Thursday, August 09, 2007

Iowa Catholic School Board Upholds Catholic Identity - Accepts Resignation of Divorced and Remarried Teacher

There are really several news stories in this update sent by Nancy Valko, RN that I could speak to. But having already posted CNA's story on this subject, I want to follow it up with a much more in depth article found at I have also highlighted parts that are of special interest ....As yesterday after reading this in CNA News update... all I can say is Wow, and good for Archbishop Hanus and Judge Stigler!
HT to Nancy Valko, RN!!
God bless

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: nancyvalkoDate: Aug 9, 2007 2:10 PM

Iowa Catholic School Board Upholds Catholic Identity - Accepts Resignation of Divorced and Remarried Teacher

By Hilary White

DUBUQUE Iowa, August 8, 2007 ( - Members of the Waterloo Cedar Valley Catholic Schools Board voted unanimously last night to accept the resignation of a teacher, Tom Girsch, 59, who had remarried after a civil divorce, but who, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, is still married to his first wife. The vote follows a previous vote in July when the board declined to accept the former teacher's resignation.

Catholic teaching does not recognise civil divorce as dissolving a marriage, and considers that a person who remarries without a declaration of nullity (i.e. that the marriage never existed in the first place) from the Church is committing adultery. Before the vote, a letter was read from Archbishop Jerome Hanus of the Dubuque Archdiocese who said that the Catholic identity of the school board was at stake.

Girsch, who taught social studies and served as a sports coach, had originally resigned from his job at Columbus High School after it was revealed he had remarried after a civil divorce. Girsch had tried and failed to obtain a declaration of nullity. But on July12, the board voted 6 to 8 to reject the resignation. At the time of the second vote, Girsch had sought court intervention, but the judge declined to intervene in an internal church matter.

The Waterloo Courier reports that the board voted to accept Girsch's resignation after receiving a letter from Archbishop Hanus that said the issue was not about one man but the nature of the Catholic school and its relationship to the Church.

Hanus wrote about "sacredness and indissolubility of Christian marriage" saying, "Teachers play a key role in the teaching of the faith." The letter reminded the board that its constitution required it to be in agreement with Catholic doctrine. In refusing Girsch's resignation in July, the letter said, the board had attempted to act contrary to Church teaching, and therefore has jeopardized its Catholic identity. "This is unacceptable and requires correction by the CVCS board," the letter read.

Jeff Henderson, the archdiocese superintendent of schools said at the board's meeting, "From where I'm standing, it appears that Catholicity, to some degree, stands in the balance."

"To me tonight, one of the things you need to decide first and foremost is whether you want to be a Catholic school or a private school."

Judge George Stigler had earlier denied a temporary injunction to stop the meeting, saying it would involve the courts too deeply in a matter of religious freedom. "Were this an ordinary corporation, you might have a point," he said. "But when the corporation is in itself the church, how do we do what you would have me do without getting too involved with the workings of the Catholic Church?"

The case highlights the growing pressure on Christian institutions to ignore their religious principles in favour of secular values, particularly the political aims of the homosexual movement.

In contrast with the even-handed ruling from Judge Stigler, a notorious case in 2002 in Ontario saw a court ordering a Catholic school to allow a male student to bring a homosexual date to the graduation dance. In May 2002, Superior Court Justice Robert MacKinnon ruled that not only was the school required to allow Marc Hall to bring his boyfriend as a date, but that Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school was not allowed to cancel the dance to avoid public scandal.

Court Forbids Catholic School from Barring Homosexual Date from Prom

Baby Wilke and Midnight Warrior (update)

Baby Wilke and Midnight Warrior
Posted by: Bodie & Brock Thoene on Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Dear friends,

Wilke is 8 days old today. Progress is slow but steady. She is able to eat 1cc of milk per feeding. The NICU nurses are wonderful. Weeks and months from now Mommy and Daddy will hold her in their arms and know that your prayers and love were part of the life of Wilke. So many of you have written stories and prayers and scriptures letting Luke and Sarah know you are praying for them and their little one. May the Lord return every blessing on you and your family!

1 Thessalonians 5:15b-18 says, "...Always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you..."

WOW! As we receive and embrace your outpouring of hope and love for baby Wilke, we have become even more aware of how important our prayers are in return for you and for others whom the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts. But how do we keep up with so many needs?
My mother taught me to keep a prayer journal. Hers had a list of hundreds of names. When she saw tragedy on the news, she taught us to pray for those affected.

Scripture says we are to intercede for one another.  "THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST FOR YOU!"

Your prayers make a difference even in the lives of strangers. Below is a letter and a song called Midnight Warrior written and sent to us from Tiffany Cobb with music and vocal by Lizi Baily. It is so beautiful and touched all of us and especially Sarah when she heard it! We hope you can listen to the song, but if you can't hear it, the words are powerful and true and meant for all of us.

We rest well, knowing there are intercessors standing in the gap for our granddaughter.

Thanks and God's great blessings to you!
Bodie for Brock, Sarah, Luke and all our big family!

