December 7, 2016 Home Page


Our website will update again on December 15, 2016

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.

~Pope Francis~



During the four weeks prior to Christmas, we light the candles of our Advent wreaths and put ourselves in the spiritual space of the Israelite people who, through many long centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah.


It is with sadness and yet joy that I share, my beloved Buddy Boy has gone home to the Master. His journey now is complete and the Redeemer of all creation restores all that is good. Bud was a good and great dog! A new day dawns for both of us. I thank all for your kind words and thoughts.

Did You Know?

THAT…pets and their families are being reunited in Tennessee after the terrible wildfires? Many people were unable to rescue their pets in the chaos of the rapidly spreading fires. In some cases, animals bolted and disappeared as the flames bore down on fleeing families. Some people were not home when the fires reached their properties, and either the flames or law enforcement prevented them from getting back to save their pets.


Good News

LOWE’s Home Store Hires Veteran AND His Dog

Clay Luthy was looking for someone to hire him after his time in the Air Force.

“I was trying to figure out where I could go that would be a good fit and it wouldn’t mind having Charlotte, and my wife said I was at Lowe’s so much anyway, I might as well get a job there.”

Charlotte – a 10-year-old yellow lab – is by his side in and out of the work zone. And the man who hired them says they were perfect for the job.


In the News

Cat essentially saves owner from Tennessee wildfires

Mark Burger didn’t see the deadly wildfire coming.

What he did see just after 8 p.m. on Nov. 28 was his siamese cat, Tiger, acting strangely, Burger told the Knoxville News Sentinel. Normally calm, Tiger appeared to be trying to get his owner’s attention as he stared at the windows, paced in front of the door and rushed back and forth between the door and his owner.

“I figured I might as well take out the trash and take a look to see if an animal like a raccoon might be making Tiger nervous,” Burger told the newspaper. “When I got across the lot, I could see the flames all over the mountains across from my condo.”


Picture of the Week

The Great Sled Dogs of Denali National Park

Sled dogs and winter patrols by dog team are a large part of the history and tradition of Denali, but they are also an important part of our modern park operations. Our first Superintendent, Harry Karstens, was also a dog musher. He acquired the park’s first seven sled dogs in 1922 and we’ve been mushing ever since.


Ask Susi

Q: My parish priest told me that “we (meaning the Catholic Church) do not believe that animals go to heaven, because they have no souls.” But, my heart and faith in Jesus tells me otherwise. Is what he said true?

A: This is perhaps the most epic question I am asked, in numerous and varying contexts. Countless books and articles have been given over to the question of animals in heaven and there is the long and short of it, depending on where you really want to go. So, I will answer the initial question, and follow it with an abridged explanation for the positive.


Susi’s Weekly Column

My Advent Saint

~by Susi Pittman

He is my favorite Advent saint and my patron. He is one whose popularity in the early Church was only surpassed by the Blessed Mother and the Beloved Disciple John.


Catholic Journeyman

St. Joseph: Part 5–Man of Questioning Faith & Part 6–The Observant Jew

~by Louis Templeman

A divinely orchestrated mission in fatherhood and complete obedience to The Father has the Church aptly placing Saint Joseph as the Patron of Families. We continue with Louis’ 10-Part series upon the greatest “man” to ever serve the Living God!


Meandering Along the River’s Edge

The Forest Chapel

~by Virginia Anson Rhys, OFS

God is everywhere! Virginia finds Him in His natural sanctuary.


Weekly Commentary

Reorienting Ourselves to the slower pace of Advent–by SIster Aletheia Noble

Advent is about slowing down because waiting always slows us down, whether we like it or not.

Every time I get in line in the cafeteria at our convent, I am inevitably behind the sister who leisurely picks out her meal items with the meticulous care of a surgeon removing a spleen. For an impatient person like me, every second spent staring at a sister using metal tongs to inspect her food is hellish.


