Monday, November 30, 2009

Novena to the Immaculate Conception




PRAYER TO THE
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end.

Day One
 
O most Holy Virgin, who was pleasing to the Lord and became His mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on me as I implore your powerful intercession. O most Holy Mother, who by your blessed Immaculate Conception, from the first moment of your conception did crush the head of the enemy, receive our prayers as we implore you to present at the throne of God the favor we now request...
(State your intention here...) 
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.
Amen.


Knights of Columbus Announces $1 Million Food Drive for U.S. and Canadian Families


With the number of Americans and Canadians at risk of hunger far higher than usual and the number of those planning to give to charity at this time of year lower than usual, the Knights of Columbus has committed $1 million and legions of active volunteers to its “Food for Families” program to collect food and financially support food banks in the United States and Canada this winter.

Statistics released by the USDA show nearly 50 million Americans experienced “food insecurity” last year, while new numbers in Canada show those using food banks has increased by 18 percent in the past year. The program encourages each state jurisdiction in the United States and each province jurisdiction in Canada to work with their local parish churches and other public places to collect food for food banks in their area. Those states and provinces in which a significant number of councils participate will then be allocated a portion of the $1 million fund for food banks in their areas.

“At a time when record numbers are at risk of hunger, and with fewer able to give financially to charity, the Knights of Columbus hopes this program will help both to alleviate the problem, and to encourage other religious and charitable organizations – as well as businesses and corporations – to conduct similar programs,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who announced the program this morning.

“People may not be able to give a lot of money to Charity this Christmas, but many can give a can of soup to help their neighbors, and the Knights of Columbus are committed to providing them the opportunity to do so.”

“Food for Families” is one of the many projects in the Knights of Columbus “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” initiative. The initiative began at a summit on volunteerism as a response to the economic crisis, which the Knights organized in New York City in February. That summit drew leaders from scores of the nation’s top charitable organizations, including: The Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, United Way, Catholic Charities, Points of Light, the National Fraternal Congress, and scores of other groups.

There are approximately 9,300 local Knights of Columbus councils in the United States and about 2,100 in Canada.

Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle


St. Andrew, son of Jonah, was born at Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and became one of the first to follow Jesus, to whom he brought his brother, Simon Peter. Both were fishermen and at the beginning of Our Lord's public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum.

As one of the twelve apostles, Andrew was very close to Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.

He was crucified by order of the Roman Governor at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the form of an "X". This type of cross has long been known as "St. Andrew's cross." He was martyred during the reign of Nero, on November 30, 60 A.D.

St. Andrew's relics were transferred from Patras to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about 357 A.D. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain.

Patron: Achaia; Amalfi, Italy; anglers; Burgundy; diocese of Constantinople; fish dealers; fish mongers; fishermen; gout; Greece; Lampertheim; Germany; maidens; old maids; Patras, Greece; Russia; Scotland; singers; sore throats; spinsters; University of Patras; unmarried women; women who wish to become mothers.

To learn more about the foods and traditions connected with St. Andrew's feast, see Catholic Culture.

To obtain more biographical information, see EWTN's library and The Catholic Encyclopedia.

To recite St. Andrew's Christmas Novena, go here.

Advent Resources 2009



The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  has created an Advent and Christmas website with suggestions for daily prayers, readings, reflection and action. A collection of Lessons and Carols is also provided for live listening or download. The site also contains a printable Advent calendar, a Christmas calendar, and family activities.


Elena at My Domestic Church lists her Advent mega-links here.


The Anchoress posts on Advent on First Things with related resources.


Aggie Catholic's post and resources for Advent can be found here.

Karen Edmisten blogs on The No-Panic Advent Series here.


If you need an Advent wreath for your blog, check out The Curt Jester's post here.


Related Posts on Catholic Fire: 

First Sunday in Advent: Pro-Life Advent Reflection with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

 12 Tips To a Better Advent Season

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday in Advent: Pro-Life Advent Reflection with Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

 Part 1 of 4 2009 Pro-Life Advent Reflections:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Feast of St. Catherine Laboure


Saint Catherine Laboure was born in Burgundy, France on May 2, 1806. The ninth of eleven children born to a farm family, she felt a call to the religious life from an early age. Catherine entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in obedience to a vision of Saint Vincent de Paul, telling her that God wanted her to work with the sick.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who was then a 24-year-old novice, three times.

On July 18, 1830, the first apparition occurred in the community's motherhouse. St. Catherine saw a lady seated on the right side of the sanctuary. When St. Catherine approached her, the heavenly visitor told her how to act in time of trial and pointed to the altar as the source of all consolation. Promising to entrust St. Catherine with a mission which would cause her great suffering, the lady also predicted the anticlerical revolt which occurred at Paris in 1870.

On November 27, the lady showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the "Miraculous Medal." On one side was a picture of Mary, hands outstretched and the words 'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.' On the other was the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Blessed Mother asked Catherine to have medals made and devotion to the medal spread. Our Lady told Catherine that wearers of the medal would receive great graces, and its wearing and devotion has spread worldwide.

At the time, only her spiritual director, Father Aladel, knew of the apparitions and instructions that Catherine Laboure was receiving. He helped her to have the medals made and distributed, and kept her identity secret. Not until shortly before her death in 1876, did anyone know the identity of the nun who had begun the devotion.

