Tune in to JustLove this Week to Hear About the Oscars and the Importance of Fasting for the Lenten Season

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Left to Right: Fr. Tueth and Tom Ryan

This week Monsignor Sullivan welcomes back Fordham University Film Professor Fr. Michael Tueth on the show to discuss this year’s best films as part of our Oscar Preview. Also on the show is Fr. Tom Ryan who is on to speak about the sacred practice of fasting as we prepare for the Lenten season.

Bangladesh: A Step Forward Compensating Victims of Garment Factory Tragedies

Bangladesh A Step Forward Compensating Victims of Garment Factory TragediesRead the recent Wall Street Journal article. 

When I was in Bangladesh in early December 2013, the issue of compensation for victims of the fire and building collapse tragedies was one of the issues in the forefront.

(The other major issues were building safety and working conditions going forward.)

Adequate compensation for workers who were disabled and family members whose breadwinners had died was sought.

We have insurance and other compensation mechanisms in place in the United States.  These are not in place in Bangladesh.

Therefore the establishment of this victims fund and the initial contributions to it are major steps forward.

Progress does not come  easy or all at once, but progress can come with ongoing awareness and attention.

I also learned something very important,  in my meeting with the victims and family members of recent tragedies.

In this 90% Muslim country, the workers spoke to our “non-sectarian” delegation appreciatively about the essential and prompt aid they had received from Caritas (Catholic Charities) Bangladesh after their tragedy and loss.

The Christian population of Bangladesh is less than 1%  yet Catholic Charities Bangladesh was at the center of relief efforts.   I know I should not have been, but I was a little surprised.  I definitely was proud and inspired.

Let’s rejoice in the step forward, but the work toward decent and safe working conditions is long-term and complex.  There is so much more to do.

 

Tune in to JustLove This Week to Hear About Former US Presidents as Part of President’s Day and the Importance of Welcoming Immigrants

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Left to Right: Robert Merry and Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano

On this week’s show Monsignor Sullivan speaks with Robert Merry, author of “Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians,” about the American Presidency and how to evaluate former US Presidents. Also on the show is former Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano who speaks about his city’s Municipal ID Card initiative and the overall importance of welcoming immigrants to our country.

Tune in to JustLove this Week to Learn About National Marriage Week and Catholic Charities affiliated agency Create, Inc.

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Left to Right: Brian and His Wife, Kristen and Ralph Perez

This week Monsignor Sullivan rings in Valentine’s Day with Brian Barcaro, founder of CatholicMatch.com, about National Marriage Week and the concept of purposeful dating. Also on the show is Ralph Perez of Catholic Charities affiliated agency Create, Inc. about the recent media attention given to addiction, and how his agency helps those suffering from addiction recover their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the Weather

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Neither sleet nor hail….  Not only the postmen and women…

On my way to work this morning, walking to the subway in sleet and snow, I passed so many hardworking New Yorkers.

They were cold, battling the weather and diligently at their posts – shoveling sidewalks, plowing streets, selling coffee, crossing kids near schools.

Here’s a picture of one school crossing guard in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.  With a little prompting from God this morning, I remembered to say thank you to her.  Why don’t you do the same today to those who cross your path?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religious Freedom – Not to Be Taken for Granted

DSCF3051Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of deliberations on matters related to religious freedom and expression.

Three things in particular caught my attention:

It was a national prayer breakfast.

The President quoted Pope Francis and spoke about his upcoming meeting with him.

The issue of religious persecution was discussed by the President.

A number of years ago, I participated in testimony before a congressional  committee considering legislation that would include monitoring violations of religious freedoms as part of a broader focus on international human rights violations.  This legislation passed and now there are regular reports on these issues that raise awareness see most recent report:

The religious freedom we take for granted in the United States is not respected nor enjoyed worldwide.  We should give thanks for what we enjoy in our own country.   Also, we need to be vigilant to protect our religious freedom in this country that is continuously threatened in very different ways – many times very subtly, a few times with outward malice and sometimes unintentionally.  Both the establishment and free exercise clause of the first amendment are to be balanced in the public square.

I also had the honor to participate in a previous Presidential prayer breakfast at the White House with President Clinton in which he discussed various world issues on which religious leaders shared their perspective.  On that particular occasion the topic was Third World debt.

These are important parts of our country’s legacy of respecting religion’s role in the public square as one critical voice that informs just and compassionate policies.

Pope Francis continues to be a voice that is listened to throughout the world – including those who are not Catholic.  This is as it should be because his message, while steeped in our Catholic tradition, is meant to speak to a range of issues that impact humanity – not specifically or exclusively Catholics or Christians.  The encyclical Peace on Earth by John XXIII extended his opening salutation to all of good will.  The power of the message of life, justice, peace, compassion, dignity of the human person and so many more, rooted in the gospel speak to the best instincts of the human heart.   The world is listening.  We need to make sure that we who are Catholic are also listening.

 Read this article from the New York Times.

“I Don’t Get It.” A Different Take on Aftermath of Philip Seymour Hoffman Death

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Famous actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman dies of overdose: large scale publicity and police hunt to find drug seller. Read more  on the New York Post 

What about the thousands of unnamed youth in the communities and neighborhoods of NYC and across the nation who suffer similar tragic fates? Where’s the interest, concern and caring? I don’t get it. Are not these youth and their families and friends also made in the image and likeness of God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in to JustLove to Hear About a New Fitness Program CYO is Administering & the Significance of the Olympic Games

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Left to Right: Michael Bernard and Joe Panepinto

On this week’s show Monsignor Sullivan speaks with Michael Bernard, PE Teacher at Villa Maria Academy in the Bronx, about a new Fitness Program CYO is administering throughout a number of schools. Also on the show is Catholic Charities’ own Joe Panepinto, former member of the US Olympic planning committee, who speaks about the significance of the Olympic games.