May 15, 2019

From Jehovah’s Witness to Catholic Priest an Interview with Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M.the man who made that Journey

Father Daniel Bowen        orderofmercy.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M., distinctly remembers how every Sunday when he was growing up his mom would take him and his two brothers to Kingdom Hall. Their mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, and this was their church. It was as far removed from the Catholic church as one could imagine.

Young Daniel believed in God but was filled with doubts. By the time he became a teenager, he had decided he had enough of “church” and told his mom he did not want to go anymore  His father told his wife that Daniel did not have to go if he did not want to. Daniel seized the moment and stopped going.  After all,  he came first---all else came second.

The years passed by and Daniel more or less forgot about God. Once in college, he became more self-absorbed about his own needs and what might make him happy. Then he met a Catholic girl named Lisa.

Lisa told Daniel that if he wanted to date her, he would have to go to Mass with her. He did, and he liked it. Then she introduced him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That was it. The young man, as the saying goes, was “hooked.”  

Eventually, Daniel and Lisa took different life paths. The Holy Spirit had seized hold of Daniel Bowen and was not about to let go.  On August 15, 2015, the Solemnity of the Assumption, Daniel Bowen was ordained a priest. He now serves as Vocation Director for the Mercedarian Friars U.S.A.

You can find Father Daniel’s inspiring story HERE. It is a beautiful story of a man who took his leap of faith holding hands with the Holy Spirirt---ENJOY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let’s ask Father Daniel some questions:
(Interviewer’s questions in Bold:     Father Daniel is (Fr. D) responses in Italics)

When and how did you receive your call to become a priest? Was there a moment in time or an event when you heard the Holy Spirit calling you?
·         Fr. D: “People began to ask me the question: Did I ever think about being a priest. I hadn’t, and so I had to ask God about it. It took a few years to figure it out, and then seminary to figure it out the rest of the way. No man knows for sure until he is laying on the ground before a Bishop on the day of his ordination. It is totally a Holy Spirit thing, and prayer is an essential part of it all.”


Tell me your number one reason for being a priest?
·         Fr. D: “To know, love and joyfully serve God, and to love my neighbor as myself. To be a servant to God’s servants. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”


What attracted you to the Mercedarians? (The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)
·         Fr. D: “The Order was founded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so this Marian aspect was most attractive to me. Also, the 4th vow, the Redemptive Vow, the willingness to lay down one’s life for another in danger of losing their faith - this “all in” aspect always spoke profoundly to my heart.”


According to the General Rule Of Survey from the Univ. of Chicago, in 2015, among those 18 to 34 years old, 30 % do not have any religion at all. Many do not believe in God. Secularism seems to have infected many the world over. As the Vocation Director for the Mercedarians, your job must present quite the challenge. How is this going for you?
·         Fr. D:  “I am still working on getting my wings, so to speak. Yes, it can be seen as a challenge, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. God still calls people to Himself. Christ’s death and resurrection is completely relevant to every generation, even those who feel it does not need to apply to them. First is helping others know that our Lord, the God of love and mercy is real and necessary to live a life of complete fulfillment. To help them realize the Christian faith is about relationship - God’s desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And then to facilitate an encounter with Him. Once men know this, then they can begin to find what the mission and plan that He has for their life. Could God be calling me to be a priest and/or a consecrated religious? And if the answer is yes, then one is best to find out if this is truly His calling, and if so acting on it.”


What advice would you give to a young person who is considering religious life?
·         Fr. D:  “It is a great gift given by God to some, not all. It is a precious calling to be intimate with God and others in a way that no other lifestyle can match. It is a summons to love fully and without holding back. To proclaim boldly to our world that not only God exists, but He knows and loves us. That I am willing to forsake the goods of this life and world, in order to embrace, here and now, the blessing that God desires for us in heaven. My advice: Go for it!!! Do not be afraid, or put it off, go find out if this is God’s will for your life. If it is you will have the best life. If it is God’s will, then there will be a peace and deep, profound joy that will be under it all.”


