"To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop." ~ Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.101
Everything is grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love.Everything is grace because everything is God's gift.Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events -- to the heart that loves, all is well.
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"I love the zeal Jean puts into her posts, especially when it comes to the prolife movement." Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.
"Jean of Catholic Fire...provides so much informative content. She posts about pro-life issues and events, what happened 'on this day', biographies of saints, prayer intentions, and lots more each day. No matter what she's posting about, I can always come away each day feeling uplifted...and that's saying a lot for me, as I'm someone who often tries to avoid thinking about some of the political and other issues that she posts about. It must be her strong faith and trust in God, as well as her love, shining through her posts, that inspire me." Margaret Mary Myers , Reflections, Catholic BVI Readers, VIP Homeschooler.
St. Sylvester, a native Roman, was chosen by God to govern His holy Church during the first years of Her temporal prosperity and triumph over Her persecuting enemies. Pope Melchiades died in January, 314. St. Sylvester was chosen as his successor. He governed the Church for more than twenty-one years, ably organizing the discipline of the Roman Church, and taking part in the negotiations concerning Arianism and the Council of Nicaea. He also sent Legates to the first Ecumenical Council.
During his Pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine — the Basilica and baptistery of the Lateran, the Basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. No doubt St. Sylvester helped towards the construction of these churches. He was a friend of Emperor Constantine, confirmed the first General Council of Nicaea (325), and gave the Church a new discipline for the new era of peace. He might be called the first "peace Pope" after centuries of bloody persecution. He also established the Roman school of singing. On the Via Salaria he built a cemeterial church over the Catacomb of St. Priscilla, and it was in this church that he was buried when he died on December 31, 335.
Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holy day of obligation. The Divine Office notes: He called the weekdays feria, because for the Christian every day is a "free day" (the term is still in use; thus Monday is feria secunda.).
~Compiled from Heavenly Friends, Rosalie Marie Levy and The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
The saint of the day for December 30th is Blessed Eugenia Ravasco (1845 - 1900).
Eugenia Ravasco was born on January 4, 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.
In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who had come under the influence of this spreading problem.
From early adolescence, Eugenia was deeply influenced by her uncle's responsible Christian example and his generosity towards the poor. Unlike her shy younger sister, Elisa, Eugenia was expansive and energetic and loved to serve others. Eucharistic worship, together with devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, became an essential part of her spirituality.
On June 21, 1855, Eugenia made her First Communion and Confirmation in St Ambrose's Church and from that day on, whenever she passed a church she would enter it to pray. God was preparing her for greater things.
In December 1862, her Uncle died, leaving Eugenia with the responsibility of caring for the family. With the help of God and the advice of Canon Salvatore Magnasco, she valiantly faced the problems caused by her brother. Aunt Marietta joined Eugenia to help the family. Both made every effort to rescue Ambrose, but without success.
Although her aunt wanted her to marry, Eugenia prayed that the Lord would show her the path to take, since she felt a growing inner call to religious life. On 31 May 1863 she received an answer as she entered the Church of St Sabina to pray. Fr Giacinto Bianchi, an ardent missionary of the Sacred Heart, was celebrating Mass. When she heard him say to the faithful, "Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?", Eugenia understood that God was speaking to her, calling her to him through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Eugenia found a spiritual director to help her discern what she was feeling, and shortly thereafter she began to teach catechism in the parish church to the disadvantaged young girls of the city. Her aunt and those close to her were against this, especially because these girls were unmannered and street-wise. But Eugenia persevered, accepting with patience the humiliations that she received from all sides. Little by little, she won the young girls over, organizing day trips and games for them and gaining their trust. She reached out to the most uneducated, neglected girls who, left to themselves, were in danger of going down the same errant path as her brother Ambrose.
As time went on, Eugenia felt that God was calling her to found a religious order that would form "honest citizens in society and saints in Heaven". Other young women had also joined her in this effort. On 6 December 1868, when she was 23 years old, she founded the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Canon (later Archbishop) Magnasco had prepared her carefully and she continued, together with the sisters, to teach catechism and to open schools.
Despite open hostility towards the Church and the activity of the Freemasons, Mother Eugenia opened in 1878 a school for girls to give them Christian instruction and to prepare "Christian teachers" for the future. She proved courageous in the face of the persecution and ridicule she received from the local press. She also gave particular attention to the dying, the imprisoned and those away from the Church. Notwithstanding her poor health, she travelled around Italy and to France and Switzerland, opening new communities and attracting religious vocations.
