Saturday, September 20, 2014

St. Andrew Kim Taegon and St. Paul Chong Hasang and their companions, Korean Martyrs



Today is the memorial of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, St. Paul Chong, martyr, and companions. During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866, and 1867, one hundred and three Christians in Korea gave their lives as martyrs. The martyrs included clergy, but were, for the most part, members of the laity. They consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church in Korea with their blood. Among them were Fr. Andrew Kim of Taegon, the first Korean priest and pastor, and Paul Chong of Hasang, a lay apostle.

St. Andrew Kim Taegon was born into a noble Korean family. He traveled to China to become a Catholic priest and he was ordained in Macao. When he returned to Korea, as the first native priest, he was arrested, tortured, and eventually beheaded.

Paul Chong Hasang was a seminarian, aged 45. As a layman, he was one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea. He was persecuted before he could be ordained.

Quotes for Reflection

"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?"

~St. Andrew Kim Taegon

"I urge you to remain steadfast in faith, so that at last we will all reach heaven and there rejoice together."

~ Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Final Exhortation

History

It is interesting to note that during the Korean War of 1950 - 53 many priests, nuns, and lay people were killed or expelled. In today's still divided Korea, the Church flourishes in the South, both in terms of numbers and intellectually, but it remains underground in the North.

"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land."

~Pope St. John Paul II at the canonization of the Korean Martyrs, May 6, 1984

Prayer

Almighty Father, You have created all nations and You are their salvation. In the land of Korea, Your call to the Catholic faith formed a people of adoption whose growth You nurtured by the blood of Saints Andrew, Paul, and their companions. Through their intercession, give us the strength to always remain faithful to Your commandments and to courageously and boldly proclaim the gospel message to all your people through our actions and our words. We ask this through in the precious name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes: A Week of Blessings


Our Lady of La Salette

1.  Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of La Salette

2. A prayer that I have been praying for daily for three months was answered today and I thank God for that! I received a check that was over three months late and was beginning to wonder if it would ever come. I was praying novenas to St. Joseph and St. Therese and today when I asked my Facebook friends to join me in prayer that it arrive in today's mail, it did!

3. Something happened to me recently that was a little "miraculous." I had been shopping in Aldi for groceries, and when I went to check out, my debit card would not work. I thought I had put in the wrong pin number. The clerk told me to run it again, which I did, and it still wasn't working. I started to try it again and he said the machine wouldn't take it. While I stood there, wondering what to do next (and saying a quick prayer), as I didn't have the cash to pay for the groceries, the woman behind me paid for the items in my cart! I saw her pull out some cash and thought she was paying for her own groceries. Then, when the clerk told me what she had done, my eyes started to tear up and I hugged her. I also thanked her. She smiled and said, "Have an awesome day!" I left in a state of stupor. I still can't believe that happened. Believe me, I have been praying for that woman and her special intentions and have asked God to bless her abundantly for her kindness.

4.  This week, I have a guest post on Catholic Fire, which became very popular fast. And, no wonder! It is written by a super-smart, lovely lady who is a strong prayer warrior and a talented writer. Check out The Miraculous Power of the Eucharist and Prayer in our Fight Against Evil by guest blogger Janet Moore.

5.  This week I wrote about St. Joseph of Cupertino, in my blog post, St. Joseph of Cupertino: A "Stupid" Man or a Spiritually Gifted Saint?  I have included prayers and a link to a novena.

6. Monday was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and I wrote about this beautiful feast day and devotions on Catholic Fire.

7. I am looking forward to a relaxing, fun weekend and will fill you in next week.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

For more quick takes, visit Jen at conversiondiary.com


Thursday, September 18, 2014

On the Feast of Our Lady of La Sallete, A Message of Hope



On Friday, September 19, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette. On this day, we recall the apparition in which Our Lady appeared to two children in France.

