A Great Flood

We recently had some major flooding. Being monsoon season, this is not really all that surprising, and we’ve got some major experience dealing with this over the years. If you’re visiting our area, or going somewhere that floods a lot, read on.

Flooding of your home is one of the most frustrating events that a home owner can deal with. First, the initial flooding of your home can be devastating because of the damage it causes, and two, not knowing what actions or steps to take after it has happened and where to begin. Whether the flooding is caused by falling water, ground water, or even a malfunction of your homes water system there will be some actions and practices you will need to take and it would be best to take them within 24 hours from when the flooding has occurred. This will give you the best outcome for your insurance company and to also ensure the safety of your home and your family.

You will need to try and avoid any additional risks that can occur. If the flooding that happened was a serious matter enough for you to have to leave your home, then you will need to be safe when you are returning to it. When you arrive you will need to check for any loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks or holes upon entering the home, and any visible structural damage such as warping and then if you suspect any electric, gas, water, and sewer line damages you will then need to contact the utilities company. Turn off all sources in your home such as water and electric, and it is important to remember to have a reliable and working flashlight for the home. Even if your power is out in the home, make sure to turn off the fuse box in case it happens to come back on and you do not want to have it mix with the water and cause electrocution.

This NJ water restoration company recommends that you take pictures, and take a lot of pictures. It is prudent to take pictures or videos for your insurer before you remove any of the water or make any repairs to your home. You could decrease the value of your coverage if you remove anything or make any repairs before you get photographic evidence. Many suggest that you get digital footage or pictures because they can be stored easier and also copied easier.

Protecting your health is a number one necessity. If you enter your home and all of the water looks clear that does not mean it is not contaminated water whether by sewage or household chemicals. Hip to waist high water proof boots or wearing waders is a highly recommended way to protect yourself. To avoid contaminants while removing your damaged possessions, always remember to protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves, and always throw out any food that you believe came within the flood waters contact.

Contacting your insurance company immediately after the flooding happens is a key point in what to do right after a flood takes place in your home. It is prudent to always keep your insurance company and the local agent’s phone number in a safe and easy place to find. Advise your insurer right away about the damage that has occurred and also the repairs you plan to make to your home, and always follow your insurance companies instructions about when and how to go about making these repairs. Always document any the conversations that take place and the damage throughout every single stage of the process.

After you make sure that you are not in a disaster area and you get the ok from your insurer that you are able to remove the water in your home, you will want to head out to one of your hardware or home supply stores and purchase a sump pump, and also a wet vac. Try not to cause any harm from yourself while removing the water since water is very heavy, especially if you are carrying it all out in buckets. Amongst this damage you will need to check for any mold damage since mold can start to accumulate between 24 to 48 hours of the flooding, so you will need to remove any carpeting or bedding as soon as possible. Always notify your insurance company and always photograph anything before you remove these items from your home.

The last thing to do as the homeowner, the responsibility lies with you to secure your property so that there is no further additional damage that may occur. Secure a tarp if your roof has been damaged and board up any broken windows. Again, take the necessary photographs for your insurance company so that they are aware of the protection precautions that you have made. If you are able to reside in the house, make sure to have working flashlights to safely move about the house, and make sure that you take any other necessary precautions to protect you and your family.

These are the specific things that you will need to do as a homeowner who has had flooding in their home to ensure that you get through this process as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible. Flooding is frustrating and can be traumatizing if you are to lose any valuable during it, but following these steps will help to ensure that the process is completely as painlessly as possible and that the important thing is for you and your family to be safe.

10 Interesting Facts About Mary, Mother of Jesus – Part 3

7) Blue Mary

In many paintings and statues, Mary is depicted wearing the color blue. This is not necessarily a true reflection of how Mary would have dressed during her life. Dressing the Virgin Mary in blue is a tradition that originates from the times of the Byzantine Empire, approximately 500 AD. Blue was a significant color during this period and was often attributed to an Empress. The fact that Mary is often depicted wearing this color merely reflects her status and importance. Throughout various stages in history, blue was often the most valuable colorant as it was usually made from the lapis lazuli rock found in Afghanistan.

8) Present at Miracles

Mary was present when Jesus performed many of his miracles mentioned in the bible and some believed that Mary played an instrumental role at these times. It was Mary who called the attention of Jesus to the need for intervention at the wedding in Cana. This is the first of Jesus; miracles recorded in the bible. It is also believed that Mary was present for the Crucifixion, resurrection, and Ascension.

