Saturday, September 10, 2005

You may not want to read this one

I have been surfing blogs tonight, going from one to another, and when doing this, often end up at Dawn Eden's. I just left there, and am feeling so very sad about a young woman who describes her observation and performance of her first abortion as a young doctor (or medical student). Dawn then also gives a description of the distancing of self that doctors from Auschwitz also went through. This is graphic and nearly heart stopping as she describes how she overcame her misgivings in just such a short time in the name of 'experience'.

How it saddens me, a care-giver by nature (nurse, you know) whose thoughts of MD's had always been saving of lives ......

Which Saint are YOU?

WriteWingNut also had another quiz on her site that I took the other day.....I would like to think that I have her courage to stand firm, yet, in many ways, that is what I have had to do for many years.... I was flattered by what it said about the results, as I have been told this same message about three times before in my life!

Which Saint Are You?

You are Joan of Arc! You don't really want to hurt anyone, but if they attack your friends or your country and no-one else will stand up to fight them, you head into the battle. Beware though, conviction tends to get you killed.

1120 other people got this result!
This quiz has been taken 3318 times.
34% of people had this result.

Mother Teresa on Roe v. Wade

Mother Teresa's Letter to the US Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade

This amicus brief was filed before the U.S. Supreme Court in the cases of
Loce v. New Jersey and Krail et al. v. New Jersey in February 1994, by Mother Teresa.

I hope you will count it no presumption that I seek your leave to address you on behalf of the unborn child. Like that child I can be considered an outsider. I am not an American citizen.

My parents were Albanian. I was born before the First World War in a part of what was not yet, and is no longer, Yugoslavia.
In many senses I know what it is like to be without a country.
I also know what is like to feel an adopted citizen of other lands. When I was still a young girl I traveled to India.
I found my work among the poor and the sick of that nation, and I have lived there ever since.

Since 1950 I have worked with my many sisters from around the world as one of the Missionaries of Charity. Our congregation now has over four hundred foundations in more that one hundred countries, including the United States of America.
We have almost five thousand sisters.

We care for those who are often treated as outsiders in their own communities by their own neighbors—the starving, the crippled, the impoverished, and the diseased, from the old woman with a brain tumor in Calcutta to the young man with AIDS in New York City.
A special focus of our care are mothers and their children.

This includes mothers who feel pressured to sacrifice their unborn children by want, neglect, despair, and philosophies and government policies that promote the dehumanization of inconvenient human life. And it includes the children themselves, innocent and utterly defenseless, who are at the mercy of those who would deny their humanity.

So, in a sense, my sisters and those we serve are all outsiders together. At the same time, we are supremely conscious of the common bonds of humanity that unite us and transcend national boundaries.

In another sense, no one in the world who prizes liberty and human rights can feel anything but a strong kinship with America. Yours is the one great nation in all of history that was founded on the precept of equal rights and respect for all humankind, for the poorest and weakest of us as well as the richest and strongest.

As your Declaration of Independence put it, in words that have never lost their power to stir the heart: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” A nation founded on these principles holds a sacred trust: to stand as an example to the rest of the world, to climb ever higher in its practical realization of the ideals of human dignity, brotherhood, and mutual respect. Your constant efforts in fulfillment of that mission, far more that your size or your wealth or your military might, have made America an inspiration to all mankind.

It must be recognized that your model was never one of realized perfection, but of ceaseless aspiration. From the outset, for example, America denied the African slave his freedom and human dignity. But in time you righted that wrong, albeit at an incalculable cost in human suffering and loss of life.

Your impetus has almost always been toward a fuller, more all embracing conception and assurance of the rights that your founding fathers recognized as inherent and God-given.
Yours has ever been an inclusive, not an exclusive, society. And your steps, though they may have paused or faltered now and then, have been pointed in the right direction and have trod the right path. The task has not always been an easy one, and each new generation has faced its own challenges and temptations. But in a uniquely courageous and inspiring way, America has kept faith.

Yet there has been one infinitely tragic and destructive departure from those American ideals in recent memory. It was this Court's own decision in Roe v. Wade (1973) to exclude the unborn child from the human family. You ruled that a mother, in consultation with her doctor, has broad discretion, guaranteed against infringement by the United States Constitution, to choose to destroy her unborn child.

Your opinion stated that you did not need to “resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” That question is inescapable. If the right to life in an inherent and inalienable right, it must surely exist wherever life exists. No one can deny that the unborn child is a distinct being, that it is human, and that it is alive. It is unjust, therefore, to deprive the unborn child of its fundamental right to life on the basis of its age, size, or condition of dependency.

It was a sad infidelity to America's highest ideals when this Court said that it did not matter, or could not be determined, when the inalienable right to life began for a child in its mother's womb.

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.

It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society.
It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered domination over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.

And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.

Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.

The Constitutional Court of the Federal Republic of Germany recently ruled that “the unborn child is entitled to its rights to life independently of acceptance by its mother; this is an elementary and inalienable right that emanates from the dignity of the human being.” Americans may feel justly proud that Germany in 1993 was able to recognize the sanctity of human life. You must weep that your own government, at present, seems blind to this truth.

I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to faithfulness to what you once taught the world. Your nation was founded on the proposition—very old as a moral precept, but startling and innovative as a political insight—that human life is a gift of immeasurable worth, and that it deserves, always and everywhere, to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

I urge the Court to take the opportunity presented by the petitions in these cases to consider the fundamental question of when human life begins and to declare without equivocation the inalienable rights which it possesses.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Did a Rat Stand On Its Hind Legs Today?"

The interview of Peggy Noonan on EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo spoke of her book, A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag : America Today.

See page 4 of the blurb from the book for an explanation of the title of this blog piece. The book is a collection of her columns written after 9/11. It sounds like it will be a good read, based on the blurb alone, but also coupled with her interview today.

Sacrificial Love

I am listening to Archbishop Fulton J Sheen's talk on Marriage Problems and recalling what I have learned about the Catholic teachings on Marriage (the real teaching, not the 'feel good' garbage many pass out today..that Marriage is indissoluble, til death parts the couple. That they become One... that God hates divorce) as well as the teachings on Suffering. It brought back the recent sermon "Following Christ Means Sacrifice" that I put here the other day.

And he speaks of Elizabeth Leseur and her husband Felix, who became converted and a priest after her death when he found her journal and read it. Archbishop Sheen was present for at least one retreat given by Fr Felix Leseur, who at times spoke of his wife during talks at retreats he gave.

Marriage is not easy, it is not meant to be roses. But we are called to be instruments in the salvation of our spouse. Dumping them via easy no fault forced unilateral divorce means turning our back on that vocation. Archbishop Sheen has given an excellent teaching, which, in conjunction with that sermon of Fr Dennis Kleinmann, may be YOUR call to salvation.

