Fr Imbarrato and the Lord

On Saturday afternoon drivers on Main Street in Fitchburg Massachusetts saw a sight they had likely not seen before.

Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life and sometimes EWTN personality was in Fitchburg from New Mexico for the 2nd of three days in Massachusetts invited by WQPH 89.3 FM. Both Friday and Sunday would involve events and dinners in the Boston area but after a breakfast in Medford the rest of Saturday belonged to Fitchburg and it was an active one

He would celebrate daily mass at St. Bernards Parish at St. Camillus Church at noon, he would be the guest of honor at a lunch at Slattery’s. He would celebrate the Divine Mercy Vigil mass at the now closed Madonna of the Holy Rosary and would hear so many confessions that evening that it would delay the Dinner at that’s church’s hall and his speech there.

But the Highlight of the day and indeed his trip was to come at 2:30 when he would lead that most Catholic and most rare of events at least around here, a Eucharistic Procession where the Holy Eucharistic the actual Body blood soul and divinity of Christ would be actually be carried in full display along the street.

It was three years ago that I had covered a Eucharistic Procession from MIT to Harvard in response to the Satanic Black Mass. Saturday’s event would not be as dramatic but the target was just as evil, the Planned Parenthood location in Fitchburg which services the Worcester location to facilitate the murder and dismemberment of pre-born babies for financial gain.

at 2:30 a small crowd gathered at the old City hall including a contingent from the Knights of Columbus council #15962 St. Anthony of Padua Chapter Fr Imbarrato in full regalia held the Monstrance containing the host and began the prayers of adoration. And led by a banner calling for Rosaries to be prayed for America and an image of Divine Mercy with two angels cradling victims of abortion Fr. and the Crowd began to process from City Hall to Planned Parenthood.

In addition to this video a second person was streaming the procession live to Fr. Imbarrato’s facebook page where 2000 people watched and prayed live with us as we marched down the street praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

There were many curious reactions as the procession continued. A young girl at Espresso’s Pizza took pictures or videos with her camera as we passed. Drivers down main street slowed as they watched us, some visibly surprised at the sight of the blessed sacrament and the event drew curious looks from an art gallery where a small event was taking place at the same time.

It took about 11 minutes for the crowd of 70-80 accompanied unseen by the two thousand plus on the life stream to get to the planned parenthood location across from the parking lot where I had parked.

Unlike previous events there was no sign of counter protestors nor was there any sign of the press which was odd as fliers for the event had been distributed in the area for months. There was also a distinct lack of various people either passing by or driving by throwing the odd insult at the praying and protesting crowd. Whether it was due to the presence of the blessed sacrament or not I leave it for you to say, but there were at least two people who joined the crowd in prayer as they finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet and went to the Rosary.

Through it all Fr. Imbarrato stood there holding the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament before the Planned Parenthood site not reacting to the cars passing by, some beeping horns in support, some just staring, nor at the passers by from the young black man who took some video on his phone, to the fellow staring as he walked back to his apartment carrying this takeout from Fitchburg Jade to the Spanish Woman who looked at the sacrament and the praying and nodded in acknowledgement and approval.

Oddly there was no activity at the location itself. On previous Saturdays during protests there would be people at the location but it seemed empty and barren. Perhaps they had left early, perhaps it was a slow day but either way there was nobody entering or leaving under the visage of Christ.

At it neared 4 pm Fr. prayed the final prayers of Adoration and the host was covered and people began dispersing. Some to their homes, others to Madonna of the Holy Rosary for the next set of events which will be covered in later posts but I’ll leave you with this note.

Just under five hours later at Holy Rosary Church near the end of his talk. He informed the crowd that the number of people who had so far watched the video of the procession still available on his facebook page was in the tens of thousands. It’s worth noting that the entire population of Fitchburg is only about 40,000 souls and it remains to be seen how long it will take the number of viewers online to eclipse that figure.

But even if not a single other person watches it, this was one of the most significant Catholic events ever held in Fitchburg.  Eucharistic processions are not common these days and one led by a national leader of the prolife moment in Fitchburg is rarer still.

It’s fitting that as people gather from all over the nation in Massachusetts at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in the southwest part of the state it serves as a reminder of just how much we need mercy for.

