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Catching Up on Friday

It's the end of another week and there's still a handful of items accumulated in my mental in-box. Sometimes little things gather that I just don't have time to write much about, but I think you might be interested in knowing. Fridays are becoming a good day for playing "catch." Let us know if you like this idea for a regular feature.

Religious Censorship of Veterans Funerals?
When the new Houston National Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio arrived last year, one of the first things she did was close the cemetery’s on-site Chapel. This week news broke that she is allegedly censoring Veterans organizations, banning them from using the words “God” and “Jesus” during funeral services and prayers. The non-profit Liberty Group filed a formal complaint in federal court on behalf of the American Legion Post 586, Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4, and the National Memorial Ladies. Lawmakers are seeking explanations, and local citizens are calling for the director’s removal.

Houston Area Pastor Council, an inter-denominational and inter-racial ministry of and for pastors, invites all interested citizens to join them for a rally at the Houston National Cemetery on Monday, July 4 at 10 a.m. If you are in the Houston area and you want to know more about this attack on Christianity, please make plans to show your support by attending.

The Pope Tweets
Did you see the video going around of Pope Benedict XVI sending a tweet? Though they’re speaking Italian in the video, it’s clear to see that he is being shown an iPad, and the new Vatican webpage with twitter. The tweet is already written in English and the Pope presses “send.” The tweet reads: Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.

I must admit there was something kind of cool to be RETWEETING the Pope. Just in the last two months, the Vatican held their first Catholic Bloggers meeting, the Pope spoke to astronauts on the International Space Station, and now the Vatican launches a new website, including the Pope “on Twitter.”

How much can we help others?
Kroger presents check to St.Bernadette Christian Action Food Pantry. Photo courtesy of St. Bernadette Catholic ChurchIn Texas and Louisiana, the grocery store Kroger operates a “Neighbor to Neighbor Program,” offering non-profits the opportunity to earn a portion of $1 million offered annually. The program runs from July 1 to April 30, with funds divided and awarded in May. Shoppers link their Kroger plus card to the local non-profit of their choice and 1% of your purchases are contributed to the total donation. Our local parish asked parishioners to link to our Christian Action Food Pantry. From this small seemingly-inconsequential action, our parish emerged as the 3rd top “earner” in Texas and Louisiana when Kroger presented us with a record check for $13,415.43!

Virtual pilgrimage
Last fall our parish announced they were putting together a pilgrimage trip called “In the Footsteps of St. Paul,” with stops scheduled in Turkey and Greece. My husband and I drooled over the description, eyeballed the price-tag, and half-seriously discussed what it would take for us to make the trip. A month later we discovered I was pregnant and the dream of traveling with our parish came to an abrupt end. Thankfully, we were able to live vicariously through the travelogue photos and videos posted on the Parish website. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Ephesus, Crete, Corinth, or the island of Patmos, where John wrote Revelations, check out our parish’s website.

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