Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Purpose of the Appendix?

From CNN.

According to surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, as published online in a scientific journal this week, the purpose of the appendix is to aide the growth of healthy digestive bacteria:
Diseases such as cholera or amoebic dysentery would clear the gut of useful bacteria. The appendix's job is to reboot the digestive system in that case.

The appendix "acts as a good safe house for bacteria," said Duke surgery professor Bill Parker, a study co-author. Its location -- just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine in a sort of gut cul-de-sac -- helps support the theory, he said.

Also, the worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating the good germs, Parker said. That use is not needed in a modern industrialized society, Parker said.

If a person's gut flora dies, it can usually be repopulated easily with germs they pick up from other people, he said. But before dense populations in modern times and during epidemics of cholera that affected a whole region, it wasn't as easy to grow back that bacteria and the appendix came in handy.

In less developed countries, where the appendix may be still useful, the rate of appendicitis is lower than in the U.S., other studies have shown, Parker said.
So underuse may increase the risk of infection and appendicitis.
Cardinal Mahony to debate Immigration on Monday

From the Archdiocesan News Archive:
Notre Dame, IN -- Cardinal Roger Mahony will join Senator Mel Martinez (R-Florida), Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano and Hazleton, PA Mayor Louis Barletta to debate the issue of immigration at the University of Notre Dame’s annual Forum, Monday, October 8 at Noon PST. Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for the News Hour with Jim Lehrer will moderate the debate.

“The Forum has become our way of inaugurating each new academic year, allowing us to intellectually engage a significant issue for our nation, our world, and the Church,” stated Father John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame. “This year our topic is immigration, an issue that has raised our national conscience and provoked the need for legislative reform. Still unresolved, immigration will continue to register as one of our nation’s most important matters in the upcoming Presidential campaign and election.”

For those unable to attend, a live video stream will be available at

Monday, October 01, 2007

Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Today is the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patroness of our parish. It's a special day too, in that I credit the intercession of St. Thérèse with my first discovering the woman who would eventually become my wife. Through the grace of God, St. Thérèse has become a dear friend to us. Thanks be to God.

And there was quite a celebration tonight! Beginning with the rosary, and then a procession into the church building for mass, followed by a very well attended reception. And tonight, my pastor offered the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin... And, lo, I did not see anyone squirming in the pews! Could this be something we will see again soon? ;)

From today's Office of Readings:
From the autobiography of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin:

Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of St. Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.

I persevered in the reading and did let not my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: "Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will now show you the way which surpasses all others." For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.

When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which Saint Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.


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