9) Celebrations of Mary

The Virgin Mary is one of the most celebrated women in history. Not only are there many churches named in her honor, there are also places, monuments, and landmarks that celebrate the significance of Mary, Mother of Jesus. One of the most famous places is Los Angeles. The name of this city is derived from ‘El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles’. This translates as ‘the Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels. Our Lady and Queen of the Angels are both titles that have been given to Mary at different times. The Feast of Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, is celebrated on 1st January.

10) Apparitions of Mary

There are many apparitions of Mary that have been reported throughout history and it is believed these are to deliver messages of prayer and repentance. Many of these apparitions have been recognized and three have become famous dates in history. The first of these is the Mexican apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531. The second are the 1858 apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. The third is apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima that occurred in Portugal in 1917.

Although there are many more amazing things to learn about the Virgin Mary and her life, these are some of the most interesting facts.

10 Interesting Facts About Mary, Mother of Jesus – Part 2

4) She Features in the Quran

Mary is mentioned more times in the Quran than she is in the New Testament. There is even a whole chapter of the Quran entitled Maryam, the Arabic and Aramaic form of Mary. This is the only chapter, or Sura, of the Quran named after a woman.

5) A Woman of Many Names

Mary has been given many names and titles in the bible and by followers of the Christian faith. Just some of these include the Virgin Mary, Mary Mother of Jesus, Maryam, Miriam, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Mary, the Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Church, Our Lady, Mother of God, the Queen of Peace, and Saint Mary.

6) The Amazing Birth of the Virgin Mary

The birth of Jesus is a miracle celebrated across the world. However, the birth of Mary is also as fascinating. She was born to Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. The childless couple received a message sent from heaven and then Mary was conceived. Mary’s parents were so thankful that when she was three years of age, they took her to the temple to be consecrated by God and to offer their thanks for the gift of their daughter. Her parents were told by the High Priest Zachariah that their daughter would be well-known by generations to come. Saint Joachim and Saint Anne left the young Mary at the temple until she was 12 so that she could receive heavenly grace and nourishment from an angel.

10 Interesting Facts About Mary, Mother of Jesus – Part 1

Born in Nazareth, the Virgin Mary is best-known for being the Mother of Jesus and is well-known to both Christians and those who practice other religions. Mary was a Jewish woman who lived in her own house and who was betrothed to Joseph from a very young age. The account of how she became pregnant and gave birth to Jesus is a story known across the world, regardless of faith. However, there are many more interesting facts about the Virgin Mary other than simply being the Mother of Jesus. Here are ten facts about this amazing woman that you may not know.

1) Interesting Family Links

While many people know that Mary was married to Joseph, gave birth to Jesus, her other family links are not as well-known. It is believed that she was from the lineage of David and was from the Tribe of Judah. Mary also had a cousin called Elizabeth who is mentioned in the bible. According to Luke, Elizabeth was the wife of the Priest Zechariah. There is also some speculation as to whether Mary was also the mother of John.

2) Her Virginal Status

The Immaculate conception does not necessarily refer to Mary being a virgin at the time of conception, it is more about God giving her the gift of a child. It is widely accepted that Mary was a virgin at this time due to her unmarried status. Different denominations have conflicting beliefs about whether Mary remained a virgin. Some believed that she continued with celibacy even within her marriage. However, according to Matthew’s Gospel, Mary had normal marital relations with Joseph following the birth of Jesus. It is also possible that she gave birth to more children that were conceived in the normal manner though this is a subject of some controversy and debate.

3) New Testament Mentions

In spite of her fame, Mary is mentioned fewer than twenty times in the New Testament. However, when her name is mentioned, it is at some of the most significant events recorded in the bible. These mentions include her presence at some of the key points in the life of Jesus, including his death and resurrection.

A History of Catholicism in Sri Lanka: Part 3

Finally, in 1796, the British took over the island nation and restored religious freedom to the Catholics of Sri Lanka. Due to the restored religious freedom, various Orders such as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate from France, Sylvestro Benedictines from Italy, and Jesuits from Belguim, among others, came to Sri Lanka as missionaries.

A survey was done in 1838, where Governor Mackenzie stated that there were nearly 75,000 Christians in the country, of whom about 73,000 were Catholics. However, the Catholic Church made steady progress in gaining numbers in Sri Lanka and despite Sri Lanka becoming an independent nation in 1947, ending the “Colonial” era and entering into the “Post-colonial eras,” Catholic inhabitants remained, Archbishops remained and continued to be appointed, and Catholicism continued and is still practiced by modern Sri Lankans.

At the current time, there are eleven Catholic Dioceses and all except one have Sri Lankan Bishops. The Catholic Church has not only retained a religious presence in Sri Lanka since the 1500s, but have offered cultural, educational, and other practical influences as well. The Church has served Sri Lanka in education, social services, and other important aspects of daily life in this island nation.
In 1947, as Sri Lanka became an Independent nation, the Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed as the National Patroness of Sri Lanka under the title of “Our Lady of Lanka,” and a National Basilica was built in her honor near the Capital.