A photo gallery follows


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The Conversion of St. Paul

“Almost all the great saints were great sinners or, like Saint Therese, knew that it was by sheer grace that they were not,”

Pope Francis

In his spectacular piece at Medium titled The Lesbian and Her Trophy Wife Stacy McCain talks about the Hustle and the grift that professional lesbianism and feminism have become.

Circa 1975, when I was a drug-addled adolescent, the Vietnam-era hippie mentality was fading like an old pair of blue jeans, replaced by a mood of cynical hedonism, as the “liberated” lifestyle became just another commercial marketing pitch.

Feminism quickly became nothing but a hustle, a scam, a way for Madison Avenue to promote commodities. “Sex sells,” and feminism is always about sex. Maybe you’re the kind of natural-born chump who believes all that jargon about the “gender binary” and women being “systematically limited,” but I know a hustle when I see one, and feminism is the biggest hustle ever.
Big Tobacco cashed in selling the Feminist™ brand, and so did all those women who parlayed their talk of “oppression” into book contracts and TV appearances and tenured professorships in Women’s Studies programs. Meanwhile, of course, there were millions of young women who, failing to recognize “liberation” as a phony scam, were trying to reconcile feminist ideology with the reality of their own unglamorous lives.

The bottom line of the piece in many ways is a favorite saying of my own: “There is nothing more dangerous than an excuse.” but more on that another day.

But today I want to talk about a single paragraph that is tangential to the piece but not to my argument here:

Some of my Christian friends say we should pray for women like Robyn Ochs to repent their sins, just as some of my non-Christian friends aren’t bothered by “bisexuality,” which they hope might lead to a ménage à trois. However, I’m not sure there’s any religious hope for feminists, because I don’t know how you can repent of sin while “celebrating” your sin as an “identity,” and how can you save Robyn Ochs’ soul, when she’s an atheist who doesn’t believe she even has a soul? Feminists do not believe that there is any eternal truth — no right and wrong, no good and evil — nor do feminists believe that human life has any intrinsic value, which is why feminists kill babies.

Feminism: We must kill more babies, because we haven’t killed them all yet!
If you want to spend time praying for soulless atheist baby-killers, go right ahead, but there are a lot of other people who probably could use God’s help, and would actually be grateful for it.

While it is true that there are many people we should remember in prayer I would remind Stacy who is a great lover of the old Testament,  of the story of Jonah and God’s admonition to him as he fuses about a dead plant that gave him shade.

Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished.

And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”

Jonah 4:10-11

Of Christ’s words concerning the lost in Luke

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’

In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:8-10

And how many people over the centuries might be burning today if God didn’t take an interest in this particular murderous sinner?

I myself once thought that I had to do many things against the name of Jesus the Nazorean, and I did so in Jerusalem. I imprisoned many of the holy ones with the authorization I received from the chief priests, and when they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them. Many times, in synagogue after synagogue, I punished them in an attempt to force them to blaspheme; I was so enraged against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities.

“On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with the authorization and commission of the chief priests. At midday, along the way, O king, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions. We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.’

And I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

Get up now, and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen (of me) and what you will be shown. I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you, to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me.’

Acts 26:9-18

God obviously things such folk are wort the effort.  This is not a coincidence as C. S. Lewis reminds us through his infernal character Screwtape:

The great (and toothsome) sinners are made out of the very same material as those horrible phenomena the great Saints.

and gives this warning in that small story Screwtape Proposes a Toast.

The great sinners seem easier to catch. But then they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first. They are capable, you see, of real repentance. They are conscious of real guilt. They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy’s sake as they were to defy them for ours.

And person familiar with the number of former abortion workers and advocates who are now tireless champions of the unborn know this to be true.

So I say yes it’s worth the time to pray for these women and I make the following suggestion to make it easier.

First lump all of the ladies that Stacy McCain writes about like Robyn Ochs into a single group called: Stacy McCain’s Women. This allows your prayers to be distributed to each new person Stacy adds to his list.

Then consider one of the two following prayers from my daily routine for them: the first invoking their guardian angel.

Angel of God their guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits them here, ever this day be at their side, the light and guard and rule and guide.

Finally offer a single decade of the Rosary (I suggest the Assumption) for them. Not specifically for their souls per say, but just for them and their needs, physical, temporal and spiritual. For who better to entrust these women to than Our Lady.

Of course you can use whatever prayer you like, what prayer is prayed is less important that it being done.

