LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
My blog on our "inconvenient" pope has been bumped for this urgent message....
My phone sounded on the bedside table in the early morning hours and woke me from sleep today. The alert on my phone was for a new Facebook post concerning a young, autistic boy (don't know where he lived) who was asked not to bring his Bible to read in school. The message reminded me of one that St. Paul received on his journey to Damascus:
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9)
Most folks on Facebook assumed that the story was true, and they were up in arms, God bless them! Many hit the “like” button and “shared” the story with other Facebook friends. On the other hand, I presumed it was not made up, but vowed to look into its authenticity later. Meanwhile, I posted this 5am reply:
I'll do more than share this link.
In solidarity with this young believer
I will carry a Bible with me everywhere
I go from now on.
If you believe in God join me.”
I also committed to discussing this “phenomenon” of hardheartedness in a Godless world on my blog site: www.letitallstarthere.com.
I am fully aware of just how complicated this subject is. I am also fully aware of the special needs of an autistic boy as he attempts to negotiate our world. Also, I understand the premise of the “wall of separation between church and state” as used by Thomas Jefferson and others when referring to our 1st Amendment. Moreover, I am highly sensitive to the vague contradictions that hover, almost like specters, over our Constitution. The architects of the foundation on which our United States has been constructed called for: “a more perfect Union, Justice, Tranquility, and Blessings…” as they wrote the rules of the game. And so, I ask you this (something I intended to ask about the subject matter of Sunday’s blog post concerning NYT article, “In 7 States, Atheist Push to End….”):
Who do you think they are depending on for these good graces? Who do you think bestows perfection, justice, tranquility and blessings? Seriously. Who do you think they understood designed our moral barometer? Our forefather's were brilliant, insightful, one of a kind men.
(Like Jesus and John Wayne, they ain't making them like that anymore.) I believe that these men intuitively, the way birds know how to build nests, recognized that God was in all things. So there was nothing else to say. And of course they were much too busy, creating , building, forging something new and life changing to pick apart the benign, peace seeking, loving presence of The Word. Someone whose existence can only be a positive force in a man or woman's life.
Needless to say, rehashing the subject of people forgetting, dismissing, avoiding, or denouncing the presence of God in their lives is getting old for me. What about you? I can site modern day, great thinkers and statisticians who have studied this "war on God" and who have offered helpful, insightful, and credible opinions about what not only has gone wrong, but also what continues to go wrong out there in the world. But I choose not to. Instead, I want to urge my readers, fellow parishioners, and my entire Catholic family to not merely “like” and “share” on Facebook but to take a more active-- if not an aggressive-- approach to the idea (or practice of) the erasing of God from our universal conscience. Do anything, as long as it is peaceful, to be a witness to Christ. I have chosen to peacefully, counteract the ban on God by carrying His Word with me out there in the world.
Look for me wherever you go. I will be the tall, “inconvenient woman” carry her beautiful Bible. Won’t you join me?
"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
Show the readers of this Blog that you are "tired as hell and you are not going to take it anymore..." Send me a photo of you standing up for Christ. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Michael Cambi
12/11/2014 02:49:18 am
This latest blog really gets to the heart of what it means to be a faithful Christian in the world. We are called to WITNESS to the faith, to the person of Jesus Christ. By definition, Witnessing is a public, not a private matter. This is how we carry on the mission Jesus entrusted to us at our baptism - to be beacons and instruments and promoters of God's love, truth and mercy in the world ... and that means everywhere - home, neighborhood, school, work, church, mall, grocery store, plane, train and automobile. We can't compartmentalize our Christian identity to be revealed and expressed only within spheres that are comfortable and safe and non-offensive to any self appointed enforcers of political correctness.
12/11/2014 03:39:43 am
Fr. Cambi, I love your idea about how to respond to those who wish us a "Happy Holiday". What a loving and positive way to respond without compromise! I believe that so much more is accomplished in this world when we address our differences with love rather than adversity.
12/12/2014 04:13:45 am
Carrying the bible is a great idea. Will have it with me from now on. Witnessing is very important to me.