How do you, as a priest, deal with negativity about the Catholic Church in the media, when asked about it by a layperson?
·         Fr. D: “Some people were negative towards Jesus in His life here on earth. It is no different today. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ, yes there is a very human element, but there is also a divine element present here, that should not be so easily dismissed. For all her faults, and only the Lord knows why He permits them, the Church is the most charitable and truth-bearing place on the planet. She is the spouse of Christ, and so must be present to continue to bring Christ’s authentic presence, so that all generations may have the opportunity to encounter Him. Staying close to our Lord in prayer is key to keeping one’s head above water, especially when our faults are clearly manifested - keeping our hearts, minds, and souls on the Lord. Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”


What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
·         Fr. D: “Helping others to believe that the faith is real, and then to fully surrender one’s life to it. Seeing people fall deeply and madly in love with our Lord, and seeing that transformation take place is most rewarding. Experiencing the good work our Lord is able to accomplish through people who desire Him to work in their lives is a beautiful blessing. Challenging is seeing those who fall away from the faith, or keep saying no to God, seeing the resulting destruction this does to that person and to others and knowing how much it hurts our Lord, this is challenging. But following Christ is a summons to love, and it is an invitation that one must be free to choose or reject. Otherwise, it really isn’t love is it?


THANK YOU Father Daniel for taking the time to do this interview. May God bless you as you move forward in your priestly ministry.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019 

May 10, 2019

On Mother's Day--Remembering Jamie Schmidt who died defending her honor in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 19, 2018


 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


The Roman Martyrology of the Catholic Church has thousands of names on its pages. However, that huge book may need to find space for the very first American who was matryred on American soil for being Catholic and daring to defend her honor. Her name is Jamie Schmidt and she gave her life for Jesus in St. Louis, Missouri.

Most of us have heard of  St. Maria Goretti, the eleven-year-old who died “In Defensum Castitatis” (In Defense of Purity). Maria was trying to fight off the advances of a twenty-year-old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli. He became so enraged at her that he stabbed her fourteen times. Before Maria died, she forgave her attacker. He spent 30 years in prison and, touched by the grace of God, was present at the canonization of the young girl he had murdered.

Jamie Schmidt was an average, 53-year-old, Catholic woman who lived in High Ridge, Missouri a town about 25 miles outside St. Louis. She was married to her high-school sweetheart, and they had three children. The Schmidt family belonged to St. Anthony of Padua Church and Jamie sang in the choir. She was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, worked organizing and holding women’s retreats, and was always ready to help anyone in need. She even made and distributed rosaries. Ironically, it was her Rosary ministry that brought her face to face with evil.

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when Jamie stopped into the Church Supply Warehouse in St. Louis for needed rosary supplies. There were two other women in the store. Jamie was no sooner inside when a man came in and began looking around. He said to the woman at the counter that he had forgotten his credit card and had to go out to the car to get it. He was actually casing the place.

Jamie went over to the section where the supplies she needed were located. It was then that the man returned. This time he was brandishing a gun. He told the three women to get to the back of the store and that “they had better do as they were told.”

He lined them up against the wall and proceeded to molest the first woman who, frightened for her life, gave in to the man’s advances. He did the same to the second woman who also just submitted, terrified for her life. Then he turned to Jamie. He demanded that she take off her clothes.

Jamie had been witness to the depraved acts this disgusting man had inflicted on the two other women. She was surely terrified too, but the Holy Spirit must have been with her. (The two women gave this account to police);  She stared at the man  and, standing tall, said in a firm voice, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.”

Buoyed by her Catholic faith and refusing to submit to an immoral, sexual assault, she had invoked the name of her God and said categorically to her assailant, “NO!”  He shot her in the head at point blank range. Jamie Schmidt crumpled to the floor. The man ran from the store while one of the women quickly called 911.

Jamie did not die instantly. As she lay mortally wounded, the two women could  hear her saying ever so softly the “Our Father.” She knew her life was slipping away, but she was thinking of her God and invoking His name. It was reported that even during the ride in the ambulance Jamie, barely audible, kept praying.  She was still praying when her last breath left her body.

