Nigerian Plane crash Survivor is Finalist at America Got talent

2 02 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

  She survived a plane crash, graduated with honors, is an accomplished singer and now a finalist at the American Got Talent show. The inspirational story of Kechi Okwuchi.

She was only 13 when the unthinkable happened. On December 10, 2005, she and 60 of her classmates from Loyola Jesuit College Abuja, where heading home to PortHarcort for the holidays in Sosoliso Airline, Flight 1145.

In an aisle seat next to her close friend, Kechi suddenly felt something was wrong.

“We are going down way too fast,” She said to her friend in alarm.

Her friend didn’t have time to reply before other passengers started screaming. Gripping her friends hand tightly, she cried, “Let us pray.”

But before they could start, there was a loud bang and the next thing she remembered was waking up in Milpark Hospital, South Africa.

The plane, carrying 109 people, slammed into the ground and burst into flames. She was one of only two survivors and spent up to five weeks in coma. Worse, when she woke up, she was unable to recognize herself. 65 percent of her body was covered with hideous scars that turned her beautiful face into a frightful visage.

Throughout the many months she spent in the hospital, undergoing numerous surgeries, she had ample time to pray, seeking to understand why God permitted her to live through this most horrible tragedy.

“There’s truly nothing like prayer,” she said. “It reinforces faith, which gives you courage. It calms you when things get really hard to deal with. If there’s one thing I learned through this experience, it’s the value of faith.”

Though prayers, God restored her determination to survive and even follow her dreams. She enrolled and graduated summa cum laude in 2015 from University of St. Thomas in the United States.

In her graduation speech, Kechi explained that she was motivated by a desire to live for others, to be in some way a consolation to the relatives and friends all who lost loved ones. And that she is striving to make her life a gift to all, especially the bereaved parents of her friends.

“To me, this degree is not just a degree.” she said, “It is a gift to the 60 students that died in a plane crash I was in 10 years ago. It represents the fulfillment of a promise I made—to those students and their parents—that I would reach this important milestone on behalf of those they lost.”

She is currently pursuing her M.B.A and a career in singing; singing being one passion that brings her joy. In 2017, unknown to her, a friend had enlisted her to take part in the twelfth season of America’s Got Talent as a singer. She went on to participate and finished the competition as a finalist.

This year again, she enlisted and when judge Simon Cowell asked, “Why America’s Got Talent?”

 “I want to share my voice,” she replied.

The 27-year-old then went on to share a story of survival, hope, and unshakable faith.

That story and her rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” brought the audience and judges to their feet and Simon Cowell gave her the golden buzzer, sending her straight to the final social media went wild with excitement.

Those who think life has treated them unfairly and have succumbed to a despondent bitterness should take a cue from this courageous young woman and pick themselves up from the floor where life has flung them, begin again, find some God given talents which perhaps they have let die and share with others, just like Kechi is sharing her voice with the world.

Yet, it must be hard to have a face that looks so hideous, and Kechi must weep daily for her lost beauty even as many social media platforms, mainstream media, and Hollywood, push so much false narratives that exalt sex appeal as vital to women’s success, and many young women cave in to the pressure, starving and cutting their bodies to look like the paint brushed supermodels they see on the cover of glossy magazines.

Kechi’s story calls out to the young. Interior beauty endures long after bodily beauty is gone.  Diligence and courage in the face of difficulties, acceptance of the trial that come our way are the true goods.

As supermodel, Cameron Russell said, Looks aren’t everything. And anyone who says different is lying.

Today, Kechi Okwuchi is also a public speaker who gives talks on TEDxEuston, witnessing to the public what God has done for her, for in the midst of her suffering, she had found Jesus, she had found joy.





