Your Support Has Helped Me to Decide to Keep The Blog Going

Holy Card image reprinted with permission from Micki at
"Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
which has an additional link posted on the sidebar

Dear Friends in Christ,

I received so many emails from all you in which you demonstrated such love and support for me to continue this blog after the unwarranted attacks that I received lately from one very unhappy soul. I even spoke on the phone with Micki, a wonderful Catholic blogger from the Midwest, who suggested that I prayerfully reconsider this decision.
She also said that if I did indeed shut down this blog and/or make it for private readership only, then the person who is obviously very possessed by the evil one, will certainly have won his/her goal. She is absolutely correct! She said that someone had also been harassing her in an 'anoymous' way. A kind soul then wrote to her stating that there are people influenced by Satan 'out there' who are trying to shut down Catholic Christian blogs! So it is not just my blog! How sad this is, but triumphant in Christ we shall all stand!

'nuff said, friends . . . I'll keep the blog (that really is ALL of ours, not just mine) public and posted for all of us to come together to share and learn about "OUR Beautiful Catholic Faith"!

Many blessings to each and all of you for your kindness and support,

"Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
I will try again tomorrow."



Please Donate To Catholic Relief Servies For Trusted Aid To Haiti Victims


Haiti still needs all of our help and will continue to need our aid for years to come. As we all continue to pray for Haitians and everyone involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, many of us want to offer financial assistance as well. So where should you send your valuable, hard-earned money and KNOW that your money is in trusted hands and going where you want it to go to help the victims in Haiti?

Give to Catholic Relief Services

The following information is taken directly from the web page of Catholic Relief Services, ranked as one of the top charities around the world.
(I have correctly and professionally provided an official credit and legal citation to the CRS web-site. I also place the information in "quotations" which correctly indicates that the statement is from CRS and not myself. I take no credit in the words of CRS, but only own the desire to share information for trusted use of charitable donations).
You can go directly to the site by following this link or read the information that I have posted for you.
To donate, you need to go to CRS at:
Here is the information for you to feel more confident of where your money is being used for not only Haiti aid, but throughout the world:

"You've probably heard some of the inspiring stories of people whose lives have been transformed through the generosity of CRS donors like you. Your donations hold incredible power to alleviate suffering and restore hope for our brothers and sisters overseas. But we know you want to be sure your gifts will be used wisely, and we respect your concern. Through careful stewardship of resources, we make sure the funds you have so generously entrusted to us go where they are most needed. We want you to feel confident that your decision to give to Catholic Relief Services is a sound one, and that your donations will be used effectively and efficiently to make a lifesaving difference.

Please take a moment to review some of the resources provided here and learn more about how we work. CRS is most thankful for your help—we would be unable to carry out our lifesaving work without it.
CRS is Efficient

How we ensure your donation will be used wisely:

We are one of the most efficient organizations in the world. Did you know that 93 percent of the money we spend goes directly to programs that benefit the poor overseas? We work hard to keep our overhead down and consistently work smarter and find better ways of doing things to eliminate redundancies that often plague other organizations. You are always welcome to review our financial statements.

Additionally, we meet all 20 of the strict Charity Standards set by the
Better Business Bureau's charity rating arm, the Wise Giving Alliance, and have an "A" rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Both of these charity watchdog groups use criteria that confirm fiscal efficiency, such as percentage of funds going directly to programs, cost to raise a dollar, transparency and honoring of donor intent.

CRS-funded relief supplies are packed by students at Saint Paul University in Manila, the Philippines, to be delivered to flood victims affected by 2009 Typhoon Ketsana.

We strive for efficiency in all that we do. Under our Guiding Principles, based on Catholic social teaching, we follow the tenet of subsidiarity: A higher level of government—or organization—should not perform any function or duty that can be handled more effectively at a lower level by people who are closer to the problem and have a better understanding of the issue. In many of the countries where we work, our local Church partners represent an efficient network already on the ground. Their work allows us to mobilize quickly to distribute food, emergency supplies and information, often within hours of a disaster. Together, we can meet the most critical needs and then help people "build back better" so that their communities will be stronger and better able to contend with future events.

CRS is Effective

How do we know we are making a difference?

Catholic Relief Services has more than 60 years of experience and technical expertise to help as many people as possible in an organized and manageable way, quickly and reliably. The unspeakable 1994 genocide in Rwanda was a turning point for our agency as we vowed to not only meet immediate needs but also challenge structures that promote injustice. In 1988, our experience responding to Hurricane Mitch in Central America gave us invaluable knowledge and honed our approach to disaster response. It was this expertise—and the overwhelming donor response—that fueled our five-year effort to help survivors rebuild their lives after the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Our programs are carefully executed, monitored and evaluated by our talented staff—some of the best and brightest—who have chosen to dedicate their lives to serving the poor overseas, even if it often means long hours and scant visits back home to the United States. It is the caliber of CRS' staff around the world that has earned CRS respect in the humanitarian community. Thanks to their expertise, CRS is regarded as a leader in many of the diverse fields that we work. Below are some examples where CRS embodies the best:

A CRS water project has had a profound impact on the health of residents, especially children—who are most susceptible to illness and disease—in Legedini, southern Ethiopia.
Founding member of the Sphere Project that set the standards for humanitarian and disaster response.
Founding member of
NetHope, an Information Technology consortium with the goal of bringing technology to the developing world.
Member of the
PEPFAR Consortium—the largest undertaking by any nation to combat HIV and AIDS.
CRS' work for orphans and children affected by HIV is considered to be a key model to follow, and a forum was held in 2008 to share best practices.