It is called Sacrificial Love.

God bless!

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
~~Jesus Christ in John 15:12-13

Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
~~Joshua 24:15

Our vows:
The groom says:I (...), take you (...) to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

The bride says:I (...), take you (...) to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

"Right is still right if nobody is right,
and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen author of The Life of Christ

Quo Vadis, America

Tonight, I was given a head's up from Donna about Peggy Noonan being on Raymond Arroyo's The World Over just in the nick of time to turn the channel and watch. As the program ended, one of my favorites of all time, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, came on in one program of the series EWTN has running.

He was speaking back then on the topic ( Quo Vadis America) Where Are You Going, America... and he could just as easily have been speaking to us today. Though this series was done in 1964, today some of the things he spoke of on today's segment are even more evident, more blatant, if you will.

I want to find the Quo Vadis America series he made in 1964. What he said on tonight's program could EASILY be said today, for it is even more prominent today. Revolution... which way are we going... to freedom or toward the opposite.

I could not begin to try to tell anyone what he said, which is why I want to find that series. I need to listen several times, OR have it in hard copy to read and absorb. But that talk was EXCELLENT.

IN MY SEARCH, I found a site that has some of his talks ONLINE, and I am currently listening to the one entitled Marriage Problems. IT IS FANTASTIC! And... it is in line with the sermon from the priest of St Mary's in Alexandria VA that I got the other day... WOW.. If you have Real Player, you can hear this . I really recommend it.

God bless!

Padre Pio

Padre Pio can be a very powerful intercessor. For those not Catholic, we do not worship anyone but God, but we do believe in the Communion of Saints. This includes the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant, and the Church Suffering. Those in Heaven are the Church Triumphant.

We do not 'pray' to Mary and Saints the way we pray to the Lord. It is more of a request to have them intercede for us, just as if we asked YOU to pray for us. But they are right there before the very throne of God, if the Church has called them Venerable, Blessed or Saint (after Canonization).

Padre Pio had many gifts of the Holy Spirit, and is a powerful intercessor. The website for him has this picture with some of the promises he made in the picture. Another ----
Padre Pio's most ardent desire was to welcome all of America into his "spiritual family." He promised to "wait outside the "Gates of Heaven" until all his spiritual children are safely inside.

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Getting to know me....

Quite awhile ago, WriteWingNut challenged me to fill this out... it took forever.

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1) Go to Ireland
2) Go to Australia and New Zealand for a couple of months (yeah, when I am finally rich and famous)
3) Finish my Bachelor's Degree
4) See the day that an RDH can treat the poor with and help them have good oral care!!
5) When that day comes, have my own traveling 'operatory' or a place to work somewhere near, or portable equipment to go into schools and homes to reach those who cannot get into a dentist's office due to being on Medicare/Medicaid!!
6) Attend my grandkids' weddings
7) Continue to do something different each year.

7 things I can do:

1) Talk
2) Hug my kids and grandkids and anyone who needs one
3) Nursing and Dental Hygiene.
4) Read
5) Get on a plane and not grab the next person's arm and squeeze bloody murder
6) Cook and make good soups
7) Find my way to places I want to go alone, if I have to

7 things I cannot do:

1) Give up chocolate: bake (well, I can, but HATE it)
2) Run or play any sport that requires it
3) Fix anything mechanical
4) Add in my head anything bigger than single numbers
5) GEOMETRY (never got that class)
6) Sing well
7) Any Irish dance

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1) Strong faith as well as practicing it
2) Honesty, Fidelity and Loyalty
3) Generosity
4) Interest in those who have less and willingness to do for others, but also for family
5) Someone who reads and likes to learn,
6) Likes to travel and see historical places
7) Dances and can lead well when dancing (cuz I can't...)

7 things I say most often:

1) Drive carefully!
2) Uhmmmm...
3) I don't know, but I will find out
4) Oh, I don't knooowww.... I suppose.
5) We'll see.......... (at least my kids say I always said that)
6) Someday when I am rich and famous.....
7) What?

7 celebrity crushes:
I don't really have 'crushes' on anyone, but I like and respect many for a lot of reasons.....

1) Mel Gibson
2) Harrison Ford (well, less since he left his wife)
3) Charleton Heston
4) A guy who has been faithfully married to his wife til death parts them (George Burns, Bob Hope, Paul Newman, etc)
5) Bill Bixby (Eddie's Father show... he was
6) St Thomas More (he had GUTS), Padre Pio, Archbishop Sheen, JPII, Ronald Reagan
7) Art Linkletter, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

7 people I want to do this:

Oh, man... now I have to think.... a couple of my friends who don't blog... a classmate,
a dentist I worked with, but won't ask .... maybe my kids and their spouses, but they won't do

Time to Grow Up............

I really am sitting here thinking that some of our people in the Senate need to grow up, when I come across this absolutely appalling piece by Susan Estrich. Susan Estrich, you say? Who is Susan Estrich?

Susan Estrich is one who defends Clintons regardless of what they do, defends Democrats, including Kerry, and does this on Fox News as part of the 'balance' they try to present. She has, IMHO, crossed the line in that article.

Trying to place blame at this stage when there are children not with parents, parents not yet with their children (including adult children), when there are bodies yet to be found, a death toll to be counted, debris to be cleaned up, water to be pumped out of the city, PEOPLE to still get out of the area, levis to be repaired... as well as the contaminated water going into the Lake, with who knows WHAT future outcome... when there may be an oil spill to rival the one in Alaska (news just this morning)... when we are in the midst of disgusting.

The Federal Gov't CANNOT take over a State Gov't and frankly, that is a safeguard for all of us. State's rights and individual rights are rapidly disappearing already.

But to compare this to the actions of the previous President, including his use of the Oval Office and his perjury is really ridiculous.

A very good explanation of State's rights vs Federal Gov't in situations like this is in this article by Daniel Hemminger. And a thank you to Donna for sending it to me this morning!


Then there's American history, tradition and law. Once disaster arrives, several federal laws designed to protect state sovereignty from being swept aside by a Latin-American-style national police force dictate that a state's officials, specifically the governor, is supposed to phone the federal government and describe what they need. If asked by Homeland Security, DoD will send in the cavalry. But this is one audible at the line even Don Rumsfeld doesn't get to call.

Post-mortem investigations will surely re-create, minute by minute, how Louisiana Gov. Blanco and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff idled away their time last week. But it appears now that Gov. Blanco did not make that crucial, early, legally mandated call to the President. Absent that, Fox and CNN became the call to the White House. The media message was "do something!" In fact, the president does have "do something" authority. It's called the Insurrection Act, which is what John Kennedy used in 1963 against Gov. George Wallace, ordering the governor's own National Guard to turn against him and forcibly integrate the University of Alabama. As to the looters, who were breaking no evident federal law, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 explicitly forbids using the military (unless a governor uses her National Guard under "state status") in a domestic police function.