Angel Priest

21 01 2019

It was a pleasant surprise when the relentless fog of bad media enveloping on Catholic priesthood was momentarily lifted by a bright ray of sunshine. In August 4, 2013, a young woman, Katie Lentz was trapped inside her crushed Mercedes Benz rammed by a drunken truck driver. Her life was slowly ebbing away. The rescue workers huffed and puffed as they cut and drilled trying to free her, but were getting nowhere. They were about to give up when a priest appeared and asked the sheriff if a priest was needed. He was carrying a bottle of anointing oil. The sheriff said yes and the priest knelt by the wrecked car and started talking with the young woman inside. She asked him to pray that her leg stops hurting. He did so.  She asked him to pray aloud, he did and absolved her from her sins, anointed her with oil”

He then stepped aside to allow the workmen continue their jobs.

Shortly after, things began to work and the workmen cut and pulled the woman out of the wreck. She was immediately flown to a hospital and survived. When they turned to thank the priest, he was nowhere to be found.

The workmen where unanimous, a miracle had occurred. They all agreed that the priest’s prayers helped pull this off. The officials at the scene said it seemed he appeared from nowhere, and he couldn’t be found in any pictures taken at the scene and left without anyone seeing where he went.

She survived but, for days, no one could figure out who the priest was, and the media was agog.

“Mystery Angel priest appears at Missouri Car crash” one headline went.

“The power of prayer and the Miraculous Angel priest,” screeched another.

At last the priest in question caught wind of the hubbub and quietly came out. Fr. Dowling, for that is his name, said that he was pleased that he was able to help by performing his ordinary ministry and noted that that he was just one of many who responded to assist the victim at the accident. “I think there may have been angels there too,” he added.

Fr Dowling

He was a good priest, and like all good priests, took no credit for what happened, rather, he selflessly attributed the success to others.

Suddenly, the story was no longer sensational, not even entertaining.

“Mystery Angel priest is just an ordinary priest who did nothing,” scoffed one headline.

 Disappointed, the media moved on in search of other sensations. They are like children who had flocked in looking for ghost stories and found an ordinary priest who had no wings, and couldn’t vanish.

 Search for the extraordinary, celebration of scandals and lethargic indifference to common place things are traits of today’s media culture, often at the mercy of the unscrupulous who, spurred by money, no doubt, fabricate titillating stories that are rewarded with instant media attention.  

Yet ordinary life is chockfull of miracles and God works great miracles from the ordinary. So as the world reels from the ugly acts of some priests, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of good priests like Fr. Dowling, whose prayers, self effacing work and ordinary priestly duties makes the world a better place yet never acknowledged or celebrated by the media.

Katie Lentz

Out of hospital, and on her 20th birthday, Katie Lentz finally met Fr. Dowling and was so happy.

 “I feel so honored to be with such a man of faith,” she said. “He was there to do his job the day of the accident, and I’m so thankful he was there.”

Katie Lentz meets Angel priest

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Wishing You and your family Holy Christmas

24 12 2018

This Christmas, may you and your families experience the joy and peace proclaimed by the angels, and be ever more open to God’s wonderful surprises!’

In this busy season, we might ask ourselves how the Lord himself would like us to keep this feast.

If we look at the first Christmas, we see that it is full of God’s surprises. Mary is visited by an angel; Joseph is told to take her in, to become a father to her Child and to flee with the Holy Family to Egypt.

But the greatest surprise of all is that God himself becomes a little Child, born in humility and poverty.

Christmas changes our world. It speaks to us of God’s self-giving love that should inspire the way we live and relate to one another. It tells us that we best celebrate the Saviour’s birth by imitating Mary’s trusting faith and Joseph’s quiet openness to God’s will, and by opening our hearts to the Lord, who asks us to make room for him in our busy lives.

Amid the bustle of our Christmas

preparations, may we not forget the very One whose birth we are celebrating! And in worshiping the Son of God, born in the poverty of our flesh, may we be mindful of the poor and those in need all around us.

This Christmas, may you and your families experience the joy and peace proclaimed by the angels, and be ever more open to God’s wonderful surprises!

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

DECEMBER 19, 2018 12:52

GENERAL AUDIENCE

https://zenit.org/articles/pope-reflects-on-christmas-during-general-audience/

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:

***

Speaker:

Dear brothers and sisters: In a few days it will be Christmas.





