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You may see a number of your peers on Google+ and Facebook with this symbol as their profile photo. Do not be alarmed, but realize what it means.

When the ISIS were about to complete their genocide of the Christians of Mosul in the past few days, they put this mark on the walls of the homes of the Christians -- to mark them out for plunder and death. This is the letter "Nun" (ن), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet (the equivalent of letter N in our Roman alphabet), the first letter of the word Nasara (نصارى : Nazarenes).

It is an expression of solidarity with the Christians of Mosul that people are changing their profile photos to this symbol. In a first hand account (linked below) of the events, a Christian woman from Mosul said that her house had been marked with this symbol, when the gunmen showed up, they hit her pregnant daughter in the stomach saying, "we don't need anymore Christians" and then told her to leave the house. When she went to gather her things, she was told that she could not, those things were spoils of war.

http://www.npr.org/2014/07/21/333537790/after-ultimatum-christians-flee-iraqi-city-en-masse
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2014-07-21
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'''Just before his death in prison, John is filled with doubt and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he really is the chosen one. John is humiliated through his death but also in the darkness of his doubts, yet he remains a model for Christians today.'''

~Pope Francis

Reflecting on today's Gospel message about the plank and the speck.

Many times it is used to stop people from admonishing their brothers and sisters in Christ. This is not the intended meaning, as most true judgment occurs within ourselves, and never makes it to action. When we judge others, we put them in a box and ignore the things they do outside of that box. We invalidate their broader humanity based on a single facet of their character. 

How much more dangerous is this when we are guilty of the same thing we are judging them for? 

It allows us to say, like the Pharisee in Luke 18, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." When we should be saying, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Then, when we've come to terms with the sin ourselves, that is when we will have the most strength to admonish our brothers and sisters. We'll be able to say, "See, I struggled with this too, but I found healing with God." We will see them as we see ourselves, and we can show them mercy, rather than judgment.

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And for anyone scratching their head at the last post. Father +Dwight Longenecker offers a great explanation of 'excommunication' in this post.

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Pope Francis, not wishing to be known as 'the softy' takes it to the streets.

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Pray fervently for peace in the Middle East. The situation does not look good right now. Pray, especially, for our Christian brothers and sisters there, as they are definitely in the cross hairs of the militants.

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Easter Monday 2014
Dear Parishioners,
The bishop has sent us the best. That is the best way to sum up what I think about the appointment of Father John Tapp as pastor of Nativity Parish.

Father Tapp and I have known each other for over 35 years. He is a bright, capable, diligent, caring, and talented person. He is liked and admired by all who know him.

Father Tapp is a native of Philadelphia and has lived the bulk of his life here in the State of Florida. He is a graduate of St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. John Vianney College Seminary (Miami), and St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary (Boynton Beach). He also holds a Master of Arts degree from St. John’s University (Collegeville, Minnesota) in Liturgical Studies. Fr. Tapp has been an instructor for the diocesan Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute (LPMI) for several years, teaching modules on sacramental and liturgical theology.

Father Tapp was ordained for our diocese in 1984, and has ministered as associate pastor, pastor and campus minister. He is presently pastor of Holy Family in Saint Petersburg. In addition to all of this, Fr. Tapp is Secretary for the Office of Worship in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

I want to thank publicly Bishop Lynch for sending us the best.

Your brother in Christ,
~Fr. Proulx
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We're really proud to be a part of the Family Promise network here in Brandon, and we're really excited to be hosting this event, but this is a great display of fatherhood that deserves notice.

http://www.familypromiseofgreaterbrandon.org/
#BoxCarCity  

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Mark your calendars for this Saturday, February the 8th. The Florida Pro Musica Vivaldi group will be here at Nativity in the chapel, with period instruments from 7:30-9:00pm. For a sample, watch this:

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It's this joy that is the mark which tells people we are Christians. It's also this joy that draws people to Christ.
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