12/13/2014 08:53:21 am
This is a wonderful response. I agree that carrying the Bible is a great idea. When we have it with us we can rely on the word of God to strengthen us and know how to WITNESS to those who either don't know Jesus Christ and to those who have strayed away. It is our tool to rely on pack filled with fruitful inspiration that we can rely on when we are trying to tell people that Jesus Christ is not only the reason for the season but He is the reason for eternity and for us to believe in Him and to follow Him and know what we as Christians are supposed to live by. God Bless You
12/13/2014 08:48:46 am
Thank you dear Fr. Michael Cambi for reminding us that we are called to WITNESS. I agree with everything you say and I am so blessed when I go to celebrate the Mass with you at Sacred Heart. Thank you for the beautiful Mass and for your fruitful Homilies that always point to Jesus Christ and the Gospel and the meaning of the Gospel. I am also very thankful that you wear the black uniform with white Priest collar to remind us all that you are in this world to serve Jesus Christ and that you take Jesus Christ very seriously and you are a Priest because you are living according to God's word and constantly remaining strong in the word of God and all that it means to be a serious Christian. I thank you for always pointing to Jesus Christ our beloved Lord and Savior.. You are a Saint for sure. Thank you very much for being a Priest and for being my brother in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. God Bless You always!
12/11/2014 03:43:08 am
This subject isn't complicated at all, nor is the student's autism at all relevant. It is a simple First Amendment issue. It has been determined by the Supreme Court that students do not relinquish their First Amendment rights in the schoolyard. Recently, a student at a local school was told he could not bring to school and read a book of which the principal did not approve. I concur with the principal's taste in literature, but flatly deny her right to impose it on a high school student (who, I am assured, was NOT sharing the work in question at kindergarten story time). Each of these is an issue of intellectual freedom.
12/12/2014 04:57:11 am
When our Lord visits we are never the same! Thank you for joining us here. I appreciate your taking the time to write. Evelyn ,
12/12/2014 06:04:20 am
12/12/2014 08:07:44 am
I read this after I sent you email about some of my experience teaching non verbal, learning disabled and autistic students. Whether or not the story about the boy with the Bible is true or not, still needs to be addressed The issues that autistic children face in our world need continuous support towards autistic children. I have found that autistic children are highly sensitive human beings. This boy being told not to bring his Bible to school to read is a good example of how teachers who are non Christians seek to remove God from school altogether. The Hold Bible is the word of God and spells out in so many different ways what it means to be a Christian and to believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God. Public schools typically seek to eliminate God altogether. I believe that no child should be denied their right to bring the Bible to school and read it. As a former NYC Bd of Ed teacher, I spent 3 years teaching music to learning disabled, autistic and non verbal children. I firmly believed that even autistic and non verbal children should be given the opportunity to learn how to speak and sing. Through music I was able to open the doors to the minds of these precious students, that their classroom teachers did not believe was possible. Even after I was quickly able to get all of my non verbal, learning disabled students, autistic children to not only talk but also sing, their regular classroom teachers did not appreciate it because I had undone what they had written to the State of New York saying these students were non verbal period. I have never caved into any administrator nor teacher who told me that what they considered a non verbal autistic student was unable to talk and sing. Not only did I get these students to talk but I got them to sing. It was so heart wrenching to see these dear students talk and sing in my class. I took it a step further in order to prove to the entire administration as well as the classroom teachers by providing a concert where I had all of these so called non verbal autistic sing for the entire school. Those students were so amazing because they proved that they could speak as well as sing. It brought tears just to hear them sing and talk and be so joyful in front of an entire administration and teachers. Do you think those teachers appreciated that performance? No of course not because it proved that you cannot put a label on anyone and decide their future by putting a person into a box by saying no this person cannot do this. I have been a very fierce warrior in defense of these kinds of students and it absolutely infuriates me when I see that even when a student brings a Bible to school he is told he cannot do so. It proves we live in a Godless world. We always have to remember that Jesus Christ is watching and He knows everything. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ it is our job to always be on watch for any opportunity to remind others including throughout the world that we love Jesus Christ and we believe the word of God is the infallible word of God that we live by. I never say happy holidays to anyone no matter where I am. I always say "Merry Christmas" during Christmas Time. As we know the word "Christmas" contains two very important reminders "Christ" and Mas...and the word Mas is easily understood by us as "Mass". We celebrate the Mass on a daily or weekly basis including Holy Days because we love Jesus Christ and we love the Mass. We love the Mass because during the Mass we celebrate Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary, and who died for our sins and to show the world that there is eternal life if we believe and follow Jesus Christ. For those who love, believe and follow Jesus Christ on a daily basis seek to spend eternity with Jesus Christ. I believe in, love and follow Jesus Christ and I live for eternity and I don't care what the non believers in this world say. I also love the Bible because it is the "road map" that we believers in Christ Jesus follow. I also appreciate Fr. Michael Cambi because he is a Saint and follows the word of God. We need more Priests like him.