Now, 7.4% of Sri Lankans as of the 2011 census are Christians, of which, 6.1% were Roman Catholic. Over the span of five hundred years came: Colonial rule of Portugal, the introduction and conversion of willing Sri Lankans to Catholicism, Dutch occupation and strict ousting of Catholicism, secret ministrations of Catholic Sri Lankans by Father Vaz, the eventual ousting of the Dutch by colonial Britain, the restoration of religious freedom, the continued practice of Catholicism, the Independence of Sri Lanka from Britain in 1947, and finally, the modern Sri Lanka, which has maintained and expanded its Catholic Dioceses as an independent nation state.

This five hundred year time period consisted of a plethora of changes Sri Lanka experienced throughout the generations, and is a story of struggle and religious rebellion as well as the continuation of the Catholic Faith in Sri Lanka, that never died, but grew throughout this period of rapid change. Now, in modern and independent Sri Lanka, the history of Catholicism is an important history of faith during troubled and changing times.

A History of Catholicism in Sri Lanka: Part 2

It is now identified that there are three distinct eras of the History of Christianity in Sri Lanka:The first is the “Pre-colonial” era, which lasted from the year 72 (AD) to the year 1505.Second, is the “Colonial” era, which lasted from 1505-1948.

And finally, the “Post-colonial eras,” which are identified as being from 1948 to the current time period.The Colonial era, which brought Christianity to Sri Lanka, began when Portugal (a colonial power), was encouraged by the Pope(s), to spread the Catholic faith among the peoples in overseas territories that were under its rule or influence.

The real campaign of spreading Catholicism began when King John III of Portugal sent a small group of Franciscans to Sri Lanka in 1543; St. Francis Xavier came to India about that time—the people of Mannar, a part of Sri Lanka, heart of Saint Xavier’s work on the Indian mainland, even though those initial attempts were unfruitful, and they begged him to come to Mannar. Saint Xavier sent a fellow colleague to Mannar in Sri Lanka, and several hundreds of Sri Lankans from this North West coast of the island nation, were enthusiastically converted.

In 1551, King Dharmapala of the Kingdom of Kotte (a kingdom that flourished in Sri Lanka at the time, and was located just outside present-day Colombo, the Capital of Sri Lanka) came to the throne, and became a Christian himself, and gave Franciscans freedom to pursue their missionary activity. The King had no children and thus gifted his Kingdom to Portugal in the interest of Christianity—this caused the Kingdom to come under colonial-Portuguese rule upon his death in 1597, effectively solidifying the colonial habitation and conversion of willing Sri Lankans for the next few hundred years.

The Franciscan missionaries from that time forth, were very active in the areas near the Capital of Sri Lanka and Jaffna, and they had great success in their work of evangelization. Jesuits in 1602 and Augustinians in 1606 joined the Franciscans to assist them in converting inhabitants to the Catholic Church. Many inhabitants did become Christians, but while some converted due to belief, many converted for the material advantages that Christianity brought them under the rule of the Portuguese.

As was common during the time, colonial powers did not always stay within their country, but looked to expand their power. Many different nations were intent on occupying territories in the area. In the middle of the 1600s, just after the droves of Sri Lankans converted to Christianity, came the Dutch—another colonial power that ousted the Portuguese in 1658 and occupied Portugal’s territories, including Sri Lanka.They confiscated all Catholic Churches and schools and Catholics were forbidden (with very severe penalties) to harbor Catholic priests.

For thirty years, the Catholics of Sri Lanka kept their heads down and had no priests to look up to. The Holy See (the Vatican) made tremendous efforts to send missionaries from Europe, but failed. An Indian priest from Goa, named Father Joseph Vaz, heard of Sri Lanka’s Catholics who were being oppressed and were without a priest, and he came to the island nation in disguise in 1687 and quietly and secretly ministered to the Sri Lankan Catholics.

Later, other Indian priests from the Oratory of Goa (which Fr. Joseph Vaz had founded), joined him. This was made possible by the friendly welcome they received by the Sinhalese Buddhist Kings of Kandy. Father Vaz served the Catholic Church and the Catholics of Sri Lanka with such faith and heroism under the Dutch banning of Christianity up until his death in 1711 that he is called the Apostle of Sri Lanka, and was and still is, venerated for his work in keeping Catholicism alive in Sri Lanka under the Dutch’s temporary rule.