End snip.... but I recommend you read the rest of the article.

The willingness by Bush was there. He declared the areas disaster areas before Katrina even hit land. The go-ahead to get ready was given to the military before Katrina hit land, and they were ready to go. But they were not invited in! That is what we need to look into, as well as why the emergency plans were not put into effect, why those buses were never used to go and get the poor and disabled, etc, BEFORE Katrina hit, and figure out how to make sure that those errors are never made again.

But for Pelosi to make the statements SHE has made, and the rest of the critics to try to politicize this catastrophic event that has literally wiped out cities in three states at THIS TIME is uncalled for. It helps NO one. The time to get into finding out what went wrong is when the people there are taken care of, and the rebuilding has begun.

It is time for those elected, and those not elected like Susan Estrich, to grow up.

There is another very good article that Donna called my attention to by Peggy Noonan, also.
Called "We Can All Relate", it is, IMHO, something Pelosi and Estrich should read to get their hearts in line with their mouths, and keep the focus where it SHOULD be right now, for this time. Now is

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3: A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5: A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6: A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7: A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8: A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Another 'soul mate' story... another broken vow.

Ok, this past week, I got news of another marriage 'suddenly' ending when the wife emptied the bank accounts (she left him $2.00.. that is NOT two HUNDRED... it is two dollars!!) and a note saying she had gone to her mother's . When she did not come home when she said she would be home, he called mother's... and learned that she was not there.

A few more things have turned up now. Her mother knew what was going on, and aided her daughter to go to meet her 'soul mate' that she had met online. All charge cards were maxed out, and some of the money has gone to start a new business for her new life..... obviously planned out ahead of time, as you look at the speed with which this has all been done.

And he is left to pick up the pieces of his life...........was suicidal and needs lots of prayers.

Don't ask me for his name. God knows who this is, but I cannot divulge that personal information.

This is NOT the first time I have been told this kind of thing, and sadly, it won't be the last. She met him ONLINE and 'fell in love'...and now has broken her wedding vows.

Another woman I have recently 'met' has written to one of the High School reunion websites telling them what she thinks of their 'services' after HER spouse 'found' or 'was found' by an old flame. SHE also did not get any advance warning. Just one day, gone.

Now, the children of the two families are children of adultery, divorce and a second marriage, with two very hurt 'former' or 'ex' spouses.

Though the internet can do much good, it can also do much evil....

Our vows:
The groom says:I (...), take you (...) to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

The bride says:I (...), take you (...) to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

"Right is still right if nobody is right,
and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen author of
The Life of Christ

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Donate to help which victims?

Such thoughtful people.... are they thinking of the people there? Or their CLINICS there?
After 9/11, they helped women by giving away free abortions and morning after pills for a time......
Now they ask for money to help Katrina victims...?????? Are they not just the most thoughtful people?
I put the url link to the page referred to in both the title and in the article below:

Planned Parenthood Continues to Exploit Hurricane Katrina Victims

by Steven Ertelt Editor September 7, 2005
New Orleans, LA ( -- Pro-life advocates say Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business, continues to exploit victims of Hurricane Katrina. The organization previously said it would provide morning after pills to victims, instead of food or shelter, and is now raising money off of the hurricane for its local abortion centers.

On its national web site, Planned Parenthood solicits funds for Hurricane Katrina support efforts. In fine print, the abortion advocacy group explains that all of the money raised will be used to support its local abortion businesses.

Under a headline "Help Those Affected by the Hurricane," Planned Parenthood admits that "100% of your tax-deductible contribution will go directly to helping Planned Parenthood affiliates."

"Your support is particularly important right now because Planned Parenthood is facing a truly tremendous number of challenges in the courtrooms, in Washington, D.C., and in our clinics," the abortion business says on the hurricane donation page.

Jim Sedlak, executive director of STOPP International, a group that monitors Planned Parenthood, called on the federal and state governments to end any taxpayer funding for it.

"By exploiting the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina for its own financial gain over the last 10 days, Planned Parenthood has shown that it is a calculating, callous organization undeserving of any public support," Sedlak said.

Sedlak said Planned Parenthood has been the recipient of more than $3.6 billion in taxpayer funds since 1987 and has current assets in excess of half a billion dollars.

"America is in the grips of what could be the worst natural disaster in its history, and all Planned Parenthood can think of is how to get its hands on the money pouring in for rescue operations," Sedlak added.

Planned Parenthood came under fire shortly after the hurricane when it said it would provide morning after pills, which sometimes cause abortions, to victims of the hurricane instead of food or shelter.

"As Hurricane Katrina ripped through the southeastern United States, Planned Parenthood was there to offer one free month of birth control or one free emergency contraception kit to women from Louisiana and Mississippi," Planned Parenthood Federation of America interim president Karen Pearl wrote to donors and supporters.

As a result of Planned Parenthood's actions related to the hurricane, STOPP is calling on all public officials in this country "to immediately turn off the spigot of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood" by cutting funding for it through Title X and Medicaid reimbursements

"In the case of Planned Parenthood, the aftermath of Katrina has revealed the true nature of an organization that at its core is much more concerned with profit than health care," Sedlak concluded.

Printed from:

Copyright © 2003-2004 All rights reserved.

False Email about Cindy Sheehan going around

As much as I dislike what Cindy Sheehan has to say on so many different topics since her son's death, and therefore, what she stands for, tonight, there came an email that I thought was accurate in many ways... until I did a little more research on it. I was even going to put that email here in my blog. But then I got to a Wikipedia site that said her husband had JUST recently filed for divorce after 20+ years of marriage... and I had to look a little further.

Voila... without realizing it, I ended up on! SO, if YOU get that same email... end it. Let others know, it is not at all 'real'. In spite of the many things I disagree with her about, it is not good to spread falsehoods about her.

I had personal problems about the email to begin with, and was going to state what they were if I had put it here. Things like putting innuendo into something that is true to enhance your point...but instead, now that I have found that this is NOT true in any aspect of the email, my only statement is that gossip and falsehoods destroy not only the person it is about, but also the purveyor of the information!

I WILL put the good that I found in this short search that I had made...

Subsidiarity and the New Orleans Tragedy

Subsidiarity and the New Orleans Tragedy


By Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

Other Articles by Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

Shortly after I was installed as Bishop of Corpus Christi on July 11, 1983, Monsignor Robert Freeman, Director of Catholic Charities, asked me for permission to accept an invitation from the Mayor of Corpus Christi to become a member of the Disaster Emergency Response Team of the City.

