Looking for my rainbow to help me survive this issue that has presented itself in my life.
Hello to all my friends this is Tom (the Sokman) McNamara, before I will begin I would love to thank everyone who has helped me along the way allowing me to launch my sokman mission work for the homeless.
Now I am going to ask you another big favor in the terms of giving to a personal friend of mine who has been and is still instrumental in getting my sokman mission going. This young lady single handedly raised more than 10,000 pairs of socks, got her company to match financial gifts to the program and continues to work extremely hard on making this mission not only a success but is attempting to help with making it a 401C-3 non-profit organization. In the past 3 years she has developed a debilitating chronic disease which has rendered her incapacitated to the point that she is no longer able to work or work on her chosen field, she has found a doctor who says he maybe able to remedy some of her maladies allowing her some freedom from pain and the possibility of maybe getting back into the workforce. The surgery out of pocket expense is 5,000 dollars and the surgery must be scheduled in the next 15 days so I am begging all of my friends to donate.
I currently have 1500 friends on facebook, twitter, and other social media sites if each and everyone gave 10.00 we would raise 15,000 taking the burden of traveling to and from doctors, rehab, meds and surgery…..so with the love you have for my Sokman Mission please give to this young lady.
Tom (The Sokman) McNamara
If you are uncomfortable giving on the Go Fund Me site please you can make checks out to Tom McNamara and send them to my daughter Courtney Witchie at 3104 Highland Drive, Cary Illinois 60013
A Catholic Church in a Russian Country heard in the Polish Language my Easter Mass.
Today was a very interesting day we went to the catholic church, Church of Saints Simon and Helena also known as the Red Church. A copy of the shroud of Turin (there are only seven of them in the world) is kept there. Before it was delivered to Minsk, the copy of the shroud was consecrated in Turin. The Red Church is a symbol of Minsk, its heart that never stopped beating despite various historical twists. It combines neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic architectural styles. The church was erected at the expense of a nobleman Edward Woynillowicz and received the name of Saints Simon and Helena in memory of pre-mature death of his two children. A legend has it that when Helena was ill, she had a dream of the Virgin Mary standing near a beautiful temple. The girl depicted everything she had seen in the dream and asked her father to build that temple. The main construction work was completed in autumn 1908, the tower bells were raised in 1909, and on September 20, 1910 Archbishop Klyuchinsky consecrated the church. It was built of red brick and became known as the Red Church among the common people. The author of the project was a Polish architect Tomasz Pajzderski, who was forced to remain anonymous because he was a foreign citizen and had no right to design and build churches on the territory of the Russian Empire (Minsk was part of it at that time).
Easter Mass was quite interesting and very unusual for a Westerner, the pews are made of 2 x 4 not clothed for any type of comfort.
Obviously as I stated the mass was said in Polish but what was very different from the Catholic Churches that I have attended in the West they had a confessional open during the who mass for people to go get themselves relieved of all their sins to atone during the Easter Mass which I found to be quite nice and invigorating. Lots of individuals took advantage of this opportunity to get lots of sacraments in one fell swoop.
Then Communion came and another astonishing thing occurred, as people were getting up for communion I noticed they were not forming lines as what I have become accustomed to but they were getting out in the isles and kneeling down on the marble floors leaving an isle for the priests to walk among them distributing communion. The people who did not want to receive the body of Christ just stayed in the pews. I of course got up knelt down on the marble floor and waited for the priest to bless me and distribute communion as I was saying my prayers after I realized no one was moving yet my knees could no longer take the punishment of the marble floor I waited and waited and waited finally some bells were rung up on the altar and everyone rose and returned to their seats. Then people pulled out all sorts of eggs, silverware, plates, dishes of all sorts and held them up as the priest once again left the altar this time blessing I am assuming the Easter Feast that would be consumed later in the day…….quite an interesting mass not being familiar with the happenings of a Catholic Church in a Russian country in a Polish Language….Thank you God for teaching me again about different celebrations of your Resurrection.
It started Good Friday and will end April 8th with the Orthodox Christians Easter. Irina and I went into the center of Minsk where a vast majority of Churches of all religions reside, we prayed at her Orthodox Christian Church “Holy Spirit Cathedral” It is the central cathedral of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the cathedral dates back to 1633-1642, when the Bernardine monastery was built, at a time when the city was in centre of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The building was damaged by fire in 1741 and required the reconstruction of the entire monastery. I will give you more history on this church as we attend Easter Festivities on April 8th.
As we celebrated my Holy Saturday we discussed that Holy Saturday is when Jesus went to hell to preach to the imprisoned souls before his Resurrection into Heaven on Easter.
We made our way about one half a mile to the Catholic Church “The Cathedral of St. Virgin Mary (Архикафедральный собор Святого Имени Пресвятой Девы Марии) it is a Roman Catholic baroque cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev. It was built under the Polish rule in 1710 as a church for the Jesuit house. This church has had an illustrious career, it was destroyed by fire, rebuild, the church was liquidated, it was closed down by the Soviets, during World War II Germany let it function as a church, then it was destroyed by the Soviets again, used as a sports society, then the church was finally given back to the Catholics in 1993 and the first mass again was said in 1997 since then all the Frescoe’s have been restored.