Jesus and Mary share an organ?

7 12 2018

I was recently caught by an article on aletia.org titled, “Do you know that Mary and Jesus shared an organ? “

Intrigued, I began reading.

Yes, Mary and Jesus literally share an organ! The PLACENTA!

Have you ever thought about the placenta — what it meant to Jesus and Mary, and what it means to us? asks Anna O’Neil, the author.

Quick refresher, if you’re foggy on what a placenta is and does: It’s the organ that connects an unborn baby with his mother. The baby’s umbilical cord attaches to the placenta, and the mother’s body sends oxygen and nutrients through it to the baby. It also filters waste out of the baby’s blood, regulates the temperature of his environment, and produces the hormones that make the pregnancy possible.

Here’s the best part, though the placenta is an organ that the mother and baby build together. We can’t say the mother’s placenta belongs to her in the same way that her womb is hers; the placenta belongs to mother and child both. Part of it is built by her body, and part by the baby’s body, but it’s one single organ — with both of their DNA.

So Mary didn’t only carry Jesus in her womb during those months leading up to Christmas day. She and he were actually attached — by a human organ that belonged to them both.

Later, when Jesus was preaching, somebody calls out to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!” Luke tells us that Jesus answered: “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Here is a God who wants to be so close to us that he became man — not just showing up out of the blue as an adult, but growing inside of his mother’s womb, sharing an organ with her, letting their two bodies be so intimately united — and now he says to us that those who hear the word of God and observe it can be united with him like his own, immaculate mother was.

We’re not immaculate, but that’s not the point. Jesus wants to share his life with us. We talk like he just wants proximity. He wants more. We talk about bringing Jesus into our life, making room for him in the inn, remembering him through the season, and all of that is good. But Jesus wants to be closer.

Jesus started his human life as every life starts, burrowed into the lining of his mother’s uterus. As he grew, their bodies worked together, God’s body and her immaculate one, building the placenta that attached them until he was ready to be born.

Some of us are mothers, and we remember sharing our body with our children. But all of us have mothers, and even though we don’t remember it, we began our lives connected to them in the most intimate way imaginable. If you’ve ever doubted that Jesus truly wants to be with you, remember that the unity in which your own life began is only a shadow of the unity that Jesus is hoping to have with you.

Worth keeping in mind this Christmas





Mom Loses Leg Jumping from 3rd Floor to Save Baby

25 11 2018

Sometimes people think that true love is when two people have flowing hormones and racing hearts when they are together. But the ancients say that true love is sacrifice and that to love is to suffer. And the Holy writ says that greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for another.

A most striking example of this true love happened in Massachusetts last week.

Christina Simoes, a 23-year-old mom from Massachusetts, was left unable to use her legs after jumping from her home – on the third floor of her building – to save her 18-month-old son from a raging fire.

According to aleteia. org, She and her son Camron, 18 months old, were trapped in her bedroom when a terrible fire broke out in their building. She could not wait for help to come; there was no time. She realized immediately that the only possible way out was through the window.

She took the child in her arms and jumped. The fall was more than 30 feet, so Christina tried to cushion the fall with her body, using her arms to protect her son. The little one was unharmed, but Christina broke several vertebrae and lost feeling in her legs immediately upon impact. With superhuman strength, in her injured condition, Christina managed to drag the little one out of reach of the burning debris that was beginning to fall. Shortly after, the two were found and taken to a nearby hospital.

Asked how she had the courage to do it, she affirmed that she could think of no better way to make sense of her life than to save her little one’s. She has given him life, for the second time.

“I kissed him, I told him I loved him and I jumped with him out the window.”
“I would do it again, of course. All the pain I have to go through now is worth it to see my son run around safe and sound,” she told interviewers.

