Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to help hurricane recovery

Tuesday Mass and dinner  is on at Newman tonight!  Mass starts at 5:30, dinner by Chick Fil A at 6, and discussion with Fr Bill Byrne (one of our favs) at 6:45.  See you tonight!

I have offered yesterday's and today's Masses at Newman for the victims of Hurricane Sandy which now include people from the United States.  Please continue to pray for them and their families.  The following article on how to help rcovery efforts comes from Yahoo! News.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery: How to Help

Unfortunately, the predictions were right: Hurricane-turned-tropical-storm Sandy proved to be catastrophic for the northeastern United States. After a night of wild winds, massive flooding, and deadly tree damage, residents across a wide swath of the country woke up to devastation this morning.

Eleven states have been affected— Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia. Millions are without power. Homes have been destroyed by electrical fires. Flood waters are still gurgling in living rooms and front lawns…
These organizations are on the frontlines of helping those most affected by the storm, and they all have ways that you can support their efforts:

American Red Cross, one of the nation’s leading disaster relief organizations. So far, they've opened 112 overnight shelters in 9 states, secured more than 230,000 shelf-stable meals, and deployed more than 1,300 trained Red Cross workers to areas affected by the storm. Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10,  and follow the latest updates on Twitter @redcross.

ASPCA is helping pet owners keep their companions safe during and after the storm. Donate here or use the hashtag #SandyPets on Twitter to get updates about emergency needs to help animals in the aftermath.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest disaster hunger relief organization, is mobilizing to provide food and water to those impacted by the storm. Donate here to support its efforts to provide immediate meals.

AmeriCares provides emergency medical relief in disaster areas at home and abroad. It was already at work in Haiti helping Sandy survivors there before the storm made landfall in the U.S. Donate here.

FEMA is the government's Federal Emergency Management Association. Some presidential candidates have quipped that FEMA should be shut down, but the 2012 election is still about a week away. We still have time to enlist with FEMA here; unlike when Katrina hit, the agency is now in the business of marshalling resources to where they will do the most good.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Incredible pro-life video


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Forty cents"

This post was written by Stephanie Caluag, a senior GW Catholic; it is one of eight qualifying posts that is apart of the SEEK 2013 Blog Contest, sponsored by the Order of Malta Federal Association. Public voting is open now through October 26 to determine the top three winners. Winners will be announced on October 30. Click here to vote.

Beautifully written, Stephanie!  Thank you for entering this in the contest.

“Anybody got forty cents?”

It was crowded in the downtown D.C. metro station. Men in suits and women in boots bumped and rushed and squeezed onto the platform. Seven minutes until the next blue train. I joined in the sprawl, with my intern badge and business wear, I fit right in.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents?”

My iPhone buzzed, reminding me that it is 3 o’clock. You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls… I had loved Divine Mercy since my freshman year of high school, when my grandmother gave me a St. Maria Faustina message and devotion prayer book. It was small, with faded pages that I flipped through fervently every night. I was amazed by the words of this little nun, humble and meek, who said Jesus loves and forgives even the greatest sinner. How great is His gift for us.

Six minutes until the blue train. More people streamed in down the escalators. A man with a cane hobbled near the entrance, talking to everyone and no one. A makeshift cast made of duct tape and wood caged his left leg, and his clothes were not enough for almost winter. I continued murmuring my Chaplet. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside,” said the man to everyone and no one. The voice was getting louder; he was getting closer. I opened my wallet and pulled out my only dollar.
Have mercy on us and on the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…

Jesus promised at this hour, the hour He died, He would deny nothing to a sinner. I began to weep inside for this man being denied forty cents, over and over again. I made my way through the crowd of souls to the one being ignored, and handed him my dollar.

“Thank you,” he said with a toothless grin, then continued his call. “Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside.”

Five minutes until the blue train. Where was I? Oh yes. Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood…

The man began making his way through the crowd, which parted gracefully like the Red Sea. The image of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, clothes and tree branches on the ground flashed across my mind. Isn’t this how we enter heaven – small and broken, nothing on our backs?

