Celebrating the Passion

Today is the first day of Holy Week in the Catholic Church and other Christian churches as well. Today at Mass they Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be read. We will remember how he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on this day on a donkey colt. We will hear how the crowd spread palm fronds and shouted “Hosanna.” The readings will recount the last supper the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, imprisonment and eventual crucifixion of the Jesus. We will genuflect as the moment of his death is read. We will rise again like he did on the third day. We will remember all of this as we do each year. But will we connect the events of two thousand years ago with the events of today?

Will we connect the passion and death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, the Asian Americans in Atlanta, the innocents in the Colorado supermarket? Will we think of the passion and suffering of the those LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters? Will we connect the passion and death of Christ with the outrage on our southern border? Will we ask why women are not priests? Will we see the passion, destruction and death of our mother earth? Is Holy Week just an event where we think of the itinerant Palestinian carpenter who came to show us how to live?

Will we continue to trivialize the life of the Christ who came not merely to die on a tree so that two thousand years later we could sprinkle water on our heads and claim to be saved by his name while we openly persecute those created in his image? In a couple of weeks our granddaughter Fiona Katherine will be baptized. I hope that she will be filled with the Holy Spirit on that day as I’m sure she already is. I hope that the Holy Spirit will fill her heart with a hunger for righteousness for the goodness of creation and the welfare of her fellow humans. I hope that she will hunger and thirst for a rightful place for women in our world.

The passion of Christ is more than remembering the events that took place in Jerusalem two thousand years ago for me. Peace.

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Be a neighbor not a nut

Most of the pro-gun folks have serious insecurity issues that need to be addressed. Phobic fear of your neighbors and “the government” is what fuels most of these kooks. Just today while waiting to purchase a coffee and sandwich in a fast food establishment I heard a couple of sixty-something fellows blathering about their right to own an assault rifle. The AR-15 is a weapon of war. It’s not designed for accuracy. It’s designed for maximum rate of fire. They are not good for target practice and they’re less than ideal for serious hunters.

Occasionally I hear folks thanking me for my military service. If you’d really like to thank me in a meaningful way, advocate for serious gun reform. The rest of us law abiding citizens shouldn’t have to abide your desires to own military hardware. Don’t tell me it’s your 2nd amendment right. It’s not. The 2nd amendment is about being part of a well regulated militia. If you want to be a real member of the militia then join the National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Reserve or sign up for the regulars. Visit your local recruiter for details. Serve your country not yourself. You’ll get great training and maybe some marketable skills too.

I spent five years in the United States Naval Reserve. I have fond memories of service to the United States of America. Fortunately I never experienced combat nonetheless I took the same oath of enlistment as those who did see action. Volunteering to put your ass in harms way is not something to be taken lightly. One of the greatest things I learned was how to be part of a team. Working with others for the common good is something everyone needs in their life. Moving away from parochial views and seeing a wider world was a great experience. It’s been four decades since I wore navy blues but it’s an experience I will never forget.

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Who am I to judge?

Pope Francis got some flack when he first came to the papacy in 2013 when he said he was not in a position to judge gay clergy. I don’t think he’s changed his view but it certainly seems that the Vatican is hell bent on continuing to make it difficult for Catholic folks who identify as LGBTQ+ to be welcomed into the church and most importantly to have their marriages blessed.

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Fox for several years after reading his book Original Blessing. Matthew is a great free thinking Christian who is a theologian and Episcopal priest. I subscribe to his daily meditations which arrives in my inbox everyday.

Today’s reflection was very poignant for me. All the excitement of the past week stemming from the Vatican’s refusal to bless same sex unions has created heated debate on the subject. Like Dr. Fox I believe that homophobia is a sin. There are countless Catholics including members of the Catholic clergy who are gay. They were made in the image and likeness of God and yet the official church continues to persecute them. It’s a travesty of epic proportion. No mention of homosexuality in any of the four Gospels yet the church continues its stance. I hope you take time to read Matthew’s reflection and to ask yourself what you believe.

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Vostro 1520 Restored with Linux

Today when I came home there was a box sitting in the house waiting for me. My wife said it was a computer my brother-in-law had used in his business. She said, “Dave wanted you to have this computer back now that he’s retired.” I vaguely remember helping Dave get this computer about ten years ago. It’s a Dell Vostro 1520. Checking on the Dell support website I found that the warranty expired nine years ago. The computer came with Windows XP which is what he needed at the time. I checked out the BIOS and determined it had a Core 2 Duo CPU with 2 gigabytes of RAM. It has 300 gigabyte SATA hard disk and Intel wireless.

It was a perfect candidate for Linux Mint XFCE. I made the Mint XFCE 20.1 thumb drive with my desktop computer and fired up the Vostro. I pressed F12 to boot from the USB drive and the install went really well. I ordered a new battery and a memory upgrade to bring it up to 4 GB of RAM. I’ve got a spare 120 GB SSD drive to put into it. Someone will soon be getting a lovely refurbished Dell Vostro 1520 that’s been refitted with Linux. You just have to love Linux and open source. It’s the gift that keeps giving.

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Are you looking for a password manager?

Are you looking for a password manager? Password managers abound and many are open source. Which one will you choose? I was letting a browser store my passwords until an upgrade to my system left my browser based solution wanting. That’s when I started looking for a password manager. I looked in the software store of my Linux distribution. I downloaded and tried out a number of them. That list included Keepassx, Keepass2.and Bitwarden. Then I opted for a free proprietary solution. That worked until recently when the free solution put some conditions on the use of their product. 