Midnight Warrior (c) copyright by TIFFANY COBB and Lizi Baily
All rights reserved

As I read Lori's letter on your website this morning, I knew I just had to send you this song. 
The song is called "Midnight Warrior."   I wrote it three years ago - God gave it to me, really - and then two years ago, a friend of mine wrote the music.  For years and years, God had waked me in the middle of the night to pray for people.  I think at first, I didn't understand that HE was waking me to pray.  Something like Samuel, you know?  But slowly, I came to understand . . . and to obey His call . . .
And then one day, in the fall of 2003, our son, Elijah Israel, was just over two years old. I sat in my driveway and cried out to the Lord, "What are we going to do?"  And he said, "WE are not going to do anything.  I AM."  He began to speak Psalm 121 over me and to explain to me why He had given us the name Elijah Israel for our son.  I cried out to Him, "Please, God, wake someone to pray for this baby like you have waked me to pray for others all these years."  And He did - someone I hardly knew at the time but who has now become like part of our family.  Nearly a year later, standing in my laundry room folding clothes one day, I said, "Lord, how can I say thank you to my friend?  She hardly knew me, didn't even know my child, and yet she obeyed."  And faster than I could write them down, He gave me these words:
In the darkness one night
God woke me and said
You must get up now and pray
For your friend is in need
And I'm counting on you
To stand in the gap until day
So I stood in the gap
As the Enemy flung
His arrows by night and by day
And I took every hit
With the armor of God
Protecting me as I would pray
In the gap
Then the time came when my heart
Was breaking with grief
And I cried out to God in my need
Please wake someone to pray
As You've always waked me
Get them up!
Get them down on their knees!
And my God in His faithfulness
Answered my cry
He spoke softly my name in the night
To my friend as she slept
He said, "Get up and pray,
For I'm counting on you for this fight."
So she stood in the gap
As the Enemy flung
His arrows by night and by day
And she took every hit
With the armor of God
Protecting her as she would pray
In the gap
Friend, if God wakes you up
In the dark of the night
Or stops you in midst of your day
If He brings to your mind
The name of a friend
Trust His Voice, midnight warrior, and pray
Won't you stand in the gap
As the Enemy flings
His arrows by night and by day
Won't you take every hit
With the armor of God
Protecting you now as you pray
In the gap
With the breastplate of righteousness
Shield of the faith,
And the sword of the Spirit in hand
Salvation your helmet
And Truth as your belt
Warrior, stand by the blood of the Lamb!
Soldier, stand in the gap
As the Enemy flings
His arrows by night and by day
Warrior, take every hit
With the armor of God
Protecting you now as you pray
In the gap
I pray this song will minister to you, to Brock, to Sarah, Luke, and Wilke and that you will rest in God's faithfulness to you and in knowing that He has appointed intercessors over each of you.
Much love, many blessings,
Tiffany Cobb

Copyright © 2007

Catholic board accepts school teacher's resignation

Archbishop Hanus and Judge Stigler.... wow!!
God bless!!

Des Moines, August 8 (CNA).-The right of a Catholic school to demand consistency between the teachings of the Church and the behaviors of its staff has been defended by Church hierarchy and upheld by the law in the case of a teacher who resigned.

The Waterloo Cedar Valley Catholic Schools Board on Monday voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Tom Girsch, 59, a longtime Catholic schoolteacher and coach at Columbus High School, reported the Des Moines Register.

This was the second vote in less than a month concerning Girsch's employment. It came at the request of Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque and the superintendent of schools. In its first vote in July, the board voted 6 to 8 to reject Girsch's resignation. Archdiocese officials argued that, in its first vote, Cedar Valley had acted contrary to archdiocese policy and Church law.

Girsch divorced in 1997 and was asked to resign when school officials found out he had remarried in August 2006. In an attempt to save his job, Girsch sought an annulment. When it was denied, he submitted his resignation.

Girsch failed to block the second vote when Black Hawk District Judge George Stigler said he would not interfere with the right of the Church to conduct its business, "even if an individual does suffer injury."

Monday, August 06, 2007

Haylie Mackenna--already a camera ham at 20 wks

Today was the day that my son and his wife 'met' their daughter, Haylie Mackenna. They had their ultrasound, and their daughter was VERY cooperative, including a wave to her Mommy and Daddy~ see below.....

I am not sure you can see it, but in the first one, my son says it looks like she is 'smirking', and indeed, there is a very tiny smile. They were THRILLED to learn that our hospital has 4D ultrasounds!

She is just twenty weeks old, and was VERY active, even playing with her umbilical cord... well.. there really isn't much to entertain her in utero, now, is there? lol

Oh... according to my son... Mackenna is Irish (Celtic, Gaelic), meaning daughter of a handsome man... wonder who picked it out? My son, probably... whose name also can mean 'Handsome man' according to his information ( Gentle, Noble one according to all of mine... ) Don't ask ME where he got that info, as Mackenna does not say daughter of handsome man in my source... LOL

But he is VERY PROUD Daddy, and plans to follow in his Father in law's footsteps... and learn how to clean guns before Haylie Mackenna gets to the age where the boys come calling...

