Our website will be renewing again on April 23rd.

Wishing you all a HAPPY EASTER!

BLESSINGS UPON YOUR LENTEN JOURNEY!

Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer. Amen.

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Holy Week 2014

I make ALL things new!

The Good News

PALM SUNDAY

April 13th is Palm Sunday the sixth and last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, a Sunday of the highest rank. The earliest notice of reference to palms on Palm Sunday is in the “Gregorianum” used in France in the ninth and tenth centuries. In it is found among the prayers of the day one that pronounces a blessing on the bearers of the palms, but not on the palms. Today, the blessing asks God to bless the branches of palm or olive, that they may be a protection to all places into which they may be brought, that the right hand of God may expel all adversity, bless and protect all who dwell in them, who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ.. The palms blessed on Palm Sunday were used in the procession of the day, then taken home by the faithful and used as a sacramental. They were preserved in prominent places in the house, in the barns, and in the fields, and thrown into the fire during storms. (Mershman, F. (1911). Palm Sunday. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 8, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11432b.htm)

In the News

Pollen Findings Authenticate the Age of the Shroud of Turin

Professor Avinoam Danin, a botanist and member of the department of evolution, systematics and ecology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discovered that the pollen found within the Shroud of Turin adds credence to its authenticity. His findings were published by the Missouri Botanical Garden Press in a paper titled “Flora of the Shroud of Turin.” Visit his studies and findings HERE.

The pollen of one plant, a thistle called Gundelia tournefortii, was especially abundant on the cloth, and an image of the plant was identified near the image of the man’s shoulder.  Some scientists say this may have been the species from which Jesus’s crown of thorns was plaited.

Both the Sudarium (which was a cloth placed upon the shrouded face of the crucified body) and the shroud itself appear to carry type AB blood stains, and the stains are in a similar pattern, Dr. Danin said. “There is no way that similar patterns of blood stains, probably of the identical blood type, with the same type of pollen grains could not be synchronic, covering the same body.” he said. “The pollen association and the similarities in the blood stains in the two cloths provide clear evidence that the shroud originated before the eighth century.”

The flowers placed next to the shroud bloom only an hour a day, so they  were picked sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. before being placed next to the  body, Danin said. Christ is believed to have died late in the day, so his body would have been prepared shortly after.

Danin, who is Jewish, declines to talk about the religious implications of his finding. He said Monday it is not up to him to say this is proof of Christian beliefs or that this is the actual burial cloth of Jesus, but “you as a reader have to take one and one and make two.”

His co-author, Alan Whanger, who is Methodist, says he is driven partially by his religious beliefs.  “We did a scientific examination. One can interpret it any way one wants,” said Whanger, a Detroit native. “For me, it’s testament of the validity of one Jesus of Nazareth.”

“Coming outside of the Christian community it adds a little of bit of credibility because (Danin) doesn’t have a vested interest in promoting it one way or another.”

Information gathered from the Shroud University

The Shroud of Turin

Joseph Kaiser wrote for this website for over two years before his return to eternal reward with God. He created a 7-week Lenten study on the Shroud of Turin, one that we take great honor in presenting each year, may you rest in peace, dear Joe.

Part VI: Meaningless Carbon-14 Test

The Shroud that is venerated in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, is the Burial Cloth of Jesus. While it is impossible to prove that the Shroud image is that of Jesus at the instant of Resurrection, that is the only rational conclusion one can arrive at after serious examination of the facts. Yet the professional skeptics have created doubt in the minds of many people. Skeptics understandably have seized upon the announced results of Carbon-14 testing to promulgate doubts. This, in the face of proof that the Carbon-14 test results were meaningless as far as an accurate measure of the Shroud’s age is concerned.

In 1453 Margaret de Charny sold the Shroud to the House of Savoy, where she was sure it would be safe. In 1501, Margaret of Austria wed Philibert of Savoy, who died in 1504, leaving custody of the Shroud in her hands. Margaret stipulated in her will that a portion of the Shroud be given to the Catholic Church. When Margaret died in 1531, a piece about the size of a 3′X5′ card was cut from one corner of the Shroud. No one knows what happend to this fragment, but we know the cutting was done. The missing corner is clearly depicted in the 1571 Shroud replica commissioned by Pope Pius V.

