April, 2008

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Dave’s Map Library Gets a Publishing Credit!

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Dave was contacted by Penguin Books last year because he possesses a map in his library (www.broermapsonline.org) which was needed for a book that was about to be republished as trade paperback. So after a bit of scanning and e-mailing back and forth, the map was received in a format appropriate for publishing. Earlier this month the book was printed, Dave even received a copy for himself from the publisher. Most impressive of all is that he was even given credit amongst the “illustration credits” AND his map is the very first illustration.

So go to Barnes & Noble and ask for a copy of “Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels” by Jill Jonnes. Dave’s map is right after the title page and is a map of New York City between Battery to 110 St. The page listing “illustration credits” is page 369.

How cool is that! Dave and his map library have a publishing credit!! And honestly the book is rather interesting, you’d potentially think reading about the building of train tunnels and a station in NYC would be bland reading for 98% of the country, but it’s actually rather riveting.

Grandparents Leaving a Legacy

Friday, April 25th, 2008

For the children in our lives, we buy books or offer to take the child out for dinner, dessert, a movie or the zoo, etc. I had a new thought though because two of the new babies in our family live some distance from their Grandma & Grandpa (Dave’s parents). I bought picture books and then today I video taped Grandma & Grandpa reading those books. Dave will make a DVD that we can send with the books.

So this morning, Grandma read “Blueberries for Sal” and Grandpa read two of the books about “Corduroy”. I used Dave’s new HD video camera and taped each of them. It only took 20 minutes and it turned out so nicely. Grandma even told when to turn the page like the little bell that would ring on my books-on-record I had as a child.

Dave and I will keep a copy to hopefully use with our future children and little BB in Idaho and AB in NYC will get to see Grandma and Grandpa reading to them from their TV. And we’ll have, forever, a way of introducing future generations to these wonderful folks.

Once Dave and I do have children, I hope that maybe I could convince my own parents to do this or something similar.

I have a bunch of children’s books in the attic so I think I’ll go through those and video Grandma & Grandpa reading those as well. As long as Dave can create “chapters” on the DVD, we should be able to skip ahead to specific books. Should be pretty cool.

New Niece

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I’m so late mentioning this. It is amazing how life sometimes makes me utterly scattered brained. My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, my brother’s wife, had a baby girl on April 15th. I am utterly bummed I won’t be seeing her for a long while, but I hear she is wonderful. So, Happy (albeit belated) Birth Day SNS, I’m overjoyed to be an Aunt, again.

Quinoa Salad

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I finally bought some quinoa after reading so much about it’s beneficial health properties. The first recipe I tried with it was offered with the quinoa and was way too lemon-y. So I left it in the cabinet for a long while until the other day when I decided to give it another try. This time…jackpot! Dave really liked it too.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
Boil until water is completely absorbed by quinoa, watch to make sure it doesn’t burn or get overcooked.
Rinse in cold water (a fine mesh sieve is required)
Place quinoa in a bowl, add quartered slices of cucumber, halved grape tomatoes and chopped red pepper (or any other vegetables you might prefer). Pour some good Italian dressing (I like the zesty stuff best) over and mix. Add the dressing in small amounts until the taste suits you.

Serve with a meat dish.

Mass with the Pope!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

On Sunday, Dave and I were extraordinarily blessed by being able to attend the Pope’s Mass at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was really an amazing, spiritually uplifting event.

We left CT on Saturday afternoon and took a train into Grand Central Station. From there we went to Dave’s brother’s apartment where we were going to stay for the night. We had dinner at the Heidelberg Restaurant, a German restaurant with pretty good food. The potato soup with a very bland, didn’t have a great mouth feel and was pricey. My main course was very good though and made up for the soup; pork schnitzel with sauerkraut and potato pancakes.

The next morning we got up early and were in line at Yankee Stadium by 8:40. We were in line only about 30 feet from the front so when they opened the gates at 9AM, we were inside very quickly. Security was thorough, but extremely quick. I’ve never seen so many police officers at one venue before in my life. In the morning, I think the police officers outnumbered attendees by 3 to 1. It was a sea of uniforms.

While we stood in line, a single Protestant protester wearing a sandwich board and carrying pamphlets walked by our line yelling that Jesus has risen and that we all should worship Jesus not a man. Oh, and he yelled something about how we need the “true” Bible. Hmmm, apparently he’s been misinformed on a few points. Thankfully, there was a middle aged woman behind us with long gray hair, several children in tow and a gift for New York style confrontation. She yelled out how we know Christ has risen…we’re still celebrating that fact since the day was the 5th Sunday of Easter. She skipped over the part about “worshiping the Pope”. Someone that steeped in a misinformed theology isn’t going to understand apostolic succession and all that. He yelled back something about the “true” Bible again and she responded that she wondered if he knew where his Bible came from originally. He must have decided he wasn’t going to make headway with his attempts at converting with our part of the line so he moved on. The gray haired woman then said a prayer with her children which I could not fully hear, but the context seemed to be regarding the protester and their day with the Pope. Now that was a woman with utter faithfulness and no fear in exclaiming it.