In 1882 the Congregation received diocesan approval and in 1884, together with her sisters, Mother Eugenia made her perpetual profession. She guided the foundations and her sisters with love and prudence, giving them as model the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolic ideal in life was "to burn with the desire to do good to others, especially to youth", and to "live in abbandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate". Mother Eugenia Ravasco died on 30 December 1900 in Genoa, consumed by illness. And in 1909 the Congregation she founded received Pontifical approval.
Today the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (also known as the "Ravasco Institute") are present in Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines. They continue their work in schools, parishes and missions and are especially dedicated to serving youth and the needy and to promoting the dignity of women.
She died on December 30, 1900 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes and was beatified on April 27, 2003 by Pope John Paul II.
Quote: "Live in abandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate."
~ Blessed Eugenia
Blessed Eugenia Ravasco was wholly concerned with spreading love for the Hearts of Christ and Mary. Contemplating these two Hearts, she was passionately devoted to serving her neighbour and joyfully devoted her whole life to young people and the poor. With foresight, she was able to open herself to the pressing needs of the mission, with special concern for those who had "fallen away" from the Church. The words "doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus", and "burning with desire for the good of others, especially young people" neatly sum up the charism she bestowed on her institute.
~ Pope John Paul II, from his homily during the beatfication of Blessed Eugenia
I missed my blog's birthday (December 22, 2003) again this year, so I will celebrate it today. Please join me in celebratingCatholic Fire's seventh birthday.
Catholic Fire started with a brief article on St. John of Kanty and progressed with posts about my pro-life experiences as a prayer warrior and sidewalk counselor first in Illinois and later in Kansas. I wrote about my spiritual growth via the Community of St. John and began including more posts on spirituality and the saints. Later on, I added book reviews and movies reviews and tried to incorporate humorous posts as well as some political posts pertaining to pro-life issues. Today, posts aren't always as frequent as they were in the past, as I have returned to graduate school to study for my Master of Arts degree in Theology, but I try to continue to post as often as possible.
Today I wish to thank all of my loyal readers for their wonderful support -- you are amazing! God bless you!
Benedict XVI will turn 84 years old in April and it will mark his sixth year as Pope. However, this is not stopping him from planning a year with thousands of travel miles and preparing to publish more of his writings. According to his official agenda, he will make eight trips during 2011 and publish two volumes of his book "Jesus of Nazareth."
Today is the fifth day in the octave of Christmas and the optional memorial of St. Thomas Becket, also known as St. Thomas of Canterbury.
St. Thomas Becket was born in London, England in 1118. His father was a Norman knight, Gilbert, who had become a prosperous merchant in London; his mother was also Norman, and he had at least two sisters.
Thomas was noted for his piety, his strong devotion to Our Lady, and his generosity to the poor.
He was educated at the Merton Priory in Sussex and at the University of Paris. When he returned to England at twenty-one, he obtained an appointment as a clerk to the sheriff’s court, where he showed great ability. He was determined to make it on his own in the world now that his parents were both deceased.
After three years, he was taken into the household of Theobald, the Norman monk-archbishop of Canterbury. The young Thomas gradually climbed up the ecclesiastical ladder of success via his charm, his generosity and his adaptability. He was ambitious, and refused no opportunity for advancement. He enjoyed having a "good time", but at all times his life was marked by purity and holiness. The archbishop assigned him the post of archdeacon, and, at the age of thirty-six, he was recommended by Theobald to the young King Henry as chancellor.
As his chancellor, Thomas had a personal fondness for Henry and devoted all his efforts to serve and please the young king. Thomas was very well paid for his work and spent his earnings lavishly on entertainment, luxurious clothing, extravagant meals, and on hunting. He never failed to work hard and act prudently on behalf of the king's interests. There is evidence that during this time he was dissatisfied with himself and his "worldly life".
In 1163, Theobald died, and the king secured the election of his friend, Thomas, as archbishop, confident that he would serve all his interests and meet all his demands. Thomas was reluctant to accept the office, and warned Henry that he might regret his decision. Eventually, he did agree to accept the office and when he did, something unusual happened. Thomas suddenly became an austere and very spiritual man, devoting himself wholly to the interests of the Church. He made it clear that he was now the faithful servant of the Holy Father.