Catherine Laboure died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her body was buried in a crypt beneath their church and found to be incorrupt some fifteen years later.

For detailed information on the life of St. Catherine of Laboure and the apparitions, click here and here.




Friday, November 27, 2009

Father Barron Comments on The Movie "2012"

Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal






Today, November 27, is the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions.

History


In 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the design of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in an apparition.



In Paris, on June 6, 1830, the Lord appeared to the young (age 24) Daughter of Charity novice Catherine at Mass, and again on the nights of July 18-19 when she was summoned to the chapel by a beautiful "child clothed in white" to converse with the Virgin Mary. Catherine was told prophecies and charged with "a mission" that manifested itself on November 27 in an early morning (5:30am) appearance of the Blessed Virgin who was "clothed in white" standing on a globe and "a serpent." Rays of light issued forth from rings on her fingers and Catherine was told to commission a medal of what she was seeing. Then, turning the letter "M surmounted by a bar and a cross" underneath which were the hearts of Jesus and Mary all surrounded by the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Catherine heard the voice tell her, "Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear this medal will receive great favors. They should wear it around the neck . Favors will abound if worn with devotion." Catherine's mission was to ensure that the medal was made and to spread Mary's message of love and compassion.

Many healings, conversions and other miracles have been documented by those who have faithfully worn the 'Medal of the Immaculate Conception' as the Miraculous Medal was originally called.

There are numerous Miraculous Medal Associations throughout the world. They are united under the care of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians or Lazarists), the religious order founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Membership contributions go to spread devotion to the Virgin Mary and to support the work of the Vincentians. Each Association maintains a shrine and usually has some type of publication for members.

Obligations/Practices

Wearing the Medal

The Miraculous Medal is an approved sacramental and allows the the wearer to take advantage of Mary's promise:

"Those who wear it will receive great graces; abundant graces will be given to those who have confidence."

Enrollment in an Association Anyone, living or deceased, Catholic or not, may be enrolled as a member and obtain these graces and the spiritual benefit of Masses offered for members (for example, the Central Association in the U.S. offers 2,500 Masses a year).

Investiture

Invested membership involves these obligations:

1. Formally enroll in an approved Association and renew the membership yearly

2. Wear the Medal (around the neck is highly recommended)

3. Have the intention to sanctify oneself and others by means of the Medal

4. Investiture which may be done publicly or privately

Benefits

1. Receive the graces promised by the Blessed Virgin Mary
2. Receive the spiritual benefits of numerous Masses offered for members by the Vincentians
3. Promoters who sign up others receive spiritual benefit from additional Masses
4. Invested members receive an indulgences on the following days:~ Day of joining the Association~ August 22 (Feast of the Queenship of Mary) ~ September 27 (Feast of St. Vincent de Paul)~ November 27 (Feast of the Miraculous Medal)~ November 28 (Feast of St. Catherine Laboure)~ Anniversary date of the founding of the Association in which one is enrolled*

The indulgence is plenary under the normal conditions: confession, communion, prayer for the Pope's intentions and freedom from attachment to all sin.

To learn more about this beautiful feast day and the apparitions and to receive a free miraculous medal, go here.  There is more information about this beautiful feast day here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I'm thanking God for each one of you today.


A Thanksgiving Prayer

Oh, God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And, remembering, help me to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

~ Samuel F. Pugh

"For I was hungry and you gave Me food.
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.
I was a stranger and you welcomed Me..."

~ Matthew 25: 35



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Culture of Life Quote: Bishop Denounces Abortion Euphemisms of Abortionists and Feminists

“They don’t speak of abortion but rather the ‘voluntary termination of an unwanted pregnancy,’ and everybody swears they are not in favor of abortion itself. But they do not recognize the value and dignity of human life as a principle value. They all worry about defending the pregnant woman and nobody worries about defending the human being who is going to be born."

~ Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Abelardo Alvarado of Mexico City 


Read the full story at CNA.

Why Modernism will fail




Victim of Forced Abortion Says Practitioner Hodari "Ripped the Life" Out of Her


Flint, MI (LifeNews.com) -- Caitlin Bruce is the victim of a forced abortion that saw abortion practitioner Alberto Hodari and a staffer forcibly restrain her as she screamed no. Now, Bruce has given an interview to a local television station where she describes how Hodari and his associate "ripped the life" out of her.


Bruce told WJRT-TV about her lawsuit she has filed against Hodari and said that she changed her mind and withdrew her consent for the abortion after seeing an ultrasound of the unborn baby.

Despite her subsequent decision, Hodari held her to her original one. More here.

For more information on forced abortions, go here.


Learn more about Hodari from this graphic and truthful video put out by Catholic News Agency: 


Sarah Palin's New Movie

 Humor: Jimmy Kimmel Live - New Moon Trailer with Sarah Palin  

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr


 Today is the optional memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria (292 - 310), virgin and martyr.

Catherine was beautiful, brilliant, and extremely wealthy at the age of eighteen when she debated the Emperor Maximin (311-313) and harshly criticized him for his persecution of Christians who refused to worship pagan gods. Astounded by her wisdom, Maximin ordered her to be kept confined, and summoned fifty of his most learned philosophers, promising them great rewards if they could get Catherine to abandon her Christian faith. However, her arguments were so convincing that all fifty of the philosophers were converted to Christianity. Outraged by this, Maximin ordered all of them to be burned alive.