And what better day to begin the effort to produce rejoicing in heaven than the anniversary of the night where the angelic host celebrated the start of the great project of forgiveness with the words: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”?

MuhammadAliby baldilocks

Before the death of the legendary Muhammad Ali—a Muslim–I said a prayer for him–that God the Father might draw him to Jesus the Christ—and I said so on Social Media. I expected one of my few Muslim friends to take offense to this, but it is many professed Christians who seem have more of a problem with my prayer.

I wonder what Bible they’re reading—a rhetorical musing because I know that reading and comprehending are two separate concepts.

Now let’s get this straight; I have no idea whether God answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my prayer and I’m okay with not knowing. What gets me is how many Christians are saying that no deathbed conversions exist. I mean, how would anyone know one way or the other? And some are ridiculing the notion that we Christians should pray for the conversion of Ali’s Muslim family!

And then there’s that whole chronicle about the thief on the cross—the one who, through an act of faith, got a last minute get-out-of-Hell free card—a death “bed” conversion. When I mentioned it, someone actually told me that this was a one-time event—that it would never happen again!

Seriously, why believe in a god who can’t see what’s in your heart, who doesn’t know your heart infinitely better than you know it yourself, and who can’t have mercy on even the worst of us in seconds?

Why believe in a God who can’t make a day last longer than the standard 24 hours?

Why believe in a God who can’t take a murderer of Christians and turn him into Christ’s most convincing earthly apologist?

I’m unfamiliar with this deity in which many Christians say they believe—this god whose name is not El Shaddai.

I’m also unfamiliar with a deity who does not want us to pray for living unbelievers—like most of Ali’s family and a few members of my own.

I’m told that God is not willing that any should perish and that followers of Christ can move mountains with faith-fueled prayer, but some of my naysayers seem to be ignoring those words.

Whoever this limited deity is in whom some Christians say they believe, I don’t think he’s worth worshiping. As for Ali, he knows the truth now, and it’s likely that he’s full of regret. Not certain, but likely.

Don’t let that be your fate, Christians; the God I do know says that we will give an account for everything we say and do. I have enough stuff to account for and I’m sure that you do, too. Friendly advice: limit the list.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostle’s creed

Darth Vader: Your powers are weak, old man.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Star Wars 1977

 

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church entries 946-962 refer to the Communion of Saints.

To be brief the Communion of Saints consists of all believers living and dead, it is divided into three parts, The church Militant (those on earth) the Church Suffering (those in purgatory being purified prior to  heaven) and the Church Triumphant (those in heaven)

Yet all three parts of the church while currently physically separated all share in the charisms of faith

951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church.482 Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”483

And this linkage is significant because it means members of the communion of saints are in a position to exchange spiritual goods

955 “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.”492

956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”493

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.494  (St Dominic dying to his brothers) 

 

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.495 (St. Therese of Lisieux, the Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke
(Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.) 

all for the purpose of bringing us closer to Christ, and the utilization of this link is not reserved for canonized saints: emphasis mine

958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.”498Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective. 

And THAT brings us to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

One of the things that defined Justice Scalia as a man was his Catholic faith.  He was not just Catholic but VERY Catholic and was not shy about expressing it as in this excellent must read interview from NY Magazine from 2013 (the interviewers questions are in bold)

I don’t know how, by your lights, that’s going to be regarded in 50 years.
I don’t know either. And, frankly, I don’t care. Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it. At least standing athwart it as a constitutional entitlement. But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.

You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?

No.
Oh, my.

Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!

Wait, to heaven or hell?
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.

But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Of course not!

Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?

Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

By definition, Justice Scalia’s, like all those who die, is at this current moment is in one of three places or states.

Among the Damned in hell suffering the eternal punishment for the willing rejection the mercy of God through unrepented sin.

Among the Church Suffering in purgatory being purified before entering heaven.

Among those in heaven seeing God as he is, part of the Church Triumphant.

Now we have absolutely no idea as to the state of the Justice’s soul at time of his death nor the current state of his soul, but it occurs to me given the state of our country which is a cause of fear for many  a fear that has been exacerbated by the good justice’s death, that there is a rather obvious plan of action for a faithful Catholic who wishes to allay that fear an do something to help out:

Why do we not ask for Justice Scalia’s prayerful intercession for our country?

It makes perfect sense.

Assuming the justice has not been dammed he is in a better and stronger position to be of aid to America now than at any point in his life.  Furthermore if he is among the church suffering our prayers for his soul are a positive good we can do in repayment for all the good he has done for us and our country over the years.