In 1598, someone of the House of Savoy had the missing corner replaced by a process called “invisible weaving.” This complex process called for “de-weaving” a portion of the original cloth, then “un-twining” individual threads. Each strand of each thread is merged with strands of new material, then twisted into a “new thread” that contains strands of both old and new. The old/new thread is then woven with the same weave as the original cloth. Finally, the new area is dyed the same color, making the repair invisible without a powerful microscope. The House of Savoy would have had available to them the most expert “invisible weavers” in the history of the world. Providentially, this was the same corner from which Dr. Raes removed threads during the inspection of 1969.

The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) presented a poposal to the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Ballestrero, for a Carbon-14 dating of the Shroud. Simply, the Carbon-14 test measures the amount of an isotope called Carbon-14, which is present in all organic substances, including flax plants from which linen is made. In dead material, Carbon-14 decays over time at a fixed rate; therefore, the amount of residual Carbon-14 can reveal the measurement of something’s age. Out of the blue, in 1987 Cardinal Ballestrero was informed by the Vatican that Carbon-14 dating was to be done under the supervision of The British Museum. It is hard to believe that the British Museum was not aware of the removal, and subsequent repair, of the “Raes Corner.” On April 21, 1988, the ½ inch by 3¼ inch sample was cut from the Raes corner of the Shroud. (Actually, the agreed-upon protocol had called for three samples taken from different places in the Shroud.) The sample was then divided among three laboratories having the necessary equipment. Although the laboratories got different results, the Shroud was deemed by The British Museum to have originated somewhere between the years 1260 and 1390.

This date range was hard for Shroud researchers to accept.. They knew the Shroud had been exhibited in Constantinople from 944 to 1204, long before the earliest radiocarbon date. Further, STURP had categorically stated the image was not painted. How could the Carbon-14 tests be so wrong? It turns out that they weren’t wrong; they were measuring the age of the threads of the repairs of 1598 intermingled with the original Shroud threads. This was first discovered by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino. Looking at the disparate dates produced by the three Carbon-14 dating labs, they noted that the sample closest to the edge showed the youngest date, while the sample furtherest from the edge showed the oldest date.

Benford and Marino were able to persuade the late Dr. Ray Rogers, a physical chemist formerly with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and one of the original members of STURP, to become involved. Dr. Rogers, who was somewhat skeptical himself, had in his possession some threads taken from the Raes corner. Using microphotography, he was able to distinguish in a single thread both the original fiber of the Shroud and the fiber of the “invisible weaving.” Thus, the Carbon-14 dating results were so skewed as to be meaningless. After the pronouncement by Dr. Rogers, scientist and historians galore have presented paper after paper confirming this fact.

What has haunted everyone from the time of its discovery is the question: just what could have caused the image, a sepia image on cream-colored linen? In a report issued in late 2011, Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Development posits that the image was created by a burst of light so strong that it “light-scorched” the fabric. The flash was described by Pravia University Chemistry Professor Luigi Garlaschelli as unearthly. “The implications are,” he said, “that the image was formed by a burst of ultraviolet energy so intense it could have only been supernatural.” And that is what Catholics have believed all along.

The final installment in this series will discuss, not the Shroud of Turin, but the Sudarium of Oviedo. This was the “other” cloth mentioned in John’s gospel.

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Part VII: The Sudarium of Oviedo

In the city of Oviedo, in northern Spain, a 34” x 21” bloodstained piece of linen is venerated in a small chapel attached to the city’s Cathedral of San Salvador. Many believe this cloth has an intimate relationship with the Shroud of Turin. In fact, they believe that this is the cloth that is mentioned in John’s gospel:

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. (Jn 20:6-7)

What does “the cloth that covered his head” mean? Apparently, the Roman practice was to wrap a sweat cloth (Sudarium is Latin for sweat cloth) over the face of a crucified victim at the time of death. Perhaps this was to spare them from having to look upon the face of the deceased. The cloth would remain in place until the person was taken down and buried. For the Jews, the cloth had to remain in the tomb because it had been in contact with a dead person. It should be noted that there is no image on the Sudarium of Oviedo, only bloodstains. However, those bloodstains are crucial to its identification.

