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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,582

Journal Archives

For Syrian refugees, faith groups want a US welcome mat

Religious groups are pushing back against a wave of opposition toward Syrian refugees and working to preserve the U.S. as a haven for them.
“We’re really in emergency mode,” said Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy for the Immigration and Refugee Program at Church World Service, one of the nine U.S. nonprofits that work with the federal government to resettle refugees.

“We’re talking to the media nonstop. We are sending letters and petitions and making phone calls to all the governors as well as to members of Congress right now,” she said. “Every voice is needed to make sure they understand just how important the resettlement program is.”

The Refugee Resettlement Program -- which relies mostly on faith-based organizations to find homes, jobs and schools for refugees -- is under attack, a casualty of the Islamic State group’s assaults on Paris Friday (Nov. 13) that killed 129 people.


Girl's tumor shrinks after meeting Pope Francis

IN THE WEEKS after Pope Francis blessed their ailing daughter during his visit to Philadelphia, Joe and Kristen Masciantonio probably spent more time in the cancer ward at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia than at Mass at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church in Jamison.

But last week, Joe said, scans showed that a troublesome tumor in 1-year-old Gianna's brain shrank significantly after rounds and rounds of surgeries and chemotherapy, to the point where it's "basically gone."

The tot's stunning reversal of fortune - which came after a dire diagnosis from her doctors - led one family friend to call Gianna's encounter with the pontiff "the Miracle on Market Street."

That same friend, Donny Asper, was the sympathetic FBI agent who tipped off the family that Pope Francis would pass the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse on Market Street near 7th when leaving Independence Hall after his Sept. 26 address there.


Driver's education teacher charged with DUI - guess which state?

A driver's ed teacher in Florida is accused of drinking and driving after he crashed his truck into a ditch, authorities say.

Police arrested Richard Bull, 51, after he allegedly drove his Dodge Ram into a construction site in the parking lot of a Lee County McDonald's, the News-Press reports.

Authorities say that Bull's blood alcohol level was .159, nearly twice the legal limit.

During conversations with police, Bull allegedly claimed that he was not behind the wheel at the time of the accident.


Cheating Accusations Mar Zimbabwe's 'Mister Ugly' Contest

Pageant judges have crowned a new winner of Zimbabwe's 4th annual "Mister Ugly" contest, upsetting supporters of the crowd favorite and prompting rioting at the event.

Judges on Saturday chose 42-year-old Mison Sere, citing his numerous missing front teeth and a wide range of grotesque facial expressions, over William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012.

Masvinu and his supporters mobbed the judges upon hearing their decision, claiming that Sere was "too handsome" to win and his ugliness wasn't natural since it was based on missing teeth.

"I am naturally ugly. He is not. He is ugly only when he opens his mouth," maintained Masvinu, gesturing at his rival.


Woman facing charges for getting angry over all-you-can-eat pancake rule

An argument over the meaning of all-you-can-eat has led to assault charges for a woman in suburban Chicago.

Police in Oak Lawn, Illinois, said 27-year-old Natasha West flipped out at a Denny's restaurant after the waitress told her she couldn't share her $4 all-you-can-eat flapjacks with the other people at the table, according to The Smoking Gun.


Florida woman calls 911 to demand cigarettes, chicken wings

Lake County deputies on Wednesday arrested a Clermont woman for improperly calling 911, wanting cigarettes and chicken wings. Deputies responded to an apartment complex after the Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a woman who stated she would pass out if she didn't get the chicken wings and cigarettes.

The caller, 45-year-old Liann Watson, told responding deputies she had been drinking and was unable to drive. She said she decided she would call 911 to ask someone to bring her chicken wings and cigarettes. Watson was arrested for misuse of the 911 System.


Florida deputy too drunk to receive MADD award

But in Florida, a 4-year deputy being honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for making more than 100 DUI arrests was too intoxicated to pick up his award.

Pinellas County deputy Michael Szeliga arrived at a statewide police training event "ready to party," according to WFLA.

Szeliga, who allegedly packed a bottle of liquor for the 2-day training event in Fort Lauderdale, was described as “staggeringly drunk” by a witness at the Friday night banquet where he was slated to receive the MADD award.

A 274-page report on the deputy’s behavior indicates he and two other officers went to the hotel pool, where they drank alcohol instead of attending DUI training. Szeliga drank and played cornhole until he saw his fellow deputies leaving training. Then he returned to his room to get ready for the awards ceremony.


Sister Joan Chittister, the maverick nun, shares her secret life

But Chittister — now 79 and very much alive, thank you — has another reason why the time has come.

“All my professional life, I have spoken my heart out for the role of women all over the world. It’s a theological thing, a deeply moral thing, the determining issue for the integrity of the Church and the advancement of any state,” she told Religion News Service in an interview about the book.

“It’s time to acknowledge that this material is not just theological and rhetorical. It’s real. I’m not just talking from compassion, from a world I don’t know anything about. I’m talking about myself — and all social classes, all kinds of people.”

“I saw it as maybe my last major presentation on behalf of women who are trapped by circumstances of religion, law, custom, and culture,” said Chittister.


Cafe gives Jews, Arabs 50% discount if they dine together

Speaking to the Times of Israel, manager Kobi Tzafrir said the deal had struck a chord with customers and he had already served many shared tables.

Some customers have even refused the discount in support of the sentiment.

“If there’s anything that can bring together these peoples, it’s hummus,” he said.


Let us pray for those in Mexico who are about to be affected by Hurricane Patricia.

Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded on the planet - and it's headed right for the Mexican coast.

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