On Saturday, September 19, 1846, the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows at about 3:00 in the afternoon, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the mountain of La Salette in the French Alps to fifteen-year-old Melanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud, two young shepherds. The Blessed Mother appeared in a resplendent light as a beautiful woman dressed in an unusual costume, seated on a stone, her face buried in her hands, crying. She then stood up and crossed her arms. Around her neck, she wore a chain containing a crucifix with a hammer and pincers on either side. She told the children not to be afraid but reassured them that she had great news to share. She gave them a public message and asked them to make her message known to all her people. In her message, Our Lady called the townspeople to repent of their sins and to turn back to Christ.


The Blessed Mother told them: "If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it." She lamented with tears those who do not keep Sunday holy and those who take the name of the Lord in vain. She went on to speak of the hope of divine mercy if the people amended their lives, and encouraged the children to say their prayers regularly. She told them:"You should say them well, at night and in the morning, even if you say only an Our Father and a Hail Mary when you can't do better. When you can do better, say more." Our Lady then shared a private secret with each of the children. After she had finished giving the messages to the children, she walked up a steep path and vanished into a bright light. According to the children, the light emanated from a crucifix on the her chest.

Blessed Melanie Calvat was instructed to found a new religious order, the Order of the Mother of God, which would associate under one single common rule more than one community.

Blessed Melanie was told by the Mother of God to make known her secret after the year 1858. In 1851, both secrets were written down and handed to Pope Pius IX. The apparition at La Salette was approved by the Church at this time. In 1888, the secret was published.

The Secret:

Three quarters of France will lose the Faith.
A Protestant nation in the North shall repent and return to God.
The Church shall grow once more.
The peace will be destroyed by a "monster" [Communism] at the end of the 19th Century or beginning of the 20th century.


The Message:

Our Lady of La Salette implores all people who would listen to "be reconciled to God." This conversion requires daily prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The Blessed Virgin Mary was in tears because she recognized the tremendous responsibility that free will places upon each person to lead a moral life and follow God's will. The message of La Salette traces the "narrow road that leads to life" (Matthew 7:14), like the steep and narrow path the Blessed Mother climbed before melting away in the light.

Results:

After the visionaries' experience at La Salette, a Christian renewal transformed the region. In 1872, nationwide pilgrimages began to be formed across France. For roughly 150 years, La Salette's spirit has been embodied in a movement that has gained convents, monasteries, congregations, and arch-confraternities. Christians everywhere saw or felt its influence. Saints (for example, John Vianney), pastors (such as Don Bosco), and religious writers (like J.K. Huysmans) have all been influenced by La Salette.

Quote on the Apparition at La Sallette:

"As I wrote on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady:  'La Salette is a message of hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her who is the Mother of mankind.' May the proclamation of this hope always be at the heart of your encounter with the men and women of today! Through it our contemporaries can be assured that divisions are not irreparable and that it is always possible to repent of one's infidelities, in order to build a reconciled humanity and to follow the Lord, for nothing is beyond God's reach."

 - Pope St. John Paul II in his Address to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Sallette on May 4, 2000

Reflection

Today in our our modern world, we need, more than ever, to pray often and to frequent the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. God has placed us in this time period for a reason. As Christians, we are called to evangelize and the most effective way we do that is to live out virtuous lives, reflecting the light of Christ's love to those we encounter in our daily lives. Our Blessed Mother calls us to ongoing conversion. Let us heed her voice and experience a renewal of Christianity in our own day, remembering that "nothing is beyond God's reach."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

St. Joseph of Cupertino: A "Stupid" Man or a Spiritually Gifted Saint?



September 18 is the feast day of St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663),  If you have watched the film "The Reluctant Saint", you know just how endearing this sweet Franciscan saint was and what strong humility he had.

Joseph’s father was a poor carpenter who died prior to his birth. His mother, Francesca Panara, was unable to pay the debts, so the creditors evicted her from her home. She gave birth to Joseph in a stable at Cupertino, Italy.

When Joseph was eight years old, he began receiving ecstatic visions that left him staring into space with his mouth wide open. Children made fun of him and called him "the gaper."  He was poorly educated and could scarcely read or write, which led others to think of him as stupid. In addition, his continual ecstasies made it difficult for him to concentrate on any task.  When he was seventeen, he decided he wanted to become a monk or friar.