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside, too cold.” The voice was getting louder in my head, and I wished someone would give him something, anything. I remembered I had half a turkey sandwich in my bag, uneaten from lunch. I weaved my way through the gaps in the crowd he had made. I tapped his shoulder, and he turned around and smiled. “Thanks again, young lady.” People turned and stared. Three minutes until the blue train.

“Are you hungry?” I asked, desperate to give him my sandwich, and anything else he asked for, anything that he needed. I had never felt such love for a homeless man. “Are you hungry? Because I have a sandwich if you want it.”

“Aw no thank you. I can’t eat that. Got no teeth, see,” he pulled his lips down to show his gums. And my heart broke, that the least of us should have nothing, not even teeth.

Know that whatever good you do to any soul, I accept it as if you had done to Me, said Jesus to St. Faustina. The words rang through my soul.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.” The pleading continued.
Jesus, You are in the lost and the hopeless. You are the widow. You are the orphan. You are the homeless sleeping in the streets. Here I am, with a roof over my head and more than enough blankets in the winter. I don’t know what I have to offer, but I offer it to You.

One minute until the blue train. A man still asking, no one giving.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.”

Jesus, who carried His cross for me, Jesus who was crucified for me, teach me to live as You died, full of selflessness and love. I can’t possibly return what You gave up for me, so I’ll give it to this man, and to the lost, the hopeless, the widow, the orphan.

The train doors opened. Suits came in and suits came out. One lonely soul stayed on the platform, standing crookedly upon his cane.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us all.

The doors closed, but still I heard his words through the cracks, and even after, even now.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good. I believe it.”

I believe it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homily - "SEEK the throne of grace"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.  Thanks to Michael Russo, homilies are now on iTunes!

Friday, October 19, 2012


On Friday, October 5, 2012, James Zwolenik, age 79, died peacefully at his residence in Washington, DC. He is survived by his brother Edward and by his cousins Robert, Edissa, Clare, Bernadette and Christine.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Zwolenik graduated from Case Western Reserve, earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University. He worked at the Chevron research laboratories before beginning a long career with the National Science Foundation. In his last position, he was the Assistant Inspector General for Oversight. He was very active in the Washington, DC chapter of the American Chemical Society and was also elected to the Cosmos Club.
For more than 40 years, he remained an active parishioner at St. Stephen Martyr RC Church, where he dedicated his time to the liturgy, to students at George Washington University through the Knights of Columbus, and to numerous charitable works of the parish. He will be deeply missed by his many friends in the DC Metro area. A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, October 19 at noon at St. Stephen's Church, 2436 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the George Washington University Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"On Humility" by Joe McHenry

One of our juniors, Joe McHenry, is abroad in Costa Rico for the semester.  Many of our GW Catholic juniors are abroad; we miss them all terribly! But, we are very happy for them and the rich experiences they are enjoying.  Joe is keeping a travel blog.  Please click here to view. Here is a recent post of his on humility which reveals a deep desire for this beautiful and necessary virtue in the Christian life.  I was just preaching on humility yesterday!  Thanks, Joe.

On Humility

This week, I began reading a biography of Saint Dominic, a 13th century Spanish priest and the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known simply as Dominicans. I have had the opportunity in Washington to spend some time with the Dominicans at their priory and was left impressed by the level of both their intellectual and spiritual fervor. St. Dominic founded the order with the idea that the friars would be men of study, and that they would utilize that knowledge to preach the Gospel for the salvation of souls. St. Dominic lived during a time when heresies threatened the Church, and his order of preachers sought to defend the Church as the true institution founded by Christ. Now, some 800 years later, the Dominican mission is no less necessary in light of our morally relative and increasingly atheistic culture; a culture that no longer wishes only to reject God, but one that seeks to
altogether eliminate religion from society.

