Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anti-Christian violence flares in India at Christmas

The article:

Bangalore, Dec. 26, 2007 ( - Three Christians were killed, and 18 churches destroyed, in a coordinated series of Christmas attacks by Hindu zealots in Indias eastern Orissa state.

Beginning on Christmas Eve and continuing through Christmas Day, Hindu mobs carried out at least 20 assaults on Christian institutions in Orissa. The wave of violence led to the destruction of 18 churches and village chapels, 4 convents, 8 hostels run by Church groups, and 15 shops belonging to Christian vendors.

The attacks began in the Kandhmahal district of Orissa, when Hindu militants began pulling down Christmas decorations that were displayed on homes and church buildings. Gun-wielding assailants then interrupted Christmas Eve services in a few churches. As the mobs surged, law-enforcement officials in four towns urged pastors not to go near their churches on Christmas Day, since police could not provide adequate security.

The Catholic bishops of India issued a statement decrying the "well-planned attacks," suggesting that they pointed toward "a planned effort to disturb communal peace." The violence, the Indian bishosp said, "completely shocked us, and we are deeply pained at a time when we are celebrating the peace and harmony of Christmas."


Monday, December 17, 2007

Angry Muslims attack shops owned by Christians amid sectarian tensions in Egypt

CAIRO, Egypt - Angry Muslims attacked and destroyed shops owned by Coptic Christians today in southern Egypt.

A police official says the attackers hurled stones and set fire to several shops, smashed windows of a church and damaged two cars in the early morning hours.

Police detained 15 people suspected of taking part in the attacks in the town of Isna, located about 560 kilometres south of Cairo.

The riots followed reports that two Coptic Christians pulled down the veil of a Muslim woman in a car park on Saturday evening.

Muslim-Coptic tensions are commonplace in southern Egypt, mostly over land or church construction disputes.

Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 per cent of Egypt's 76
.5 million people and generally live in peace with the Muslim majority.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Why is Christmas when it is?

Alot of people argue that Christmas is when it is because the date is close to a Pagan holy day. This however is not really correct. Yes there is some borrowing, but there are strong studies to show that December 25 was chosen for much more important reasons.

Christians celebrated 25 March as the Feast of the Annunciation, a commemoration which continues today. Since 25 December falls exactly nine months after the Annunciation, it seemed the most natural day on which to celebrate Jesus' birth. And teh date for the Annunciation was set first.

There may even be a strong basis for 25 December as the actual, historical date of Christ's nativity.

In a recent issue of "Osservatore Romano" (the Vatican's official newspaper), Professor Tommaso Federici, Professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University and consultant to two Vatican Congregations, says that recent archaological discoveries in the Holy Land shed light on when Jesus was born:

"As long ago as 1958, the Israeli scholar Shemaryahu Talmon published an in-depth study on the calendar of the Qumran sect, and he reconstructed without the shadow of doubt the order of the sacerdotal rota system for the temple of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24, 7-18) in New Testament times.

Here the family of Abijah, of which Zechariah was a descendant, father of John the herald and forerunner (Luke 1,5) was required to officiate twice a year, on the days 8-14 of the third month, and on the days 24-30 of the eighth month.

This latter period fell at about the end of September. It is not without reason that the Byzantine calendar celebrated 'John's conception' on September 23 and his birth nine months later, on June 24.

The 'six months' after the Annunciation established as a liturgical feast on March 25, comes three months before the forerunner's birth, prelude to the nine months in December: December 25 is a date of history"

Even the common argument that shepherds would not have been in the fields in December is inaccurate. That is the time of the year when sheep naturally begin giving birth ("lambing"), and the shepherds would typically stay with the sheep at night to take care of the newborn lambs. In fact, the lambing season would have been the only time of the year in which the shepherds would have stayed with the flocks during the night (see Luke 2:8).

So from what we know we would know when Zechariah was in the temple when he was told about John. We also know from the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and where they were in gestation where to place the rest of the dates.

This information seems to confirm that Jesus could well have been born on or near 25 December, perhaps even 6 January (considering the many possible normal fluctuations of gestational periods as human gestation is actually 10 months but varies). So either of these traditional dates may be - or at least come very close to - Jesus' real birthday!

The fact that December 25 happens to fall four days after the Winter Solstice is a coincidence of history (and the Eastern Christmas is sixteen days removed from the solstice, so it's harder to see a connection there).

Back to the Annunciation being set as a date first. Why do we celebrate the Annunciation on March 25 (aside from what Professor Federici has shown as common ancient knowledge about the birth of John)? Because the ancient Jews believed in something called Integral Lifespan. This is the belief that holy people die on the same day their life began. We know what date passover was the year Christ died, it comes out to March 25. Since life begins at conception, his life began (according to ancient logic) on March 25.

In the Didache, the recorded writings of the 12 apostles from the first century, it is clear that it was always believed by Christians that life begins at conception.

Now, I'm not saying that the integral lifespan theology is correct, but it was the basis for when to set the date. And yes traditions and such did develop from some pagan ways.

But look at the above...where three or four lines of thought and ancient proofs indicate that we actually have the right day. And it has nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We are a People of Hope

Pope Benedict's newest Encyclical letter (New Encyclical: For in this hope we were saved (Spe salvi facti sumus)), the second of his pontificate, explore the virtue of Hope. It is, in many ways, well timed for advent and the current state of our world. As I read through it I was continually struck with the realization as to how much hope is at the very heart of Christian living.

The pope writes:

Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only “good news”—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only “informative” but “performative”. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.

Hope is the very heart of our faith. We are an Easter people. And what is being described above, if not the triumph over death and sin that is the hope of Easter. But we are also an Advent people…waiting and expecting the joy of Christmas. The arrival of the Savior.

But what the Pope writes about goes beyond that…he writes of an active hope. A hope that is, as he says, “performative”. In reality it is transformative…transfiguring. He says:

We have raised the question: can our encounter with the God who in Christ has shown us his face and opened his heart be for us too not just “informative” but “performative”—that is to say, can it change our lives, so that we know we are redeemed through the hope that it expresses?