A History of Catholicism in Sri Lanka: Part 1

The common individual likely does not know where the nation of Sri Lanka is located, much less what their culture and religious makeup is made up of. Sri Lanka is a nation-state just on the South Eastern tip of the sub-continent of India. When asked what main religion the people of Sri Lanka follow, one may assume that being so close to India would mean they would likely share the main religions of India, which are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and even Jainism; but they would be wrong.
Sri Lanka has its own rich, cultural, and religious history apart from India in the same manner that Sicily has its own customs despite being so culturally associated with the Italian mainland. While perhaps not the best example, what this really means is that Sri Lanka, while having large populations who share similar religions with India, in fact, have a more diverse religious population than India and in much different numbers.

Sri Lanka’s population proudly practices a different variety of religions than India. In the 2011 census, just over 70% of Sri Lankans were Theravada Buddhists, only 12.6% were Hindus, 9.7% were Muslims (mainly Sunni), and 7.4% classified themselves as Christian (6.1% were Roman Catholic and the other 1.3% were other Christians).

So, why is the religious makeup of Sri Lanka so different than that of India, its neighbor and seemingly closest cultural cousin? This may be due in part because the Sri Lankan island nation is heavily influenced by other neighboring nations as well, including Malaysia and the Maldives, where Malaysia has a Christian population over 9% themselves. These influences are, however, just another result of a deeper influence: the West.

This may be of no surprise, but the influence of the West in Sri Lanka going back just over five hundred years, is the reason why this nation, as well as some neighboring lands, were introduced to Christianity (specifically Catholicism) and why it has remained as a religious and cultural staple in Sri Lanka that has lasted for hundreds of years after being introduced by the Portuguese.

The arrival of the first colonial power from the West, the Portuguese in 1505, is when the presence of Christianity was first introduced to Sri Lankans. While there were groups of Christian traders and mercenaries from South India, the Middle East, and other places traveling through Sri Lanka during earlier time periods, it was not until the sixteenth century that an organized effort to convert Sri Lankan locals to Christianity, including Catholicism, was made.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara

The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is a very historic Roman Catholic Church that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This famous church is located in the town of Matara, Sri Lanka, and it overlooks the Indian Ocean. Within the walls of this quaint, yet very colorful church, which has its own unique beauty that is breathtaking in description. The famed statute of the Our Lady of Matara is enshrined in this church. The shrine holds the statute of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms.

The statue of Our Lady of Matara is something that has its own mystery. This is because no one does know exactly where its origins came from originally. There are church officials that say The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is 400 years old. This same very statue has survived a lot. It has been damaged, lost, and recovered more than once. Most recently, this was after the tsunami in Asia, which occurred in 2004. This not only damaged the shrine itself, but it also, did kill the 24 people who were attending Sunday Mass. The church that holds the amazing Shrine of Our Lady of Matara just celebrated its centenary year in 2007.

There are several experts from Europe who have stated that this Portuguese religious sculpture does belong to the early 17th century. The entire statute itself was cut out from a solid piece of ash wood. The mystery story that is associated with The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara statute is indeed a mystery. This is because it has a story tied to it that involves the sea. The legend behind this story is this. There was a big wooden crate that was hauled out to somehow. When the box was opened up, lo and behold, there was a statute of the Blessed Mother with baby Jesus inside of it. It had not been touched by the sea water at all. This statue was the handed over to the Parish Priest of Matara and it was then placed inside of St. Mary’s Church, Matara.

Another part of the very same legend does state that the beloved statute came on its own. It came directly from the waves of the sea and given over to the very devoted care of the Catholics of Ruhunu Rata. The lady who came over the waves was no other than The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara.

By the early 1900s, The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, was something that had lots of fade and worn on it. This is because there were thousands of devotees touching and kissing it regularly for a very long time. The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is a very special shrine indeed in every respect. What makes drawn to this statute is far more than just the fact that it is a beautiful religious statue. It is a statute that is reputed to have miraculous powers by the Catholics who live and dwell in Matara.

St. Mary’s Church is every inch not just a famous tourism spot. It is a very special place where people do gather for Sunday mass and that does house The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara. This church is also a wonderful place to have peaceful contemplation, lots of prayer, and also reflection as well.

There is a national church feast for The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, which is given by the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara. This festival is something that people look forward to having and celebrating each year. This is because The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is a very beloved and revered Catholic shrine in every sense of the word. The Shine of Our Lady of Matara on display proudly during this festival. What is considered to be the most colorful part of the yearly feast is the orderly procession that does take place right after the vespers. There are thousands of Catholics, as well as, non-Catholics who line the streets of Matara in order to get a glimpse of the amazing Shrine of Our Lady of Matara. There is much fervor, as well as, for total devotion in getting to view the grand spectacle taking place.