could have screwed it up this badly. I'm also wondering if I should join one of the Catholic web rings to drive up traffic to the blog. Do I want more traffic to the blog? I really don't want to be a big name "blogger" so I guess I'll leave things be.

Edit: One of the two recent posts, the Map of Faith in the US or the article about the Bells, had some screwy HTML and messed up the formatting of the whole blog. I have gotten so far behind on technology these days, that I can't tell the difference between CSS, HTML or RSS.

Ok, I'm not that bad, but it took a while to figure out what I did wrong. ;)
I'll recode those other posts later.

When They Ring The Golden Bells

I love this story posted at Clerical Whispers. It is a testament to the faith of the people in a community. It is totally the opposite of a story here in New Mexico at my own parish.

In the Fall of 2007 there was a complaint to the local paper about the bells ringing at my parish church from a County Commissioner who hated being disturbed by the chime of the church bells and wanted them to stop. A newspaper article resulted, then there was a letter to the editor from the pastor of my church in defense of the bells, and actually people rallied from the parish and the community to support the bells. Church bells have always rung in this town and I can't imagine a day when they don't ring. Tourists flock to this city and I think they love hearing the bells.

Anyway, here is the story, which I enjoyed.

Locals force priest to ring bells
A village priest who stopped ringing the church bells to appease a jittery tourist began chiming them again on Wednesday when residents came out in the streets to bang their pots and pans in protest.

Father Alfredo De Simoni had caved in to the request of the town's single tourist, who in need of a good night's rest, had asked him a few days ago to still the bells from 10 pm till at least 8 am.

But the 85 residents of the Ligurian hilltop town of Mezzema were accustomed to waking up with the sound of the bells at 7 am.

They balked at the move and decided to take action, plastering the town with protest banners and leaflets.

On Sunday they all boycotted Mass.

Still, De Simoni could not be swayed.

But when the locals rose up in unison to clank their kitchen ware, he finally got the message.

When the bells rang on Wednesday, everyone came out to celebrate.

Leave to the locals to get things done. Here everyone came out to hear the new Cathedral bells ring for the first time. I bet even a few tourists were thrilled to hear them.

I'll see if I can find any links or articles about the Bell Controversy here and post them later.

Mapping the Faith of the Nation

I thought this was interesting. Today ran article about the geographical make up of the people in this country in it's Articles of Faith section mapping the nation by religion. It's based on a recent Gallup poll and probably has a few surprises.

Posted by Michael Paulson August 7, 2009 01:13 PM

For those of us who love maps, Gallup today has put out a nifty set illustrating the differential religious makeup of the American states. The maps are based on new data -- survey research conducted earlier this year -- but there's no big news here: the Northeast is the most Catholic region, the South the most Protestant, Utah the most Mormon and New York the most Jewish. And the Pacific Northwest and northern New England have the biggest percentages of non-religious folks. Here is Gallup's analysis of what it calls a "remarkable pattern of religious dispersion in the U.S.,'' with an interesting unanswered question about Vermont:

"A good deal of the religious dispersion across the states is explainable by historical immigration patterns -- particularly the impact of the large waves of European Catholics and Jews who came through ports of entry in the Middle Atlantic states in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The geographic concentration of Mormons in and around Utah reflects the cross-country migration of that group in the mid-1800s from Illinois and other Eastern states to their new home. The fact that certain states like Oregon and Vermont consist disproportionately of residents with no religious identity is more difficult to explain, with hypotheses focusing on the particular and idiosyncratic cultures of those states and/or the migration of certain types of Americans to those states over the decades."

Here's the map about Catholicism:


And Protestantism:






And, finally, a map showing states by percentage of non-religious people:


After reading articles and seeing maps like this, I always like to point out that Catholicism has thrived in NM for over 400 years. ;)

Friday, August 7, 2009

We All Scream for Ice Cream

In Pictures from the BBC caught this great image. The caption says "Two nuns enjoy ice cream at the Aga Kahn Challenge Cup in Ireland's capital. There are more from the rest of the world here at the link.

Article at CNA About Our Lady of Guadulupe and the Tilma

Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond' scientific explanation, says researcher

.- Researcher and physicist Dr. Aldofo Orozco told participants at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe that there is no scientific explanation for the 478 years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation.

Dr. Orozco began his talk by confirming that the conservation of the Tilma, the cloak of St. Juan Diego on which Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 478 years ago, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”

“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years,” he explained. One painting of the miraculous image, created in 1789, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed. “This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there.”