To get full affect click on sokman site and song will play as you read…thank you
John P. McNamara
Today I felt like the Leader of the Band there were blue skies, sunshine, no wind just a gorgeous day in Minsk. As I peered out our bedroom window I could see that the winter had taken its toll on the glass, I had become accustomed to looking out filthy dirty windows but now with the sun glaring in I could see just how my vision had been blocked by the dirt and grime. So with a little chuckle from the inside I felt my father was taking hold of my thinking and telling me…..look Tom it’s a beautiful day, the temperature is perfect and as you saw me do many times as a child in this type of weather it’s your turn to rise to the occasion and take up the touch…..attack those windows today.
So with the pride of the past lingering in my mind I took out some old rags, windex, and a squeegee opened the windows and began cleaning as the song the leader of the band played in my head. Thanks dad for a great memory and the instructions to do it right.
As I took my walk today, I strolled down memory lane. I was brought back to a time in my life when all you had to do was enjoy what was in front of you. Arlington Heights 1960 St. James School 1st grade, Len & Irene’s candy store, 924 N. Kasper Avenue, childhood house, Old MacDonald’s Farm right up the street, the Old Folks Home as it was called in those days, the Owls baseball team 1st team I was on. I could go on and on but really this is dedicated to my junior high school group, as I took these pictures in Minsk today I saw our own courts….courts 1,2,3 and 4 as they were lovingly or disgustedly called depending on what court your athletic abilities allowed you to play on and what view you had of those courts. I know as I start mentioning names I am bound to forget many of those who were with us on court one for every sport imaginable but I’ll spare you the pain of going through a list and save myself the embarrassment, safe to say those memories are etched in my brain forever…ahhhhhhh what memories.
please play the song as you read gives more meaning.
Easter is upon us, I have been thinking about (my) our homeless and if any of you know me…..I always say Jesus walks amidst us, and I believe he is dressed as a homeless person to see how we will treat him.
Matthew 25:35 I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Proverbs 28:27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
So as you give thanks and prays for the gift God gave us this Easter, he did this for all of us not a select few, God said he will return and I think he has, he walks amongst us so treat all people with kinds words, respect and love and our world will be beautiful……just imagine.
When I talk about minimalism people immediately point out the things that I own and that I have tons of stuff. I try to explain to them that minimalism to me is not living in extreme poverty or without things it’s about living cognizant, making intelligent choices about what I surround myself with. Do I have a TV yes (one) do I have a house yes (one) it’s a RV that I live in full-time, do I have a mode of transportation yes (one) a motorcycle, do I have cloths yes but only the amount that I need which happens to be 3 pairs of pants, 3 button down collared shirts, 5 t-shirts, 3 pairs of shoes (1-dress, 1-gym and 1 pair of boots) so I have the wants and needs of most people I just don’t let my possessions get in the way of the most important things in my life-like living, seeing friends, sights, places, faces and events. By no means am I telling anyone to change their lives but for me living on less has given me more, more than I could have ever imagined. It has given me the freedom from consumerism. I can’t tell you the last time I was in a store or a mall looking for anything, the only store that I walk to everyday is a local food store to buy fresh products to consume for the day other than that I have gone to the mall to people watch, to walk for exercise but going into any stores just doesn’t occur because there is no need or want. I have had more time to write, more time to visit friends, more time to see the world, I communicate more with people, when I am with them I am present I don’t take my phone or I turn it off, I figure if my friends are willing to be with me the least I can do is be present and be with them. Have I missed things yes I haven’t seen football, basketball, baseball, or any other sporting event of TV in 2 years but I have learned that those things that were once so important to me, aren’t any more today.
So am I a minimalist I would say by my definition a resounding yes….I have less, I need less but have gained more in substance. So if and when the topic comes up about minimalism I am not asking you to change a thing I am just sharing with you that by my being aware of less consumerism I have benefited by building stronger relationships with the time I have.
They Say home is where you heart is, didn’t know who’d I’d be or where I’d end up when I started on this road, little knowledge of the changes and the pieces of my heart that I’d leave behind at each and every road sign. The places, the faces, with all the embraces, my compass took me near and far, but the homeless touched me more than an evening star.
They Say as I walked away home is where your heart is, had no idea when, where or if I’d see anyone again,the tears filling my eyes to the point of blindness, salt fell upon the ground leaving an imprint their of all the loves that wait for me no matter how I fair. As I pulled away I realized it’s a long long way to anywhere when you bid your friends goodbye.
They Say remembering all the things I wanted, it doesn’t really matter where I take this road, the one less travel is what I chose, so as I give myself away with each place I stay, it’s hard for me to say goodbye to each and everyday.