Friday, September 28, 2012

Mass w/ Cardinal Wuerl + Chipotle, Sunday, 7:30 pm

Student Mass with Cardinal Wuerl

All GW students are invited for Mass with the Archbishop of Washington.  Sun, Sept 30, 7:30 pm, St. Stephen’s Church (25th St. and Penn Ave.).  Chipotle after Mass in the Parish Hall. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

40 Day Prayer and Fast for the Election

This Friday will be 40 days until the Nov 6 elections.  I encourge all GW Catholics to join Chrisians all over the country for a 40 day prayer and fast for the election, not just the presidential but all the state and local elections.  As everyone knows, this is a HUGE election with a lot at stake: life, religious liberty, peace, marriage, etc.

I offer the prayer below as one that GW Catholics should say every day from Friday until the election.  Or, you can use the prayer cards for religious liberty at the Newman Center during the 40 days.

Also, offer up a small fast for 40 straight days.  It can be fasting from coffee or dessert or red meat or whatever. "So we fasted, and prayed to our God for this, and our petition was granted" (Ezra 8:23).

Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our Country, Pray for Us

O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank You for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to You.

We thank You for Your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank You for the opportunity that this election year
puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.

Lord, we pray that Your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their
Their response to You requires that they be politically

Awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be
a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read Your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.

Awaken Your people to a commitment to justice,
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when Human Lives
And not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of Your kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homily: "Be Passionate for Christ"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily. It will take you to GW Catholics site; you might have to click the smaller title twice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Follow me"

Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.  The following is from the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.  "Follow me".

A Sermon by St. Bede the Venerable


Jesus saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him
Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me. Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men.
He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: Follow me. This following meant imitating the pattern of his life – not just walking after him. St. John tells us: Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
And he rose and followed him. There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift.
As he sat at table in the house, behold many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. This conversion of one tax collector gave many men, those from his own profession and other sinners, an example of repentance and pardon. Notice also the happy and true anticipation of his future status as apostle and teacher of the nations. No sooner was he converted than Matthew drew after him a whole crowd of sinners along the same road to salvation. He took up his appointed duties while still taking his first steps in the faith, and from that hour he fulfilled his obligation and thus grew in merit. To see a deeper understanding of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realise that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love. Our Saviour attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive him, as it were, when we freely assent to his promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since he dwells in the hearts of his chosen ones through the grace of his love, enters so that he might eat with us and we with him. He ever refreshes us by the light of his presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Most beautiful explanation of death"

Most beautiful explanation of death I've ever heard.



A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to

Leave the examination room and said,

'Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side.'

Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know..'

'You don't know? You're, a Christian man,

and don't know what's on the other side?'

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
'Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before.

He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

But I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough.'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Election 2012: Follow Your Conscience"

Tonight! Discussion on Life Issues in the Newman Chapel after Tuesday Mass and dinner with Christa Lopiccolo, Executive Director, Department for Life Issues, Archdiocese of Washington. Ms. Lopiccolo will share her expertise in helping to form our consciences for voting.

Here is the pamphlet on the election to which I referred in Sunday's homily:

                                             Election 2012


                                       FOLLOW YOUR



Following one’s conscience is not based upon one’s preferences or opinions, “nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do”; rather, “conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith

-“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011, #17.

In their 2011 document on Faithful Citizenship, the US Bishops focus on pressing national issues:

• Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted

• Renewed efforts to force Catholic ministries—in health care, education, and social services—to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need;

• Intensifying efforts to redefine marriage and enact measures which undermine marriage as the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman and a fundamental moral and social institution essential to the common good;


• An economic crisis which has devastated lives and livelihoods, increasing national and global unemployment, poverty, and hunger; increasing deficits and debt and the duty to respond in ways which protect those who are poor and vulnerable as well as future generations;

• The failure to repair a broken immigration system with comprehensive measures that promote true respect for law, protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants and refugees, recognize their contributions to our nation, keep families together, and advance the common good;

• Wars, terror, and violence which raise serious moral questions on the use of force and its human and moral costs in a dangerous world, particularly the absence of justice, security, and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.


How does a GW Catholic follow his or her conscience and make a sound moral judgment on voting?

“it is essential for (GW) Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” – FC, #37.



The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (FC, #28). 

   Intrinsic evils /








         A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil,
         such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a
        Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.” – FC, #34.    