A short time later a man by the name of Thomas Bruce, was captured by police. He was the perpetrator and was arrested for murder, sodomy, and other charges. He now awaits trial for the crimes with which he has been charged.

St. Maria Goretti, age 12,  refused a similar assault and was stabbed to death in 1902. Blessed Pierina Morosini, age 26, refused a similar assault and was beaten to death with a rock in 1957. Jamie Schmidt, age 53, refused and was shot to death in 2018. These three women, their lives spread over a century apart, share an unexpected sisterhood.

Having died “In Defensum Castitatis” Jamie’s cause for beatification should move along quickly.  What happened to her and St. Maria and Blessed Pierina can happen to any of us at any time. If suddenly we were asked to defend our faith with our lives hanging in the balance, what would we do?

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 22, 2019

Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, 2019; a growing Epidemic that affects us All

Alzheimer patient             en.wikipedia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME By Larry Peterson


My wife passed away almost two years ago, a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease. I stay in touch with the Alzheimer’s  Association because I want to keep abreast of advances and other news that pertains to this illness. Yesterday I received the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report for 2019. Since this disease ignores all human boundaries, I thought I might share some basic info about this topic.


It is important to remember that Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia are two different things. Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia while Dementia is a syndrome or a symptom of a cognitive disorder. There are many other causes of dementia besides Alzheimer’s disease such as Vascular Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, to name a few.

A football player may develop dementia from years of head trauma received while playing his sport. A retired fighter may be deemed as being “punch drunk” because dementia has taken hold of his brain after thousands of punches to the head. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease requires a special evaluation by doctors and trained psychologists in the field before the Alzheimer’s label is officially given the patient.

My wife first exhibited “forgetfulness’ during her chemo treatments in 2011. I had heard of “chemo-brain” and asked her oncologist about her chemo treatments being the cause. He could not answer and said we would have to wait and see.

It was not until the summer of 2014 when the official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease given. And that came only after an MRI, evaluation by a neurologist, and having her and the family interviewed by two psychologists.

She lived three years after diagnosis. Some Alzheimer’s patients live up to fifteen years, especially those who are diagnosed in their early fifties. The course of the illness is unpredictable, but the results are very predictable. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be slowed or stopped. It just keeps at it until its mission is accomplished.

According to the Alzheimer’s Associations 2019 report, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. The projected number by the year 2050 is 14 million. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease and more than 16 million Americans, (mostly family and friends) provide unpaid care for people who have Alzheimer's or another type of dementia.

Heart disease has always held the title as being the number one killer in the United States. The good news is that between the years 2000 and 2017 deaths from heart disease decreased by 9%. At the same time deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by a whopping 145% making it the sixth leading killer in America.

Today in America one in ten people over the age of 65 has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They have determined that among seniors who are 85 or older, 32% have the disease. As modern medications and healthy eating and cleaner lifestyles promote lengthier life spans tne number of folks living into their nineties continues to climb. Along with that comes an increase in Alzheimer’s cases.

Finally, early symptoms of dementia may include: confusion about location or what day it is; poor judgment; unable to find familiar items; or simply mood and or personality changes. But PLEASE—do not diagnose someone you know and love as having dementia. Many things can cause a memory lapse or forgetfulness. We all are victims of those things. Only trained and qualified personnel can diagnose such a serious disease.

The best thing we all can do when confronted with these situations is pray hard and call our doctors.
Lastly, never forget to ask the Patroness of those with dementia and mental illness for her intercession. Her name is St. Dymphna  Click on her name and say “HI.”



copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 18, 2019

An unexpected Evangelization Moment---Distributing Ashes on Ash Wednesday in Walmart



Honoring Lent                                                                                                           allevent.in.jpg


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson

The USCCB states that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. So how can we everyday Catholics always be prepared to evangelize?

Our behavior and our actions and the words we use are tools for evangelizing. They show that we are Christian. Saying grace before meals while in a restaurant with family or friends or simply having an “I Love Jesus” bumper sticker on your car gives a powerful message. You get the idea.  
  