Then the Emperor attempted to win Catherine by flattery and by promises, but his efforts proved equally fruitless. Next, he had her thrown into a dungeon, without food and water. He ordered her whipped with rods, scourged with leaden nodules, and then left to languish eleven days without food in prison.

In the Emperor's absence, his wife and Porphyrius, general of the army, visited Catherine in prison and both were converted to Christianity. Porphyrius then converted 200 soldiers. When the Emperor returned, he had them all executed, including his wife, and offered to make Catherine his new wife.When she refused, he designed a new means of torture.

Catherine's next torture consisted of being placed upon a wheel with sharp and pointed knives, which was designed to tear her body into pieces, but when she was bound to it, a heavenly fire destroyed it. Finally, on November 25, Catherine was beheaded. By the hands of angels her body was carried to Mt. Sinai, where it was interred in the convent which bears her name.

Ranked with St. Margaret and St. Barbara as one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven, she was unceasingly praised by preachers and sung by poets. In several dioceses in France, her feast day was observed as a Holy Day of obligation up to the beginning of the seventeenth century.Saint Catherine became the patroness of young maidens and female students. Looked upon as the holiest and most illustrious of the virgins of Christ, it was but natural that she, of all others, should be worthy to watch over the virgins of the cloister and the young women of the world.

Patronage: Apologists; craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters; spinners; etc.); archivists; attorneys; barristers; dying people; educators; girls; jurists; knife grinders; knife sharpeners; lawyers; librarians; libraries; maidens; mechanics; millers; nurses; old maids; philosophers; potters; preachers; scholars; schoolchildren; scribes; secretaries; spinners; spinsters; stenographers; students; tanners; teachers; theologians; turners; unmarried girls; wheelwrights.

Symbols: Wheel set with sharp knives; broken wheel; sword; crown at her feet; hailstones; bridal veil and ring; dove; scourge; book; spiked wheel; woman strapped to the spiked wheel on which she was martyred; woman arguing with pagan philosophers.

See The Catholic Encylopedia and Women for Faith and Family to learn more about St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MORE FANTASTIC PHOTOS FROM THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC YOUTH CONFERENCE IN KANSAS CITY



Check out all the photos at the Big NCYC Picture Post at the Catholic Key Blog.

Get Ready for the 2012 Showdown: Go Sarah!

 Sarah Palin soars, and her return seems to have contributed to a new low in public opinion towards Barack Obama. Get ready for the pending 2012 showdown.  

"Hardball" host Chris Matthews Insults Bishop Tobin, Catholic League Charges

 On Monday Bishop Thomas Tobin tangled with television pundit Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” about the relation between religion and politics as well as the legal status of abortion. Matthews’ comments, which charged that the bishop has overstepped his authority, were criticized as a “rant” and an “extended lecture.” (CNA story here.)




Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the way MSNBC host Chris Matthews handled his interview with Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin last night on “Hardball”:

We were deluged with phone calls, faxes and e-mails after what happened yesterday on “Hardball.” After watching the first portion of the interview between Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin, I wondered what all the fuss was all about: Chris was just being his usual aggressive self. But it didn’t take long before Matthews literally spun out of control.

Matthews proceeded with an extended and quite insulting lecture. He had absolutely no interest in a discussion on the question of the morality and legality of abortion—all he wanted to do was to make the bishop sit there and listen to his rant. Indeed, his tirade was simply over-the-top.

No non-Catholic would ever treat a bishop this way. But too many liberal Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, think they are exempt from the same standards of civility that apply to others. They are flatly wrong.

I was on MSNBC twice yesterday on this same subject and was treated with respect both times. Ed Schultz, who can be quite tough, was totally respectful, and I’m a lay person. Chris could learn a thing or two from Ed, who not only does not insult his guests, he actually gives them a chance to respond.

Contact executive producer John Reiss: hardball@msnbc.com

Bishop Thomas Tobin: What you can do to support him



In her latest column, Judie Brown shares:

Ever since Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, D.D., arrived in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, he has been an articulate defender of truth. Since his installation in May 2005, he has focused his attention on shepherding his people, not only with a vision of faith through understanding, but with a clear set of Catholic moral principles that clearly guide his actions and shape his words.

Snip

Bishop Tobin does not mince words. During the latest scuffle with Congressman Patrick Kennedy, for example, he suggested that pro-abortion Catholic public figures “really have to question their membership in the [C]hurch.” 

Further, Bishop Tobin published an open letter to Kennedy after the congressman chose to take his disagreement with his bishop to the public square.

Read Judie's entire column here.

Here are some excerpts from that letter:

In the letter, Bishop Tobin states: "Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church."

"Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so."

Patrick Kennedy has been whining to the mainstream media, telling them that the big bad Bishop Tobin is picking on him by not allowing him to receive Communion. However, Bishop Tobin states that the demand was a voluntary request that he made in 2007 in the form of a letter and was meant to be private. It was Kennedy who made it public. In his comments to the Providence Journal, Tobin called the letter a “pastoral” message and said it was “absolutely inaccurate” for Kennedy to say that he told priests in the diocese to not allow him to receive the sacrament.