I gladly gave him permission. Subsequently he kept me informed every year of the work of the Team. The Team established a plan for a secure headquarters with electric generators, water, food and communications equipment. They devised a plan to organize all elements of the city’s infrastructure to be ready to meet any challenge posed by another hurricane like Celia, which had devastated the city in 1969 when the city did not have such a Team in place.

That Team went into action last Friday when Corpus Christi was informed that our city’s request to receive evacuees from New Orleans had been approved. Within hours the facilities to receive the evacuees were ready and the infrastructure was ready to serve them. Thirty hours later the evacuees were safely in the facilities planned for them.

I was born in New Orleans and spent the first seven years of my life there. I was a student in the General Pierre Gustave Touton Beauregard Elementary School. I still have fond memories of my childhood there. We lived in the Lakeview section of New Orleans and our home was just a few blocks from Lake Pontchartrain, the area most flooded. I have many relatives and friends among the now-scattered residents of New Orleans.

I watched in shocked disbelief as the horror of the flooding of New Orleans unfolded before the eyes of the nation and the world. I listened and watched the tragedy on all the major networks and cable channels. Not once did I hear any reporter mention a Disaster Emergency Response Team in the City of New Orleans. Not once did I see or hear any city official other than the mayor and he did not once describe what the City of New Orleans officials were doing. All he did was complain about the failure of the federal government of be in the city as soon as the levee broke. The police of New Orleans complained to television reporters that they were without any contact with their supervisors and had no food or water. There was total governmental and organizational chaos.

The principle of subsidiarity was evidently ignored by those holding responsibility for the government of the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. This principle was first clearly defined by Pope John XXIII and then later by the Second Vatican Council. The principle is valid for both the secular as well as the ecclesiastical realm. The principle of subsidiarity is the principle by which those in authority recognize the rights of the different members of society. Those in higher authority respect the rights of those in lower authority. And of course, with rights go responsibilities.

It was the responsibility of the City of New Orleans government to provide all of the emergency response for the first 24 hours and to specify, request and coordinate the help expected from the State of Louisiana and the federal government. [Editor’s note: According to the city’s own plan: “The lead agency responsible for coordinating recovery operations following a natural or man made disaster is the Office of Emergency Preparedness.… The person responsible for recognition of hurricane-related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans” who is to “[i]nitiate the evacuation” and “[r]etain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.” Note also from the same source that “the City of New Orleans has established a maximum acceptable hurricane evacuation time standard for a Category 3 storm event of 72 hours. This is based on clearance time and is the time required to clear all vehicles evacuating in response to a hurricane situation from area roadways.”]

It was the responsibility of the Governor of Louisiana to provide immediately the first help through the deployment of the National Guard of Louisiana, which should have been activated and on standby duty ready to move into the coast of Louisiana to cope with the damage to be expected from Hurricane Katrina. The Governor of Louisiana was strangely invisible during the week following the break in the levee. [Editor’s note: The commander-in-chief of each state’s National Guard is the governor of the state, not the president, unless and until they are called by the Department of Defense to active duty. National Guard regulations provide for 72 hours notice for reporting to allow the troops to get their personal affairs in order before showing up. Some of the troops respond faster, but planning for use of the National Guard units has to allow for the full 72 hours before deployment. Also, Louisiana has its own disaster plan stating that the “primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.” The most pertinent question is why the vehicles were never employed and sit now ruined under water.]

Texas Governor Rick Perry set an example of how the governor of Louisiana should have acted. Within a matter of hours after the levee broke, Governor Perry set in motion throughout Texas the Emergency Response plans of the major cities, and the rest, as they say, is history. The response of the people of Houston, Dallas, Beaumont, and Corpus Christi shows how effective good planning can be in meeting the challenge of natural disasters. God forbid that we should be subjected to another terrorist attack such as 9/11, but it is good to know that at least some cities are prepared.

It is shameful that the media of the Left and the Bush-haters in our society have chosen to put all of the blame for the tragic events of the past week in New Orleans on President Bush. [Editor’s note: On Friday, August 26, Katrina began to strengthen and head for the gulf coast. By Saturday morning, Katrina’s winds were at 115 mph and headed to New Orleans. Governor Blanco declared a state of emergency and requested the same from Bush. (Declaring a “state of emergency,” grants the governor extraordinary authority.) Bush immediately declared a federal state of emergency, initiating FEMA’s movement of supplies into the area. Later that day, Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco urged residents to “take the storm seriously,” but stopped short of ordering a mandatory evacuation. Mayor Nagin also announced that the Superdome would be a shelter of last resort and told residents to bring their own food and water, since the city had not equipped the Superdome. Finally, at 5PM he urged a “voluntary” evacuation. That evening, President Bush placed a personal call to the Mayor to implore him to make the evacuation mandatory, as did the National Hurricane Center Director that same night. It was not until Sunday morning, with Katrina at category 5, that Mayor Nagin finally issued the mandatory evacuation order.] The president responded quickly and in a proper way. The total governmental confusion in New Orleans was an obstacle with which all agencies outside of Louisiana had to cope and with which thousands of her hapless residents could not cope.

© Copyright 2005 Catholic Exchange

The Most Reverend Rene Henry Gracida, DD is Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas.

(Editor’s notes were supplied by Mary Kochan, Senior Editor for Catholic Exchange.)

Abortion Practitioner Loses Lawsuit Against Victim Over Fake Abortion

Thank you to Nancy Valko, RN for pointing me in the direction of this story in a more timely manner than finding it on my own. I am very glad that this came out in favor of the woman who was abused in this manner. The problem is, there may be MANY more out there like her!

NARAL and Planned Parenthood would have us believe that they are honestly interested in 'women'. Perhaps there are a few misguided women among them who honestly have themselves convinced that this is the best they can do ... but they are mistaken. Most of those involved in the BUSINESS of abortion are gaining in one way only ... money.

Carol Everett has stated:

Q. Why did you get out of the abortion business?

A. Two things came into play at the same time. I experienced a profoundly religious transformation -- a conversion. At about the time I was having second thoughts, a Dallas television station did an expose disclosing the abortions performed at my clinic on non-pregnant women -- all for money! I finally realized, "We weren't helping women -- we were destroying them -- and their children." By then my transformation was complete and I knew that I not only had to stop being involved with abortions, but I had to help promote the truth.

The story Nancy Valko sent is here in entirety, below:

Abortion Practitioner Loses Lawsuit Against Victim Over Fake Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 2, 2005

St. Louis, MO ( -- A St. Louis woman victimized by an abortion practitioner who performed an abortion on her when she wasn't pregnant has emerged victorious in a lawsuit against him. Yogendra Shaw sued Melanie Mills after she spoke up on a St. Louis radio station about her story. He had hoped to keep her quiet.