Many times things happen that are “in our face,” and we have only a moment or so to decide what to do; should we stay and help or keep on walking?  It is very easy to “ignore,” a situation, but that is not what the Good Samaritan did, is it?  What follows is an example of one of those unexpected moments.

I am an  EMHC, and on Ash Wednesday, on my way home after distributing ashes and Holy Communion, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Walmart. I did not have to go there; there was nothing specific I needed, but there was the store and the next thing I knew, the car was parked.  As I walked toward the entrance I decided I needed “double A batteries.” I did not need them but I guess I had to validate my being there.

Walking into the store, the express lanes were ahead and to the right.  Ahead and to my left was McDonald's. Outside McDonald's was a bench and sitting in it was an elderly lady I knew from church. We have been friends for a long time and her name is Rachel. I walk over to her to say “hi”, and she looks at my forehead and says, “Oh, Larry, it’s you. We forgot today was Ash Wednesday. We didn’t get ashes.” Let the unplanned evangelizing begin.

Rachel weighs about 70 pounds soaking wet and she is in her late eighties. Her husband, Jim, has Parkinson’s disease and is about the same age. They were both widowed and have been married for about fifteen years. I was still in my shirt and tie and wearing my EMHC cross. Next thing you know I am sitting next to Rachel praying with her and placing ashes on her forehead. When I finish I ask her, “Where is Jim?”

Jim was on the line in McDonald’s. The entrance was about fifty feet from where we were sitting. As I got up to find Jim,  I noticed there were about a half-dozen people standing there watching us. It dawned on me that there were some people wondering why I was smearing dirt on an old lady’s forehead. I simply looked at them all and said, “Hi folks, today is Ash Wednesday. You can Google it.”

I turned and headed into the restaurant. There is Jim, standing there about eighth in line with about ten more people behind him. The place is packed and the poor guy is standing there with his left forearm and hand trembling unmercifully. I walk up to him and he is stunned to see me. I say as quietly as I can, “Jim, I just gave Rachel ashes. Would you like to have them too?”

As I stood praying softly with Jim, our audience began to grow. By the time I placed ashes on his forehead more people were coming over to see what was going on. I did hear some people mention, “Ash Wednesday.”  

That was my impromptu queue. I turned and faced the gathering crowd and raised my hands in the air. “Hey everyone, today is Ash Wednesday. I am Catholic as are my friends here who I just happened to bump into. They were unable to get to Mass today so they are receiving ashes which remind us to “remember that we are dust and into dust, we shall return.”

I actually gave several more people ashes but then I had none left. I know a lot of people, religious and non-religious alike, watched the unscripted distribution of the ashes. It was an evangelization moment for sure and it all happened in less than fifteen minutes. I also know it had to be my guardian angel who helped me pull that steering wheel to the right leading me into Walmart.  
A sidebar to all of this; I never got the batteries.


 copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

March 15, 2019

Meet a few of the Hidden People of Lent

                Lenten Poster                      

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


I left church on Ash Wednesday and, just like everyone else, I had freshly smeared ashes on my forehead.  I was ‘ready” to embrace the Lenten season. There was one difference. Four of us had small vials of ashes in our pockets along with our pyxes which contained the Holy Eucharist. We are EMHCs,  (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) and, besides Holy Communion,  we are privileged to be able to distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday.

My three friends were going to different places: one to the hospital, and the others to different nursing homes. As for me, I make individual home visits and I had five to do.

Three of the people I saw were in their mid-nineties, and one was eighty-six,  Then there was the “baby” of the group; TERRI. She is all of fifty-nine. This poor woman, because of a botched hernia operation last May, almost died, has had several surgeries since and faces another eight-hour operation in April. Through it all, when I arrive,  she always has a ready smile on her face. How uplifting that is to see.

So please; come with me as I stop at the homes of a few more of these “hidden” Catholics. You might enjoy the change of venue; (I will just use their first names).

·         EVELYN  My first stop is at Evelyn’s. She is 94 years old and is always impeccably dressed when I arrive. Her hair is done, her makeup is on, and her lipstick has been perfectly applied. Evelyn is from New Jersey, and we get along great. I have been seeing her weekly for three years. She always asks, “Larry, when do you think God will take me. I’ve lived long enough.”