And of course if he has already joined the Church triumphant in heaven his intercession on our behalf is just as effective as any canonized saint after all the only difference between a canonized saint and one that is not is our certain knowledge of the state of their soul.

In keeping with this idea starting today I’ve added to my daily prayer set an extra decade of the Rosary, the 4th sorrowful mystery Christ carrying the Cross,  and will offer it daily for the souls in purgatory and asking the intercession of Justice Scalia and the souls in purgatory to help America bear its crosses.

I figure it’s an excellent prayer because if the Justice is in fact damned one is still enlisting the aid of the holy souls in purgatory while giving them succor (one of the spiritual works of mercy) and if not all the advantages I’ve already listed come into play.

Now of course if you prefer to offer a different prayer or devotion, say, for example, the divine mercy chaplet, that works too.  It’s not what prayer you use in asking for the intercession but that you ARE praying and asking for intercession that makes the difference.

Picture the thought of millions of Christians asking for the intercession of St. Antonin of DC for our country on a daily basis.  I think such a thing has the power to change the world.

 

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On Tuesday, the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary WQPH radio held the first of a series of events put on by WQPH over the next several days detailed here at the old Madonna of the Holy Rosary

There was a living rosary, a birthday cake and Ice cream to celebrate our lady’s birth and the exposition of the blessed sacrament.

But I thought one of the best parts of the event was this 15 minute talk by Fr. Joe Dolan the pastor of St Bernards Parish at St. Camillus church about the Rosary and it’s evolution over time.

Give it a watch and learn something about this most Catholic of prayers

If you’re interested in the rest of the events they follow:

*******

Saturday September 12th:

Feast of the Holy Name of Mary Madonna Holy Rosary Church, Fitchburg

10am – 3pm Day Retreat – Fr Leonard ($25 offering)
10am – 4pm
Festival in Church Hall
Catholic Book Fair
WQPH Radio-a-thon
3 – 3:45pm Confession – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
4sandrpm Holy Mass – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Sunday September 13th:

Fatima Anniversary

9am HolyMass St Francis of Assisi Church, 441 Fellsway W. Medford

10:30am Breakfast Anthony’s, 105 Canal St, Malden

Susan Campbell Trainor (781) 391-7374 for tickets ($25 per person)

Special Guest: Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Monday September 14th:

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

St Bernards at St Camillus Church, Fitchburg

Noon Holy Mass with Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN

Luncheon to follow in lower church

Roland & Carol Vallee (978)343-4927 for tickets ($22 per person)

Tuesday September 15th:

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows For lost children

St Joseph Church, 114 High St., Medford

6pm Living Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and Divine Mercy Chaplet

Followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN . Contact Sandi Arjune (781) 333-4800

For more information or to volunteer to help

www.prayersforlife.org

info@wqphradio.org

781-218-2834

Intercessory Prayer

9/8/15 Living Rosary: Joan Conroy (978) 343-9278
9/12/15 Day Retreat: Chris Toloczko (508) 856-9416

 

I have a series of prayers & scripture readings that I do daily that I do daily but I’ve added to that to include four speciality decades of the Rosary that I’m discussing this morning as a suggested daily prayers to start your day because the intentions I’m prayer for can be applied to almost everyone’s situation

The first is something I’ve discussed before.  It’s the 2nd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary (The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth) and it’s offered for those on my Perpetual Twitter Novena.   On twitter you might note that I rarely argue with those who attack the faith.  The point of trying to win an argument was becoming more important than actually spreading the faith.  That’s the sin of pride.

So instead I add those people to a twitter list and as soon as I have conscious thought while still in bead I offer that decade in my head for all those people on that list.  Remember nobody is going to make a better argument for Christ then that person’s Guardian angel & the Holy Spirit, say that decade and Help them along.

My Second Prayer is the First Sorrowful Mystery (the agony in the garden) I offer this for those who do not go to confession.  The one thing that the enemy dreads more than anything other is a soul that reconciles itself to God, that accepts the grace that God offers.  It goes hand in hand with the first set of prayer but more importantly it is a reality needed to remind even devout Christians that we need to be aware of our sins and ask for forgiveness.  (again the Sin of Pride)

The 3rd Prayer is the 2nd sorrowful Mystery (The Scourging at the Pillar) It offered in conjunction with all my suffering of the day and the flesh & blood of Christ shed during his scourging for the person to die that day who is most in danger of hell.