Shaw had performed an abortion on Mills at his Granite City, Illinois abortion business without first performing a pregnancy test. He never told Mills she was not pregnant.

Mills suffered from severe post-abortion stress syndrome and battled with depression after thinking she had aborted her baby. Eventually, Mills became suicidal at the thought of what she had done.

Later, Mills learned she was not pregnant, but had suffered from an undiagnosed blighted ovum, which lulled her into a false sense of pregnancy.

When Mills told her story, Shaw filed a $1million lawsuit against her, despite Mills having obtained medical documents and a statement from a specialist attesting to her condition and the false abortion. Shaw also saw a five year gag order to prevent Mills from discussing her situation.

Mills is greatly relieved by the court's decision and wants other women to know what happened to her at the Hope Clinic abortion facility.

“I hope no other woman will ever have to go through the mental torment of thinking they killed their child,” Mills said. “Not until I found I was not pregnant at the time of the abortion did I have peace of mind and Dr. Shaw knew when the abortion was performed there was no baby, but he did not tell me.

"I have lived with the guilt until I found out the truth and it has taken a tremendous emotional toll on my life and my family," Mills added.

Mills says she knows know she shouldn't have pursued an abortion, even though she was unaware she wasn't pregnant.

“I thought at the time abortion was the answer,” Mills admitted. “I now beg women to please not make a decision in haste that you will have to live with the rest of their lives. You cannot imagine what this does to you later on.”

Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, a Catholic pro-life group, applauded Mills' courage.

"Thank God for the willingness of Melanie Mills to uncover what we know are two common abuses: abortionists doing abortions on people who are not pregnant, and abortionists intimidating women into silence about the malpractice that occurs in legal abortion clinics," Pavone responded.

"We call on women's rights groups to denounce abortionists who exploit women in this way," Pavone added.

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Copyright © 2003-2005 All rights reserved.
For information on reprinting and licensing click here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"I lost my home. But the heart of my home is with me."

ABC News

Katrina Helps Teach Nun's Lesson of Faith

Catholic Broadcaster Loved Home City,
But Philosophy Didn't Hit Home Until Storm Struck


Sep. 5, 2005 - It is hard for those who haven't been through disaster to
understand the reassembling nature of it -- how it snatches the components
of one's life and, nearly instantly, repositions them in ways one could really
never have predicted.

"I was just looking to live in my beautiful New Orleans," said Raymond Arroyo,
"have a daiquiri, and enjoy my Mass on Sunday." Arroyo is the news director
for the international Catholic network EWTN; he worked in Birmingham, Ala.,
but lived in New Orleans -- until Aug. 28.

Arroyo had been at work, at EWTN headquarters in Birmingham, watching
the array of news feeds as Katrina approached Lousiana. Looking up, he saw
an image that chilled him: the radar picture of Katrina. He remembered very
similar images, well-known in hurricane lore. "This looked like Betsy and Camille."
And it meant nothing good.

'God Will Take Care of Us'

"I called my wife," and he told her to start packing. He rushed to New Orleans,
and he, his family, his parents and his grandparents threw what they could fit
into their vehicles and began driving from the city. Arroyo started calling hotels.
Mississippi: no room. Georgia: no room. Alabama: no room. For a Catholic,
well-schooled in the story of Jesus' birth, it had an all-too familiar ring.
He started praying.

And then he called EWTN, and appealed to the woman who had created that
network, who had been his mentor, whose biography Arroyo had just
completed -- a cloistered nun named Mother Angelica.

"Mother Angelica, she saved me, she saved my life, my family's life," he said.
Saved them, Arroyo explained, because she told them to move into a guest
house at EWTN's headquarters in Birmingham.

But he also praised Mother Angelica because the things she had taught him, or
tried to teach him over the years, no longer seemed just philosophical musings.
They were immediately, and startlingly, practical.

"The crucial thing she taught me was to live in the present moment, and Mother
did, and I'm learning in these trying days," he said. Mother Angelica, before a
series of strokes disabled her, was one of the most influential women in modern
Catholicism. Her network, begun in a convent garage, is now the largest religious
broadcast network in the world. She fought bankers, builders and bishops -- and
a lifetime of physical disability and pain -- to bring EWTN to where it is today.
And, no matter the trial at the time, her message was always: "Don't worry,
God will take care of us."

"She always had a sense of divine providence, a sense that you always trust
God as you go," Arroyo said with a wry smile, remembering her many
mini-lectures to him on the necessity of letting worry go. "'You don't worry
about the future, you don't worry about the past, you live in this present
moment,'" he said. "And I think all of us New Orleanians are learning that


Arroyo is a true New Orleanian. Three generations of his family lived and
worked there; his eyes dance when he talks about "the history and the music
and the food, oh, the food!" He refers to the city as "my New Orleans."

And he doesn't know if he can take his family back there. His grandparents'
restaurant -- Tony Angelo's -- is still underwater. Arroyo's home and his
parents' home are likely submerged as well.

His wife, Rebecca, gave birth to their daughter just days before Katrina hit and
is still rattled by their exodus, the uncertainty and what she sees happening to
their city day after day on television.

"You take it one step at a time," he said. "And I don't know, I don't have the
crystal ball."

But he thinks many who called New Orleans home -- loved the pace of it, the
life of it, the very thought of it -- won't return.

It will likely be rebuilt, the pieces reassembled. But Arroyo doesn't know if it
can ever be the same. And that can also be said of his life, he pointed out.

"When you're stripped of everything like this, when you have no home to go to,
when you're a refugee, it purifies you. I mean, you're brought down to basics,"
Arroyo said softly. "But I found something on the other side of this horrible
thing. Our house is gone, our material possessions are gone. But I'm more focused
on my kids and my wife and my parents -- and we're all together here -- than
I ever was before. And you do grow to a deeper appreciation of each and every
little face around that table. And you cherish them more. You do."

He discovered something that Mother Angelica -- whose own life had been
marred by so much tragedy -- wanted him to understand all these years that
he has worked for her: things change, life shifts in ways you can't expect, what
you have today could be gone tomorrow. Where you are now may not be where
you will stay. And that's OK.

"I lost my home," he said. And he didn't just mean his house. He meant the city
that he loved, and all that it meant to those who loved it, too. He looked toward
where his wife, his children, his parents were gathered, starting the hard work
of arranging life as evacuees."I lost my home. But the heart of my home
is with me."

