Monday, September 26, 2011


Mary “Pat” O’leary  McCarthy
(August 2, 1922 - September 19, 2011)

For those who missed them, these good words were written by my sister Jane.

Mary Patricia O’Leary McCarthy died peacefully at home on Monday, September 19 with her husband Joseph F. ("Joe") by her side. Pat was born in Manson, Iowa. She graduated summa cum laude from Iowa State University, where she and Joe met at Newman Center prayer service on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. They married on September 21, 1946. Wednesday would have been their 65th wedding anniversary. Pat is survived by Joe and their six children: Michael (Andrea) of Port Huron, Daniel of Washington, DC, David (Lydia) of Grand Rapids, Mary (James - deceased) Taylor of Charlotte, James of Jonesville, and Jane of Madison, Wisconsin, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Matthew and Frances O'Leary, and her brother David.

Pat was an active parishioner at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church for over fifty years. She put in many hours over many years volunteering at church, and also benefitted her community by delivering Meals on Wheels, volunteering at Foote Hospital, tutoring children in reading, and volunteering at Lumen Christi high school library. An avid reader {Jane Austin her favorite author}, Pat was also devoted to music and the arts. She was a Tigers and Cub fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball. In her sixties, she learned French in order to be able to understand Canadian radio hockey broadcasts, and she loved watching the Red Wings.

Pat was extremely bright, devout, and compassionate. She used her time and energy in this world to make it a better place. A fine friend and neighbor, loving wife, caring mother and grandmother, Pat is greatly missed.

"Besides restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul." Psalm 23

Mom & Dad on date at Iowa State University Union ~ 1941

Monday, September 19, 2011


Sen. John Kyl, one of the members of the special congressional committee set up to create a $1.5 trillion budget-reduction plan, said Thursday those cuts should come out of programs like Medicare and Social Security - not defense.   Washington (CNN report) Sept. 9, 2011

Listen to this not so long ago Republican president who’d learned from his close contact with the war industry---
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms in not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children….This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”  [for whole speech,]
--Dwight D. Eisenhower,  1953

 What does our faith teach us---
“The arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race, an act of aggression against the poor and a folly which does not provide the security it promises.” (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, No. 81, 1965)
 “The armaments race is to be condemned unreservedly.  It is a n act of aggression which amounts to a crime, for even when they are not used, by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve” --Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976

By pursuing the arms race we continue to kill the poor, and all hopes and dreams for a better world still hang on a cross of iron.  We are no longer arms racing with our enemies, but only chase our own tails, while stuffing our leaderships’ profits pouches.     Our country spends nearly as much on its military, as do all the rest of the world’s countries combined.  Yet our social safety net is shredded, jobs slashed, and cuts to our children’s education are embraced as a national priority.

ongress is embattled in special budget reduction committees.  People’s needs are being sacrificed on the altar of Wall Street and national security industry.  Those who should represent us are in danger of becoming the Greedy Old Party and the Dust Encrusted Moribunds.  The “class warfare” the Republicans warn of, is already upon us [not the rich], and has been declared by all the predominant politicians with their well-heeled handlers.  This class warfare is against the regular citizen and the common good.  The gated wall between Dives and Lazarus is being built up to a dizzying height [see gospel of Luke 16: 19-31], as it becomes the ever-wide terrible-depth gap between heaven and hell.   Heaven cannot be attained unless super-rich and poor meet hand in hand on the plane of justice.  America, it’s time to tear down this wall.
Dives and Lazarus, by Serrata Pozzo
“Let the little children come to me.  Do not shut them off.  The reign of God belongs to such as these.  Trust me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it.”  Lk 18: 16-17
Jesus Blesses the Children

Dives and Lazarus
John Pilch, biblical scholar, has this to say.  "The gate by which Lazarus posts himself performs two functions.  It keeps Lazarus outside and the rich man inside; but it can also be the rich man's entry into the world where he can give alms or become a patron to needy clients.  This creates a gap between the two, which only grows larger as the story progresses."  The gap between damnation and salvation.

 Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We are moving away from a time of reactive war response to the 9/11 hurt to our nation.   Praise the Lord, but don’t pass any more ammunition.  In war we’ve found only further hurt to ourselves, and inestimable damage to friend & foe alike in the theaters of war.
Our local Gannett paper today invites some soul searching on whether the world, or our community, is any better for our massive “war on terror.”  I sense the winds of real change, a break in the the cloud cover of war that's enveloped us.  But so much work lies ahead to end barriers that divide and hobble our nation.

ur pastor read this first prayer below and played taps on his trumpet, at the parish peace pole today, after a very moving liturgy in which the theme of scripture and music was--God demands forgiveness and mercy of His people.  No matter how humanly difficult--for our own good.  How much forgiveness?  From the scripture, seven times seventy.  There followed the parable of the wicked servant, forgiven an immense amount, who then goes and extracts full debt punishment from the next one he meets.  [today’s gospel, Mt 18:21-35]
Parable Of The Wicked Servant By Fetti Domenico

What forgiveness has to do directly with any given war is difficult to discern, but war does derive from our multiple failures to replicate God’s forgiveness and mercy.

he victims of 9/11 families now call us to a positive response of national community service [see link- ].   The local United Way led a Tribute Walk at our community’s peace poles this morning to encourage this movement.  I saw many respectful groups walking, hopefully taking these steps towards converting from a war on terror, into a campaign forgiving each others’ debts and serving each others’ needs.