A short time later, the inevitable clash with the king occurred. Henry reasserted all the rights of the monarchy, which had been claimed and exercised fifty years earlier. Since that time, however, the papacy had established the claim of the church to control matters such as the trial of clerics and the excommunication of offenders, and had asserted its right to hear appeals and decide all cases.
The archbishop and his king were in constant conflict, and affairs reached a crisis when the king demanded that Thomas agree to the Constitutions of Clarendon (1164. This document stated that all the customs of the past were now contrary to both the law of the Church and the practice of the papacy. Thomas hesitated, and for a moment gave way, thus breaking the solidarity of the bishops in their resistance. Then, at a council at Northampton in 1164 he reasserted his opposition and in face of threats of death or imprisonment, he escaped at night and crossed to France to seek the pope.
As archbishop, Thomas was in exile in France for the next six years, while he and the king and Pope Alexander III attempted to settle the controversy and restore peace to the church in England. Meanwhile Thomas, at the abbey of Pontigny and elsewhere, devoted himself to prayer and penance in what may be called a 'second conversion' from piety to sanctity.
When an uneasy peace was established in 1169, Thomas returned in triumph to Canterbury. Almost immediately, the King enraged by the archbishop's refusal to withdraw some censures, let words slip out that were taken to be a command to kill the archbishop as a traitor.
On December 29th, 1170, four knights from the court of King Henry II burst into Canterbury Cathedral as the Archbishop was on his way to Vespers. Just inside the cloister door, they murdered Thomas Becket, whose defense of the rights of the Church had angered the King. His last words were: 'I accept death for the name of Jesus and for the Church.'
The murder shocked the conscience of all Europe; miracles were announced immediately; the archbishop was canonized as a martyr by Alexander III in 1173; the king did public penance at his tomb, and much of what St Thomas had worked for all his life was accomplished by his death. Within three years, Thomas was canonized, and the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury has become one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims from all over the world.
Patron: Clergy; secular clergy; Exeter College Oxford; Portsmouth, England.
Symbols: Sword through a mitre; pallium and archbishop's cross; battle axe and crosier; red chasuble; altar and sword.Often Portrayed As: Archbishop with a wounded head; archbishop holding an inverted sword; archbishop kneeling before his murderers; archbishop being murdered in church.
"Many are needed to plant and water what has been planted now that the faith has spread so far and there are so many people...No matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what is planted is the faith of Peter and unless he agrees to his teachings."
"Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered...the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith...All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown."
Thomas said this to a friend on his way to ordination: "Hereafter, I want you to tell me, candidly and in secret, what people are saying about me. And if you see anything in me that you regard as a fault, feel free to tell me in private. For from now on, people will talk about me, but not to me. It is dangerous for men in power if no one dares to tell them when they go wrong."
Kudos to Archbishop John Vlazny for standing up for life!
At the direction of Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Catholic Community Services has withdrawn from United Way of Lane County because of United Way’s funding of Planned Parenthood. The decision will cost Catholic Community Services 4% of its budget.
Two other Catholic agencies-- PeaceHealth and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-- receive funding from United Way of Lane County. Archdiocesan spokesman Bud Bunce said both agencies are expected to withdraw from United Way as well.
Children under the age of two in Bethlehem were massacred by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the child Jesus. We call these Holy Innocents martyrs because they died in the place of Christ. St. Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves."
In modern times, we have our own "holy innocents" -- those children who are killed daily in the place that should be the safest and most protective environment of all for them -- their mother's wombs. On this day, we recall the over 50 million children in our country alone (since 1973) and the vast number of children throughout the world who have been killed under the insane laws permitting abortion. Let us pray daily for an end to this tragedy.
Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today's feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven's blessing stream down upon them.
"Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers' womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers' bosom, are justly hailed as "infant martyr flowers"; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.
~ St. Augustine
Let us ask the Holy Innocents to intercede for us that we may bring about a renewed respect for human life in our society, to build a culture of life, protect the innocents in our day and comfort those who mourn.
Surprise! Surprise! Just in time for Christmas, the Obama Administration is making private death consultations a part of your health care. Obamacare solution to controlling costs: Make sure the patients don't live.
Today is the feast day of my Community -- the feast of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist.St.John is also my patron saint and the saint I try most to emulate in my daily life.
St. John, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry, and he travelled everywhere with Him.