Mark Guscin, a member of the Investigation Team of the Centro Español de Sindonologia, reports the results of decades-long study of the Sudarium and its comparison with the Shroud of Turin. Their conclusion is as follows: “… the blood on the Sudarium … corresponds exactly in blood group, blood type, and surface area, to those stains on the Shroud from the nape of the neck. It is clear that the two cloths must have covered the same corpse…”

The very ordinariness of the the Sudarium speaks to its authenticity as a relic of Christ’s passion. It is dirty, creased, torn, burnt in parts, and stained. Yet its veneration goes back at least to seventh century Spain. From what we can gather, the Sudarium was placed in an ark (box) along with other relics in Jerusalem. It was taken across North Africa to Spain to protect it from invading Persians around 614. In Spain, the ark is known to have been in Cartagena, Seville, Toledo, and finally, in 840, Oviedo. The closed ark continued to be venerated until 1065, when it was opened in the presence of the King of Castile and its contents tabulated. The list expressly mentions the “de Sudario eius [Domini]” In the year 1113, the chest was covered with silver plating, on which there is an inscription inviting all Christians to venerate this relic which contains the holy blood. It is exposed for veneration in Oviedo three times each year: on Good Friday, on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross (September 14), and on the Octave of the Feast (September 21).

Intense scientific study of the Sudarium has given us a window into that first Good Friday afternoon. As soon as Jesus died, the cloth was placed over His face starting from the back of the left side, held to the hair by some sharp object. It could not be wrapped completely around His head because His head hung to the right side with His cheek touching His shoulder. It appears that after death, Jesus hung from the cross an additional hour or so before being removed. This may have been while Pilate was being assured of Jesus’ death.

The indications are that when Jesus was taken down from the cross, He lay in a horizontal position for some time before being moved to the tomb. We know that Joseph of Arimathea had to purchase the Shroud and obtain Pilate’s permission to take Jesus’ body for burial. During this time, the Sudarium was rearranged to cover His entire head, and pinned at the back. At the tomb, the Sudarium was removed and Jesus was wrapped in the Shroud. The gospels tell us that at that point, a stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb and the Sabbath began at sundown. Many of the disciples went home discouraged. Some of the women, however, resolved to return at daybreak Sunday morning with additional burial spices.

When they did, these women were the first to realize that Jesus had risen from the dead, and that everything He had said was true.

CLICK HERE to read Part I: From Tomb to Turin

CLICK HERE to read Part II: Silent Witness

CLICK HERE to read Part III: Amazing Face

CLICK HERE to Read Part IV: Close Examination

CLICK HERE to Read Part PART V: Authenticity Not in Doubt

Picture of the Week

When considering a pet, please don’t consider giving your young child a bunny for Easter. Rabbits, like dogs and cats, are loving creatures that need forever homes, and are not to be given as a temporary fix for fun. Be responsible and plan for your next pet to be a viable and cared for permanent part of your family.

Ask Susi

What does Sacred Scripture actually tell us about the creation of the world, and was man’s creation somehow different in some way?

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The Founder’s Pen

Mary, My Mother

~by Susi Pittman

Mary, She who was always at Jesus’ side and who is ever at our side to bring us to her Son.

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In the Key of “G”

Chosen Ones

~by Mary Galvano-Bajohr


Witnessing to our Catholic faith is fundamental in evangelizing others to the One Holy and Apostolic Church.

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Catholic Journeyman

The Name of the Lord

~by Louis Templeman

The great mystery of God in the Second Person leads Louis to remind us of one single, simple fact.

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Good Books

April’s Recommended Read: Nurturing Paws, Edited by Lynn C. Johnston

~by Michele Gregoire

Michele has a book recommendation for this month sure to be a treasure in any pet lovers library…Nurturing Paws.

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Meandering Along the River’s Edge

Meandering Along the River’s Edge

~by Virginia Rhys Anson, OFS

Join Ginny in a spiritual journey into the “meandering” of a river.

