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Croquetas!! -UPDATED LIST

It has been a few years since I had this idea about finding the best Cuban style “croquetas” (pronounced crow-keah-taas). What are croquetas? Well technically, they are originally from Spain, they are simply, put fritters. Typically, they are prepared with a béchamel base and with added meat that is then chilled and formed into cylindrical patties, which are coated in egg wash, breadcrumbs, and fried until crispy and golden on the outside.

In my Cuban household growing up in Mountainside, NJ, USA, these were only prepared for special occasions because they are time-consuming to make. My immediate family which consisted of my grandparents, my parents, myself and my five siblings would devour them so quickly that I often felt sorry for my Abuela Concha and my mom. They would spend the entire evening before any special occasion preparing them, knowing that as the most popular item on the menu, they would have to fight off the children who would try to swipe them before they made it to the dinner table.

Somehow, in the small Cape Cod home we lived in, they still managed to hide them from the kids. There were times my parents would have company, then like magic, croquetas would appear on a silver platter. At these events, we were not allowed near the festivities. For two simple reasons. One, so that the adults could have real conversations instead of always having us about. But we were still allowed nearby as long as we kept silent. Once we began interfering, we would be sent off to bed. The second, of course, that we may swipe the appetizers that were prepared for the guests, mainly the croquetas.

As the years progressed, there would be times we would just buy them in Elizabeth, NJ at Mara Bakery, a Cuban bake shop. I recall those visits like it was yesterday. That is where we would get “pasteles de guayaba” (guava pastry) and drink a malta (a sweet malt beverage) while we waited for our order to be boxed up. Sometimes, my dad would want to go early, so we could hang out and eat Cuban sandwiches and desert and then go home with the order.

The smells of the food and listening to all the Cubans chattering away are some of my fondest memories of my childhood.

Now in my later years, I happen to be married to a beautiful woman who grew up in Cuba. I never realized how Cuban I was until now. Growing up here, in the USA, you can say I am as American as apple pie, but my soul is distinctly Cuban as I have found out and have embraced in these recent years. The humor, the camaraderie and the sadness of a paradise lost are what unite us all outside of the island, and it is what has us praying and helping those still living under the dictatorship in current times.

Getting back to the point, Croquetas! This is one thing that is important to me and should be at every Cuban restaurant. Sadly, many Cuban restaurants don’t even know how to make them, and buy them made offsite. I have compiled a list of 12 random Cuban eateries that serve croquetas on or near Bergenline Avenue in Hudson County that I have tasted. I ordered only ham croquetas, first because they are my favorite and second so that they can be compared on the same scale.

Below is my list with a rating system from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Sadly, I can not give any a 10.

  1. Las Chicas, Union City (9)
  2. Como en Tu Casa (9) (was Cuban now owned by Venezuelans, still caribeños)
  3. Las Americas, Union City (8.5)
  4. Rumba Cubana, Guttenberg (9)
  5. Las Palmas, West New York (8.5)
  6. Centro Latino, West New York (8)
  7. Gilberto’s, North Bergen (7.5)
  8. La Tinajita, West New York (7)
  9. Pio Pio, West New York (4) (possibly a recipe from the “Período especial”)
  10. Havana on the Hudson Cafe, West New York (1)**
  11. Cortaditos, Union City (1)**
  12. Artemisa Bakery (0)***

Please take note, I am only rating the Ham Croquetas. I am not rating the restaurant overall. For instance, toward the bottom of the list is Cortaditos, meanwhile I love the Café which is great, except for their croquetas which I pray someday soon they will discover another provider or recipe.

**by the way, the two starred I believe order the mix or croquetas from the same vendor as they have the same distinctly odd flavor, and it is not ham.

*** How Artemisa Bakery has the gall to sell that garbage they served me as croquetas is shocking. It was some kind of hollow breading, very odd.

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On Doubt

Life is a difficult journey. Even more difficult than everyday life is the ability to maintain our faith. Over the years I have, lets’ say, been in and out of my faith. As a youngster, it was out of ignorance. As an adult, it was mostly due to complacency. Then as I grew older, it has been through temptation. It would be so easy to forget the faith and just roll along with what our society wants us to accept.

The times I have been tempted to forget our faith as if our Lord never existed are many. To turn my back on God is the biggest sin I can commit. Isn’t that what we do every time we fail to live the gospel? Every little sin is a step away from God.

By committing any sin knowing full well that it is against the wishes and demands of our faith, we are turning away from Jesus.  Jesus is still there for us, always waiting. All we need to do is ask forgiveness and turn back to him and the teachings of the church.

Wait, it isn’t that easy. Satan and his tempters are always close by to show you the easier, better path.  They are also there to point out to you how ridiculous and unbelievable our faith is. That the gospel we hear was contrived, and his followers were nothing more than propagandists.