St. John is known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself. Also, his singular privilege of chastity, his virginal purity rendered him worthy of this more particular love.
As St. Augustine explains, "He was chosen by our Lord, a virgin, and he always remained such. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favorite disciple. His church suffers only those who live perfectly chaste to serve Him in His priesthood, where they daily touch and offer His virginal flesh upon the altar."
At the Last Supper, Jesus allowed John to rest upon His breast. John is the one apostle who never abandoned Jesus, but stayed by Him to the very end. John was the only Apostle present at the Crucifixion and stood at the foot of His cross. It is there that Jesus entrusted His mother to the care of His friend. Consequently, John took Mary into his home, loved her, and cared for her as if she were his own mother.
Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.
St. John spent his later life in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Pathmos for a year. He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.
Patron: Against poison; art dealers; authors; bookbinders; booksellers; burns; compositors; editors; engravers; friendships; lithographers; painters; papermakers; poisoning; printers; publishers; tanners; theologians; typesetters; writers; Asia Minor; Taos, New Mexico; Umbria, Italy; diocese of Cleveland, Ohio; diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Symbols: Cup or chalice and serpent (cup or sorrow foretold by Jesus); eagle rising out of a cauldron (refers to being a martyr of spirit, but not in deed); serpent entwined on a sword; grave; Prester John seated on tomb, with book, orb, and sword; eagle on a closed book; scroll of his Gospel; scroll of the Apocalypse; nimbed eagle; book.
Today is the feast of the Holy Family. I have a special fondness for this feast day as it has been my ongoing prayer that my family will imitate the Holy Family in holiness, which brings peace to my heart as I envision that happening.
The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.
On this special feast day of the Holy Family let us pray that we may emulate their holiness in our own family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Pray also for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond.
Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Family
Dear Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.
Mother Mary, bless the mother of our family. Help her to be pure and kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. For the more she resembles you, the better will our family be.
Lord Jesus, bless the children of our family. Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents. Make them more and more like You. Let them grow, as You did, in wisdom and age and grace before God and man. Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home more and more like Yours, until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.
"God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfills them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life."
Why doesn't this surprise me? I suppose it's because the Catholic Health Association isn't really a Catholic organization -- no organization that upholds abortion can be Catholic. You can't be both Catholic and pro-abortion.
Phoenix, Ariz., Dec 23, 2010 / 04:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic Health Association has once again found itself at odds with Church authority– this time, over Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's decision to revoke the Catholic status of a hospital that admitted to serious ethics violations, including a highly-publicized abortion.
“Catholic Healthcare West and its system hospitals are valued members of the Catholic Health Association,” said that group's president, Sister Carol Keehan. Her remarks came less than 24 hours after the Bishop of Phoenix stripped one of those hospitals, St. Joseph's in Phoenix, of its Catholic affiliation.
Today the Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. John of Kanty, priest.
St. John was born at Kanty, in the Diocese of Krakow, Poland in 1390 to Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people. He was educated at the Academy of Krakow, where he impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and friendly disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and holy, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. He earned his doctorate in theology and philosophy, was ordained priest and was then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. Shortly afterwards, he was reassigned to the Diocese of Krakow, to be a parish priest. He was then re-appointed professor of Sacres Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, a position he held for the rest of his life. John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." He distinguished himself as an orthodox teacher of the faith, and by his piety and love of neighbor gave Christian example to his colleagues and his students.
St. John demonstrated extreme humility and charity, distributing to the poor all the money and clothes he had, retaining only what was absolutely necessary to care for himself. He slept little, and on the floor, ate very little food, and totally abstained from meat after he became a doctor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. Durng his life he performed many miracles, which were multiplied after his death at his tomb. He died in 1473 and was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns; he is the only confessor not a bishop who is honored in this way.
Patron: Lithuania, Poland.
Symbols: Dressed in a professor's gown with his arm around the shoulder of a young student whose gaze he directs towards heaven; giving his garments to the poor.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on today's episode of "The View" which featured a discussion about the Catholic Church and abortion:
It is an ugly site: grown women sitting around bashing a religion that none belong to. Though at one time three did: Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are all ex-Catholics. They went bonkers today—the crosstalk makes them look downright delirious—ripping away about the Catholic Church because a nun was excommunicated for allowing an abortion at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. What they didn't say was that the nun gave her formal consent to the killing of an innocent child. More important, since none of the panelists are Catholic, it is none of their business anyway.