Raymond Arroyo's Web site is

Embryo Stem Cells Genetically Unstable after Long Cultivation

With adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells already doing good, one would think that they would not need to kill babies in order to get embryonic stem cells which are not doing ANY good... now, with this news, perhaps babies will be safe. They have also been causing tumors, etc in the test animals... Also, see the score board at the bottom of this article, and see here for the lists of successful use of stem cells in treatment of different diseases!

Embryo Stem Cells Genetically Unstable after Long Cultivation
Discovery may end hopes of using embryo stem cells directly in therapeutic applications

BALTIMORE, September 6, 2005 ( - Human embryonic stem cells have long been known to be unstable and difficult to control. In some cases, where they have been used directly in therapeutic trials, the use of embryo stem cells has been disastrous for patients. Now a researcher from Johns Hopkins University, an institution that has backed the use of embryos for research, has found that embryonic stem cells that are cultured in the lab accumulate genetic changes that may be linked to cancer.

Like a genetic game of “telephone” the longer the cells are cultivated, the more the genetic errors grow. Says Dr. Aravinda Chakravarti a geneticist at the Institute of Genetic Medicine of Johns Hopkins University in a report in the journal Nature Genetics, “These mutations we are finding are a much bigger problem.”

Chakravarti’s research team found that as they were cultured, stem cell lines went through 35 cell divisions and found that 90% showed changes in patterns of methylation – the process in which certain genes in a cell are turned on or off – 22% had mutations in mitochondrial DNA and 50% had major deletions or amplifications in the DNA. Moreover, it was the connection between the particular genetic problems the cells developed and the formation of tumours that was most worrying.

“[I]f it turns out these cells really do become unstable over time,” Chakravarti said, “then that would put limits on the practical life spans of the cells and their usefulness for therapeutic purposes.”

Chakravarti told the New Scientist that a possible solution would be to use the cells only when they are new and before extensive cultivation and division. However, the use of embryonic stem cells for disease treatment depends upon a long process of cultivation and differentiation into particular tissue types. Chakravarti’s discovery may end any lingering hopes of using embryo stem cells directly in therapeutic applications.

This discovery of the degradation of the genome of cultured stem cells comes at the same time a member of the UK’s House of Lords has decried the hype surrounding embryonic stem cells. The news media and certain factions in the scientific community have long promised that the use of cells derived from embryos and aborted foetuses will cure diseases, usually naming Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Meanwhile all the news regarding real cures and treatments for these and other serious diseases from adult stem cells goes largely unreported.

Speaking on the eve of this year's British Association Festival of Science, saying that the business of science is not certainty but uncertainty, one of the UK’s leading fertility experts and a supporter of embryo research, Lord Robert Winston said, “I think we need to be considerably more modest about our science. We do tend to hype up so many activities. The latest one in biology is the issue of embryonic stem cells. I view the current wave of optimism about embryonic stem cells with growing suspicion.”

Lord Winston pointed out, at nearly the same moment as the discovery at Johns Hopkins, that one of the biggest problems with embryonic stem cells was that “cultured stem cells are inherently unstable. When grown in the laboratory, they often produced cells with chromosomal abnormalities.”

Read New Scientist coverage

Read Lord Winston’s comments in The Scotsman

Read related coverage



The Score Has Changed!

Check the Score! Benefits of Stem Cells to Human Patients - Do No Harm

US Flags at Half-Mast for Former Chief Justice Rehnquist

Another good article about Rehnquist


US Flags at Half-Mast for Former Chief Justice Rehnquist

WASHINGTON, September 6, 2005 ( – US President George W. Bush ordered flags to half mast to observe a period of mourning for former Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who passed away from thyroid cancer Saturday.

Rehnquist, who served on the court for a total of 33 years, 19 of those as Chief Justice, will be remembered by pro-lifers for his opposition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US. “Even today, when society’s views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the ‘right’ to an abortion is not so universally accepted as (Roe) would have us believe,” he wrote at the time. He often dissented from opinions that were not grounded in the written Constitution, such as those that extended constitutional protection to virtual child pornography and sodomy.

The President remembered Rehnquist as a man who “revered the Constitution and laws of the United States. He led the judicial branch of government with tremendous wisdom and skill,” Bush added. “He honored America with a lifetime of service, and America will honor his memory.”

Concerned Women for America (CWA) applauded Rehnquist, who they said, “never deviated from his strong pro-life interpretation of the Constitution and the right of the states to regulate abortion and ban partial birth abortion.” Jan LaRue, CWA’s chief counsel added that Rehnquist “Considered Roe v. Wade as an affront to the Constitution – a position shared by most constitutional scholars, pro-life and pro-choice.”

The US National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) quoted Rehnquist’s dissenting remarks, as only one of two dissenters from Roe v. Wade. “To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment,” Rehnquist wrote.

NRLC pointed out that, with Rehnquist's death, the current Supreme Court is divided 6 to 2 in favor of Roe v. Wade. The Court has been divided 5-4 in favor of partial-birth abortion, however. Rehnquist voted to allow states to prohibit the method, while Justice O'Connor, who retired this summer, voted to say that Roe v. Wade prevented bans on partial-birth abortion.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, “As Chief Justice, Mr. Rehnquist was a principled jurist and had shown the greatest respect for the text and history of the Constitution. As Chief Justice, Rehnquist left the Supreme Court with a distinguished legacy,” he added.


Tiller's Clinic Shredding Documents? Why?

Has he got something he does not want Kansas Attorney General to see if the court orders him to tuen them over? Is he doing late illegal term abortions and not reporting older guys impregnating children?

Thank you to Nancy Valko for sending this: - Tuesday September 6, 2005

Abortion Clinic Caught Shredding Documents as Kansas Court Considers Mandating Records Release

WICHITA, Kansas, September 6, 2005 ( - Women's Health Care Services, the late-term abortion mill run by the notorious George R. Tiller was caught Friday, September 2, 2005 shredding hundreds of medical documents. The action occurred just days before oral arguments are to be heard by the Kansas Supreme Court on September 8 in the dispute between Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and Tiller over Kline's demand for medical records in his criminal investigations of child rape and possible illegal late term abortions.

Operation Rescue witnessed and photographed two large trucks from Security Shredding & Recycling, Inc., parked in the abortion mill parking lot while employees brought out box after box of what appeared to be medical records for shredding.

The shredding took place just one day after Tiller's abortion mill and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed court papers accusing Kline of contempt of court for allegedly violating a gag order when giving interviews about the case. Kline insists that he has behaved appropriately and has not revealed any sensitive details about the case.

According to Operation Rescue, this is the second week that Tiller has been seen shredding documents. Last week, red bags marked "infectious waste" were dumped in the clinic's dumpsters, in an apparent violation of medical waste disposal laws. Police were summoned and discovered that the bags contained "shredded documents."

