Thursday, 16 April 2009

When prayers are answered! The rescue of Captain Phillips

One of the problems about liberal 'catholicism' is the tendency to regard the miracles of the New Testament, and the events of the Old Testament as myths or symbols - despite Scripture's explicit assertions to the contrary (see for example 2 Peter 16).

And on the other side of the ledger, perhaps there is a bit of a tendency to see Jesus' miracles as real but performed to point to a purely spiritual message - rather than also pointing us to the need to care for the sick and downtrodden here and now, and seek modern day miracles to convince others of God's power. So it is always nice when prayers really do get answered. And even better when the person who benefitted acted heroically himself:

Daring rescue of ship's captain leaves Vermont parish overjoyed

By Chaz Muth
Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When news of the bold liberation of U.S. Capt. Richard Phillips from the grip of pirates off the coast of Somalia filtered through his Vermont Catholic parish April 12, members of his church community felt like their Easter prayers had been answered.

"We're so happy that it turned out the way that it did," said Donna Schaeffler, secretary of St. Thomas Church in Underhill Center, Vt., the parish where Phillips, 53, and his wife, Andrea, regularly attend Mass.

"There is so much media here and we're trying to give the Phillipses their privacy, but we've been praying at Mass for his safe release," Schaeffler told Catholic News Service April 13 in a telephone interview. "

Our pastor (Father Charles R. Danielson) also asked everyone to pray for the Phillipses during the Easter morning Mass. We were just so happy to hear the news of his rescue later in the day," she said.

Phillips allowed himself to be taken hostage by four pirates who tried to seize the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama April 7 in the Indian Ocean, in order to keep the crew of the 17-ton ship safe. He was detained by his armed captors on one of the ship's lifeboats for five days. U.S. naval forces surrounded the small boat, and Navy snipers fired three shots to kill a trio of Somali pirates and free the American sea captain..."

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