Category Archives: Witness of Faith

Retreat reflection: Helping others by helping myself.

For the Published article: http://blogs.tallahassee.com/community/2014/04/06/retreat/

It’s good to retreat from time to time for self reflection and regrouping. Sometimes we have to travel to an island to gain perspective of the main land. This weekend I went on the Annual Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocesan Men’s Retreat with about 80 other men with the mission of getting away, listening to hear a life lesson, and discerning my calling/vocation.

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Men’s Retreat at Camp Timpoochee

We had two days and two nights of spiritual talks, small groups, self time, prayer, church service, and recreation time with similar minded gentlemen. The small group questions were intriguing and engaging. We each had our individual matters to work on, but it was good to be around other masculine men. Fr Crawford had me laughing with his quirky personality that came along with prolific messages, “humility humility humility humility humility humility humility…. we’re not talking wuss here fellas.”

Personal Reflection Time

Personal Reflection Time

During personal space, we were encouraged to do something peaceful that we enjoy to do and listen to the quiet. I enjoy writing; I wrote God a letter while listening to the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. I almost put my letter in my empty water bottle to toss it into the water, but I didn’t want to litter. The thought was the same. It was healing to write down personal troubles and give it up to God.

Early morning by the water

Early morning by the water

Everyone received different take-aways. From the few guys I asked what they gained from the retreat: some took away how to be a better man in their personal relationships, others felt they were there to help others as leaders, some said they figured out how to better organize the juggle of time between work and home. I had a slightly different take-away. For years, I have focused on helping others as much as I possibly can. While still being motivated to help others, I feel like for a short time it will be best for everyone if I focused on helping myself. Before I can love others, I must love myself.

Young Man and The Sea

Young Man and The Sea

I’ve been working on a book idea for two years. The closer I get to a finishing story, the more the story changes. It’s time for me to quit a few community efforts and think about helping myself. I have to target what makes me happy, what makes joy, and do it everyday over and over. Maturity is being mindful about what we are doing and where our decisions will take us. Fr Tim gave us a homework assignment; he told us to go home and write down a goal for next year. Leave it up to me to take the writing assignment to the next level by publishing it. My goal for this time next year is to finish my book, “Young Man and The Sea of People”. In all truth, I need to hurry up and get this book out before I have to change the title to middle aged man and the sea.

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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.

Florida Wildlife Magazine: Catching flounder is so easy, a 4-year-old can do it

[FWC by Benjamin Horbowy]

Want to take your kids fishing for something easy enough for them to catch? When I take my niece out to the dock, it’s more fun to watch her excitement reeling in a fish than it is for me to catch a big one. Catching flounder is simple enough that kids often have better luck than adults…. Read full article of FWC webpage

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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