Joseph applied for admission to the Friars Minor Conventuals, but was rejected due to his lack of education. He applied to the Capuchins and was accepted as a lay-brother.  However, he continually disrupted others in the community with his gift of levitation and with his sudden, unexpected ecstasies. Consequently, he was dismissed.

Finally, a Franciscan monastery near Cupertino accepted him as an Oblate.  He was given the responsibility of caring for the animals in the stable and excelled in his work. He prayed and fasted and performed all his tasks to perfection.  Ultimately, he was accepted into the community.  At the age of 22, he became a cleric.

He was initially rejected for the priesthood due to his limited learning skills. Although he could recall little of what he learned, Divine Providence made his priestly vocation become a reality. The examiner questioned him on the one subject he had mastered and he passed the exam. At the age of 25, he was ordained to the priesthood.

While Joseph possessed little worldly knowledge, the Holy Spirit had gifted him with a divine knowledge that enabled him to understand profound theological mysteries. A model of purity, humility, and obedience, he had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and showed great charity toward the poor.

During the last thirty-five years of his life, Joseph was unable to celebrate Mass because of his incessant ecstasies which were easily triggered. However, he was later allowed to celebrate Mass in his private chapel.

Joseph died on September 18, 1663 and was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.  He is the patron saint of air travelers, students, and test takers.

Reflection
Joseph was very spiritually gifted, but it's difficult to imagine someone like this in a monastery today, although he certainly would be entertaining! Whenever I think of him, I chuckle, because the learned and wise around him considered him stupid. They were confused and baffled by his strange behavior, yet he abandoned himself to God and accepted with total surrender all that God asked of him and miracles were accomplished through him. He was the one in the community who performed the menial tasks, yet he was the one who was the most spiritually gifted. He never considered himself above the others, but always maintained his humility. The smaller and more insignificant we are, the closer we are to God and the more powerfully He can work through us.

~ © 2014 Jean M. Heimann

“God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1: 27-29)

Patronage: St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of aviators, air travelers, and students.

Quote:
"Clearly, what God wants above all is our will which we received as a free gift from God in creation and possess as though our own. When a man trains himself to acts of virtue, it is with the help of grace from God from whom all good things come that he does this. The will is what man has as his unique possession."

~Saint Joseph of Cupertino, from the reading for his feast in the Franciscan breviary

Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino For Success in Examinations

O humble St. Joseph of Cupertino, singularly favored by God in overcoming the difficulties of study and the worries of examinations, implore the Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind and strengthen my memory in the search of His truth and wisdom. Help me especially in the decisive moments of this examination, protecting me from that forgetfulness and disturbing anxiety which often affect me. May I succeed in offering God my finest work and may I grow in knowledge, understanding, humility and charity. May everything that I attempt to learn in life be offered in faithful service to God, from whom flows that wisdom which leads to eternal life. Amen St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me, Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me, Holy Spirit enlighten me!

Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino for Aviators

Dear ecstatic Conventual Saint who patiently bore calumnies, your secret was Christ the crucified Savior who said: "When I will be lifted up I will draw all peoples to myself." You were always spiritually lifted up. Give aviators courage and protection, and may they always keep in mind your greatly uplifting example. Amen.

Novena to St. Joseph of Cupertino



Pope paves way for canonization of Sri Lanka's 1st saint




Pope Francis has cleared that way for the canonization of Sri Lanka's first saint.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints stated that the Pope had approved a vote by the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops in favor of canonizing Blessed Joseph Vaz.

For the second time in his papacy, Pope Francis bypassed the second miracle required by candidates for canonization. The only other time the Pope has done this was for the canonization of Pope St. John XXIII.

Blessed Joseph Vaz was born in Goa, India in 1651. He spent most of his life as a missionary in Sri Lanka, ministering to the faithful during the Calvinist persecution.

He was beatified on January 21st, 1995 by St. John Paul II during his Apostolic visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Pope Francis is expected to declare Blessed Vaz a saint during his visit to Sri Lanka in January.

St. Robert Bellarmine: Theologian, Cardinal, and Doctor of the Church




Today is the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), Italian cardinal and theologian. One of the great saints of the Jesuit order, he has also been declared a Doctor of the Church and the patron of catechists.