But this hope…this living, performative, transformative and transfiguring hope is known by a name…a person. Drawing on St. Gregory Nazianzan the pope writes:

He says that at the very moment when the Magi, guided by the star, adored Christ the new king, astrology came to an end, because the stars were now moving in the orbit determined by Christ.2 This scene, in fact, overturns the world-view of that time, which in a different way has become fashionable once again today. It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love—a Person. And if we know this Person and he knows us, then truly the inexorable power of material elements no longer has the last word; we are not slaves of the universe and of its laws, we are free.

A person. As faith is an encounter with a Person. Christ. God. A Person who loves us beyond all human understanding. The cause of our Hope.

There is much more to the Pope’s new Encyclical and I have not finished it yet. But as we move toward Christmas and now into Advent…It is good to remember that we are:

An Easter People
An Advent People
A people of Hope

May we prepare our hearts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

I have not been reliable in blogging for a bit. I have spent some time moderating a Christian message board. I am now moderating a smaller one and will have more time. So after Christmas (hopefully through December) I will be blogging at least twice a week.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shadia Nagui Ibrahim:

A summation of the story:

An Egyptian Christian woman has been jailed for three years because her father's brief conversion to Islam 45 years ago made her legally a Muslim while her official papers said she was Christian, her lawyer said Thursday.

The story is here at The Free Copts: link

Another source article: link

I hope to write more on this later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Egypt Arrests Three Christian Rights Activists

The Story: Link

A quote from the article:

The U.S. Copts Association said the recent arrest was likely caused by the men’s investigation into reports that a Coptic worker in Cairo was thrown from his balcony by two Egyptian police after he refused to pay them extortion money, according to WorldNetDaily.

The association’s report said soon after the Coptic worker’s fall, the Egyptian police had reported the death as suicide.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pope to make first visit to the United States

The Story is here (link)

Kind of odd to write that in a way. John Paul II traveled so very much that to think of this as the fist Papal visit is a bit odd. I'm looking forward to what he will say at the United Nations. I'm sure his visit to ground zero will be handled with dignity and will leave a lasting impression on more than a few American Catholics.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

50 arrested in clash in Minya province

The Story:

Cairo (AP) -- Police arrested some 50 people Friday following a clash between Muslims and Coptic Christians triggered by a land dispute, security officials said.

Some 20 people were wounded during the clash in Minya province, some 210 Kilometers (130 miles) south of Cairo, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The clashes began after Friday prayers when Muslim villagers in Izbat el-Abid protested against the extension of a monastery in a nearby village, claiming the construction was on state property, the officials said.

Police had to ask for reinforcements from throughout Minya to control the clash, the officials added.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

US House foreign affairs committee passes resolution calling Armenian Genocide exactly what it is...genocide.

The US House foreign affairs committee has made a potentially historic move (Article).

They have passed a resolution that calls the Armenian Genocide exactly what it was. It is honest and direct.

Yes, it has severe ramifications for our relations with Turkey. But it is the right thing to do.

I urge people to write their reps and ask them to support this resolution when it reaches the full floor of the House. This is about doing what is right without backing down. As said in the article:

"We've been told the timing is bad," Democratic House member Gary Ackerman said in an emotional hearing that lasted nearly four hours. "But the timing was bad for the Armenian people in 1915."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Help save Onsy Zachary

The story is here in detail. Please read and sign the petition. (link)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Egypt in uproar over Christian convert case

The story (link)

Some notable excerpts, His first lawyer resigned from the case:

His first lawyer – Mamdouh Nakhla, director of the Al Kalema Center for Human Rights – withdrew from the case Tuesday after claiming his decision was base on “national unity” and alleging that Hegazy did not give him the documents that proved Egyptian authorities rejected his application.

“If you add the state of alert in Egyptian society, and to protect the feelings of our Muslim brothers, and to protect our national unity…we decided to abandon this case,” said Nakhla, according to Reuters. However, some reports have claimed that the lawyer was threatened by Egypt’s security police who said he would be killed if he continued the case. During a press conference at Nakhla’s office, one of the staff members at Al Kalema Center reportedly shouted, “He is being threatened, he is doing this under pressure,” according to Compass Direct News.

And the second is now in custody:

Furthermore, the Christian convert’s new lawyer – Dr. Adel Fawzy Faltas, president of the Middle East Christian Association (MECA) in Egypt – is said to be detained by the Egyptian police after holding a high-profile online chat with Hegazy, according to Compass.

Faltas, 61, was arrested from his Cairo home Wednesday afternoon. His home was reportedly raided Thursday by officials who confiscated two laptops and a desktop computer.

"They cut up the mattresses, tore everything up and took all the books as well," said Nader Fawzy, head of the Canada-based MECA, who has close contact with various leaders of MECA’s Egyptian branch, according to Compass.

Fawzy said that Faltas had been blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back when he was arrested.

The rest of the members of the Christian rights group is said to be in hiding. A third lawyer, Ramses Raouf el-Nagar, has now taken up Hegazy’s case.

And the family:

The case has garnered national attention with some Egyptian newspapers giving it front page coverage, according to Reuters.

When asked why he has chosen to fight for legal Christian status, Hegazy explained that his wife was four months pregnant and he wanted his son to be raised openly as a Christian.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Egyptian police arrest two Christian activists

The story (link)

Christian Convert Sues Egypt Over Legal Status

A link

This is a monumental case.

An excerpt:

A former Muslim has sued Egypt for refusing to recognize him legally as a Christian in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in Egypt.

Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, 25, filed the lawsuit against Egypt’s interior ministry last Thursday for rejecting his application to replace Islam with Christianity on his identification papers, according to Compass Direct News.

Hegazy, a journalist and political activist, had said in his petition that he believes that love and peace are the purposes of religion and that he found that in Christianity, according to Reuters.

Although Hegazy converted at age 16 to Christianity, he never sought to change his status legally because of all the obstacles. Hegazy said he wanted to be officially recognized as a Christian now so that his expectant child can be born and raised openly as a Christian.

“My wife is pregnant. I want my son to be born within my own religion and for the fact that he is Christian to be written on official papers,” said Hegazy, according to Agence France-Presse.

In Egypt and in many Middle Eastern countries, the parents’ legal religious status determines their children’s official religion on their identification papers.

His wife Zeinab is four months pregnant, according to Compass. The couple were forced to have an Islamic wedding because they are both legally Muslims. If they’re religious status is officially changed to Christianity then their child will be able to enroll in Christian religious classes at school, marry in a church, and attend church services openly.