You write very well & the Church does need more priests like Fr. Cambi
12/12/2014 01:14:27 pm
I especially appreciate his wearing "the uniform ". He is one of the few priests that do around our diocese. I would like to know why the priests who choose to venture out in public dressed like they are going to a ball game or like worse think it's acceptable or appropriate. Their "blacks" are a means of evangelization. I wonder why they don't know that. Thanks Stephanie.
12/12/2014 09:07:03 pm
Fr. Michael is so proud to have been called to the priesthood that letting everyone know he is a man of God is very special to him. He is filled with Christ and the Spirit.
12/12/2014 11:58:22 pm
I agree that it is a good thing when the priest wears his collar and blacks as a witness to who he is and what he represents. But there's always two sides (at least) to every story so I just want to weigh in. Our priest doesn't always wear his blacks and he says that when he is out in "civilian" clothes, people who are not Catholic find him much more approachable. I can agree with that to a certain extent because I've had people who are non-Catholic say to me that they can talk more easily to him, he's likeable and they enjoy his company. That's coming from some fiercely Protestant people in our community who still consider us to be the neo-Roman paganists but he is winning some of them over. At least he's working toward greater community and ecumenism by approaching people where they're at. His reputation and vocation precede him. People know who he is and what he stands for. And like Father Cambi, he's a visible and active part of our community which also helps. So while I agree with what you are saying, I guess I'm adding that there's more than one way to witness.
12/13/2014 08:15:15 am
Thank you so much for your kindness. I think that Fr. Michael Cambi is a gift to us all. I love him as a Priest and because he is my brother in Christ Jesus. I go every week to Sacred Heart Parish Sat Vigil Mass because Fr. Michael Cambi really cares about all people. He beams like a light with the love of Christ in everything he says and does. His homilies are always very inspiring and pointing to Jesus Christ and the Gospels. He is so special. I am so thankful that he is a serious Priest and always wears his black. I will be very very heartbroken if he leaves Stamford. He makes everyone happy and I always feel so blessed and thankful that I have celebrated the Mass with Fr. Michael Cambi. And God Bless You dear brother.
12/13/2014 08:42:39 am
I should have said God Bless You dear sister.
12/12/2014 08:13:54 am
When I became a Catholic, my husband bought me a Miraculous Metal as well as a cross. I've been wearing it ever since. Sometimes people have made fun of me for it, but I've also had wonderful conversations with others who are wearing the same thing. For a year and a half I was active in community theater. Twice I was told by the same person who ironically was Catholic that I had to remove the necklace for the performances. And twice I told her, "Sorry. That doesn't come off." I also like to think that smiling and being friendly are good ways to say, "I'm a happy Christian." Okay, maybe I don't hit that ideal every day, but as our Pope tells us, we shouldn't be gloomy. We should radiate joy. I'm not sure about carrying the Bible though. Should I carry it if I'm not going to use it? If I'm not going to reference Scripture in a situation, wouldn't it be better to carry the Gospel message in my words, my demeanor, my actions? Is my uneasiness from spending 36 years in the public school system? I felt, like St. Paul, that I was an ambassador in chains but I was still an ambassador--teaching peace, justice, love, forgiveness most of the time. Maybe we need to dialogue some more on this. And perhaps I need to spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament trying to figure out why I'm so uneasy with the concept of evangelization. I just don't think I really understand how to do it without turning people off and making them think I'm holier than thou.