Consequently, Bishop Tobin has been under attack by the mainstream media.

Here are some things we can do to show our support of Bishop Tobin (as recommended by Judie Brown):

Take action:

1. Thank Bishop Tobin for his courage in standing up for the truth and for his concern for Congressman Kennedy’s soul.
Contact the bishop’s public affairs manager, Karen Davis (call 401-278-4600, fax 401-278-4659 or e-mail kdavis@dioceseofprovidence.org), or write to this address:
Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D.
Diocese of Providence
One Cathedral Square
Providence, RI 02903

2. Contact Congressman Patrick Kennedy to let him know that you are praying for his conversion to truth. E-mail him through his congressional web site, call 202-225-4911, fax 202-225-3290 or write to this address:

Representative Patrick Kennedy
407 Cannon House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

For more information see:


Catholic Culture: Bishop Tobin asked Rep. Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion  

Aggie Catholics: Bishop Tobin "Interviewed" by Chris Matthews  

Whispers in the Loggia: Tobin/Kennedy, Round 4

Republican Party May Vote on Purity Resolution


 This sounds like a great way to rid the Republican party of RINO's and pro-aborts:
 

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- National Republican Party leaders may vote on a purity resolution at their January meeting that would prevent the party from funding candidates that did not adhere to a set of GOP principles, one of which includes opposing abortion. The resolution is sparking an internal party debate on the best way to advance pro-life principles.
 
The resolution is sponsored by Jim Bopp, a prominent pro-life attorney who is the legal counsel for the National Right to Life Committee and a longtime Republican committeeman from Indiana.

Read the full story here. 

More Information: 

Wall Street Journal: Some Conservatives Push 'a purity test for GOP Candidates

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions, martyrs


There are 117 martyrs in this group and although they died at different times, they were all canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988. Of the group, 96 were Vietnamese, 11 were Spaniards, and 10 were French. There were 8 bishops, 50 priests and 59 lay Catholics in the group. Of the priests, 11 were Dominicans, 10 belonged to the Paris Mission Society, and the rest were diocesan priests plus one seminarian. Certain individual martyrs were mentioned by name in the process of canonization: Andrew Dung-Lac, a diocesan priest; Thomas Tran-Van-Thien, a seminarian; Emmanuel Le-Van-Pung, father of a family; the Dominican bishops Jerome Hermosilla and Valentine Berrio-Ochoa; and John Theophane Venard.

~Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi

St. Andrew Dung-Lac's name was originally Dung An Trân, and he was born about 1795 in a poor and pagan family in Bac-Ninh in North Vietnam. When he was twelve the family had to move to Hà-Nôi (Hanoi) where his parents could find work. There he met a catechist and got food and shelter from him. He also got education in the Christian faith for three years, and was baptized in Vinh-Tri with the Christian name Andrew (Andrew Dung). After learning Chinese and Latin he became a catechist, and thereafter taught catechism in the country. He was chosen to study theology, and on March 15, 1823 he was ordained a priest. As parish priest in Ke-Dâm he was tireless in his preaching. He often fasted and lived a simple and moral life, he was a good example for the people, and many were baptized. In 1835 he was imprisoned under emperor Minh-Mang's persecutions (he was called Vietnam's emperor Nero), but his freedom was purchased by donations from members of the congregation he served. To avoid persecutions he changed his name to Lac (Andrew Lac) and moved to another prefecture to continue his work. But on November 10, 1839 he was again arrested, this time with Peter Thi, another Vietnamese priest whom he was visiting so that he might go to confession.

Once again Andrew was liberated, along with Peter Thi, in exchange for money. Their freedom was brief. They were soon re-arrested and taken to Hanoi, where both suffered dreadful torture. Finally they both were beheaded December 21, 1839.

~ Excerpted from Catholic Culture.

Find out more about the Vietnam martyrs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Man in ‘coma’ heard everything for 23 years




Mother says her son received wrong medical diagnosis after 1983 car crash

22,000 Youth March in Eucharistic Procession Through Kansas City



The Future of the Catholic Church in the United States

Sarah Palin: My Life with a Down's Syndrome Child




In her memoir, US vice-presidential candidate tells of the problems and the joy of living with her special needs son 

12 Tips To a Better Advent Season




The liturgical season of Advent begins on the first Sunday in Advent, opening a new year in our Church's Calendar. The word Advent is from the Latin adventus, which means "coming" and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas.

Advent blends together a penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, a liturgical theme of preparation for the Second and Final Coming of the Lord, called the Parousia, and a joyful theme of getting ready for the birth of Christ.

During Advent, we are called upon to:

1) prepare ourselves to worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,

2) make our souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace

3) make ourselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world

~from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

Advent is a season of waiting, a season filled with hope. Here are twelve tips that will help you and your family keep this season holy:

1. Use an Advent calendar and/or a wreath to mark this time of preparation. Pray Advent prayers with the family and the rosary when you light up the candle on the wreath. Sing 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' throughout Advent.

2. Keep outdoor lights and decorations simple, using religious CHRISTmas scenes like the Nativity or a star.

3. Use a Jesse tree or an Advent tree.

4. Have your Christmas tree blessed. Remind your children that the tree is a Christian symbol and relates to many aspects of our faith.