Catholic Writers

Father Gabriele Amorth

The renowned exorcist, Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, has died at the age of 91.

A priest of the diocese of Rome, Father Amorth was admitted to hospital a few weeks ago suffering from pulmonary complications, according to Italian media reports. His death was announced September 16th, 2016, by the San Paolo group which has published many of his books. He was often sought out by media for his views on exorcism.

By 2015, Father Amorth had performed over 70,000 exorcisms over 29 years, often repeating the rite on the same persons. In 1990, he founded the International Association of Exorcists and was president until he retired, in 2000. On Sept. 8 this year, he was awarded the “Medal of Liberation” by the prefect of Rome, in the presence of Italy’s Minister of Defense, for the “important role” he played in the partisan struggle against the Nazis in 1943.

As well as an exorcist, Father Amorth also held several positions in the Society of St. Paul, including forming young religious, and serving as a teacher, spiritual director, and journalist. For many years, he was director of Madre di Dio, an Italian monthly, and a longtime contributor to another Italian Catholic monthly, Famiglia Cristiana. He also published a number of books on subjects that included exorcism, good and evil, the power of the media, freemasonry and sects.

Recommended Read

An Exorcist Explains the Demonic–by Father Gabriele Amorth

From Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the renowned exorcist in Rome, comes this powerful, eye-opening book on the deadly antics of Satan and his fallen angels, as well as spiritual remedies for each.

These pages provide a basic orientation in the dark phenomenology, succinctly explaining Catholic doctrine on the fallen angels and the innumerable manifestations. Among the many questions Fr. Amorth answers in this book are:

Where does the Evil One dwell in the human body?

How does the Devil appear and what does he look like?

What are the powers that comes from Satan?

Do the sins of ancestors influence our life?

How are spiritual evils contracted?

What is the state of souls in purgatory?

What is the role of sacramentals in fighting off temptation?

When should exorcisms and prayers of healing be performed?

What happens during an exorcism?

What you should do when a family is being attacked by a demon?


Catholic Saints

Saint Nicholas

Quote of the Week

God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.

~Pope Francis~

Geology & Archaeology

The amazing road tracking ancient humans

Using a method known for helping forensic scientists solve cold cases, University of Florida doctoral student Ashley Sharpe created a map for determining the birthplace of ancient people and animals in Central America. Archaeologists will use the map to match lead found in bedrock from specific locations to a curious source: millennia-old teeth.

Pinpointing birth and death locations will help Sharpe and other archaeologists track the movement of prehistoric Maya and potentially solve mysteries surrounding the civilization’s origins and eventual demise.

Sharpe sampled lead isotope values found in rocks, which act as local signatures, from the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatán Peninsula–the site of the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs–and places in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.


Global Weather

Coral sensitivity to heat

Coral bleaching happens when sea temperatures rise, causing the breakdown of the symbiosis between coral and their zooxanthellae (the microscopic plants which gives coral most of its colour), which can be fatal for the coral.

Study lead author, Dr Verena Schoepf from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute says the researchers were surprised to find that corals around the Kimberley region in north Western Australia are just as sensitive to heat stress and bleaching as their counterparts from less extreme environments elsewhere.



Low oxygen ‘dead zones’ in North Pacific Ocean

Large-scale warming events about 14,700 and again 11,500 years ago occurred rapidly and triggered loss of oxygen in the North Pacific, raising concern that low-oxygen areas will expand again as the ocean warms in the future. Anomalous warmth occurring recently in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea – dubbed “The Blob” – is of a scale similar to the events documented in the geologic record, the researchers say. If such warming is sustained, oxygen loss becomes more likely.

Although many scientists believe that a series of low-oxygen “dead zones” in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon and Washington during the last decade may be caused by ocean warming, evidence confirming that link has been sparse.



Is it “organic” if it is hydroponic?

If a fruit or vegetable isn’t grown in dirt, can it be organic?