And what has been the response?

His legal action has sparked anger among the country’s Muslims who have retaliated by filing a lawsuit and delivering death threats against his lawyer.

Why is this so important:

“This is the first such case in the history of Egyptian justice,” said Mamduh Nakhla, the director of Al-Kalima Center, a Coptic Christian rights group, according to AFP.

Other Egyptian Muslims are said to have converted to Christianity quietly but there has not been known of a case of someone seeking official recognition, according to Reuters.

I'll write more on this later.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Don't agree with him on everything. But way to go Duncan Hunter

Hunter Sponsored Two Illegal Immigrants

Snippet of article:

According to the paper, Hunter sponsored Fouad Yousef Hakim Mansour and Saheir Gamil Shaker Mansour, Coptic Christians who fled religious persecution in Egypt. They lived illegally in the United States for a decade before applying unsuccessfully for asylum.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Offical Announcment to all news media

This is a repost of something over at Neferteeti's blog:

The American Coptic Association, the International Christian Union, and other National and International Human Rights Organizations in and outside of the United States will hold Solidarity Rally on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 in front of the United Nation building between 44th and 45th street in New York City between 12: 00 Noon until 2:00 PM.

The purpose of the rally is to protest the bloodshed, murder and destruction of the property,
recently incurred by the Christian Community in Egypt. Although this has been happening for
many years, these attacks have been intensifying and more frequent. The criminal perpetrators
are using swords to kill, and the government of Egypt looks the other way. This appears to be
a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Copts (Christians of Egypt) carried out
by fanatical Muslims and blessed by Mubarak's government!!

Copts are the largest minority in the world without rights! A stable Egypt is very important in
that part of the world. The atrocities facing the Copts exemplify the intolerance by the Mubarak regime towards non-Muslim minorities. It is therefore the duty of every freedom loving person to speak out in defense of the persecuted Coptic community, particularly since the Copts in Egypt are unable to defend themselves or speak out.

Your coverage of this rally is crucial in order to shed a light on the persecution of non-Muslim
minorities in the Middle East. Your participation and subsequent coverage of the rally would
serve as a reminder to those in the Middle East who spread intolerance, hate, persecution and
oppression, that their actions are noticed and condemned. It would support the basic Human
Rights of Middle East minorities such as the Copts and others. We believe that a free media is
the voice of the weak, voiceless, and the oppressed.

Thank you for your anticipated support. For further information please contact:

Monir A. Dawoud, MD.
President of I.C.U. (International Christian Union)
President of A.C.A. (American Coptic Association)
Fax: (201) 863 6600
Phone: (201) 863 6600 Office
(201) 424 1001 Cellular

Monday, June 18, 2007

Judge stops Khouzam deportation

The Story is here (link)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Egypt’s Copts, Muslims clash

Here is the story (link)

- Violent clashes have erupted between Muslims and Coptic Christians in the northern city of Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt, newspapers reported.

One clash was sparked by a row between a young Copt and the son of the imam of the city’s Bilal mosque which resulted in dozens of the faithful from both sides fighting outside the Church of the Holy Virgin in Al-Dekhela district.

Several people were hurt and police arrested 13 Muslims and Copts yesterday, said the independent newspaper Al-Masri Al-Yom which added that the incident underlined growing tensions in the port city and elsewhere.

Anti-riot police had sent 35 vehicles to patrol the district inhabited by members of both communities.

In another incident on Thursday, four people were taken to hospital and 35 arrested in the village of Saft Meydum, south of Cairo.

Violence erupted after a Coptic youth on a bicycle rode into a young Muslim girl whose relatives stormed into the streets heading towards the cyclist’s home intending to stone it, newspapers said.

Copts are estimated to form six to 10 percent of Egypt’s 76 million people.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A review of Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition

Faith and a man. Faith removes the shell and rough scars of life and renews us like children. Christ sums it up clearly:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-3

There is of course more theology to that verse, but the above is a good application. Is there anything else that can take an adult and just with a sight or a smell turn him back into a child in his heart? For many of us there is baseball.

I see a game.
Pick up a mitt, bat or ball.
See a kid with a baseball cap.

And I’m a child again. In my heart I can run as fast as when I was ten. I can dive across a baseball diamond. I can hit a ball a country mile.

A child does not worry about how the Trinity is one God in three divine persons; except by the power of God.

A child does not worry about how the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; except by the power of God.

And that same child brushes their teeth and dreams about hitting a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

I was that child. Millions of us were that child. Think for a moment that you are a child today.

You are ten. You are a baseball fan. You love Mike Sweeny of the Kansas City Royals. And Mike Sweeny says:

“I truly believe that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. People say, “how can you believe that?” I say, “Why Can’t you believe that?” For me as a man of God, I don’t put restrictions on the Holy Spirit.
-Mike Sweeny

What does that mean to your faith?

You are 10. You love baseball, but you hate getting up for Mass at 7:30 Sunday morning. You love the Cardinals. And Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein talk about how they make it top priority to go to mass no matter how difficult it is with all the travel.

Substitute the players from when you were a child. Who might you be today in your faith, had those words found you? Faith makes you as a child. Baseball makes you as a child. In all honesty that difference can be made in you even today.

Last night I watched a DVD called Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition. This is a DVD where some of the leading figures in Baseball talk about their Catholic faith. It shows that a real man is a man of Christ. And as someone personally devoted to St. Joseph that kind of message is very dear to my heart.

I worried at first: Is this going to be one of those hokey things? Will this be one of the many outreach efforts with tacked on Christianity? Will people be talking in ways that no one talks in real life? Will they be saying words no one says?

That answer is a huge no. It is not hokey or labored in its points. It is natural because these men are honestly and really speaking about their lives. They are sharing stories and a personal love for Christ.

Never in my life did I think that I would hear some of the major figures in Baseball talk about the Eucharist, Prayer and how Christ fills their lives.

For me this film really touched me.

In this age when people around the world suffer for the Love of Christ and many are afraid to speak His name, it is refreshing for young and old to see high profile athletes saying proudly that He is their Lord.

In this age when steroids dominate almost every baseball story it is good for people young and old to see men talking about the lift Christ brings to their life.