The logical and austere mind easily succumbs to such diatribe. Even the most faithful are weakened at the knees by the argument. How can this be true? Is this all a farce to keep simple folk under control? It would make my life easier to cast it all off and do as I will.

These arguments are tempting and have some truth. But it is the truth turned inside out. Yes, life may appear to be easier if we cast it off, but it would be devoid of love and life. Yes, it is an unbelievable story, but it is true and holds the answers to our purpose and future. It is the Gospel that holds the key to the understanding of life here on earth and the one to come.

Even knowing and accepting this, I became like the wicked asking for a sign. But no sign shall be given. Why won’t any sign be given? Simply put, God does not serve us. He has given us his words and prophets that we may listen to them. Why should he give us more signs?

With that in mind, I began to ponder. Several times I was close to the precipice of despair. My soul felt thirsty and dry. I was drowning in the mire of confusion that the world offered. I finally focused on prayer and asked for the wisdom to see.

Then one day, as if an angel came to me and whispered in my ear, it came to me. It was with me all along. The Gospel stories and those of the apostles are so unbelievable! Their teachings, depth of meaning and love so intertwined that I cannot believe that any men even if they had a thousand years could have written this story.

The reason became suddenly obvious. The word, the teachings and the church are the sign we will be given. They are the contradiction against the society. It is obvious it was not built, written or designed by men. These things all point to the existence of God and the truth of His Son Jesus Christ and the mystery of the Holy Spirit.

Nothing Hollywood has or ever will come up with can rival the depth of the Gospel story. None is as incredible. But what convinced me was that it is certainly not the handiwork of mankind.

I do believe in one God, the Father Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Sure, it sounds crazy, but the simple fact that I know it makes me all the more certain.

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Cuba – An Island of Slaves

An Island of Slaves

In these last few days, we have been witnessing a revolt of the people of Cuba against the much-heralded Cuban dictatorship. A dictatorship regime that from the start has been known for human rights atrocities and puppet courts to destroy any voice against their “so called” leadership.

The Cuban people over sixty years ago did not believe Castro would make them communists, but he did. The people that had no way to leave or thought that they could make change stayed behind. But from all the failed socialist and communist experiments on the island an escape from their economic disaster was only made by asking increased sacrifices from the ordinary people. Anyone who spoke against the regime was either imprisoned or silenced. By silenced, I mean murdered. The more public profiles who had celebrity were protected from death, but the unknowns would just disappear. The Castro regime survived through brute force, instilling in the people a constant fear that their lives and that of their family’s would be destroyed.

Photo by Matthias Oben on Pexels.com

As the years went on millions of native Cubans would leave and the diaspora would be spread out throughout the world. These people would not forget their homeland and would send much needed currencies, many from the USA, to sustain their families. Of these monies that came the Cuban government stole a good chunk of cash.

Most recently, they made it so all external remittances would be under the control of the government. They extolled a severe taxes some visible and some hidden. All the goods needed to survive for the public have of late been put out of their reach. Whatever they had been able to acquire before was now no longer available. Essentially they are starving to death and living in a constant state of malnutrition.

The people can no longer be fooled with the lies that the US embargo is their problem. Access to the internet has enabled them to know the truth. They came to realize that as the government officials lived in mansions of former millionaires while eating and drinking comfortably, that they were actually their slaves.

The time has finally come when the slaves have realized that they outnumber their oppressors. That no matter how much support the oppressors receive from their international accomplices from Europe, Latin America and China, they can throw off the chains of slavery. They will no longer accept the lies and propaganda of the ruling dictatorship. 

For a person not to be a slave they need to have representation. They want liberty to speak, to move and to assemble. They want the right to have leaders they have chosen. This is for us in the USA, a basic right given to us through the wisdom of the founding fathers that we take for granted.  

But for these people it is something they must risk death to overturn. The world is witnessing a real human tragedy before their eyes and still do not lift a finger to save these people from slavery. At least the slaves in the USA had the Underground Railroad and finally the Civil War that affected real change. This being over 100 years ago and yet we claim to be so enlightened here, but I do not see one of those civil rights leaders lifting a finger to support these oppressed peoples.

All those that stay silent are accomplices, though they act otherwise. It is time for all people of good will to unite to free these poor people from slavery to this cruel and evil dictatorship. 

People who want to see what slavery and suffering look like in this modern age only must turn to Cuba. But the propaganda of the cruel regime is parroted by the globalist media because it does not fit their world view. They hold up the dictatorship as a government to be praised. When the truth is they are leaders to be despised and are not much different from any evil governments that have stepped on the human rights of people in the past.

If Cuba were not an island, these people would have freed themselves years ago. Sadly, even now the media in the USA is under reporting the news and by doing so assisting the dictatorship as they have shut down the internet to hide this away from the outside world. It is sad that it will literally take much more blood (death and torture, sweat (hunger and a sacrifice)and tears (the loss of many loved ones) for them to be freed if the foreign powers that can, do not help them.