The prayers that follow merge to form a plea that we will all learn mercy, turn back the tides of terrible war that have added countless more victims, to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

Almighty Father,
we commend the victims of this shocking tragedy
to Your eternal love.
We implore Your comfort upon the injured,
the families and friends involved,
and all who are doing their utmost to rescue survivors
and help those affected.
We ask You, Father,
to grant the American people
the strength and courage they need at this time of sorrow and trial.
We beg you, Jesus,
to send Your legions of heavenly Angels,
led by Saint Michael the Archangel,
to protect the United States
from additional attempts of destruction.
If supernatural means are required to foil these plots,
we humbly implore you to suspend natural laws
to save innocent lives and souls.
Holy Spirit, we are a sinful nation,
and we beg you to send us Your authentic spirit of repentance.
We are also a nation capable of great charity and justice,
so look not on our sins,
Heavenly Spirit of Mercy,
but upon our sorrow and resolve to turn from evil,
to fight evil, and procure victory over evil.
Illuminate the minds and souls of our citizens
and especially our leaders
so we can see the error of our ways,
and give us the sweet grace required to turn to God with pure hearts.
Immaculate Mary, Humble Virgin,
Mother of our Church,
and protectress of our nation,
we ask you to go before the Throne of the Holy Trinity
and intercede for the United States
at this critical juncture in our history.
Gently place your mantle upon our land,
upon our people,
upon our allies,
upon our fighting men and women,
as you once wrapped our Savior in swaddling clothes in a manger.
We have no words that rightly express what we on earth
cannot understand or ever truly fathom,
the Love of God,
so we turn with childlike faith
to the words that Jesus Himself taught us to pray:
"Our Father, Who art in heaven,
hallowed by Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


Prayer in a Time of Contrived Fear

God of peace, we live in a culture
that seeks to manipulate us through fear:
Headlines scream: “Be afraid!”  Advertisements
prod our deepest insecurities and anxieties.
Our political and corporate leaders
know that if we fear, then they can do
whatever they want and we will follow.
But over and over again in scripture,
You call to us: “Be not afraid!”
Your words penetrate, us past the noise,
over the tumult: “Do not fear…”
From Your Word we regain
our freedom.  No longer afraid, we speak
the truth, we live the truth,
and we become that peace which we seek.
In Your peace, we pray: Amen.
By Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA

Thomas Merton's Prayer
of Abandonment

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever
with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Flower image and illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Monday, September 5, 2011


We should not be surprised at our current ongoing financial crisis in the USA.  We have been conducting extravagant excruciating wars without asking anyone, but the soldiers & citizens in direct contact with destruction, to pay for them.  The Iraq War was promoted as a war that would pay for itself out of oil revenues, no U.S. national sacrifice necessary.  As the Afghanistan War was launched we were told by leaders the patriotic duty was to go out and spend.  To find that spending money, you might have to run up your credit card, take it from a home equity loan, or flip a condo.  It was a magnificent misrepresentation--nothing conservative about it.  The blind following blind leadership, and now we have the devil to pay.
An armed guard poses beside pallets of $100 bills in Baghdad. In the first months of the 2003 invasion almost $12billion in in cash was spent by the US-led authority---picture by UK Guardian

What does spending in our wars look like?  The excerpts below from articles, still worth reading through on their links {little read at the time} tell a small part of this scandalous story.

'Iraq was awash in cash. We played football with bricks of $100 bills'  

At the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23 billion of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. With the infrastructure of the country still in ruins, where has all that money gone?  Callum Macrae and Ali Fadhil on one of the greatest financial scandals of all time.    Mar. 20, 2006 -- UK Guardian
 "Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money," says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced."

 How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish Special flights brought in tonnes of banknotes which disappeared into the war zone   UK Guardian,  Feb 7, 2007
The US flew nearly $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.  The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.
In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.
 ‘One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

A truck carrying rebel fighters driving toward the oil refinery in Zawiyah, Libya , Aug. 23, 2011---Bob Strong-Reuters
And History again repeats itself.  Recent lead for National Public Radio Story-----
The Libyan assets frozen during the civil war included crates full of money. Before the uprising began, Moammar Gadhafi ordered the printing of a billion and a half dollars worth of bank notes from a British company. Delivery of that Libyan cash was blocked as the uprising began. Yesterday, the money started to flow. The British Air Force flew in crates of cash worth more than $227 million. The cash will be used to pay public workers and replenish ATMs.
Even as they try to distribute money, Libya's new leaders are hoping to collect weapons. Before the uprising began last February, few Libyans were allowed to carry a weapon. Even those in the military had restricted access. Now officials say almost every Libyan has a gun.    ---   NPR Morning Edition story 9-1-11

We and our British allies are at it again, throwing away mountains of cash in once oil-rich, now decimated dictatorships, to curry favor with survivors.   We leave them with the oversight of our deadly drones, and the slim hope of one gun one vote democracy—at least one automatic weapon in every home, well-armed if nothing else.
And here at home USA?  The big beefy military industry gets the lion’s share of all our tax money that is not invested in social insurance programs [and borrows that too].  It’s always spoiling for a fight.  Fighting is their business, and is especially willing to be provoked, as the war industrialists themselves are never sent to the front lines.  The distribution of free-flowing guns bombs and cash worldwide has become the bulwark of U.S. foreign policy—the disaster of destroyed societies the only constant byproduct.    Our own society itself is drawn into the downward spiral.   You get what you pay for.

Our leadership can’t seem to listen to the Gospel admonition, "What father among you, if his son asks for bread, would give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead?"  Lk 11:11

Pray God for the grace to become leaders and citizens that believe in the multiplication of loaves and fishes---converted from the billions now devoted to our deadly military industries. 
The Angelus, by Millet

Related sources---

Feb. 6, 2007---House Panel Criticizes Shipments of Cash to Iraq
 Mar. 6, 2006---Iraq's Missing Billions
 Nov. 8, 2007---Will 'armloads' of US cash buy tribal loyalty?