READ MORE…

This Week’s Top Global Weather News

Hong Kong needs coordinated plan to deal with severe weather

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Argentina lashed by deadly flooding and severe storms

Weekly Commentary

3 Literary Journals To Feed Your Soul

Catholic authors have to toe a very thin line when trying to write works that will testify to the Catholic experience in art and literature. However, this is difficult when trying to appeal to a secular audience. The avenues of the exposure and promotion are becoming less and less available to authors who even hint in a belief in Jesus Christ. And, as anti-Catholicism increasingly grows the plight of Catholic expression in the arts becomes more perilous. The Catholic authors who we still cling to like Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and G. K. Chesterton are all dead, but there is seemingly no one left to pick up their standard and carry on the tradition of good literature that still sings (or in some cases, hums) about the grace of God. Or is there?

READ MORE…

Affiliate Shopping

AFFILIATE SHOPPING for YOU! We continue to build a small but, well focused group of vendors, offering products in line with stewardship of the earth and its creatures. By visiting these product sites from our page, you are helping to support our mission.

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Geology and Earthquakes

Responding to quake, Chile uses lessons from the past

Soon after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit southern Chile in 2010 near the end of President Michelle Bachelet’s first term, officials failed to issue a tsunami warning before a massive wave killed a large number of the 525 people who died in the disaster. Looting then plagued hard-hit areas after Ms. Bachelet delayed allowing the military to move in.

This time around, when an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday night off the coast of northern Chile, officials leapt into action by comparison.

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Discovering Catholic Writers

Michael Seagriff


My vocation as a Lay Dominican created an insatiable desire to learn, study, live and share my Faith. For more than ten years I led a Prison Ministry program and have spent the past decade promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.

Now retired, I aspire to promote zeal for the salvation of souls, awe and amazement for the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, and fidelity to the Truths of our Catholic Faith.


In his book Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! Words to Challenge, Inspire and Instruct,  Michael has compiled more than 1200 challenging, inspiring and instructive quotations from Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and from the spiritual insight of Popes, Church Doctors, Saints, bishops, priests, sinners, and regular folk. These are essential truths he has gleaned from more than a decade of spiritual reading and reflection. These Forgotten Truths, divided into seventeen chapters and 112 topics, opened his eyes, spoke to his heart, and stirred his soul. The power of these truths changed his life and can do the same for all who read and reflect upon them.

FIND OUT MORE…

Quote of the Week

The world cannot reconcile itself to the silence of the grave; it is haunted and, in idle moments when it is taken off its guard, it shows itself thoroughly committed to some kind of belief in an after-life.
~M.C. D’Arcy, S.J.

Discovering Our Saints

St. Cecilia


Art of Life

Mary Jane Miller


I want to paint icons always with the hope of bringing people closer to God. Even when painting modern icons the artist entices people to come closer to God, through the beautiful image. We copy traditional images as doctrine and discipline as well as prayer. The painting of the image is considered service.

Traditional icons are a gift the Orthodox Church has given to the world, a doctrine for their expression and commitment to unify the believers. I have used the orthodox tradition yes, with absolute respect. Contemporary Icons challenge the idea that there is still an ongoing understanding of the divine story through image and doctrine. Remembering we are all children of God. There is no limit to the imagery in iconography or the expression of God, but many.

Over the past few years, thousands of people from a wide variety of spiritual traditions have found themselves drawn to the mysterious and prayerful images found in the icons of Eastern Christianity. Books: Icon Painting Revealed and The Mary Collection 2008 and DVD available.

Mary Jane Miller has acquired 18 years’ experience. She is an experienced iconographer a master at both contemporary and traditional. The technique is egg tempera and 100% gold real leaf. The classes are offered in her private studio and at the Monastery of the Soledad. Both environments for teaching emphasize prayer and contemplation.

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Looking for Sustainability

What Government Can Learn From Colleges About Transportation Problems


Cities should learn from college campuses for setting transportation policy, according to a new report by Frontier Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund.

The report highlights the city of Palo Alto, which is studying options for a transportation plan that would encourage drivers to switch to mass transit, biking and car-sharing services. The city’s goal is to reduce single-occupant car trips by at least 30 percent. As the Palo Alto Weekly reported last September, the city is likely to borrow ideas from nearby Stanford University, which successfully reduced solo driving by offering “a fleet of about 60 shuttle buses, free Caltrain passes, and cash incentives through the Commute Club, whose 8,000 members shun solo driving.”