Robert Bellarmine was born on October 4, 1542 in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano. He was the third of ten children born to Vincenzo Bellarmine, a nobleman, and Cinthia Cervini, sister of Pope Marcellus II.

As a young man, Robert was educated by the Jesuits and in 1560; he entered the Jesuit order himself. He studied philosophy for three years in Rome, then taught humanities at Florence and Mondovi until 1567, when he began a study of theology at Louvain that lasted until 1569.

In 1570, Robert was ordained to the priesthood in Belgium, where his sermons attracted crowds of both Catholics and Protestants. In 1576, he returned to Italy and took up an academic position addressing theological controversies.

As a member of the Society of Jesus, he ranks among its greatest men, renowned for his illustrious intellect and learning as well as for his great sanctity, humility, and simplicity of heart. He defended the Apostolic See against the anti-clericals in Venice and against the political tenets of James I of England. His most famous work is The Controversies, a collection of the lectures he delivered at the Roman College. In it, he set out the teaching of the Fathers, the Councils and the Church Law to victoriously defend the dogmas of the Church which were being attacked by heretics.

Near the end of the 1580s, the eminent theologian became “Spiritual Father” to the Roman College. He served as a spiritual director to St. Aloysius Gonzaga near the end of his life, helped Saint Francis de Sales to obtain formal approval of the Visitation Order, and assisted in creating the authoritative Latin text of the Bible called for by the recent Council of Trent.

At the end of the century, Robert became an advisor to Pope Clement VIII. The Pope named him a cardinal in 1599, proclaiming him to be the most educated man in the Church. Robert played a part in a debate between Dominicans and Jesuits regarding grace, though the Pope later decided to appoint and consecrate him as the Archbishop of Capua.

In the early years of the 17th century, the cardinal took a public stand for the Church's freedom when it came under attack in Venice and England. He also attempted, though not successfully, to negotiate peace between the Vatican and his personal friend Galileo Galilei, over the scientist's insistence that not only the earth, but the entire universe, revolved around the sun.

He was very pastoral and dedicated to providing for the needs of the poor. His cardinal’s ring was frequently in pawn in order to provide funds for the needy. He also donated the expensive drapes in his apartment to the poor, explaining, “Walls cannot catch cold.”

In 1621, Cardinal Bellarmine retired due to health problems. Two years before, he had set out his thoughts on the end of earthly life in a book entitled The Art of Dying Well. In that book, he explained that preparing for death was life's most important business, since the state of one's soul at death would determine the person's eternal destiny.

St. Robert Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1930, and declared him to be a Doctor of the Church in 1931.

Quote 

"Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved." ~ Saint Robert Bellarmine

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Archbishop Chaput is 'hopeful' that Pope Francis will go to Philadelphia




"It's a very big undertaking. Philadelphia has deep religious roots. And Pope Francis is very well loved both within and outside the Catholic Church in the United States.”

Also present at the conference was the Riley family from Philadelphia who are involved in the preparations for the World Meeting of Families. They noted that the city is an appropriate meeting point for people of different cultures.

PENELOPE RILEY
Daughter
"I go to Catholic school in Philadelphia and I think that everyone would love to come and visit and see all the different cultural differences there in comparison to Rome.”

The theme of the World Meeting of Families, "Love is our mission: the family fully alive”,  will be at the center of several initiatives that will help prepare for the event. Among them is a catechesis on the family as well as the commissioning of a painting of the Holy Family.

ARCH. CHARLES J. CHAPUT
Archbishop of Philadelphia (USA)
"It's exciting. We have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people. Not just in Philadelphia but in the whole world and we want to make sure that we do all we can to prepare so this event will be a transformative event in the lives of all who participate and those who watch from a distance.”

The Archbishop of Philadelphia said that they are  also offering scholarships to poor and low income families in order to attend the meeting.

An estimated 15,000 people are expected to attend the World Meeting of Families, which will take place from September 22-27th, 2015.

Although it is not confirmed whether the Pope will attend, Archbishop Chaput believes his presence will draw even greater numbers to Philadelphia.

