Category Archives: Catholic

[Video] Ave Maria sung by child brings crowd to tears

During a special Bishop mass honoring Our Lady, an 11 year old brought the full cathedral to tears with her performance of Ave Maria. Complete silence of awe came over the audience when Cecilia Malley took the microphone to sing as her mother, Almira, played the piano. Cecilia told me after the mass that she practiced for this event for one year. At the end of the mass, Bishop Gregory Parkes gave her a special thank you and the congregation gave her a standing ovation.

DSC_0784 Cecilia Malley at the microphone and Almira Malley on the piano

IMG_9498 Bishop Parkes gave the youth a few words of appreciation

DSC_0744 John Malley – age 12, Theresa Malley – age 9, Cecilia Malley – age 11

Watch the performance

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Giving with Integrity: Record Setting Donations

Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus

Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus

Give to receive in order to give more” my former banking and finance colleagues would say. I admit that the phrase sounds appealing, but my Father taught me a better concept. It took me a long time to understand the wisdom of His simple philosophy- Give from your heart and expect nothing in return.

In my past, I’ve witnessed crooked charitable offerings. It was uncomfortable for me to give without knowing the accountability of the offering. I would ask myself, “how can I have faith in the organization that I’m giving to?” I trust God, but people will always be suspects. I started donating my time in order to ensure offerings of mine and others’ would truly go to its intended use. In 2009, I joined a charitable organization 1.8 million strong, the Knights of Columbus. Since I have been a Knight of Columbus for nearly five years, I can endorse with full confidence every penny donated is being spent honestly for the cause.

Judging by the numbers, I’m not the only one believes this. While charitable donations giving in the United States grew only by 2% last year, giving through the Knights of Columbus grew three times as much, 6%. Last year set a record of $167.5 million donated (Franciscan monastery). Over the past decade, the Knights have donated $1.475 billion to support charitable works with consecutively increasing for 13 years(EWTN). More valuable they have given more than 673 million volunteer hours to support charitable works (CNA).

Pope Francis also praised the integrity and loyalty of the Knights of Columbus during an audience in Rome October 2013, the Pope met with Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus … and committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations…” he said (Vatican Information Service).

From my banking days, I understand the finance culture of loopholes and backdoor giving. I saw so many gimmicks, tricks, and lies… I have zero tolerance for anything less than truth. I applaud those who give honestly from their heart.

@BenjaminHorbowy

Tallahassee.com “Respecting Parents… what’s that?”

http://blogs.tallahassee.com/community/2013/10/26/respecting-parents-whats-that/

In today’s modern comedy shows, we see the image of what family is or what people think it should be. In these shows, the dad is a goofball who never seems to get anything right and the mother is an emotional control freak who rules the home. There’s humor in these scenarios, but they lack to show the Truth.

From my education in social sciences under the political science department, I can ramble off the political correctness of gender roles with the understanding that traditional families are not the most common or effective if you view the meaning of family from a scientific perspective. I understand that I am very blessed to have a functional family who is still together. The meaning of family according to the dictionary: a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. By that definition, it sounds like there’s a few people stuck together under a single roof. I would like to suggest a slight modification to this definition. Family is a group of people who are affiliated by marriage, birth, legalities, and co-residence who respect each other.

What does it mean to respect each other? As a 31 year old bachelor without children, I will not address showing respect to your spouse or kids. I will talk about  respecting parents. I could mention the secular understanding that respecting yourself is one way to honor your parents, but my understanding of respecting your parents is to learn from them. They spent time teaching us proper ways of how to communicate, socially interact, and make decisions. Their interest is that their children are healthy in mind, body, and soul. It would be disrespectful to disregard that time and act like a fool.

Ask yourself the next time you are doing something foolish such as lying, gossiping, driving home buzzed, or sitting in a tattoo parlor is this respecting myself, my family,… my parents?  Our fourth commandment tells us to honor our parents. This is the only commandment that comes with a promise… you can find it in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long…” God wishes us to live long… with wisdom!

Benjamin Horbowy

Que Bonita esta VIDA!!! Road trip from Barranquilla to Cartagena Colombia @SocialBenjamin

This is a day in the life of @SocialBenjamin who traveled to Colombia. He took the most dangerous road between beautiful Barranquilla and Romantic Cartagena for American ambush and organ theft according to the US Department of State. God was with him on this trip. This is a witness of faith that Colombia has good and great people. We should not live in fear.