"We didn't think much of it until Friday when the industrial shredders showed up," said Karen Myers, who had reported the infectious waste incident to police.

"This is more than suspicious behavior on the part of Tiller. It is possible obstruction of justice. It leaves one to wonder what kind of nefarious activity Tiller is attempting to hide," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "We demand that the state enjoin Tiller from further destruction of potentially incriminating documents pending a full investigation."

View more photos at:


Bob Denver Is Dead at 70

Bob Denver Is Dead at 70; Star of 'Gilligan's Island'

Published: September 7, 2005

Bob Denver, whose television roles as Gilligan, the wacky first mate in "Gilligan's Island," and Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik with a bongo in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," were first hits, then cult classics, died on Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 70.

Fred Prouser/Reuters

Bob Denver died on Friday. He was 70.

Associated Press

Bob Denver was best known for his role in "Gilligan's Island."

Mike Eisenstadt, Mr. Denver's agent, announced the death, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Denver was being treated for cancer at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital and underwent quadruple bypass surgery earlier this year.

Mr. Denver's most famous role, shown in continuous reruns since the show's first run ended in 1967, was as Gilligan, first mate of the S.S. Minnow, which is shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island after a typhoon. Regular whacks on the head by the hat of the skipper, Jonas Grumby, played by Alan Hale Jr., were typical of the indignities that Gilligan endured as part of the show's exuberant physical comedy.

Others of the castaways included a millionaire couple, Thurston Howell III, played by Jim Backus, and Mrs. Lovey Howell, played by Natalie Schafer. There was a curvaceous starlet, Ginger Grant, played by Tina Louise; a sexy farm girl, Mary Ann Summers, played by Dawn Wells, and a science professor, Roy Hinkley, played by Russell Johnson.

The Denver and Hale interaction was modeled on that of Laurel and Hardy, including Mr. Hale focusing exasperated reactions directly into the camera, just as Oliver Hardy had done. Gilligan's first name, almost never uttered on the show, was Willy.

"Gilligan's Island" began in 1964 and immediately became a commercial hit for CBS on Saturday night. It was rewarded by being moved to Thursdays for its second season, and again handily won the biggest audience its time period. For the third season, it went to Mondays and was again successful.

The cast and crew assumed there would be another season, but CBS canceled the series in order to lengthen "Gunsmoke" from a half-hour to a full hour.

The show never aspired to be more than light mass entertainment, according to Tom Shales in The Washington Post in 2004. He said Sherwood Schwartz, the executive producer of the show, named the S.S. Minnow after Newton N. Minow, the Federal Communications Commission chairman who in 1961 called the prime-time television schedule "a vast wasteland."

But the 98 episodes of the show over its three seasons have thrived in reruns, and spawned two animated series, with Mr. Denver's voice in a starring role, as well as a science-fiction version, also with Mr. Denver. He even played Gilligan in an episode of "Baywatch," as well as starring in three made-for-TV movies based on "Gilligan's Island."

In "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which ran from 1959 to 1963, Mr. Denver was the goofy friend of Dobie Gillis, a purportedly typical American teenager played by Dwayne Hickman. Others in the cast included the future stars Tuesday Weld and Warren Beatty.

Maynard's laid-back attitude was repeatedly expressed in his wild exclamation "Work!?" whenever anyone uttered the word within hearing distance. His offbeat humor was typified by his explanation of his middle initial: "The G stands for Walter."

In 1970 Mr. Denver made a well-received transition to the stage by replacing Woody Allen in Mr. Allen's Broadway play "Play It Again, Sam." Clive Barnes of The New York Times wrote that Mr. Denver had "a genuine clownlike wistfulness."

Mr. Denver was born on Jan. 9, 1935, in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from high school in Brownwood, Tex. The family moved to California, where Mr. Denver graduated from Loyola University, one of the predecessors to today's Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; Mr. Hickman was also a student there. He acted with the Del Ray Players in Los Angeles and made his first theatrical appearance in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." He got a screen test for the part of Maynard G. Krebs and to his surprise won the part.

Other television shows in which he appeared included "The Good Guys" (1968-70) and "Dusty's Trail" (1973), a virtual copy of "Gilligan's Island," set on a lost wagon train. He also starred in a children's program, "Far Out Space Nuts" (1975), which was essentially Gilligan in space.

He lived in Princeton, Va., where he was co-host of a syndicated radio show with his wife, Dreama Perry Denver. He also did occasional television shows and attended many fan fests dressed as Gilligan.

In addition to his wife, his third, he is survived by his sons, Patrick and Colin; his daughters, Megan and Emily; and a granddaughter.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bob Denver Died on Friday

My brother in law will be very saddened, as he watches reruns of Gilligan's Island all the time.

My condolences to his spouse, who said that he was her life, and she will love him forever...

No way to get people out before Katrina hit?

Been reading other blogs today about Katrina. Thanks to a tip from Tom McMahon's blog, I followed his link to this story, and this picture... I had seen this on the news... as I was wondering why they did not have busloads of people being taken out of at LEAST the below sea level area of New Orleans... seems that there may not be any good reason for not providing transportation for the poor who had no way out...

Sorry, I don't know how to link or trackback.... there is more to the post at the website.

Reader Eric sent us this photo last night. It's a higher-res update of the infamous Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. Note the oil slick streaming from the bus engines:

With the improved resolution we count 255 buses in that one lot. That means at a capacity of 66 on board, 16,830 New Orleans residents could have been evacced out in one trip. Even if you have a lower capacity per bus, say 50 per bus, you're still getting nearly 13,000 out in one run. In an emergency mandatory evacuation, you could probably get away with putting more than 66 on each of those buses.

When we said that the buses are now expenses instead of assets, this is what we meant. Not only are those buses ruined, their disuse resulting in lives lost, but now they're spilling oil and gas out into the already polluted water. A spark near that slick could cause yet another fire and a whole new set of explosions.

It appears another small school bus lot in New Orleans sat unused too. It's in this NOAA image. Here's a cropped detail:

Looks like 13 buses there. That's enough transportation to get another 500-1000 people out of town before the storm hit.

There may be more evacuation resources sitting out there if anyone wants to keep digging using the raw images or Google Earth. For instance, there were at least a few airport buses sitting at the closed airport.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"I met Jesus on the bus today."

I received a very powerful email yesterday from one of my groups. It has stayed with me, and I asked his permission to post it here. With just a few minor changes (editorial wise) and a request to be known only by 'Anonymous', he graciously gave me permission.

Thank you, 'Anonymous'. You have learned the lesson of Mother Teresa!
God bless!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I wish to tell you how I met Jesus on the bus today.