ARCH. CHARLES J. CHAPUT
Archbishop of Philadelphia
"His presence has a twofold effect: one is that it draws people, and then he has the opportunity to directly impact the lives of many, hundreds of thousands of people. Certainly it will be a great celebration even if the Pope doesn't attend, but if he attends it'll be an extraordinary moment.”

Among the issues affecting families, particularly in the United States, is immigration. It's an issue that Archbishop Chaput says will not only be addressed at the World Meeting of Families, but that organizers are currently dealing with in arranging visas for families wishing to attend.

The Miraculous Power of the Eucharist and Prayer in our Fight Against Evil



Ongoing Miracle of the Eucharist in SnnBtarem

By Guest Blogger Janet Moore

Thoughts of the mighty and miraculous power of God kept coming into my prayer yesterday, while begging God to stop the black mass scheduled to take place in Oklahoma City September 21st. Particularly, thoughts of the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem that occurred in 1255, whose miraculous Presence continues to this day.  It is a true story of a woman who obtained a consecrated Host in order for it to be used for evil purposes. The Host started bleeding profusely as the woman was taking the Host to a sorceress. People on the streets thought something terrible had happened to her as blood poured forth from the veil in which she was concealing the Sacred Host. Scared, she went home and hid the Host in the bottom of a trunk.  That night, a brilliant light began to emanate from the trunk -- the light was so dazzling that it awakened the woman and her husband. The woman then proceeded to tell her husband what had happened and they stayed up all night kneeling in adoration in front of the glorious light.  At dawn, a priest was called to their home. He, too, witnessed the miracle and processed the Host back to the Church.  All those who had the Host in their possession (and untold numbers who have seen or heard of the miracle in the centuries since) were converted -- recognizing the power and glory of the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist!  I don’t know if God will preform a miracle like this in Oklahoma City, but I know He can!  I know that He will do whatever is best in this situation to convert as many hearts as possible. He alone knows if this will convert the person who is in possession of the consecrated Host.  He alone knows what will bring the greatest glory to Him.

Blessed Bartolo Longo - Former Satanic Priest

Another thought kept coming to me, which is in conjunction with the last.  It is another true story of a man who drifted so far away from God and his religious upbringing that he became a satanic priest. His name is Bartolo Longo and he was born in Naples in 1841.  When satanic forces were tormenting him, his family, who had never stopped praying for him, convinced him to make a good confession.  He did and was helped by a priest who encouraged him to become devoted to the rosary.  In 1870, he became a third order Dominican and chose to live a life of penance in reparation for all the sins he committed as a satanic priest. One day, nearing succumbing to despair for all the sins he had committed, he was inspired to remember Mary’s promise to help all those who encouraged others to pray the rosary.  So began his mission to promote the rosary and to restore the ruined chapel of Pompeii.  Many conversions and miraculous cures took place as people became devoted to the rosary and pledged to build a new shrine in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary.  In 1980, Pope John Paul II beatified Bartolo Longo calling him “the man of the Madonna” and the “Apostle of the Rosary.”

Let us remind ourselves: We have the power of God with us and within us and our prayers will not go unheard.  We have to hold fast to the knowledge that God is truly present in the Eucharist and He is infinitely more powerful than Satan and all the forces of evil in the world.  He sometimes allows terrible things to happen, just as He allowed His only Son to die on a cross to save us, but He allows it only if it will bring about infinitely more good to us than if it had never happened. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts of those who are instigating this black mass, for “God does not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live!” (cf. Ez 18: 23).

Tens of thousands united in prayer and fasting against this abomination is itself a miracle of faith and a beautiful manifestation of the power and glory of God. We have untold strength in our unity!  So, as we remain united and continue in prayer and fasting, let us call to mind these miracles of the past (and hundreds of others) and rejoice that God’s power will be made manifest and many hearts will be converted.  Let us not get discouraged when we are faced with such evil forces, “For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (Deut 10:17), who gives us strong and mighty weapons at our disposal!

Let us also recall the faith and steadfastness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar when confronted with certain death in the fiery furnace, and echo their words: “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, you should know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up” (Dn 3: 16-18).