The fact is (though one would never know it by watching this extended diatribe) the parent organization to this hospital, Catholic Healthcare West, has a long record of flagrantly violating the teachings of the Catholic Church. In other words, the San Francisco-based organization is a serial offender.
Had the non-Catholics focused only on this issue, that would be one thing. But, no, they trotted out miscreant priests, painted the Catholic Church as anti-women, etc. That's what happens when the bigotry is deeply embedded—one issue is enough to set off an explosion.
Behar is no stranger to Catholic bashing, so it was expected she would join in while the others piled on. Hasselbeck poses as a conservative, but her pathological hatred of Catholicism reveals who she really is. Sherri Shepherd, who usually keeps her mouth shut during these harangues, unwisely spoke up. As for Whoopi, who reportedly has had at least a half-dozen abortions—beginning at age 14 [click here]—it is no wonder she looked the most delirious.
The saint of the day for December 22 is Blessed Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306), an Italian noble from the Benedetti family of Todi and a successful lawyer at Bologna. He was married to Vanna di Guidone in 1267, who considered him too worldly, and did penance for him. In 1268, Jacomo insisted she attend a public tournament against her wishes; the stands in which she sat collapsed, and Vanna was killed. The shock of this event, and his discovery of her penance for him, caused a radical change in Jacomo. He gave his possessions to the poor, dressed in rags, and joined the Third Order of Saint Francis. His former associates called him Jacopone, Crazy Jim; he embraced the name.
After ten years of this penance and abuse, Jacomo tried to join the Franciscans; his reputation as Crazy Jim preceeded him, and he was refused. To prove his sanity and intentions, he wrote a beautiful poem about the vanities of the world; it swayed the Franciscans, and he joined the Order in 1278. He refused to be ordained, and spent time writing popular hymns in the vernacular.
Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had the support of two cardinals and Pope Celestine V. The two cardinals, however, opposed Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII, and due to the wrangling in the Vatican, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned at age 68. Jacopone acknowledged his error, but was not released until Blessed Benedict XI became pope five years later. He accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent his last three years giving himself to completely to spirituality, weeping "because Love is not loved," and writing, including the famous Latin hymn, Stabat Mater.
Dr. Carlo Bellieni, a neonatal doctor in Siena, Italy, is working tirelessly to change the way the world looks at unborn children.
In more than 20 years of work and study he has developed new channels of understanding the unborn and the newborn child and new methods of giving them medical assistance.
He is an avid researcher, often collaborating with other scientists and doctors internationally to produce books, scientific papers and new studies examining pre-born and newborn babies. The Italian Neonatology Society, the European Society for Pediatric Research and the Pontifical Academy for Life count him as a member. He is a frequent contributor to the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
His particular passion is researching the way an unborn or a newborn child feels pain and finding ways to alleviate it through pioneering medical methods and strategies that don't use pharmaceutical drugs.
Enough is enough! I was happy to hear that Bishop Olmstead is sticking to his guns and laying down the law, but sad to hear that this "Catholic" hospital is refusing to change its ways.
Via CNA: Citing numerous and ongoing violations of Catholic teaching, including an instance of abortion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has declared that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center can no longer call itself a Catholic institution.
The bishop announced his decision in a press conference at diocesan headquarters Dec. 21. It follows months of negotiations with officials for St. Joseph’s and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West.
A New York nurse has lost her appeal of a court decision involving a work incident that she believes violated her conscience rights.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused Nurse Kathy DeCarlo the right to sue for enforcement of the Church Amendment -- the federal law that protects healthcare workers against discrimination for their beliefs -- after she was threatened with disciplinary measures if she did not assist in a late-term abortion.
Today is the optional memorial of St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor.
Peter Canisius was born in Holland on May 8, 1521. Peter was a brilliant, but humble, young man, who studied at Cologne and received his license as doctor of civil law; he then went to Louvain (Belgium) to learn canon law. After he attended a retreat given by Blessed Peter Faber, the first disciple of St. Ignatius, he decided to become a Jesuit. On the day of his final vows, as he knelt in St. Peter's, Our Lord showed him a vision of His Sacred Heart. From that time forward, he never failed to make an offering of all his work to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sent to Germany, he worked strenuously for many years by his writings and teachings to confirm the Catholic faith. Of his numerous books, the Catechism is most renowned. It remains a monument of the triumph of the Church over error in the time of Luther.