I always tell her she is only “upper middle-age” and God needs prayer warriors so that is her job and to get out her Rosary and get busy working.

She smiles, reaches over to the table, and lifts her beads. “What do you think these are. I’m wearing them out.”

We both laugh, I hug her, and it was on to see Marie.

·         MARIE. Marie is 95 and is “all business.”  She is waiting at the door for me, and it opens before I even knock. I ask her how she is, and she will answer, “Oh, I’m fine, thank you.” I am usually only with her for about five minutes. She smiles and tells me to have a nice a week and asks me to pray for her son who is having car trouble. I tell her I will even though he has “car trouble” every week.

·         “BIG JIM”  Jim is an 86 year old ex-Marine, former Greyhound dog trainer and a baker. I arrive at his place, and after about fifteen minutes, I  will leave with three packages of freshly baked cookies and a loaf of still-warm banana bread. Jim has been sick since Thanksgiving with a deep infection that went into his lungs and caused blood poisoning; I know he is better because he is baking again. Praise the Lord.

·         VIRGINIA  The highlight of my entire Lenten Season may be what happened next and I just wanted to share it with anyone who might read this. It just shows how little things can mean SO MUCH to someone. 

My friend Virginia rarely has any visitors. Sunday she told me that her birthday was March 6, and she was going to be 97 years old. I knew she would spend the day alone. So Tuesday night I stopped in the supermarket and got her a small red-velvet cheesecake topped with cream and a cherry.

I walked into Virginia’s small apartment and she was just sitting there as she always is. I said to her, “Before we do anything I have something for you.”

I took the small cake out of the container, placed the candle I had in my pocket in it, and lit it. Then I said, “I can’t sing Virginia but this is for you.”

I began to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and the biggest smile broke out on her face. This was followed by tears running down her cheeks. They began running down mine too. It turned into an unexpected special moment and her reaction demonstrates how sometimes the tiniest kindness can mean so much to someone, especially a lonely person in her late 90s.

Wishing everyone an uplifting and spiritually rewarding Lenten Season.

.
copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

March 9, 2019

A Priest and his Bishop Defend the Faith in Kansas


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Once again folks who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church are claiming ‘victimhood.” That is because the Church will NOT accommodate their blatant rejection of Catholic teaching.  St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas refused to accept a child into their kindergarten class. The reason was that the child’s parents are two lesbians who are “legally married” under state law.

The pastor of the Church, Father Craig Maxim, stood by Catholic doctrine. Here is an excerpt from CCC 2357: ---“Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that  ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life----under no circumstances can they be approved.”  (Click here for entire link)

The Archbishop of Kansas City gave his priest his full support. Kudos to both of them because, first and foremost, they are the spiritual guides to the lay Catholics within their authority. They did the right thing. They stood tall in the face of the “social justice” mantra and the secular onslaught that has grabbed hold of so many in our culture. “Social Justice” is a fallacy because all it means is that it is OK to do what is pleasing to you. That is also called secularism, and that has even fooled many Catholics into embracing it.

Using the guise of compassion and tolerance and Christ’s love, they reject church teaching in favor of what makes them feel good.  According to WDAF-TV in Kansas City and FOX4kc.com within a short time more than one thousand signatures were on a petition demanding the church rescind their ruling and allow the child to attend St. Ann’s.

One parent, Joe Skates, who admits he does NOT like organized religion but sends his kids to another Catholic school nearby, was quoted as saying, “The hypocrisy is so insane. I just don’t really get it. They need to change. They need to modernize.”  But it is Mr. Skates and those who agree with him who are the hypocrites. The church is defending its principles. That is NOT hypocrisy.

The petition that has been submitted reads as follows, “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s [sic] union is not in accordance with the Church teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”

Why do Mr. Skates and so many others “not get it?” This is church teaching. These are part of the rules. They do NOT have to send their children to Catholic school and then demand the Church reject its teachings to accommodate their wants and desires. It does not work that way and it is time for this “political correctness” nonsense to be shut down.