People who read this blog know that I don’t sell things. I’m not about that. But I can say with all my heart that if you love baseball and Christ (Catholic or not, though this is a great tool for Catholic Churches, Schools and youth groups) watch this film.

For 65 minutes you will be a child again. Your faith will be alive in your heart and you will be jumping into the ivy at Wrigley field or at the 318 foot mark in Yankee Stadium pulling a home run back in the park.

And then you have the challenge: Continue it past the 65 minutes. Show your youth group. Show your mother and father. Show your Son and Daughter. Show your wife. Be as a child and speak out loud that Christ is Lord.

I learned last night that I can always be a child again. I saw again that the Eucharist needs to be at the heart of my life and that in my heart I can still hit a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

Website for Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition (link)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rights groups oppose deportation of Coptic Christian

The Story (link)


LANCASTER, Pennsylvania -- U.S. human rights activists are opposing the proposed deportation of a Coptic Christian, alleging the man could face torture or death in his native Egypt.

While 38-year-old Sameh Khouzam initially was allowed to stay in the United States due to such fears, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office now has decided to deport him for an Egyptian homicide charge, The New York Times said Wednesday.

But while the Egyptian government has ensured the safety of the resident of Lancaster, Pa., activists are dubious regarding Khouzam's actual future in Egypt.

Those activists pointed to Khouzam's repeated allegations that he was tortured in Egypt previously and the case drew the interest of the American Civil Liberties Union.

ACLU officials are asking for a stay of Khouzam's deportation and ultimately want him released for custody. They argue deporting Khozam to Egypt for the homicide charge would be tantamount to violating the United Nations' Convention Against Torture, the Times said.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Muslim Friend's Letter to Slain Father Ragheed

I'll repost the story (link)

ROME, JUNE 6, 2007 ( Here is a translation of a letter written posthumously to Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni by a Muslim friend of his who is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Father Ragheed and three deacons were shot and killed in Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday after Mass.

* * *

In the name of the compassionate and merciful God,

Ragheed, my brother,

I ask your forgiveness for not being with you when those criminals opened fire against you and your brothers. The bullets that have gone through your pure and innocent body have also gone through my heart and soul.

You were one of the first people I met when I arrived to Rome. We met in the halls of the Angelicum and we would drink our cappuccino in the university's cafeteria. You impressed me with your innocence, joy, your pure and tender smile that never left you.

I always picture you smiling, joyful and full of zest for life. Ragheed is to me innocence personified; a wise innocence that carries in its heart the sorrows of his unhappy people. I remember the time, in the university's dining room, when Iraq was under embargo and you told me that the price of a single cappuccino would have satisfied the needs of an Iraqi family for a whole day.

You told me this as if you were feeling guilty for being far away from your persecuted people and unable to share in their sufferings …

In fact, you returned to Iraq, not only to share the suffering and destiny of your people but also to join your blood to the blood of thousands of Iraqis killed each day. I will never forget the day of your ordination [Oct. 13, 2001] in the [Pontifical] Urbanian University … with tears in your eyes, you told me: "Today, I have died to self" … a hard thing to say.

I didn't understand it right away, or maybe I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. … But today, through your martyrdom, I have understood that phrase. … You have died in your soul and body to be raised up in your beloved, in your teacher, and so that Christ would be raised up in you, despite the sufferings, sorrows, despite the chaos and madness.

In the name of what god of death have they killed you? In the name of which paganism have they crucified you? Did they truly know what they were doing?

O God, we don't ask you for revenge or retaliation. We ask you for victory, a victory of justice over falsehood, life over death, innocence over treachery, blood over the sword. … Your blood will not have been shed in vain, dear Ragheed, because with it you have blessed the soil of your country. And from heaven, your tender smile will continue to light the darkness of our nights and announce to us a better tomorrow.

I ask your forgiveness, brother, for when the living get together they think they have all the time in the world to talk, visit, and share feelings and thoughts. You had invited me to Iraq … I dreamed of that visit, of visiting your house, your parents, your office. … It never occurred to me that it would be your tomb that one day I would visit or that it would be verses from my Quran that I would recite for the repose of your soul …

One day, before your first trip to Iraq after a prolonged absence, I went with you to buy souvenirs and presents for your family. You spoke with me of your future work: "I would like to preside over the people on the base of charity before justice" -- you said.

It was difficult for me to imagine you a "canonical judge" … And today your blood and your martyrdom have spoken for you, a verdict of fidelity and patience, of hope against all suffering, of survival, in spite of death, in spite of everything.

Brother, your blood hasn't been shed in vain, and your church's altar wasn't a masquerade. … You assumed your role with deep seriousness until the end, with a smile that would never be extinguished … ever.

Your loving brother,

Adnam Mokrani
Rome, June 4, 2007
Professor of Islamic Studies in the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture,
Pontifical Gregorian University

[Original text: Arabic. Translation by ZENIT]

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Info from the attacks on May 11th.

Free Copts has a good breakdown of May 11th- May 20th (link)

Over the last four decades there have been 120 Major attacks on Copts and over 4000 killed. (link)

I will be blogging more in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Statement of Protestant Leaders against Anti-Catholic Bigotry

This did my heart good today. That all may be one. (link)

Text of statement:

As Protestant Christians and as Americans, we condemn the grotesque anti-Catholic bigotry that is now on display as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the constitutionality of the federal law prohibiting partial-birth abortion.

We denounce as particularly odious a cartoon published by the Philadelphia Inquirer depicting the five justices who formed the majority in the case wearing Catholic bishops' mitres. Scarcely less offensive were the comments of law professor, and former University of Chicago Law School Dean, Geoff Stone identifying the Catholic religious affiliation of the justices forming the majority and accusing these distinguished and honorable jurists of imposing their religion rather than faithfully interpreting the Constitution.

We believe it is our particular duty to condemn the bigotry we are now witnessing in view of the history of anti-Catholicism in our nation. It is a stain on the Protestant Christian conscience that at one time many of our people accepted the vile teachings of Paul Blanshard in his book American Freedom and Catholic Power, and supported the anti-Catholic agenda of the group founded by Blanshard and others that now styles itself "Americans United for Separation of Church and State" (formerly known as Protestants and other Americans united for Separation of Church and State).