5. Let your children know that "Santa Claus" is another name for the real St. Nicholas and tell them his story. Celebrate the day. Encourage your children to leave their shoes outside their bedroom doors on Dec. 5. When they awaken, they will find small gifts like candy or fruit if they’ve been good.

6. Participate in the Giving Tree at church. Have your children buy a gift to donate to children in need or perform some service for the poor or elderly.

7. Put a Nativity set in a prominent place in your home, but only put out some of the animals. You can put the other statues out, but in another place in your home. Each week, read a little from the Christmas story in Luke's Gospel, and move the statues a little closer.

8. Have the children place a piece of straw in the manger for each good deed they do during Advent as a gift to the baby Jesus.

9. Take the entire family, when possible, to daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and to the sacrament of Reconciliation.

10. Light a candle before the Blessed Mother when visiting the Blessed Sacrament.

11. The Mary candle: Some families have the custom of decorating the Christ candle with a blue veil on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On this great feast, others place a candle with a blue ribbon before a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin, whose “yes” to God enabled our Lord’s coming at Christmas. The candle is lit during meal times to serve as a delightful reminder of Mary’s eager expectation of the “Light of the World.”

12. St. Lucy cakes: The feast of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, is on December 13th. This marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden. Her life story can be found in most saints books, as can the recipe for the traditional cakes. The symbolism is rich and her life story worthwhile reading.

Here are some great Advent links:

Simple Woman's Daybook: November 23, 2009


 For Today...


November 23, 2009

Outside my window... it's sunny, bright, and in the 50's today...not windy at all,  which is unusual here.

I am thinking...of the week ahead and all that I have to do, but with God's grace it will get done and focus on the things that are most vital.

I am thankful for...my ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ as He carries me and my family through these challenging times. I am ever thankful for my Catholic faith which sustains me and provides all the graces I need to take things one day at a time.

From the kitchen...I am preparing chicken and brown rice with veggies for supper.

I am wearing...a blue dress.

I am creating...a beautiful and organized home for Thanksgiving or at least I'm attempting to do so.

I am going...to the bank and to the chiropractor later this afternoon, followed by Mass and exercise -- walking.

I am reading...my devotionals and the Bible.

I am hoping...to have my second book published and to land a writing job soon... prayers appreciated.

I am hearing...the washing machine whir.

Around the house...we still have roses in bloom and some other flowering plants -- I'm amazed by this!

One of my favorite things...is watching old classic movies...especially around the holidays.

A few plans for the rest of the week: get the flat tire on my car repaired, attend Light Weigh, journal, prepare Thanksgiving dinner, work on writing projects, major house cleaning, shopping, Advent/Christmas planning.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


This is from my photo journal.


Lots more Simple Woman’s Daybooks here!

Humorous: The View Panelists Discuss the Kennedy -- Bishop Tobin Controversy




Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on what happened on the ABC-TV show, “The View,” today:

The panelists discussed the controversy between Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Bishop Thomas Tobin on the propriety of an abortion-rights Catholic politician receiving Holy Communion. Why anyone would go on television and discuss something she knows absolutely nothing about is a mystery, but I’ll tell you this much—it makes for a great laugh.

So here’s the transcript. Which one of them was the most brilliant is debatable, but what’s for certain is that all the gals really sparkled.

Let producer Bill Geddie know your choice for first prize.
Contact:
bill.geddie@abc.com

For more information see:

LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH: Bishop Tobin vs Kennedy with vapid commentary from Fr. Tom Reese

The Curt Jester: Rep. Kennedy barred from Communion in 2007?

Blessed Miguel Pro, Priest and Martyr



Miguel Agustin Pro was born January 13, 1891, in Mexico. From his childhood, he was known for his high spirits and happy personality. The son of an affluent mining engineer and a pious and charitable mother, Miguel had a special affinity for the working classes.

At 20, he became a Jesuit novice and shortly afterward was exiled due to the Mexican revolution. He traveled to the United States, Spain, Nicaragua and Belgium, where he was ordained in 1925. Father Pro suffered greatly from a severe stomach disorder. When his health did not improve after several surgeries, his superiors permitted him to return to Mexico in 1926.

At this time, the revolutionary government in Mexico had banned all religious practice. The churches were closed and priests were in hiding. The government was particularly focused on finding and persecuting priests. Father Pro became a great master of disguise and spent the remainder of his life in a secret ministry to the Mexican Catholics who helped hide him from the authorities. In addition to fulfilling their spiritual needs, Fr. Pro also assisted the poor of Mexico City with their temporal needs. In all that he did, he remained filled with the joy of serving Christ, his King.

Falsely accused in a bombing attempt on the President-elect, Pro became a wanted man. On November 18, 1927, he was arrested and sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.On November 23, the day of his death, Father Pro prayed, forgave his executioners, bravely refused a blindfold, and faced the firing squad with his arms extended in the form of a cross, proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long Live Christ the King!) as his body was racked with a hale of bullets.

Pope John Paul II beatified him on September 25, 1988.

A Prayer Composed by Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
 
According to one of Fr. Pro’s biographers, Rec. M.D. Forrest, M.S.C., the following was composed shortly before his death:

"Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish... I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith... Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life."