However, eight years later, the copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was thrown away because the colors were fading and threads were breaking. In contrast, Orozco said, “the original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”

Dr. Orozco then discussed the Tilma’s fabric. He noted that “one of the most bizarre characteristics of the cloth is that the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk, as noted by painters and scientists in 1666, and confirmed one century later in 1751 by the Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera.”

Following an analysis of some of the fibers in 1946, it was concluded that the fibers came from the Agave plant, however, noted Dr. Orozco, the researchers couldn’t figure out which of the 175 Agave species the Tilma was made from. Years later, in 1975, “the famous Mexican researcher Ernesto Sodi Pallares said that the species of the agave was Agave popotule Zacc,” Orozco explained, “but we don’t know how he reached this conclusion.”

Before concluding his presentation, Dr. Orozco made mention of two miracles associated with the Tilma.

The first occurred in 1785 when a worker accidentally spilled a 50 percent nitric acid solvent on the right side of the cloth. “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image,” Orozco said.

The second miracle was the explosion of a bomb near the Tilma in 1921. Dr. Orozco recalled that the explosion broke the marble floor and widows 150 meters from the explosion, but “unexpectedly, neither the Tilma nor the normal glass that protected the Tilma was damaged or broken.” The only damage near it was a brass crucifix that was twisted by the blast.

He continued, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image. Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother. The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”

Dr. Orozco thanked the audience for listening to his presentation and closed by reassuring them that “Our Lady visited Mexico 478 years ago, but she remains there to give Her Love, Her Mercy and Her Care to anyone who needs it, and to bring Her Son, Jesus Christ to everyone who receives Him.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond' scientific explanation, says researcher
Dr. Adolfo Orozco at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Glendale, Arizona.

On the Blogosphere

The Shrine of the Holy Whapping has a couple of funny posts of late: see clerical vestments that sound like pasta and what to do when you don't have your mantilla handy.

If I wasn't feeling sick, I might like to have some pasta right now. I woke up with both a nauseous tummy and an achy one. I want a do-over of this day, damnit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In The News From New Mexico...

Local News stories.

NM Sisters are Ambivalent about the upcoming Apostolic Visits to the US. This was a companion piece to a more indepth, national piece by the AP which I didn't see on the New Mexican website. It is interesting to see all the comments and discussion about the visit on a national level. I contributed a comment on the New Mexican comment site.

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh of media office for the USCCB talks about the visit here. H/T to Fr. Martin at America for the link.

And this bit of news I thought was interesting. Monks Ale will now be brewed at the Christ in the Desert Monastery near Abiuqui, for those of you unfamiliar with Northern New Mexico, that's where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and painted a lot of her New Mexican landscapes and flowers. Here's a post about the news at Brew Like A Monk Blog.

If I find anything else, I might post.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Give Peace A Chance

Herein Maria goes to a Peace Vigil over the weekend and talks about it.

A few weeks back my friend handed me a flier about an upcoming Pax Christi event with two Nobel Prize winning women who were going to speak about Nuclear disarmament. As you all know, I live New Mexico, a state full of rich history and culture, we are also a state with notoriety that isn’t too rich or blessed. The first atomic bomb was made and tested here at the Trinity Site on the White Sands Proving Ground. Growing up my parents remember all the secrecy at Los Alamos. I honestly haven’t been to Los Alamos much in my life time. In elementary school we took the requisite field trip to the museums, I don’t believe we were given a tour of the labs but we were taught how great things happen there. I took my SATs there, I’ve sold real estate there and that really is my only connection with Los Alamos. As you come into the town, there is a flagstone sign welcoming visitors and says, “Los Alamos, where great discoveries are made.” What a truism.

Now I know that the scientists and engineers do more at the labs than make nuclear weapons. I know some of the world’s foremost AIDS research has come out of the labs, that there is a constant state of new technologies being developed that has nothing to do with nuclear weapons as well. I know many, many people who work in Los Alamos and I think the majority of them have nothing to do with making nuclear weapons. But they still make them there. I am not an expert by any means on the nation’s defense, but I do agree with the speakers, that these weapons are a means of destruction and not a method of defense. I also agree it’s time that we get rid of them.