For more information about the Eucharistic miracle see:
http://www.miraclesofthechurch.com/2010/11/miracles-of-eucharist-eucharistic.html


Janet Moore is a Catholic wife and mother with an M.A. in Theology, who has recently started blogging at Entering into the Mystery.

Pope: World War III underway



Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian, Martyrs



Today is the memorial of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. These two contemporaries, martyred in 253 and 258 respectively, were linked by one particular issue: what to do with those Christians who lapsed through fear in time of persecution, and then wished to return? An influential Roman priest, Novatian, maintained that they could not be forgiven (along with murderers, adulterers and those in second marriages). Cornelius and Cyprian strongly took the opposite view.

A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope in 251 to succeed Fabian, at the time of the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Decius. Novatian denied the Church’s authority to forgive serious sins, such as abandoning the faith during a time of danger. Novatian even had himself consecrated as a rival bishop of Rome, thereby becoming an anti-pope. Pope Cornelius, backed by St. Cyprian and Saint Dionysius, upheld the Church’s teaching, and allowed sinners to do penance and return to the Church. In 253, St. Cornelius was exiled by the authorities, and died shortly afterwards of ill-treatment. Because of this, was considered a martyr. A document from Cornelius shows the size of the Church in his papacy 46 priests, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, and approximately 50,000 Christians.

Cyprian, a brilliant thinker and speaker, was a native of Carthage in North Africa. At the age of 46, he was converted to Christianity and three years later was unanimously elected Bishop by the local Christian clergy and people. He was an energetic shepherd of souls and a prolific writer. He defended the unity of the Church against schismatic movements in Africa and Italy, and greatly influenced the shaping of Church discipline relative to reinstating Christians who had apostatized. He fled during the Decian persecution but guided the Church by means of letters. During the Valerian persecution (258) he was beheaded.

Together Cornelius and Cyprian share a feast day to remind us of the unity that the Church should always practice and celebrate. This unity is a mark of the presence of Jesus who is at the Center.

Cornelius is the patron saint against ear ache; against epilepsy; fever; cattle; domestic animals. Cyprian is the patron saint of Algeria and North Africa.

Collect: God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pope presides over marriage ceremony of 20 couples




One by one, the brides walked alongside their fathers, into St. Peter's Basilica...as the grooms waited for their soon to be wives.

A total of 20 couples, all of them from Rome, were married by Pope Francis.

POPE FRANCIS

"It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life!”

It's the first time in 14 years that a Pope has celebrated a public wedding ceremony in the Basilica. He said that even though there will be challenges, marriage is a gift and the foundation of society.

"He reminded me of so many things that you tend to forget after being married for so long. It's a way to renew the enthusiasm and energy.”

"It was beautiful ceremony!”

Gaetano di Sangi is one of hundreds of guests, who made their way to Rome, to celebrate the big day with the newlyweds. His nephew was married and family flew in from New York.

"We need the Pope to do these things in this period of moral and social decay.”

Interestingly, the couples reflected different social realities the Church is grappling with. One of the brides had a child out of wedlock when she was younger. A groom had a previous marriage annulled. Some of the couples were living together before the wedding. More than a ceremony, many believe the Pope is sending a message of mercy to those who are willing to move beyond their past and renew their lives with the Church.

"The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together.”

Of course, there was also some practical advice along the way that struck not only the newlyweds, but couples who have been married for years.

"He said that the husband must be willing to help his wife and the wife must be willing to do the same.”

"Never end the day without making amends.”

The last time a Pontiff presided over a public wedding was back in the year 2000, when John Paul II married eight couples. Interestingly, Pope Francis agreed to preside over the wedding, just weeks before the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, where bishops from all over the world will go to Rome, precisely to discuss the modern day challenges faced by the family.

Our Lady of Sorrows: Feast Day and Devotions









September 15 is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. This feast is dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, and her union with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redemptrix, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows commemorates the seven great sorrows which Mary lived in relation to her Son, as they are recorded in the Gospels or through tradition. The Seven Sorrows are:
  • The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
  • The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
  • Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50) 
  • Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
  • Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
  • The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
  • The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary's and meditating on her tears and dolors (sorrows).