While I was writing this piece, I received news of the already occurring brutality of the police and military towards this mostly peaceful rebellion. They literally beat one young man on the streets kicking the teeth out of his head, removing his eyes and finally merciful death came upon him. Will the world just let this evil continue?

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On Suffering and Love

Life never ceases to throw you a curveball now and then. My curveball, which almost struck me out was getting Covid-19 a month ago. Not only did I get it but so did my Fiancée. She started with symptoms first, and I began a few hours later. Before we knew what was happening to us what began as a cough, in a day turned into bronchitis and then a few days later finally double pneumonia.

Now I am healthy, and I would say 99.5% recovered. The lingering effects of the virus, fatigue and a general malaise seem to hit us on and off on occasion, but I would say we are not going to be one of the minority that are in it for the “the long haul”. I expect we will be completely healed in another week.

This experience came a month and a half before our wedding date. Since we have been together, we have had so many good times it is hard to count. We just live in a state of constant happiness. Thinking about the timing, I know we are happy it happened when it did.

Before the virus hit, I lived at my mother’s house. Then because of the virus and my mother’s poor health I began to stay with my fiancée to avoid exposing her when unnecessary. As of March 2020, I have been working out of the apartment and at the that time she was too. We lived and worked together non-stop for six months. I know that for many relationships this was difficult but for us, it was like a fast-forward of what our life was going to be together. It was, living 10 joyful years in one year’s time.

We have had some struggles. Not with our relationship, but with those issues that life typically throws at you. Managing legal and financial issues, dealing with family and health issues of other family members.  And of course, handling our own work schedules and making time for each other which is typically a difficult part in the active lifestyle of 50+ year old adults.

Then came Covid-19 which took us down to the mat. We were down for the count. Somehow, we each picked ourselves up when it was our turn to push ourselves to keep things moving and not give up. She was always there for me and caring for me though she was sick. When she needed something, I would get up to do what was needed. She took me to the hospital to get antibodies and then a day later I had to take her to the hospital because of her low oxygen count, and she spent two days there.

During our illness, friends sent us food and drink which was a real blessing that we will never forget. But in my amazement, we also did our chores. We did the laundry and kept the place clean. We wanted to defeat the virus and part of doing so is maintaining cleanliness. Hence, we did what had to be done, even though we probably could have just laid in bed moaning for days.

It was then that I realized that we were living love in action. Because love is something you do, not something that happens. We made every effort to take care of each other while doing work that was difficult for us in our condition. Not a sour note was sounded the entire time we were suffering.

I look back, and I thank God that I was with Aymee. I don’t know that I would have survived this with anyone else. Likewise, I truly believe that real love can conquer all things. One of the things I noticed is we never despaired and that I believe was because we have an abounding love for each other and faith in God that could not be disturbed.

The primary thread of thought here is that suffering is what often reveals love. To avoid suffering is not a solution for any case. Life is full of times of suffering, and we need to accept it and deal with it head on. If you do not, you will likely miss revealing and enlightening moments in your life that bring great joy on reflection.

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Why Black Beans Matter!

It has been quite a long time since I have blogged. It seems I did not believe I had anything worth saying. But for the first time in a long time I do have something that needs being said.

Recently, the CEO of Goya foods was attacked by the intolerant socialist for praising the President of the United States of America for creating an environment where his company was able to flourish. This is a company created by immigrants serving the immigrant Latin American community and employing them. This company gave my father, a back then recent escapee of the intolerant communist dictatorship of Cuba and destroyers of free speech, his first decent job in the USA. It was that job that enabled him to get into the food industry and have success with Progresso foods. It was that ability given to him by the hand of the company of Goya Foods that enabled him to later on also become successful and found the money transmittal company RIA ENVIA which after being sold, many years later has become RIA Financial Services.

Black beans are a staple foods of many Latin Americans. They are the food shared by the Cubans when they fought for their independence. They are the food that united Blacks, Whites and Mulatos as they fought side by side to their death against the Spaniards in their war for independence. They are the food that sustained them through hardships and freedoms hard fought for and eventually won. They are the heart of the real and recognized ending of slavery and creation of an unprejudiced independent people that are called Cuban.

Even now across the gap from the USA to the island nation of Cuba there is a love that never ends. The Cubans that make it to this free country work hard and send money back to the Island nation to support family and friends. Meanwhile, the cruel criminal dictatorship, which robs the people of their freedoms and ability to earn a good living still exists. The system has been able to continue to keep the people under their oppressive feet by the help of external funding, though now some of that is beginning to falter.