Just as Pope John Paul II acknowledged past injustices committed by Catholics, or committed in the name of Catholicism, against Protestants, Jews, and others and pledged to work against any revival of these injustices, we acknowledge past Protestant prejudices against Catholics and pledge to fight against the anti-Catholic bigotry we are now witnessing. Our Catholic brothers and sisters will not have to wait to hear our voices forcefully raised against the bigotry now directed against them.

Because evil begets evil, we are not surprised that bigotry would emerge among those who have placed themselves in the service of the moral abomination known as partial-birth abortion. For our part, we praise any judge, statesman, or citizen—irrespective of religious affiliation—who steps forward to tell the truth about the injustice of this horrific practice, or to expose the lie that baby-killing is somehow protected by our Constitution.

We call on our fellow Protestant Christians of every denomination—including those denominations that do not share our view that the life of the child in the womb must be honored and protected by law—to join with us in condemning the new anti-Catholicism that has, in the aftermath of the partial-birth abortion decision, reared its ugly head. We hope that no Protestant Christian will bring shame on himself or herself and on the great tradition of Reformed Christianity by participating in this appalling bigotry or remaining mute in the face of it.

We also call on groups that present themselves as enemies of prejudice, including "Americans United for Separation of Church and State," to join with us in condemning the Philadelphia Inquirer cartoon and other manifestations of anti-Catholic bigotry. This is a time of testing for them. Are they selective opponents of prejudice? Do they regard anti-Catholicism as an acceptable form of bigotry? Are they content to see Catholics treated in ways that they would be the first to condemn if the victims were members of other religious traditions or minorities? By responding or failing to respond to our plea to them to join us in condemning the injustice being suffered by our Catholic fellow citizens, we will soon know whether their claim to oppose prejudice and bigotry is an honest one or mere hypocrisy.

Gary Bauer
President, American Values

Bishop Wellington Boone
Wellington Boone Ministries

Dick Bott
President, Bott Radio Network

Phil Burress
President, Citizens for Community Values

Dr. Dale Burroughs
President, Biblical Heritage Institute

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

Charles W. Colson
Founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries

David Crowe
Director, Restore America

Elizabeth Harmer Dionne
Executive Director, Legacy Law Foundation

Mark L. Earley
President, Prison Fellowship Ministries

Diane Gramley
President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Colin A. Hanna
President, Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

Cathi Herrod
President, The Center for Arizona Policy

Dr. John A. Huffman
Pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California

Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson
Pastor, Antioch Bible Church, Antioch, Washington

Phillip L. Jauregui
President, Judicial Action Group

Warren Kelley, President
Point of View Radio Ministries

Rod D. Martin, J.D.
Founder and Chairman, TheVanguard.Org

Dean Nelson
Executive Director, Network of Politically Active Christians

Dr. Frank S. Page
President, Southern Baptist Convention

Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council

Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

Ron Shuping
Exec. VP of Programming, The Inspiration Networks

John Stemberger
President & General Counsel, Florida Family Policy Council

Jim Tonkowich
President, Institute for Religion and Democracy

Rick Warren
Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California

Dr. Hayes Wicker
Pastor, First Baptist Church Naples, Naples, Florida

Donald E. Wildmon
Founder and Chairman, American Family Association

Dr. Frank Wright
President & CEO, National Religious Broadcasters

Wendy Wright
President, Concerned Women for America
Date: 5/22/2007

Police in India arrest 4,000 Christians at protest rally

The Story (link)

Friday, May 11, 2007

10 injured in religious clash in Egypt

The Story: (link)

The story is new right now, I'll try and find out more.

The Free Copts has more (link)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Copts injured in Upper Egypt

Free Copts has the story. (link)

This happened a few days ago. My news search did not pick it up. I don't know why that still surprises me.

Pray for our brothers and sisters. And remember those who have been arrested on no charge.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Relay for Life.

I have a friend who is involved in the relay for life for the American Cancer Society. Going on my fourth month without I smoke I wanted to throw in my support for this cause.

Here is the link (link).

Please keep this cause and those with Cancer in your prayers. Alot of people do alot of hard work for this cause. Let us support them in anyway we can and my the Lord bless the efforts of all the people who work so hard for great causes such as this.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Rantings of a Sandmonkey Done

I find this sad. (link)

I understand. He is in my prayers. You know, those of us who do not have persecution and these problems to face are going to have to be more active. I think, in honor of all the risks he has taken in these last few years...that is the only decent thing to do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Feast of St. Mark

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Mark today. For my Coptic brothers and sisters, as Mark and Peter were together in the Lord. May our two Churches grow closer. Even if that is a single brother and sister at a time.

May the Lord draw us closer. And may the Church of Alexandria be held in the hand of God against all who strive to harm her.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby Emilio given until May 8th

The Story (link).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Emilo Gonzales has unitl Tuesday. His appeal for life denied don Good Friday

Emilio Gonzales is facing death again at the hands of the texas futile care law. He has until April 10th (link) and (link).

In my previous posts I have contact info to voice your opposition to this (link).

Please keep this child and his mother in your prayers and do all you can.

A disturbing thing from the lifesite report:

Pro-life advocates helping the Gonzales family are troubled that doctors are not certain in their diagnosis. They believe Emilio has Leigh’s Disease, a condition that is treated primarily through vitamin therapy. But on March 12, a hospital ethics committee voted behind closed doors to end Emilio’s treatment, deeming his life “futile.”

Under Texas law, a hospital is required to wait only 10 days before discontinuing treatment, to allow for a transfer to another hospital willing to admit the patient. Due to litigation, the 10-day window in Emilio’s case was extended until April 10; however, because of hospital bureaucracy and extensive paperwork, a successful transfer to another hospital is unlikely to occur in time to save Emilio’s life.

A state probate hearing on this case is scheduled to take place at the Travis County Courthouse on Tuesday--the same day the hospital plans to cease giving Emilio his treatments.

An outside nurse reviewing Emilio’s records noticed that the hospital had removed the boy’s vitamin treatments during the initial 10-day period, bringing up concerns among some that the hospital could be rushing to end the toddler’s life to avoid discovery of malpractice in the boy’s treatment.

“People who could profit from an innocent person’s death should not get to decide when it occurs. Whatever the hospital’s motives are for pushing to end Emilio’s treatment, a child's life outweighs all other concerns--whether it’s to cut costs, or for convenience, or something else,” said Carden. “And furthermore, the twisted state law that allows hospitals to exterminate disabled children over their parents’ wishes needs to be changed.”