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Health Care Bill Moves Toward Senate Debate


WASHINGTON -- Sweeping health care legislation cleared its first hurdle Saturday in the Senate on a party-line vote, paving the way for debate on a massive health insurance overhaul.

The 60-39 vote opens the door for debate on the $848 billion legislation to start after Thanksgiving. The measure is designed to extend coverage over six years to an estimated 31 million Americans who lack it and crack down on insurance industry practices that deny benefits.

Read the entire story.

Go here to see how your Senators voted.

Related Information: National Right to Life to Obama and Reid: You wanted debate? Now you'll get debate on government - funded abortion



Need a Special Patron Saint for 2010?

It's that time of year again when we receive our patron saints for the following year.

This year  you may  receive your special saint at Where Angels Blog ...

... OR you may also go to Sancta Sanctis where Enbrethiliel was recently asked by someone to do them that service.

For more info about the "Saint of the Year Devotion," go here.

This year, I was assigned St. Dominic de Guzman -- one of my favorite saints!

H/T: Julie.

The Solemnity of Christ the King



Long Live Christ the King!

By Thomas J. Euteneuer

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King and on Monday the feast of Blessed Miguel Pro, the Mexican martyr who died with the words "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!) on his lips. How ironic that the feast of Blessed Miguel falls every year somewhere near the feast of Christ the King in the Church calendar. This marvelous saint and, indeed all the saints, remind us that our lives are not our own, that we serve a great King whose service is sweet and blessed - and demanding. Our King does not need a political party or an army of pawns to do His Will. He needs saints to transform the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of God. Will we join Him?

In the modern world we are not used to kings (and queens) being anything other than figureheads. In countries that have them, they are generally nothing more than symbols of the national identity or holdovers from a bygone era, or heads of state but without any political power.

Christ our King, however, is not one of these monarchs. His kingship is not political - indeed, He told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world and He refused to be the political messiah that His people expected. Nor is His kingship just ceremonial, as if he were fulfilling a nostalgic social need for a national figurehead. Rather, He reigns over us with Truth and His Kingship is social. He demands that we be personally virtuous and conduct a worthy struggle against the enemies of His Kingdom - the world, the flesh and the devil - that affect everyone. He wants the total transformation of our culture so that the kingdom of this world may be purified of its evil and given over to authentic justice and charity. We all have something to do for Him, no matter how meek or mighty we might be.

The subjects of such a King bind themselves on oath to serve Him and carry out this project of social transformation to make the world one for Christ. We see that project most fully implemented in the lives of the saints. They fought the hard battles of their respective societies and sometimes they even gave their lives and their blood for Christ so that men could be saved from the power of evil. They first transformed the hearts of those who listened to them and in turn transformed the societies in which they lived to make them more fitting places for the ultimate coming of Christ. Politics tends to follow the transformation of society, for good or for evil, and the saints know that.

If we haven't already made the decision to do so, it's time to serve this King with our whole beings. Like the saints, we cast aside any fear of acknowledging our loyalty to Him and ask the King where He wishes us to serve His kingdom best. He will direct His loyal servants to their most effective way of overcoming the darkness and bringing His Light to the world.

What is it that the King calls you to do? Is it the humble service of a family? Is it offering faithful service to the poorest members of our society, the unborn, by sidewalk counseling, working in or supporting a crisis pregnancy center, or some other prophetic action directed at our culture of death? It may be that He calls you to "be fruitful and multiply" for His Kingdom and have more children. Every king is blessed by an abundance of citizens for His Kingdom and those who are able to do so must take seriously His call to transform our world by giving life and educating children in the ways of the Faith.

It is through humble service like this that we are given the opportunity to become saints. We transform culture first by transforming our hearts in His service. Blessed Miguel Pro lived a life of heroic service to others and died a joyful martyr. His final words are a call to each of us to glorify our King in our lives here on earth and a reminder of the gift of eternal life promised us in heaven.

Indeed, "Long live Christ the King!"


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer is the President of Human Life International.

For more information on today's feast, see Catholic Culture.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Humor: The Bagpiper

I hope this brightens your day. Thanks, Joan, for sharing it with me:

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs..  Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a grave side service for a homeless man.  He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back-country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.  I finally arrived an hour late..... and saw the funeral guy was evidently gone, and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left.... and they were eating lunch.  I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.  I went to the side of the grave and looked down.  The vault lid was already in place.  I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.  I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends.  I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played 'Amazing Grace', the workers began to weep..  They wept; I wept; we all wept together.  When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car.  Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I was opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,
  "Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothin' like that before.... and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.."

The Vortex: CCHD - It's about politics & it's worse than we thought

 Vortex presentations from RealCatholicTV.com on CCHD: (Watch both.)



Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


"God inspired in the heart of the pure Virgin Mary His own intense love for humility, and abhorrence of pride. She possessed, even from her infancy, a far greater horror of pride and ambition, and a far deeper love for humility than all the saints together. It was the first virtue that she practices. She abased and humbled herself before all. She esteemed herself, and would have been happy to be treated by others, as the last of the creatures. By marvelous radiance of her Immaculate Conception, she beheld herself susceptible to the guilt of the children of Adam, except that God miraculously preserved her, and she considered that she might have been capable of all the sins in the world, whose source is original sin. It was this humility which attracted to her the countless graces which rendered her worthy to be the Mother of God, Queen of heaven and earth.