That is the question roiling the world of organic farming, and the answer could redefine what it means to farm organically.

At issue is whether produce that relies solely on irrigation to deliver nutrients to plants — through what is known as hydroponic and aquaponic systems — can be certified organic.



Starfish killing robot set to patrol the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef will have a robotic protector beginning this winter. The underwater autonomous vehicle is programmed to patrol the massive living structure in search of destructive crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), which it then kills by lethal injection. These starfish prey on coral polyps, and although they are native to the reef, their population has exploded in the past few years, possibly because of overfishing of their natural predators. The latest report from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority places the venomous invertebrates alongside climate change and human activity as a significant threat to the reef, which lost half its coral cover between 1985 and 2012.


God’s Green Earth


Farm News

American Farmer RFD-TV

The mission of the American Farmer series is simple: to educate the world on the most exciting advancements in agriculture and farming. Produced by DMG Productions, American Farmer will take viewers on location across the country, to the farms that form the backbone of the ever-changing American agriculture industry. Keeping up with the latest trends in farming equipment and technology can be a challenge, especially for those who spend their days in the field. American Farmer viewers can tune in and gain an inside track on the most cutting edge advancements.


Steward Alerts

This Christmas season share Family Theater with the “family”

Family Theater Productions is the Catholic Family Media Center on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. For over 67 years we have been creating family friendly programs. Family Theater reaches families around the world through RADIO, TELEVISION, FILM, BILLBOARDS and THE INTERNET with broadcast quality programs. Family Theater Productions continues Father Peyton’s media mission as a member of Holy Cross Family Ministries, Easton, Mass., sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross.


Steward Activities

Bible Coloring Pages

Discover Our Stockpile of Bible Coloring Pages that Build Christian Faith in Kids! Over 100 Coloring Sheets, Dot-to-Dot, & Color-By-Number! (Print off as many copies as you need)


A Song Before The Lord

Veni Veni Emmanuel


Growing container flowers indoors during winter

When the mercury drops and the skies turn dreary, many gardeners bid a sad farewell to the brilliant flowers of summer, but that doesn’t need to be the case. With careful selection and attention to lighting and care, many flowers can be grown indoors during the winter. Think geraniums, impatiens, miniature roses and bright begonias, or try your hand at foliage plants like coleus to replace the summer blooms.


Wellness & Nutrition

4 winter ways to keep your dog active

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t want to (or need to) play. There are ways for you to keep your dog active during the winter months that may or may not involve you. Do you love winter and want to take your dog outside with you? Or do you need the warmth and comfort of being inside? Whichever you prefer, here are ideas for each preference for you and your dog to try out.



Seeing Mars for the first time through EXO-Mars Orbiter

Behold! The European Space Agency’s new Mars orbiter just sent back its first high-resolution images of the Red Planet, and the view is amazing.

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived at Mars on Oct. 19, when its companion spacecraft Schiaparelli crash-landed on the planet’s surface. Since then, TGO has been circling Mars, testing out its machinery, and taking spectacularly sharp pictures of the landscape using its Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS). ESA stitched together the best of these photos in a cool new flyover video.



Now this is the way we smile when we place Baby Jesus in the Manger

Disclaimer is an online Ezine operated by a Roman Catholic family. The website content is particular to Roman Catholic theology, but in no way is this website an “official” website for the Catholic Church. It operates as a layman’s ministry devoted to interesting, informal, spiritual, interactive, educational, and religious content and products to aid in ones personal journey towards better stewardship of creation and the creatures we share this life with. Sharing the joy of communion with God through the extended family of creation. This website may contain links to third party blogs/websites. is in no way responsible for the contents of any linked blog/websites or any links contained in such blog/website. Links are provided for convenience and information and do not imply endorsement of the linked site. Privacy is important to us; therefore, we will never sell, rent, or give away your name, personal information or Email address to anyone, ever! You may contact us by sending an email to:

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