The Cubans here, both born here and recently arriving still dream for the days we can be reunited with our fellow islanders in a free Cuba. Where we can go and enjoy a real Cuba Libre with breaded steak, black beans and rice. It is a dream I always had hoped I would be able to share with my father but sadly he passed before it could come true.

My Dad

Now, in this great free country of the United States of America there are those that want to continue to try the failed experiment know as socialism, or rightly known as communism. Well, I for one will not stand for it. I will fight if needed to protect this great nation from the evil that has persecuted generations of Cubans with poverty, imprisonment and death for speaking their minds.

In search for food

I have great respect for Robert Unanue for standing his ground. I have great respect for the company which brings pride to many Latin Americans such as myself. And I say again that Black Beans Matter because they are a real symbol of our unity as a people representing freedom and love.

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Reason to Rejoice

Hidden pondI was walking on a trail in the Watchung Reservation with my three dogs. It was a hot day and this is the best time to go into the woods were the temperature is typically 10 to 20 degrees cooler. There were very few people in the woods, most likely because a Saturday in August draws people to beaches and pools. It was a pleasure and though we did see others in the woods it was very quiet and I felt very isolated.

I sat for a few moments to give the dogs a rest and to watch and listen to nature unveil itself around me. I sat on a log and I was able to spot some deer about a tenth of a mile away. I also spotted a woodpecker. Later while walking I would see some other birds but most are skittish and once they hear me they move so fast I can’t identify them.

Still as we walked through the woods I couldn’t help but wonder how many persons walked through here. I thought back to the times of George Washington and his men and how they probably passed through here on the way to the battle of Union. I thought about the local Indians and how this was their stomping grounds.Then I looked at all the tress that lovers and travelers carved their initials on.

So many people have passed through here. Some may have thought themselves important. But nature always brings you back to reality as the awesomeness raises my own awareness of my mortality and lack of importance. I am humbled as I walk among the trees many that may be as much as one hundred or more years old.

It dawned on me. Life is a gift and the short time we are here we need to appreciate and use to the best of our abilities. By working towards the greater good with a true love for life and the life of all around us we become a very important part of the life of the world. We become givers of life to the next generation and to those that live around us. Now that is an important function and responsibility.

We all have a responsibility to live to our fullest. That is the gift we call life. So I left the woods feeling invigorated and joyful.

I wish all my walks were as productive!

Have a great life!

Miguel Perez-Santalla

What is Maturity? The USA, a Society of the Immature

It came to my mind yesterday, there is a turning point, typically quite pronounced when a person becomes an adult. What surprised me is when I realized that this point, which was quite pronounced and accepted in the past, is no longer the measure by which our society understands maturity.


This point is elementary, it is when we cease to have the attributes of a child. What are the typical attributes of a child? It is selfishness which often boils into anger and indignation at not being able to get what one wants. It is believing that your life is solely for yourself, and your pleasures must be satiated, and the rest of the world must revolve around meeting these needs or demands.


The ease of our modern comforts has added to childish behavior and extended the immaturity of our young. Persons growing up now seldom have the struggles to survive which bore maturity and compassion towards the people around us. Even worse, the immaturity goes as far as to blame others for their lack of success which often turns into aggression towards those that are in often misguided perceptions better off.

In living for ourselves, we do not partake in the natural order and hence no longer feel any accomplishment in our lives. This lack of true living stems from selfishness. Only in a true loving family atmosphere can one mature into a real adult.


The family is the perfect model of the best of human society and formation. This is because the family that is right ordered, lives not for the individual but for each other. The father and mother joined together in joy to sacrifice their solitary life and create another for which they will continue to sacrifice and work to develop into loving and compassionate human beings. The children of a rightly ordered society are exposed to this love and sacrifice and therefore incorporate these same attitudes into their lives and as they grow, they become mature, as their thoughts no longer dwell on their own fulfillment but towards that of sacrificing time and energy to help others into their own joy filled life.


Sacrifice and compassion for others is the antithesis of our modern society. We live in a country which is sick and declining. We live in a country that lives in the opposite mindset of the quote by President John F. Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Your country is or was your greater family at that time. I believe we have arrived at this point, as society has consistently removed support for the family by promoting all things contrary to a healthy lifestyle such as pornography, abortion, and contraception which attacks the natural order of life. All three of these have solely one objective, the satiation of our selfish desires to control our lives the way we want to. The new motto and mindset which is the logical outcome of these actions is simply this; the rest of the world be damned if I don’t get things done my way.


Now doesn’t that sound like a five-year-old child simply demanding the thing he believes will bring him pleasure and joy. Sadly, like the young child throwing a tantrum and, in the end, receiving the object of their desires, they quickly realize it does not satisfy and then go on seeking the next object to try to bring satisfaction. However, the children and immature adults unfortunately running our country are pandering to persons just like this that take no responsibility for their actions and want others to solve their problems and give them what they want.


