Tuesday, April 17, 2012

St Teresa chain letter?

A chain letter keeps popping up, claiming to be a prayer written by "St Theresa". It includes a New Age sounding prayer and warns the receiver (like all chain letters) to pass it on for "good luck" or that they will receive what they have been waiting for etc. First of all, there IS NO Catholic saint named "Theresa". There is a St Teresa of Avila and a St Therese of Lisieux (notice the difference in spelling). And neither of these, both of whom lived in the 19th century would have been involved with a computer chain letter or would have written a New Age prayer. Secondly, chain letters in general, are not a good idea. Third, God is not a vending machine. Prayer brings a person peace but not any kind of wish fulfillment or "good luck". If you get this letter, please send the link to my blog to the person who sent it,rather than perpetuating it. BTW, if you do share a forward, please do your friends the favor of removing all email addresses from the body of the email.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Priest on the Titanic - Fr Thomas Byles

On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (billed as "the ship even God cannot sink") and all the programs we are seeing on TV about this, no one has seen fit to mention the Catholic priest aboard that ship.

He was Fr Thomas Byles, a convert to Catholicism from the Anglican church.  

When the ship hit the iceberg, Fr Byles was on Deck, praying his breviary, a daily group of prayers priests say - which include the psalms and readings.  

When the ship started going down, Fr Byles was offered a place on the lifeboats but he twice refused to board the lifeboats, preferring to help other passengers get off the ship.

One of the problems with the Titanic and why so many passengers were lost is because they did not provide nearly enough lifeboats for all the passengers they carried so after loading about 705 people (of the 2228 passengers), they ran out of lifeboats, condemning the rest to sink with the ship. Those unable to fit into lifeboats were unable to swim to safety because the water was freezing.

Fr Byles chose to stay with those left on the ship, hearing confessions, and giving absolution and also led the Rosary with people of all faiths kneeling around him.  Just before the ship sank, Fr Thomas led all in an Act of Contrition.

He died when the ship went down and his body was never recovered.

Click here to go to his website.