One thing I learned while reading about St. Dominic's life he left virtually no written record. This surprised me, given that many Dominicans, such as Saint Thomas Aquinas, have been prodigious authors. As I continued reading, however, St. Dominic's lack of written works made more sense when viewed in the context of his humble life. He lived, like John the Baptist, that he might decrease in stature so that Christ would increase. This detachment from self was evident to those who knew him, and through their testimony we can learn a great deal regarding the benefits of a humble life. It is said that St. Dominic only spoke either to God or about God. He passed up higher offices within the Church, and only at the urging of his brethren did he accept the position of Master of the order he himself had founded. He viewed himself as dependent and possessed full confidence in his fellow friars, so much so that when he died he asked to be buried below their feet. Though he was a supremely holy man, he was also wholly available to all, regardless of their rank or station in life. He lived with insatiable joy, yet never forgot the severity of his mandate: to save souls for eternal communion with God.

He lived in the world in such a way that his presence was known only through the good works God wrought through him. Surely, he would view it as a success that today he is not as well known as other saints, such as his contemporary Francis of Assisi. A description in the biography says:
Scarcely one ray falls on Dominic's cappa, yet so pure and holy is he that this little light is in itself a brilliant witness. The light is hidden because the man of God is far from the noise and blood of the battle; because, faithful to his mission, he opens his mouth only to bless, his heart to pray, and his hand to work for love; and because virtue, when it stands alone, is lit only by the light of God.
Many of us do virtuous deeds. But the truly humble person does them for God alone. Even when we act to relieve someone's suffering or hunger, we are doing so for the Lord, whether or not we are cognizant of it. The truly humble person does not shy away from warranted acclaim by pretending their deeds or contributions are not valuable. Rather, a person filled with humility flees from accolades by always acknowledging that God is the giver of all talents and abilities. How foolish it is to accept recognition for things for which I was created to achieve. We see this more clearly if we consider nature. Nobody congratulates the Sun on its rising or its setting. Never will you hear someone applaud a tree on its growth. All rational humans, even if they deny God, have a general sense that these things are natural actions. So too are our commendable actions natural, in that they are the actions for which God created us. Our thanks, therefore, should go to the Creator.

It is by pride that we set ourselves up for great falls. In humility, however, we can shield ourselves in the immensity of God. A humble person need not promote themselves because they are sufficiently satisfied in being pleasing to the eyes of God. Saint Dominic's example is one in which I try to imitate daily but fail at hourly. One of my evening prayers, which I took from a longer litany of humility, is a good one to reflect on:
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire that others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homily - "A Whole New Way of Life"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily by Fr. Jim Stack, the celebrant of our Healing Mass.  Homilies will now be available in iTunes!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A student's thoughts on the rosary

Some Thoughts on the Rosary (by Jacob Vanderploeg, junior)

                Hey everyone! So as some of you might remember, I mentioned the Confraternity of the Rosary before the discussion after last week’s Tuesday night dinner.

                What I want to do in this blog post is to explain a little more about why I pray the Rosary every week according to the rule of the Confraternity; being disciplined enough to pray 15 decades a week is tough for many people, me included.

                In 1925, the Blessed Mother appeared to Lucia Santos in Fatima, Portugal (different from the apparition in 1917). She said to Lucia, among other things:

                “Say to all who, for 5 months, on the first Saturdays, Confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, and keep Me company (emphasis mine) for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”

                This is part of the larger idea of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but for the purpose of this blog post I’m just going to zero in on the “keep me company” part.

                 I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’ve pray the Rosary there’s always this peace that comes over me. To the point where I’ve fallen asleep a few times while praying, actually. I couldn’t figure out why I always felt like this while praying the Rosary until I read about Fatima a few weeks ago. When you pray the Rosary, the Blessed Mother is sitting right there with you – she said so herself.

It also finally dawned on me that the word “hail” (as in “Hail Mary, full of grace) is a greeting. (Another example: “hail, Caesar!”) So it’s like saying hello to someone today, just in a more formal way. It follows, then, that when you say “hail Mary”, you’re saying hello to her. And if you’ve had an experience while praying the Rosary such as the one I’ve just mentioned, you know that she doesn’t ignore you. She interacts with you in a very profound way.