A responsible person is the fruit of a life lived in sacrifice for others. It is strange to me that I must define this. You would think this is understood. Yet, in a selfish childish society, people think it means, “who is to blame if things don’t go my way?” This is what is thought of by those raised in this new narcissistic way of life known as modern society. Sad but true, people who live this life never find true happiness or peace.


In the final analysis, our society is way off of course and will have a crash landing. Yet, people can begin to change the current culture just by themselves living a life of love and self-sacrifice for others. By living with a sacrificial love in our hearts and minds we receive the gift of the natural order of our existence, which is peace and joy. This, my friends, is when we know we have reached the age of maturity.


When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
1 Corinthians 13:11

The True Sickness of our Society

The USA has been seeing a rash of violence. Mostly young men acting out in irrational hatred and killing many men and women, with some attacks directed at children. This past weekend’s fourth of July shooting in Illinois a all too typical example of the kind of cruel, senseless and misdirected anger which becomes a loss of innocent human life.

The sad issue here is that the media and politicians make an issue of the weapons used as if weapons can shoot people by themselves. Interestingly, over the last twenty years there have been tremendous growth of regulations around the ownership of weapons, yet the incidents continue to increase.

It is quite obvious that the problems are not the weapons used. It is our society. What has changed over the past 50 years that these incidents are becoming more frequent and in shorter intervals?

Technology is very much to blame for this, though indirectly. The most sinister things that have increased violence in our society is in my estimation two-fold. The first is the ever more increasing detachment of young people from society due to the seclusion afforded by computers where instead of physical interaction they interact with people through online media. These interactions also being cold and disconnected from reality. The second is the increased relativism brought about by this increased detachment from reality.

Under technology, we would have to point to the internet. Pornography, an industry that survives under the guise of it being freedom of expression, is pure destruction. This demonstrably abusive industry makes its living in objectifying human beings. By making humans, objects to be used for one’s selfish physical pleasure it causes major disconnects in the minds of those being subjected to it. The young mind, if not properly guided by a responsible adult and supported by a society which raises the value of human life above all else, will eventually turn to outside evil influences. In this case, I say pornography whether in sexual nature or in violent nature in all its forms must be discarded. This is a significant cause of detachment from reality and society.

Another influence is the constant negativity and lack of rational discourse in the public forum. The media plays a major part in promoting the destruction of societal norms in favor of anarchy. It is my belief that in the USA, the attacks on Christianity and Law enforcement clearly makes way the path for violence through relativism. These attacks have been steadily growing under the careful indoctrination of our society through communist propaganda since the 1930s. The failure of communism to overthrow order in the USA in the twentieth century was due to the success of the economy and the country’s strong religious faith. Unfortunately, our current society is now being led like lambs to the slaughter with the help of major media which believes the government should run our lives and not the family. Through government handouts, the dilution of the vote of citizens by illegal immigration and the promise of easy street if we adopt the new world order and throw away the relics of the past.

The truth of the matter, it is these false doctrines are promoting violence and inhuman interaction. They are objectifying all human beings as mere objects as an end to a means of false salvation here on earth. These false doctrines continue to minimize the value of the individual and hence we have the backlash of lost persons against a society which has become atheistic and indifferent to the value of human life in any stages.

My thesis therefore is that what our society clearly lacks is Love. Without a real love for all human life and concern of the individual we will continue to see an increase in violence toward strangers. Whether that violence is done using a rifle, bomb, airplane or automobile does not matter. What matters is that we move away from relativism and take hold of truth. That we reject anything that objectifies and demeans human life, male or female, black, white or any other color, in any way must be the principal in changing this society from one that is increasingly more self-destructive to one that its focus is the care and love of one another. If we can accomplish this, then we will see a decrease in disaffected persons acting out a society which tells them currently that they have no value or purpose.

Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32

*A Little Change of Heart

It was about one year ago I made a difficult change in my life. It didn’t affect many people. It was simply that I had decided to befriend and get to know a homeless person. I felt like St. Francis, I had an aversion to the destitute of society and I needed to break that association and come to know them as children of God.

It so happened that there was a colored woman who every morning would sit in front of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral gift shop on 51st street (right over a grate where heat would come up). I remember before the first day I approached her I used to look down at her. I remember there was always crumbled food next to her and I thought it was disgusting. I always averted contact with people like her believing that many are drug addicts, alcoholic etc. and that I should not give them money because I may be supporting their habit. So though I knew in my mind they actually have the same gift of life from God that I have, I treated them like lesser people.

Then I made the effort. It started at first I would just give her a few dollars a day, which made me feel better. However I truly did not change until she asked me my name. Her name was Ann. She had a beautiful smile when you spoke to her. The crumbs she placed on the ground where there to feed the birds. She was an avid reader and enjoyed science fiction. She smoked cigarettes, but only two or three a day. Every day I saw her brought me great joy. She would ask me about my family, my children, my weekend, and my business trips. I would ask her about her health and if she needed anything. She always said she was fine.