Learn more about why CRS' emergency response programming is held in high esteem by reading this article about Pat Johns, known as the "Master of Disaster." CRS' microfinance programming helps the very poorest by introducing savings and internal lending communities and self-help groups that strengthen the entire community.

CRS strives to be innovative and solve problems in creative ways that often resolve two needs at the same time. Take, for instance, building keyhole gardens in Lesotho. These waist-high gardens allow people with HIV to tend their gardens without stooping, giving them a way to get manageable levels of exercise as well as grow fresh food to eat.

CRS is Accountable

How do we maintain integrity in all the work that we do?

As a faith-based 501(c)(3) charity, Catholic Relief Services is exempt from filing a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. However, we make all of this information available on our website every year. We invite you to look under the hood and read our Financial Information Form, Annual Report and Summary of Program Activities. You'll see that 93 percent of the money we spend goes directly to programs that benefit the poor overseas.

We so value the trust placed in us by our donors that we have created a Pledge to Donors. To report back on how donations are being used to transform lives overseas, we publish a monthly CRSbriefing e-newsletter, presenting stories of those we serve with our donors' support. Additionally, our interactive Annual Report highlights the previous year's accomplishments and a breakdown of how much money was raised and how it was spent.

We strive to be good stewards, not only with the donations entrusted to us, but also through careful program planning that ensures good stewardship of natural resources by using strategic measures in watershed management and conservation agriculture that will protect resources for future generations.

Each year we sign pledges with many outside organizations to uphold integrity in the work we do overseas. We also comply with U.S.-based charity watchdog groups who confirm that we meet their strict standards:

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (CRS is governed by the USCCB)
Caritas Internationalis (
consortium member)
National Catholic Development Conference (
accountability standards)
Association of Fundraising Professionals (
Donor Bill of Rights)
Direct Marketing Association (
Commitment to Consumer Choice)
InterAction (
PVO Standards)
Sphere (
Standards in Disaster Response)
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (
Charity Standards)
Independent Charities of America (
Best in America seal holder)
2008 Global Accountability Report results -
CRS ranked six out of 30 overall.

Finally, please take a minute to review our revised Mission Statement, Guiding Principles and Privacy Policy. We are most accountable to those we serve, alleviating the suffering of the poor overseas and giving Catholics in the United States the opportunity to live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world."

Again, this information is directly from the CRS web-site, with proper, legal citation and quotations, and is only posted for you to help you make a more confident decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit, regarding which relief organization to send your financial assistance to for the victims in Haiti and around the world.


~ bella


Catholic Prayers for New Year's Blessing

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year
O sacred and adorable Trinity,
hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope,
our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us.
Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year,
the whole Catholic Church;
convert heretics and unbelievers;
soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship;
give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world;
pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances,
and upon our enemies, if we have any;
assist the poor and the sick;
have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us;
and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year
who will be summoned before Thy judgment seat.
May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance,
so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee,
may likewise be ended through Thee.

New Year's Prayer
(By Archbishop Carroll)
Almighty and eternal God,
You have, through Jesus Christ, revealed Your glory to all nations.
We pray You to preserve the works of Your mercy,
that Your Church, being spread through the whole world,
may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Your name.
We pray You, who alone are good and holy,
to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life our Chief Bishop,
Pope Benedict, the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of His Church;
our own Archbishop and Bishop; all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church;
and especially those who are appointed to exercise among us the functions of the holy ministry and conduct Your people into the ways of salvation.
We pray You, O God of might, wisdom, and justice,
through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed,
to assist with Your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude of the President of the United States,
that his administration may be conducted in righteousness,
and be eminently useful to Your people over whom he presides;
by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion,
by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy,
and by restraining vice and immorality.
Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. PROVERBS 8:14-16
Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress,
and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government,
so that they may tend to the preservation of peace,
the promotion of national happiness,
the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge,
and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.
We recommend likewise to Your unbounded mercy all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States,
that they may be blessed in the knowledge and
sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law;
that they may be preserved in union,
and in that peace which the world cannot give;
and after enjoying the blessings of this life,
be admitted to those which are eternal.
Blessings for the New Year of 2010,
~ bella

Sunrise Over the Ocean on New Year's Day 2010!

.Watching God's Glory during a perfect sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean
on New Year's Day, 2010!
(photo taken from my own camera on Jan. 1, 2010)

Wishing all of you a blessed New Year!
~ bella

New Year's Eve On The Beach 2009

A view of the peaceful Atlantic Ocean on New Year's Eve, 2009!
So beautiful!
(photo taken from my own camera on Dec. 31, 2009)

~ bella