Give thanks to Almighty God who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, and offer Him all the glory that this Maiden accorded to His majesty by her practice of the richest humility during her childhood and throughout the rest of her life."
~ St. John Eudes

What does the feast of the Presentation celebrate?

It celebrates the fact that the parents of Our Lady brought her to the Temple at the age of three and handed her over to live there for a long period as a virgin consecrated to the Temple, contemplating God exclusively.

What is the special beauty of this feast?

Our Lady was the one chosen before time began, the Queen of Jesse from whom the Messiah would be born. The Temple was the only place in the Old Testament where sacrifices were offered to God. It represented, therefore, the only true religion. Our Lady being received at the Temple was the first step to the fulfillment of the promise that the Messiah would come to the true religion. It was the encounter of hope with reality. When she was received at the Temple, Our Lady entered the service of God. That is, a soul incomparably holy entered the service of God. At that moment, notwithstanding the decadence of the nation of Israel, and even though the Temple had been transformed into a den of Pharisees, the Temple was filled with an incomparable light that was the sanctity of Our Lady. It was in the Temple atmosphere that, without knowing it, she began to prepare herself to be the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was there that she increased her love of God until she formed the ardent desire for the imminent coming of the Messiah. It was there that she asked God the honor to be the maidservant of His Mother. She did not know that she was the one chosen by God. This is so true that she wondered about the meaning of the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel when he greeted her to ask her permission for the Incarnation. That preparation for Our Lady to be the Mother of Jesus Christ began with the Presentation at the Temple, the feast the Church celebrates on November 21.

Is there a grace we should ask on this day?

We should ask for spiritual help to be better prepared to serve God as Our Lady did. But the best way to serve God is to serve Our Lady herself. So, on this feast day we should re-present ourselves before Our Lady, asking her to receive our offer of service and to give us her assistance in the task of our sanctification, just as the Holy Ghost helped her at the Temple of Jerusalem.

~ Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira 
 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saint of the Day: St. Felix of Valois, Confessor



Felix, born in 1127, and John of Matha founded the Order of Trinitarians for liberating captured Christians from Saracen slavery. He belonged to the royal family of Valois. The breviary recounts several marvelous events from his life. As a boy he frequently gave away his clothes to clothe the naked. He pleaded for the life of a murderer condemned to death and foretold that he would reform and lead a highly edifying life-which prophecy proved true. With St. John of Matha he journeyed to Rome at the bidding of an angel and requested permission from Pope Innocent III to found a religious Order (1198). During holy Mass the Pope was granted a revelation regarding the proposed foundation; an angel appeared to him clothed in white with a red and blue cross. At Innocent's bidding the Order took the name of the Blessed Trinity.

In the newly-founded monastery at Cerfroi, Felix was favored with a visit by the Blessed Virgin. During the night preceding the feast of Mary's Nativity all the brethren slept through Matins by a special divine dispensation. Felix alone appeared at choir, where he found the Blessed Virgin clothed in the habit of the Trinitarians, accompanied by a great throng of angels similarly dressed. United with them, with Mary as choir leader, Felix recited the Office as usual. When he was about to leave the earthly choirs to join those of heaven, an angel foretold to him the day of his departure; he admonished his brethren to persevere in love toward captives and the poor, and died on November 4, 1212, mature in age and merit.

~ Via Catholic Culture.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Novena of the Miraculous Medal Begins Today




This novena begins today November 19 - 27, won't you join us in prayer...



O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother,
penetrated with the most lively confidence
in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession,
manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,
we your loving and trustful children implore you
to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during
this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls,
and the souls for whom we pray.

(Here form your petition)

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been
the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity. Obtain
for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of
heart which will attach us to God alone so that our
every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater
glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and
self-denial that we may recover by penance what
we have lost by sin and at length attain to that
blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels
and of men. Amen.

Oprah to Retire Chicago -- Based Syndicated Show in 2011

 I'm not an Oprah fan, but found this interesting (particularly in light of the recent Sarah Palin interview):


From the Chicago Tribune:

Oprah Winfrey plans to tell viewers on Friday's live edition of her top-rated daytime program that she will retire the Chicago-based syndicated talk show that made her rich, famous and, if not a kingmaker, a maker of bestselling authors and perhaps even a U.S. President at the end of the 2010-11 season, its 25th on national TV.

Harpo Productions confirmed Thursday both her decision and that she will discuss it on her program, her last live show of the calendar year, set to air at 9 a.m. on WLS-Ch. 7, her flagship station.

Speculation has been rampant that she might choose to leave daytime TV ever since it was announced in January 2008 that she and Discovery Networks planned to partner on a cable network: OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

More here.

Worldwide Masses Scheduled on December 9 in Honor of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen


According to the Diocese of Paterson, memorial masses are scheduled to be celebrated worldwide on December 9th to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of famed author, lecturer and television evangelizer Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, as well as promote his cause for canonization. More here.