May we all proclaim as one: Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!

And most blessed and wonderful day to all.

No matter what our differences let us proclaim in one voice:

Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pakistani Christians Could Face Death on Blasphemy Charges

Pakistani Christians Could Face Death on Blasphemy Charges

Apr. 4, 2007 (AsiaNews) - In Pakistan, an 11-year-old boy is one of 5 Christians who could face a death penalty after being charged with blasphemy against Islam, the AsiaNews service reports.

Police in the town of Toba Tek Singh are searching for 4 Christians who were charged with showing disrespect for Mohammed: a crime punishable by death under Pakistan's draconian law. One man has already been arrested, AsiaNews reports.

A local priest says that the blasphemy charges are being used to settle a family feud. "It is a totally fabricated case," he insists. Other Christian families in the region are frightened by the prospect of arbitrary accusation and arrest.

AsiaNews Story (link)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Rosary Worldwide For Good Friday

I don't know who came up with the idea, but between noon and three on Good Friday let us all join in prayer for an end to Abortion and Christian Persecution and Terrorism. The suggested method is a Rosary. But for those readers who do not say the Rosary just join in prayer for these intentions.

Also on this unified Easter let us say a Rosary or make a special prayer intention for Christian Unity. That all may be one.

Monday, April 02, 2007

St. Francis of Paola



Nope Paola. Calabria Italy. The partron of Calabria. Some people departed that area long ago and so I am here.

Saint Francis of Paola founded the Order of Minims. He was born in 1416 in Paula in Calabria, Italy. His parents were remarkable for the holiness of their lives. Remaining childless for some years after their marriage they had recourse to prayer, especially commending themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was the eldest of three children. He suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again had recourse to Francis of Assisi, and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year in the "little habit" of St Francis in one of the convents of his order, a not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. The child was immediately cured. From his early years Francis showed signs of extraordinary sanctity, and at the age of thirteen, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a convent of the Franciscan Order in order to fulfil the vow made by his parents. Here he gave great edification by his love of prayer and mortification, his profound humility, and his prompt obedience. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paula he selected a retired spot on his father's estate, and there lived in solitude; but later on he found a more retired dwelling in a cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years giving himself to prayer and mortification.

In 1435 two companions joined him in his retreat, and to accommodate them Francis caused three cells and a chapel to be built: in this way the new order was begun. The number of his disciples gradually increased, and about 1454, with the permission of Pyrrhus, Archbishop of Cosenza, Francis built a large monastery and church. The building of this monastery was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm and devotion on the part of the people towards Francis: even the nobles carried stones and joined in the work. Their devotion was increased by the many miracles which the saint wrought in answer to their prayers. The rule of life adopted by Francis and his religious was one of extraordinary severity.

They observed perpetual abstinence and lived in great poverty, but the distinguishing mark of the order was humility. They were to seek to live unknown and hidden from the world. To express this character which he would have his disciples cultivate, Francis eventually obtained from the Holy See that they should be styled Minims, the least of all religious. In 1474 Sixtus IV gave him permission to write a rule for his community, and to assume the title of Hermits of St. Francis: this rule was formally approved by Alexander VI, who, however, changed their title into that of Minims. After the approbation of the order, Francis founded several new monasteries in Calabria and Sicily. He also established convents of nuns, and a third order for people living in the world, after the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

The last three mouths of his life he spent in entire solitude, preparing for death. On Maundy Thursday he gathered his community around him and exhorted them especially to have mutual charity amongst themselves and to maintain the rigour of their life and in particular perpetual abstinence. The next day, Good Friday, he again called them together and gave them his last instructions and appointed a vicar-general. He then received the last sacraments and asked to have the Passion according to St. John read out to him, and whilst this was being read, his soul passed away. Leo X canonized him in 1519. In 1562 the Huguenots broke open his tomb and found his body incorrupt. They dragged it forth and burnt it, but some of the bones were preserved by the Catholics and enshrined in various churches of his order. The Order of Minims does not seem at any time to have been very extensive, but they had houses in many countries. The definitive rule was approved in 1506 by Julius II, who also approved a rule for the nuns of the order. The feast of St. Francis of Paula is kept by the universal Church on April 2, the day on which he died in 1507.

If I get some time in the next few days I'll write some of the stories about him.

As we enter Holy Week and Approach a shared Easter

Every once and awhile it happens. Though we are not unified...the most important day for us is.

And this year we will celebrate Easter on the same day. I'll try and get some posting in this week but I can't promise a lot since work is crazy.

But as we near this Sunday remember that all over the world as one.

Christos anesti
aléthos anesti

Christ is Risen.
Indeed He is Risen.

Al'Masiah qam
haqqan qam

Christo è risuscitato
in verità è resuscitato

And in many other languages (link)

My brothers and sisters who read this blog, I know I have not had a lot of time or posts lately but let us remember this Thursday. Holy Thursday. That through His Body and Blood we are one. And let us remember it not only this Easter Season, but let it go out with us from that day to all days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Catholic Run Hospital to Murder Child under Texas Law

The Seaton Healthcare system...A Catholic run system that runs the Children's Hospital of Austin is going to murder a 16 month old Child.


Contact Information

Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Bishop of Austin

Contact: Rick Bologna
Location: Chancery
P.O Box 13327 1600 N. Congress
Austin, TX 78701
512-697-2015 (link)

Children's Hospital of Austin contact info (link)

City of Austin Mayor's Comission for People with Disabilities (link)

Texas U.S. Senators
John Cornyn (link)
Kay Bailey Hutchison(link)

Governor Rick Perry of Texas (link)

Texas Futile care law is killing again: The case of Emilio Gonzales. They are going to murder a 16 month old.

A link to the Story (Link).

The Basics:

AUSTIN, Texas, March 14 (UPI) -- The mother of a critically ill boy is desperately seeking another hospital before doctors at Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas, remove his respirator.

Catarina Gonzales, 23, of Lockhart, Texas, wasn't ready to accept the physicians' assessment that continuing treatment of her 16-month-old son Emilio not only was hopeless but possibly painful, the Austin American-Statesman said Tuesday.