This not only the best description of true love, but also a powerful pointer to how God’ s love is explicit in Jesus Christ who gave his life on the Cross to save mankind from eternal damnation.
You can read the entire article here





Unplanned lives of Young people

7 10 2018

 

 

 

The movie of Abby Johnson’s book, Unplanned, will soon be out. In anticipation, I just finished reading the book a second time. Its a truly great read and I must confess, her recklessness youth is a reflection of the lives of many young people today.
From a good Christian family, yet she did all the wrong things. She dated and married a lowlife against her parents warnings, got pregnant, had an abortion, and flunked her grades at school.

Worse, in the middle of a divorce, she was hoodwinked into signing up as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, that abortion giant that has wrecked so many lives. She began working there as an intern and went on to become the director of the clinic. She had a second abortion at this clinic, again, without telling her parents.

While working at the clinic, she drifted further away from God, slowly deadening her conscience. Soon her heart craved only money, sex, and power. She took as her role model, those classy female executives of Planned Parenthood, admiring their high heels and glossy looks.

Abby worked for six years at Planned Parenthood, a facilitated abortions for plenty of women, though she herself was not directly involved in the procedure.

Crashing down

Funny, but it was at the very height of her achievements that everything came crashing down.
One day, when a nurse assistant failed to turn up for work, Abby was asked to assist in an ultrasound guided abortion. She was to hold the probe so the abortionist could see and better position his instrument.
As she held the probe to the belly of a woman lying on a couch, her eyes fell on the image on the screen and she was transfixed.

She saw, as it were, for the first time, the humanity of the infant she was about to help exterminate. The perfectly formed baby was sleeping peacefully in its mothers womb, until the abortionist’s probe pierced the amniotic sack surrounding it, and the baby began fleeing for life.

Beam me up Scottie, the abortionist doctor chuckled, lightheartedly. He was calling for the suction pump to be turned on, and within seconds, the baby was torn to shreds and vanished from the screen.

Abby was stunned! She felt the ground pulled from under her feet. Her world was turned inside out.

But touchdown to real world was just beginning. In 2008, PlantParanthood was pushing for increase in their revenue to avert the impeding financial crises. Her boss ordered her to increase the number of abortions in her clinic. And if that wasn’t enough, rumors was making the rounds that Planned Parenthood was going full time into partial birth abortions, a red line Abby had sworn never to cross.

Abby tried to resist, and her relationship with her bosses deteriorated. Her life became miserable as the classy women she had so admired were now turning against her.

In what I call, the moment of truth, she looked out the window at the Coalition for life, a pro-life advocacy group that had been organizing prayer at the clinic’s fence every day since the clinic opened, trying to discourage women going in to get abortions.
Those people have been right all along, she realized. It was like a splash of cold water. She was on the wrong side of the fence.
She had set out wanting to help women, but look at where she had ended up.

These were the people truly helping women save their own lives and save the lives of their unborn babies.

Abby literally ran to the other side of the fence, into the welcoming arms of members of the Coalition for Life, who had been praying for her for many years.

Later on Abby would reflect on how much influence her previous abortions must have contributed to her blindness to the evil of abortion.

From that moment, she knew what she lives for: to save lives, and to expose the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, for what it really is, and more important, to be the beacon of hope for the millions of young women who have had the tragedy abortion; having gone down that road, she knew best how to guide them towards forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
This was when authentic happiness begins for her at last.

But one might ask, how was it possible that with such a great Christian upbringing, Abbey went so dangerously wrong?

Well, as Bishop Barron says, “The greatest enemy of young people in the world is spiritual slot. ”

Many young people would spend countless hours researching the specs of the best smartphone to buy, making sure they get it right, but when it comes to their spiritual life, “What-everrr”, they say.
It seems the most important questions about life is less important than smartphones.

Yet, sooner or later, many young people face this same question like Abby Johnson, “What is my mission in this life?”
In the coming days in Rome, the Synod of Bishops are reflecting on Youth, faith and vocational discernment.

Besides asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the Synod Fathers, every young man or woman should use this opportunity to meditate about their own path, because we all have a divine vocation, a reason why God brought us into this world, and it is in finding that mission, that purpose that we discover the meaning of our life, just like Abby Johnson did.

