Saturday, December 26, 2015

Globe Xmas Gift: Pair of Socks

Related: Globe Stocking Stuffers

"Cardinal O’Malley calls for compassion at homeless shelter" by Jeremy C. Fox Globe Staff  December 25, 2015

Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s service — and the carols he sang with audience members and a musical trio — were part of a day of celebration at the Boylston Street shelter that included a festive meal of chicken breasts filled with cranberry stuffing for an estimated 350 homeless and impoverished men and women.

Leah Robins, 30, a first-time shelter volunteer who came with a group from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, helped decorate the dining room, where tables were set with placemats, flower arrangements, flameless candles, and tiny tinsel Christmas trees.

“I really wanted to give back today, when everyone is busy, and make sure everyone feels welcomed and loved, on Christmas especially,” she said. “There’s just so many happy, smiley faces of people really ready to give.”

Thank God for charitable Jews when it comes to Catholics, 'eh?

Karen LaFrazia, executive director of the shelter, said the city’s rising housing prices have forced more into homelessness and made it increasingly difficult for them to find long-term housing.

Say what?

“The fundamental problem is there is just not enough affordable housing,” LaFrazia said. “This neighborhood has seen an explosion of high-end, luxury housing, and it has just completely priced out anybody of modest means, and certainly anybody that’s extremely low-income or homeless.”

She said the day shelter has begun opening earlier in the morning to accommodate the large number of homeless people seeking refuge.

This in the midst of a better-then-average economic recovery centered in Bo$ton.

O’Malley also addressed the current crisis of homelessness as he spoke to reporters, pointing to Pope Francis’s call for economic justice and saying he hopes the issue will be prominent in the presidential race.

“We live in a world where the rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer,” he said. “Many people are homeless even if they’re working because they can’t afford to get housing. These are very great challenges.”


What do the books look like over there anyway?

The cardinal told reporters it was particularly meaningful to be at St. Francis House because St. Francis of Assisi was the first to assemble a Christmas crèche, using live people for the figures in the nativity scene.

“What he was trying to show was that Jesus was born in homelessness and in poverty because our God loves us so much that he made himself little, he made himself poor, he made himself vulnerable to be with us,” O’Malley said.

He sees a “wonderful institution,” where I see the need for such things a crime.

Richard Gelzer said he has been homeless for about seven years following a complex series of events that he summed up as family difficulties. The 68-year-old is not in touch with his brothers and sisters in the Boston area or his children in North Carolina, and he misses them at Christmas, he said.

“It’s kind of sad, you know, wanting to be with family,” he said.

The Army veteran, who in his youth was a private stationed at Fort Dix, now spends his nights at the Pilgrim Church Shelter on Columbia Road in Dorchester. He said he is working with the Veterans Administration to find a permanent home.

Yeah, they have a fantastic record.

SeeVeterans get winter coats at holiday giveaway

It's important to remember veterans at this time of year, those who fought for our freedom on the front lines.

A fresh start for homeless women veterans in Northampton

And now that the Pentagon has opened all combat jobs to women they could be subjected to a draft.

Still, in the moments after the cardinal’s service, he was quietly singing “Joy to the World” as he picked up a glass of punch from the snack table.

“I’m enjoying Christmas,” he said.

I'm glad someone did.

Recent years have held a series of difficulties for Hope Daniels, 49, who said she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011 and then lost her mother three years ago. With tears welling in her eyes, Daniels said she had recovered from the tumor but now has a dark spot on her lungs, already afflicted with asthma.

She said speaking with O’Malley “took a whole lot of . . . bad things that’s been going on with my health and everything, just took it away.”

Daniels said she holds spots deep into long waiting lists for two subsidized housing developments and could have a long wait before a unit becomes available.

“I need something sooner than that,” she said. “It’s going to get cold out here.”

Maybe not.


The other sock:

"Pope urges Christmas prayers for Syria, Libya peace" by Nicole Winfield Associated Press  December 26, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a Christmas Day prayer that recent UN-backed peace processes for Syria and Libya will quickly end the suffering of their people, denouncing the ‘‘monstrous evil’’ and atrocities they have endured and praising countries that have taken in refugees.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis issued a plenary indulgence for all Catholics in hopes of spreading the church’s message of mercy in a world torn by war, poverty, and extremist attacks.

Years I ago when I began this blog I celebrated the Pope's yearly speeches like this. Now I realize the Church and Papacy are part of the problem, and have been for centuries.

The sun-soaked St. Peter’s Square was under heavy security, as it has been since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks by Islamic extremists that left 130 dead.

An indulgence is an ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins.

The rich used to be able to buy them.

Francis referred to the ‘‘brutal acts of terrorism’’ that struck the French capital this year, as well as attacks in Egypt’s airspace and in Beirut, Mali, and Tunisia.

He denounced the conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and Ukraine, and offered consolation to Christians being persecuted for their faith in many parts of the world. ‘‘They are our martyrs of today,’’ he said.


In India and across Asia, Christians are targeted for their faith This fact often comes as a surprise for Westerners whose main touchstone for this vast and complex country is the singular example of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the great Indian nationalist leader of the 20th century, whose name is often treated as synonymous with the Hindu ideal of nonviolence.

I might have felt that way years ago; however, I have come to realize Gandhi would be horrified at what modern India has become (although I'm sure he would approve of this). Of course, the predilection for proselytizing hasn't helped, either.

In Asia, a wide spectrum of anti-Christian persecution

China increases its crackdown on Catholics The situation is dramatic, and it is also rare.

Gee, whose trying to get Christians all lathered up to go fight a new crusade, huh?

Just thought I would put them to rest here.

In an indirect reference to the Islamic State, he urged the international community to direct its attention to Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and sub-Saharan Africa, where atrocities ‘‘even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples.’’

Francis said he hoped the plenary indulgence he issued for this, his Holy Year of Mercy, would encourage the faithful ‘‘to welcome God’s mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow.’’

I'm all for that; however, the Pope adopts the conventional myth of a narrative regarding such things and that is getting us nowhere.

Francis has made the church’s message of mercy the focus of his pontificate.

Libya has been in a state of lawlessness since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011.

That's actually part of the Yinon, Clean Break, PNAC plan. Create chaos by overthrowing a stable and unwanted leader, carve up the country into factions, send their weaponry to other terrorist groups, and then they are less of a threat to EUSrael while providing the rational for more intervention. Same as in Iraq, where they are now rebuilding bases for the Forever War.

Syria has seen a five-year war that has killed over 250,000 people and forced millions to flee. The surge of refugees flowing out of Syria to Europe has created a migration crisis for the entire continent.

The UN Security Council last week threw its support behind a peace process for Syria, including a cease-fire and talks between the Damascus government and the opposition.

Which includes U.S.-sponsored terrorists, btw.

The council also recently endorsed the UN-brokered deal to form a unity government that Libya’s rival factions have signed.

Both factions are supported by U.S. war planners. There is an alleged moderate government faction headed by a U.S.-allied dictator and then there is the terrorist faction (ISIS, Al-CIA-Duh, whatever).

Francis’ Christmas celebrations, which began Thursday night with a late-night Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, continue with a noon blessing on Saturday and a Mass on Sunday dedicated to families.

It's already past noon here so we better hurry up and get the unwrapping of gifts finished quick.


Also see:

Pope calls for ‘God’s mercy’ at start of yearlong Jubilee

Archdiocese to open Holy Door of Mercy

Maybe I will have some on you today. 

Thanks for the pair of socks, Globe. I did need some.

NDU: The Top 10 stories of a busy pope from 2015


"While Mother Teresa is known and admired by many around the world, she was not beloved by all. She was criticized for the quality of care in her clinics and for taking donations from Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and disgraced American financier Charles Keating. Detractors also opposed her stance against the use of birth control in Calcutta’s slums, which was nevertheless in keeping with church teaching opposing artificial birth control." 

Oh, it was Mom who gave me the socks! Whatta saint!