"It's really hard because you see your son moving and you see him opening his eyes," Gonzales said. "He's fighting. ... If I have to take him out of state, I will."

The Austin hospital on Friday gave her 10 days to find another hospital but an extensive search had failed and odds of a transfer were poor, the newspaper said. Her attorney, Jerri Ward, said she would be surprised if one could be found in Texas.

The child has Leigh's disease, which causes the central nervous system and muscles to degenerate. Doctors said the child's brain is shrinking and there's no hope of a reversal.

Gonzales told the America-Statesman she believes her son responds to her but doctors say he is comatose.

Texas law permits doctors to decide that treatment is "medically futile" if they believe it prolongs dying.

More later.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Copts forced to declare they set their own homes on fire.

ISTANBUL, February 22 (Compass Direct News) – Police detained Christian families in Upper Egypt and forced them to deny arson attacks on their homes during a spate of anti-Christian violence last week, the families said.

Two Coptic Orthodox families said police detained them for 36 hours when they attempted to report a February 13 assault on their homes in Armant, 600 kilometers (373 miles) south of Cairo.

The fires came five days after Muslim groups set four Christian-owned shops alight on February 9.

International media reported that rumors of a love affair between a Christian man and Muslim woman sparked the violence, but local papers said hostilities began over accusations that Christians were blackmailing Muslim women to convert.

In the wake of the violence, police detained eight Muslim young men and Copt Ramy Ishaq, whose relationship with a 19-year-old Muslim woman was the basis for the romance rumors, sources in Armant told Compass.

The rest of the story is here.

(Source) Compass Direct

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Girl Suffers Forced Abortion in Italy

I can't even comment at the moment:

Girl Suffers Forced Abortion in Italy
Minors have no “right to choose” life in Catholic nation

By Peter J. Smith

TURIN, Italy, February 19, 2007 ( - An Italian judge ordered a 13 year-old girl to undergo an abortion, despite the girl's pleas to let her keep her child reports the Italian news agency, La Stampa.

The girl, Valentina, had become pregnant by her 15 year-old boyfriend, however rather than let her choose to keep her child, her parents demanded she have an abortion on the grounds that she was ruining her life by becoming a mother.

"You cannot hold this child ... you must abort, and father will never have to know,” Valentina's mother told her, saying that she did not have the money to support the child.

Despite Valentina's repeated attempts to make her parents understand she wanted to choose to keep her baby, the case went to the Court of Minors. Judge Giuseppe Cocilovo then issued the ruling to abort Valentina's child.

Under Italian law, a minor may not decide whether to keep or abort her child, and may be forced by her guardians or parents to undergo an abortion.

However, the abortion has meant nothing less than disaster for Valentina, who was confined to the psychiatric unit of Regina Margherita children's hospital in Turin after the abortion for wanting to commit suicide.

“You have made me kill, and now I kill myself, I kill myself”, cried Valentina. "I do not want here to be," Valentina repeated. "I am not crazy, I am only evil like a dog for what my parents and the judges have obliged to make to me."

The case of Valentina is an egregious case of forced abortion in Italy, where one would expect that a woman‘s “right to choose” would mean the possibility of choosing life. However, the silence of purportedly "pro-choice" feminist groups has been deafening thus far over 13 year-old Valentina's forced abortion, despite her very own choice that her body should carry life.

To respectfully protest the Italian authorities:

Italian Embassy in U.S.
3000 Whitehaven Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20008
Tel (202) 612-4400
Fax (202) 518-2154
Italian Embassy in Ottawa

275 Slater Street, 21st Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H9
t. +1.613.232.2401
f. +1.613.233.1484

Italian Justice Ministry
Via Arenula, 70 - 00186 ROME
Tel: 06.68851
Web Site:


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Persecution Follows Anti-Conversion Bill in Indian State

I read this on The Free Copts (link)

Here is the article:

Written by
Tuesday, 06 February 2007

India (ICC) - Only two weeks after the Himachal Pradesh state government passed an anti-conversion bill, two Christian institutions have already faced harassment by Hindu fundamentalists.

This shows that there is a direct connection between anti-conversion legislation and Christian persecution. Rather than assisting in keeping the peace between religious groups, anti-conversion laws actually embolden Hindu extremists to attack religious minorities. These two attacks from last month are further proof of this disturbing trend.

In the first attack, about 250 people belonging to the VHP and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, gathered in front of the house of Pastor Behal, a retired officer from the Indian Army, who runs an orphanage in Kangra. They demanded that he close the institution and move out of the area on January 21, the Rev. Madhu Chandra of the All India Christian Council (AICC) told ICC.

When the AICC contacted Sudha Devi, the sub-divisional magistrate of Kangra district, she said police had been deployed at the site and the situation was under control. But she also said that the Hindu protestors had submitted a memorandum against Pastor Behal alleging that he was mistreating orphan children and converting them to Christianity.

The second attack occurred just a few days earlier in Kullu district, when police arrested four workers of a drug addiction rehabilitation center, the Last Resort, in Khokhan village. Two inmates had run away from the center and lodged a complaint alleging that they had been forcibly kept in the center and had Christianity preached to them. The names of the four workers are Rajesh Toppo, Nizam Minthang, Gopal Singh Bhatia and Lalboi, and their accusers are Vinod Saini and Amos.

The plaintiffs stated in an affidavit that they were pressured by a mob, allegedly comprising of Hindu fundamentalists from the VHP, to levy charges against the four Christians. The four said that the plaintiffs had recently been brought to the center by their parents, who had consented that they be given treatment at the center. The Christians also denied the allegation that they were trying to convert them.

Jeremy Sewall, ICC’s Policy Analyst for South Asia, said, “It is incredibly important to grasp the deception surrounding these anti-conversion bills. Although proponents claim that they will encourage religious freedom by prohibiting forcible conversion, they are really designed to stamp out India’s rapidly growing church. When a state government passes anti-conversion laws, radical Hindus see that as a license to attack Christian ministries. This is exactly what has happened to Pastor Behal and the four drug rehab center employees.”
The less than 0.1 percent Christian population of Himachal Pradesh was stunned when the Congress government passed the anti-conversion bill on December 30. The bill is awaiting the consent of the state governor.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Catholic theologians in talks with Oriental Orthodox

Prayers on this. That we may grow closer.