Charlene...We can chat about it if you'd like. :)
12/12/2014 12:18:37 pm
I think when one is familiar with the subject matter sharing comes naturally. And The Holy Spirit helps too. Thanks for writing.
12/13/2014 12:04:35 am
I think that I have some knowledge of the subject matter since I've taught apologetics, Scripture, RCIA, religious ed for kids and adults for years. It's the approach matter that stumps me and many others. I realize the Holy Spirit plays a big part in this too--much bigger than I'll ever play but in many a meeting we've discussed how do we evangelize? We've come up with a number of answers, put them into effect, and had sporadic and often disappointed success. I would like to chat about this but I'm wondering if it would be better one-on-one or on the blog. At times I wonder if it's just our community but with being part of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and hearing what's happening in the other counties of the diocese, I don't think so. Food for thought on later topics.
12/13/2014 04:06:00 am
My closing and final comment to this blog is the following: It is no secret that I am a Cradle Catholic who did not know it until later in life because my mother is Protestant and my fathers Roman Catholic family sneaked me off to be Baptized by a Roman Catholic Priest when I was an infant. I went through life inspired by Billy Graham and several Baptist authors and later on by numerous Baptist Pastors. After a family member who is my Godmother told me about the family secret which was about my Catholic Baptismal, I ran to tell well over 10 Roman Catholic Priest my story and they all understood and welcomed me. I took it upon myself to study the history of the Catholic Church and the Sacraments. I also studied books written by several Roman Catholic Church doctors. My Priest Cousin who teaches Priests also helped me understand the Catholic Church. I wanted to be confirmed but was told I had to attend the RCIA classes first. When I made effort to attend the RCIA classes in a few Parishes within our Diocese I was very astounded to be surrounded by Catholics who did not know the Bible. I found that the classes did not provide substantial focus on the Bible and so I stopped going to those classes. When I went to tell a Catholic Priest in our Diocese all about this effort I made in the RCIA classes, he told me that I do not need to go to the RCIA classes and that because I have had an extensive history studying the Bible I would only be frustrated in the RCIA classes and that what I needed was to understand what the Sacraments mean. He was absolutely right because I never would have been confirmed if it required my having to attend the RCIA classes. The Priest told me that he would prepare me to be Confirmed. We spent several months with him instructing to me what the Sacraments mean and then I was confirmed Roman Catholic by the Bishop. I still find too many Catholics who refuse to accept the fact they need to study the Bible and I find it very offensive when I run into a Catholic who refuses to accept the fact that we as Christians need to apply Matthew 18 v.15 when we run into a problem with a Christian brother or sister. I have found that there are still Catholics who choose to take responsibility for themselves by learning what the Bible means because some Catholics consider it to be a "protestant" thing and that because they are Catholic they don't need to study the Bible. I am thankful that Fr. Joe Benintende teaches the Bible to Catholics who want to understand the Bible and I am thankful to Fr. Michael Cambi in Stamford who also knows the importance of Catholics studying the Bible.
12/13/2014 07:44:12 am
Thank you Evelyn for explaining that the Pope wants Priests to wear their collar and is written in the Catechism. I forgot to say that I appreciate those who are making sincere effort in the RCIA and Pastoral Council . I also appreciate the fact that at Sacred Heart in Stamford sunday school is provided for children. The books used look very exciting and makes me wish I was school age to attend the classes. I had to go to my mothers church sunday school from age 5 to 21 where we learned the Bible stories, the Ten Commandments and the Beautitudes. It is very good that Sacred Heart provides wonderful classes for children and prepares them well for confirmation. Fr. Michael Cambi provided a wonderful study on Evangelization at Sacred Heart.. I am also very thankful for retired Fr. Benintende's Bible studies and his discussion groups. I know other Parishes also provide Bible studies but the drive at night in the winter always makes it impossible for me to attend anywhere.
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