Then one week she was not in her spot for a few days. I was concerned and hoped she would come back soon. On Thursday morning she was back. She told me she has a heart condition and had been in the hospital. I told her I would pray for her recovery and I asked her to quit smoking. That was a few months ago.

Recently, I went to mass with a coworker who I had gotten a Mass said for his departed grandmother. I saw my friend enjoy the mass and feel close to his grandmother a year after her death. We came out of the cathedral and went across the street; I was sharing with him my morning routine and so I introduced him to Ann. Ann said to me, “You’re really happy this morning.”  I said I was because my friend Gerry was with me. Gerry said hello and I gave her some money and we said goodbye. It was a special morning.

The week before Ann told me one of her favorite book collections is “The Lord of the Rings”. I was planning on bringing her the full collection in paperback as a gift. Then sadly the day after I spoke to her with Gerry she was not at her normal spot. It has now been almost three weeks since I have seen her. I looked for her at lunch time in different buildings with public parks where she told me she is often found. I did not find her. I have been praying for her everyday hoping that she is well and that I may see her gain.

Sadly I fear that she may not be coming back. I know she would have good and bad days with her heart condition and she often talked it down. Now I am thinking that I may not have done enough to help her. I should have tried harder. I know that I did not give to her as much as she gave to me. She opened my eyes and my heart to the love of God. Her concern for me, a person in a much better state in life, made a significant impression on me. She truly cared for me as a true friend. She had love, the kind of love that we should share and have for all people. She had a truly Christian heart and I will strive to be like her.

I still hold hope that she may come back. But if the good Lord took her I am certain that she is in the bosom of his love. I will continue praying for her everyday not knowing for sure what has happened to her. And if she is in Heaven I know that she prays for me to our Lord.

With love in my heart I say God bless you Ann wherever you may be.

*Written in 2006

What is Love?

(written in 2006)

I recently went on a one-day retreat run by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The title for this event, which they usually run twice a year, is called “Catholic Men’s Day of Prayer”. This specific retreat had as its focus Fatherhood.

Fatherhood is a large topic but one of the topics we touched upon was the relationship with our spouses. It was during these conversations that many discussions were shared that opened my eyes to a widely known fact that is in most part ignored in our current society.

We currently live in a society that worships to an extreme individualism and materialism. It seems to be the focus of everyone to be independent, to have their own things etc. However, in a loving community this kind of attitude is actually hurtful and dangerous. It leads to anger, envy and greed. This selfish focus is not how we were created. Man is a social creature, and we need each other to survive and to create a healthy and happy environment for all.

When discussing these issues it became apparent, as usual, that our catholic faith stands in stark contrast to what is promoted by our society. In the early church Christians gave up all their material possessions to join the community. This, of course, is not required of us now but that is because we have a different world economy altogether. But what is required of us is that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

It sounds so nice: love your neighbor as yourself. However it is difficult as we will know. However what makes it even more difficult is our understanding of the word Love. The dictionary has it as follows: 1 a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates> b : an assurance of love <give her my love> This is the primary view of the understanding and use of the word in our society.

The problem lies in that our Lord asks us to do another kind of love. This love is an action word. It is something we do and not something we feel. It is a command as Christians that we are under strict orders to comply. We must love all as our neighbors. Not the soft weak mushy stuff that we are constantly sold but the tough hard love. The kind of love that tells a child no, cares for a sick person and bites its tongue not to say something hurtful. This world would be a much better place if all persons understood this.

One priest told a story that he was speaking to a man who said to him “Father, I don’t love my wife anymore” He looked at this man and said to him “Well, love your wife.” The man looked at him and was confused. He didn’t understand and simply put it is because he thought it was a feeling and not an act. There is one big prerequisite to be able to do this. We must die to ourselves. We must kill that selfish part of us and do what we are asked to do all the days of our lives. Look up to the greatest act of love ever done in the history of the world, our Lord giving his life for us on the cross. Then take up our cross.

If we can achieve this our lives will come together and bring us great joy. We will be able to put our wives and families first and our marriages will be happy and lifelong. We will put others always before ourselves and then the rewards will be great here, and they will be even greater in heaven.