Faith is a powerful light, able to shed light on ones own future and to inspire desires of fulfillment. At that time in our lives, when maybe the certainties of childhood falter and also the light of faith may grow weak, just like it did for Abby Johnson, because of her mistaken choices, we are to remember the deepest truth about ourselves: that we are children of God, created out of love. He makes the most radical call: he calls each and every one of us to be fully happy at his side.

Again, what truly matters is that Abby Johnson finally discovered her true vocation in life this thanks God’s mercy

Abby’s story is a living proof that The Creator does not throw us into existence and then forgets about us: He who creates also loves and calls. Therefore, the discernment of ones own path must be enlightened by that faith in Gods love for us, for each one.

Just as Jesus spoke to Abby Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who suggests bold options of leaving Planned Parenthood, Jesus speaks to all young people, do not be afraid. Seek the good, follow the teachings of the Church, and live by faith.

The Pope wrote in his letter to the youth announcing this synod. Our personal search can give rise to a certain anxiety, because we feel the dizziness of freedom. Will I be happy? Will I have the strength? Will it be worthwhile committing oneself to it?
All these questions tormented Abby as she wrestled with her conscience, knowing what she must do.
Not even then does God leave her alone. He inspired her. He will inspire us if, we too know how to listen to Him. That is what we ask of Him every time we pray the most beautiful prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Thy will be done in me, in you, in each one of us.
As we think of so many young people who wish to second Gods plans, let us ask that they receive not only light to see their way, but also strength to want to follow the divine Will like Abby Johnson did.

It will be helpful if we realize that when He asks for something, He is actually offering a gift. We are not doing him a favor: it is God who enlightens our life, filling it with meaning.

After leaving Planned Parenthood, Abby found her true self, the cloud of sadness which surrounded her life suddenly lifted and she truly came alive. Many of her friends noticed it and told her, Abby, you look so happy, you are glowing.

What’s more, she is now more effective than ever, helping millions of people men and women. Her book is selling millions of copies and will soon be turned into a movie.

I hope, that reading this book, and perhaps later, watching this movie when it comes out, many young people and adults alike, understand that loving God, and wanting his will in our lives is not an obstacle to our own dreams, but their crowning. All desires, all projects, all loves can be part of Gods plans. As St. Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei would say, “Well-lived charity is already holiness.”
And Dolores Hart, a former movie star who became a nun said, “We are meant to serve God with the gifts He has given us. Sin is not so much doing something wrong; sin is not being true to who we are.”

Prior to bolting away from Planned Parenthood, Abby couldn’t pray, the emptiness in her soul was like a chasm, but as soon as she made that decision and left, her relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds. She began to see Jesus as a real person, who had given His life for her, and for whom she, must give her life, thus confirming what many Christian authors say, that the Christian life does not lead us to identify ourselves with an idea, but with a person: with Jesus Christ.

For young people as well as for everyone, an important way of growing in friendship with Christ is to ask this simple question often: Who is Jesus Christ for me? Is he my friend? Is our friendship deep and strong or is it broken?

Thus, they will discover the gifts the Lord has given them, gifts that are directly related to their true mission. They will know how to put themselves at the service of all persons without being deceived by lies like Abby Johnson was for a long stretch of her life, and will see more clearly the place God has entrusted them with in this world.

In a society that often thinks too much about comfort, faith helps us to look up and discover the true dimension of our own existence. If we are bearers of the Gospel, our passage through this world will be fruitful. I will finish with this quotation for John Paul II, Homily on Boston:
“Dear young people: do not be afraid of honest effort and honest work; do not be afraid of the truth. With Christ’s help, and through prayer, you can answer his call, resisting temptations and fads, and every form of mass manipulation. Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels — to his love and his truth and his joy. Do not go away sad!…
“Follow Christ! You who are married: share your love and your burdens with each other; respect the human dignity of your spouses; accept joyfully the life that God gives through you; make your marriage stable and secure for your children’s sake.
“Follow Christ! You who are single or who are preparing for marriage. Follow Christ! You who are young or old. Follow Christ! You who are sick or ageing; who are suffering or in pain. You who feel the need for healing, the need for love, the need for a friend — follow Christ!
“To all of you I extend — in the name of Christ — the call, the invitation, the plea: ‘Come and follow Me. ”





