At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

Monday, August 23, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Marian apparitions have always been a sign of God’s love. It truly is one of His greatest graces, which physically shows us the Blessed Mother along with her love, words of encouragement and warnings about the world in which we live. Sometimes the Church Militant heeds her call, but sadly often it doesn’t. This article will only cover a handful of Church approved apparitions (this can be a little tricky, more on this later,) but what it will show is that often the Blessed Mother appears in lands that have experienced great suffering with often more suffering to follow. Her message to bring the world closer to her Son and live according to Jesus’ teachings is one of God’s greatest graces, something that is often met with violent, evil attacks. The miraculous events surrounding her appearances often take place in the presense of great vistas; a window of sorts into God’s loving handiwork. The said could be said about Jesus at The Transfiguration and the Sermon on the Mount.

Something to keep in mind before we begin; during the early days of the Church investigative bodies were the last thing the Church was worried about at a time when the Church was trying to literally stay alive during an array of persecutions. Following the Protestant Reformation, a more detailed structure emerged for investigating appartions. They often took a long time to investigate in order to prevent any hoaxes. Most reported modern day apparitions are not approved. In the 20th Century only 8 of the 300+ reported apparitions were approved. This link from the University of Dayton, a Marianist institution, which houses the largest collection of Marian Apparitions, might be a helpful.

The year was 1300. Though parts of Spain remained under Islamic control, a liberated area, near the Guadalupe River would reveal an amazing find. A cow herder named Gil Cordero would be told by the Blessed Mother to dig, and there he would find holy treasure. Though laughed at by his fellow villagers, his faithful dig yielded a secret burial vault that would house many relics including that of a lifelike carving of the Blessed Mother. It was said to be carved by St Luke and transported to Spain in the sixth century by Bishop Leander, a relative of Pope Gregory the Great.

The vault had been placed there as Islamic armies were making their way to Spain.  The lifelike carving, which still exists today, was said to have been processed through the streets of Rome around the year 590 AD, at the direction of Pope Gregory the Great. He had been given the famous carving while he was Papal Legate in Constantinople.

The famous pontiff had ordered this procession during a terrible plague and famine that had engulfed the city, some one hundred and fifty years after the Roman Empire had collapsed.  As the procession ended, the assembled crowd saw the Archangel St Michael sheathing his sword, signifying that the famine and plague were over. (One can still see the statue of the Archangel St Michael atop the Castel Sant Angelo which commemorates this momentous event.)  The carved statue of the Blessed Mother was then sent to Spain where it remains today, seemingly unscathed after spending years underground during the Muslim conquest.

Years later a young Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus would come to pray at this now famous shrine. He was at the end of his financial rope in seeking backing for a “new way to India.” Soon after his prayer, he was granted an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the rest is history. Few know about this religious side of Columbus. Even fewer know that when he first caught sight of what would be known as the Americas, he had minutes before ordered his crew to pray the Rosary. In gratitude, he named one of the islands he discovered for the site at which his prayers were answered back in Spain, the isle now known as Guadeloupe. Read the rest of this entry »

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RIP Star Hustler

Monday, August 23, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Jack Horkheimer, the Star Hustler, died on August 20, 2010 at 72.  When I was in college and law school I loved tuning in to his wacky and informative looks at astronomy.  Fare you well Star Hustler in your journey beyond the stars.


Just Build the Damn Thing

Monday, August 23, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Travelling in the second half of last week, I had occasion to realize how pervasive the TV news coverage of the “ground zero mosque” has become — perhaps in part because it is doubtless a dream situation for TV news producers: All you have to do is draw 3-4 people into the studio and have them debate the question for twenty minutes, throw in a couple of commercial breaks, and voila! you have another 1/48th of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. I was reminded again of how glad I am to have cancelled the cable TV subscription and never put up an antenna.

As I think about it, this seems to me a made-for-TV controversy in more ways than one. For all the talk about this being the “ground zero mosque”, the location two blocks away will not be visible from the WTC monument itself, and is currently occupied by sacred precincts such as the offices of the University of Pheonix, Marty’s Shoes and the Dakota Roadhouse. This is New York, for goodness sake. A thirteen story building isn’t exactly going to stick out. And the visible symbols of religion closes to Ground Zero will remain St. Peter’s Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and John Street United Methodist. (If anything, it’s a little disappointing the plans for the mosque look rather like a vertical shoebox with abstract patters on it — no minarets here.)
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Licensing Bloggers

Monday, August 23, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers.  If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license.  (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.)   Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.

Just how many things are wrong about this?  Let us count the ways: Read the rest of this entry »


Highland Park, Illinois: The Bell Revolt Spreads

Monday, August 23, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

In this post I discussed the outrage in Bell, California over “public servant”, yes that phrase often does have a humorous sound to it these days, salaries.  The revolt has now spread to Highland Park, Illinois, a fairly wealthy Chicago north shore suburb, population approximately 34,000, with a median family income of $100,000.00 per annum.  It is a limousine liberal type of town, which was in the news earlier this year when the assistant district superintendent decided to cancel a girl’s basketball trip to a tournament in Arizona in a transparent attempt to protest the Arizona immigration law.  Players and parents were mostly outraged by the decision.

Residents got a whole new reason to be outraged, when they recently learned of the sky high salaries and bonuses paid to Park District officials.  Ralph Volpe, head of the Park District, was paid $435,000 in 2008;  finance director Kenneth Swan’s salary leaped from $124, 908 in 2005 to $218, 372 in 2008;  facilities director David Harris went from $135, 403 to $339, 302 in 2008.  Total bonuses paid to these three tireless slaves of the people was $700,000 between 2005-2008.  The taxpayers of Highland Park are not amused.  Go here to read all about it.

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