Now before you hit the "Delete" button, hear me out. I'd like a chance to explain first- and then you may delete me to your heart's content.

As some of you may or may not remember- aside from being a deacon in the Catholic Church- I am also a firefighter/EMT with the city of Austin, Texas. As such, I have just spent the last 24-36 hours of my shift helping- along with scores of other firefighters, EMTs, and volunteers from all walks of life -the literally thousands of refugees who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and who are- even as we speak -being flown in by commercial and military aircraft in order that they may be temporarily relocated at various shelters here in and throughout Austin. My work was with those who would be primarily housed at the Austin Convention Center with Palmer Auditorium serving as an auxiliary emergency medical treatment center for those needing more serious medical care.

One of my many duties this past day and a half was to assist the refugees from the aircraft onto various school and public transportation buses, which would then take them from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to the Austin Convention Center where they would receive- in addition to medical attention they might need -hot food, hot showers, and place to finally sleep (many of whom had been up for more than 24 hours straight getting here to Austin).

Once loaded on board the buses, my job was then to ride that bus with them to (1) help maintain order, and (2) to provide any emergency medical treatment that may be needed while en-route. As you might imagine, this was quite an undertaking- and an undertaking of a nature that invariably results in sometimes lengthy delays as various logistical problems and kinks are worked out on the fly.

As a result, I was given the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with these folks talking with- and in some cases -ministering to them. I was struck by many things.

It struck me with that that many of these people had been through a literal hell was the understatement of the year. The stories many of them would tell me on the bus ride from the airport to the convention center touched, moved, and often saddened me to tears. I am not ashamed to admit that in the least.

I heard first hand the many stories of their fight to stay alive long enough to be rescued. Then, having been rescued, of their having to continue to fight for their survival at the various shelters set up f the evacuees- many of whom came from the Superdome itself (their accounts of the conditions there are *absolutely* and *unbelievably* horrendous to hear).

I heard stories of those who were separated from loved ones.

I heard the fears and concerns for those that were left behind to an unknown fate.

Stories of those who did not make it.

I saw women- and men -with fresh bruises on their faces and bodies- some of them caused by those who would pray upon the weak and defenseless.

I saw traumatized men, women, and children of all ages, shapes and sizes.

I saw and heard the sorrow of families torn apart by Katrina- of children separated from their mothers and fathers- of mothers and fathers separated from their children- of husbands and wives separated from one another.

I saw those who had no family but a beloved pet dog or cat. (I do not exaggerate when I say that when the rear cargo hatch of the Air Force C17 opened up, it looked as if Noah's Ark itself had landed, so numerous were the pets that were fortunate enough to be rescued along with their owners!)

I saw those who had no one or nothing.

I saw people whose remaining earthly possessions could be fitted into containers ranging in size and shape from shoulder bags, duffle bags, to small carry-on suitcases, to cardboard boxes- to what could be stuffed into a medium sized, black, Hefty Trash bag.

I saw people who were so exhausted, dehydrated, and hungry that we had to carry and/or wheel them from the arriving aircraft onto nearby buses and ambulances for immediate EVAC to either one of the many hospitals in the city (IF room was available), or to the temporary emergency treatment/trauma center at the Palmer Event Center.

The healthier ones (or the "walking wounded" as they were sometimes called- not out of disrespect -for we understood that though they may not be physically injured in some way, they were certainly psychologically and spiritually wounded) were transported directly to the convention center, where they underwent further triage and assistance, until they were finally able to shower, obtain clean clothes- and the first hot meal many of them have had since before Katrina struck on Monday, and- finally -a place to safely lay their wearied bodies.

Of the many conversations I had with our displaced brothers and sisters over the course of the last twenty-four hours, one short but poignant conversation really touched my heart. I was sitting next to a 79 year old gentleman who turned to me and said, "Ya know, after all the terrible things I've been through and all the terrible things I saw over the last few days- especially the last 24 -after looking at all the people and all the work it took to get this tired old man to Austin, Texas..." his voice beginning to tremble slightly "I'm more convinced now than ever before that there are still a lot of good people left in this world. Thank you."

This might sound a bit dumb, but I was momentarily and literally dumbstruck. Imagine! This man- after all that he'd been through since a Hurricane named Katrina practically washed out to sea most of the life this man has ever known -thanking ME- a dumb ol' firefighter? After all, what had I really done to deserve such words of praise and thankfulness? What I’ve done is nothing compared to the efforts of so many others…

Then I suddenly snapped to and realized, "It's not just YOU he's thanking, you goof! He's thanking all those who've helped him over these last few days. All those souls who've given of themselves to show a complete and total stranger so much love, concern and compassion- all those who've cared for him, fed him, clothed him and gone out of their way to make a (now) homeless stranger feel welcomed in a strange city in Texas called 'Austin'."

(The only defense I could possibly offer for such a momentary lapse and slowness of awareness and insight is that I had been up for almost 24 hours straight myself breathing mostly jet fumes.)

So I said the only thing I could think to say: "You are very, very welcome, Sir. It's the least we can do for you all after all that you've been through."

It wasn't until a few moments ago- this very evening- feeling a little bad that I had to miss Mass today because of work, and how I wouldn't be receiving Christ in the Eucharist (at least today), that it hit me: Matthew 25: 35-40!!

I may not have been able to attend Mass or receive Christ in the Eucharist today, but perhaps I received something even better: I got to spend the entire night and most of the day riding the bus and talking with Jesus in the flesh!

-Jesus in the form of the 79 year old man.

-Jesus in the form a little boy who was so traumatized by what he'd been through that he buried his head- and kept it buried -in my neck all the way from the airport to the convention center.

-Jesus in the elderly woman confined to a wheelchair because of diabetes and arthritis.

-Jesus in the young man who was suffering from withdrawal.

-Jesus in the scared and worried woman who had lost her husband somewhere between Houston and Austin (but who eventually found each other later at the convention center).

So yes, I got to ride the bus with Jesus today alright. And he came to me in many different shapes and sizes, wearing many different faces, and looking at me with many different sets of eyes. And in those I eyes I saw and met the Christ- in every single last one of these "least" ones.

And so we sat next to each other and talked; he speaking to me with a Cajun dialect, and I to him with a bit of a Texas drawl.

Call me crazy or simply sleep deprived if you wish, but after I get some rest I plan on spending a little more time with Jesus again tomorrow- and I can't wait to see what he's going to look like this time!

Now, if you like, you may delete this letter- but before you do I would like to ask one more thing of you, and that is for all of you to please pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and all who are working to save lives, restore order, and to give aid and comfort to all those in need that they may know God’s strength and compassion.

God bless all of you for your prayers.

Yours in Christ Jesus,