I translated the words…

Music by Jorge Celedon Jimmy Zambrano snd: This Life

I like the smell that is tomorrow. I love first sip of coffee. It feel like the sun peeks in my window and I’m filled in my eyes a beautiful sunrise.

I like listening to the peace of the mountains, watching the sunset colors, feel the sand on my feet from the beach, And sweet cane when I kiss my wife.

Oh what a beautiful life!!
Although sometimes hurt so much despite the sorrows
There is always someone who wants
There is always someone who cares
Ay Ay Ay que bonita this life
Although not forever

If I live with my people, it’s nice to die with brandy and tequila.

I like hearing the voice of a guitar. Provide for that friend who needs. Feel the hug in the morning and fill. The look of another beautiful sunrise.

Oh that beautiful life
Although sometimes hurt so much despite the sorrows
There is always someone who wants
There is always someone who cares
Ay Ay Ay que bonita this life
Although not forever

If I live with my people
It’s nice to die with brandy and tequila.

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Puerto Velero, Barranquilla Colombia

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Northern Coast

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4 lanes with no lines

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Come to the island on yacht, boat, or raft

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In BAQ a year before Joe Arroyo passed. Te Amo Colombia

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At the foot of the Mountain for John Paul II

Polish Father and Son get exemplified as “Sir Knight”

Sir Knights are exemplified Catholics of the of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree. On thanksgiving weekend in Orlando, Florida 2012 , Polish father and son received their 4th degree together. This was the 1st year media was allowed in during the ceremony. It was also the 1st year Knights of Columbus Knights were exemplified to the forth degree in Poland.

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3rd degree knights getting prepared for the ceremony of 4th degree

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The different colors represent different roles within the 4th degree

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Knights line up before entering the ceremony

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Polish Father and Son: Deacon Ted Horbowy and Benjamin Horbowy

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Clergy of the Knights of Columbus in FloridaDSC_0719

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Knights from the Virgin Island who flew to Florida for the event

Other father son knights

Other father son knights with their wives

Sir Knight Benjamin Horbowy

Sir Knight Benjamin Horbowy

God texted me! He told me to “Relax”

God TEXTed me during church and told me to put my phone away.

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God speaks to us all the time. He is with us everywhere. He may or may not be one of your texting friends, so where do you hear His voice? And, how do you hear God?!

To hear God: make yourself quiet, put away distractions, and believe in prayer. Most importantly, LISTEN with an OPEN heart.

If your heart isn’t open, I suggest forgiving the ones who have hurt you. Once you give them love, you can heal from the pains and be open to receive love.

It could be very difficult for a social media addict to listen when they have a “smart phone” distracting them constantly. How do you you separate yourself from digital community? Please leave suggestions or Bible verses in the comments below.

#DiosEsAmor

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Bishop mentions Twitter and Social Search from Pulpit

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At the CELEBRATE FAITH 2013 Convention at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Destin Florida, Bishop Gregory Parkes delivered a touching message during the homilie. For the 1st time, I’ve heard the mention of twitter from the alter. For me, this was affirming to hear; I’ve been spending much of the last three years working on twitter software developing techniques of “social search”. He went on to say that we as Christians are called to seek those in hiding or have not yet found the Light and Truth in their lives.

Before mass, there was a priest who asked the room, “by show of hands who went to Catholic Schools before 1960?” and three quarters of the room raised their hands. To them, the message about finding people most likely doesn’t apply to them with twitter, but to me his mention of twitter validated my efforts. Earlier in the week, I posted on facebook “Unless I spread God’s message and good, none of the social search engineering I do is worth anything.” I should broaden that statement: unless I deliver God’s message, nothing I do is worth anything.

Recently I’ve developed a social search engine that enables me to automatically build communities of similar interest. For the alpha and bata testing, I have over 400 twitter accounts engaged building an array of micro-communities. I’ve made one for Saint Maximilian Kolbe powered by my social search software that’s currently searching for key conversation topics that apply to his ministry. Most of my other accounts have a higher success rate than the Saint’s twitter page, but the bishop reminded me if my mission is successful if I only reach one person’s heart.

Polish Family presents St. Maximilian Kolbe Painting signed by Franciszek Gajowniczek

Four Polish men: Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Father Maximilian Kolbe, Deacon Thaddeus Horbowy, Benjamin Horbowy.

In photo: Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Father Maximilian Kolbe, Deacon Thaddeus Horbowy, and Benjamin Horbowy. My family would like to share this painting with the community. My dad, “Deacon Ted” carried the painting of Saint Maximilian Kolbe with him for 18 years. He kept it sealed in a wooden crate waiting for the right moment to present it. He felt it was finally time and appropriate to show it during a private audience with the Archbishop of Miami.