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God’s Green Earth

Dies Irae—Second Coming

Farm News

U.S. 2014 Planting Season Off To Slow Start


Following the coldest winters in the United States in four years, corn planting will likely begin on schedule throughout much of the country. However, those who wanted to get into their fields early are likely disappointed.

“Soil temperatures are still fairly low,” says Chad Hart, economist with Iowa State University. “Those who like to get out into the field haven’t been able to do that. We are right on the edge of guys getting ready to move.” As of the week of April 7, Iowa soil temperatures were in the low to mid-40°F range.

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Steward Alerts

A Life of Blessingsby Michael H. Brown

A great read and a great gift at Easter


Nothing is impossible with God (and His angels). The supernatural is real. Tap into it. Tap into goodness. Claim the gifts that God has reserved for you. Get closer to Him.  Learn to invoke the Holy Spirit. Learn how to chase away evil. Learn what to do when you feel “blocked.” Learn to glow with a sense of well-being. Begin glimpsing — and experiencing — pieces of Heaven (here and now).

BUY NOW!

Visit Michael’s website HERE.

Steward Activities

Holy Week Activities for Your Children


Easter is the most important liturgical celebration throughout the year. It is a day that signifies our belief in Christ’s death and resurrection. But to most kids, it is the day that the Easter Bunny brings them a big basket full of candy and treats.

I guarantee that if you ask my three-year-old grandniece, on any given day to choose between going to Mass on Easter Sunday and celebrating Christ’s resurrection or meeting the Easter bunny and taking part in an Easter egg hunt, the bunny would win hands down.

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Environmental Education

Bird Migration Milestone: One million records show change over time

This 90-year span of archival data provides baseline information about the first arrivals and last departures of North American migratory birds, according to Jessica Zelt, the USGS North American Bird Phenology Program Coordinator. When combined with contemporary data, researchers have the unique opportunity to look at changes in seasonal timing in relation to climate and climate change over a 130-year period, unprecedented in its length of time for recorded migratory data.

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Youth Stewardship

Teen Feeds the Needy: The Million Penny Project


Chandra Starr is a 13-year-old from Glenwood Springs, Colo., who hopes to turn pennies into produce — for the needy.

At one point, Chandra and her mother were homeless — and the food they received could rarely be considered healthy.

Now, because of Chandra’s work, coins are pouring in from around town — and if she reaches her goal of collecting 1 million pennies, she will help build vegetable gardens throughout the region, serving 2000 people.

The Million Penny Project™ is a fundraising campaign that invites the community and local businesses to collectively donate their financial and professional resources for a cause. The current cause is homelessness (food / shelter / clothing). Our goal is to raise one million pennies ($10,000) for each participating charity. We’ve partnered with leading organizations focused on providing relief and solutions to homelessness, with all proceeds from contributions and the sale of merchandise from the campaign benefiting these organizations.

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Wellness & Nutrition

SPRING CLEAN YOUR BODY


While you’re cleaning out your cabinets and closets this month, don’t forget your most important spring-cleaning — keeping your body clear of toxins that can cause serious diseases.

There’s no better time to do this than April, National Cancer Control Month. Here’s your chance to follow the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) guidelines, and make sure you’re living a lifestyle that helps keep you healthy. Learn the latest lifestyle-related links to cancer, and review AICR’s cancer prevention and diet and lifestyle checklist to see if you’re doing everything possible to prevent cancer from becoming part of your life.

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Gardening

PLAN-A-GARDEN—from Better Homes and Gardens


Better Homes and Gardens has an amazing, easy to use new design tool you can use to create your new garden space. Drag and drop garden structures, accents and plants; save and edit your plans; print your plans to keep or share. START HERE!

Stargazing

WEIRD UFO LIGHT ON MARS


Scientists are throwing cold water on yet another purported “alien” sighting by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity.

Though UFO enthusiasts may beg to differ, mission team members say bright flashes of light visible in Mars photos taken by the Curiosity rover on April 2 and April 3 almost certainly have a perfectly ordinary explanation.

“One possibility is that the light is the glint from a rock surface reflecting the sun. When these images were taken each day, the sun was in the same direction as the bright spot, west-northwest from the rover, and relatively low in the sky,” states Justin Maki, the lead for Curiosity’s engineering cameras.

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