Eternal Metals

What are these things?
Yellow and white
They make light glimmer
Bring out the bright
Of what is in sight

There are metals
Of all sorts
But in comparison
To this group
It is no sport

Others don’t have that shine
Others can’t bring the time
That makes the good
Sweet as the finest Wine

A special night
A gift at dinner
A pearl wrapped
In any will be a winner

A painting
Of the finest sort
Is that much greater
When it’s framed
In the precious drawn from ore

Glory of God
The world wants to extol
It’s got to be Silver
Platinum or Gold

From the ancient world
To modern times
These illustrious metals
Bring out the rhymes

The precious coins of
Rome, Egypt and Greece
Empires of Spain
And Great Britain
Not the least
Tell the stories of Love and War
Sometimes peace
All wrapped up in the Golden Fleece

The rapper wears
A rather large one
Round his neck
A sister prays a golden rosary
At a sick man’s
Death bed

Many more uses
You can see
But the most precious
That shines like the sun
Eternally done
Is the one that makes
You and me, we

The precious metal
Pulled, Shaped
And twisting
Going round a finger
Always existing

But the tragedy lies
In that Humans
Do not see
The greatest Gift of all
Is actually free

Love is the thing
We should all be expounding
If we all share the gold
The world would be astounding

As happiness would reign from shore to shore
The precious metals
Hence be a symbol of Love
Like a rose petal
A seed of friendship forevermore

*Written for the IPMI 2010

 The New Old Evangelization

(Originally written in 2011)

The Catholic faith is constantly under attack, not only by those directly opposed to the faith but by Christians as well. Our stance against abortion and contraception, sexual promiscuity of any form and also for tenants of the faith are examples of issue which seem to be stumbling blocks. But we Catholics understand the truths handed down to us from the apostles through the church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know these to be truth and with our eyes set on the things not seen we focus on the eternal. To gain the eternal, we must live a fruitful life through witness to the gospel in this world.

However we have a real problem here. The issue is that we have two types of horrible Catholics both in and out of the clergy. So many hypocrites exist but the biggest problem I fear are twofold, The disconnect that is often between the actions of our authorities within the church and what is preached and taught.

We often have Bishops and or priests that when the secular public makes a scene about the teachings of the faith they back track. In one instance in the Diocese of San Diego a Bishop twice back tracked when they denied a Christian funeral for two non-practicing catholic homosexual that owned gay bars. It has always been understood and is canon law that anyone who lived in obvious sin without any signs of repentance cannot receive a Christian funeral. But when they tried to enforce this rule public opinion and condemnation swayed the Catholic authority.

The attempt to prevent scandal in actuality created a double scandal. Not only did know they allow it, which then sent the message that it is ok to live in Sin. However then they also affirm that church teaching is essentially meaningless. If they are willing to back down to popularity, then they have lost all authority to teach. They have condemned themselves because these actions will certainly drive others to sin instead of show them the truths of the faith.

Had the Bishops stood up and in a loving manner explained the teachings of the faith and why the funerals would not be allowed it would have sent a signal that we stand for the truth. Now it appears to others that we stand for nothing that could not be changed with a popularity contest. I cringe when I see these types of reports; this is more hurtful to the conversion of souls than the actual sins perpetrated by others within our midst.

Another issue is those within our midst that do not live the Gospel but want to hit others over the head with our teachings.  What I mean is that we cannot change the hearts of others by attacking them with the truths or condemning their actions. So, often I see many people get into arguments instead of dialogue. To dialogue you need to have a loving respect for the other person. It is only through love that we will ever change the hearts of this society.

Recently, I have had a change of view about a serious issue. I may be wrong but the whole gay marriage issue I think is overblown. The civil form of marriage has little value in my eyes. I never thought highly about it when I got married, and I think less about it now. When we fight those trying to propagate this highly political issue we give these people a stage to call us all kinds of names like hate mongers and the like. Meanwhile the courts grant divorces at the drop of a hat. The fact that marriage is a business transaction in most cases should be made apparent. So, it is meaningless.

I believe we should drop this fight and instead focus on teaching within our own church the proper meaning and understanding of marriage.  But when we talk of marriage in the Catholic Church we speak about two people, a man and a woman, who join together in a complete natural union created by God that will bring the gift of life, which is children, if God wills it. Marriage is a gift of love which is a gift that comes from God. That way we understand and become open to life. At this time unfortunately most Catholics are not. It is that mentality that allows people to accept contraception and abortion since we think we are the arbiters of life and not God himself.

But the point I am trying to get at it is this. We need to focus on our own household. We have to build the proper supports and understanding that will lead to a life of living the gospel and the teachings of our faith in everything we do and say. That is how the church was born. That is how the church grew. It was by giving and loving and not by arguing with others. When others see the joy we have within our communities and in the way we live our lives and that we are faithful then they will join us. Then their hardened hearts will change. But when you look around at how poorly we are behaving it is no wonder that few truly believe that we have a real and vibrant faith.

We must turn our faith into one of love for our Church community but also for love of all outside our church as well. Even the sinners need our love. How will we save souls as God has asked us to do if we do not show them love? It will be by loving the world that we can affect the most change not by entering into political arguments or popularity contests. Hence it is the old way of evangelization that becomes new again.