The fact of life is this, we all die, even those who Christ & the apostles raised eventually died again.  God gives us till the moment of death to accept his outstretched hand.  We need to do all we can for those whose time is about to end and if it means some suffering or pain during our day, so be it.

Finally I finish with the 3rd Glorious Mystery (The Coming of the Holy Spirit)  I offer it for friends, my city and I also picked a pair of formerly Catholic Celebrities who I enjoy (for me it’s Tom Baker & Nick Frost) & ask the Holy Spirit to come into their hearts.  There is nothing like celebrity to take someone away from God and the culture of celebrity encourages it.  If you have a favorite actor and or actress consider offering such a prayer to start your day, if they have entertained you, made you laugh or smile, what better way can you repay them than giving them the boost that they need more than anything else.

That might seem like a lot, but praying in one’s head one finishes this sequence in under 10 minutes and that the ten minutes that you would spend in bed waking up anyways.

And if all of this is too much start with the first and see what happens.  I suspect you will find that once you make prayer a habit you’ll find yourself doing more and wanting more.  You’ll become the seed that yields 20 40 or 100 fold.

And that’s the Job description of christianity.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Like all other schools across the state and across the nation, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School in Shreveport is gearing up for rigorous state testing this month.  The new tests that students will now have to take are Common Core based and extremely tough and schools across the parish have been drilling, doing remediation, holding motivational pep rallies, and offering after school tutoring.  One principal is even calling on prayer, a move which now has him in trouble with the ACLU.

Mr. Albert Hardison is the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School; he is a quiet, kind man who always has a smile and gentle nod of his head in greeting.  He has been the principal at Walnut Hill for thirty-five years; his former students are now sending their own kids to Walnut Hill because they think so highly of him and his leadership.

Mr. Hardison attracted the attention of the ACLU when he sent home his March 2015 newsletter to parents advising them about upcoming testing schedules; the school newsletter always has a Principal’s Message to parents.  I’m going to share his message to parents in its entirety here because I want you to have the context; he wrote:

Principal’s Message – ‘Truly We Are Blessed’

“Our school may be old of age, but it is cleaned, well-maintained, and free of debris and graffiti.  Our faculty may not be monetarily rich, but they care, share, and give to our students a wealth of knowledge that will help them become our country’s doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, nurses, and yes, even presidents.  Our students come from all economic levels, communities, races, and origins, but at our school they unite and become one indivisible student body under the Walnut Hill banner of excellence, fairness, and equality for all.

“The sun may not sine outside, but inside our laughter, smiles, encouragement, praise, and love for our children dazzle the day.  Although cloudy days are sometimes evident, the light of optimism, the rays of hope and the joy of teaching and helping our students brighten these cloudy days.

“Our parents may not visit our school each day, but their support, compliments, quick response to our cry for help and love for their children and school is unwavering.

Principal Albert Hardison (Shreveport Times file photo)

“Although all children may not blossom at the same time, our faculty continues to fertilize their minds, water their thoughts, nourish their spirit, pull back the blinds so that the light can stream in, and soon, they bud, grow, and prosper.

“On mornings when the sun is beaming or hidden, our student prayer group ‘Hornets for Hope’, pray and give thanks to the Son of God for carrying our school over the thorns of negativity and the thistles of discord and setting it gently on the petals of harmony and the lily of tranquility.  Our ‘Hornets for Hope’ thank God for giving us a school that believes in God, family, and education.

“We thank God for helping us to realize that if we removed Christ, family, and teachers from the lives of our children there is no way that adding more police officers, legislating more laws, building more jails, requiring more testing, mandating more parental involvement, earning more money, or purchasing more things could ever replace the blessings of God, the love of our family, and the knowledge imparted by our teachers.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what type of house we lived in, what color our skin was, how much money we had or what brand of clothes we wore, but what will matter is that we steadfastly walked in the ways of Christ, that we honored and loved our parents, family, and fellow man and that we lived by our school motto:  ‘Work for the Best – Accept only the Best – Be the very, very Best.’

“And that in itself is truly a Blessing!

“Albert Hardison, Principal.”

Personally, I think it’s a lovely analogy and a beautiful message.  The ACLU did not agree.