Why it is Lethal To Grow Old In The Netherlands

28 08 2018

picture of old woman

There was a time it was believed that rich countries have the most humane laws. Not anymore. Last week, a female doctor was formally cleared by the Netherlands medical board for killing a 74 year old woman with dementia on the grounds that she acted in good faith.

Euthanasia or medically assisted suicide is legal in Netherlands, and anyone who so wishes can request and be helped to die. It was reported that the woman sometimes requested for it, and sometimes did not.

The doctor got tired of the waiting and decided to do it. She had made all the arrangements, paid all the right people.  But according to the telegraph.co.uk, when the day came, the old woman refused to take a cup of coffee containing a sedative that would put her to sleep so that they could kill her. In fact she fought desperately not to be killed and the doctor had to ask her husband and daughter to hold her down so she could insert a drip containing the lethal injection.

When the incident came to light, social media shrills spurred the medical board of the Netherlands to investigate the incident and just recently released a report clearing the doctor of all wrong doing, and proclaiming that she acted on “compassionate” grounds.

Really?

Who would push a woman off a cliff edge out of compassion?

As mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television said, “The greatest tragedy of this world is misdirected compassion.” There was a time true compassion was about doing good to others. Now compassion is a euphemism for masking violent and selfish acts.

The doctor’s actions were still not as treacherous as that of the husband and daughter who actively cooperated in her death.

It is not uncommon that when people get older, they need more attention. This can often be a huge burden to family especially, the children. This is one reason why having lots of children helps. With plenty of siblings to help out, the burden of caring for aged parent is carried on many shoulders. Thus the temptation to put a parent away in a nursing home or to permanently take care of her through euthanasia is reduced. Thankfully, Africans have lots of children and will not easily buy the deceitful ideology of euthanasia nor subscribe to putting their parents in nursing homes.  A nursing home no matter how neat or decent, is never truly a home where familiar faces and things deeply loved are ever present. I recently read an article about a particular nursing home where most of the inmates spend the whole day looking at the entrance door, hoping for the arrival of a beloved child or spouse.

When children begin to kill their parents to free themselves from the responsibility of caring for them, then something is wrong with society.

That’s why I was so moved when someone sent me the video below, of a man caring his old and invalid Dad.

A compassion that seeks to eliminate not just suffering but truth as well is no compassion at all but cowardice. By killing the sufferer, pain is eliminated at cost of life. How absurd!

I think the real problem is the worship of pleasure, beauty and self indulgence by society. A culture that shies away from anything unpleasant will breed individual ready to kill to escape unpleasant duties.

Parents need to teach their children about the joy of doing thing they find unpleasant.

As St. Josemaria Escriva said, “We shouldn’t think that the only work we can do joyfully is what we find pleasing. We can carry out joyfully—and not reluctantly—what we find hard, what doesn’t please us, if we do it for and with love, and therefore freely.”

This is true compassion. When children take care of their elderly parents at sometime huge personal cost in time and money, they are being truly compassionate.

The Netherlands has handed its most vulnerable citizens the death sentence. Vulnerable people in society: the elderly, the poor, the mentally ill, and the disabled are fast being killed of by a euthanasia law that is spiraled out of control.

Worst, the elderly are suffering intolerably because they know that everyone expects them to kill themselves or risk being seen as selfish. It is a subtle and cruel pressure. The mental anguish is sufficient to destroy anyone. In Africa, the old are still venerable, held in high esteem, and the young yearn to learn from their wisdom and experience.  There is no doubt that the old, infirm and weak, as they are, still have a lot to contribute to society.

Below is a video of Dr. Melisa Friedman, who at 92 yrs old and still contributing meaningfully to society and practicing medicine.

Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor








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