     Other serious threats to human life and dignity:

-Death penalty
-Unjust War
-War Crimes
-Failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care
-Unjust immigration policy


While these do not carry the same moral weight as  the non-negotiables, they “are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.” (FC, #29)



Monday, September 17, 2012

Homily - "Conscience: thinking as God thinks"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.  It will take you to GW Catholics site; you might have to click the smaller title twice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pray for peace in the Middle East

Holy See Gives 'Firmest Possible Condemnation' to Slaying of US Ambassador
Says Nothing Justifies Terrorist Activity
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2012 ( The Vatican today expressly condemned the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador and three other officials.

In a follow-up to a declaration Wednesday from the Vatican press office, today's statement took a harsher tone in regard to the violence. The initial statement focused mainly on the need to respect religious sensitivities.

"The very serious attack organised against the United States diplomatic mission in Libya, which led to the death of the ambassador and of other functionaries, calls for the firmest possible condemnation on the part of the Holy See. Nothing, in fact, can justify the activity of terrorist organisations and homicidal violence. Along with our sadness, mourning and prayers for the victims, we again express the hope that, despite this latest tragedy, the international community may discover the most favourable ways to continue its commitment in favour of peace in Libya and the entire Middle East," read today's statement.

The Vatican press office message from Wednesday alluded to the fact that the Benghazi attack is believed to be in response to a US-produced amateur film that ridicules Mohammed.
"The serious consequences of unjustified offense and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident in these days, as we see the reactions they arouse, sometimes with tragic results, which in their turn nourish tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence," the statement noted.

It also asserted that "profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols of the various religions" is essential if people hope to coexist peacefully.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Think that Planned Parenthood is friendly to the poor? Think again

A student told me of a conversation he just had with a close friend about the upcoming election.  His friend is Catholic and against abortion, but thinks that poverty is a more important issue.  If any of you are thinking the same way, please consider this.  Your vote for a pro-choice politician would go to support an organization that has not been friendly to the poor in its history.  In fact, the article below from about Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the United States, fairly presents the awful truth that PP has been attacking the poor and disabled for almost 100 years:

Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood:The Eugenics Connection

By Angela Franks

Pro-lifers have frequently made the case that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's largest abortion provider, has a tainted past, but it can be difficult to find the hard information to bolster these claims. Let's examine a little of PPFA's history and the current activities of this organization in order to arm ourselves for the fight against this force of the culture of death. In this article, we'll focus on its founder's fascination with eugenics and whether Margaret Sanger can be fairly labeled a racist.

Margaret Sanger and Eugenics

Planned Parenthood dates its founding from 1916. To understand Planned Parenthood, one must understand the ideology of Margaret Sanger.

While Planned Parenthood adamantly insists otherwise, it is clear that Sanger (1879-1966) was a eugenicist. She believed that birth control served a great eugenic purpose by stopping those she described as the genetically "unfit" from reproducing.

In her 1920 book, Woman and the New Race, Sanger explicitly called her work "nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or those who will become defectives." As she wrote in The Birth Control Review, "the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the overfertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Sanger did not rule out coercion if the "wrong" people had children. She wrote, "Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism." "Choice," indeed.

Planned Parenthood's History of Eugenics

Sanger was not the only eugenicist involved with Planned Parenthood. Alan Guttmacher, president of Planned Parenthood from 1962-1974, once told a Planned Parenthood gathering, "The mentally retarded and the mentally defective . . . insidiously are replacing the people of normal mentality."

Guttmacher, Sanger, and others in Planned Parenthood actively courted the involvement of eugenicists. In the 1920s, the "National Council" of her American Birth Control League had at least 23 persons involved at a prominent level in eugenics-nearly one-half the entire council!

The American Eugenic Society (AES) officially endorsed her group in 1932, and Sanger was a dues-paying member of the AES through the 1960s. Among those on her council was Lothrop Stoddard, a prominent racist who wrote The Rising Tide of Color Against White Supremacy and who also published eugenic articles in Sanger's magazine.

Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?

So, was Sanger also a racist, like Lothrop Stoddard? Sometimes pro-lifers quote editions of the magazine she founded, The Birth Control Review, in which officials from Nazi Germany were published. Others point to ominous-sounding quotes from her letters, including a letter written to Clarence J. Gamble, M.D., in which she wrote that "we don't want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. . . ."

But Sanger did not edit the Review during the time the Nazi articles appeared, and she frequently expressed disgust at German Fascism. The quote from the Gamble letter is also not definitive proof Sanger was a racist.