On March 30, 2015, the ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to the superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools informing him that Mr. Hardison “has engaged in a pattern of religious proselytization by sending messages to parents invoking prayer, and through a lengthy ‘Principal’s Message’ on the school’s website.”  Further:

This letter is to inform you that these messages violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and comparable provisions of the Louisiana Constitution, and they must stop immediately.

They also found offense with this blurb found within the newsletter:

Phillippians 4:13. . .I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

 

Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana has demanded that all religious references be removed from Walnut Hill’s website and from all other Caddo Parish schools.  She also demands that all Caddo Parish staff be educated about “the Constitutional protections of students and staff from religious indoctrination; and Instruct the Principal of Walnut Hill that neither he nor his staff may include religious references of any kind in school communications.”

In response, Caddo Parish did indeed remove all offending references from the Walnut Hill website.  Via The Shreveport Times:

The school district issued a statement Tuesday saying it would investigate the matter internally and make certain there isn’t a Constitutional violation.

“In this instance, questionable materials subsequently have been removed from district web pages while the investigation continues,” the statement said. “If there is a violation, we will make certain we act swiftly to ensure we do not have any further violations.”

The Walnut Hill community responded, too.  Friday morning a prayer rally was held at Grawood Baptist Church and despite drizzling weather and cloudy skies, it was attended by hundreds of parents, students, former students, and other community members.

A Facebook page, Support Albert Hardison, now has over 8,000 Likes and the comments in support are powerful:

“I support Mr. Hardison 100%. All 3 of my kids go there & he is what a principal should be! He is an outstanding leader & role model for our young children! Walnut Hill is a great school & all that started with him, and the compassion that he has for our kids. He is a man that stands firm in his beliefs & we as Christians should stand firm in ours as well & support him!”

And another:

I don’t even practice any sort of religion and he has done nothing wrong. Ever since I was in 1st grade to 8th grade at that school Mr.Hardison was a huge inspiration to me. He kept me going and motivated me to do the best I could. I was going through times with severe bullying and people putting me down every day. He gave me the hope and strength to move on and set my goals for myself. Every morning I would go to his office and visit him and tell him about my day and how things were going. Every staff member at walnut hill is beyond amazing! They help out so much with the kids and care so much about them. If this adult’s child actually went to that school then they’d be satisfied with how much they help out. I’m more than 100% on his side!

There are streams of similar comments on the page.

Shreveport attorney Royal Alexander weighed in with an Op-Ed in The Shreveport Times, and went on to tie the local issue in with the current brouhaha in Indiana:

Here in Shreveport, Caddo Parish schools is investigating allegations that the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary supposedly violated the First Amendment by invoking God and Jesus and calling for prayer in school publications. However, Principal Albert Hardison has an excellent reputation and I applaud him for erring on the side of religious freedom. I strongly maintain that these types of issues are not nearly as clear as the ACLU has asserted.

The current state of the law regarding prayer in public schools is that, generally, a school official may not initiate and/or sponsor a prayer because, the argument goes, doing so tends to endorse one religion over another in violation of the Establishment Clause. However, a very important distinction has been drawn for student-initiated prayer practices such that public school facilities may be used as long as the use of the facility is truly neutral and equally available to religious and non-religious groups alike.

Another distinction has been drawn that makes allowable the study of the Bible in public schools as long as the study occurs in a purely academic manner. There are still other distinctions as well.

Parents at the school support Mr. Hardison;  I am told that Mr. Hardison “is a godly man” that doesn’t force his religion on anybody.  He puts God first in his own life, then family, and then education.  If a child asks him to pray for them, he does it (and they do), but he doesn’t force it on anyone.

Parents are upset because whomever made the complaint doesn’t have a child in the school; they don’t want any ‘watchdog’ group or outside interference in a system that clearly works.  Walnut Hill is a high-achieving school, earning a “B” letter-grade from the State Department of Education; the school has over 60% of its population on free/reduced lunch and draws from all demographics.  Mr. Hardison is clearly doing something right at Walnut Hill.

For now, the Caddo Parish School Board is investigating the ACLU complaint.  Mr. Hardison, by necessity, has issued no statement nor has he attended any of the prayer rallies or gatherings.  But he certainly can feel the love and support flooding his way.

Isn’t there someone else the ACLU can go pick on rather than a good man trying to keep kids on the right track?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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Primary Season is coming and with a 1/4 of the year gone were less that 5% toward our annual goal.