I would love to be that strong in my faith one day. To be unabashedly forth coming with prayer no matter the setting and willing to stand up for the faith firmly, but gently. I am perpetually hindered in my outward faith by internal “demons” regarding what others might or might not think of me. That drives me nuts, but I also fall to pray about that problem until I am reminded by a woman such as was in our line.

So anyway, we eventually made it inside the stadium. We had a long wait for mass to begin, but we were able to occupy ourselves by doing some walking, ate stadium hot dogs ($5 each!) and a soda (also $5), bought some memorabilia of the day and later enjoyed the Concert of Hope they provided between 12-2.

The Concert of Hope was pretty awesome. Several well known groups and individuals performed beautifully. Harry Connick Jr. was either last or one of the last and I felt kind of sorry for him because I could tell the crowd was getting restless and really just wanted to see the Pope arrive.

Speaking of the crowd, I can’t even express how incredible it was to see 60,000 faith-filled Catholics participate in a mass. The Pope arrived right on time and from the moment the popemobile was visible the crowd erupted in cheers. He drove around part of the stadium and then had to put on vestments (in the Yankee locker room). When mass began, the crowd just settled down and participated with the singing and responses. It was truly amazing to attend mass performed by the Pope. And his homily…really great. I’m going to add the text of his complete homily because it is certainly worthy of reading.

Delivery of communion was so spectacularly orchestrated. I would say that it took no longer than 15 minutes for all those 60,000 people to receive communion. It was a special experience to receive Eucharist consecrated by the Pope. I know the consecrated host is always the body & blood of Christ, but it still felt special to receive host consecrated by the man who has direct succession to the man Christ himself hand picked to be the first head of His Church on Earth.

The Pope also offered a blessing for articles of faith people might have brought with them such as rosary beads, medals, prayer books, etc. In front of Dave and I were about 20 students from Williams College, each one of them pulled from a pocket or a bag a set of rosary beads to be blessed by the Pope. The kids were great to watch…jazzed by the Pope’s arrival and utterly reverent in his presence.

Even leaving the event went smoothly. We hung around the stadium for about 20 minutes waiting for the “mad-dash” to diminish. Then we casually walked out, stood in a continuously moving line for the subway and immediately got on. As smoothly as everything went, I must add that I am not a NYC lover. Those throngs of people and that city do nothing for me; except maybe make my temper as short as a match stick. It’s drawbacks, for me, FAR exceed it’s attributes. I think NYC is one of those places that a person either adores or can’t really stand. There may have been a short phase of my life where it might have been enticing, but not anymore! I really like my quiet, almost rural, small town CT.

Okay, so here is the promised text of the homily delivered by the Pope:



Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Fifth Sunday of Easter, 20 April 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus tells his Apostles to put their faith in him, for he is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom. Let us take the Lord at his word! Let us renew our faith in him and put all our hope in his promises!

With this encouragement to persevere in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32; Mt 16:17), I greet all of you with great affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his cordial words of welcome in your name. At this Mass, the Church in the United States celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the mother See of Baltimore. The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the fifty states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.

Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.

This great accomplishment was not without its challenges. Today’s first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks of linguistic and cultural tensions already present within the earliest Church community. At the same time, it shows the power of the word of God, authoritatively proclaimed by the Apostles and received in faith, to create a unity which transcends the divisions arising from human limitations and weakness. Here we are reminded of a fundamental truth: that the Church’s unity has no other basis than the Word of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. All external signs of identity, all structures, associations and programs, valuable or even essential as they may be, ultimately exist only to support and foster the deeper unity which, in Christ, is God’s indefectible gift to his Church.

The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church’s unity is “apostolic”. It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).

“Authority” … “obedience”. To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a “stumbling stone” for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ – “the way and the truth and the life” – we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”.

Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the “apostolate” of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God’s saving plan.

This magnificent vision of a world being transformed by the liberating truth of the Gospel is reflected in the description of the Church found in today’s second reading. The Apostle tells us that Christ, risen from the dead, is the keystone of a great temple which is even now rising in the Spirit. And we, the members of his body, through Baptism have become “living stones” in that temple, sharing in the life of God by grace, blessed with the freedom of the sons of God, and empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God’s Kingdom? Only in this way can we build with God, on the one foundation which is Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). Only in this way can we build something that will truly endure. Only in this way can our lives find ultimate meaning and bear lasting fruit.