From the context, it appears as though she was (rather sloppily) explaining a misconception, not advocating racial cleansing. Moreover, she did not evince racist attitudes in other letters and speeches.

So it seems as though Sanger was a eugenicist, who wanted to restrict the "unfit" (the poor, those of supposedly lesser intelligence, or those with disabilties, etc.) from having children, but not a racist, because she did not consider members of other races "unfit" on account of their race.

So does she get off scot-free on the racism charge? Well, not quite. As we saw with the example of Lothrop Stoddard, Sanger worked with racists and did not make a move to check their racist thinking. More seriously, she also promoted a eugenic ideology that led in the end to the gas chambers. Once society starts judging who is "fit" and "unfit" and determining on that basis who should not reproduce, the inalienable value of every human being is quickly denied.

Implicit Eugenics

Of course, few if any current members of Planned Parenthood are likely to know the history just described or would agree with such bald eugenic claims. Nevertheless, the organization in fact advances the eugenic agenda, even if often unconsciously.

For example, Planned Parenthood has never ceased to target the poor and disabled, Sanger's favorite examples of the so-called "unfit." In the year 2000, almost 75% of PPFA clients had incomes at or below 150% of the poverty line. In 1997, PPFA's Plan of Action asserted that its "core clients" are "young women, low-income women, and women of color." Accordingly, although African-American women tend to be more pro-life than white women, they nonetheless have abortions at triple the rate of white women.

Similarly, those with disabilities feel the old eugenic bias of Planned Parenthood. A former employee of PPFA, who herself had disabilities, complained that her colleagues believed in the "need" to abort fetuses diagnosed with disabilities. "There was a feeling that they were bad babies," she told the New York Times. "There was a strong eugenics mentality that exhibited disdain, discomfort, and ignorance toward disabled babies."

That mentality is what drives the acceptance by PPFA of "search and destroy" abortions, in which amniocentesis is used to target unborn children who have disabilities. If you are an unborn baby near a Planned Parenthood clinic, any disability could be life-threatening.

That brings us back to where we began, to abortion. In 2002, PPFA performed 227,385 abortions, an increase of about 7% over 2001, during a time in which the total number of abortions in America decreased steadily. Planned Parenthood is the most successful abortion franchise in the country. A conservative estimate of the amount of revenue generated by these abortions would total over $79 million.

Pro-Lifers Say, "No Thanks"

So can pro-lifers fight such a behemoth? Yes, fortunately, through a lot of hard work. The Target department-store chain recently pledged to stop funding PPFA, in part because of pressure put on it by pro-life shareholders. City councils have often been successful in zoning out PPFA's clinics. States have passed laws to defund the organization and fought important political battles in this regard. Recently in Austin, Texas, PPFA could not find a contractor to build its new clinic, because a pro-life contractor organized a boycott.

Whatever weapon is used against Planned Parenthood, pro-lifers must not grow tired or discouraged. For we must be very clear in understanding this: we stand in the breach. The unborn, the disabled, the poor - - all depend on us for our action.

Angela Franks's book, Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility, will be published by McFarland in the fall. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tribute to the Victims and Heroes of 9/11


From the USCCB site (click here to go to the site):

9/11: The Catholic Church Remembers

911. For years, those numbers simply meant a call for help. Now they also remind us of September 11, 2001, the date of the worst terrorist attack on the United States of America and one of the deadliest days ever on American soil. To mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in 2011, we gathered reflections and remembrances from clergy who ministered to victims and their families, and others who were impacted by the tragedy.

In October 2001, the United States Congress passed a joint resolution designating that every September 11th be observed as "Patriot Day." The resolution requests that U.S. government entities and interested organizations and individuals display the flag of the United States at halfstaff on Patriot Day and that the people of the United States observe a moment of silence in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
We have available updated liturgical resources for the current year's observance of Patriot Day and links to bishops' statements and other materials for reading and reflection.

In 2009, a presidential proclamation declared that Patriot Day is also a "National Day of Service." The proclamation calls on Americans to "participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with other ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services ... to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

“Spare him, because he loved us!"

‘When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as (Archbishop) Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him, because he loved us!”’