Rome, Jan. 30, 2007 ( -

Theologians representing the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches are meeting in Rome this week, to continue a series of discussions that began in 2003.

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox involves the churches that broke with Rome after the Council of Chalcedon, such as the Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, and Malankara Orthodox churches and the Armenian Apostolic Church. This joint theological commission is distinct from the group that met in Belgrade last September, bringing together representatives of the Orthodox bodies that broke with Rome after 1054.

This week’s discussions include representatives of the Oriential Orthodox churches and their counterparts who are in communion with the Holy See, including the Coptic, Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, and Syro-Malabar Catholic churches. The Maronite Catholic Church, which boasts an unbroken history of communion with Rome, is also represented at the meeting.

The discussions by the joint commission have centered on the exericise of apostolic ministry in the universal Church and the nature of ecclesial communion. This week’s talks, beginning January 30, will continue through February 3, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Abdel Kareem Nabil Update

Freedom For Egyptians has an update on the trial of Abdel Kareem Nabil(link).

He is on trial for religious disdain, insulting the president, attempts to flare up sectarian unrest and turmoil and disrupting public security.

He is on trial for having an opinon. He is on trial for speaking.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unity: Where we have been and where we are

Is there much behind us? Much that follows us? Years of regret and harsh words to each other? Yes. It can not be denied. It can not be ignored. But what lies ahead? Does the road ahead have hope?

Yes. This year has been a great year for unity. We can see the Holy Spirit pushing us forward. Pope Benedict has said:

"Theological dialogue is necessary, in-depth knowledge of the historical reasons of choices made in the past is perhaps indispensable. But what is urgent in the main is that 'purification of the memory,' so many times recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose spirits to receive the full truth of Christ."

"It is before him, supreme Judge of every living being, that each one of us must place himself, in the awareness of one day having to render an account to him of what one has done or not done for the great good of the full and visible unity of all his disciples."

Pope Shenouda II has said in the past:

"The whole Christian world is anxious to see the church unite. Christian people, being fed up with divisions, are pushing their church leaders to do something about church unity and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is inspiring us."

And there are more than words. In the recent Papal visit to Turkey the heads of many Churches laid more groundwork.

And Catholics, Lutherans and this year the Methodists have signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (link).

But there is still far to go. To me, the strengthening of unity will come where Christians of all kinds stand up for their brothers and sisters wherever they suffer. Christ will take us by the hand and lead us...but we must extend our hands to those who suffer. To those who need.

The Lord called to Peter and Peter walked across the water toward our Lord. But he became scared of the strong wind and began to sink.

Christ did not let Peter sink, He took him by the hand and saved him.

Our road ahead in unity is filled with stong winds.

The wind of regrets.
The wind of wrongs toward each other.
The winds of Pride.
The winds of those who do not want Christians united.
The winds of the enemy.
The winds of our own fears.

But there is also the Lord in the whispering wind, as He came to Elijah. Above all there is the hand of the Lord reaching out to us. He will take our hand. He will carry us. But we must clasp each others hands, so we go to Him together.

Scripture and Commentary Day 1 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Day 1

United through the presence of Christ
‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Ephesians 4:5, 6)

Ezek 37:15-28 My dwelling place shall be with them
Ps 67 (66) Let the peoples praise you, O God
Eph 4:1-6 One Lord, one faith, one baptism
Jn 14:23-27 We will come to them and make our home with them


The scriptures stress that God’s will is for the unity of God’s people. Through Ezekiel the prophet, God affirms that Judah and Israel – two divided, often estranged kingdoms – will again be one. God’s cleansing presence will strengthen and bless them in a covenant of peace.

The natural response to God’s gift of unity is our gratitude and praise. The psalmist calls upon all the nations to unite in praise of God, whose saving power may be seen in all nations and throughout the whole earth.

Jesus taught his first followers that he, with the Father, would be present with them, “making a home” with each one who loved him. And he promised that this presence would not end with his death, that he would continue to be present with each one of his followers – and with us, today – through the Holy Spirit.

But the promise of Jesus’ presence is not limited to individual believers: for, as the evangelist Matthew affirms, wherever even two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name they form a community, a community in which Jesus has promised to be present, strengthening and accompanying them on their way.

This common belonging is shown powerfully in our common recognition of baptism. In baptism Christ calls each one of us, bringing us into his body, the church. Because we each belong to Christ, we all belong to one another. That common belonging – to Christ, and to one another – makes us one, despite all our differences of history, culture, and theological conviction: “for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).

Source (Vatican Website "Resources For The Week of Prayer For Christian Unity")

Online RSV (For reading the Scripture above)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25

Here is the link (link).

The daily meditations and Scripture:

January 18:
In the beginning was the Word. "And God said..." (Gen 1)

January 19:
The Saving Word of Christ. "He makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." (Mk 7: 31-37)

January 20:
The Holy Spirit gives us the Word. "The Spirit ...will testify on my behalf." (Jn 15: 26)

January 21:
The silence of the forgotten and the cries of the suffering. "If one member suffers all suffer together." (1 Cor 12: 26)

January 22:
God's judgement on our silence. "Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these..." (Mt 25: 45)

January 23:
Empowered to speak out. "But the woman ... came in fear and trembling ... and told Him the whole truth" (Mk 5: 33).

January 24:
Forsakenness. "Why are You so far from helping me?" (Ps 22: 1)

January 25:
Resurrection--glorification. "Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Phil 2: 11)

Let us all join our prayers for Christian Unity!

St. Anthony The Great

Today is the feast of St. Anthony the Great. He is one of the saints shared by Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches (although the feast is not celebrated on the same day). He is called the founder of Monasticism,and also the Father of Monks. And indeed was one of the Great desert Fathers, and is much loved by our Coptic brothers and sisters.

May he be one of the many bridges to all our Churches growing closer. May we join in the prayer for unity on this, the day before the start of the week for Christian unity, and pray that:

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen

May that challenge be to unity and love. And may unity be in our prayers for the week ahead and always. May it be the work of our hands and our hearts.

Last years post on St. Anthony (link)

The week of prayer for Christian Unity starts tomorrow. Barring any problems, the blog should be fairly active with news posts this week.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Posting soon

I'll be back to posting soon. Now that the new semester has started I'm back to my normal work schedule.