Today we recall the bicentennial of a watershed in the history of the Church in the United States: its first great chapter of growth. In these two hundred years, the face of the Catholic community in your country has changed greatly. We think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America. We think of the strong faith which built up the network of churches, educational, healthcare and social institutions which have long been the hallmark of the Church in this land. We think also of those countless fathers and mothers who passed on the faith to their children, the steady ministry of the many priests who devoted their lives to the care of souls, and the incalculable contribution made by so many men and women religious, who not only taught generations of children how to read and write, but also inspired in them a lifelong desire to know God, to love him and to serve him. How many “spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God” have been offered up in these two centuries! In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society. Today’s celebration is more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received. It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to proclaim his glorious works” (1 Pet 2:9). These words of the Apostle Peter do not simply remind us of the dignity which is ours by God’s grace; they also challenge us to an ever greater fidelity to the glorious inheritance which we have received in Christ (cf. Eph 1:18). They challenge us to examine our consciences, to purify our hearts, to renew our baptismal commitment to reject Satan and all his empty promises. They challenge us to be a people of joy, heralds of the unfailing hope (cf. Rom 5:5) born of faith in God’s word, and trust in his promises.

Each day, throughout this land, you and so many of your neighbors pray to the Father in the Lord’s own words: “Thy Kingdom come”. This prayer needs to shape the mind and heart of every Christian in this nation. It needs to bear fruit in the way you lead your lives and in the way you build up your families and your communities. It needs to create new “settings of hope” (cf. Spe Salvi, 32ff.) where God’s Kingdom becomes present in all its saving power.

Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ’s victory and a commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, “there is no human activity – even in secular affairs – which can be withdrawn from God’s dominion” (Lumen Gentium, 36). It means working to enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives.

And this, dear friends, is the particular challenge which the Successor of Saint Peter sets before you today. As “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation”, follow faithfully in the footsteps of those who have gone before you! Hasten the coming of God’s Kingdom in this land! Past generations have left you an impressive legacy. In our day too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life, in the education of the young, in care for the poor, the sick and the stranger in your midst. On these solid foundations, the future of the Church in America must even now begin to rise!

Yesterday, not far from here, I was moved by the joy, the hope and the generous love of Christ which I saw on the faces of the many young people assembled in Dunwoodie. They are the Church’s future, and they deserve all the prayer and support that you can give them. And so I wish to close by adding a special word of encouragement to them. My dear young friends, like the seven men, “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” whom the Apostles charged with care for the young Church, may you step forward and take up the responsibility which your faith in Christ sets before you! May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today and for ever” and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10; Heb 13:8). These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb. In a world where, as Pope John Paul II, speaking in this very place, reminded us, Lazarus continues to stand at our door (Homily at Yankee Stadium, October 2, 1979, No. 7), let your faith and love bear rich fruit in outreach to the poor, the needy and those without a voice. Young men and women of America, I urge you: open your hearts to the Lord’s call to follow him in the priesthood and the religious life. Can there be any greater mark of love than this: to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who was willing to lay down his life for his friends (cf. Jn 15:13)?

In today’s Gospel, the Lord promises his disciples that they will perform works even greater than his (cf. Jn 14:12). Dear friends, only God in his providence knows what works his grace has yet to bring forth in your lives and in the life of the Church in the United States. Yet Christ’s promise fills us with sure hope. Let us now join our prayers to his, as living stones in that spiritual temple which is his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Let us lift our eyes to him, for even now he is preparing for us a place in his Father’s house. And empowered by his Holy Spirit, let us work with renewed zeal for the spread of his Kingdom.

“Happy are you who believe!” (cf. 1 Pet 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world. Amen.

* * *

Queridos hermanos y hermanas en el Señor:

Les saludo con afecto y me alegro de celebrar esta Santa Misa para dar gracias a Dios por el bicentenario del momento en que empezó a desarrollarse la Iglesia Católica en esta Nación. Al mirar el camino de fe recorrido en estos años, no exento también de dificultades, alabamos al Señor por los frutos que la Palabra de Dios ha dado en estas tierras y le manifestamos nuestro deseo de que Cristo, Camino, Verdad y Vida, sea cada vez más conocido y amado.

Aquí, en este País de libertad, quiero proclamar con fuerza que la Palabra de Cristo no elimina nuestras aspiraciones a una vida plena y libre, sino que nos descubre nuestra verdadera dignidad de hijos de Dios y nos alienta a luchar contra todo aquello que nos esclaviza, empezando por nuestro propio egoísmo y caprichos. Al mismo tiempo, nos anima a manifestar nuestra fe a través de nuestra vida de caridad y a hacer que nuestras comunidades eclesiales sean cada día más acogedoras y fraternas.

Sobre todo a los jóvenes les confío asumir el gran reto que entraña creer en Cristo y lograr que esa fe se manifieste en una cercanía efectiva hacia los pobres. También en una respuesta generosa a las llamadas que Él sigue formulando para dejarlo todo y emprender una vida de total consagración a Dios y a la Iglesia, en la vida sacerdotal o religiosa.

Queridos hermanos y hermanas, les invito a mirar el futuro con esperanza, permitiendo que Jesús entre en sus vidas. Solamente Él es el camino que conduce a la felicidad que no acaba, la verdad que satisface las más nobles expectativas humanas y la vida colmada de gozo para bien de la Iglesia y el mundo. Que Dios les bendiga.

© Copyright 2008 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana