Posts Tagged ‘Life’

A Strong Economy for All

19 November 2014 - By

From Strong Economy for All:

The 213 members of the New York State legislature are currently agitating for a pay raise from their current base salaries of $79,600 per year. At the same time, three million New Yorkers working full-time at poverty-level pay are also fighting to raise the minimum wage up from the current $8 an hour, about $16,640 per year.

85If lawmakers are actually going to vote to raise their own pay, they absolutely must vote to raise the minimum wage at the same time. The Raise Up New York package would boost the statewide wage to $10.10 per hour, index it for inflation, and allow cities and counties to adjust it up to 30% higher to meet local living costs. It’s backed by Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, and it must be part of any special-session package that raises pay for legislators or state commissioners.

Raising the minimum wage makes good economic sense. Economists have identified stagnant wages as the biggest barrier to broader economic recovery. Right now the states with the highest minimum wages have the most new jobs and most economic growth. Small businesses across New York support a wage boost because it would put more money in the pockets of their customers, boosting spending and sales.

And raising the minimum wage makes good moral and ethical sense — and you’d better believe that raising lawmakers’ pay without a raise for the millions at the bottom is senseless.

If we want better government and a stronger economy for all of New York, as well as a democracy that lives up to our ethical standards, any pay raise for the legislature must be matched with a pay raise for the lowest-paid New Yorkers.

Pray for Christians in Iraq

11 August 2014 - By

They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. — Luke 21:11-19

Let us pray for the Christians of and in Iraq. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the body of Christ, our family.

Lord God, Father Almighty, grant by Your strong arm that Your Church in Iraq may be saved and preserved from every evil. Grant also that it may remain steadfast and persevere in faith before the evils of the enemy. If called to martyrdom, may Your Church show forth strong witness; for You preserve our lives even if we lose them in the eyes of the world. May we too be strengthened to serve you in imitation of the courage of the Holy Martyrs of Iraq. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

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O God, Who rules the world from everlasting to everlasting; speak to our hearts when courage fails, and we faint for fear. Keep us resolute and steadfast in the things that cannot be shaken, abounding in hope and knowing that our labor is not in vain in Thee. Restore our faith in Thine eternal purpose: renew in us that love which never fails; and make us lift up our eyes to behold, beyond the things which are seen and temporal, the things which are unseen and eternal. We ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Transfiguration

6 August 2014 - By

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. — 1 John 3:1-2

Transfiguration IconA Solemnity Fighting Fear

Today we observe the Solemnity of the Transfiguration of our Lord. We read in the 17th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew: Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

Jesus chose this moment, before the great struggles, persecution, suffering, and death He was about to encounter, to reveal the blessing of His heavenly Father and His glory in Him. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

In our time the Holy Church is facing greater and greater struggles. In the Middle East, North Korea, Africa, and elsewhere Christians are actively being persecuted and martyred. Some Christians in our country are losing jobs for their beliefs and face other forms of prejudice. When faced with all this – and we may be in ways subtle or not so subtle – recall this holy day and let us say in confidence that our God is bigger and His promises are more important than anything anyone can do to us. Trust in Him and have NO fear for His promise is that “we shall be like Him!

July 2014 Issue of God’s Field Published

26 July 2014 - By

jul_2014_gods_field

The latest issue of God’s Field is now available online.

Articles for the August issue are being accepted now through August 1, 2014. You may E-mail items and photos or send them to:

God’s Field
Polish National Catholic Church
1006 Pittston Avenue
Scranton, PA 18505

A place to fill out their souls

14 July 2014 - By

From the The Lowell Sun: A welcoming family: St. Casimir’s Parish in Lowell welcomes those seeking faith to its tight-knit community

LOWELL — It may be one of Lowell’s best kept secrets, particularly for those who love traditional Polish foods like pierogi (dumplings), golabki (cabbage roll) or kapusta (braised sauerkraut or cabbage with bacon, mushroom and onion).

At a church kitchen and hall on Lakeview Avenue, volunteers who know their way around a dough pressing machine as well as the tricks to producing the perfect cabbage roll lend their talents a few times a month to their church, St. Casimir’s Polish National Catholic Church.