On top of having created the atomic bomb, we had to create a depository to store all our nuclear waste. There are many of these in the country. It boggles my mind that we need to find a place to store all this waste because it is dangerous, radioactive and can make people sick. Shouldn’t that alone, be a good reason to stop making these weapons? A wonderful bypass was created so the waste wouldn’t be transported through Santa Fe on it’s way to WIPP down by Carlsbad. Obviously, we have not become the stewards of the land that God has wanted us to be if we’re putting nuclear waste in the ground, to sit there for thousands of years to finally be safe to touch? This is only one example of how we haven’t taken care of the Earth, but I won’t digress.

Friday, my friend who gave me the flyer and I went to Mass at my parish to kick off the Pax Christi event. Witness for Peace, the flier of the events, is here linked from the New Mexico Pax Christi website. First there was a Mass, then the two speakers and on Saturday there was a prayerful, peace protest where people went up to Los Alamos, started at Ashley Pond (Apparently the lab where the bomb was created was located there, then when it was dismantled they put in the pond. I’d never heard the story of the pond.) The group walked for 30 minutes, quietly and prayerfully and stopped at a designated time, sat down and prayed for about a half hour.

Fr. John Dear, SJ who helped organize this event, said in the local paper:

We're taking up the story from the book of Jonah where the people of Ninevah sat in sackcloth and ashes to repent of their violence,” said Dear, explaining that those who attend the event will walk through the streets of Los Alamos and also sit for a half hour in silent prayer.” Quote from Abq. Journal North Story, Friday July 31, 2009. original article here.

After a half hour of peaceful prayer, they returned back to the pond. My friend and I did take a ride up to Los Alamos on Saturday but didn’t participate in the peaceful protest. One of the priests at our parish is actively involved in working for peace and we went to the events to support him as well. He presided at the Mass on Friday, then Fr. Dear spoke after Mass and explained the schedule of events for the weekend.

Now, anytime I’ve gone to anything sponsored by our local Pax Christi group, I’ve observed I am the youngest one there. Same thing with this, though at the lecture and the protest event there were people my age and younger. The other thing I noticed is that the people attending the Mass were from everywhere else—some as far away as Massachusetts and other eastern states. A handful from my parish were there but people came from everywhere to be here on Saturday.

After Mass we had time to go eat. I was thinking of bailing on hearing the speakers, but I told my friend I’d get a bite to eat with her. I ended up going to listen to Mairead Maguire, a Nobel peace prize winner from Belfast, Northern Ireland who witnessed violence firsthand in the 70s, when a British soldier shot and fired at a suspected IRA terrorist, who while driving, plowed into her nieces and nephews who were innocently walking down the street. Subsequently, she rallied up women and children who peacefully protested against all the violence in her country and has ever since then worked on the behalf of peace.

She is a small, almost delicate looking woman, but the words she spoke were powerful. Her experiences are amazing and it was a privilege to hear her speak. She feels that all faiths and people need to come together to make it possible to abolish nuclear weapons. She said they are weapons of destruction and will not save anyone. How can we disagree with this?

The other woman to speak, was Jody Williams, an American Nobel winner, who worked to ban land mines, which, I believe after five years of tireless work, was achieved. She said her progression to the fight for ending nuclear weapons was natural. She grew up during the cold war and remembered her fears of the bomb as a child. She knew where the fallout shelters were in her hometown and worried that her own family didn’t have one. She saw how ludicrous the drills were in school and knew that huddling under her desk or against the wall in the gym wouldn’t save her from the bomb. Her memories and fears were familiar to most of the crowd.

She was a great speaker, powerful, witty and her words totally resonated with me. She would definitely be someone I’d love to take a class from or just sit and talk to over a long cup of coffee. I believe she teaches at the University of Houston. She challenged everyone in the room to work for peace—even if it’s just an hour a month—the rewards would be great.

Now, I believe there are nine nations with nuclear weapons or capability. Just imagine if one of the leaders of those nations suffers from some hysteria or delusion and allows a nuclear weapon to be detonated somewhere in the world? I shudder to think of the consequences. Just look at what the US did to Japan? This is
the cloud over Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. I don’t have the words to even explain it. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki The Trinity Test Site explosion pales in comparison.

Honestly, I don’t know if any of this post made any sense, or if I even conveyed a sense of anything I was feeling this weekend. I just know that the lives of these peace activists touched me and I probably have more that I can say. I took some pictures of the peaceful rally and may post them somewhere. They’re shots of faces in the crowd mostly.

posted at the lj earlier today.