At the Back says

Personal message by Franciszek Gajowniczek on the back

On the back of the painting, there is a hand written description, history, and dedication from Franciszek Gajowniczek with his signature. I was there at the time of the inscription in Mr. Gojowniczek’s home in Poland. I remember he was very weak and barely had the energy to sign his name. He signed on the wood and on the canvas.

Fully Vested

Ah, where’s the beard?

Before the Red Mass, I caught a second where the Archbishop joked with my dad in Polish about him not having his beard. The last time they met, he was only a bishop and my dad had a long beard that he grew in mourning of the death of Pope John Paul 2.

Miracles and Monuments in St. Augustine Florida

Flagler Beach

Flagler Beach

Welcome to The Real Florida: First landing spot for many:   This place is a very interesting area for me. We see it as we know it in today’s point of view. It’s cleaned, raked, cleared of gators getting too close to people, and even sprayed for annoying bugs. Try to imagine how this beach looked in the 1500s and you are the 1st man this land has seen.  As I’m taking these pictures, I’m thinking about these perspectives. I stand here knowing the lifestyles of the fine dinning European families and wonder what were they thinking when they 1st saw wild Florida. Sure, it’s a pretty beach, but any local will tell you a virgin natural beach is full of horseflies, nats , mosquitoes, crabs, and snakes. Inland, there’s more than the commonly threat of alligators, there’s also panthers, black bear, pythons, rattle snakes, scorpions, and alligator snapping turtles. To get away from bugs,  get in the water. Also get in the water to catch dinner and beat the heat. Then you have to worry about man o’war jellyfish, sharks, sea lice, and other flesh eating bugs that could leave nasty infectious bites and force a fisherman to cut off his own foot to save his life. The heat is so hot, that people would consider seeking shade under a bayonet palm. The fact that there was any migration, much less religious movement is a miracle in itself. At this time, Disney World and air conditioning is 500 years away.

Bayonet Palms do not make the best shade

Bayonet Palms do not make the best shade

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America’s First Homeland Security

America’s First Defense System, The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The fort is the “bastion system” style of fortification. I was in a very simular fort in Cartagena Colombia with the same designers.

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Castillo De San Marcos “The Fort “

@CastilloNPS The military fort is strategically located on the shore of Matanzas Bay. Construction started on it in 1672 while Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.

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Oldest Church in North America

@TheFirstParish The Cathedral is the oldest parish Basilica of European settlement. St. Augustine on the North American continent north of Mexico. On August 28, 1565, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés first sighted land along the east coast of Florida. It was the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo. I found on wikipedia an untrue fact that the oldest church in america was a baptist church built in the 1700s. I was glad to correct the error on wikipedia. That the oldest church in America was a Catholic church.

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First Mass in North America

First Mass St. Augustine was founded and established in 1565 by Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. He began his adventure by sailing from the port of Cádiz, Spain. Pedro Menedez de Aviles placed a small wooden cross in Florida’s soil and founded the Mission of Nombre de Dios. This is the sight of the first mass in North America. The beginnings of Christianity in this new land led to numerous missions throughout La Florida.

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The World’s Tallest Cross

“The Great Cross” The world’s tallest free-standing cross measuring just over 260 feet tall. It was erected at the direction of Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley, then Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. His Excellency Casimiro Morcillo, Archbishop of Madrid, dedicated it during the diocesan Eucharistic Congress of October 1966. Like the Prince of Peace Church, the Great Cross celebrates the Four Hundredth anniversary of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the City of St. Augustine. The Great Cross is a tribute to that growth. It serves to remind the visitor of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, as well as the role played by the Catholic religion in the history of both Florida and our Nation. At the bottom of the cross, you see my parents.

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Knights of Columbus Hall

Knights are always near This area was founded and developed by Catholics. The sign in front of the Knights of Columbus Hall reminds, “You are on Sacred Ground”. The Knights at Santa Maria del Mar are located near where the 1st settlers claimed their home…. for a reason.

Three Bishops remember Florida martyrs at special Mass

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Click article to read the full article on EWTN Global Catholic Network

Bishops Felipe de Jesus Estevez of the Diocese of Saint Augustine, Gregory L. Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, and Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

Bishops Felipe de Jesus Estevez of the Diocese of Saint Augustine, Gregory L. Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, and Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

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Mobile Eucharist Ministers

Mobile Eucharist Ministers

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Click for full digital photo album