- Rep. Henry Hyde

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Homily - "Expect to be WOWed by God"

Last week, a GW student posted the following message on Facebook: “Something that actually made me proud of GW: a student wearing a green GW Catholics shirt went out of his way to buy a meal for a homeless woman and her baby outside of Ivory instead of giving her money.  Just wanted to say you’re awesome :)”.  Wow!  How cool is that.  That’s what we try to do…not to be recognized or thanked…just try to do the right thing.  We try to present “religion that is pure and undefiled” as St. James writes in today’s second reading.  It sounds as if the young woman had an experience of religion that is pure and undefiled; she didn’t have to mention that the student was wearing a GW Catholics shirt.  We try to give people an experience with the Catholic religion that is pure…maybe it is new for them.  We try to present our religion in its purest form. The way we do that is to present Christ.  It was really Christ who the student saw helping the woman and her baby. 

We had our Opening BBQ today.  Hundreds of students came out for Chipotle burritos that are pure and, I mean, religion that is pure and undefiled.  We do a lot of fun events, again to present the Catholic religion in ways that people haven’t seen.  We try to meet students where they are…we often meet at free food!  The BBQ is not just about free food, it’s about inviting people to know Christ.  Two of our leaders on our Eboard stumbled upon our BBQ the past two years.  They didn’t know we were even here when they saw people walking through campus with Chipotle burritos.  ‘Where’d you get those?’, they asked.  ‘Newman Center’ was the response.  They came to us and, the next thing we know, they have become very active in our community.  Now, they are presenting Christ to other students.  Wow!  Expect to be WOWed by God this year.

God has WOWed us with other events like our freshmen retreat.  We will go white-water rafting in a couple weeks in a beautiful part of western Maryland.  The whole weekend will be $20.  Wow.  It is an amazing weekend; those who go make friends for four years.  Two freshmen who went on last year’s retreat are now officers on our Eboard and are totally on fire for Christ.  Wow! 

So, the invitation is to welcome Christ.  St James writes to “humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls”.  Christ is the word.  Humbly welcome Christ!  Put in these terms, students are very open.  Of course, we welcome Christ!  And, then, you hear this Gospel and the challenge begins.  I have been asked by many, many young people over the years about sex.  Imagine that…! They ask why it is wrong outside of marriage.  Well, I wrote a pamphlet on it over the summer; it is in the Newman Center library.  It’s called, “Why is sex before marriage wrong?...short answer, because Jesus says so”.  He just said so in today’s Gospel (Mark 7:21).  He lists unchastity – some translations say ‘fornication’ – as one of the evils that come from within…right there with murder, theft, and adultery.  So, Jesus says that sex outside of marriage is wrong. 

Many young people will say that our religion is only about rules and regulations…you can’t do this, you can’t do that.  True, seven of the ten commandments are negative.  But, God is like a parent who tells their child not to touch a hot stove because it might hurt them.  God tells us not to touch sin because it can hurt us.  As the first reading says, there is wisdom in living the commandments.  Even still, let’s go to the positive.  We have another pamphlet in our library called, “Theology of the Body”.  It basically gives the positive and beautiful meaning of our sexuality.  Sex is beautiful and good.  It is sacred.  We can worship God through our bodies…through our sexuality.  The theology of the body has changed the lives of tons of young people.  We will offer classes on it this semester.   It’s about more than sexuality…it’s about humanity.  It’s about what it means to be human.  It’s also about freedom.  Living sexuality as God intends brings great freedom.  We are such slaves to our sexual desires.  Your desires get bombarded  from all sides on a college campus.  Theology of the body helped you to say, ‘I don’t have to follow every sexual urge or desire that I have’.  Wow! There is great freedom in that!  There is great freedom in living sexuality as we’re supposed to…there is great freedom in living the lives that we’re supposed to.  The way we live that life is Christ.  The way that we live pure and undefiled is Christ. Freedom means to live in Christ, not in the world.  It means to live the life you really want to live and to be truly you, not someone that the world says you should be.

Finally, when it comes to humbly welcoming Christ in the Eucharist, we need to be pure in order to receive.  We need to be in a state of grace to received Holy Communion.  If we have stepped into any of the serious sins that Jesus lists in the Gospel – which I have done - or any other mortal sins, we need to go to Confession before receiving Communion.  I ask you to have great respect for the Eucharist.  This is one of the things that GW Catholics have been so good at humbly receiving the word – that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and that we need to be in a state of grace to receive.   Wow! Forget about what people on your right or left in the pews are thinking; worry about what He thinks.  When we live in a state of grace, we are living in Christ and Christ is living in us.  This is how we live pure and undefiled.  “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person”.  Living Christ is the way to purity and freedom.  This is our goal for this year…to “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.”

Monday, September 03, 2012

GW Catholics Opening BBQ (video)