it was a Saturday

4 Oct

On this day in 2003, October 4, I met Issa, Tamer, Tamara, Ranim and Mary at their Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala, West Bank, Palestine. It was a Saturday morning. It was a blessed event for me!Kids and Rob 1a



3 Oct


“Every family is always a light, however faint, amid the darkness of this world”

Pope Francis, 3 October 2015

let us pray

3 Oct

In the Vatican this evening there was a prayer vigil in anticipation of the beginning of the Synod on the Family tomorrow. Will you join these people in prayer as soon as you finish looking at these photos?


the day of the Palestinian flag

30 Sep

Only the official “voting” member states had the right to fly their flag in front of the United Nations.

But the General Assembly just a few weeks ago voted overwhelmingly to allow the Palestinians and the Vatican, the only two nonmember “observer” states, to fly their flags.

The flag of the Holy See, the official “state” name of the Vatican, was raised without ceremony last Friday, the day on which Pope Francis addressed the United Nations. It was flying today in its permanent place with all the other flags of the nations.

Today the Palestinian flag was raised at the United Nations at 1:36 p.m. in a ceremonial garden.

At the ceremony Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, said that this day, September 30, will be known every year as the day of the Palestinian flag.

UN Palestinian flag 03

The banner of breaking news at the bottom of the screen was screaming for attention at the same minute.

for the very first time

25 Sep

Today the flag of the Vatican was raised at the United Nations for the first time, yes, the first time with the flags of the 193 United Nations member states.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 03

On September 10 the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian-sponsored resolution allowing the flags of non-voting observer states to fly alongside those of member states. The Holy See and Palestine are the only two observer states.

The U.S. flag flew for the first time today.

The Palestinian flag will fly for the first time on September 30.

They both flew at my house today.Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 01

because [of] the lottery

25 Sep

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 06

The address of Pope Francis to the leaders of government and heads of state at the United Nations today will get much commentary and critique.

Before he went to the main hall, he spoke first to staff, whom he called the “backbone of this Organization.”

We know who is the “backbone” of any organization, business or parish: the ones to whom he spoke before he went upstairs.

There was laughter and applause when he went off prepared text, making reference to the “lottery” by which they were chosen and others were not. Part of the charm of his remark was his being comfortable enough with them to leave his written text – and his missing the word “of” in his addition.

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of my visit to the United Nations, I am pleased to greet you, the men and women who are, in many ways, the backbone of this Organization.  I thank you for your welcome, and I am grateful for all that you have done to prepare for my visit.  I would ask you also to offer my greetings to the members of your families and to your colleagues who could not be with us today [because the lottery].

The vast majority of the work done here is not of the kind that makes the news.  Behind the scenes, your daily efforts make possible many of the diplomatic, cultural, economic and political initiatives of the United Nations, which are so important for meeting the hopes and expectations of the peoples who make up our human family.  You are experts and experienced fieldworkers, officials and secretaries, translators and interpreters, cleaners and cooks, maintenance and security personnel.  Thank you for all that you do!

Your quiet and devoted work not only contributes to the betterment of the United Nations.  It also has great significance for you personally.  For how we work expresses our dignity and the kind of persons we are.

Many of you have come to this city from countries the world over.  As such, you are a microcosm of the peoples which this Organization represents and seeks to serve.  Like so many other people worldwide, you are concerned about your children’s welfare and education.  You worry about the future of the planet, and what kind of a world we will leave for future generations.  But today, and everyday, I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another.  Be close to one another, respect one another, and so embody among yourselves this Organization’s ideal of a united human family, living in harmony, working not only for peace, but in peace; working not only for justice, but in a spirit of justice.

Dear friends, I bless each one of you from my heart.  I will pray for you and your families, and I ask each of you, please, to remember to pray for me.  And if any of you are not believers, I ask you to wish me well.  God bless you all.

Thank you.

U.N. personnel take pictures as Pope Francis arrives to greet UN staff members at United Nations headquarters on Sept. 25, 2015.

with God as Creator

25 Sep

The children were beautiful.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 10.jpg.png.docx

Their voices were down to earth and heavenly.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 08.jpg

Their hope-filled plea to God made us want the same for all children, made us ready to desire it, and made us think that it is really possible.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 07.jpg

They sang at the end of the interfaith prayer service with Pope Francis at Ground Zero. The sang in front of leaders of religions. They sang on behalf of all children of our world.

we cannot stand in the field, but …

2 Sep

St Andrew adoration September 2

Even though at this moment we cannot literally stand with our “family” of the Catholic parish of Beit Jala, as we literally stood with them whenever we go to the Holy Land on pilgrimage, we stand with them liturgically and virtually.

This evening, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Milford, Ohio, open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala. Around 6:30 p.m. there will be a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine and the closing hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”

Although we cannot stand with them in the fields of the Cremisan valley, they will know that we support them at this time and that we are praying with them and for them.

The live streaming camera will be turned on at 6:00 p.m. Go to the St. Andrew parish website.  On the left sidebar, look for “Church Cast,” and click on “Watch our Mass online”

St Andrew adoration September 2 number 2

at a time (and in a place) of your convenience

1 Sep

Cremisan prayer September 2, 2015

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Milford, Ohio, will open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), West Bank, Palestine.

Exposition will begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 7:00 p.m. We invite you to join us in prayer at a time (and in a place) of your convenience.  The closing ceremony will be around 6:30 p.m. with a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine, and the hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”

(The photo above pictures HOPE teacher/pilgrims at Mass in the Cremisan Valley of Beit Jala.)

may I ask of you to sing a song for me? … be courageous! … very kind of you.

31 Aug

In preparation for his visit to the U.S., and because he will not be visiting the cities in which these young people live, Pope Francis made a “virtual visit” with them.

Pope Francis teen sings

If you do not watch the whole piece – Chicago Teen Sings for Pope Francis – at least skip to minute 2:30.

There is an hour long program on Friday at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Set yourself up to watch it or set your DVR to watch it for you.

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