A man of great energy, he taught in several universities, founded 18 colleges, and authored 37 books; his catechisms went through 200 printings in his lifetime and were translated into 12 languages. St. Peter was one of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation in Germany and is referred to as the second apostle to Germany next to St. Boniface.
Peter died in Switzerland in 1597. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925, and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of the Catholic press.
Quotes of St. Peter
"If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all."
"Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith."
"It was as if you opened to me the heart in your most sacred body. I seemed to see it directly before my eyes. You told me to drink from this fountain, inviting me, that is, to draw the waters of my salvation from your wellsprings, my Savior. I was most eager that streams of faith, hope, and love should flow into me from that source. I was thirsting for poverty, chastity, obedience. I asked to be made wholly clean by you, to be clothed by you, to be made resplendent by you.
"So, after daring to approach your most loving heart, and to plunge my thirst into it, I received a promise from you of a garment made of three parts: these were to cover my soul in its nakedness, and to belong especially to my religious profession. They were peace, love, and perseverance. Protected by this garment of salvation, I was confident that I would lack nothing but all would succeed and give you glory."
A prayer of St. Peter Canisius
I commend to you, Lord Jesus, the whole Society of Jesus: our superiors and our subjects, our old and our young, our sound and our sick, our ministries of body and soul may we be rightly governed to the glory of your name and to the upbuilding of your Church.
Through you may we grow in our numbers and in our service. May we know our vocation thoroughly, and knowing it love it; and thus may all in the Society serve your majesty worthily and faithfully; cling to the commands and the counsels of the Gospel; and, united in the love of brothers, feel your blessings on our provinces, our schools, our missions, and all our ministries.
May we be sober, simple, prudent, peaceable, and studious of solid virtue: may our lives conform to the Name we bear and our deeds reflect to the vows we profess.
We commend to you all the brothers who share our life in the Society and all our companions and partners who share our heritage and our vision. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, we praise you forever. Amen.
Please join us in praying that this new abortion clinic will not open. Thank you!
Wichita, Kansas - About seventy pro-life supporters representing several pro-life groups and churches gathered in unity on Saturday morning in spite the cold Kansas temperatures to stand in protest to plans to open a new abortion clinic in Wichita.
Holding signs that read, "Stop Abortion Now!" pro-lifers lined Harry Street outside the office of abortionist Mila Means, who has been training at a Kansas City, Kansas, abortion mill over the past several months so that she can begin her own abortion business in Wichita.
Another abortionist, Gregory S. Linhardt, has also been training with Means at the Aid for Women mill in Kansas City so he can also open up an abortion business in Wichita. The community has been abortion free for eighteen months since the family of late-term abortionist George Tiller permanently closed his abortion mill after his death.
The protest and prayer vigil was conducted smoothly. A small group of pro-abortion counter protesters huddled on a corner and unsuccessfully attempted to cover a huge sign that read "Thou Shalt Not Kill" put up by Mark Gietzen of the Kansas Coalition for Life.
"We have reason to believe that legal steps will be taken to prevent Means from opening up an abortion business in Wichita. Anyone who tries to open an abortion business here will certainly face strong public protest from this community," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
“As Mother Theresa said, ‘abortion will end up bringing the world to nuclear war’. When a man kills a man in a war situation, it is bad, very sad. Attila [the Hun] went further. He said ‘not only am I going to kill men, but also women and children.’ He raised the bar to another level.“
"Abortion goes much further: when the mother herself kills her son she goes against her own nature, against her own instinct. People talk about ‘choice’, but when a woman does that, when she destroys the life of her unborn child, then we have arrived at the limit. The level cannot go higher regarding evil.”
~ Actor Jim Caviezel, as quoted by LifeSiteNews, December 20
Today we commemorate St. Dominic of Silos, a Benedictine abbot born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain.
As a shepherd boy, Dominic enjoyed looking after his father's flocks as well as the solitude of the fields. He entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre, where he became prior. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery’s property and possessions to the King of Navarre, he and two other monks were exiled to Castille. There the king of Castille appointed him to be the abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.
The monastery was in terrible shape physically and spiritually. Dominic rebuilt the dilapidated building, and restored its finances. He also renewed the spirit of the monastery, increasing its works of charity. Dominic died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.