Via Notes From the Blackboard:

His family and friends will gather for a special Memorial Mass on December 9, 2009, 5:00 pm at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NY, where Sheen preached so many memorable homilies and where he is buried. A special reception will follow the Mass to help raise funds to support the works of the Sheen Foundation. For more information or to be placed on the invitation list, please contact Jane Peverly at the Sheen Foundation, PO Box 728, Peoria, IL 61762, or info@archbishopsheencause.org

THE LATEST ON SWINE FLU / VACCINES

If you have been concerned about about the swine flu and vaccines, I recommend you take a look at the following fascinating posts online:

ALLERGIES, ASTHMA MAY BE HAVE VACCINE LINK, ALONG WITH SPIRITUAL IMPLICATIONS

Testosterhome: Trust in the Time of Swine Flu

Swine Flu: Will Your Kids Get the H1N1 Vaccine?

Simple Solutions to Battle H1N1 Hysteria

Obama's Double Cross on Abortion: Why is everyone so surprised?


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the latest developments regarding the health care bill:

On November 15, presidential advisor David Axelrod made it clear that President Obama opposes the Stupak amendment that bans abortion funding in the House’s version of the health care bill. The Senate has just completed its version, and it contains nothing like the language of the Stupak amendment. As reported today by AP, “On a controversial issue that threatened to derail the House legislation, [Senate Majority Leader] Reid would allow the new government insurance plan to cover abortions and would let companies that receive federal funds offer insurance plans that include abortion coverage.”

President Obama, after telling the public that he would not support a bill that provided federal funds for abortion (he was hailed by the bishops for doing so), is now championing a bill that would do just that. Moreover, he is pushing for legislation that the American people do not support: CNN posted survey results yesterday showing that 61 percent of the public is in favor of banning the use of federal funds to pay for abortion; only 37 percent favor it.

In other words, Obama has decided to renege on his promise, betray the bishops and defy the American people. Risky business given that today’s Rasmussen presidential tracking poll shows only 46 percent of voters approve of Obama’s performance. Worse, only 27 percent strongly approve and 41 percent strongly disapprove of the job he has been doing. Wait until the public learns about Obama’s double cross on abortion!

This doesn't surprise me one bit! Obama is a radical supporter of the culture of death and has been for as long as I can recall. He lied to the Pope, he lied to the Bishops, and he lied to the American people. I have been warning my readers about him for years. What surprises me is that anyone believed him in the first place.  After all, he is the "Abortion President".

Today's Saint: St. Raphael Kalinowski, O.C.D.


Saint Rapahel was born  in 1835 as Joseph, son of Andrew and Josepha Kalinowski in present day Lithuania.  Saint Raphael felt a call to the priesthood early in his life, but decided to complete his education.  He studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the Institute of Agronomy in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Saint Raphael became a Lieutenant in the Russian Military Engineering Corps in 1857.  During his post he was responsible for the planning and supervised the construction of the railway between Kursk and Odessa.  He was promoted to captain in 1862 and stationed in Brest-Litovsk.  In Bret-Litovsk he started, taught, and covered all the costs of a Sunday school, accepting anyone interested.

In 1863 he supported the Polish insurrection. He resigned from the Russian army and became the rebellion's minister of war for the Vilna region.  He only took the commission with the understanding that he would never hand out a death sentence nor execute a prisoner. He was soon arrested by Russian authorities and in June of 1864 he was condemned to death for his part in the revolt.  Fearing they would be creating a political martyr, they commuted his sentence to ten years of forced labour in the Siberian salt mines.  Part of his sentence was spent in Irkutsk where his relics have been moved to sanctify the new cathedral.

Upon his release in 1873, he was exiled from his home region in Lithuania. He moved to Paris, France, and worked as a tutor for three years.  In 1877 he finally answered the long-heard call to the religious life, and joined the Carmelite Order at Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael. He studied theology in Hungary and then joined the Carmelite house in Czama, Poland.   He was ordained on January  15, 1882.

Saint Raphael worked to restore the Discalced Carmelites to Poland, and for church unity. He founded a convent at Wadowice, Poland in 1889 and worked with Blessed Alphonsus Mary Marurek. He was a noted spiritual director for both Catholics and Orthodox.  He was considered  an enthusiastic parish priest and spent countless hours with his parishioners in the confessional.  Saint Raphael died in 1907 and was cannonized by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

Source 


Saint Raphael is a "patron of ecumenism, especially with Eastern Christians."
Quote:

Our Redeemer, ever present in the most Blessed Sacrament, extends His hand to everyone. He opens His heart and says, 'Come to Me, all of You.'"

~ Saint Raphael

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Huckabee talks about Sarah Palin, 2010 elections, and the sanctity of human life

Holy Father calls for the world to respect the dignity of children



.- Following today's general audience, Benedict XVI appealed to the international community to respect the rights of children around the globe.

The Holy Father recalled that November 20 marks the United Nations Day of Prayer and Action for Children, saying, “My thoughts go to all the children of the world, especially those who live in difficult conditions, and suffer because of violence, abuse, sickness, war or hunger.”

“At the same time,” he continued, “I make an appeal to the international community to increase its efforts to offer an adequate response to the dramatic problems of infancy. May a generous commitment on everyone's part not be lacking so that the rights of children may be recognized and their dignity given ever greater respect."

Beautiful Sacred Music for Meditation, Contemplation

Sanctus Bene~ polyphony: Catholic Chant via Catholiques1: