in memory of Uncle John

John W Emmer, JrHere’s the short documentary put together by Project Recover about the recent discovery of Heaven Can Wait, the B-24 bomber that went down over Hansa Bay, New Guinea during World War II. My uncle, John W Emmer, Jr, was on board as aerial photographer along with 10 other crew members.

Toward the end of the documentary, there is footage of the flag ceremony held by the Project Recover expedition crew in Hansa Bay… during which they read the names of all of the fallen, including my uncle. Somehow brought the whole thing home for me.

Below is the documentary link, as well as links to local and national news stories that have been published over the past week.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

-Excerpt from “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon

Project Recover: The Finding of ‘Heaven Can Wait’ B-24 from Kyle McBurnie on Vimeo.

Local news stories featuring uncle John:

FOX9 News – Minneapolis (May 23, 2018)

WCCO TV News – Minneapolis (May 27, 2018)

Local news stories featuring other crew members and the discovery effort:

Illinois News Bureau (May 21, 2018)

Killeen Herald – Texas (May 22, 2018)

San Francisco Chronicle (May 22, 2018)

Siouxland Proud – Sioux City (May 23, 2018)

KGTV News – San Diego (May 25, 2018)

Poughkeepsie Journal (May 26, 2018)

YouTube story about Lt. Thomas Kelly (May 26, 2018)

National news stories:

AP News (May 24, 2018)

Fox News (May 24, 2018)

Ha’aertz – Israel (May 24, 2018)

Japan Times (May 24, 2018)

Fiji Times (May 25, 2018)

New York Times (May 28, 2018)

Photos of uncle John:

Father Cantalamessa on Pentecost and the love of God

Back in January of 2008, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, preacher to the papal household, gave two talks in Los Angeles at a gathering of the SCRC about Pentecost and loving the Church.

I’ve posted the first of the two talks as an audio podcast. Here’s an excerpt:

Last year, in England, there was a consultation of all the charismatic renewal in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to make a balance of the first forty years of the charismatic renewal, and in preparation for this consultation, a survey was distributed with many questions. One of the questions was: “What do you think has been the greatest blessing the charismatic renewal has brought to your life?” Well, the answer, almost unanimous, was the love of God. “For the first time, I discovered what it means to be son of God / daughter of God.” And any time I myself have an occasion to meet people who have received the baptism in the Spirit, I ask them, “What remains to you after years of this experience?” Usually the most common answer is the love of God. The love of God.

This is the miracle of miracles. Usually we are looking for miracles, but this is the greatest miracle: God loving us. When we know, at least a little, who God is and who we are, this is the greatest miracle. And it’s difficult to believe. Apparently, this is the most easy thing to believe. But on the contrary, very few people reach this position of really believing that God loves them… personally, eternally, in such a way that we have no idea. So Pentecost, my dear brothers and sisters, should be this: a rediscovery of the love of God for us. We are more preoccupied with how we love God, but this comes later.

One of the most important contributions of the charismatic renewal to the whole theology of the Church is precisely to restoring this order. Before the commandments, before the duties, comes grace — the gift. This shows the essential difference between Christianity and any other religion or religious philosophy. Any religion starts telling people what they must do to reach the final goal (nirvana, and so on.) Christianity doesn’t begin by telling people what they must do. It begins by telling what God has done for them. Grace!

Somebody could say, “Yes, but isn’t the first and most important commandment this: ‘You must love your God with all your soul and all your strength?'” Yes, this is the highest commandment. But the order of commandments is not the first order, it’s the second one. Before the order of commandments, there is the level or the order of gift: grace. And we have contributed to this rediscovery which is the secret of making evangelization effective nowadays. The power of Christianity is grace.

The whole talk is worth a listen. You can download the talk directly to your browser here, or subscribe to my feed using iTunes, or simply look up the episode on Podcast Alley.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday, a time to remember in a special way the message of our Lord to St. Faustina Kowalska, a simple nun from Krakow in early part of the 20th century.

When I was studying in Europe as part of a semester-abroad program in 1992, I had a chance to visit Krakow and visit the convent where Sister Faustina lived. I remember leaving from Steubenville’s Austrian campus early that day — which meant skipping out of the end of a talk given by Cardinal Schönborn, who was reading to us from the latest draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Just one more thing to lay before God’s mercy…

When we arrived in Krakow, it was hard to find Sr. Faustina’s convent — although the fact that none of my classmates spoke Polish might have had something to do with it… We just pulled out our holy cards with the image of the Divine Mercy on it, and first were directed to the wrong church! But we eventually got there, and the sisters were kind enough to show us around… we saw the sisters’ cemetery, the chapel that contains the image, and the tomb of St. Faustina. Here are a few photos…

The sister’s cemetery

Praying at the tomb of St. Faustina

The Divine Mercy image in the chapel

A Polish holy card

Divine Mercy novena

The Divine Mercy novena begins on Good Friday and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter).

The devotion to Divine Mercy is a powerful one, and it has spread like wildfire through the Church in a very short time.

I once visited the convent in Krakow, Poland where Saint Faustina Kowalska lived and prayed. St. Kowalska is the nun who received the devotion to the Divine Mercy in a series of private revelations from Jesus in the early part of the 20th century.

Wishing you a blessed Triduum and a happy and holy Easter!

five years since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Today, February 11, 2018, marks five years since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Recently, the pope-emeritus published a short note to a newspaper in response to an inquiry about how he was faring, a response that radiated with his characteristic warmth and wisdom:

It’s a great grace, in this last, at times tiring, stage of my journey, to be surrounded by a love and goodness that I could have never imagined.

Today, I simply post a link over to the Spiritual Friendship blog, where Ron Belgau has written about the pope emeritus’ writings on friendship with Christ.

May God bless the remaining days of the life of this remarkable disciple.