By Fr. George Welzbacher
September 16, 2012
Talk about telling truth to power! New York's Cardinal Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, faced down the lions in their den when, standing before the assembled delegates at the Democratic Party's national convention-the very same delegates who had just overwhelmingly cast their vote in support of "gay" marriage and taxpayer-funded abortion without restriction, half of them having voiced moreover their fierce opposition to reintroducing into the language of the party's platform the reference to God that had previously been excised - he vigorously reasserted in his closing benediction our Founding Fathers' rock-solid conviction that God and God alone is the source of our "unalienable" rights. Cardinal Dolan boldly defended the inviolable right to life of those "waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected," while with manifest allusion to Kathleen Sebelius' Health and Human Services mandate, a mandate that calls for the Church's active complicity in evil, he proclaimed the urgent need to maintain "RELIGIOUS liberty, the FIRST and most CHERISHED freedom." And with implied repudiation of the delegates' demand that homosexual liaisons be clothed with the dignity and status of marriage, he emphasized the importance of "respecting the LAWS of nature and of nature's God" and of resisting "the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of OUR OWN making, or to REMAKE those institutions You have given us for the nurturing of life and community." And the Cardinal brought his prayer to an end with the words: "For we are indeed 'ONE, nation, UNDER GOD, and 'in GOD WE TRUST'. So, dear God,' BLESS America!!
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Here is the full text of the prayer with which Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of America's Catholic bishops, brought the Democratic convention to its end.
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September 7, 2012
"With a 'firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,' let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love." Let us Pray.
Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God revealed to us so powerfully in Your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank You for showering Your blessings upon this our beloved nation. Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of Your justice, and a more ample measure of Your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States. Help us to see that a society's greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the WEAKEST and neediest among us.
We beseech You, almighty God, to shed Your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by You: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thus do we praise You for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend LIFE, WITHOUT WHICH NO OTHER RIGHTS ARE SECURE. We ask Your benediction on those WAITING TO BE BORN that they may be WELCOMED AND PROTECTED. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see Your Holy Face at life's end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.
We praise and thank You for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for RELIGIOUS liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding.
May our liberty be in harmony with truth, our freedom be ordered in goodness and Justice.
Help us to live our freedom in faith, hope, and love. Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom's defense; we commend their noble souls to Your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of Your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.
We praise and thank You for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found ONLY in respecting the laws of nature and of nature's God. Empower us with Your grace so that we might resist the temptation to REPLACE the moral law with idols of OUR OWN making, or to REMAKE those institutions You have given us for the nurturing of life and community. May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose, families have lived here for centuries.
We praise and thank You for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people. O God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office. Make them all worthy to serve You by serving our country. Help them to remember that the only just government is the government that serves its CITIZENS rather than itself. With Your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.
And finally, Lord, we beseech Your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice. We beg You to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom's cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions; those still ravaged by war.
And most of all, God Almighty, we thank You for the great gift of our beloved country.
For we are indeed "one nation under GOD," and "in GOD we trust."
So dear God, BLESS America. You who live and reign forever and ever.
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Remembering 9/11: Tower Beam is Now Beacon on Prairie
Star Tribune, September 10, 2012
MARSHALL, MINN. - They drive here from the Twin Cities and the Dakotas and from towns across the Midwest to sit, reflect and run their fingers across the rust of crumpled steel.
They stop in the cold to leave holiday wreaths and in the heat of July to be photographed with friends and loved ones. Many come alone, to quietly study the scarred and twisted beam that once helped support a towering skyscraper that crumbled that September morning in 2001 when terrorist attacks shocked and stunned a nation.
"I didn't know it existed," Sam Adler, 87, of Midland, Mich., said the other day as he walked up and touched the nearly 10-foot, 600-pound World Trade Center beam that has become the centerpiece of this city's 9/11 Memorial Park. "But I've seen lots of pictures of the mess it came out of."
A year has passed since this windswept southwestern Minnesota prairie town of 14,000 people unveiled its memorial, but rarely a day passes that someone doesn't stop to look, touch and pay respects.
More will visit Tuesday, on the 11th anniversary of the attacks, when the city holds an 11:30 a.m. prayer service to honor the nearly 3,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians who died in New York City and Washington, D.C., and on United Flight 93, which crashed in a western Pennsylvania field after passengers tried to take control of the plane from hijackers.
"We're so far from New York City," said Sue DeSaer, a local resident who visits the memorial often. "Yet, it affected all of us."
'Story of the day'
Marshall's memorial, designed by landscape architect Gene F. Ernst, isn't the only monument built from the ruins of the Trade Center.
More than 1,800 pieces of steel ranging in length from 6 inches to 43 feet have been shipped to 1,400 organizations across all 50 states and seven foreign countries, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In Minnesota, tower remains have been sent to six fire halls, one police department and to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Marshall's interest is a bit surprising because no one from the city, located 150 miles west of Minneapolis, died in the attacks.
Much of the inspiration behind the project originated with Craig Schafer, a local history buff who works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. While inspecting the Trade Center ruins at a Staten Island landfill in 2002 as part of his job as an emergency response specialist, Schafer was told that he could take a beam home if he wished.
He later returned to New York, picked up a beam, then drove it home, where it sat for years in the city's fire hall while he, Fire Chief Marc Klaith and other city leaders debated how to display it.
Years of discussion ended in spring 2011 when the city broke ground on the $400,000 memorial project. Four months later, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the city dedicated the memorial in a day-long ceremony capped by a candlelight vigil and fireworks.
The beam stands exposed in the center of a downtown park just off the banks of the Redwood River. By design, it tilts 1-2 degrees toward New York City, with a 1,000-watt bulb flashing a ray of light skyward at night. Ten limestone columns and a firefighter statue surround it, along with 3,000 stone pavers with red, blue and black stars in honor of those who died that day.
Nearby is a plaque outlining Ernst's vision and his desire to "help tell the story of the day."
He also said he wanted to make sure that the work would allow visitors to "reflect on the events," and "explain and educate a younger generation about ... how that day changed our lives."
'Something about this place'
City officials haven't kept track of how many people have visited over the past year. But Schafer and Klaith estimate it to be in the "thousands."
Dan Weck, a New Jersey native who jumped in his truck and headed to ground zero to help after seeing the planes hit the towers that morning, has visited twice.
Weck, who moved to Minnesota about a year after the attacks and now works in law enforcement, came for the unveiling and was moved to tears. He made the three-hour trip several months later to simply sit and reflect.
"Just seeing this one in its natural state, and leaning towards New York, there's just something about this place," said Weck, who lost several friends in the twin towers. "It provides a lot of comfort. I equate it to visiting a family member's grave. You soak it in."
Klaith said he drives by daily, sometimes stopping to walk the grounds, other times just to sit in his car and watch as visitors pass through.
"The thing that amazes me is that people are touching that beam all the time," he said.
A few weeks ago, DeSaer and her husband took several friends to the site before a high school reunion. The sight of the beam and the stars immediately stirred memories.
"It's an emotional thing," she said. "All the people who lost their families and all the people who tried to do things. And it still makes me angry that people can be so horrible to kill so many innocent people."
Schafer, who lives six blocks away, stopped daily in the first months after it went up. Some days, he stops with his wife. Other times, he stops on his own to remember.
"I still get goose bumps and water up when I touch that beam," Schafer said. "It just makes me feel complete."
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