"Do you hunt, Kev?"

"Uhm, no..."...

"Well I DO!" (said as future fil cocks the of several he just 'happened to be cleaning' the day he met my son for the first time--showing he meant business... LOL)

Proud Daddy said that he is also going to have Haylie Mackenna learn self defense... like Tae Kwan Do, or Karate....

Haylie's Mommy is just glowing, looking at her 'petite' daughter... and she asked me if I could guess who cried during the ultrasound... no doubt in my mind... it was my son. I knew he would... Gentle, Noble One...

There will be a repeat ultrasound on Oct 5th, and THIS one, Grandmas can attend.

Haylie Mackenna, stay well, grow well, and I cannot wait to truly meet you!

God bless!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

About Babies and God`s Love By Lori Kalner

This child that Lori speaks of, if the story is true, would be almost exactly my age right now. Lori writes this as an encouragement for the Thoene family at the premature birth of Wilke.
God bless!!
About Babies and God`s Love
Posted by: Lori Kalner on Sunday, August 05, 2007

From Lori Kalner to the Thoene family and all who have loved a child.

There was a story I heard in 1949 when I was in Israel.
     I did not know then if it could be true,  but it gave me such hope at the time that I have not forgotten it.  
     There was baby girl born in Dachau some weeks before the end of the war and before the liberation of the death camps.   The mother had carried her for eight months and was so thin no one knew she was pregnant.  The Nazis would have killed the expectant mother at once had they known.  
     The night the baby was born there was a prisoner who was a nurse living in the barracks.  She helped the mother deliver.   There was no antiseptic; nothing clean or sterile to wrap the baby in. A thread from a prison garment was used to tie off the cord. The baby was,  at most 3 pounds; a tiny thing, and yet as she gave a small bleating cry which awakened life and the will to live and to protect that baby, in the heart of every woman held captive in that hellish place!
I will not speak about what happened to Jewish babies who fell into the hands of Nazis except to say there was great and terrible danger to the baby if she was discovered.  Allied bombers passed overhead and the prisoners knew the end of the war was near.  If only they could preserve the life of the baby!  They thought, the Americans would soon come and perhaps one little life would be saved. 

      And so began among the women prisoners, an elaborate conspiracy to protect and preserve the life of the little one at all costs.  They hid her from the Nazi guards who stopped going into the barracks because of disease. The baby was nursed by her mother and by two other women who had lost their own babies.  What little physical surplus these women had on their own bodies,  turned to milk for the baby.  The three of these women together were able to nurse her and keep her alive.   It seemed the ultimate irony that in the midst of such misery was one tiny reminder of God's love. This baby became the symbol of hope for every woman in the barracks.   Prisoners shared their rations to the nursing women and gathered round to watch and rejoice when the baby ate.   They thought,  "If this baby can only survive until the allies come!  Perhaps then hope itself will survive."
    On the rare occasions the Kapos inspected,  the baby was concealed and nursed lest it cry and be discovered. 

"God will quiet you with His love."  Zephaniah 3:17  

     All the focus was on this hope that the baby would live.  Every heart longed for the life of this innocent baby to be saved.  

     When, at last, some weeks passed and the allies came in to liberate Dachau,   this tiny miracle baby was brought out into the light and given to the Allied Doctors.  The story is that she grew up and has had a wonderful life and her children and grandchildren now live in Israel.  

I write this story to you because I believe that babies, even very tiny, unexpected ones; babies who face danger when they come into the world;   become the mirrors in which God's loving image is reflected in our hearts.  They are vulnerable and in need so that we can demonstrate God's love in our actions.  

     You have found a love so strong for your little one residing in your heart.  Love for our children is a surprising love. It overpowers us with a desire to protect and a longing for the little one to grow strong and healthy!  We would give up our own life to save our child.  Is this not what the Lord did for us?
      When we see our own baby for the first time,  we understand in that moment how much our parents loved us.  We also remember that a child never loves a parent with the strength with which a parent loves a child.  But when that child is grown,  he loves his children as his parents loved him!  And so that immense treasure of love is transferred from generation to generation. 
      There is a saying that we do not love our children so they will love us…but we love them so they will one day love their children. 
     We are now all longing for baby Wilke to grow strong and well.   We think of her and are reminded of so many other babies and mothers and fathers who also need the nourishment of our prayers and support.   

It is never just the mother and father alone who raise a baby,  but those all around in extended family and churches who offer their bread of love to help the parents nurse and nourish their little one.

Baby Wilke is only a few days old and the struggle looks long before you but you are not alone.  You are weary and may wonder how you will get through this time until the danger is past.  

I know you are supported by the love of your family and those around the world who pray in the middle of the night when they awaken. God hears our prayers for the sake of this child.    I am certain the love of your family and those of us outside looking on who are praying and who really care for you,  will see you through.

Blessings in Jesus the Lord,
Lori Kalner    

Copyright © 2007