The microcosm of society is the family. The Catholic church has always defended and honored family.  Once again we can reference the Catechism at CCC 2202. “A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is before any recognition by public authority. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationships are to be evaluated.”

The child’s lesbian parents want their child educated in a Catholic school and to receive teaching that goes against the very core of what they believe. The school will teach that marriage is ONLY supposed to be between a man and a woman. The child will learn that God created man and woman and that children can only be a result of the bond between them.

What should the child think when her “parents” are two women? Why would they want the child to go there? Why would they want the child to come home to a family that is being taught as improper? There are many other alternatives, and they are free to enroll their child in any other school. This makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as Father Maxim and Archbishop Nauman are concerned, They displayed courage and conviction in defending the faith and I, for one, am proud of them.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019


March 8, 2019

Mary Lou Williams----This Catholic Convert and famed Jazz Pianist composed Sacred Music including the First Jazz Spiritual Mass celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Mary Lou Willimas---Jazz Great                                                                                 www.npr.org

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 


by Larry Peterson

Mary Elfrieda Scruggs was born on May 8, 1910, in Atlanta, Georgia. When she was a toddler the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and this is where Mary grew up. She was the second of eleven children, but unlike her siblings, Mary was a “gifted’ child.  She had perfect pitch and a superb musical memory and was picking out tunes on the piano at the age of two.

Her mother, a classically trained pianist, recognized the talent and began teaching Mary how to play when she was three years old. By the age of ten, Mary was known as the “Little Piano Girl” and was performing for audiences all over Pittsburgh.

She was only seventeen when she met saxophonist, John Williams. They married, and he and his new wife moved to Oklahoma to join the popular band, Andy Kirk and the Twelve Clouds of Joy. This was when Mary Lou began to be recognized as an outstanding piano player and musical arranger. By the late 1930s, Mary Lou Williams was arranging for renowned musicians such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Louis Armstrong.

In 1942, Mary moved to New York City. Duke Ellington recorded her arrangement of “Trumpet No End,” and her reputation became known all over the country. She began meeting with younger musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker. They would meet in her apartment and discuss and write music together. She made the transition to bebop and wrote songs such as “Waltz Boogie,” “Knowledge,” and “Lonely Moments.” But her life was soon to take a dramatic change.

Mary Lou had always possessed a deep need to develop her spirituality, and she knew something was missing from her life.  In 1955, she began her journey in Harlem at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. She even tried preaching in the streets. Ironically, it was Dizzy Gillespie, who was the link that connected her to Catholicism.

Dizzy introduced Mary Lou to Father John Crowley, a priest he had met in South America. Father Crowley also happened to be a jazz lover. The priest persuaded her to “offer her playing up (to God). Mary Lou embraced Father Crowley’s advice and began doing just that.

Mary then went over to Our Lady of Lourdes parish on 142nd St. in Harlem. She knocked on the door, and Father Anthony Woods answered the door. He invited her in, they became friends, and he soon became Mary Lou’s mentor. She began receiving instruction in the Catholic faith and was baptized on May 7, 1957. She received her Confirmation one month later.

Mary had refrained from performing because she realized that jazz did not fill her spiritual needs. However, once a Catholic she was buoyed by her new faith. Finding the comfort she had sought, she resumed her musical career appearing with Dizzy Gillespie at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1957.

She founded her own label, Mary Records, which was the first recording company started by a woman. She also started Cecilia Music Publishing Company. Influenced by post-Vatican II reforms and by the civil rights movement, Mary now wanted to write sacred pieces. Looking for some guidance, she asked Father Woods to help.

He assisted her with the lyrics for her first sacred work. The result was a piece called Black Christ of the Andes (1962). This honored St. Martin de Porres,  the lay Dominican from Lima, Peru, who was the patron saint of black and mixed-race people.

Mary Lou was the guiding spirit behind a February 1967 concert at Carnegie Hall, entitled Praise the Lord in Many Voices. She wrote Mass for the Lenten Season (1968), and Music for Peace (1970) which came to be known as Mary Lou’s Mass.