About 100 years after his death, a young woman made a pilgrimage to his tomb and prayed that she would conceive a child. There St. Dominic of Silos appeared to her and reassured her that she would bear another son. The woman was Blessed Joan de Aza de Guzmán, and the son she bore grew up to be St. Dominic de Guzmán (whom she named after St. Dominic of Silos), the founder of the Dominican order.
St. Dominic of Silos is the patron of pregnant women, prisoners, captives, shepherds; against insects, rabies, hydrophobia, and mad dogs.
A new series from Arcadia Films for EWTN, the Global Catholic Network, is coming in 2011. Some of the great saints of human history come down from heaven to be interviewed on some of the most pressing issues of our time. This was shot on location in Waterbury, Connecticut at the Immaculate Conception Basilica, the parish where Fr. Michael McGivney grew up and was originally buried.
Father Dominick Fullam was drawn to cartooning at an early age but a higher calling erased any aspirations he ever had of becoming a full-time cartoonist.
Recently, however, the St. Martin native, who is diocesan Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia as well as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Woolmarket, was at the Atlanta airport when something happened that rekindled his interest in cartooning.
“I was at the airport in Atlanta drawing a cartoon character on an iPad, and a lady seated next to me asked if I drew cartoons for a living. I laughed and said I was just passing time, but that I used to do a not-so-great cartoon in my high school newspaper,” he said.
“She told me what I'd done looked really good to her. A seed was planted.”
That seed has since developed into a new comic strip titled “Off by a Mile.”
In this privileged state [the religious life] there is a happy and wonderful exchange; for goods of this world are given up and in their place the goods of Heaven are received. Treasures that will pass away are surrendered in exchange for treasures that last forever. Articles of no value are swapped for articles of priceless value. ~ St. Basil
He was born January 7, 1833 in Catalonia, Spain; died December 17, 1901 in Spain, and canonized on May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II.
At the age of five, José’s mother dedicated him to the Virgin Mary, and he entered the seminary in as a youth. Was ordained in 1859 and served as the secretary of the bishop of Urgell, the seminary librarian, the chancery administrator before responding to the call to found two religious congregations.
He founded the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family in 1864 and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 10 years later, both dedicated to the education and protection of the Christian family, and education and parish ministry.
He also founded schools and centers, encouraged devotion to the Holy Family, wrote many books on family issues, and spiritual guidance. Also in the cultural ambit he worked for the construction of the Servant of God Antonio Gaudí’s masterpiece Temple of the Holy Family in Barcelona, Spain.
He suffered from physical illnesses all his life, and in particular two open wounds in his sides for his last 16 years.
His last words were his fervent prayer "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you."
Pope Benedict XVI announced Wednesday that he has appointed the Rev. John B. Brungardt of Wichita as the sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
Bishop-elect Brungardt is currently pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Church in St. Mark and chancellor of the Diocese of Wichita. He will succeed the retiring Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore, a former priest of the Diocese of Wichita, who has served the Diocese of Dodge City since July of 1998.
“I am humbled by Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of me as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City,” Bishop-elect Brungardt said Wednesday morning at a press conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City.
“With trust in God, I hope to be a good shepherd to the people of southwest Kansas, from Odin to Elkhart, from Tribune to Kiowa. Building on the foundation of Bishop Gilmore and his predecessors, the priests, religious, and laity, I hope to carry on the mission of spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to the people of the diocese.”
The Most Reverend Michael O. Jackels, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita said Pope Benedict XVI “really knows how to pick them, for he has chosen one of the exemplary priests of the Diocese of Wichita.”
“We are happy to share with others God’s gifts to us, but we will still feel the loss; we will miss him and his ministry. The people of southwestern Kansas are getting one of our best, a real gem of a priest.” Continue reading.
St. Adelaide was a marvel of grace and beauty, according to her spiritual director and biographer, St. Odilon of Cluny. She was born a princess in 1931 and was to became not only the Queen of Italy, but the Empress of Italy. More importantly, this woman of grace lived a holy life, which wasn't an easy endeavor, given her circumstances in life, and was later canonized a saint.
The daughter of King Rupert II of Burgundy, France, at age 16, she married Lothar of Italy, who eventually became king of Italy. She was widowed in 950 while still a teenager. Lothair was thought to be poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengarius. As part of his attempt to solidify his grip on power, Berengarius ordered Adelaide to marry his son; she refused, and was imprisoned.