This realization gave me (what struck me as) a slightly radical idea – what if I prayed the Rosary with no special intention or request? That is, spend time with the Blessed Mother with no ulterior motive, expecting to gain absolutely nothing.

So I tried it.

Before I talk about what happened, though, I need to set the stage. In mid-September of this year, I was having a hard time keeping the discipline to pray 15 decades of the Rosary every week as required by the Rosary Confraternity, so I had to give myself some extra incentive. The day before I read about the vision at Fatima I talked about above, I decided to pray a 54 Day Miraculous Novena for a major special request. The promise of having that request granted would help me to discipline myself to pray the Rosary every day.

And the results were amazing. I expected to gain absolutely nothing, but had a request that I had made for the 54 Day Miraculous Novena granted not on the 27th day of the Novena as is usually the case, but on the SECOND day. And not to get too personal, but the graces I’ve received have been increasing every day, seeming to be building to something huge for the 27th day…I can’t wait to see what happens!

Rosary Confraternity signup link: click here




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Read the Catechism in a Year (of Faith)

Read the Catechism in a Year

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here's an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email address and - starting October 11, 2012 - you'll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you'll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?

Click here to sign up!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Homily - "A Vote for all Eternity"

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.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

GW Catholic shout-out at the Red Mass

Cardinal Wuerl told us at Mass the other night that he gave a shout-out to GW Catholics at the end of the Red Mass Sunday morning. He said that he was coming to see us that night and used us as an example of living the New Evangelization. As you see in the article below, the Red Mass is kind of a big deal. Thanks, Your Eminence!

6 US Supreme Court Justices Among Those Present at Annual Red Mass

Archbishop Broglio Calls on Those in Legal Profession to be 'Instruments of the New Evangelization'

By Junno Arocho

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 2, 2012 ( On Sunday, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services in the United States delivered the homily at a Red Mass in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, presided over the celebration.
The Mass is celebrated annually for attorneys, law school professors and students, government officials and judges. Among the participants of the Mass were six U.S. Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice John Roberts; Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Also present at the Mass were U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and several Congressmen and high-ranking government officials.

Archbishop Broglio called on the congregants to be open to the spirit of God and strive to be instruments of a new evangelization. Citing the passage from the first reading from the Book of Numbers, which recounted the election of seventy elders to guide the people of Israel, the archbishop explained that the divine gift to govern was not "limited by place, but attached to the person."
"The sovereign liberty of God determines how He will act and that obliges the believer of all times to question the temptation to close God within the narrow spaces of a justice which assigns itself the task of protecting the presumed rights of God while trampling upon those of his or her brothers and sisters," he said.

The archbishop also invoked God's blessing on those working in the legal and judiciary profession, while calling on them to seek justice in their work. "For that reason we are here primarily to pray with you and for you as you execute the daunting task assigned to you at various levels. We beg a blessing for all of you and for all of those who assist you in this important ministry. We invoke the only Just One so that He might inspire all that you do," he said.

Justice and the New Evangelization
Archbishop Broglio called on those present to be instruments of the new evangelization, saying that the faith held in one's heart must motivate their everyday words, commitments, and decisions. The prelate made specific reference to St. Thomas More who, in the year 2000, was declared by Pope John Paul II as the patron saint of statesmen and politicians.

"St. Thomas More said that he died the good servant of the King, but the faithful servant of God first," Archbishop Broglio said. "We, too, are faithful citizens only when we embrace the fullness of the principles of our faith and allow them to enliven and fortify our contributions to the life of the Nation."

Concluding his homily, the Archbishop of Military services quoted Pope Benedict XVI's message to the bishops of that region during their Ad Limina visit earlier this year, reminding them that nature of reality and moral good are in the heart of every culture.

"In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God." (Benedict XVI, Address to Bishops of Region IV, 19.I.12.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cardinal Wuerl's Homily at GW

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