If 1000 of our readers kicked in $20 we’d be all set for a full year and I could retire DaTipJar till January of 2016.

Of course if one person wants to kick in that $20K we’ll take that too.  Help me make the good fight every single day.

We’re extending our March premium to April for tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Stacy McCain’s book:  Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature

Subscribe at $50 or more in April and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.

 

All Tip Jar hits in April of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

Matthew 7:21-23

Sunday past this tweet concerning abortion that was put out by a person called S Rhea:

Now this tweet is indicative of many pro-life tweets but it is missing something. While the child pays the highest temporal price from abortion the spiritual price for the actions are paid by all involved, the mother, those who encouraged or supported the decision to abort, the doctor & workers at the location of the abortion.

To be sure some of these people pay a temporal price but that price pales before the spiritual costs.

When we pray to end abortion it is not just a question of saving the innocent child, it is to save the guilty as well because their lives and souls are made just as much in the image of God. God loves them just as much as he does every person who marches against this horror and Christ died just as much for them as for each woman praying the rosary outside a “clinic”. To forget this is a case of willful ignorance just as pronounced as the pretence by those involved in abortion that an innocent human being is not being killed, that the childs live has no value, that an individual’s comfort and convenience trumps said life or that it’s not my problem if someone is doing this.

That trap of willful ignorance is one of two snares laid out for both sides of the abortion battle, the second is like it. Pride.

For those inside the clinic and for those outside the trap is the same, “I’m better than those evil/crazy people on the other side of that door.”

To those inside said trap is analogous to a person operating a radio jammer, it is meant to help drown out the realization of what they are doing.  It’s keeping a person focused on a mosquito trying to sting them while at the same time they are bleeding out.

The trap outside is slightly different, analogous to something I discussed Sunday morning. If you are keeping score, if you are all about being seen for the sake of being seen, for showing that YOU are standing up, to show your spiritual superiority to those you are protesting against not only does it avail your soul nothing but it puts you no less in danger of mortal sin than the people inside.

And remember the Devil doesn’t care what mortal sin damns you as long as you’re damned:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters #12

This is not of course to even slightly suggest that one should not march, or pray or work hard to stop abortion.  These are all worthy and important things, but it’s just a reminder that we are fighting an enemy that has designs on the people on both sides of that “clinic” door and it is incumbent on us to make sure we don’t forget it.

After all we can’t pull a drowning person out of the water if we fall out of the lifeboat.

Stacy McCain makes some excellent biblical points in this piece concerning a young lady who with some diabolic help has made some really bad choices 

Can you imagine the insane hatred inside this woman, that she would take a Bible — a gift from her own grandmother! — and make it into such a heinously abusive celebration of degeneracy?

Do you think that people this crazy and hateful are not also in the grasp of a frightening evil? What kind of person do you think would act this way? Nine months later, the same person posted this:

Moreover he points to bad decisions having bad results:

So, five years ago, she began doing tarot card readings, and by November 2014 she’s so sick and crazy she’s soliciting donations to help her get diagnosed to be eligible for federal disability payments. Maybe you think this is all just a coincidence, that Robin’s mental illness and her sexual perversion are unrelated to her blasphemous hatred of God and her dabbling in the occult. Maybe I’m just an ignorant hillbilly Bible-thumper for suspecting that Robin’s misfortunes are not entirely coincidental.

Remembering Christ’s admonition from Luke Chapter 13 verses 1-5

At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!

Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them  – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

…I find it improbable that her physical illness is directly related to these particular bad decisions.

However even if we come to that conclusion concerning aliments physical and / or mental the 2nd half of both of the examples Christ gives are in play here:  “I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.”

That being the case we are required to pray for Ms. Robin and not just for her conversion in the spirit of (I’m better than her)  but for her physical and mental well being and happiness in the spirit of love for as Christ said

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Luke 6:27-28

or as in an earlier testament:

When you come upon your enemy’s ox or ass going astray, see to it that it is returned to him.  When you notice the ass of one who hates you lying prostrate under its burden, by no means desert him; help him, rather, to raise it up.

Exodus 23:4-5

The example of how this young lady’s decisions neither lead to happiness nor peace is an important one, but not as vital as the reminder that she is as much a child of God made in his image as any other person and Christ loves her.

And to those who insist that prayer for her is not worth our time let me leave you with one final verse from Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”