In 1975, Mary Lou’s Mass became the first jazz arrangement to be performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She became an artist-in-residence at Duke University and taught at the  University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She also received an honorary degree from Fordham University.

Mary Lou Williams died on May 28, 1981, from bladder cancer. She was seventy-one. She is known as the “first lady of the jazz keyboard,” but it was her Catholic faith that ultimately defined her musical legacy.



 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

February 27, 2019

He watched the Little Heart beating----beating, beating, beating---and then it just stopped. The suddenly still heart caused the conversion of the “Champion of Abortion.”

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Newborn Baby   Legal to Kill in America                                stock photo



INFANTICIDE is a noun: It means: 1) the act of killing an infant. 2) the practice of killing newborn infants. 3) a person who kills an infant.    That is what Infanticide means; simple as that.

In January 2019, New York State has passed its own RHA (Reproductive Health Act). Amidst “hoots & hollers” and the Freedom Tower being lit up in pink, the bill was signed into law by the devout Catholic governor of N.Y. Today, to the delight of many, infanticide is legal in N.Y.
Many people in our supposed civilized society, have moved into a different universe. They have embraced the legal execution of the most vulnerable of us all…children (babies are children). We have moved to killing them from conception to fully born and breathing on their own. No matter the size, kill them if you wish…no problem
As the parents of a daughter who was stillborn on September 6, 1978, we were fully cognizant of the LIFE that was lost to us and her siblings. My wife (who passed away from cancer in 2003) almost died that day in a valiant attempt to get to a Catholic hospital so the baby might be baptized. That is a story for another time but we both understood the insanity of treating tiny people in-utero as nothing more than "products of conception" or “blobs of tissue”. They are no such thing. They are people, just like us--only a lot smaller.
Our almost two-pound daughter was named Theresa Mary, and she was buried with my parents.. She was a real person who lived and died. And her mother, who never saw her or held her was willing to die for her, unseen and unheard. This is what respecting God-given life is all about. It is the ultimate act of love and unselfishness. Secularism does not understand this. It never will.
Many people accept the undeniable truth that life is a precious gift from God.  This belief is also  backed by science. Life is life, no matter how big and no matter how small. No life belongs to another and the fact that a child needs a mother’s womb to grow changes nothing. That child is unique and special with its own DNA and character and personality. That little person has as much right to live as do any of us, no matter what age.
We live with the infamous Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973. Since then over 61 million tiny lives have been snuffed out under the guise of “reproductive rights.” No one has ever taken away a woman’s right to reproduce. The fact that seven men voted for a law that allows a woman to destroy her own child does not make it right. Far from it, it has allowed for an ongoing abomination.
What is so astonishing is that so many folks do not see anything wrong with participating in a holocaust that has claimed more than sixty million lives. Most of these people seem to be no different than anyone else. They work, pay their bills, mow their lawns, and celebrate Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Yes, and they go to church and pray too. I do NOT understand. Whatever have we wrought?
Having laid out those thoughts, I now go back to an article from Life Site News from November of 2008.  It is about the former “champion of abortion”, Stojan Adasevic. This man performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes 35 a day, throughout 26 years. Then, miraculously, he became the most important and influential pro-life leader in Serbia.
What happened to him is well worth paying attention to.  ‘Stojan’s conversion came about from an experience he had in performing what would be his final abortion.  These are the words of Stojan after that procedure:
"As I pull out the mess, thinking it will be bone fragments I lay it on the cloth, I
look, and I see a human heart, contracting and expanding and beating, beating, beating.
I thought I would go mad. I can see the heartbeat is slowing, ever more slowly, and 
more slowly still, until it finally stops completely. Nobody could have seen what I
had seen with my very own eyes, and be more convinced than I was---
I had killed a human being.
After that, Stojan had an ongoing dream where children were playing and laughing but ran away when they saw him. They were filled with fear. There was a man in the dream. He was dressed in black and white and when Stojan asked him who he was, he told him he was Thomas Aquinas. You can read the entire story by opening this link
Suffice it to say that Stojan Adasevic has told his story throughout Europe. He has returned to the Orthodox faith and has become a student of St. Thomas Aquinas.
It is now February 2019. Illinois is not to be outdone by New York. They are going to propose their own RHA. Their proposed law says that women “who become pregnant [have] a fundamental right…to have an abortion,” and “provides that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law of this state.”  This bill would reportedly void existing statute(s)  protecting the life of a child born alive during a late-term abortion. Infanticide will be “all the rage” in the great state of Illinois.
Last but not least, Senate Democrats on Monday (February 25, 2019) blocked a Republican bill that would have threatened prison for doctors who don't try saving the life of infants born alive during abortions. These “upstanding”, “reputable” American legislators who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution, willingly have agreed that doctors can allow born-alive children to die.
In the war being waged by Satan, the master of lies and deception, his influence is so great and the deception so pronounced it takes many years of flowing graces from God before the light begins to enter the darkness. We must continue to pray as hard as we can until this scourge against human life is stopped. The most powerful weapon in our arsenal to combat this genocide is prayer.