The team effort of these volunteers, who range in age from pre-teens to their 90s, results in hundreds of handmade pierogi and golabki, plus dozens of quarts of kapusta — all later frozen and sold in their parish store.

On Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon, St. Casimir’s Parish Store is open to the public. Pierogi sell for $11 per dozen, kapusta is $6 per quart, golabki $18 a dozen. Proceeds benefit the parish.

“This is a labor of love. We make these the old-fashioned way, with so many steps that it’s time-consuming. People often don’t have the time today,” said Joanne Menzia, who took part in the pierogi assembly line on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen other volunteers.

“People use pierogi as a side dish, a main dish, or even as an appetizer,” said Janice Klimczak. “We sell quite a lot of them.”

The store also sells for $12 each the parish’s new cookbook, A Taste of Heaven, featuring traditional Polish recipes from church members as well as recipes contributed by the church’s many non-Polish members.

Doing his own part in the pierogi assembly line was the pastor, the Rev. Andrzej Tenus, a native of northern Poland who came to the United States in 2006 speaking no English.

Tenus, a former Roman Catholic priest, born in 1972, and a current beekeeper, musician, husband and father of four, went to Pennsylvania to study English for three months at the Polish National Catholic Church headquarters. He was preparing for his new role as a pastor within the Polish National Catholic Church in the U.S.

He did pretty well with the Pennsylvania dialect; then he came to Lowell, where the Boston accent made it a little more difficult, he said, smiling. Today, Tenus has only a trace of a Polish accent, which belies the fact that he’s spoken English for less than a decade.

One of the questions he’s often asked from those outside the community is how the Polish National Catholic Church differs from the Roman Catholic Church. Many find it hard to grasp, he said, how a Catholic church in Lowell is not connected to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, that its bishops and priests (since 1921) are allowed to marry, and the church is democratic. Its governing board chooses the pastor, controls the finances, and the parish owns its assets.

The Polish National Catholic Church, according to its website, is a Christian denomination formed in 1897 in Scranton, Pa. While it serves the spiritual needs of its members, it also welcomes all people who wish to follow Christ. Today, there are more than 25,000 members in the United States.

The National Catholic movement, which encompasses more than the Polish National Church, resulted from the division in the Christian Church that similarly initiated the Protestant movement. However, according to the St. Patrick Catholic Church website, a National Catholic Church in Rhode Island, it differs from the Protestant divisions in that it kept its belief in the Mass and the priesthood necessary to have the Mass, as well as other Catholic rites and rituals.

The liturgy, especially the contemporary liturgy that Tenus is initiating at St. Casimir, closely resembles that of the Roman Catholic Church. Standing inside St. Casimir’s Church, which was built in 1908 for the then-large Polish community in the city’s Centralville neighborhood, is like standing inside any Roman Catholic Church.

“We keep the same beliefs. The difference is only in the administration level. We’re not connected to Rome,” said Tenus.

Tenus leads a busy life while living next to the church with his wife, Agnes, who followed her husband to the United States three months after his arrival. In Poland, Agnes trained as a nutritionist and professional cook. She creates recipes from her home country and often bakes desserts for home and the church with the honey Tenus harvests from three bee hives located at St. Casimir Cemetery in Pelham. Beekeeping was a hobby Tenus started in Poland and has since resurrected.

Their children, Karina, 13, Jonah, 9, Christoper, 6 and Amelia, 3, consider St. Casimir’s close-knit parish family as surrogate aunts, uncles and grandparents, Tenus said. Likewise, the parishioners love having them here, he added.

Tenus has many ideas to keep the small parish active within and outside the community, including a busy youth group that produces an annual talent show. He emphasizes the importance of welcoming others to their church.

“No matter your background, ethnicity or denomination, we don’t look at that. Just people with good will looking for some place to fill out their souls,” he said. “If you need comfort, a place to pray, this is the place. We do not judge — it’s not up to us to judge.”

Sunday Mass is offered at 10 a.m. at 268 Lakeview Ave., Lowell, followed by fellowship hour. For more information, visit the parish website, call 978-453-0742, or send an E-mail.

Watch live streaming video from StCasimirs at livestream.com

‘My Mother’s Secret’ Bestseller Covers Heroic Acts to Safeguard Jews During WWII

18 June 2013 - By

From Christian Newswire: My Mother’s Secret, by J.L. Witterick, has been recognized by The Globe and Mail of Canada as a bestselling non-fiction book.

My Mother’s Secret honors two women who saved many Polish Jews from certain death. The book is based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena, who are honored as The Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jewish heroes who risked their lives to save the lives of Jewish citizens.

After 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland and started the persecution of the Jewish population, Franciszka and her daughter provided shelter to Jewish individuals and families, as well as a German soldier, all acts punishable by death. With courage and cleverness, they outsmart the Nazi commander and their collaborating neighbors.

My Mother’s Secret is a powerfully written story and has been chosen to be used as curriculum in studies by Middle East exchange students. The book has also been awarded Rising Star stature by iUniverse.

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky said, “In My Mother’s Secret, a new level of heroism is revealed … heroism where no ‘wow’ or admiration was given. True heroism is when no one sees or knows! A truly inspiring and breathtaking book.”

“My Mother’s Secret is heroism defined. It is just so much more cherishable because it is a story based on fact. We are indebted to Jenny Witterick for sharing this book with us,” says Grady Harp a Top 50 Amazon Reviewer.

“My Mother’s Secret has a strong message about finding good in the midst of the most unbelievable evil,” adds one reviewer.

The author, J.L. Witterick, encountered the true story of heroism during the Holocaust because of a chance viewing of a documentary about the Holocaust. Witterick is not the usual author; she is the President of Sky Investment Counsel, one of the largest international money managers in Canada, was President of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts in 1995/1996 and is a Certified Financial Advisor Charterholder.



List Price: $8.95 USD
New From: $5.02 USD In Stock
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PNCC Member featured as Northeast Woman for charity work

24 April 2013 - By

From the Times Tribune: Need to nourish Throop woman lives faith, helping to create One Hot Meal

Supplies were running low for Carol Nasser and her fellow volunteers at One Hot Meal as they doled out warm meals to people in need.

It was meatloaf day, and there was just one loaf left. But, somehow, that loaf kept giving, and they fed everyone who came by seeking nourishment with one slice to spare.

Mrs. Nasser has not forgotten that moment from the early days of One Hot Meal, the program she and a few others started at their church, St. Stanislaus Polish National Catholic Cathedral in Scranton, on New Year’s Day in 2008.

“That was in God’s hands,” said Mrs. Nasser of Throop, who often shares the meatloaf story. “It was like the loaves of bread (Bible story).”

A couple hundred people sit down to a warm, homemade meal every month thanks in part to the dedication of Mrs. Nasser, who knows many people could use the help, especially in the current economic climate. Funded entirely by donations, the program provides meals to anyone who wants them on the first Saturday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m. at the cathedral’s youth center, 530 E. Elm St.

“We opened it up for anyone in need of a meal,” Mrs. Nasser said.

Feeding the hungry

Jesus said to feed the hungry, Mrs. Nasser pointed out, and even before One Hot Meal began, she noticed a need in the community and set out to remedy it. She was known to whip up a pot of chili or soup and take it to the Scranton Rescue Mission, and she even would take her leftovers from a restaurant and hand them out to people in need on the street.

“I love doing it,” said Mrs. Nasser, who also pointed out that she wishes more people would know One Hot Meal is there to help. “I’ve always had the passion, I guess, for the homeless (and) feeding people.”

Helping drive this desire to help nourish the hungry is Mrs. Nasser’s love for cooking, a love she inherited from her late mother, Sophie Zanghi.

“Growing up, I did a lot helping my mother, and it was sort of my thing,” she said.

Her father’s Sicilian heritage – which left her with recipes like those for her grandmother’s sauce – led to the start of an Italian dinner at her church, which raised money for One Hot Meal. She cooked for that first benefit and hopes to hold another one soon.

Mrs. Nasser, who also used to help with Catholic Social Services’ annual angel tree, has even expanded her charitable work beyond the kitchen again. She and her church community also have reached out to the needy by collecting clothing, accessories like scarves and gloves, and nonperishable food for them.

A stay-at-home mom and grandmother with three grown daughters and an infant grandson, Mrs. Nasser expects nothing in return for anything she does, said her friend Kathy Kotula, who nominated her for Northeast Woman.

“She has a good heart,” Ms. Kotula said.

Helping hands

One Hot Meal has grown since Mrs. Nasser helped launch it five years ago, and volunteers prepare 200 meals per month these days. They have a great group of helpers, too, she said, and they help in a myriad of ways, from cooking to donating food to delivering meals.

“We have dozens of volunteers that help us, like parishioners and even people who aren’t from our parish,” said Mrs. Nasser, whose family members also pitch in.

In addition to handing them out at the center, community members also deliver meals to people who are homebound or elderly, to shelters and to other community organizations that feed people in need.

“I just wish more people would know what we’re offering and come,” Mrs. Nasser said.

The newest in intolerance

15 January 2013 - By

From The Telegraph: A new intolerance is nudging faith aside

We are not only a Christian country, we are a tolerant one – but it seems the new secularism has no room for toleration

Practicing Christians may be forgiven for feeling like an oppressed minority in this predominantly Christian country.

Yesterday’s judgment by the European Court of Human Rights on people’s right to manifest their religion in the workplace once again leaves them coming off second best to the forces of secularism and political correctness.

In only one case, that of the British Airways employee Nadia Eweida, did the court uphold the individual’s religious rights, in this instance to wear a small cross at work. Miss Eweida was suspended for wearing it on the grounds that it breached BA’s uniform code. But as the ECHR observed, other BA employees had previously been allowed to wear items of religious clothing such as turbans and hijabs “without any negative impact on BA’s brand or image”. The airline has since changed its policy and now allows the wearing of some religious symbols.

But the three other cases in yesterday’s judgment went the other way. Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was prevented on health and safety grounds from wearing a necklace with a cross at work as she had for 31 years; Gary McFarlane, a marriage counsellor who was sacked after saying he might object to counselling gay couples; and Lillian Ladele, a registrar who was disciplined after refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies – all were told that their rights had not been violated by their employers, even though they had acted as they had because of their religious convictions.

When an individual’s sincerely held beliefs come into collision with the demands of their employers in this way, surely it is incumbent on both sides to try to resolve the conflict in a grown-up and sensible way. Yet instead of the application of a little common sense, we have seen protracted and costly legal action, followed by a judgment that severely curtails people’s rights to manifest their faith at work. This is part of a wider trend to nudge religion to the margins of society. People of faith are depicted as being not part of the mainstream, as being quirky and different. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, spoke out persuasively in this newspaper yesterday about the “intolerance of aggressive secularism” and it is time more voices like his were raised.

We are not only a Christian country, we are a tolerant one – but it seems the new secularism has no room for toleration. When these cases first arose, a number of church leaders warned of “apparent discrimination” against churchgoers where the “religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect”. That claim seems less alarmist than ever.

Several observations. Overall, the point is well taken. If we wish to stress mutual tolerance we need to not just “tolerate,” but accept and respect each individuals’ expression of their belief or non-belief. No one or their beliefs should be marginalized. It is hypocritical to do otherwise.

In relation to the Shirley Chaplin case, the nurse prevented on health and safety grounds from wearing a necklace with a cross at work as she had for 31 years – this makes sense just as doctors have been most recently advised not to wear neckties in patient care. Religion and science should not conflict in such matters.

In relation to people who refuse to do certain things, generally a “job requirement” on the grounds it conflicts with their faith, I give them kudos for sticking to their beliefs and sacrificing for it. It must be remembered however that as Christians we must be prepared to accept persecution for following our faith. We cannot have it both ways. Obviously the martyrs did so, even more so. As with soldiers who refused to go to or fight in Iraq based on their belief in the injustice of the “war,” and were subsequently prosecuted and jailed, or received dishonorable discharges, we must be prepared to accept the consequences of our adherence to our beliefs.

A great point in saying “surely it is incumbent on both sides to try to resolve the conflict in a grown-up and sensible way.” There is always a way to compromise. For example, find the nurse a different job with no patient contact, adjust other work duties, etc. Taking a breath before taking action is the wiser course.

Reflection for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

30 June 2012 - By

Isn’t life a pain?
Not if you rise up and live!

“Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

Janell King writes about her experience in Malaysia:

At home, I have a painting of a little girl with her arms spread open, her head thrown back, and a smile on her face. On it are the words from the scripture above. I received this painting at a crucial point in my life. It seemed like the weight of the world was pressing me down, determined to crush me. Relatives had passed away, community was tough, school was overwhelming, and I couldn’t seem to connect with God. I felt somewhat dead. When I first saw this painting, I didn’t just read the words…it felt like God was speaking them straight into my spirit like the roar of a lion. I felt something in me awaken.

The last day in Malaysia, I was doing laundry when our contact Janet came out to talk to me. I had received some prophetic words the night before during prayer, and God had given her some more clarity for the things spoken. As she spoke, I was glued to what she was saying. I don’t know if you have ever had those moments where you feel like a complete stranger is peering in to you… reading your story… but it was one of those times. I couldn’t soak in what she was saying fast enough. In the middle of Janet’s conversation, she looked me straight in the eyes, pointed to me, and said “Rise Up!”

Those words continue to echo deep inside of me. I’ve been overwhelmed with all God is doing on the race. So much growth for such a short time. So much challenge in such a short time. Yet, despite the struggles, it’s time to arise and mature and act on my faith. I’ve been praying and praying that God would teach me the path of righteousness. It finally clicked that I know the way! He gave me the Word! He has given me the instructions. He has given me Holy Spirit! It’s time for my own heart to come alive. It’s time to lead others into the kingdom! To the little girl inside of me, longing for more, Rise up!

Jesus didn’t just heal from maladies. He raises us up so that we may live. Our call today is to trust in the Lord who created us for life and for good – to be light. Let us place our trust in Him and rise up, not in drudgery, but filled with life. Let us rise from our slumber because Jesus’ light shines on us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit. We have life and light that will last forever! The author of life will raise us up one day, but we shouldn’t wait. Rise up today and live. Smile. When people ask why, tell them the reason for your joy – Jesus.

Jan Karski to be awarded posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom

4 May 2012 - By

President Obama will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a former officer in the Polish Underground during World War II who was among the first to provide eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the world. The medal will be presented this summer on a date yet to be determined.

Karski was a long time member of The Kosciuszko Foundation and The American Center of Polish Culture (ACPC), which became heirs of Karski’s last will and testament.

On April 7, 2011, Kosciuszko Foundation President Alex Storozynski and Kaya Ploss, former Director of the ACPC, which is now part of the Kosciuszko Foundation, wrote to President Obama asking him to honor Jan Karski “a man of courage and great distinction who was a citizen of Poland, the United States and Israel. As representatives of the two Polish organizations in America that were beneficiaries of Jan Karski’s will, and having merged last year, we hope that you would consider awarding Jan Karski the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

The foundation was later joined in the quest by The Jan Karski Centennial Campaign, an initiative of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw. Members of the steering committee that have been pushing the campaign include: Alex Storozynski, President and Executive Director of The Kosciuszko Foundation; Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter; Robert L. Billingsley, Co-Chair, Georgetown University Jan Karski Centennial Campaign; David Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee; Andrzej Rojek, Kosciuszko Foundation Trustee; and campaign director Wanda Urbanska.

Jan Karski speaking at the Kosciuszko Foundation

The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

President Obama said, “We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen-because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent. But let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations. Among them was Jan Karski-a young Polish Catholic-who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself. Jan Karski passed away more than a decade ago. But today, I’m proud to announce that I will honor him with America’s highest civilian honor-the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Karski served as an officer in the Polish Underground during World War II and carried among the first eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust to the world. He worked as a courier, entering the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi Izbica transit camp, where he saw first-hand the atrocities occurring under Nazi occupation. Karski later traveled to London to meet with the Polish government-in-exile and with British government officials. He subsequently traveled to the United States and met with President Roosevelt. Karski published Story of a Secret State, earned a Ph.D at Georgetown University, and became a professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Born in 1914, Karski became a U.S. citizen in 1954 and died in 2000.

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