Last week while listening to Linux Unplugged I heard Chris Fisher recommend Bitwarden. Hindsight is 20/20 and now I wonder why I didn’t choose Bitwarden in the first place. There is value in making mistakes and learning from them. I like that I can install Bitwarden on my computer and have it backed up in the cloud or in my own self hosted solution

The software runs on Windows, MacOS and Linux. You can integrate Bitwarden into your favorite web browser and that list includes Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Microsoft Edge and others. Bitwarden is mobile too. You can download it for iOS and Android. You can opt to install the software from the command line too. I like that I can access Bitwarden from any computer via the web vault too. I love that the data is fully encrypted end to end with AES-256. Learn more about Bitwarden’s security resources

You can create a Bitwarden account for free. Bitwarden is open source and released under GPL v. 3.0.  You can easily inspect the code. The Bitwarden community is vibrant and it is easy to become a part of that by visiting their forum to learn more about the software and pose questions. You can follow Bitwarden on Twitter and Reddit. The project maintains excellent documentation to help you use it well. 

What is your favorite open source password management solution?

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Vote to confirm Xavier

Yesterday I received an email from a sibling urging me to pray that Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services be defeated because he’s pro-choice. My correspondent wrote of course that he’s pro-abortion which is not true. I’m tired of these either/or evangelicals who are merely pro-birth and not truly pro-life. Life is both/and and much more complex than the binary choices these folks espouse. I pray everyday for an end to bigotry and hatred based on skin color, sexual orientation, religion or no religion at all. I hope Xavier Becerra is confirmed and that he leads us to better health and human services.

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Sweetgrass wisdom and meditations for the planet

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is an exceptional book. It reads more like a meditation or series of meditations on the Indigenous wisdom, science, botany and plants. If you are interested in the climate and the future of the planet than this is a must read.

I read this book as part of Just Faith Ministries, Sacred Land Food and Farming class I’ve been taking in the past six weeks. There is so much wisdom in this book. There is so much we can learn from the indigenous ancestors that is relevant for today.

“For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer.

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We have hope

Yesterday I drove one hundred forty miles east of my home to receive the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine. I was so anxious that the night prior to that I slept very little. Last night I slept like a log. I’m hopeful and grateful today for the team of scientists who created this remedy to the Corona virus. I’m grateful for President Biden whose team has expedited these vaccines. I got my shot at a CVS. The folks at the store were very professional and put us at ease. I felt like I was surrounded by angels and indeed they were. I’ve had a lot of vaccines in my life but none so anticipated. My arm is not sore. It’s just a little tender around the injection site.

My wife got her vaccine the day before. She said that this was a Valentine to remember and indeed it was. We enjoyed our trip together to central New York State. We passed through the Finger Lakes region and enjoyed its beauty and bounty. Along the way we passed a motel that looked like the one in Schitts Creek. That gave us a chuckle. Later we passed a store front that reminded of Roland Schitt whose one of the characters in the series we’ve been enjoying lately.

Today I’m returning to my daily walk which I missed yesterday due to our travel. I’m grateful to be alive and grateful for the professionals at CVS and the leadership of the man who carries the Rosary and gives me hope. Peace.

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Moving to Mint

I’ve been a Linux user for more than twenty years. I started with Red Hat 6.1 in the late 1990’s. Since then I’ve used a number of distributions and have loved the experience and freedom of open source software. My journey has taken me from Red Hat to Suse then Mandrake. Fedora 1 to Fedora 5 and then Centos and Ubuntu 5.04 in 2005. In the past couple of years I have been running Pop_OS! which I really like. It’s a great implementation of Ubuntu. It’s better than the stock release of Ubuntu Desktop in my estimation.

I first heard of Linux Mint a dozen or more years ago when a community member shared that he used that distribution. Last year a friend asked me to install Linux on an under powered Windows laptop that they owned. In my search to find the right distribution I settled on Linux Mint XFCE. It worked well. Then came the pandemic.

Since March of last year I’ve been helping folks get connected to Zoom and other video conferencing solutions and in all but one case I’ve used Linux. Several of the units I’ve purchased on Ebay came from Free Geek which is a non-profit in Portland, Oregon. Those laptops have come with Linux Mint installed. Most of the time I reinstalled Pop_OS on them. Recently when looking for a Linux solution for an aging Acer laptop with a Pentium processor I opted to install Linux Mint XFCE. It fit the bill perfectly. The client was very happy that a computer that was in their storage closet would now be the solution to their problem created when Google nixed cloud printing and made it impossible to print from their Chromebook to a two year old HP LaserJet multi-function device.

In helping a client find a Linux solution to his problem I decided it was time to try Mint on my System76 Darter Pro. I installed the Cinnamon desktop and had fun learning the nuances of this new interface. I liked it so well that I decided to use it on my Intel NUC desktop. I backed up my files and had Linux Mint 20.1 installed. I’m having fun configuring it the way I like it. Mint comes with a backup solution of it’s own but I opted to install Cronopete which is my favorite backup software. There’s always a learning curve with any new distribution. I’m looking forward to the experience. Thank you Linux for the freedom to choose.

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President Biden: ‘Build Back Better’ for everyone, everywhere!

I completely agree with everything that Tony has written here. I was thinking of these topics as I walked and prayed today.

Acting Franciscan

by Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


With all the bumps and craters in the road to the White House, Joe Biden has finally arrived. Biden is now the President of the United States. And with all the urgent national and international issues on his plate, the man deserves and needs our full support.

The new president’s “Build Back Better” plan is aimed at vigorously confronting the increasing deadly pandemic, the economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change – all issues Pope Francis has insisted need to be set right.

And there is no shortage of other grave issues that also need to be set right.

Nuclear weapons truly threaten all life on earth. An alarming…

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