February 14, 2019

The Lily of Quito; St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes; This orphaned girl grew up to be the “Heroine of the Nation.”

The Lily of Quito  St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes                                                                                 aleteia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

On October 31, 1618, a baby girl was born in the city of Quito, which was located in the New Kingdom of Grenada. Today this area is known as Ecuador. The child’s father was an upstanding and respected Spanish nobleman from Toledo by the name of Don Girolamo Flores de Paredes. Her mother’s name was Dona Mariana Cranobles de Xaramilo and she was descended from the most highly respected of Spanish families. Girolamo and Mariana named their daughter,  Mariana. She was the youngest of eight children.

Mariana was orphaned at the age of seven, and her upbringing was taken over by her older sister, Jeronima, who had already married. Mariana had an obvious sense of piety and humility that seemed part of her persona and her sister and her brother-in-law, Cosme de Caso,  decided they would allow her to live in seclusion in their house. Mariana did not live in total isolation because there was a Jesuit church nearby and she spent as much time there as she could praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

Mariana instinctively began to develop a deep sense of piety and self-mortification, denying herself food, drink, and sleep. Her brother-in-law had the Jesuit priest, Juan Camacho, guide her in her development. Like St. Rose of Lima (who she is compared to) she did not enter a convent but rather, stayed in her home devoting herself to prayer and penance and practicing self-mortification and fasting.

It is reported that Mariana’s fasting was so intense and strict that she ate only an ounce of food every eight to ten days. This is impossible for a person to survive on, but similar to St. Catherine of Siena and Saint Rose of Lima, .Mariana’s life was miraculously sustained by the Holy Eucharist. Many witnesses swore testimony to the fact that Mariana did receive Holy Communion each morning. She was determined to follow the mandate of Jesus: Who wants to follow me should deny herself.”

Mariana’s spirituality and the gifts attached to it included her being able to predict the future, see future events as if they were passing before her, look into the very hearts of people, cure disease by making the sign of the cross on someones or sprinkling them with holy water. It was documented that she even restored a dead person to life. The reputation of the holy woman called Mariana spread far and wide.

In 1645 there was a great earthquake in Quito. Many people died as a terrible epidemic of disease swept through the city. A Jesuit priest gave a homily in church and prayed aloud, “My God, I offer you my life so that the earthquakes are over.”

But Mariana quickly came forward and exclaimed, “No Lord, the life of this priest is necessary to save many souls, but I am not necessary….I offer you my life to stop these earthquakes.”

The very next day Mariana began to feel very sick. Shortly after, on May 26, 1645, Mariana died. She was 27 years old. There were no more earthquakes, and no one else died from disease. It is reported that on the day she died her sanctity became visible to all who were there. A pure white lily sprouted from her blood, blossomed, and bloomed for all to see. Because of this she became known as the Lily of Quito. In 1946 the Republic of Ecuador declared her a national heroine giving her the title, Heroine of the Nation.

St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes, was beatified by Pope Pius IX on November 20, 1853 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1950. She is the patroness of those with bodily ills, people rejected by religious orders, and those who lose their parents, especially while children.

St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes, please pray for us.




copyright©Larry Peterson 2019