It is believed that a priest came and dug a tunnel to where she was being kept and helped her escape. She remained hidden in the woods until the Duke of Canossa, who had found out about her escape, came and carried her to his castle. During this time the Italians had turned against Berengarius and had compelled the German King Otto the Great to invade Italy. His invasion was successful and while in Canossa he met Adelaide and ended up marrying her on Christmas Day, 951 at Pavia. He was crowned Emperor in Rome in 952, and Adelaide reigned with him for 20 years. Widowed in 973, she was ill-treated by her step-son, Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophano, but eventually reconciled with them.
When Otto II died in 983, he was succeeded by his infant son, Otto III. Theophano acted as regent, and since she still did not like Adelaide, used her power to exile her from the royal court. Theophano died in 991, and Adelaide returned once again to the court to act as regent for the child emperor. She used her position and power to help the poor, evangelize, especially among the Slavs, and to build and restore monasteries and churches. When Otto III was old enough, Adelaide retired to the convent of Selta near Cologne, a house she had built. Though she never became a nun, she spent the rest of her days there in prayer.
She died on December 16, 999 of natural causes and was canonized by Pope Urban II in 1097. Her feast is kept in many German dioceses.
Patronage: abuse victims, brides, in-law problems, parenthood, second marriages, step-parents, victims of abuse, widows
Just as the Chilean miners were, in the words of one miner, "birthed to the earth" when they were rescued from danger, we are called to give the same respect and dignity to every human being endangered by abortion, destructive human experimentation, or euthanasia.
This video is a unique and captivating encounter with the beauty of life, the power of music, the relevance of current events, and the honor of fighting for the least amongst us.
A Kansas physician plans to open an abortion center in Wichita, the location of the late-term abortion facility George Tiller ran before he was killed recently. The city has been abortion free since then.
Mila Means has reportedly purchased abortion equipment from the now-closed Women’s Health Care Services formerly operated by Tiller and plans to begin doing abortions on Saturdays at her medical office near East Harry and Webb Road in Wichita.
The pro-life group Operation Rescue says pro-life people saw her at the Aid For Women clinic in Kansas City, Kansas where she is reportedly training to learn how to d surgical abortions. Means is a family practice physician who is not certified as an obstetrician or gynecologist, Troy Newman, the president of the group, told LifeNews.com this afternoon.
“We are saddened by the news that someone would want to bring abortion back to Wichita,” said Newman. “The city has been abortion-free for a year and a half. It is clear that abortion is unwanted and unneeded in this abortion-weary community.”
Newman says Means has a troubled past that includes disciplinary action taken against her medical license for the misuse of psychiatry in her family practice, having improper personal relationships with patients, and for something more serious that the Kansas Board of Healing Arts has redacted from her public record. (Read Means Disciplinary Documents.)
The medical board indicates in Means’ disciplinary documents that it had the authority to discipline her under a Kansas law for unprofessional conduct including the “commission of any act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or exploitation related to the licensee’s professional practice.” Newman says redactions prevented the disclosure of details of the alleged sexual abuse, misconduct, or exploitation, and omitted some of the disciplinary action taken against her.
“Information like this is often withheld because it would destroy the person’s reputation if it were made public. Whatever Means did to merit such discipline should be cause for concern to anyone who may seek services from her,” said Newman.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press indicates another doctor, Greg Linhardt, has also been training at the Kansas City abortion center on how to do abortions.
Ap indicates Means will not do the late-tem abortions Carhart did and will begin doing abortions in mid-2011.
"It appears that a woman named Mila Means will be opening an abortion mill in Wichita. We are still trying to find out more information about this person.
Evidently, she had a clinic in Valley Center, KS at 3020 E. 101st until she was disciplined by the Board of Healing Arts.
Does anyone know this abortionist? Do you know someone who has been treated by her?
She was licensed as a physician in 1983 so she has been around for awhile. Any information that anyone can provide, would be very helpful."
If you have information to share about Mila Means, please contact KFL at 1-800-928-5433 or
Sorry to share this horrible news during this joyful season, but this sounds like an intention to add to our Christmas novenas and prayers during this holy season. In addition, supporters are planning to gather Saturday, December 18, at 10:00 AM to peacefully pray and protest Mila Means intention to abort babies in this abortion-weary community. I encourage all who can to join in this peaceful, prayerful gathering.