As Saint Francis was quoted as saying, so we must live “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

The Mad Hatter


Overslept a bit
This morn
The beeping alarm
Laughed with scorn

I rose and
Went about my day
From my routine
I did not stray

Upon arriving
In the city
I walked, stammered
It wasn’t pretty

Worse than that
Was the sight
Of a strange cat
At a bizarre height

A man walked
With a strange gait
I looked up to see
What caused this fate

Not believing
What I saw
A cat perched upon his head
A shocking awe

I slapped myself
It was no dream
No drama needed
No need to scream

Truly pointless
Is this matter
A rhyme
That’s all
For this Mad Hatter!

Pregnancy is a Gift, It is Human Life Not a Disease!

The Truth Revealed

In general, our society has become one of quick fixes and denial. We deny responsibility for almost everything, we have people suing others for things they do to themselves. People always decry that they are suffering because of others and not because of their own actions or inaction. It seems to me that whoever cries or screams the loudest gets the most attention and action whether they are in the right or not. The individual seems to lose more and more responsibility and becomes less and less important at the same time.

There is no real logic or reason. The people are so conditioned not to use their brains, not to analyze. Simply put they are for the most part conditioned not to look for the truth. Truth has become relative but not because the people believe in relativity it is because they are being trained to live life in relativity. But there is still a chance for this tide to be turned if we ourselves live life by truth.

Quo ist veritas? What is Truth? That is what we need to train our children to seek. They need to weigh all components and listen with both heart and mind. If they do so it will be apparent what is truth.

The biggest competition though is the constant barrage of images from the major media outlets. Whether it is music, movies, television or the internet our society just never take the time to think it is all set to keep you off guard. To be able to seek truth you have to remove yourself from a situation and look at it objectively. In general, our society does not do that and in fact it just promotes the acceptance of a status quo of where we are. It also promotes the idea that someone else will solve your problems. This is the reason, the basic truths of life are not understood.

I believe it is astonishing that two plus two still equals five. In a society where it is constantly promotes the false concept of “Gay Marriage”. This lie that is being perpetuated and successfully so is a great example. Everyone knows that there is no physical way that two people of the same gender can be joined together to procreate. But yet, we have sane men and women supporting these people so that they can feel accepted. The truth is they want us to make a lie a truth.

Under the same guise in the business community from which the world suffered in the economic collapse of 2008 they managed to perpetuate a lie. The lie was one of earnings, with no real production or growth. Products that did nothing but hide truths, such as Sub-prime lenders that lent money creating false growth to people or businesses that do not have the ability to pay. Notice just like gay marriage a lie twisted to appear true for the incipient purpose of the persons who benefit. In this case, the brokers and others involved made off with billions of dollars.

Then finally and the saddest of all is the twisting of the truth of life. There is only one point at which Human Life is created. The point at which Human Life is created is called conception at that point a Human Being exists and is growing totally independent of the mother who carries that baby and feeds it from her body. We know by the science that at that exact moment a new DNA has been created and a new person exists.

But instead we have an abortion industry, originally promoted in the USA by Planned Parenthood to control the growth of the undesirable population of minorities, is perpetuating the lie that it is not a baby, that it is not human life and that it is something else. They purport it to be a disease, a mistake not anybody’s fault. This is simply a lie they propose as a truth. Sadly, it feeds on the irresponsibility built into the society these days that enables the individuals not to accept responsibility for their choices and at the same time not look for the truth because it may not be convenient at that time.

The truth is that pregnancy is a gift it is a human life. One that will continually change anyone’s life for the better even if the baby is infirm. I have seen many blessings brought to families with children with disabilities, but our society does not like to see this truth either.

Another lie being purported as a truth is that abortionists are pro-choice. Their goal is to kill as many children as possible because that is how they make their money. The only real group that is Pro-Choice are the Pro-Life advocates which believe that the choice is actually before conception. The true choice is whether one should or should not have sexual intercourse with someone to create a child which is the act’s primary function. To propagate that we humans are not in control of ourselves is an insult to our intelligence. The solution to a mistake is not another mistake. Yet, that is the lie that is constantly promoted. The problem lies in that there is big money in contraception and abortion and that is why this lie has such a great rate of success. The solution lies in teaching our children the truth because we know that unfortunately neither school systems Public nor Catholic can be trusted.

So, this leads to the point of the most heinous of crimes attempted in this country. The Freedom of Choice Act, which thankfully never passed, was not about choice but about murder. It is the freedom to kill act. Any society that kills their own children is not far from killing anyone for any reason. Acts such as these should be fought with a passion by all people of good will.

From an article, I read recently at a pro-life rally in front of a church a pro-abortion woman tried to chase the children who were there away. The children replied that they would stay. Then one of the young boys asked no one in particular, “What’s the matter with her? Everyone knows that abortion is murder.” It was a simple truth.

Now if only everyone would stick to the truth life would be much easier for everyone.