The Seven Graces of this Devotion

  1. I will grant peace to their families.
  2.They will be enlightened about the Divine mysteries.
  3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
  4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
  7. I have obtained this Grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival on the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross



Welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival! We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other and answer a question. Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing to check out the great posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week.

Question of the week:With which ministries/activities within your parish are you involved?

Answer: In my parish, I am currently serving as: an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, an EWTN media missionary, a member of the parish newspaper staff, and as a prayer intercessor. I am also a member of the Respect Life committee.

Here are my best posts from this past week:

St. John Chrysostom, Early Father, Doctor, and Bishop of the Church

Fr. Robert Barron: "The Giver" and Recovering Our Christian Memory

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

St. John Gabriel Perboyre, Missionary and Martyr

St. Nicholas of Tolentino: Patron of Babies, the Dying, and the Poor Souls

Papal Quote of the Day: Pope Francis on Love

St. Peter Claver, "slave of the slaves"

Movie Review: The Song

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: The Saints speak on Suffering and the Cross



Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast is also called the Triumph of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas.

The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.

In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, after Emperor Heraclius of Constantinople recaptured the cross of Christ from the Persians and returned it to Jerusalem.

On this feast day, we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. We revere the instrument by which Jesus Christ, Our Lord, saved us. Once an object of scorn, the cross has become our “glory."

We, too, embrace the cross which He gives to us, because, as Christians, we are given the honor to share in His sufferings. If we stand up for Him in our beliefs, we can expect to be mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted.  But, we can also expect that Jesus Christ will be there with us, in the midst our sufferings, giving us the graces we need.

The Cross contains in itself the mystery of salvation, because, in the Cross, Love is lifted up. This is the lifting up of Love to the supreme point in the history of the world: in the Cross Love is lifted up and the Cross is at the same time lifted up through Love. And from the height of the Cross, love comes down to us. Yes: "The Cross is the most profound condescension of God to man . . . The Cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man’s existence" (Pope St. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia,8)

The Saints on Suffering and the Cross:

"Life is only a dream: soon, we shall awaken. And what joy! The greater our sufferings, the more limitless our glory. Oh! do not let us waste the trial that Jesus sends."
~ St. Therese of Lisieux

"If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love."
~ St. Gemma Galgani

If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.
~ St. Ignatius Loyola

Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way. Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the redemption.

~ St. Bonaventure

"Let us strive to face suffering with Christian courage. Then all difficulties will vanish and pain itself will become transformed into joy."

~ St. Teresa of Avila

"It is loving the Cross that one finds one heart, for Divine Love cannot live without suffering."
~ St. Bernadette

"One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much, more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer."
~ St. Teresa of Avila

"Even if Jesus lays on us some part of the Cross, He is there to help us bear it with self, sacrifice and love."
~ St. John XXIII

"The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you."
~ St. Louis de Montfort

"From here on earth, Love cannot live without suffering. It is through loving the cross that we discover His Heart, for divine Love never lives without suffering. I want my whole life to be inspired by love. He who loves, does all things easily, or, if he suffers, he suffers bravely. Why is suffering necessary? Because on earth, pure love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"
~ St. Bernadette Soubirous

"You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward."
~ St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."
 ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"When we must do something we dislike, let us say to God, ' My God I offer You this in honor of the moment when You died for me.' "
~ St. John Vianney

"The cross will never oppress you; its weight might cause you to stagger, but its strength will sustain you." ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"If you embrace all things in this life as coming from the hands of God, and even embrace death to fulfill His holy will, assuredly you will die a saint."
~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

"We are co-redeemers of the world. And souls are not redeemed without the cross."
~ St. Teresa of the Andes

The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.
~ St. John of the Cross

"Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation."
~ St. Augustine of Hippo

"When the cross is embraced it becomes a sign of love and of total self-giving. To carry it behind Christ means to be united with him in offering the greatest proof of love … the choice is between a full life and an empty existence, between truth and falsehood."
~ Pope St. John Paul II in Pope John Paul II's MESSAGE TO THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD, THE XVI WORLD YOUTH DAY, 14 February 2001.